by Doug Foote
““For companies, these are boom times. For workers, the opposite is true.”
That’s how New York Times economic columnist Floyd Norris describes the latest reports on the state of the economy. According to the federal Bureau of Economic Statistics, as a percentage of the GDP – the overall size of the economy – corporate profits are at a record high, while the percentage of the GDP made up by wages and salaries is the lowest it’s been since 1929. Clearly, something is broken.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with companies or very wealthy people doing well, but in recent years their success has become completely disconnected from the economic health of the rest of us. And public policy, rather than helping alleviate that gap and lift everyone up, is often pushing in the direction of expanding the gap. In Washington D.C. and state capitals, we’re seeing efforts to strip away protections from workers, roll back the social safety net and push tax rates on the very wealthiest even lower than their current low levels.
These shifts are accentuated by the fact that a money-driven political system rewards those who can spend the most on campaign contributions, TV ads and lobbying. More and more, the political system responds not to the concerns of the majority but to the narrow financial interests of those who already have economic power. The political system is overzealously responsive to the top 1% of earners. And the rest of us? Left behind – without a safety net, in communities that can’t provide the services we depend on.
Out in the neighborhoods we visit, the people we talk to—thousands every week—get this at a fundamental level, and so do the many people who have occupied public spaces in New York and cities across the country. These new numbers from the Bureau of Economic Statistics aren’t just lines on a chart. They represent real people—workers worried that they will lose their jobs and be out of options, families trying to keep a roof over their heads, parents and grandparents afraid the next generation will have a harder time than they did.
And that’s why we’ve launched 9 Demands of the 99 Percent. It’s a set of common-sense proposals that would help restore some balance, making our political system and our economy work better for everyone, not just corporations and the very wealthy.
We can start to turn things around, but it will take determined effort and collective action. Add your voice to the 9 Demands of the 99 Percent today.