I read recenttly, in either a blog, or opinion piece, that the GDP does not reflect the econmic hardship of the majority of people in this country. And, there is no arguing that. Everyone I know does not see the so-called rosy eonomy. Couple that with the staggaring increases in CEO pay (including perks, benefits) and the average workers pay, and we see a huge gap. Worse yet, our Congresscritters have largely ignored the reality on the ground. I would say that this is a big contributing factor to the changes American's voted on last week.
When I read this, I was greatly surprised, and pleased, all at the same time. Sen-elect Jim Webb absolutely nails the problems on the head.
The most important--and unfortunately the least debated--issue in politics today is our society's steady drift toward a class-based system, the likes of which we have not seen since the 19th century. America's top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years. It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. Few among them send their children to public schools; fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars. They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people. The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980. The tax codes protect them, just as they protect corporate America, through a vast system of loopholes.
Incestuous corporate boards regularly approve compensation packages for chief executives and others that are out of logic's range. As this newspaper has reported, the average CEO of a sizeable corporation makes more than $10 million a year, while the minimum wage for workers amounts to about $10,000 a year, and has not been raised in nearly a decade. When I graduated from college in the 1960s, the average CEO made 20 times what the average worker made. Today, that CEO makes 400 times as much.
In the age of globalization and outsourcing, and with a vast underground labor pool from illegal immigration, the average American worker is seeing a different life and a troubling future. Trickle-down economics didn't happen. Despite the vaunted all-time highs of the stock market, wages and salaries are at all-time lows as a percentage of the national wealth. At the same time, medical costs have risen 73% in the last six years alone. Half of that increase comes from wage-earners' pockets rather than from insurance, and 47 million Americans have no medical insurance at all.
This is a must read. The whole piece is so right-on, that I really didn't know what parts to copy/paste here for a teaser. What do you think?