Over at the NY Times is one of the most compelling summaries of the malaise afflicting America. Joseph E. Stiglitz pulls no punches in detailing how the growing inequality in this country is crippling us.
The re-election of President Obama was like a Rorschach test, subject to many interpretations. In this election, each side debated issues that deeply worry me: the long malaise into which the economy seems to be settling, and the growing divide between the 1 percent and the rest — an inequality not only of outcomes but also of opportunity. To me, these problems are two sides of the same coin: with inequality at its highest level since before the Depression, a robust recovery will be difficult in the short term, and the American dream — a good life in exchange for hard work — is slowly dying.Read the whole thing - it's a searing indictment of the political status quo that is condemning America to stagnation.
Politicians typically talk about rising inequality and the sluggish recovery as separate phenomena, when they are in fact intertwined. Inequality stifles, restrains and holds back our growth. When even the free-market-oriented magazine The Economist argues — as it did in a special feature in October — that the magnitude and nature of the country’s inequality represent a serious threat to America, we should know that something has gone horribly wrong. And yet, after four decades of widening inequality and the greatest economic downturn since the Depression, we haven’t done anything about it.
There is a giant streak of denialism at the heart of our government, the refusal to even speak of the threats that truly menace our future. The failure to even discuss Climate Change is one; Stiglitz nails the other - the failure to address the inequality that is killing the American Dream.
Read the whole thing.