Monday, May 17, 2010

Why the Last 35 Years Felt Terrible

Here's a nice graph from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities that sums up the reason very nicely:

The 1946-1976 years were essentially Democrat Party years under the influence of FDR's New Deal.

The 1976-2007 years were essentially Republican Party years under the influence of Reagan "trickle down" economics.

Let me summarize the difference: under the Democrats, the poor were "lifted up". Under the Republican's the ultra-rich got tax cut after tax cut and their income ballooned while the rest of the population watched as their income stagnated.

So... the puzzle is why the 99.9% of the population who don't belong to the ultra-rich keep voting in Republicans who devote all their attention to legislation favouring the 0.1% ultra-rich?

Find out how your county fared during the 1998-2010 time period. There is a nice map highlighted with colour to show which counties gained income and which lost. Of course you know that the money flowed to the big urban centres and out of the old industrial heartland and the rural areas. The only oddity was that the West's mountain states did comparatively well. I'm guessing that is oil, gas, and coal income.

If you want some reading that makes the point that times like these, The Great Recession of the late 2000s, make a rightward lurch more likely than not and fail to deliver a redistribution of income from rich to poor, then read the following post from Doug Henwood:
Recessions: better for right than left

For a long time, I’ve been critical of the left-wing penchant for economic crisis. Many radicals have fantasized that a serious recession—or depression—would lead to mass radicalization, as scales simultaneously fell from millions of pairs of eyes and the imperative of transcending capitalism became self-evidently obvious. I’ve long thought that was nonsense, and now there’s empirical support for my position.


Whatever the reason, recessions are not good for the left and are good for the right. A major exception, of course, was the U.S. in the 1930s, but that one took the unemployment rate up to 25%. And that Great Depression didn’t do much for the left in Europe. So please, let’s put this one away and stop hoping for the worst.
Go read the whole post.

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