Moral Low Ground


Video: Robert Reich Tells ‘The Truth About the Economy’ in Less than Three Minutes

This new video making the ‘net round, aptly titled The Truth about the Economy, features former Clinton-era labor secretary Robert Reich brilliantly explaining America’s economic woes in a compelling and easily understandable way– as easy as connect-the-dots.

Those dots, according to Reich, are:

* The fact that despite a doubling of the size of the US economy since 1980, wages, when adjusted for inflation, have remained flat.

* But not for everyone– the super-rich have made out like bandits over that period. The 1% of wealthiest Americans took home 10% of the nation’s income in 1980. Today they take home 20% and control a staggering 40% of the nation’s wealth.

* All that money buys enormous political clout, which naturally results in lower taxes for the rich. Prior to 1980, the wealthiest Americans were taxed at a rate of 70%. Today they pay 35%, and capital gains– which usually make up a significant portion of their accumulated wealth– are taxed at a paltry 15%. The richest 400 Americans pay just 17% tax.

* This revenue dearth, and the government’s failure to scale back spending accordingly, have created massive budget deficits. As a result, the things ordinary Americans need to thrive are under constant attack. Schools, health care and infrastructure have all declined.

* Meanwhile, the middle class is divided and scrapping over the scraps. Instead of recognizing what the real problem is, it’s union versus non-union, natural-born versus immigrant, progressive versus conservative– a classic divide-and-conquer strategy that allows that 1% to sit back and accumulate unprecedented wealth without arousing the wrath of the distracted masses.

* And for the shrinking middle class, there’s an anemic recovery, if it can be called a recovery at all. Tighter credit means less purchasing power for the middle class to fuel said recovery. This means continued high unemployment, as businesses are reluctant to hire during such trying times. This is a precarious situation, for only a strong middle class can bring about a return to a strong American economy.

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