Inequality by the numbers:
Source: “Economic growth in the United States: A tale of two countries,” by Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.
Econ4’s Gerald Friedman laments the blindness of orthodox economics:
When I conducted an assessment of Senator Bernie Sanders’ economic proposals and found that they could produce robust growth, the negative reaction among powerful liberal economists was swift and vehement. How much, I wondered, did this reflect personal disappointment being rationalized into a political economy of despair? Professional economists tend to embrace an economic theory that government can do little more than fuss around the edges. From that stance, what do they have to offer ordinary people for whom the economy is not working? Not a whole lot.
Read Friedman’s full piece here.
From an August 2014 report by S&P:
- At extreme levels, income inequality can harm sustained economic growth over long periods. The U.S. is approaching that threshold.
- Standard & Poor’s sees extreme income inequality as a drag on long-run economic growth. We’ve reduced our 10-year U.S. growth forecast to a 2.5% rate. We expected 2.8% five years ago.
For the report, see here.
For press coverage, see here.
Daniel Alpert explains why the economy ain’t what it used to be:
We are in an age of global oversupply: an oversupply of global labor (hence high underemployment); an oversupply of global productive capacity (hence ultra-low inflation); and an oversupply of global capital (hence low interest rates)….
[O]ne can’t properly understand the financial crisis without appreciating how the rise of the emerging nations distorted the economies of rich countries. And you can’t chart a course to more growth and stability in the developed world without recognizing that many of these distorting forces are still at work. Cheaper credit through monetary easing, for example, doesn’t yield much in an era when cheap capital already exists in abundance.
Can we get out of this mess? We can, but we need a fresh playbook.
Read his Times op-ed piece here.
Lynn Parramore, writing for Alternet, explains why investment in innovation has declined in America:
There’s a motto on Wall Street: “I.B.G.-Y.B.G.” or “I’ll Be Gone, You’ll Be Gone.” As long as you’re making money right now, what happens tomorrow is not your problem.
It’s everyone else’s problem. Witness the decline in the number and quality of jobs, the middle class evaporating, and the financial instability that brought about the Great Recession.
Read more here.
Econ4’s James Boyce writes that we need better measures of economic well-being, better public policies, and better language:
We need to move beyond the stale “pro-growth” versus “anti-growth” rhetoric of the past. It’s time to raise a new banner: Grow the good and shrink the bad.
Read more here.
The New York Times reports today on attempts to suppress a Congressional Research Service report showing that tax cuts for the rich don’t create jobs:
“The reduction in the top tax rates appears to be uncorrelated with saving, investment and productivity growth. The top tax rates appear to have little or no relation to the size of the economic pie,” the report said. “However, the top tax rate reductions appear to be associated with the increasing concentration of income at the top of the income distribution.”
Read the Times piece here.
Read the suppressed report here.