Luxury retailers are smiling. So are the owners of high-end restaurants, sellers of upscale cars, holiday planners, financial advisers and personal coaches. For them and their customers and clients, the recession is over. But the rest of America isn’t enjoying a recovery. It’s still quite sick. The finances of many Americans remain in critical condition.
The Commerce Department reported last Thursday that the economy grew at a 3 per cent annual rate last quarter. Personal income also jumped. Americans raked in over $13tn. Yet all the gains went to the top 10 per cent, and the lion’s share to the top 1 per cent. Over a third of the gains went to 15,600 super-rich households in the top one-tenth of one per cent.
This is the most lopsided recovery in US history.
But Washington doesn’t want to talk about it. The Obama administration would rather focus on the recovery without mentioning whose it is. Perhaps it’s because almost all Democratic and independent voters are in the bottom 90 per cent.
Republicans would rather not talk about the lopsidedness either, because they’d rather not bring up the subject of inequality to begin with. Their reverse-Robin Hood budget plans cut taxes on the rich and slash public services everyone else depends on. Continue reading »