Thursday, April 12, 2007

Corporate Greed

A rather depressing story from the world of business. An electrical goods chain (Circuit City) in the US is firing 3400 of its staff, simply so that it can hire new staff for a lower wage. Wow that place must really encourage success in its staff, stay there for more than a few years, work hard and get a little higher up the ladder and bam you're gone. If I lived over there you can be sure they would never get any of my custom, in fact it would call for a lot of picketing and an attempt to get people to boycott the place.

This op-ed in the Washington Post has more details plus some very interesting, and if your American, very depressing statistics like:

the bottom 90% (in terms of earnings) of Americans made less money in 2005 than 2004. All while the economy was growing steadily.

total reported income went up 9% in 2005, but all of that went to the richest 10%, everyone else lost 0.6%.

From 1947 through 1973, productivity in the U.S. rose by 104 percent, and median family income rose by an identical 104 percent.

Since then the rich have gotten considerably richer, whilst everyone else has been left behind, or even gotten worse off.

It amazes me that in light of this people like Rudy Giuliani can with a straight face support a flat tax rate, the only purpose of which is so the rich pay even less tax, and the already poor have to pay more, all in the name of "fairness".

I'm often confounded by the way things are in the states, people are genuinely being screwed by their employers and the system, with only a future of even less benefits and security to look forward to, all so that the already fabulously rich can afford another yacht or two. You would think that people might try to use their democratic rights to even things out, after all there are a lot more poor people than rich and all their votes are worth the same, yet every election there are millions that would rather vote on nebulous "moral values" issues than on issues that may provide them and their children a better future. Right rant over.


Marc André Bélanger said...

"after all there are a lot more poor people than rich" Ah, but the question is not whether the person is poor or rich, but rather whether they think they are. I read somewhere that something like 20% of Americans think they're in the top 5% in terms of wealth, and another 20% think they're getting there. So when those 40% see that kind of data, they assume they're the ones making the money (and figure that, if they've got less money to spend, it's because they're bigger spenders than they used to be).

Mark Norris said...

I've read exactly the same thing myself, it was going to be the topic of a later post. Mostly along the lines of how the American dream is actually a con these days, it keeps the poor thinking that one day they will make it and be rich, and therefore they shouldn't worry about distributing wealth more fairly as one day they will be rich.

Pete said...

Hi Mark,

When the tories cut the top rate of tax in the early 80s from around 90% to around 50%, tax receipts from this bracket increased. Sure, thats not a flat tax buts its flatter, and it increased revenue. So flat(ter) taxes don't just benefit the rich necessarily, because the increase in economic activity and the reduction of tax avoidance help everyone.

Having said that, if that 90% stat you quote then that is bloody awful!