The Coming Collision
Robert B. Reich
The biggest question in America these days is how to revive the economy.
The biggest question among activists now occupying
The two questions are related. With so much income and wealth concentrated at the top, the vast middle class no longer has the purchasing power to buy what the economy is capable of producing. (People could pretend otherwise as long as they could treat their homes as ATMs, but the borrowing ended when the housing bubble burst in 2008.)
The result is prolonged stagnation and high unemployment as far as the eye can see. Last Friday, the
Until we reverse the trend toward inequality, the economy can't be revived.
Yet the biggest question in our nation's capital right now has nothing to do with any of this. It's whether
Have your eyes already glazed over?
Diffident Democrats on the supercommittee have already signaled a willingness to cut
Most of the nation's commentariat have bought into the myth that our biggest economic problem is the long-term budget deficit. They're urging Democrats to pare safety nets even further and Republicans to agree to tax hikes.
President Obama, meanwhile, is out on the stump trying to sell his "jobs bill" -- which would, by the
Republicans have already voted down his jobs bill anyway.
The disconnect between
The two worlds are on a collision course: Americans who are losing their jobs or their wages and can't pay their bills are growing increasingly desperate.
I can't tell you when the collision will occur, but I'd guess 2012.
Look elsewhere around the world and you see a similar collision unfolding between the needs of average people and the demands of the financial sector for government austerity. You see it in
You see it in
Increasing numbers of young people are idle -- a sure recipe for upheaval. In America, over 17 percent of those under 25 are jobless. In
Yet austerity rules the day. The banks are demanding it. And the pay and bonuses of global CEOs and bankers keep skyrocketing.
Will 2012 go down in history like other years that shook the foundations of the world's political economy -- 1968 and 1989?
The Occupier movement is still in its infancy in
Here, as elsewhere, people are outraged at what feels like a rigged game -- an economy that won't respond, a democracy that won't listen, and a financial sector that holds all the cards.
Available at Amazon.com:
- Seniors and the Deficit: Why working longer isn't part of the solution
- The Coming Collision
- A Fair Tax That Really Is One
- An Idea Dysfunctional Washington More Than Happy to Let Die
- Dear Average American: It's All Your Fault
- America's Growing Income Gap by the Numbers
- Wall Street Is Back to Its Old Tricks
- 7-in-10 Blame Economy for Hiring Freeze
- Grim Warnings for the Deficit 'Super Committee'
- Consequences of a Debt Committee Stuck in Neutral
- Is the Rising Star of U.S. Manufacturing Fading?
- Can Foreign Buyers Save the U.S. Housing Market?
- Consumers Spooked, But Still Spending (For Now)
- The Recession's Impact on Baby Boomer Retirement
- Cutting Taxes for the Rich Never Ends Well
- Secret of the Flat Tax
- Current Tax Code Is Confusing
- Flat Tax Would Eliminate 'Crony Capitalism'
- Flat Tax Would Introduce New Problems
- Flat Tax Unites Americans
- Flat Tax Unleashes Economic Growth
- Flat Tax Shifts Burden to the Middle Class
- Flat Tax Will Benefit Only the Rich
- Jobs Report Disappoints, but Unemployment Falls to 9 Percent
- Fed Stands Pat, But Signals Darker Days Ahead
- Young Adults Suffering More Financially than Older Generations
- The Perverse Side Effect of the Euro
- Equal Taxation for Wealth and Work
- Not All Taxes Have to Hurt
- GDP Up: Will Recession Fear Fade as Economy Shows Signs of Life?
- Measuring Economic Progress
- Great Recession Means a Diminished American Dream for Young Adults
- Inflation Could Help Flagging Economy
- Home Economics
- Skills Gap Plagues American Manufacturing Industry
- Beige Book Says Economic Recovery Still Slow. What Now?
- The Ranks of the Underemployed Continue to Grow
- More Americans Falling Behind On Mortgages
- Fed Created A Recipe for Disaster in Housing Market
- The Fed Caves to the Whims of Congress
- Federal Reserve is No Longer Beyond Influence
- Blame Bernanke and Federal Reserve for Economic Crisis
- Fed Saved Economy but Did Little to Rein in the 1 Percent
- For Better or Worse, Fed Is Just Doing Its Job
- Flat-Tax Fraud and Why America Needs a Truly Progressive Tax
- The Broken Contract: Inequality and American Decline
- The Wisdom of Retrenchment: America Must Cut Back to Move Forward
- Shortchanging Our Paychecks
- Unemployment Drops Sharply in October
- Recession Fears Fade But Euro Debt Crisis Still Looms
- Haves and Have-Nots: Cities with Highest and Lowest Poverty Rates
- Is the Economy Better Off Without Washington?
- How to Rein In Healthcare Costs
- Why Mortgage Rates Are Rising
- Industry Must Do its Part to Educate Workforce of the Future
- Jobs Council Issues Growth Proposals, Acknowledges Dysfunction
- September Jobs Report a Pleasant Surprise
- US Economic Woes Put China in the Political Crosshairs
- A Devalued Renminbi Makes Wealthier Americans
- Sluggish America Can Still Be a World Leader
- Behind Europe's Debt Crisis Lurks Another Wall Street Bailout
- United States - South Korea Trade Deal Win-Win for Jobs and Economy
- Obama's Trade Deal Delays Have Cost Jobs
- Reconsider Dodd-Frank, Piece by Piece
- Dodd-Frank Brings Transparency to Financial Industry
- Dodd-Frank is More Right than Wrong
- Dodd-Frank Is a Counterproductive Mess
- Repealing Dodd-Frank Would Put the Economy in Danger
- A People's History of the Great Recession
- Job Destroyers Don't Deserve Tax Holiday
- What the Recession Has Done to the Rich
- Pot Calls Kettle Risky: The Wit and Wisdom of Tim Geithner
- New Layoffs Are Harbingers of Broader Economic Changes
- Is Obama's National Infrastructure Bank the Answer on Jobs?
- We Are In a Modern-Day Depression
- Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's Franchises Warn of Job Cuts
- Despite High Unemployment, Millions of Job Openings
- How Renters Could Save the Housing Market
- How Low-ball Appraisals Are Limiting Housing Recovery
- The Moral Question
- Rise of the Renminbi as International Currency
- United States Woos Foreign Shoppers to Boost Sagging American Economy
- How to Create More Jobs by Lowering Wages: Texas and America
- 15 Stunning Statistics About the Jobs Market
- Training Unemployed for Specific Jobs Could Solve Many Problems
- Housing Slump Will Hurt Economies Well Into Future
- Can the Government Help the Housing Market?
- Are American Consumers Relapsing Into Debt Addiction?
- Obama Deficit Plan Could Derail Hopes for Super Committee Success
- Raising Retirement Age: Reflection of Our Evolving Economy
- Why Math and Science Education Means More Jobs
- A Good Fight
- America's Government Contracting Bonanza Bilks Taxpayers
Available at Amazon.com:
The Coming Collision | Politics
(c) 2011 Tribune Media Services, Inc.