Archive for the ‘upward income redistribution’ Category

2013 CEO-to-worker pay ratio in the USA

April 18, 2014 3 comments

from David Ruccio


According to the AFL-CIO’s latest “Executive Paywatch” report, the CEO-to-average-worker-pay ratio rose last year to 331:1. And the ratio of CEO pay to the minimum wage was much higher: 774:1.

That’s because, in both cases, workers’ wages remained more or less constant while the amount of surplus those workers created that ended up in the pockets of the CEOs of the nation’s largest corporations continued to rise.

As the AFL-CIO argues in their report: Read more…

Trickle-up economics

March 20, 2014 5 comments

from Lars Syll


Inequality continues to grow all over the world — so don’t even for a second think that this is only an American problem! Read more…

Chart from the 2014 Economic Report of the President of the USA

from David Ruccio


This chart, from the 2014 Economic Report of the President [pdf], illustrates the Read more…

Trickle-down economics — total horseshit

March 3, 2014 15 comments

from Lars Syll


As we’ve been aware of lately there isn’t much trickle-down going on in the USA. Unfortunately we can also see the same pattern developing in many other countries. Take for example Sweden. The figure below shows how the distribution of mean income and wealth (expressed in year 2009 prices) for the top 0.1% and the bottom 90% has changed in Sweden for the last 30 years: Read more…


March 1, 2014 9 comments

from Peter Radford

I am preparing a talk on inequality here in America, and so have been re-reading the Piketty and Saez work. Amongst the more eye-opening facts I have come across is the assertion, by Saez, that the surge in the top 1% incomes is so large that the growth of the bottom 99% amounts to only half the average [mean].

Think about that for a moment.

It would be like walking into a room full of people two feet tall with one thirty footer in the corner. The mean average is meaningless in such circumstances. We are all taught that in statistics class, but to come across such an egregious example in a dataset as large as all US tax returns is astonishing. Read more…

1% chart

February 20, 2014 2 comments

from David Ruccio


Read more…

Divergence at the top – the 0.01%

February 12, 2014 12 comments

from David Ruccio


As Annie Lowrey explains, Read more…

Income redistribution in the USA 1992 to 2012 – (3 charts)

February 6, 2014 1 comment

from David Ruccio


As the New York Times reports, based on a recent paper by Barry Cynamon and Steven Fazzari [pdf], Read more…

The pernicious impact of the widening wealth gap

January 21, 2014 3 comments

from  Lars Syll

The 85 richest people on the planet have accumulated as much wealth between them as half of the world’s population, political and financial leaders have been warned ahead of their annual gathering in the Swiss resort of Davos.

The tiny elite of multibillionaires, who could fit into a double-decker bus, have piled up fortunes equivalent to the wealth of the world’s poorest 3.5bn people, according to a new analysis by Oxfam. The charity condemned the “pernicious” impact of the steadily growing gap between a small group of the super-rich and hundreds of millions of their fellow citizens, arguing it could trigger social unrest.


It released the research on the eve of the World Economic Forum, starting on Wednesday, which brings together many of the most influential figures in international trade, business, finance and politics including David Cameron and George Osborne. Disparities in income and wealth will be high on its agenda, along with driving up international health standards and mitigating the impact of climate change.

Oxfam said the world’s richest 85 people boast a collective worth of $1.7trn (£1trn). Top of the pile is Read more…

Labor surplus vs. efficiency wages in th United States

January 8, 2014 6 comments

from David Ruccio



The current situation—what I continue to refer to as the Second Great Depression—presents a real problem for mainstream economists.  Read more…

Twenty years since NAFTA: Mexico could have done worse, but it’s not clear how

January 7, 2014 3 comments

from Mark Weisbrot

It was 20 years ago that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico was implemented. Here in Washington, D.C., the date coincided with an outbreak of the bacteria cryptosporidium in the city’s water supply, with residents having to boil their water before drinking it. The joke in town was, “See what happens, NAFTA takes effect and you can’t drink the water here.”

