03 February 2014

Malcolm's Fallen From the Middle

This endeavor started with a missive which asserted that the Bernanke/Obama recovery plan couldn't work
In 2009, who are the unemployed? Not, by and large, workers in factories that will make goods for American consumers. The deindustrialization of the economy, in progress since the 1970's, makes any stimulus program a low probability gamble. Will the stimulus program re-employ the leeches in the financial services industry that sent us over the edge in the first place?

It turns out, that's exactly what happened. Obambi is setting the Republican party up for permanent control. It won't be called a dictatorship of the proletariat, but will be, in fact.

Now we get reporting on a study from some Freshwater economists. (No Times showed up yesterday, but, as luck would have it, the piece went a bit viral.)
Within top consulting firms and among Wall Street analysts, the shift is being described with a frankness more often associated with left-wing academics than business experts.

Rather than frankness, I'd call it gloating: "go eat some cake, motherfuckers!!". Not that this endeavor is the least bit surprised. This piper has been calling that tune from the beginning; just read the subtitle.

Some data, quoted from the study:
In 2012, the top 5 percent of earners were responsible for 38 percent of domestic consumption, up from 28 percent in 1995, the researchers found.

Since 2009, the year the recession ended, inflation-adjusted spending by this top echelon has risen 17 percent, compared with just 1 percent among the bottom 95 percent.

More broadly, about 90 percent of the overall increase in inflation-adjusted consumption between 2009 and 2012 was generated by the top 20 percent of households in terms of income...

At G.E. Appliances, for example, the fastest-growing brand is the Café line, which is aimed at the top quarter of the market, with refrigerators typically retailing for $1,700 to $3,000.

There is a downside to the euphoria, not mentioned by the reporter or by the researchers (as reported, of course): as the .1%/1%/10% suck ever more of the nation's wealth, the smaller is the cohort "aspiring" to climb the totem pole. Apple is the archetype for ignoring all but the 20% (or thereabouts). The problem has always been that the group doesn't grow in numbers as it grows in wealth/income. Quite the opposite, and a little arithmetic (left as exercise for the reader) shows why. Fancy restaurants can see a growth path; the 10% will eat there four times a week rather than one. The likes of Apple can't reasonably expect to sell more than one smartphone/human, thus it must keep devising yet new devices to part the rich from their moolah. It hasn't been very good at that since the iPhone.

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