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It's worth remembering that although we've lost a lot of ground in the last 6 years, these headlines have been repeated every few years for the past 25. For a quarter of a century - since Reagan introduced trickle-down and we let him - wages have remained stagnant while productivity has risen and more and more of the country's wealth has flowed to the top of the totem pole. This "news" isn't particularly new.

Two years ago, I wrote this about the Productivity Trick corporations have been using since the mid-80's. Two years ago, Eduardo Porter wrote a piece in the NYT about falling wages.

"There's a bit of a dichotomy," said Ethan S. Harris, chief economist at Lehman Brothers. "Joe Six-Pack is under a lot of pressure. He got a lousy raise; he's paying more for gasoline and milk. He's not doing that great. But proprietors' income is up. Profits are up. Home values are up. Middle-income and upper-income people are looking pretty good."

Over the last 2 years the pattern remains the same, only now the middle class is feeling the squeeze, too, and not "looking so good".

There's nothing new about this. We've been on this track for 25 years - that's what "trickle-down" is all about - moving all the money from the base of the pyramid to the top until the pockets at the top are overflowing so badly that a few few overlooked bucks fall out of them and "trickle down" to the rest of us.

Know what happenes to a pyramid when the base shrinkss as the top expands?

MICK!! eMail me, man.

Haven't we been on this treadmill for longer than 25 years though? Capitalism is about squeezing the workers to death - that's why it took FDR to save it. That's a huge oversimplification but I don't think the point is lost. There is something sort of new about this because we're looking at the consequences of losing so many of the reforms that had been made since FDR. And, of course, we're talking about bigger global markets than ever before and the realization that the US is going to have to start facing the phenomenon of natural size. And the fact that there is no loyalty among the global corporatists and that for all intents and purposes, the USA doesn't even exist for them. But I don't want to be accused of sounding like a protectionist ...

Jordan talks about some of the related suffering in a postive way, hoping that this election will be the one where we wake up. I'm not so hopeful - mostly because of electronic voting machines but also because the GOP has rediscovered the age-old warmonger's formula to get votes - and then there's the DLC eating at the soul of our only opposition party.


Hey, Rob

What we're talking about is a built-in income disparity that the rise of unions and FDR's legacy had - we thought - put an end to. Between 1945 and 1990 the ratio between worker pay and executive pay remained fairly constant. It was in the last years of Bush I that Reagan economics really began to show its teeth and the disparity began to grow exponentially. You have to go back to the 19th century - the days of the Robber Barons - to find a parallel to today.

One of the biggest reasons I disliked Clinton was the way he let the DLC make him kowtow to corporate interests. He talked about but did nothing to stop the growth of the disparity - workers' wages continued to lose ground in the 90's and he did NOTHING.

PS I emailed you yesterday. I've been at my brother's for a couple of days but I'm leaving this afternoon and god knows when I'll get back online.

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