Here are two new stories that best illustrate the ideological consequences of the November elections. One concerns a social issue; the other a matter of economics.
The Republican led Arizona House recently passed a bill that states that any employer may opt out of providing coverage for contraceptives under its health insurance plan. No real news there as several states have already passed similar laws.
But Arizona goes one step farther. The Arizona bill also states that women will be denied access to obtaining contraceptives unless they can prove that they are using them for medical reasons only and not just to prevent pregnancy.
The bill is scheduled to move to the Arizona Senate next week.
The other story involves the decline of the middle class and the growing disparity between the top 1% wage earners and the rest of the country.
The Republicans have been quite clear in stressing the importance of protecting the top wage earners. They refer to these folks as the “job creators.” The Republicans believe that by lowering taxes and eliminating restrictions on the top wage earners you free them up to invest their wealth and create jobs. The net result is that the wealth trickles down to the middle class and everybody wins. Unfortunately for Republicans, and the middle class, the facts just don’t bear that out.
According to noted economists Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez, if you go back to the economic recovery of 1994-2000; 45% of the income gains went to the top 1% wage earners. If you look at the economic recovery that occurred from 2003-2007; 65% of the income gains went to the top 1%. And if you look at the year 2010, in that one year alone; 93% of all the additional income earned in this country went to the top 1% wage earners. Break that down even further and at look at the top 0.01% of all average earners; 37% of all the income gains in this country went to 15,000 households.
In 2010 if you were in the bottom 99% your average income was $41,777 and your average pay raise was $80 (0.02%).
In 2010 if you were in the top 1% your average income was $1,019,089 and your average raise was $105,637 (11.6%).
And in 2010, in you were in the top 0.01% your average income was $23,846,950 and your average raise was $4,215,743 (21.5%).
As you can readily see, in spite of all the “high taxes” and “restrictive regulations” the top 1% are doing quite well while the bottom 99% continues to struggle.