Sunday, September 15, 2013

Stiglitz on inequality...again

Nobel Prize-winning Joe Stiglitz addressed the recent AFL-CIO convention:

I'm an economist-- I study how economies work and don't work. It’s been clear to me that our economy has been sick for a long time.  One of the reasons it's been so sick is inequality, and I decided to write an article and a book about it.

Two years ago, I wrote an article for Vanity Fair called, "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%,” which really got to the gist of it.  For too long, the hardworking and rule-abiding had seen their paychecks shrink or stay the same, while the rule-breakers raked in huge profits and wealth.  It made our economy sick, and our politics sick, too.  

You all know the facts:  while the productivity of America's workers has soared, wages have stagnated. You've worked hard – since 1979, your output per hour has increased 40%, but pay has barely increased. Meanwhile, the top 1% take home more than 20% of the national income.

The Great Recession made things worse.  Some say that the recession ended in 2009.  But for most Americans, that's simply wrong:  95% of the gains from 2009 to 2012 went to the upper 1%.  The rest — the 99% — never really recovered.