While opponents of reform have zealously sought a reprieve for the nation's bankers, perhaps what is most striking is that there has been no reprieve for the American families crushed by the financial irresponsibility in which those bankers engaged. Wages as a share of national income have fallen to their lowest level since the Great Depression while the share going to corporate profits has rebounded to pre-crisis levels. From the second quarter of 2009 through the first quarter of this year, 92% of income growth went to corporate profits while none went to wages. The median pay of CEOs soared by 28 percent in 2010, while the average length of unemployment grew to nine months, the highest since record keeping began in 1948. And, young people across the country attending state universities have faced steep tuition hikes as state budgets collapsed in the wake of the meltdown -- with increases since 2007 of 132% in California, 95% in Arizona, and 54% in Florida.
That we would emerge from the financial crisis with bankers resplendent and fighting with their allies to keep the status quo -- while working families are struggling to survive -- should remind us of how far we have to go to right the financial and economic ship of state. And, it should be our clarion call on this anniversary to finish the work before us and to commit ourselves anew to building a financial system and economy that works for all Americans.
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