I don't mean to get all Marxist or anything, folks, but perhaps we need to start at least teaching Thorstein Veblen in the schools. There is a very serious and unhealthy reconcentration of wealth, that began in the Reagan years, and continued unabated through Clinton and now Fredo Corleone. It is unhealthy and unconscionable that many people have to work two jobs just to survive, while people who juggle derivatives and produce phantom profits get eight-figure bonuses.
Nowhere in the article is it mentioned that Paulson is the current Secretary of the Treasury. That factoid may not be implicit or contingent upon anything in particular, but it would seem to be at least relevant. Apparently not. That would be like pointing out that Halliburton's value and portfolio has skyrocketed -- along with Dick Cheney's pocketbook -- since Cheney slithered into office. Everything is always purely coincidental.
Paul Krugman gets it:
The middle class is being squeezed dry. Insurance and pharmaceutical companies have rendered the health care system an expensive, useless joke, making affordable care available only to the wealthy and the destitute. HMO providers are frequently little more than pushers for the latest $150/month drug, that may or may not even work, not to mention the potential side effects. There is plenty of lip service paid to the benefits of preventive medicine, but everything in the American health care system is channeled toward treatment, and the revenue model amply reflects that. And it is going to reach a real crisis point as the baby boomers start retiring.
So you have real wages stagnant, but costs for everything from fuel to food to housing to health care rise inexorably. CEOs write their own performance tickets that translate on the average to over 300 times what their average worker makes. Our elected leaders try much harder to help out Paris Hilton with yet another tax cut for doing nothing, than to help Joe Six-Pack keep his house, or help him avoid bankruptcy and utter destitution.
I don't understand why people so reflexively shy away from the term "class warfare". I think we need a Sun Tzu of class warfare at this point. This is not about "fair" or "unfair", this is about the health and continued sustainability of a society, the notion that a bunch of Wall Street bookies fucking around with percentage points all day live in a completely different world than people who work like dogs until the day they drop. We need to have a public conversation about the reward system in this country, and divorce it from the lottery mentality that the diddlers of lucky percentage points have foisted on the financially illiterate.