U.S. economic inequality continues to widen

  • Article by: ROBERT REICH , Tribune Media Services
  • Updated: April 23, 2013 - 1:05 PM

When all of the economic gains go to the top, the rest of the population doesn’t have enough purchasing power to keep the economy going.

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stolaf80Apr. 23, 13 1:47 PM

This is chock full of economic fallacies. Just one is the notion that the bottom is falling out of wages. The basket of goods and services that can be purchased today is markedly richer than the basket of goods and services which could have been purchased even 10 years ago. How many cars today have ABS brakes on them? How many cellphones today are smartphones? This is a political opinion piece dressed up as economics.

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sweatpiggerApr. 23, 13 1:50 PM

Stop importing poverty from 3rd world countries to compete with unemployed American workers. And the Gang of Eight wants to increase the rate a which the US imports cheap foreign labor! Call your representatives in Washington today and tell them to stop flooding the US LAbor market with cheap foreign labor.

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naseth12Apr. 23, 13 2:19 PM

stolaf80 - Was that supposed to be a logical argument? The data don't lie: the bottom IS falling out of wages. Who cares what extra bells and whistles are on the things available for purchase if one still can't afford to purchase them? Goodness.

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naseth12Apr. 23, 13 2:22 PM

sweatpigger - Your statement is xenophobia disguised as economics. Do you really think companies want to pay American born workers any more than immigrants? If so, you're kidding yourself.

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scubadoo68Apr. 23, 13 2:55 PM

It's great to finally hear someone state the obvious about how the income gap is harming the economy. The author even goes further and offers some solutions that to me seem to make perfect sense. I'm sure I'll get few thumbs down from those on the far far right that can't seem to reason beyond their own political ideology.

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docgeddyApr. 23, 13 2:55 PM

Austerity is killing Germany, and they'll take the rest of the Euro zone down with them. Reich is right on that account. The US stock market is ballooning with quarterly dividends that rob from the future to pay the wealthy and powerful. The easy solution there is eliminate stock options for CEOs and boards. Pay them money (an even bonuses) but when they get paid by shuffling every last dime into their dividends, everyone loses. This short-term ideology works only for the super-rich and the super-old.

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gandalf48Apr. 23, 13 3:09 PM

Too funny, the solution to an economic downturn is to enact socialism! Yeah right, I'm sure that'll do wonders for an economy that is reacting timidly to Obamacare, more rules, more regulations and more restrictions on who is paid what.

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gandalf48Apr. 23, 13 3:12 PM

During the great depression the economy was not good (this is when the "social contracts" were enacted), the economy wasn't good when we were fighting WWII (remember rationing?), the economy did pick up after WWII when the federal government cut spending by over 50%! Those are facts, this article was full of opinion...dressed up as economic data...in order to enact socialism...just like Greece and Spain; what a great idea.

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lafamakuApr. 23, 13 3:35 PM

Reich wants to pin our economic woes on the income gap. I believe that he is merely pointing out a symptom and not the root cause. We all want a simple, easy answer to the "wandering in the economic wilderness" that we have felt for the past 10-12 years. However, I don't believe it is that simple, and indeed Reich does himself and his point of view a disservice in trying to boil it down too much. There several issues that have created a confluence of circumstances, (Such as economic inequality) that we need to deal with. a)The us consumer demand for low cost good, e.g. "The Wall Mart effect". b)the demand for strong market performance because our 401k depends on it c) the short sightedness of quarterly performance demands which inhibits companies from long term thinking and employment d) the uncertainty of costs due to health care, cap and trade and other pending regulatory decisions e)the shift in skills for the labor force. There are other, but you get my point. We need a broader vision then what Reich provides here and certainly a broader vision then what we have seen in Washington from any branch or political party. Lets quit trying to have a quick solution, ignore the cute sound bites and demand a long term partisan sustainable plan and solution.

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gophfan10101Apr. 23, 13 3:50 PM

The only people who buy into this farce are the ones who think they are owed everything...aka the Occupy folks. Its amazing how much a person can earn if they actually want to WORK for it. You are not owed a $75,000 desk job just because you wasted $100,000 over four years for some worthless degree. I am 33 years old and have never taken a job for less than what the previous one paid....oh...and I only have a two year Tech degree that I paid $20,000 for and now I make $50,000 a year. No..they are not paying less, people just don't want to actually get their hands dirty and think they should start at the top even if they have no experience. Thumbs down this comment, but the truth hurts.

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