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income growth
The above chart put together by Chuck Marr at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities is based on data from the Congressional Budget Office. It shows just how dramatic the increase in income inequality has been over the past three-plus decades.

The income of the most affluent Americans grew at a far higher rate than for everyone else between 1979 and 2010, which is the most recent year in which full data are available.

The average middle-income family had $9,500 less after-tax income in 2010, and the average household in the top one percent had $481,800 more than if all groups’ incomes had grown at the same rate since 1979.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:57 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  As I Said, the Last Americans to Live Under Democ (8+ / 0-)

    racy have children of college age.

    And I miscounted. They have grandchildren of college age.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:02:14 AM PDT

  •  one of the mechanisms for that inequality (11+ / 0-)

    expansion is the historical relation of the shock doctrine's long-run effect on housing markets and the exploitation of capital formation in favor of the 1% during the bubble(s) note the ratchet portion (2006-2012)

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:07:27 AM PDT

    •  using new home sale price is (0+ / 0-)

      skewed by the 1%  Those who are having built $1M+ mansions.

      Be the change that you want to see in the world

      by New Minas on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:29:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  income growth (0+ / 0-)

      To me the unaffordable housing is a result of the lack of income growth at all levels. Certain people have a large income growth, and I actually think that there are more people who make more money now than 30 years ago, and they can buy the large houses we see.

      On the other hand, there are also a bunch of people who have not had any growth.  So we are in a situation where the where the median household income is $60K, while the average house costs $180K.  Most people cannot afford a house more than 2 or 2 and a half their income, so we are in a situation where income growth has not match housing.  Rental units are worse. Just imagine if the minimum wage increased with inflation, causing upward wage pressure, and insuring that all workers benefited from added efficiency.

  •  this is exactly the kind of information (10+ / 0-)

    my spouse attempts to use with his rightwing family members.
    i will pass it along.   thanks!

    "From single strands of light we build our webs." ~kj

    by kj in missouri on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:09:19 AM PDT

  •  The word exponential comes to mind. And (10+ / 0-)

    nothing has been done to stop this pattern, in fact, more actions have been taken and will be taken to increase the problem.  It's amazing.  The top billionaires now are reporting, officially, net worths of over 70 billion.  That's officially.  At this rate, when will we have official trillionaires?  
    Do we really want trillioniaires on this planet? If we let that happen it seems pretty clear that the bottom four fifths will continue to get less and less.  

    "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:27:59 AM PDT

    •  It's Exponential WITHIN the top 1% (4+ / 0-)

      The reality is that most of the gains in the 'top 1%' have gone to the top 0.01%.

      We're at that 1% borderline and around here (NYC burbs) that puts you in the upper middle class, nothing more.  Most of our neighbors are in the same situation - wage slaves (albeit at a higher level BUT also working 70-80 hours a week).  Most are working damn hard and few are in a situation where they have 'no worries'.  Most are paying the MAXIMUM amount possible in taxes - a far higher percentage of income than those that are truly wealthy - and are getting (rightfully IMO) a bit fed up.   At this level you're too often demonized as 'rich' and odds are high that YOUR house will get looted in any rioting (being conveniently adjacent to much less well off communities) instead of the truly wealthy.

      My wife and I have worked hard all our lives - put off having kids for a decade, saved for their college and generally speaking lived a responsible life doing the 'right' things.  We were also lucky - ONE good job working for the right company can make a world of difference.

      We are 'involved' and 'socially responsible' - far more than most BUT I am tired of being viewed as some 'unworthy leech'.   We've worked damn hard to get to this point - one which does give us an occasional glimpse over the fence at the lives of the truly 'wealthy' and our lives are FAR from those.

      The reality is that someone at our level - the beginning of the '1%' is FAR closer to the absolute bottom than the top 0.1% level - or even the 0.5% level.

      Pushing the 'TOP 1%' meme instead of top 1/10 of 1% or top 1/100 of 1% does a disservice in making the cohort that HAS benefitted look far larger - and alienates those that have worked hard to reach where they are.