Our neglected infrastructure aside, it is easy to see that NAFTA was a bad deal [PDF] for most Americans. The promised trade surpluses with Mexico turned out to be deficits, some hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost, and there was downward pressure on U.S. wages – which was, after all, the purpose of the agreement. This was not like the European Union’s (pre-eurozone) economic integration, which allocated hundreds of billions of dollars of development aid to the poorer countries of Europe so as to pull their living standards up toward the average. The idea was to push U.S. wages downward, toward Mexico’s, and to create new rights for corporations within the trade area: these lucky multinational enterprises could now sue governments directly before a corporate-friendly international tribunal, unaccountable to any national judicial system, for regulations (e.g. environmental) that infringed upon their profit-making potential.

But what about Mexico? Read more…

The 40-year disconnect (USA) (chart)

January 6, 2014 6 comments

from David Ruccio


As Steven Rattner explains, Read more…

‘Tis the season—for inequality

December 6, 2013 2 comments

from David Ruccio

Pope Francis challenged the theory of trickledown economics. Now, President Obama has announced his intention to focus on the problem of inequality.

On my reading, Obama’s speech borrows heavily from the ideas in Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson’s Winner-Take-All Society and Joseph Stiglitz’s The Price of Inequality. Both the best and the worst parts.  Read more…

Horns of a dilemma

November 15, 2013 2 comments

from David Ruccio


The Wall Street Journal notes that rising inequality may pose a problem—because of issues like fairness, political dysfunction, and financial instability. Read more…

Warning signs

November 5, 2013 3 comments

from David Ruccio

The signs are ominous: more than four years into the supposed recovery and average incomes of the majority of the population remain far below their peak. in 2012 (the last year for which data are available at the World Top Incomes Database), the average income of the bottom 90 percent was $30,439, much lower than it was just before the crash ($34,816, in 2007) and lower still than it was at the beginning of the millenium ($35,800, in 2000). It’s no wonder, then, that the share of national income going to the bottom 90 percent continues to fall: from a peak of 56.89 percent in 2000 to 54.33 percent in 2007; now it’s down to 51.84 percent. With no signs that it’s going to turn around anytime soon.

The warning signs of rising inequality are now so stark even the Economist has focused on “labour’s share lost” and the difficult decisions it poses: Read more…

Trickle-down economics — total horseshit

November 4, 2013 15 comments

from Lars Syll


In a blog post up earlier this year, Paul Krugman noticed that there “doesn’t seem to be much trickle-down going on” in the USA.

Unfortunately we can see the same pattern developing in many other countries. Read more…

Wage rigidity and the economic wars in the United States (3 charts)

October 18, 2013 10 comments

from David Ruccio

In the mainstream macro wars, the debate is focused on wage stickiness of a specific sort: the fact that nominal wages, even in the face of significant unemployment, seem not to decline. It’s called the “downward nominal rigidity of wages,” which calls into question the neoclassical rejection of Keynesian theory and the need for a microfoundations of macroeconomics.*

That, of course, is only one economic war. The other war, which mainstream economists have mostly ignored, has to do with a different kind of wage stickiness: the rigidity of real wages. As it turns out, real wages have been stagnant—and, to explain its causes and consequences, we do need a microfoundations, albeit one quite different from the kind we currently find in mainstream economics.

Real wages have been stagnant since the end of the Great Recession: Read more…

The dreaded “C” word—again

September 11, 2013 2 comments

from David Ruccio

wages-as-a-of-gdp_chartbuilder corporate-profits-as-of-gdp_chartbuilder

The unevenness of the current economic recovery is so obvious even mainstream economists have been forced to invoke the dreaded “c” word: class. Read more…

The broken link (2 graphs)

July 19, 2013 3 comments

Josh Bivens today has an excellent post The Compensation/Productivity Link Is Indeed Broken for the Vast Majority of American Workers at the Economic Policy Institute Blog.  The post includes these to graphs pertaining to the US economy.

Read more…

Income inequalities in 2007 compared to latest available year in 26 countries

June 27, 2013 2 comments

from David Ruccio



Note that the U.S. Gini coefficients—starting at 46.3 in 2007 and then rising to 47 in 2010 and 47.7 in 2011—literally don’t fit on the chart.


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