Guess Who’s Winning the Economy (Hint: It’s Not The Middle Class)

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wealthinequalityvideoFive years since the Wall Street meltdown that cratered the economy—causing a deep financial crisis for the middle-class—there are signs that things are improving… for some.

The stock market has fully rebounded and corporate profits are at an all-time high. But if you’re wondering where the recovery is for regular people, you’re not alone. As it turns out, the economic recovery is woefully lopsided.

First, take a look at this video—if you haven’t already seen it all over Facebook and Twitter. It’s a simple and startling look at wealth inequality in America that might just make your head spin.

Second, this morning, the New York Times has a look at how profits at corporations are skyrocketing, but not jobs or incomes of average workers.

As a percentage of national income, corporate profits stood at 14.2 percent in the third quarter of 2012, the largest share at any time since 1950, while the portion of income that went to employees was 61.7 percent, near its lowest point since 1966. In recent years, the shift has accelerated during the slow recovery that followed the financial crisis and ensuing recession of 2008 and 2009, said Dean Maki, chief United States economist at Barclays.

Corporate earnings have risen at an annualized rate of 20.1 percent since the end of 2008, he said, but disposable income inched ahead by 1.4 percent annually over the same period, after adjusting for inflation.

“There hasn’t been a period in the last 50 years where these trends have been so pronounced,” Mr. Maki said.

And things are about to get worse. The federal budget cuts are expected to hamper the economy and lead to more job cuts: “But although experts estimate that sequestration could cost the country about 700,000 jobs, Wall Street does not expect the cuts to substantially reduce corporate profits — or seriously threaten the recent rally in the stock markets.”

So, while average Americans are struggling to make ends meet and somehow trying to create a brighter future for our kids, Wall Street is succeeding like it never has before—all at our expense.

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