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In for long-haul economic pain

Readers of this blog will have seen postings in relation to the US economy. All too sadly, it is big country with a huge economy - but a sick one. The knock-on effect of that will almost certainly be felt in many countries around the globe.

The latest op-ed piece "Long Term Economic Pain" by Bob Herbert in The New York Times makes for depressing reading. It looks like things look grim for an ever-growing number of people in America - and will remain so for many years to come.

"The pain coursing through American families is all too real and no one seems to know what to do about it. A rigorous new analysis for the Rockefeller Foundation shows that Americans are more economically insecure now than they have been in a quarter of a century, and the trend lines suggest that things will only get worse.

Rampant joblessness and skyrocketing medical costs are among the biggest factors tearing at the very fabric of American economic life so painstakingly put together in the early post-World War II decades.

The analysis was done by a team of researchers led by Professor Jacob Hacker of Yale University. They created an economic security index, which measures the percentage of Americans who experience a decrease in their household income of 25 percent or more in one year without having the financial resources to offset that loss. (Major medical expenses were counted as a decrease in available income.)

The team’s findings were grim. Simply stated, more and more families are facing utter economic devastation: completely out of money, with their jobs, savings and retirement funds gone, and nowhere to turn for the next dollar."

Contrast the sobering revelations in the Herbert piece with this - from The Wall St. Journal:

"Larry Ellison, founder and chief executive of software maker Oracle Corp., topped the list of best-paid executives of public companies during the past decade, receiving $1.84 billion in compensation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of CEO pay.

Coming in No. 2 on the compensation list was Barry Diller, who received roughly $1.14 billion from IAC/InterActive and Expedia.com, the online travel site IAC spun off in 2005, where he remains chairman.

Following Mr. Diller were Occidental Petroleum Corp. CEO Ray Irani at $857 million, Apple Inc.'s Steve Jobs with $749 million and, in fifth place, Capital One Financial Corp. CEO Richard Fairbank at $569 million.

Four of the top 25 CEOs worked at financial companies, two on Wall Street: former Lehman Brothers CEO Richard S. Fuld, at No. 11 with $457 million, and former Citigroup Inc. CEO Sandy Weill, who ranked 19th at $361 million. The others were Mr. Fairbank and former Countrywide Financial Corp. CEO Angelo Mozilo."

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