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Old 02-11-2014, 08:19 PM  
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At War with Economic Reality

The title of this article pins this phenomena on the left, but as we know, there are populists on the conservative side, like petegz28, who fall in this category as well.
The Tyranny of Winter
The Left is at war with economic reality.
By Kevin D. Williamson

The Left is at war with economic reality. The intellectual poverty of the Left — which is also a moral poverty — is evident in the fact that its leaders are much more intensely interested in incomes at the top than those at the bottom. Examples are not difficult to come by: Senator Elizabeth Warren is visibly agitated by Jamie Dimon’s recent raise, the AFL-CIO maintains a website dedicated to executive compensation, Barack Obama avows that “at a certain point, you’ve made enough money,” et cetera ad nauseam. The entire rhetoric of inequality is simply an excuse to rage about incomes at the top, a generation’s worth of progressive shenanigans having failed to do much about those at the bottom.

It is the case that incomes at the top have gone up while those in the middle and at the bottom have stagnated or declined in real terms. It is not the case that incomes at the top have gone up because those in the middle and at the bottom have stagnated or declined, nor is it the case that incomes in the middle and at the bottom have stagnated or declined because incomes at the top have gone up.
There is a relationship between the two phenomena, but it is not the relationship that progressives imagine it to be.

Neither the American tax code nor other features of our economic policy are notably generous to high-income and high-wealth people by the standards of the developed world. American businesses labor under the highest business income-tax rate in the world and one of the business tax codes most riddled with political favoritism. At 40 percent — compared with an OECD average of 25 percent — our business income-tax rate is nearly double that of Sweden, and more than twice that of Switzerland, which does not tax capital gains. Our top personal income-tax rate is higher than that of New Zealand, which manages to finance an effective national government out of the proceeds, and much higher than that of very competitive countries such as Singapore. Taken together, our tax and entitlement systems are about as redistributive as typical European welfare states. What is unusual about the United States is not that the rich are taxed so lightly but that the middle class is taxed so lightly, at least relative to European practice.

Which is to say, those who endorse policies such as higher taxes on the wealthy as an antidote to income inequality are missing the picture. The American rich are not getting richer because of the American tax code. Income inequality in the United States is increasing. It is also increasing in Sweden. And Norway. And Finland. And the Netherlands. And Canada. And Germany. Pick your European welfare state and throw in Japan, too, and you’ll find much the same story.

Incomes are up at the top, stagnating or down elsewhere — but there is no “because” between those two facts. The cause is what some people call “globalization,” but is rightly called “progress,” which is of course what so-called progressives oppose. Nearly 1 billion people were lifted out of extreme poverty in 20 years. We have not abolished war and disease, but we have made great — what’s that word? — progress. (A sobering fact for foreign-policy thinkers: There are seven ongoing conflicts in the world in which more than 1,000 people a year are killed. One — the second-deadliest — involves Mexican drug cartels, the other six involve Islam.) That progress has been made possible by human cooperation on an unprecedented scale in the form of the integration of worldwide markets and worldwide supply chains. Bigger markets mean bigger opportunities, which means bigger rewards, not just for executives like Mr. Dimon but for line workers at successful firms. Integrated markets mean more competition, too, which puts pressure on wages in rich countries, especially on the wages of less-skilled labor. Thus the divergence in wages.

The Starbucks-vandalism faction of the Left likes to rail against globalization, but to do so is like railing against the fact that it is cold in the winter. Winter is an important part of the natural cycle, but it can be unpleasant — even deadly. It is something that must be prepared for, and instead of Ned Stark to warn us that winter is coming, we had Lyndon Johnson, a vicious and corrupt man who presided over the building of a vicious and corrupt welfare state. There are things we should have done to prepare for the future that is now our present, reforming the education system and our labor practices, among other things. (GM went bankrupt paying its workers half of what their German counterparts make: the worst of both worlds.) But we did not do those things. We can rail against the tyranny of winter, or we can start gathering firewood.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:27 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
It's only a zero sum game moment to moment. It's not a zero sum game over any length of time. A quick look at income growth at all levels for various periods of our history shows that pretty clearly. You're trapped by your envy of the wealthy, petegz28. You should ignore them and think about what's good for the country.

Not only is that about as idiotic as it gets, you threw in a big slice of hypocrisy on top of it with your whole "what's good for the country" line.

Somewhere you still cling to this notion that trickle down is viable and what you fail to accept is it doesn't because the people who were expected to make it work don't want it to anymore. Somewhere you cling to a notion that a sinking consumer base in this country somehow is good for us in the long run. What you fail to realize is that like anything else, too much globalization can be bad and we are bordering that point. People like you are going to shove us over that edge.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:32 PM   #47
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The more you read and the more this "Income inequality" discussion goes on, the more clear it is a new catch phrase for people to rally around that was created by political spin artists.

