How did the few people so rich that they really don’t need much from government – maybe a Coast Guard to pick them off their yachts in case of trouble – contrive to get an exploding share of the value created by everyone’s labor since 1980?
Mike, was it simply — or even mostly — about contrivance? I yield to no one in my hatred of conservative distributional policies, at least on an outpatient basis, but there were long-term trends in the economy that certainly helped. Globalization made unions weaker. And as Bob Frank points out in Falling Behind, one critical development was the winner-take-all economy, in which technology facilitated the creative destruction of entire lines of work. Bob’s example is that of local accountants, thousands of whom lost their jobs when TurboTax and Kiplinger Tax Cut came on-line 15 or so years ago.
I don’t want to underestimate the effect of policy, and in particular, the ability of the GOP Southern Strategy to convince white voters that government programs = handouts for Blacks, but I think we do need to discuss the important structural factors if we are going to reverse the trend.