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Red is corporate profits; blue is private sector wages
Corporations are doing well. Workers, not so much. That could be the opening of just about any discussion of the American economy at least over the past couple years since corporations recovered from the great recession while workers didn't. But that's because there are always new specifics coming out to illustrate the point. Like this: after-tax corporate profits were a record share of the gross domestic product in the third quarter of 2012. Wages were the smallest share of GDP they've ever been.
Profits accounted for 11.1% of the U.S. economy last quarter, compared with an average of 8% during the previous economic expansion. They fell as low as 4.6% of GDP during the recession. [...]
A separate government reading shows that total wages have now fallen to a record low of 43.5% of GDP. Until 1975, wages almost always accounted for at least half of GDP, and had been as high as 49% as recently as early 2001.
Once again, the 1970s are the tipping point where the balance of power shifts decisively toward business and away from working people. This is not, as corporate mouthpieces would have us believe, because of an inevitable force of history, but because corporations decided to exert power to make it this way. And it's causing people to suffer. It's devaluing work. It's devaluing the human beings who do the work. But hey, profit!