Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It's The Inequality Stupid!

Robert Reich at truth out gives us an important lesson regarding unions, elections and Republicans:
Republicans claim the rich are job creators. Nothing could be further from the truth. In order to create jobs, businesses need customers. But the rich spend only a small fraction of what they earn. They park most of it wherever around the world they can get the highest return.

The real job creators are the vast middle class, whose spending drives the economy and creates jobs.

But as the middle class's share of total income continues to drop, it cannot spend as much as before. Nor can most Americans borrow as they did before the crash of 2008 — borrowing that temporarily masked their declining purchasing power.
As a result, businesses are reluctant to hire. This is the main reason why the recovery has been so anemic.

As wealth and income rise to the top, moreover, so does political power. The rich are able to entrench themselves by lowering their taxes, gaining special tax breaks (such as the "carried interest" loophole allowing private equity and hedge fund managers to treat their incomes as capital gains), and ensuring a steady flow of corporate welfare to their businesses (special breaks for oil and gas, big agriculture, big insurance, Big Pharma, and, of course, Wall Street).

All of this squeezes public budgets, corrupts government, and undermines our democracy. The issue isn't the size of our government; it's who our government is for. It has become less responsive to the needs of most citizens and more to the demands of a comparative few.

The Republican response – as we saw dramatically articulated this past week in Tampa – is to further reduce taxes on the rich, defund programs for the poor, fight unions, allow the median wage to continue to fall, and oppose any limits on campaign contributions or spending.

It does not take a great deal of brainpower to understand this strategy will lead to an even more lopsided economy, more entrenched wealth, and more corrupt democracy.


  1. "borrowing that temporarily masked their declining purchasing power."
    You make a lot of assumptions in this theory of the middle class driving the economy, but lets say your right for sake of making this point. Couldn't we then assume that the increased borrowing by the fed has masked the inability of current policies to help the economy? Maybe a stronger middle class is the way to a healthy economy, but we need to loot the wealthy to achieve that?
    We've had 4 years of this ideology and all I hear is fear of a double dip recession.

    1. Well, maybe you've simply been listening in the wrong places.

      I wouldn't call it looting the wealthy as much as returning the money to those who have been looted all along.

    2. I forgot, it's the season of class warfare.
      Here's the problem with your tax the rich theory:

    3. Simply cutting the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250K will produce one trillion dollars in revenue. There's lots of room for improvement.


    4. have a source for that theory? Or did you read it on the bumper of a minivan?

    5. Only the Congressional Budget Office. I know, not as impressive as Bill O'Really, but all the same, I'll take them over your sources.

    6. Nice try, that 1 trillion is over a ten year period and includes savings in interest on the debt service. We need 1.6 T per year to close Obamas spending gap.
      Per Oreilly:
      jan 2009 now
      unemployement 7.8 8.3
      medain income 54900 50900
      gasoline 1.84 3.82
      national debt 10.6T 16T

      Now, one of us is being misled that Obama is better for the middle class. Step away from the kool-aid and you might see it.

  2. As Mitt Romney's father George Romney said, when he released 12 years of his own taxes during his presidential run, "one year could be a fluke, perhaps done for show."

    Mr. Romney is running for President of the United States.
    This is a position of Trust.
    Ronald Reagan said, "Trust but Verify."
    Mr. Romney has said, "Trust me," re his tax returns.
    It is not unreasonable for voters to want to "Verify.

    What is the single issue on which Mr. Romney has never flip-flopped? He stands doggedly firm on never, under any circumstances, releasing his tax returns.


    It is not just liberals who want to see Romney's tax returns.
    It is 63% of American voters who do.

    The longer Mr. Romney delays, the more suspicious it appears.

    Obama released 8 years of tax returns
    GW Bush 10 years
    Clinton 12 years
    GHW Bush 14 years
    George Romney 12 years.

    What is there to hide?
    Release the tax returns, Mr. Romney.

  3. I always liked Reagan's line saying "Trust but Verify," meaning that if we are to trust our opponent, we must earn that trust through verifying. Seems like a reasonable policy.
    But why, when a supposed Reagan believer like Romney suddenly ignores that idea, we should not trust him because he hasn't earned that trust.
    Romney had no problem showing McCain in 2008 multiple years of detailed tax information while being vetted as a possible VP nominee, but why can't he show the voting public?

  4. IMBR... "4 years if this ideology" has led to tax cuts across the board and in particular for the wealthy, the lowest tax rates since the 1950s. Not sure what your incessant complaining is about. Please enlighten us as to what exactly you want. I assume your desired tax rate for the wealthy is 0.8%, and you would be pleased as punch if we had no public schools for our children, and a return to pverty stricken senior citizens. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

    1. So its your position that Obama has cut taxes? I am sure he is not far enough to the left for your taste. He could have raised them, but he knows what the outcome would be. He doesn't say it, because he needs to be the champion of the little guy to get re-elected.
      Incessant complaining? That could be the title of this blog. I'm just joining in.
      I am tired of the class envy stuff. I feel that increasing tax on success in America will limit success in America.
      What do I want? We already have a progressive system. When people can vote themselves money without having to work for it we are doomed as a society. And we are almost to that point.

    2. When people can vote themselves money without having to work for it we are doomed as a society. And we are almost to that point.

      So are you ready to condemn Scott Walker and his supporters, since this is exactly what they are doing?

  5. Its not someones "position" that he has cut taxes he HAS cut taxes, lowest rate in 50 years!

    He had better raise them by ending the Bush tax cuts for everyone ove r250/k....how have they worked out for us anyway????

    who can vote themselves money?

    1. So he has cut taxes so far (debatable, but why bother), but you are going to vote for him because you believe he will raise taxes?
      I am sure he will roll over on his largest donors to keep your blind faith.

      No, I'm betting it will be more of the same. Lots of golfing, lots of vacations, stagnant growth, no budgets, and record deficit spending.
      At least we agree he needs to do "something" different.

    2. Actually, he cut spending more than any other president too.

      Do you have any factual reasons to dislike Obama, or just squawk radio talking points?

    3. Actually Bill Oreilly made a pretty strong case last night. But I am sure you were to busy eating popcorn waiting for the DA to bring up charges to have seen it. I doubt you could refute it with bumper sticker slogans anyway.

  6. Ooh, citing the televised version of squawk radio! But since you don't say what that case was (my guess is it was a nutcase) one can't argue for or against it.

    1. I might remind you talk radio and fox news have by far the biggest audience in the country. And they do a pretty good job of backing up their theories, you know, with more than crazy speculation. Something I cant say for Joe Biden. Laughable that he gives bumper sticker slogans instead of logic in his detroit speech.

    2. Actually, Faux News still pales compared to over the air channels.

      And you find them credible? Show me where you find palm trees in Madison in February.

  7. any examples of some of those theories that talk radio has "backed up"?

    1. You should listen from time to time. More interesting than listening to the same songs over and over in the car. It would do you good to hear some other perspectives.

    2. Oh I do. I do. I even listened to Sykes admit that a story he told was a lie and he had nothing to back it up. Then he repeated the lie like it was truth. Yet people like you still believe him...

    3. I don't listen to Charlie, but I think of talk radio as a commentary to the news. I don't agree with every assumption but at least they try to back them up. It's similar to this blog, because you write it doesn't make me believe. but if it makes sense it certainly weighs on my opinion.
      Maybe your just angry because they found a way to get paid to do what you do.

    4. I don't agree with every assumption but at least they try to back them up.

      Charlie Sykes: "My ‘evidence’? Absolutely none."

      'Nuff said.

  8. Like the theory the purchase by SSE of 170,000+ bullets was a sure sign Obama was preparing to take over the country. Of course, nothing to say when it was found the bullets were for a small force of agents for protection and for training.