I wanted to annoy some of you with a blog about gold — insects invading Wall Street with tales of doom and the dollar going to zero. This time is different, after all. Have you taken a view of wage growth recently and real inflation for the wealthy?
Let’s be honest with one another, if only for a brief moment in time. How important is the middle and lower classes? Sure, they’re people and they have feelings too, dreams, and they can be kind, overly kind sometimes — compensation for their own lives being cruel and daunting. More or less, the middle and lower classes do not mean much to the economy anymore — lest you’re investing in 99 cent stores of Five Below.
This from the Seattle Times this morning.
Those 400 Americans own more of the country’s riches than the 150 million adults in the bottom 60 percent of the wealth distribution, who saw their share of the nation’s wealth fall from 5.7 percent in 1987 to 2.1 percent in 2014, according to the World Inequality Database maintained by Zucman and others.
Overall, Zucman finds that “U.S. wealth concentration seems to have returned to levels last seen during the Roaring Twenties.” That shift is eroding security from families in the lower and middle classes, who rely on their small stores of wealth to finance their retirement and to smooth over economic shocks like the loss of a job. And it’s consolidating power in the hands of the nation’s billionaires, who are increasingly using their riches to purchase political influence.
What of the zebra — the poor zebra — kicking and braying — staining the earth with their cheap blood?
As fate would have it, being that we’re creatures of habit — the last time wealth has been so unevenly distributed was in the roaring 20s, precisely 100 years ago. You can count on America repeating the follies of the 20s, as we enter an era of unchecked decadence and a ghastly exhibition of debauch hedonism. Everything you’ve read about, in the papers and the books, will enliven before your eyes. Markets will climb to new heights — and everyone will drink champagne and enjoy themselves, comfortably ensconced in the safety they created — buttressed by their money and their tightly knit world. Then it will end in a fantastic crash, dust bowls swooning over the country, a blight against humanity — and then everyone will starve.
The malnourished poor will protest and bray — but the police will club them back into their housing tenements and the markets will strip away all of the excess income and security enjoyed by the Nouveau riche — who would rather jump off the spires of buildings than go back to the housing tenements — and they will. This process will repeat itself for all-time, different characters, and different demographics — but the story is the same — the evergreen struggle between greed and fear, miserably displayed for all to see on Wall Street and on Main Street, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
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