Inequality Sinks All

A couple of millionaires call out to their caste-cohort.  “Wake up!  Or lose it all!”

Peter Georgescu in the NY Times

“I’M scared. The billionaire hedge funder Paul Tudor Jones is scared. My friend Ken Langone, a founder of the Home Depot, is scared. So are many other chief executives. Not of Al Qaeda, or the vicious Islamic State or some other evolving radical group from the Middle East, Africa or Asia. We are afraid where income inequality will lead.

For the top 20 percent of Americans, life is pretty good.

Inequality the-uss-inequality-sinking-ship-inequality-cartoon

But 40 percent are broke. Every year they spend more than they have.

While so many people are struggling, even those on the higher end of the middle class have relatively little after paying the bills: on average, some $1,300 a month. One leaky roof and they’re in trouble.

If inequality is not addressed, the income gap will most likely be resolved in one of two ways: by major social unrest or through oppressive taxes, such as the 80 percent tax rate on income over $500,000 suggested by Thomas Piketty, the French economist and author of the best-selling book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century.”

We are creating a caste system from which it’s almost impossible to escape, except for the few with exceptional brains, athletic skills or luck. That’s why I’m scared. We risk losing the capitalist engine that brought us great economic success and our way of life.

… The fact that real wages have been flat for about four decades, while productivity has increased by 80 percent, shows [employees sharing amply in productivity increases and creative innovations]  has not been happening. Before the early 1970s, wages and productivity were both rising. Now most gains from productivity go to shareholders, not employees.

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