      Life isn't fair but you should try to leave it fairer than you found it.

      by xrepub on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:53:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Working hard is a strawman. Postal workers (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BMScott, Hohenzollern, goodpractice

        work hard.  My uncle the hotel doorman works very hard.  Never seen anyone as dedicated as him.  Some of the janitors in my building I worked in worked damn hard, with smiles on their faces.  The .01% and .001% say they work hard.  OK, everybody works hard, we got that out of the way.  
        But I certainly understand what your saying about the .01% or .001%.  I've pointed that out since that theme became popular. "It's not really about the 1%, it's about the .01% or even .001%."    
        It's true, they're the ones in control, they have the power, not some relatively high paid lawyer in D.C. who lives in a luxury townhome.  They're the ones that make this an oligarchy, not the ones who make a few hundred grand a year.
        Human civilization just has to find a better way.  

        "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:29:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Some of us DO work damn hard (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hohenzollern

          and a hell of a lot of people clearly do NOT.  

          That applies to the FULL spectrum of 'wealth'.

          'EVERYBODY' does NOT 'work hard' and claiming this is so is naive and wrong.  

          I've seen inherited wealth do NOTHING that requires ANY effort and more than a few execs who spent far more time and effort sleazing and scheming than actually working.   I've also seen more than a few people at the bottom of the 'socio-economic' ladder who were there BECAUSE they never exerted themselves in the slightest and expected to be 'taken care of' - those people DO exist (some are members of my extended family).

          My wife and I paid our way through college, worked two jobs each for the first decade we were married.  We've renovated two houses - taking the gain from the first to buy our present place at the bottom of the market - and put (literally) over 10,000 hours in the place (so far).  Down to one job, it never really was.  Put in a 60+ hour week PLUS commute and then work another 40 hours on a house.

          I've done 95% of the work myself - the doctor that did my shoulder wanted to know if I played pro ball - no, 30 years of taping drywall.

          I DO resent those that complain about not having what they think they 'deserve' while putting in a minimal amount of effort.  I know more than a few people who came from far better off families, went to far better schools who thought that by dint of this alone they would somehow have a better life than their already well off parents. Actually WORKING HARD was something that apparently never entered into consideration.

          I've also seen more than a few 'hard working' cops and firemen game the system and claim full and undeserved disability.  Hell - I'm still climbing a ladder with one replacement knee and the other needing it.

          The OPPORTUNITY for all should be equal - but sadly the system is gamed by those at the top who can and do use their money and power to manipulate the system to their advantage.  But too many people 'want' without any effort on their part to EARN what they 'want'.

          I intensely resent the people  that complain about those that have done better by working hard and doing the 'right' things while they themselves have done anything BUT.

          I have a sil who ignored school, made a horrid choice in a husband, who drank and drugged - who ended up divorced and on welfare,  whose daughter ended up a single mother with minimal education making minimum wage (and collecting substantial benefits).   Neither seem to feel that they made 'bad' choices nor do they feel that they might have actually worked harder and done 'better' in life.  I have a brother who is mentally ill - but fully treatable - who refused treatment all his life, who DID work (at a minimal skilled job far below his capabilities) for most of his life but was subsidized to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars by my parents who NEVER held him accountable for anything.   He used his 'illness' as an all purpose excuse  for bad behavior that often had NOTHING to do with his 'illness'.  These people resent and routinely complain about those that have worked hard and done 'better' - ignoring their own failures.

          Unfortunately we are seeing more and more people looking to game the 'system' instead of working hard - those at the top and those at the bottom with a full range in between.  