Does it exist Sure, some people make more than others? Is it bad? No but it can be a cool way to sucker folks in if we can create a boogyman and demonize something/someone. Class envy is a vote grabber. And its an easy sell.

Will more taxes fix it? No. More tax on the top will have no positive impact on the bottom. It may actually hurt the bottom. Will it impact anything related to income inequality? No

We need to blame somebody but no one knows who. But shit we gotta do something. I mean look its like everywhere and there are charts and poor people stuff.

People like to spin from Income inequality of on their favorite thing…Native posts a huge amount of graphs that said nothing, gets all into his smart angry guy act and eventually says we need to raise taxes and deal with the deficit…..all starting with Income Inequality. How many times have we seen him do that dance.

Pete is honestly concerned. I believe that. Not sure why or to what end but its real. The middle class is getting the hell beat out of it. Real inflation is hammering them thats inflation of you include food and energy. Wages may be stagnant for some but lack of a job is much bigger factor for households. Obama and his crappy stimulus and the bullshit regs and then ObamaCare is not going to create jobs fro the bottom 80%.

The Fact Incomes are not equal and the fact in the world we have income inequality just is that. Always will exist.

What is missing today is opportunity to move up. Its not caused because one guy makes more than another.
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Old 02-12-2014, 12:36 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by petegz28 View Post
Not only is that about as idiotic as it gets, you threw in a big slice of hypocrisy on top of it with your whole "what's good for the country" line.

Somewhere you still cling to this notion that trickle down is viable and what you fail to accept is it doesn't because the people who were expected to make it work don't want it to anymore. Somewhere you cling to a notion that a sinking consumer base in this country somehow is good for us in the long run. What you fail to realize is that like anything else, too much globalization can be bad and we are bordering that point. People like you are going to shove us over that edge.
You always sound like you've already been shoved over the edge. Your entire rant makes no sense.
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:30 PM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
The more you read and the more this "Income inequality" discussion goes on, the more clear it is a new catch phrase for people to rally around that was created by political spin artists.

Does it exist Sure, some people make more than others? Is it bad? No but it can be a cool way to sucker folks in if we can create a boogyman and demonize something/someone. Class envy is a vote grabber. And its an easy sell.

Will more taxes fix it? No. More tax on the top will have no positive impact on the bottom. It may actually hurt the bottom. Will it impact anything related to income inequality? No

We need to blame somebody but no one knows who. But shit we gotta do something. I mean look its like everywhere and there are charts and poor people stuff.

People like to spin from Income inequality of on their favorite thing…Native posts a huge amount of graphs that said nothing, gets all into his smart angry guy act and eventually says we need to raise taxes and deal with the deficit…..all starting with Income Inequality. How many times have we seen him do that dance.

Pete is honestly concerned. I believe that. Not sure why or to what end but its real. The middle class is getting the hell beat out of it. Real inflation is hammering them thats inflation of you include food and energy. Wages may be stagnant for some but lack of a job is much bigger factor for households. Obama and his crappy stimulus and the bullshit regs and then ObamaCare is not going to create jobs fro the bottom 80%.

The Fact Incomes are not equal and the fact in the world we have income inequality just is that. Always will exist.

What is missing today is opportunity to move up. Its not caused because one guy makes more than another.
Again you suffer from buying the liberal view. Income equality is not the cause, it's the result. I am not arguing for equal incomes. I am arguing that the skew of inequality has become the result of greedy business.

CEO to worker pay is roughly 270-1 up from 120-1 in 2000 and 50-1 in 1980. Our corporate culture has become one of paying execs several million $'s regardless of performance. You can agree with this or not but the reality is it drives the worker to a point of resentment and disgust. Those workers ultimately find themselves embracing failed liberal policies out of spite and anger.
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:55 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by petegz28 View Post
Again you suffer from buying the liberal view. Income equality is not the cause, it's the result. I am not arguing for equal incomes. I am arguing that the skew of inequality has become the result of greedy business.

CEO to worker pay is roughly 270-1 up from 120-1 in 2000 and 50-1 in 1980. Our corporate culture has become one of paying execs several million $'s regardless of performance. You can agree with this or not but the reality is it drives the worker to a point of resentment and disgust. Those workers ultimately find themselves embracing failed liberal policies out of spite and anger.

Cutting CEO pay won't revitalize the middle class, it will not make more poor people conservative republicans, and it won't fix any of the issues around income inequality. If people choose to be a democrat because the cEO of their company has bug pay, they may want to check out that he or she is likely a democrat. But its still irrelevant.
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Old 02-12-2014, 01:58 PM   #51
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Again you suffer from buying the liberal view.
It's a classical liberal view--which is what conservatives are on economics. I'll give you one thing though, we do have corporatism to a degree BUT that's not liberal or even classical liberalism.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:00 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
Cutting CEO pay won't revitalize the middle class, it will not make more poor people conservative republicans, and it won't fix any of the issues around income inequality. If people choose to be a democrat because the cEO of their company has bug pay, they may want to check out that he or she is likely a democrat. But its still irrelevant.

