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The Rich Are Different Than You And Me

by Stuart Shapiro

H/T to F. Scott Fitzgerald for the title quote (or slight misquote via Ernest Hemingway according to Wikipedia).  In this case, I am referring to the fact that the rich have experienced the recession very differently than the folks in the rest of the country.  Don Peck explains:

According to Gallup, from May 2009 to May 2011, daily consumer spending rose by 16 percent among Americans earning more than $90,000 a year; among all other Americans, spending was completely flat. The consumer recovery, such as it is, appears to be driven by the affluent, not by the masses. Three years after the crash of 2008, the rich and well educated are putting the recession behind them. The rest of America is stuck in neutral or reverse.  . .

It’s hard to miss just how unevenly the Great Recession has affected different classes of people in different places. From 2009 to 2010, wages were essentially flat nationwide—but they grew by 11.9 percent in Manhattan and 8.7 percent in Silicon Valley.

It’s not class warfare to advocate for higher tax rates on the higher earners.  It’s the natural conclusion from the growing disparity of the past several decades.  Joe Nocera yesterday called for other wealthy plutocrats to join Warren Buffet in calling for higher taxes.  Perhaps after the Tea Party downgrade and the stock market volatility of the past few days we will see them do so.

About Stuart Shapiro

Stuart Shapiro Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels. Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush.

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