Compensation for chief executives at American companies grew 15 percent in 2011 after a 28 percent rise in 2010, part of a larger trend that has seen CEO pay skyrocket over the last three decades. Workers, on the other hand, have been left behind.
Since 1978, CEO pay at American firms has risen 725 percent, more than 127 times faster than worker payover the same time period, according to new data from the Economic Policy Institute. […]
The conclusion comes to us from an newly updated study by professors Peter Lindert of the University of California - Davis and Jeffrey Williamson of Harvard.
Scraping together data from an array of historical resources, the duo have written a fascinating exploration of early American incomes, arguing that, on the eve of the Revolutionary War, wealth was distributed more evenly across the 13 colonies than anywhere else in the world that we have record of.
Conservatives, Melissa Harris-Perry has had it with your bullshit.
A discussion on the racialized political rhetoric surrounding welfare took a turn close to home for Melissa Harris-Perry on her show Saturday morning, as she offered author and BusinessWeek columnist Monica Mehta a glimpse at the kind of places in which people who need of social-assistance programs often live.
Harris-Perry’s animated remarks were a response to Mehta’s opinion that President Barack Obama’s much-twisted “You didn’t build that” speech missed an emphasis on risk-taking, something she suggested enabled class mobility in America.
“What is riskier than living poor in America? Seriously!,” she said, slamming her hand on her desk. “What in the world is riskier than being a poor person in America? I live in a neighborhood where people are shot on my street corner. I live in a neighborhood where people have to figure out how to get their kid into school because maybe it will be a good school and maybe it won’t. I am sick of the idea that being wealthy is risky. No. There is a huge safety net that whenever you fail will catch you and catch you and catch you. Being poor is what is risky. We have to create a safety net for poor people. And when we won’t, because they happen to look different from us, it is the pervasive ugliness”
Harris-Perry later apologized for getting hot under the collar — but not, thankfully, for her argument. This is 100%, inarguably, absolutely true — which is why the conservatives on the panel barely even tried to dispute it. Instead, they went straight to clarification mode.
Donald Trump has filed for bankruptcy over and over, yet he remains ungodly rich. The fact of the matter is that it’s very, very difficult to stop being rich in America. The idea that a business venture can fall through and leave you penniless seems as antiquated as handlebar mustaches and bicycles with giant front wheels.
But consider the logic; even if it were absolutely true that the rich took real risks, what would they be in risk of? Death? No, poverty. By conservative arguments, being poor is such an unimaginably horrible circumstance that the wealthy have to be protected from that possibility at every turn — even if their own decisions (i.e., “risk-taking”) are what brings them there. But those who are already poor — well, that’s their own damned fault for making bad decisions. Sink or swim buddy; this is the Land of Opportunity, not the Free Ride Terminal.
To be a conservative means to be unfettered by the bonds of logic and to be free from the chore of thinking things all the freakin’ way through.
absolutely brilliant. The real good stuff is at the 8 minute mark.
Wealthy political candidates are nothing new, of course. But we’ve never had two wealthy candidates on a national ticket whose top priority is to reduce already low taxes on the well-to-do while raising taxes on everyone else — even as they propose to slash programs that serve the poor, or that (like college aid) create chances for the lowly born to rise.
Call them the Drawbridge Republicans. As the moniker implies, these are wealthy Republicans who have no qualms about pulling up the drawbridge behind them. Such sentiments used to be reserved for the political fringe. The most prominent example was Steve Forbes, whose twin obsessions during his vanity presidential runs in 1996 and 2000 — marginal tax rates and inflation — were precisely what you’d expect from an heir in a cocoon.
Striking Houston janitors win 12% pay raise
August 10, 2012
On August 8, Houston’s striking janitors reached a tentative agreement with six of the seven companies who employ them to clean some of the city’s swankiest offices. The agreement, to be ratified on Saturday, ensures them a 12% raise. It ends more than two months of public demonstrations, strikes, and sometimes-risky civil disobedience.
The janitors’ previous contract, which expired at the end of May, gave them $8.35 an hour. The union, Service Employees International Union Local 1, pointed out that Chicago janitors, some employed by the same contractors, made $15.45 an hour, and sought a raise of $1.65 per hour over three years. The contractors called this unreasonable and countered with an offer of $.50 over five years.
Under the new contract, janitors will receive a raise of one dollar per hour installed over the next four years.
As the strike spread to other cities, national media outlets, such as Marketplace and the Huffington Post, paid it significant attention as a component of the larger conversation about the disappearing middle class. Houston media, however, has paid the strike less and less attention. Both the Houston Chronicle and the Houston Press failed to report the janitors’ dramatic shutdown of a crucial intersection last Wednesday (detailed by DH here) and has, as of this writing, not reported yesterday’s agreement, which was announced late last night.
Houston as a whole ought to be rather self-conscious at the moment about its rich-poor divide. Last Wednesday, the Pew Research Center released a national study of income segregation—that is, the prevalence of upper-income households to live in majority upper-income neighborhoods, and low-income households among low-income. Of 30 major U.S. cities ranked by segregation, Houston came in first.
The report states, “These increases are related to the long-term rises in income inequality, which has led to a shrinkage in the share of neighborhoods across the United States that are predominantly middle class or mixed income.”
In other words, as the gap grows between rich and poor, it also grows more invisible.
Tom Balanoff, President of the SEIU Local 1, said in a statement, “The janitors’ victory brings hope to security officers, airport workers and others trapped by poverty wages. Our economy is broken, and unless we do something to turn low-wage jobs into good jobs, the middle class will be the great disappearing act of the 21st century.”
“….as the gap grows between rich and poor, it also grows more invisible.” It is our job to make sure this does not happen. I can’t imagine how anyone thinks a person can care for a family in Houston or any other major city on less than $9.00 an hour - or thinks that a city can survive if that is how most of its citizens have to live, while others make more money in a year than they can spend in a lifetime.