(Picture courtesy of griid.org.)
All the right wing declarations of national poverty fail to acknowledge their complicity in stripping away our national wealth. It’s not just that deregulated financial industry – in addition to the off-budget wars and unfunded pharmaceutical program combined with lowering taxes on the very wealthy – that created the crisis we face now. It’s that now the right wing programs perpetuate the ideology they worship rather than use the resources we do have.
Yesterday an amazingly clear-minded briefing established this reality at the Economic Policy Institute.
Despite the rhetoric, it is clear that “we” as a nation are not broke. While the recession has led to job loss and shrinking incomes in recent years, the economy has produced substantial gains in average incomes and wealth over the last three decades, and economists agree that we can expect comparable growth over the next three decades as well. Between 1980 and 2010, income per capita grew 66.4%, and wealth per capita grew 73.2%. Over the next 30 years, per capita income is projected to grow by a comparable 60.6%. In other words, “we” are much richer as a nation than we used to be and can expect those riches
to rise substantially in the future.
So who is the we in the “we’re broke” mantra? The recession has certainly been a rough patch of road for many families, but the output produced by corporations in the private sector has already recovered to pre-recession levels, and these firms’ profits were 21.7% higher overall, driven largely by the 60% jump in pre-tax profits enjoyed by firms in the financial sector.
With profits soaring, the wingnuts have to blind themselves to our actual national economy to see the crisis they’ve demanded we sacrifice the needy to handle.
Moral cripples will insist that cuts to programs for the less fortunate are needed to enable the prosperous to create the jobs they have not created during the exact same program over a decade now.
The lessons are there for those who are willing to learn. By disabling the individual wage earner, our economy can be hampered. By using the profits our society has enabled for the betterment of society, our economy can be well served. Only by enabling consumers’ disposable income will the economy be revived.