New York Times: (December 2013)
“We continue to believe that underlying growth will remain on a moderate trend,” said Joshua Shapiro, the chief United States economist at MFR, a consulting firm. “The outlook is greatly dependent on the direction of the labor market, and hence the path of wage and salary growth and the ability of consumers to expand spending.”
Despite the Feds "tapering" of free money to the big commercial banks, stocks went up, but that was also because of investors covering their short sells.
Another reason why GDP grew last quarter was because of replenishing inventories, not because wages went up, more people had jobs, and consumers were spending more --- or that exports were anything to brag about either --- because just like Americans, consumers abroad don't have any extra money to spend either (unless you include China's rising middle-class).
The stocks prices have been manipulated in many other ways, including stock buy-backs to reduce outstanding shares to increase stock values, hence, increasing the value of CEO stock-option grants.
Corporate earnings overseas are still being hoarded offshore (untaxed by the IRS); and Congress is also under-funding the IRS to go after wealthy tax dodgers with their offshore tax havens.
And jobs continued to be offshored to low-wage countries (first from the US to China, then from China to even lower-wage countries like Cambodia) --- just as US factories are moving from union states to lower-wage "right to work" states (such as in the auto industry, bankrupting cities like Detroit, thus allowing for worker's pensions to be stolen to pay off creditors).
The Fed has forecast a further decline in the labor force participation rate and has noted there will be a continuing problem with long-term unemployment for years to come. For political reasons (as is done by both political parties), the true number of unemployed Americans has been kept hidden from the public.
And members of both parties (for decades) have allowed the tax code to be skewed to mostly benefit the wealthy --- such as the corporate tax loopholes, the cap on Social Security taxes, and taxing capital gains less than regular wages (among many other ways).
Democracy has continued to be corrupted and eroded by money in politics (campaign contributions and superPACs), rigged voting laws and congressional district gerrymandering --- and by congressional rules (such as "The Hastert Rule" and the filibuster) denying the people a fair voice in their government. The Supreme Court (Citizens United) has allowed the richest people to have the biggest megaphones with the loudest voices, further undermining the people's ability to make any of the changes they would be in more favor of --- such as raising the minimum wage.
"Income inequality" isn't a new phenomenon, it's been steadily rising for decades, but it only started getting more attention after the housing bubble burst and after the economy crashed 5 years ago --- when millions of Americans had their lives devastated and finally started becoming more aware. Income inequality is greater in the US than in other developed nation (although, maybe not as bad as in some other nations ran by despots).
Part of the solution would be a better form of taxation and better wages (a more fair way of income redistribution) that better circulates the money supply throughout the economy, rather than having it hoarded by the top one percent (aka the job creators).
If not, and THE PEOPLE can't get their elected leaders in Congress to correct all these massive socio-economic injustices, then all the "Homer Simpsons", "Al Bundys" and "Archie Bunkers" may have to storm the Congressional ramparts with their pitch forks and shovels. Because if they don't take to the streets in protests today, they may end up homeless and sleeping on them tomorrow.