Box Vox

packaging as content

November 5, 2012

Income Inequality & Package Design

You know that extreme “income inequality” has become the accepted norm when Proctor & Gamble must recalibrate their entire product line into two separate branches: “wealthy” and “low income.”

As Procter & Gamble goes, so goes the nation. Will package design become similarly bifurcated? Will we see an increasingly stark contrast between luxury goods branding and “value-oriented” discount packaging? Will “have” & “have not” become the new organizing principle on supermarket shelves? (See also: The Great Divergence)

Tomorrow morning I plan to walk one block over and one block down to our local election district poll site and vote. (Spoiler alert: I’ll be voting for Obama.)

I know there are plenty of other small business owners on Staten Island who will be voting for Mitt Romney. They’ve drunk the Republican Kool-Aid and sincerely believe that a Romney presidency will benefit their businesses. I’m not buying it.

If it could have been scientifically proven to me that tax advantages for the super wealthy really did benefit everyone, then I would willingly swallow it like a bad tasting medicine that actually makes you better. Simply calling wealthy people “job creators,” however, as Romney has been doing, doesn’t really convince me.

Being rich does not require anyone to invest in business or to create jobs. Being rich just means that you have more money. I don’t see why that should earn anyone a tax break. And I don’t see why continuing such tax breaks for the wealthy would suddenly help our economy grow since the wealthy are free to do as they please with their extra money.

Being poor or living paycheck to paycheck, on the other hand, means that you must soon spend any money that you manage to accrue. That, to me, sounds much more stimulative. Maybe it’s the working poor who are the real “jobs creators” here. (See also: The Trickle Up Effect)

The recent Congressional Research Service report entitled “Taxes and the Economy: An Economic Analysis of the Top Tax Rates Since 1945” is more the type of scientific proof I had in mind. I think that news about this report should have been more widely reported. The fact that Republican senators managed to suppress it, is apparently part of a general trend, that Rachel Maddow succinctly described in her show on Friday…

The conclusions of the report (that tax advantages favoring the wealthy only succeed in widening the income gap, but do nothing to help the economy as a whole) should once again put “income inequality” front and center as a national issue. Especially when there is plenty of evidence to suggest that narrowing the income gap (rather than widening it) is something that would actually help the economy. (See: Income Inequality May Take Toll on Growth)

See also: 1% Violator