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The Rich Have Gained $5.6 Trillion in the 'Recovery,' While the Rest of Us Have Lost $669 Billion

It's no accident.

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Source: Business Insider: http://www.businessinsider.com/unemployed-for-more-than-26-weeks-population-ratio-january-2010-2

5. Government goes on a job-killing spree.

After Wall Street crashed the economy, businesses failed, workers lost their jobs and state and local tax revenues collapsed. In a just world, Wall Street would have been taxed to make up the difference. Instead, public employment was slashed. This further cut back on consumer demand, reduced tax revenues and then created pressure for another round of government job cuts. Of course, the Tea Party right loves the idea of crushing government jobs and public employee unions as well. But the main result is to increase unemployment, which in turn puts downward pressure on wages and increases profits for the wealthy.  

As Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney point out ("A Record Decline in Government Jobs: Implications for the Economy and America's Workforce"), "we are in unchartered territory when it comes to government employment." The chart below from their Brookings article shows that among the major state and local job categories, only firefighters saw an increase.   

Occupation

Employment (2009)

Employment (2011)

Change in Employment

Percent Change in Employment

Teachers

3,942,700

3,721,938

-220,762

-5.6%

Policemen

666,579

610,427

-56,125

-8.4%

Fire fighters

233,051

277,158

44,107

18.9%

Emergency responders

69,370

39,170

-30,200

-43.5%

Air-traffic controllers

23,959

17,128

-6,831

-28.5%

Overall, the combination of state, local and foolish federal cutbacks are collapsing public employment like never before. And again, whenever unemployment increases, it places downward pressure on the wages and reduces the wealth of the many, while the few are enriched.  


 

6. The big banks have become even bigger criminal conspiracies.

Not only did we bail out too-big-to fail banks with public money and get nothing back in return, but Washington allowed them to grow even bigger. The biggest banks now have oligopoly power to rig prices. They also can illegally collude in order to siphon off more wealth from the rest of us. (For some juicy details, see Matt Taibbi's "Everything is Rigged: The Biggest Price-Fixing Scandal Ever." ) The corruption and cheating are reaching epic proportions as they gamble with insured deposit money, partner with loan sharks, money launder for drug cartels, and foreclose on homeowners who are up-to-date on their payments. All of that dirty money goes to the rich. (See "Are Big Banks Organized Criminal Conspiracies?")

Source: Federal Reserve http://www.ffiec.gov/nicpubweb/nicweb/Top50Form.aspx

7. Hedge funds run wild.

In 2012, the top hedge fund manager "earned" in one hour as much as the average family makes in 21 years. The top 10 hedge fund managers made as much in one year as 196,000 registered nurses. What exactly do these hedge fund honchos do? Much of it comes from what normal people call cheating -- some of it legal, some of it borderline, and much of it criminal. But they're hard to catch. They profit from illegal insider tips, highfrequency trading, rumor-mongering, front-running trades, special tax loopholes and even by creating financial products that are designed to fail so that they can collect the insurance. They have their hands in our pockets 24/7. (See "America's New Math: 1 Wall Street Hour = 21 Years of Hard Work For the Rest of Us.")

8. The rise of the Ayn Rand Right.

The Tea Party brought a new viciousness to the national dialogue. Not only do they hate the government, but also, they hate the poor. Using the twisted logic of Ayn Rand, they see the world divided into winners and losers -- and screw the losers. Not only do they oppose social programs like Social Security and Medicare, they also don't believe that government should work on behalf of the collective good. In fact, they see any and all collective efforts as an affront to personal liberty. They want a world where the creators rule and the moochers suffer. They would rather the rich rob us blind, than have the government try to stop the financial cheating and deception. If Wall Street destroys your job -- too bad. Go get another one and don't expect the government to help.