If the US economy is in a recovery, where is it being felt? By the 1 percent occupying the corporate boardrooms. At the depth of the Great Recession, corporate profits never declined below 5 percent of gross domestic product. And since then, have hit historic highs. According to figures released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, in the second quarter of this year corporate profits were at an annual rate of 10.1 percent. And what happened in the third quarter? The corporate profit skim increased to 10.3 percent, for an annual rate of $1.56 trillion, after taxes, which amounts to nearly $5,000 for every man, woman and child. With this enormous skim off the top of the American economy it is strange that it gets almost no attention from the motley band of economists, politicians, pundits and commentators. All the attention and complaining is focused, instead, on federal tax receipts which are estimated to be $2.2 trillion for the current year, or more than $6,500 for every woman and child. The important difference is that taxes pay for social security, medicare, medicaid, highways, air traffic control, National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Admistration, national defense, and on and on and on, whereas the corporations produce nothing except profits, which then go to larger yachts, private jets, and outrageous bonuses. Workers are being paid $8.70 to produce widgets, but are charged $10 when they buy the widgets they themselves produced. As a result, for the 99 percent, the situation is getting worse; for the 1 percent, it’s getting better. This is, of course, a formula for social upheaval, and eventually social transformation.
Here’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” with Bruce Springsteen and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine.