"A rising tide lifts all the boats."
-- John F. Kennedy, 1963
"This time it hasn't. The tide of the 1990s is different."
-- Stephen Roach, economist at the investment firm of Morgan Stanley, 1994
Kennedy's belief that a growing economy helps everybody to a more abundant life has been gospel for three decades. But Roach's opinion better describes today's reality: the closer one looks at the three-year-old recovery, the more it appears to be unlike any in recent memory. It is a split-level surge in which mass layoffs are continuing side by side with new hiring and heavy overtime; high-income...