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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

"Lopsided recovery"

It appears we have a reverse Robin Hood recovery: the rich keep getting richer and the rest of us, well we're supporting them.

The Globe offers two interesting looks at today's economic reality -- wages that aren't keeping pace with the recovery, unless you are a CEO.
“This is the most lopsided recovery I’ve ever seen,’’ said Andrew Sum, an economist and director of the Northeastern [Center for Labor Market Studies]that is releasing the study this week. “The average American worker has gotten virtually nothing in their paychecks from this recovery, even though jobs are slowly starting to come back and profits are up.’’
 That study found "nearly 90 percent of the economy’s real income growth during the current recovery has gone into corporate profits, after companies slashed payrolls, kept wages down, and squeezed additional productivity out of existing employees."

That work is backed up by Equilar Inc., a California compensation research firm that compiled data for The New York Times. It found:
Overall, pay for the top 100 highest paid CEOs at major companies rose 20 percent to more than $2 billion, from 2010 to 2011, largely because of outsize packages to [Apple CEO Timothy] Cook and a few other top executives. ... The data are based on filings by about 300 companies with at least $5 billion in sales that publicly reported their annual compensation numbers by March 31.
We've certainly seen a reflection of the gap on the campaign trail where likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney bemoans a mere $374,000 in speaking fees as "not very much" and blithely goes about plans for a four-car garage, complete with car elevator, for his "second home" in La Jolla, California.

The reality is the issue should unite the Occupiers of the left and the Tea Partiers of the right. Yet that has about as much chance of happening as the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl any time soon. Our divide and conquer political system has been quite good at creating diversions.

A key reason for that separation is ably demonstrated elsewhere with the Globe today, reminding use that the Sheldon Adelsons of the nation are willing to spend substantial (yet ultimately insignificant) chunks of their wealth to preserve the status quo.

So what's the solution? Darned if I know. As long as the wealthy create the playing field and put the ball at our 10-yard-line we are all the  guaranteed losers.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is where the Occupy movement failed to grasp the power the average consumer can focus on a corporation. By mimicing the Arab Spring and using twitter/flash mob consumerism we would be able to get responses as a group that individuals would never get. Put it out there that the first corporation where the CEO drops his pay 20% becomes the "official" drink of Occupy. Who blinks first Coke/Pepsi. One of them will grab the bait and then the other will have to react. The power of the market is there, the average consumer has never been able to focus that power as much as we can today. I'm coming from the right wing but the power of the market is almost always the way to solve things.

April 09, 2012 5:12 AM  

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