The Great Recession has officially been over for a couple of years. If you still aren't feeling the economic love, it probably means you're one of the 99% because nowadays recovery is a luxury item.
In the first year of the recovery, 93 percent of all income gains went to the top one percent. As of 2010, recovery was a luxury item. You had to be in the one percent to get any.
... Probably the one percenters aren't hogging recovery dollars as much in 2012 as they were in 2010. Unemployment, after all, has gone down a bit. Still, 93 percent is a shockingly large share of recovery dollars for the one-percenters to gobble up.
The 1%ers have gamed the system so that they're positioned to skim off the cream. It's in the tax structure and it's in the decisions government is making from Washington to state and local levels.
In his essay, States of Depression, Paul Krugman described how cuts in government spending and employment -- especially at the state and local levels -- are actually holding the economy back.
This policy malpractice is doing double damage to America. On one side, it’s helping lose the future — because that’s what happens when you neglect education and public investment. At the same time, it’s hurting us right now, by helping keep growth low and unemployment high.
Austerity is the wrong answer. Laying off more teachers isn't going to cure the problem -- it just makes the crisis worse down the road. Same for closing mental health facilities, delaying bridge and road repairs and all the other items on the chopping block. Pay now ... or pay more later.
A huge part of finding the revenue to pay for the services we need now -- like schools -- is reforming the tax code so that the folks getting the lion's share of the economic cream pay a fair tax on it. The leading presidential candidate in France, Francois Hollande, is now calling for a 75% super tax on all income over 1 million euros. He called it "patriotic."
“I appreciate the talent, work, merit of those who create and enable France to move forward,” Hollande continued. “I do not agree with excessive wealth — and compensation that has no connection with talent, intelligence, or effort.”
And remember, this is coming from a moderate politician.
Personally, I think the top tax rate should be even higher -- it's the only thing I'd like to see rolled back to the 1950's. Economic recovery should not be a luxury item.