God damn, no wonder the Repubs don't get it. Your entire argument is forged from the wrong mold. That is the problem with current Repub party.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:01 PM   #53
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It's a classical liberal view--which is what conservatives are on economics. I'll give you one thing though, we do have corporatism to a degree BUT that's not liberal or even classical liberalism.
I never said it was liberal. My entire argument is based on the premise that we are being squeezed from two sides...one political and one corporate. Ironically the more we get squeezed the more those 2 sides come together.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:03 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by petegz28 View Post
I never said it was liberal. My entire argument is based on the premise that we are being squeezed from two sides...one political and one corporate. Ironically the more we get squeezed the more those 2 sides come together.
Well, I thought when you said this to HCF's post: "Again you suffer from buying the liberal view." you were referring to that as the liberal view.

The American middle-class is like being in the center of a vise with pressure from below ( progs and socialists) and pressure from above (corporate socialists, corporatism, fascism, globalism whatever you want to call it) But it's just not true of all corporations.

The answer does not reside in any solutions by the left though.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:05 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by BucEyedPea View Post
Well, I thought when you said this to HCF's post: "Again you suffer from buying the liberal view." you were referring to that as the liberal view.

The American middle-class is like being in the center of a vise with pressure from below ( progs and socialists) and pressure from above (corporate socialists, corporatism, fascism, globalism whatever you want to call it) But it's just not true of all corporations.

The answer does not reside in any solutions by the left though.
It is true of most big corporations. And those are the ones seeding the bank accounts of the politicians. And what I said earlier that you still are incorrect about is that the liberal view is that income inequality is the cause. I stated it is a symptom not a cause.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:16 PM   #56
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okay, i see what you're saying--not sure i am buying that its a symptom either. at least not at this point.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:43 PM   #57
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okay, i see what you're saying--not sure i am buying that its a symptom either. at least not at this point.
It is a symptom. While it may be a cause purely from a domino effect the root cause is not the fact that there is income inequality, as stated by others there always has been and always will be, but the size of the gap is reaching dangerous levels is a symptom of excessive greed. Not to single out JP Morgan but it is a great example of what I am talking about. In a year of toil and trouble and one where the company had to pay record fines for bad business practices, the CEO was given a 74% pay increase. Even in the best of times I cannot see any scenario where someone at that level justifiably receives that large of an increase, let alone during the current economic scenario.

But that is just an example, though admittedly an extreme one, of the business practices going on today. The middle class is being attacked by hidden taxes, fleeced by political policy, screwed by the executive boards and robbed by Wall St. I would argue we could prosper under a couple of those scenarios but what we have brewing is a perfect storm to annihilate a chunk of the middle class.
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Old 02-12-2014, 02:56 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
Cutting CEO pay won't revitalize the middle class, it will not make more poor people conservative republicans, and it won't fix any of the issues around income inequality. If people choose to be a democrat because the cEO of their company has bug pay, they may want to check out that he or she is likely a democrat. But its still irrelevant.
It will cause pain to some rich folks and that seems to really be all some of these people want.
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Old 02-12-2014, 03:01 PM   #59
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pet, I am not buying that it's greed either. Not unless it's due to political connections resulting in bailouts for bad business practices. But I do agree with your second paragraph.
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Old 02-13-2014, 01:54 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
The more you read and the more this "Income inequality" discussion goes on, the more clear it is a new catch phrase for people to rally around that was created by political spin artists.

Does it exist Sure, some people make more than others? Is it bad? No but it can be a cool way to sucker folks in if we can create a boogyman and demonize something/someone. Class envy is a vote grabber. And its an easy sell.

Will more taxes fix it? No. More tax on the top will have no positive impact on the bottom. It may actually hurt the bottom. Will it impact anything related to income inequality? No

We need to blame somebody but no one knows who. But shit we gotta do something. I mean look its like everywhere and there are charts and poor people stuff.

People like to spin from Income inequality of on their favorite thing…Native posts a huge amount of graphs that said nothing, gets all into his smart angry guy act and eventually says we need to raise taxes and deal with the deficit…..all starting with Income Inequality. How many times have we seen him do that dance.

Pete is honestly concerned. I believe that. Not sure why or to what end but its real. The middle class is getting the hell beat out of it. Real inflation is hammering them thats inflation of you include food and energy. Wages may be stagnant for some but lack of a job is much bigger factor for households. Obama and his crappy stimulus and the bullshit regs and then ObamaCare is not going to create jobs fro the bottom 80%.

The Fact Incomes are not equal and the fact in the world we have income inequality just is that. Always will exist.

What is missing today is opportunity to move up. Its not caused because one guy makes more than another.
Well said.

But it's the sign of the times that moral corruption only gets worse as time goes on and at all socioeconomic levels and why our Republic becomes more "Banana" everyday.
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