Corporate profits

Gap between corporate profits and wages hits post-war record

Republicans tried to demonize President Obama in the election by calling him a socialist, bad for the economy, bad for America, and a big disappointment.

“The president didn’t fail you because he wanted to,” Mitt Romney said in his acceptance speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention. “The president failed America because he didn’t lead America in the right direction.”

But here’s the reality: the Department of Commerce said last week that company profit hit a record high in the third quarter of this year, up more than 18% from last year.

In fact, profits have only increased since President George W. Bush left office and Congress passed President Obama’s stimulus package.

Here’s the bad news: Workers aren’t enjoying record profits. In fact, wages have now fallen to a record low of 43.5% of GDP.

Look at the board. There seems to be some kind of income equity in this country until about 2000. But then George W. Bush becomes president and corporate profits (in red) soar, except for a temporary slowdown during the recession. But wages (in blue) are falling steadily and significantly.

Sam Stein, political reporter for the Huffington Post, says the huge split between corporate profits and workers’ wages has weakened Republicans in budget negotiations on the “fiscal cliff”.

Republicans “have an optical problem when they say we need to protect the tax rates of the top 2%, because everyone knows the recent history of income inequality in this country,” said Stein told msnbc’s The Ed Show on Monday.

And during an exclusive interview on The Ed show on On Tuesday, Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi called the disparity “an immorality in the system.”

But there is good news. Even though wages are lower, consumers are essentially the engine of the economy. Consumer confidence hit its highest level since February 2008.

And a new report shows the auto industry continues to roar. Almost all automakers are reporting strong sales gains. Dodge is in place for the 32nd straight month. Chrysler sales were up 14% from a year ago. And the Hyundai plant in Alabama is operating at full capacity and cannot keep pace with demand.