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Corporate profits for 2010 were 14% of national income. That is the highest level of national income going to corporations in our recorded history. On the other hand, the recession has not been good for small business or for employees. Small business profits were at a 17 year low at 7.7% of national income in 2009 and 8.3% in 2010. Total employee compensation, which includes benefits, were 62.1% in 2010. That was the lowest level since 1965, and the higher share of compensation going to benefits depressed wage income even further.
Ordinarily, corporate profits as a share of national income have been highest when the rate of unemployment was low. A good economy was good for corporate profits. That pattern did not obtain in 2010 when corporate profits set the record for its share of national income. The unemployment rate was 9.4% in 2010.
These data may indicate why there has not been more pressure on government to deal with unemployment. Our politicians are not getting lobbied by large corporations to do something about unemployment. Small businesses are hurting, and so are employees, but they don't have lobbyists working for them. They have been told to worry about the national debt and to keep taxes low for the corporate executives who are benefiting from this economy.
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