IF YOUR COSTS GO UP, AND YOUR PAY DOES NOT, YOU ARE IN A STATE OF ECONOMIC DECLINE—EVEN IF THE ECONOMY, AS A WHOLE, IS GROWING
THIS IS THE SITUATION AS FAR AS MOST AMERICANS ARE CONCERNED. THE ULTRA-RICH, ON THE OTHER HAND, ARE GETTING RICHER.
That’s what happens—and is supposed to happen—in a plutocracy, when it’s run by the plutocrats. Just don’t confuse it with a representative democracy.
It has become a reflex to blame government for just about everything in the U.S.—regardless of the evidence, or the lack of it. That has had the effect of destroying trust in government—while giving major corporations a virtually free rein, It also ignores the fact that government is now dominated by corporate power. In short, the primary problem lies with corporatism, and with the ultra-rich who control such corporations.
Government is very far from blameless, but the solution is to make it work—not undermine its credibility to the point where it can no longer function to adequate effect. The U.S. government is approaching that stage. Some obvious manifestations include its failure to enforce laws and regulation impartially. There are numerous examples of this to the point where it has become fairly clear that there is, indeed, a law for the rich and a law for the poorer—and very different one at that. Some examples.
- Corporate criminals are almost never prosecuted—specially if they stem from the financial sector. The corporation, itself, may be prosecuted, but typically pays a fine—normally without admitting wrongdoing. That fine may well be tax deductible (making it just a cost of doing business).
- Environmental regulations are rarely enforced as thoroughly as is required—and badly needed regulations are frequently delayed for years if not decades.
- Enforcement of the antitrust laws has been minimal. As a consequence, market sector after market sector has become excessively concentrated to the point where a few corporations dominate most—thus creating de-facto monopolies.
Truly terrible things are happening to the U.S. at present—while being largely ignored—and they are having terrible consequences in terms of human misery. It is no accident that Americans live sicker and die sooner than the citizens of other developed countries. One of the most disturbing is the way pay has been allowed to stagnate even while costs are being pushed ever upwards.
The data are truly shocking. Here is an example from that interesting publication The Fiscal Times
Employees Are Paying More – Much More – for Health Carethefiscaltimes.com · by Beth Braverman
While wages have been stagnant over the past decade, the amount that workers pay for employer-sponsored health insurance has more than doubled.
Average employees at mid-size and large companies paid $2,490 toward their premiums and $2,208 in out-of-pocket costs (including copayments and deductibles) last year, for a total cost of about $4,700, according to a new report from Aon. The data in the report combines both individual and family plans.
In 2005, those employees’ total healthcare costs were just $2,001. That translates to a 134 percent increase in employee’s share of health care costs in 10 years.