Here’s some numbers in graph form. Don’t worry, it’s not exactly overwhelming and convoluted, as economic graphs go.
Here’s what the above wiggly lines mean:
In the US, corporate profits after tax are currently a little over 10% of GDP. This is higher than they’ve been in fifty years.
Workers’ wages and salaries are currently below 44% of the GDP. This is lower than they’ve been in fifty years.
Corporate taxes, as a percentage of corporate profits, are currently at 21%. This, aside from a brief period in 2009, is lower than they’ve been in fifty years.
Providing tax cuts and boosting profits for the “job creators” is demonstrably, palpably, not an automatic boon for the majority out there, the workers, the job-doers. Corporations are doing better than ever, and the only trickle-down most people are noticing is a thin stream that smells funny.
Whenever anyone suggests that the uber-wealthy might need to chip in a little more to fix the economic crisis, there’s a wail of anguish from certain quarters about the dire consequences of “punishing success”, and how important business leaders might withdraw their job-creating magnanimity and leave us all in the lurch if we tax them any higher.
You can see where their concerns are coming from. Given the capitalist infrastructure within which corporations and wealthy individuals have little choice but to operate, I don’t think the most productive answer is to simply seize all assets owned by any companies or millionaires above some arbitrary level of maximum permissible wealth, as some people on the left seem to want to see happen. While our culture does so much to define “success” in purely financial terms, there is a danger of going too far in punishing it with efforts to redress the balance.
But look, we’re cutting programs to feed, shelter, and re-house homeless people here. If we really can’t think of any other substantial budgetary savings we could be making, if we’re so desperate to cut back on our extravagant spending that we’re getting upset at homeless people not giving their fair share to paying off our debt, then should we really still be touting swollen corporate profits and dwindling wage power as being just what the country needs to get back on track?
Source: The New York Times
(via Ed Brayton)