The Republicans would have us believe it’s all “Gloom Despair and Agony” out there in the hustings. We’re headed in the WRONG direction! Not. So. Fast. Is there something wrong with the direction of the Real GDP lately? Here’s a graph from the Federal Reserve:
When did UP become down? How does a person argue that the Obama Administration’s polices have been a “failure” when the data for economic growth indicate a upward trend? How about employment? There’s a graph for that too:
The line is moving UP. Perhaps not as quickly as some would like and most need, BUT non-farm employment in the private sector is moving UP. Again, when does UP equate to Gloom Despair and Agony?
The Real Gross Domestic Product is moving UP, employment is moving UP, and the Republicans would have us wailing that we’re going in the wrong direction. OK, how about the beleaguered construction industry? What’s been happening with construction spending?
The area shaded in gray is the Recession, the numbers previous to it are from the Housing Bubble. What does the graph show about construction spending in the last year? It’s UP. Struggling, but up. Perhaps if we expended some coin of the realm in infrastructure construction and maintenance — as suggested by the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO — maybe the data would illustrate stronger growth?
Income Inequality: Here’s the point where UP really is DOWN, when we’re talking about the GINI index. A Gini coefficient or ratio is a statistical measure of inequality ranging from 0 to 1. A measure of 1 indicates perfect inequality. A measure of 0 indicates perfect equality. This graph illustrates the growing income inequality in the United States:
The greater the income inequality, the more pressure on middle income Americans. What we should be seeking in this election are candidates who eschew the soaring — and highly misleading — rhetoric about “income redistribution;” and instead focus on which proposed policies are most likely to ease pressure on the American middle class.
If the policy proposed, such as the Paris Hilton Legacy Protection Act — to reduce or eliminate federal estate taxes, exacerbates the GINI index then it places greater stress on the middle class.
If the policy proposed, such as reducing the capital gains taxes paid by millionaires and billionaires, tends to increase the GINI index, then it places greater burdens on the middle class.
If the policy proposed, such as reducing the federal income taxes paid by millionaires and billionaires — especially those in the upper 0.1% of American income earners, puts a greater burden on the American middle class, then it is counter-productive. There really is no such thing as a free lunch, especially if we want to maintain our defense funding, unless the millionaires and billionaires can convince the middle class to pick up the tab.
The 2012 election really does present a stark choice.