For Business, Golden Days; For Workers, the Dross

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This NYT piece confirms what Michael Burke and Michael Roberts have already shown. Corporate profits are up as wages are driven down, taxes are lower than expected and the economy (along with public service provision)

The government’s first estimate of corporate profits in the third quarter was released two days before Thanksgiving, at the same time it revised the rate of G.D.P. growth in the quarter down to an annual rate of 2.0 percent.

The report showed that effective tax rates, both corporate and personal, are well below where they were during most of the post-World War II era.

Corporate profits after taxes were estimated to be $1.56 trillion, at an annual rate, during the quarter, or 10.3 percent of the size of the economy, up from 10.1 percent in the second quarter. Until 2010, the government had never reported even a single quarter in which the corporate share was as high as 9 percent, as can be seen in the accompanying charts.

The government began calculating the quarterly figures on corporate profits in 1947, but it has annual figures back to 1929. Until last year, the record annual share was 8.98 percent, set in 1929. For all of 2010, the figure was 9.56 percent.

Wage and salary income was only 43.7 percent of G.D.P., the lowest number for any period going back to 1929. That figure first fell below 45 percent in 2009.

Compared with the final three months of 2007 – as the 2007-9 recession was beginning – wage and salary income was just 1.8 percent higher in the third quarter of this year. By contrast, overall corporate profits before taxes were 35 percent higher. With estimated corporate taxes just 1.5 percent higher, after-tax profits were up 49 percent. Those figures are not adjusted for inflation.

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