Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What 30 Years of Reaganomics Has Done For You

In general, no matter what we do, the economy continues to grow.  We have our recessions, but over the long term, the economy, as measured by GDP, continues to increase as shown in the figure below.

From here.

It shows about a 2.1% annual growth over the last 60 years.  Republicans and Democrats have both contributed to this growth, one better than the other at times, but in general it just keeps growing with a few bumps along the way.

Since we all contribute to the growth, I think we all should benefit from the growth.  From 1950 to 1980, the GDP roughly doubled.  The next figure shows how much our income grew during this period.

 Not too bad.  Income growth is about the same as GDP growth.   The people in the 99 to 99.99 income percentile didn't do as well as the others, but their income is pretty high anyway so they probably did not suffer too much.

Then along came Reagan.  He essentially said, taxes are too high.  It is stifling the economy and stealing money away from those who create jobs and wealth.  We need to cut taxes and shrink government.  Get it out of peoples' way.

Well, we already know what happened to the economy when he did that.  It kept plodding along with about a 2.1% annual growth.  At least he didn't hurt it, but he didn't help it much either.  Over the next 28 years, 1980 to 2008, the GDP roughly doubled again...but what happened to incomes?  Well, let's take a look.  The next figure adds the time period 1980 to 2008 to the figure above.



The lower 90% of all Americans saw their income increase an average of 1%.  ONE FUCKING PERCENT!  Even the people in the 90 - 95 percentile and the 95 to 99 percentile did worse from 1980 to 2008 than they did between 1950 and 1980.  Let me say that again.  99 PERCENT OF THE PEOPLE SAW THEIR INCOME INCREASE MORE BETWEEN 1950 AND 1980 THAN  IT DID BETWEEN 1980 AND 2008.

Who made all the money from the increase in the economy?  Remember, the economy continued to grow at an average of 2.1% per year.  Why, it was the top 1 percent, the one percent that the republicans cater to.  In fact, the top 0.01 percent saw their income increase 403%.

So, let's recap.  99 percent of the people saw their income increase significantly less between 1980 and 2008 than they did between 1950 and 1980 thanks to republican economic policies started by Reagan.  The bottom 90% of people saw their income increase by only ONE PERCENT, while the top ONE HUNDREDTH OF ONE PERCENT saw their income increase 403 percent.  That is a 40,300 percent greater increase than the bottom 90% of the people.

40,200 percent greater increase than the bottom 90% of the people

 And the republicans want to give them more tax cuts.  Are they out of their fucking minds???

I'd like to give a hat tip to Pat Cunningham over at Applesauce from providing the link to 9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes.  This was number 1.  There are 8 more interesting things.  Go read them if you have time.


  1. This is so true and the motivation that got me started blogging. That is why I call one of my blogs "TRICKLE DOWN BS" because I have been fighting against it and telling people Reagan was one of our worst Presidents even when he was still the President.
    I have always said that TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS never worked, never will.

    great post.

  2. I think we should all start referring to trickle down economics as "niagra up" and the politicians who espouse these stupid ideas as hood robins, people who steal from the poor to give to the rich. Thank you for allowing me a say.

  3. But trickledown will work; we just need to give it time. If we get rid of even more of those cumbersome regulations that are strangling the economy, and keep reducing taxes for the most productive Americans, at some point new jobs will start being created so fast we'll have to jump back.

    I know this is true. Sean Hannity said so.

  4. This is something that should be carefully explained to every voter before the 2012 election. A refresher for the president and some of his economic advisers might be a good idea, too.

    Let me add that the situation is harder on the non-wealthy than even these graphs indicate. That's because to maintain their middle-class existence, more and more Americans over the past 20 years have way overleveraged their earnings and modest savings, going ever deeper in debt. That situation does things to the economy as a whole, like greatly magnifying the effect of downturns and greatly extending the time it takes to recover from downturns.

    The situation has also resulted in a lot of deferred maintenance and replacement of infrastructure, with all the potential dangers and added costs that means.

  5. LOL, Tom. I guess that's why they call it trickle. A drop down here and a drop down there, while there is a massive flood the top.

    Those poor rich people, flooded with all that money. I feel sorry for them. I wonder what we can do to help?

    How about taxing the shit out of them?

  6. ..the weirdest thing is that my mortgage dropped two years ago by 500.000 less a month. I had a 5 year fixed that turned into an adjustable (the only one I could get when buying my ex out of the house). My rate was 6.0; I was stressed it would go up; instead it went down... to a rate of 3.125 because due to the economy being messed up CD rates are Low and people with adjustable mortgage rates got a gift too by being lowered. I think that is why; I was told this by a banker. The economy souring actually helped me.. (as sad as that is to say); and I'm still getting a lot of freelance work. I was able to let my grown children rent for way less to save for their future due to mortgage dropping). Now my son will have 8,000 saved when he leaves in August to go back to get that Pharmacist degree. (so I've been blessed instead of cursed). I love your blog; so real and honest.

  7. They're not pulling any wool over geezermom's eyes. Well said.

  8. Thank you for putting what many know in a form even a right-wing fucknuts can understand. Perhaps if the teabaggers could be fed this, they would revitalize some brain cells and get with the program of eliminating right-wing oligarchy.

  9. Well, just another reason I'll never be a Republican( other than Watergate, Iran-Contra,and Ira...)

    I can only assume that those who keep voting Republican do so because they are either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, or just born with a serf mentality...

  10. Isn't trickle down what happens at a fire hydrant at a dog park?

  11. "trickle down" is when a teapulikkklan pisses on yer back, and tells you it's raining!

  12. Right, Reagan invented gush-up economics...They called it trickle down but that's the same as death taxes and death panels and calling a zygote a "baby".