Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Thom Hartmann discusses how Reaganomics were designed to crush the U.S.' middle class - and have succeeded in that goal:
Progressive taxation, when done correctly, pushes wages down to working people and reduces the incentives for the very rich to pillage their companies or rip off their workers. After all, why take another billion when 91 percent of it just going to be paid in taxes?

This is the main reason why, when GM was our largest employer and our working class were also in the middle class, CEOs only took home 30 times what working people did. The top tax rate for all the time America’s middle class was created was between 74 and 91 percent. Until, of course, Reagan dropped it to 28 percent and working people moved from the middle class to becoming the working poor.
If you compare a chart showing the historical top income tax rate over the course of the twentieth century with a chart of income inequality in the United States over roughly the same time period, you’ll see that the period with the highest taxes on the rich – the period between the Roosevelt and Reagan administrations – was also the period with the lowest levels of economic inequality.

You’ll also notice that since marginal tax rates started to plummet during the Reagan years, income inequality has skyrocketed.

Even more striking, during those same 33 years since Reagan took office and started cutting taxes on the rich, income levels for the top 1 percent have ballooned while income levels for everyone else have stayed pretty much flat.
Creating a middle class is always a choice, and by embracing Reaganomics and cutting taxes on the rich, we decided back in 1980 not to have a middle class within a generation or two...

This, of course, is exactly what conservatives always push for. When wealth is spread more equally among all parts of society, people start to expect more from society and start demanding more rights.
- Meanwhile, Robert Solow reviews Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty-First Century, with a particular focus on the "rich-get-richer dynamic". Lynn Stuart Parramore comments on the corporatist right's fear of Piketty's analysis. And Geoff Davies (via Yves Smith) proposes some policy options which would reduce pre-market inequality.

- Molly Ball writes that some U.S. governments are starting to learn their lesson about the dangers of privatization - but only after having forfeited vital public institutions to the private sector.

- David Green discusses how the temporary foreign worker program is designed to make sure that employers can avoid the market forces which would otherwise lead prosperity to be shared with workers. And PressProgress highlights the fact that Jason Kenney was warned that he lacked accurate jobs data - but kept on spouting talking points with gross disregard for their accuracy rather than looking into how his government has attacked the evidence-gathering process.

- Finally, Linda McQuaig writes about Stephen Harper's fetishization of war even as the public moves past any desire to funnel resources into destruction.

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