Economist magazine with another dab of honesty

Sunday, June 18, 2006 at 06:25 PM

Things are pretty bad when the best mainstream coverage of the absurd gulf between haves and have nots in America comes from a U.K. magazine that is a cheerleader for free market capitalism.

From The rich, the poor, and the growing gap between them, part of The Economist's Special Report Inequality in America, in the June 17-23 issue:

But after 2000 something changed.  The pace of productivity growth has been rising again, but now it seems to be lifting fewer boats.  After you adjust for inflation, the wages of the typical American worker--the one at the very middle of the income distribution--have risen less than 1% since 2000.  In the previous five years, they rose over 6%....
Privately, some policymakers admit that the recent trends have them worried, and not just because of the congressional elections in November.  The statistics suggest that the economic boom may fade.  Americans still head to the shops with gusto, but it is falling savings rates and rising debts (made possible by high house prices), not real income growth, that keep their wallets open.  A bust of some kind could lead to widespread political disaffection.  Eventually, the country's social fabric could stretch.  "If things carry on like this for long enough," muses one insider, "we are going to end up like Brazil"--a country notorious for the concentration of its income and wealth.

Brazil.  That's exactly the analogy I've been using for about 10 years--telling everybody unfortunate enough to know me that we are becoming Brazil, that the transformation is picking up speed, that at some point, the course will become irreversible.

It's what happens when you create an environment where it's perfectly okay to conduct a  vicious class war, but absolutely forbidden to mention that there's a class war going on.

So for all the Fox lovers and Coulter lovers, and blue collar free marketeers: hope you have the decency to admit what you did when you watch your children and grandchildren fighting over the good spots at the garbage dumps.