by Pam Martens and Russ Martens, Wall Street on Parade:
Yesterday, there were two assessments on the state of the union. Both came with fancy charts. One was delivered by the President of the United States, who sounded very much like the Pope in seeking peace among members of Congress and individual citizens. The other was delivered by a hard core realist – Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO of investment management firm, DoubleLine Capital.
If you watched the President’s State of the Union speech at WhiteHouse.gov, you got to see the interesting charts – some are still available here along with a transcript of the speech. One chart, shown below, reads: “Today, the top 3 percent of the richest Americans hold half the nation’s wealth.” That correct assessment, unfortunately, makes another statement by the President impossible to justify. The President told the highly cynical American people the following: “Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.”
It’s simply impossible to have an economy or a democracy moving in the right direction when wealth and income is clustered in so few hands. There is simply not enough purchasing power in the hands of the masses to buy the goods and services being produced by the rich corporate owners.
It’s not just the Republican candidates running for President who are saying the U.S. is in decline. It’s also Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont who is running as a Democrat. Sanders is stumping across the U.S. telling tens of thousands of fellow realists the following:
The U.S. has the greatest income and wealth inequality of any other major developed country;
One percent of the population now controls a greater share of pre-tax income than at any time since the 1920s, (the last time Wall Street was legally allowed to gamble for the house with bank deposits);
The top one-tenth of one percent of the super elite own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent;
Since Wall Street imploded under the weight of its own corruption in 2008, destroyed the U.S. economy, used taxpayer money to bail itself out and reward the financial elites with millions of dollars in bonuses and golden parachutes, only the poor and middle class have paid the price. The one percent have reaped 58 percent of all income gains since the crash.
There is simply no honest argument to be made that the above set of facts does not depict both an economy and a democracy in decline.
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