Surprise, surprise, surprise. The largest retail companies in the United States are concerned that their falling profits are caused by consumers not having enough money to spend.

Two thirds of the largest retail companies in the country say falling incomes for their customers threaten their business, according to an analysis of corporate filings by economists at the Center for American Progress (CAP)…. And seven out of every eight major American retail companies “cite weak consumer spending as a risk factor to their stock price,” the authors write. […]

… Burger King’s 10-K mentions “decreased salaries and wage rates…decreasing consumer spending for restaurant dining occasions” as a risk factor. J.C. Penney’s says that “the moderate income consumer, which is our core customer, has been under economic pressure for the past several years.”

[A]nalysts from Morgan Stanley, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and a half-dozen other major business analysis firms … [point] to weak consumer spending and the economic weakness afflicting the middle class as factors hindering the recovery.

Well, after thirty plus years of trickle down economics, is anyone really shocked by this result? I mean other than ideologues who reject real world data because it doesn’t conform to their predictions.

If trickle-down economics worked, then lower tax rates during the Reagan Revolution should have increased the lowest income levels. In fact, the exact opposite has occurred. Income inequality has worsened.

Since the collapse of the housing bubble, we bailed out Wall Street and the financial industry saw record profits. Next to nothing has been done to bolster the incomes of the middle class, however, as more and more people have sunk into poverty. We’ve seen good paying mid level jobs replaced with more low paying ones.

Yet, few politicians in either party are actively promoting policies, such as raising the minimum wage, increasing infrastructure spending, and raising taxes on the wealthiest ‘persons,’ both real and fictional – i.e., large multinational corporations – who have benefited enormously from tax cuts that theoretically were supposed to create more and better jobs for everyone, but which instead mostly increased the income and profits of the largest corporations and the richest individuals.

The richest 85 people in the world have as much wealth as the poorest 3.5 billion – or half the world’s entire population – put together. […]

[S]o much wealth has been concentrated at the top … it has become more economically efficient to buy countries’ economic policy than to create value in order to sell it on. If one can control government to favour the richest, while raising barriers for new entrants, thus increasing their share of the pie exponentially, what is the incentive to grow the pie? […]

… The rich no longer create jobs, through a process of consolidation, takeover and merger, they actually destroy them. […]

“When so much of the purchasing power, so much of the economic gain, goes to the very top,” Bill Clinton’s former labour secretary Robert Reich explains … “There’s simply not enough purchasing power in the rest of the economy.”

In short, greed is not good. Greed, in fact, is evil. It destroys the lives and livelihoods of billions of individuals and small businesses for the benefit of a few. Yet, aside from Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren (and a few others), who among our political class, beholden to billionaires in order to get elected, is willing to speak the truth, i.e., that the neo-liberal emperors who continue to push these failed policies, metaphorically have no clothes? Not many, my friends, not many.

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