A Very Corporate Thanksgiving

Someone out there has something to be thankful about.

NY Times: American businesses earned profits at an annual rate of $1.659 trillion in the third quarter, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. That is the highest figure recorded since the government began keeping track over 60 years ago, at least in nominal or noninflation-adjusted terms.

While others aren’t so lucky.

Even amid the most turbulent economic conditions since the Great Depression, US corporate profits are at an all time high, according to a Tuesday report (PDF link) by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.At the same time, America’s poor and middle classes are under siege, with a mostly stagnant job market that has shown only marginal signs of improvement.

In spite of meager growth in some sectors, the real unemployment rate remains high, at approximately 1 in 5 Americans.

Somehow it’s hard to square these stats with the picture in my head of all those who made off like bandits in this economic crisis, a catastrophe largely of their making, and watching them look up from their Thanksgiving feast to say, “pass me some more tax breaks and deregulation.”

Can’t they even say, “please”?

Chris Farrell in Business Week: “The rise in income inequality is well-documented. Median income began stagnating in the early 1970s, and income inequality started to surge in the early 1980s. The benefits of America’s economic growth since then have mostly gone to a wealthy minority, while the majority of workers have seen their earnings stagnate at best and decline at worst. The long-term trend is toward a small group of financiers, chief executives, professional athletes, entertainers, and other earnings titans pocketing much of the wealth generated by society.

Happy Thanksgiving to the rest of us!