Robert Reich – The Rich Get Much, Much Richer

Robert Reich once again puts the current economic situation in plain language. (13 minutes)

The current economic situation, especially the inequalities between workers and shareholders in a normal year would be a central issue in a presidential election. Our current situation should be untenable. As the pandemic rages so does unemployment.

From the YouTube story with this videos:

Big corporations have become so dominant that workers and consumers have fewer options and have to accept the wages and prices these giant corporations offer. At the same time, worker bargaining power has declined as fewer workers are unionized and technologies have made outsourcing easy, allowing corporations to get the labor they need for cheap.

Because of these deliberate power shifts, even before the pandemic, a steadily larger portion of corporate revenues have been siphoned off to profits, and a shrinking portion allocated to wages.

Coupled with the abandonment of antitrust enforcement, we’re now living in a new Gilded Age, as consolidation has inflated corporate profits, suppressed worker pay, supercharged economic inequality, and stifled innovation.

Perhaps the worst consequence of monopolization is that as wealth accumulates at the top, so too does political power.

These massive corporations provide significant campaign contributions; they have platoons of lobbyists and lawyers and directly employ many voters. So items they want included in legislation are inserted; those they don’t want are scrapped. They get tax cuts, tax loopholes, subsidies, bailouts, and regulatory exemptions.

The financial returns on their political investments are sky-high, tipping the scales in favor of corporate America and away from workers. As a result of this power shift, workers have less choice of whom to work for, keeping their wages low and their benefits minimal. Corporations have imposed non-compete, anti-poaching, and mandatory arbitration agreements, further narrowing workers’ alternatives.

All of this has pushed a larger portion of national income into profits and a lower portion into wages than at any time since World War II. Most of the increasing value of the stock market has come directly out of the pockets of American workers. Shareholders have gained because workers stopped sharing the gains.

This is all about power. We must rebalance the power of workers and corporations to create an economy and a democracy that works for all, not just a privileged few.

Once again former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich nails the essence of the problem.

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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