Each and every week, Too Much explores excess and inequality, in the United States and throughout the world. We cover a wide swatch of economic and political territory, everything from executive pay and lifestyles of the rich and famous to the latest research insights on how staggering income and wealth divides are impacting our health and our happiness.
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As an official member of the underemployed, it’s spooky to read Mark Weisbrot, Co-Director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, claim that “a recession is likely, because of the enormity of the housing bubble and the impact of its collapse.”
He compares our current situation to the last recession in 2001, caused by the stock market bubble burst. The current bubble in question is the housing bubble of course, which Wesibrot notes “is much more widely distributed: most Americans still have most of their assets in housing and little or nothing in stocks.”
And it’s even spookier to read Sylvia A. Allegretto of the Economic Policy Institute (caution PDF link) note that underemployment has risen from 6.9% to 8.2% since 2000. Allegretto notes too that the productivity rate is now fully divorced from incomes. Historically, if productivity rose so did income; that stopped in the mid 1970s and has accelerated dramatically since 2000 or so.
Of course, none of this really matters in the end for the people– the class– documented at Too Much. I suppose it is possible to imagine another depression in which thousands of the rich loose everything they own, but it seems unlikely. Given the destruction of the estate tax, this inequity is likely to persist in some form for generations.