          Life isn't fair but you should try to leave it fairer than you found it.

          by xrepub on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 06:12:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was being facetious when I said "everybody (0+ / 0-)

            works hard", I thot obviously because of my statement saying even the .001% works hard and believes they deserve what they have.  
            Yes, there are people that don't "work hard", whatever that really means.  And people that use the system to avoid contributing to society.  That's nothing new.  Read some of the accounts of the very early European settlements in this country and you'll see the same type of issues.    
            I don't know about your situation but there's plenty to complain about regarding wealth inequality.  You sound at the very low end and like I said, that's not the issue.  It's the super rich and how that's used to prevent any sort of democracy and to control all of us.  
            Myself, I worked hard too.  Went in the Navy for the GI Bill.  Went to college on an athlete scholarship. Retired as a Regional Program Manager with the Forest Service after 30 years.  You can't do that without working hard.
            You can be resentful but it won't do you any good.  The bigger problem is those at the very top.

            "Fragmented and confused, we have no plan to combat any of this, but are looking to be saved by the very architects of our ruination."

            by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 06:32:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  If we get to true Trillionaires, they'll be (3+ / 0-)

      utterly immune to any government actions whatsoever. Most of the wealthy already are. And every corporation, it seems.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:56:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Issue aristocratic titles to CEOs. (5+ / 0-)

    Maybe that will make it clearer to the average American what they are and chip away the "job creator" nonsense they hide behind.

    "You want weapons? We're in a library! Books! The best weapons in the world! This room is the greatest arsenal we could have—arm yourselves!" -The Doctor

    by quillsinister on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 10:37:55 AM PDT

  •  This chart and facts it represents should take off (12+ / 0-)

    ..as a viral thing it sure seems to me:

    The average middle-income family had $9,500 less after-tax income in 2010, and the average household in the top one percent had $481,800 more, than if all groups’ incomes had grown at the same rate since 1979.

    ..tweeted & FB'd. I don't get it. Why hasn't this topped the headlines or at least in the twittersphere and maybe facebook too

    Thx MB

    •  I am telling you this is pretty serious stuff! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, YucatanMan

      combining this with the study of oligopoly in America and I don't think there really is any other solution than those being offered by Chris Hedges.

      Be the change that you want to see in the world

      by New Minas on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:27:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'll bet that's more like 100 MILLION (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan

      more going to the top 0.01%

      Averaging out the gains over the whole '1%' makes the gains look FAR LOWER for those that have truly benefitted while making things look far better for those at the low end of that range.

      The distribution is exponential WITHIN the 'top 1%' as well as leading up to it.  Those at the 1% level are NOT seeing anything like a few hundred thousand in gains while those at the 0.01% are seeing gains in the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS.

      Those at the '1%' line are far closer to the absolute bottom than they are to even those at the top 1/10 of 1%

      Life isn't fair but you should try to leave it fairer than you found it.

      by xrepub on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:58:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And in comparison, the Russian middle class is (4+ / 0-)

    booming.

    I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. - Susan B. Anthony Everything good a man can be, a dog already is. - pajoly

    by pajoly on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 11:01:44 AM PDT

    •  The Mexican middle class certainly is - no snark. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hohenzollern

      Mexico's inequality has been improving and their middle class making many strides.  Meanwhile, the USA's is declining.

      What could be the reason....?

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:15:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have seen no fewer than 5 prominent (5+ / 0-)

    economists all speak out on this issue in the last 3 days.  The Piketty book seems to be causing a stir.  This topic is not going away anytime soon.

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 01:10:39 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the chart. But what do we do (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greendem, YucatanMan

    about it? That's the larger question.

    We need some big political and policy changes changes around here. Who's gonna provide the inspiration and leadership to shepard through these changes?

    Just offhand:

    Increasing minimum wage

    Increasing Social Security benefits

    Limiting CEO and upper tier executive salaries and bonuses for publicly traded companies to a multiple of the median salary. (The Anti-Executive Conversion of Corporate Assets Regulation)

    Increasing taxes on the wealthy and passive wealth production (dividends and interest)

    Addressing the negative equity still rampant in middle and lower class home ownership.

    Making student debt affordable and/or publicly funding higher education

    A full employment program a la the Civilian Conservation Corps

    Infrastructure build and improvement (jobs)

    Single payer healthcare

    Is Hillary Clinton the steward for massive societal change to regain some parity into the system? Count me far from convinced on that.

