Finally, the root cause is revealed. Plenty of talk has been talked on the topic, by experts, data wonks, and politicians. But nobody was able to say why the 1% started f***ing the rest of us to an even greater extent than hitherto, from the 80’s through the present day. Not until a few months ago, that is:
There are many gauges of the depth and breadth of economic inequality, and they often measure what middle-income working people have today against what they had prior to 1980 – that time when homes were affordable, along with doctor visits and college educations. Yet few of the astonishing charts and metrics that have captured this widening gulf explain how it all came about. So when economist William Lazonick pointed a finger at a very specific aspect of corporate behavior, people took note.
Lazonick’s 4,900-word piece, titled Profits Without Prosperity, focused on the 449 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index that were publicly listed from 2003 to 2012. Lazonick found that from the end of World War II until the late 1970s, corporations generally took a “retain-and-reinvest” approach to profits. That is, they kept their earnings and reinvested them – first and foremost in pay raises and job benefits for the employees who helped make the firms more competitive, but also in business expansion, research and new technologies.
But starting in the early 1980s, after the Securities and Exchange Commission removed limits on companies’ power to buy back their stock, these large, publicly traded companies began spending a portion of their net income on stock buybacks. The trend was exacerbated in the 1990s, when the compensation packages of corporate chief executives were linked directly to the stock value, and has accelerated in recent years – even though it’s been little noticed and rarely discussed as a prime driver of economic inequality.
THIS IS HUGE, Gentle Reader. Huge. It proves what everyone except Teapubbies and all the other “small government” and supply-side eedjits have known for decades: the Reagan Revolution was a huge mistake, a f***-up for the ages, even worse than when the Senate handed Rome to Caligula. The nation’s woeful retreat from its former stability to the shambles of the present day is, once and for all: The. Fault. Of. Reagan. Era. Republicans.
And the longer America keep electing these criminally idiotic, venal, fact-challenged, big-mouthed-but-walnut-brained f***wits, the worse it’s gonna get. We need to vote each and every “Republican” who is currently IN office OUT of said office. And that soon.
Maybe someday, when Repubs go back to the pre-Reagan days of ideological and political sanity; then, and ONLY then, can we allow them back into power. But frankly, friends, we can’t AFFORD these Teapublican nitwits any longer. They have cost us dearly, far too dearly, and done far too much damage to be trusted now.
Now you know who to blame. Time to do something about it.
Mr. Blunt and Cranky