Sunday, January 27, 2013

"The March of the Oligarchs"

Nick Cohen @ The Guardian:
In March last year, Emmanuel Saez, a sober economist at the University of California, published a sensational analysis that ought to change the way you see the world.

Saez had set himself the apparently mundane task of collecting data on how the super-rich had fared after the crash of 2007/8. If you had asked commentators around at the time, we would have said that the great recession would hammer the plutocracy hardest. After the crash of 1929, former titans of finance died in poverty. The Dow did not reach its 1929 levels again until 1954. Dealing in funny money became disreputable and Wall Street became a backwater until the Reagan/Thatcher revolution revived casino capitalism.

For a while, it seemed as if history had repeated itself. Average real income for America's top 1% fell by almost a third. The incomes of the remaining 99% fell sharply too – by 11.6%. But, as was traditional, those with the most to lose took the biggest hit.

Then came the American recovery of 2010. It showed that the past was no longer a reliable guide to the future. The incomes of the top 1% grew by 11.6% while the incomes of the bottom 99% rose by a pathetic 0.2%. The rich captured nearly all the income growth going in America and this when the country was led by Barack Obama...whom idiot conservatives denounce as some kind of socialist.

To put it another way, far from being an end of an era, the Great Recession was a temporary blip in the global march of the oligarchs...