    The plutocrats have been allowed to amass their dynastic volumes of wealth. They should be willing to back off for a little while so the huddled masses can become a little less wretched.

    “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR

    by Phoebe Loosinhouse on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 01:16:00 PM PDT

    •  Well, Hillary Clinton wishes to lead her name (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      goodpractice

      into becoming a political dynasty and her husband has certainly benefited from his connections with financial dynasties, so I guess that answers that question.  Dynasties of a feather flock together.

      Any endorsement of Clinton as our next president means, realistically, an endorsement of the status quo and the further enrichment of dynasties. Some folks apparently feel the need to hitch their star to the money crowd and not the values...  When you've got children, it really makes one wonder how we all see our futures differently.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:20:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Couple that chart with the income chart (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, goodpractice

    Since 1980, worker hours and productivity have steadily gone up. All that Labor is producing a great deal of Wealth, but practically none of it is going into the pockets of the workers or their families. Wages have remained absolutely flat for 35 years.

    Where has all that Wealth gone? Look to the chart in this post. It's not a question of industriousness, education or any of the other "virtues" the wealthy have arrogated to themselves. It's out-and-out thievery. And it's high time we started taking back what's been stolen from us. Now we can do that through peaceful mechanisms like legislation. Or we can do it another way. The wealthy seems to be forcing a choice on us.

  •  "Free Trade" and the Middle Fifth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, goodpractice

    The US industrial base was exported overseas by both parties over the last few decades.

    Remember, when the Turtles and Teamsters were protesting the WTO in the Battle of Seattle in 1999?

    Clinton was the man pushing for the Seattle Round of the WTO (which never happened, we won that round!)

    Madeline Albright was the one who called WA gov Gary Locke and instructed him to call out the national guard and clear the streets of anti-free-trade hippies.

    What ensued was a week of street battles that shut down the meeting.

    Both political parties are responsible for the gutting of America's middle class.

    Capitalists own our entire political system.

    "Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed." -- Vaclav Havel

    by greendem on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:26:48 PM PDT

  •  I don't get it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Termite, CalvinV

    Maybe the wording is confusing me but if, since 1979, all incomes had grown at an equal rate instead of the unequal rates they actually grew at, then shouldn't all quintiles have seen an increase?

  •  great chart (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xxdr zombiexx, YucatanMan

    if you're one of the .01%.

    A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

    by onionjim on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:31:34 PM PDT

  •  I would like to see that graph smoothed out (0+ / 0-)

    so that $481,000 of 1% were distributed over all earners.

    On the back of an envelope it would be $4801 per earner assuming there is a 100% tax on the 1% - which is unrealistic.

    "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason." - Thomas Paine

    by shrike on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:36:42 PM PDT

  •  Again, this is about REAGAN. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, keyscritter

    The chasm between rich and poor is known to have exploded since Reagen took office; the economy we have today can be called "End-Stage Reaganism, as this economy IS what was wanted by the 'visionaries' at the time.

    Reagan fucked us hard.

    Legal means "good".
    [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

    by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:39:16 PM PDT

    •  Thankfully (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, xxdr zombiexx

      all that fucking stopped, and the trend started reversing itself, about five years ago when a tital wave of Hope and Change led to a forceful renunciation of Reaganism . . . right?

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:01:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Plenty of room left for improvement (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        YucatanMan

        from where I stand, the economy is still face down in the toilet.

        I was unaware that it has stopped: the rich are getting richer, only they are enjoying the 'recovery' - that 'jobless recovery' we were having.

        Legal means "good".
        [41984 | Feb 4, 2005]

        by xxdr zombiexx on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:08:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm unaware of it too. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          xxdr zombiexx

          Perhaps one of the Sensible Democrats will set us straight on this.

          Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

          by corvo on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:16:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Of these leads to the question of "why"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    YucatanMan, BigAlinWashSt

    And while there are lots of criminals to blame, I think that leads back to the Federal Reserve more than anyone else.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:51:34 PM PDT

    •  Federal Reserve, but also tax breaks as (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt, gjohnsit

      economic stimulus instead of spending and jobs programs and many other sources.  When someone is leading the country who is a (in his own words) "strong free trader," then every premise is beginning on the wrong foot.  That's the continuance of Reaganism, as translated by Clinton and passed on down the line.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:23:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is stark evidence of why there can be (3+ / 0-)

    no real recovery in a consumer-driven, cheap goods and services economy.  

    When all the money is going to the top, there simply aren't enough people to spend it. And those at the top who do some spending (rather than stacking it up higher and higher) do not spend it on things that the vast majority of Americans make or use.

    So, the economy stays slumped in the ditch, right where the people who still have half the car keys crashed it.

    Unfortunately, even this administration doesn't want to take away all their car keys.  Reinstating Glass-Steagall is not even the tiniest glimmer in the administration's eyes, even if they were to suddenly find Congress solidly Democratic. The pledge of loyalty to Wall Street runs deep.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:54:38 PM PDT

    •  I'd be happy if this Administration (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      YucatanMan, BigAlinWashSt

      thought of taking away any of their car keys.

      Dogs from the street can have all the desirable qualities that one could want from pet dogs. Most adopted stray dogs are usually humble and exceptionally faithful to their owners as if they are grateful for this kindness. -- H.M. Bhumibol Adulyadej

      by corvo on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:04:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Call me crazy, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hohenzollern

    but I'm starting to think that whole "trickle-down" thing was bullshit.

    Maybe tomorrow.

    We don't see things as they are; we see things as we are.

    by EighteenCharacters on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:18:41 PM PDT

  •  Hey we aked for mass immigration... (0+ / 0-)

    We passed immigration reform in 1965 which essentially removed the big restrictions on the vast majority of people who wanted to come here, the poor.

    What did we expect? A surplus labor supply is only good for capitalists. Your priest knows that, your politician knows that, union knows that.

    Since that reform passed and the vietnam war ended (which was a massive employer of males), we have only had full employment for a brief second of time during the heights of the internet bubble. for 50 years we've had a massive surplus of labor, especially low skilled labor (which of course hurts our poorest the hardest) and since 1973 male wages have actually declined.
    We asked for the disaster, and we beg for more of it everyday just so the democrats can secure hegemony, even though they more corporatist than liberal. We need to rethink our political calculations.

  •  What we need is the elimiation of the Income Tax, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hohenzollern, goodpractice

    and the start of a progressive asset increase tax.  For instance, when companies, or banks pay dividends/interest, they automatically take out 50%, and send it to the Treasury.  The other half goes to the investor.  Then those, who didn't make a lot of this type of income, can apply for a tax refund.  Those, who make a ton of dough get no refund.  The future is looking like the very wealthy will be collecting more investment income than the national GDP increase.  This means that the wealth will keep going to the top 1%, or even a smaller amount of people.

    By the authority vested in me by Kaiser Wilhelm II, I pronounce you man and wife. Proceed with the execution.

    by HarryParatestis on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 05:36:32 PM PDT

  •  There was an even better chart -- well, eye of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goodpractice

    beholder does apply -- in the background material.

    It showed percentage of income vs percentage of taxes paid by each quintile.  It included ALL taxes -- income tax, payroll tax (both employee and so-called employer shares), and local taxes.

    Lo and behold:
    The flat tax lives.  Everybody pays more or less the same proportion of their income in taxes.  Some of us, of course, need a much bigger portion of our income for luxuries like food and shelter, so we pay a much larger share of our discretionary income than assorted pouty rich bastards whining all the way to the bank.

    Lessee if I can find the link...

    http://www.offthechartsblog.org/...

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 06:37:39 PM PDT

  •  A rising tide lifts all boats? (0+ / 0-)

    Seems like that Reagan stuff was bullshit.

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