“We used to have a deal: A rising tide lifted all boats. These days, a few gleaming yachts power comfortably past the wreckage of smaller vessels… executive pay at the country’s largest companies has more than quadrupled since the 1970s. Median wages have stagnated through much of that time and declined since the crisis.” — Ezra Klein
The CEOs have a point. Not on the tax holiday for overseas income — that’s a scam. But the U.S. could make it easier to do business here. We do need more high-skills visas. We do need to reform our tax code, reduce our deficit, upgrade our education system and repair our infrastructure. We even need to compete with the incentives these companies receive to relocate their factories and research centers; it’s a fact of the modern economy, and we can’t pretend otherwise.
But the self-pitying, self-righteous tone of these complaints misses the big picture, and makes the underlying problem worse: The rest of America doesn’t trust corporate America right now. The rich have been getting fabulously richer, corporate America is sitting on trillions in cash reserves, and where has that gotten the rest of the country? A shabby, jobless recovery in the early Aughts, followed by a credit bubble, followed by a crash in which ordinary Americans had to bail out Wall Street, followed by the worst economy in generations.
[…] That’s why corporate America’s solutions are looked on with suspicion. Executives say corporate-tax reform and more immigration would be good for the economy? Well, they said that about the Bush tax cuts along with financial deregulation, the rise in housing prices and credit-default swaps, too. But that era ended with Main Street a shambles and Wall Street richer than ever. Fool me once, and all that.
Anyone interested in the capital-gains tax and the marginal rate on income over $250,000 should spend an hour or two paging through the stories at WeAreThe99Percent. The blog, which posts pictures of people holding signs describing their situation, is a powerful primer on the very real sense of betrayal rippling through the country.
KEEP THIS IN MIND: do you immediately jump to the defense of the CEO’s right to make a huge salary? If so, understand that NO ONE disputes that right. So what do you suppose is the BASIC ISSUE after that knee jerk, ideological malarkey?
→ In which the Washington Post calculates that "the top 1 percent of American households had a mininum income of $516,633 in 2010" and that the "average wealth of the top 1 percent was almost $14 million in 2009." Still want to make fun of the 99 percenters?