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Morning Report 4/22/05The Wages of Sin Is Debt


Thus sayeth the corporate profits to all you schmucks out there

White House


Standing in front of a “corporate responsibility” backdrop, Bush speaks to his “corporate responsibility task force” last summer about “corporate responsibility.”


The latest statistics on the nation’s economic “recovery” since the burst of the dot-com bubble are enough to make ordinary Americans’ blood vessels burst. As you listen to the incessant Godtalk from the Bush regime about “moral” this and “sin” that, corporations and their execs are taking immorally high profits out of our economy while you’re going deeper into debt.

As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained in a report released yesterday:

A smaller share of the growth in national income during this recovery has gone to workers’ wages and salaries than in any other recovery since World War II.

Oh, and one other thing:

By contrast, the share of national income growth going to corporate profits has been higher than in any post-World War II recovery.

The center’s report, based on the government’s own stats, points out one other thing:

After-tax corporate profits have climbed to their highest levels as a share of national income since 1929.

Ah, that was a good year for Wall Street’s blutocrats, wasn’t it?

Here are some facts and figures from the center’s new report: During the previous post–World War II recoveries, 49 percent of the “real income growth” went to wages and salaries and 18 percent to corporate profits. During this one, 23 percent has gone to wages and salaries and 44 percent to corporate profits.

You don’t have to be a friggin’ Marxist to complain about this.

Greed will always be a part of our existence, but shouldn’t people be demanding that the government at least try to keep it from being excessive? Instead of stoking it, which is what the Bush regime does?

The center’s report, co-authored by David Kamin and Isaac Shapiro, delves smartly into the side details of this current trend:

Because a relatively small part of the recent growth in national income has gone to wages and salaries, their share of the total national income has shrunk, from 55.0 percent in 2001 to 51.9 percent in 2004—the lowest level ever recorded, with annual data available back to 1929.

Even when employer contributions for workers’ insurance and pensions are added in, total labor compensation makes up a declining share of total national income.

And for a bunch of economists, they’re pretty good at looking at the implications:

In addition, corporate taxes have declined over time. As a result of these two factors—rising corporate profits and declining corporate taxes—after-tax corporate profits have climbed to their highest levels as a share of national income since 1929.

The only people likely to jump out of windows in New York City these days are those who don’t work on Wall Street.

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