By Charles Hugh Smith
September 22, 2020 “Information Clearing House” – Do you hear the pathetic bleating of America’s billionaires and their army of toadies? If not, you soon will, for a remarkable report has been released that documents the $50 trillion in earnings that’s been transferred to the Financial Aristocracy from the bottom 90% of American households in the past 45 years.
The report was prepared by the RAND Corporation, and has a suitably neutral title: Trends in Income From 1975 to 2018. (The full report can be downloaded for free.)
Just as remarkable is the no-holds-barred coverage of the study by Time magazine, an iconic publication of the mainstream media: The Top 1% of Americans Have Taken $50 Trillion From the Bottom 90% — And That’s Made the U.S. Less Secure.
Longtime readers know I’ve reported on the astounding increase in America’s economic inequality for the past 15 years, and addressed the eventual banquet of consequences this imbalanced, destabilizing state of affairs will serve up.
But with few exceptions, the corporate media has ignored this fundamental reality of American life, and blown off the consequences as easily ignored speculation by marginalized bloggers and commentators. (“Would somebody please shadow-ban these sites going on and on about soaring inequality? Thank you, Facebook, Google and Twitter–we’ll return the favor directly.”)
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The extreme rarity of paragraphs like these in the corporate media cannot be over-emphasized. The corporate media has carried water for the billionaires and America’s Financial Aristocracy for decades. (No surprise, given that the vast majority of America’s media / social media is owned by the billionaires and Financial Aristocracy. Why bite the hand that feeds you, especially when the risk of losing your career is so high?)
Excerpted from the time.com article linked above:
There are some who blame the current plight of working Americans on structural changes in the underlying economy–on automation, and especially on globalization. According to this popular narrative, the lower wages of the past 40 years were the unfortunate but necessary price of keeping American businesses competitive in an increasingly cutthroat global market. But in fact, the $50 trillion transfer of wealth the RAND report documents has occurred entirely within the American economy, not between it and its trading partners. No, this upward redistribution of income, wealth, and power wasn’t inevitable; it was a choice–a direct result of the trickle-down policies we chose to implement since 1975.
We chose to cut taxes on billionaires and to deregulate the financial industry. We chose to allow CEOs to manipulate share prices through stock buybacks, and to lavishly reward themselves with the proceeds. We chose to permit giant corporations, through mergers and acquisitions, to accumulate the vast monopoly power necessary to dictate both prices charged and wages paid. We chose to erode the minimum wage and the overtime threshold and the bargaining power of labor. For four decades, we chose to elect political leaders who put the material interests of the rich and powerful above those of the American people.
That this level of incendiary outrage is now seeping into the mainstream media tells us that the bill for America’s $50 Trillion gluttony of inequality is long overdue and the pendulum of reckoning will swing to political, social and economic extremes equal to the extremes of wealth and income inequality engineered by America’s Financial Aristocracy and their toadies / lackeys in government, the Federal Reserve, Wall Street, Silicon Valley and the media.
The rallying cry to claw back a significant percentage of the $50 trillion is just beginning. The billionaires have the money and power, of course, and the best government that money can buy plus the loyalty of a vast army of well-paid toadies, lackeys, factotums and apparatchiks.
But once the citizens no longer accept their servitude, the pendulum will gather momentum. America’s Financial Aristocracy has reached extremes not just of wealth-income-power inequality, but extremes of hubris. Their faith in luxury bug-out estates / private islands is evidence that even if the way of the Tao is reversal, they’ll have their private bodyguards and stashes of fuel and other essentials.
The clawback might not be as easy to rebuff as they anticipate, nor will the pendulum swing that’s just starting necessarily arrive at the opposite extreme in the orderly, predictable fashion they’re accustomed to controlling.
Here’s a few of the many charts you’ve seen over the years here that illustrate rising inequality:
Charles Hugh Smith is a contributing editor to PeakProsperity.com and the proprietor of the popular blog OfTwoMinds.com. He is the author of numerous books, including Why Everything Is Falling Apart: An Unconventional Guide To Investing In Troubled Times. – “Source“ –
His new book is available! A Hacker’s Teleology: Sharing the Wealth of Our Shrinking Planet 20% and 15% discounts end September 30 (Kindle $7, print $17) – Read excerpts of the book for free (PDF). – The Story Behind the Book and the Introduction.