This isn’t Socialist firebrand Kshama Sawant, or “near insane” zillionaire Nick Hanauer, or tour d’ivoire economist Thomas Piketty, or even some do-gooding liberal thinker at some do-gooding liberal think tank talking—this is Standard & Fucking Poor’s, the non-partisan for-profit ratings service whose job it is to provide reliable research to big-money investors! And they’ve concluded that extreme inequality is hurting the US economy:
Our review of the data, as well as a wealth of research on this matter, leads us to conclude that the current level of income inequality in the U.S. is dampening GDP growth, at a time when the world’s biggest economy is struggling to recover from the Great Recession and the government is in need of funds to support an aging population.
[…] The challenge now is to find a path toward more sustainable growth, an essential part of which, in our view, is pulling more Americans out of poverty and bolstering the purchasing power of the middle class. A rising tide lifts all boats…but a lifeboat carrying a few, surrounded by many treading water, risks capsizing.
Modern capitalists are producing their own gravediggers. The question remains whether mainstream politicians and journalists can admit what mainstream economists have already concluded—that trickle-down economics has failed—before it’s too late to save our economy from steady decline and eventual collapse?
We can argue over the numbers—what kind of rate is too high or too low—but it is now clear that it is in all of our interests to both raise the minimum wage, and to raise the top marginal tax rates on income and wealth, as well as invest in the public infrastructure necessary to support and maintain economic growth.