The cost of “recovery”

For about the last year they tell me the economy has been on the road to recovery. I’m not sure what that means, but it doesn’t seem to mean much of anything to regular working people. I pretty sure when they talk about the recovery they’re speaking about how the banks and large corporations are now stabilized and no longer in danger of collapse.

You may have forgotten about them since people don’t seem to mention their roles as much, but if you can recall they’re the guys primarily responsible for crashing the economy.

America acted quickly and spent nearly a trillion dollars of taxpayer money to bail them out and now they’re back to reporting profitable gains. At the time our lawmakers handed out the cash, most of us probably thought that didn’t seem so bad. Mostly I think that’s because there’s been a delay from when regulators, businessmen and government officials recognized the issue to when it actually impacted the rest of us.

As you read through the headlines in New York State these days, be prepared to hear about the most desperate state cutbacks since the depression. Schools are being shuttered, swaths of government employees laid off and public service on all fronts are being drastically reduced.

Welcome to the cost of recovery.

Maybe they call it a recovery because in a sense this is as good as it is going to get for the foreseeable economic future. In effect the recovery didn’t come to us but rather we came to it, in the form of reduced expectations. There is no shortage of public officials telling us that the new America is “more with less”... that is unless you’re rich of course.

I can’t help but point out here that while most Americans have lost income due to increased costs, stagnant pay and reduced public services, the richest among us have seen a steady growth of profitability.

At this very moment the economic divide between America’s richest top percent and the rest of us has never been so distant. The top 1 percent owns more than 20 percent of the economy. To put it another way, one in every 100 Americans controls one of out of every five dollars spent.

While Republicans argue against tax cuts to those making more than a quarter million dollar salaries and our own Governor Andrew M. Cuomo still refuses to levy taxes against the wealthiest, the poorest in our country, those least responsible for the downturn and most susceptible to the elimination of government services, are paying the highest price.

Yesterday I spent one sixth of my weekly income in one fill up at the gas pump. While gas prices have continued to rise for consumers, Exxon Mobile reported a recording breaking year of profits in 2010, which was the largest ever reported by the company in their history, which is to say the largest ever in any corporate history.

Another thing that bothers the hell out of me is that while all this is going on, America has been fighting the two longest wars of its history and perhaps our most expensive. I don’t know what our country is doing in these wars; our goal seems only not to loose. I can’t help but point out that if you were born the day we began the invasion of Afghanistan, you’d be in third grade by now.

So we spent a trillion dollars on two decade-long wars, a trillion on bailing out the greedy corporations and now our elected officials are telling the public to expect frozen wages for several years (if you even have a job) and a general reduction of all public services by at least 10 percent across the board.

Forget the American dream and welcome to the American nightmare.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesuntyler.

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