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Not Movin’ On Up

It’s the American dream. But upward mobility is falling way behind Europe’s and Canada’s. What’s up?

In this Oct 19, 2011 file photo, an automobile rolls past many closed storefront businesses in downtown Pickens, Miss. The ranks of America's poor have climbed to a record high, according to new census data that paints a stark portrait of the nation's haves and have-nots at a time when unemployment remains persistently high. (AP)

In this Oct 19, 2011 file photo, an automobile rolls past many closed storefront businesses in downtown Pickens, Miss. The ranks of America's poor have climbed to a record high, according to new census data that paints a stark portrait of the nation's haves and have-nots at a time when unemployment remains persistently high. (AP)

America has always meant “land of opportunity.”  Above all else, this was the country where you could get ahead.  And pity old, stodgy, stuck-in-the-mud Europe.  Well, look again.  A wave of studies now show that upward mobility is higher in Europe than America.  And not just a little higher.

Your chances of rising up are now greater in Norway, Finland, Denmark than in the USA.  Higher in Sweden, Germany, France.  Higher in Canada – and by a good margin.  What’s gone wrong?  What should we do about it?

This hour, On Point:  This is core.  America’s big upward mobility problem.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Scott Winship, fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution, and Director of the Center on Children and Families for the Social Genome Project.

Reihan Salam, columnist for The Daily and lead writer of The Agenda blog at National Review.

Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and former chief economist and economic policy adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Occupy Wall Street movement may have put the issue on the map, but others have been talking about a decline in opportunity and equality for many years. “What we’re seeing is a combination of years of rising economic inequality in the U.S. mixed in with the tough recession and the sluggish recovery that has followed since then that has really put the issue of inequality on the map,” said Scott Winship, fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution.

And other forces are acting on the country to exacerbate inequity. There’s a relationship between the high levels of economic inequality and a lack of upward economic mobility, said Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “There are many commentators, particularly conservatives, who’ve said: ‘don’t worry about inequality, we’ve got enough mobility to off-set it,’ when, in fact, we don’t.”

But the data may be more complicated. “It’s not entirely clear what the relationship between economic inequality and upward mobility is,” he said. Economic inequality has risen a lot since the 1970s, but it’s not clear that mobility has fallen over that period.”

Economic mobility should be important to all democracies, because implicit in a democracy is a social contract that promises that the country is better off together than it is in pieces, said Reihan Salam, columnist for The Daily and lead writer of The Agenda blog at National Review.

Bernstein went further, noting that the American Dream itself says that it is not only possible, but with hard work—more likely, that children will be better off economically than their parents. Recent polling shows however that people in the United States are “are now more pessimistic that their kids will do better than they did,” Berstein said.

From Tom’s Reading List

Pew Economic Mobility Project “By a margin of 85 percent to 13 percent, Americans care more about financial stability than upward mobility.”

The New York Times “Benjamin Franklin did it. Henry Ford did it. And American life is built on the faith that others can do it, too: rise from humble origins to economic heights. “Movin’ on up,” George Jefferson-style, is not only a sitcom song but a civil religion. ”

The Atlantic “The American model has been regarded as proposing a kind of bargain. This is not Europe: Here, idleness and incompetence are sternly punished—but merit gets rewarded. Much more than elsewhere, your class background will neither prop you up nor hold you back. If you deserve to succeed, you will.”

National Review “What’s the most important issue in American politics? In a narrow sense, the sputtering economy and ballooning deficits are likely to dominate the 2012 election season. But while every election has its own particular concerns, fundamentally it is to the American Dream that our politicians must tend — that libertarian and egalitarian bundle of values and hopes that transcend our partisan, economic, and social divisions.”

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  • Zero

    Mitt Romney’s dad worked hard so Mitt can be where he is…your dad should have worked harder. 

  • JP

    Europe and Canada have better upward mobility than the U.S.?
     
    Well, Europe and Canada don’t have Republicans!
     
    The U.S. was fine until Republicans finally rose to prominence in America… shed the Republican albatross and we’ll do well again, though it will take a few years for Dems to clean up the Republican mess.
     
    The best years the American middle class ever saw were the fifty years Dems controlled both houses of Congress, up until the Republican takeover in 1994.
     
    It’s been downhill for the American middle class ever since, once Republicans like Gingrich were able to enact Reaganomics policies on steroids, push their religious fanaticsm on everyone, and sell America’s future to corporatism, the ultra-wealthy, and the military-industrial complex.

    Like I said, Europe and Canada have the great advantage of NO REPUBLICAN PARTY!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

      Hey JP,  When North Americans can release themselves from the two party charade, they may be able to find a solution.

      The republicans have their greedy corporations and the corrupting lobbyists, And the Dems have their government cronies and overwieght unmarried unemployed mothers with overflowing supermarket carriages filled with the worst of foods, while married working families are buying $25 worth of necessities at a time.

      Look outside the box,  away from the media diversions and the scapegoats.    Its about elitists with power and money playing you for a chump.

      • na na nana

        love YOUR stereotypes!

        • TFRX

          Good catch.

          It does appear that the idea of a “food desert” should be more common knowledge than it is now.

          The time and money which disadvantaged people must expend to get food, let alone decent food, doesn’t seem obvious to every person who has (say) my privilege of driving by six megamarkets and three farm stands on the way to work.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

          Hey Nana,     I’m willing to bet you shop at Whole Foods or another chain in an upscale neighborhood.   But try grocery shopping in a lower middle class neighborhood.  You’ll find more visual economic data there than one could ever imagine.  Just be observant. 

    • William

      If those “50 years” were the best, why did LBJ have to enact the Great Society Programs?

      • Newton Whale

        According to my calendar, 1964 was 30 years before 1994.

        You might as well ask “If the Interstate Highway System was so effective, why did Eisenhower have to build it in the 1950′s?”

      • Modavations

        Dem.vote buying.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I wonder if the word “professionalism” encapsulates the American ethos, the set of values that tells us to transcend whatever gets in the way (ethnic vendettas, mountain ranges) and get on with deploying our skills, doing what needs to be done.  
        I used to see the word professionalism as an elitist word that was meant to be exclusionary, barring certain “differently abled,” shall we say, practitioners of this or that from contributing in a save-the-whales-with-their-blue-blooded-Ivy-League-trust-baby groupie kind of a way.   Not exactly the Bill Gates theme I hear on PBS and NPR about a wider goal of enabling all to be their best.  
         By that Gatesian theme, all Americans are professionals, and it is our quintessentially melting-pot type of Dream to transcend whatever rifts and get on with business.  The Left shall lie down with the Right, and the Peaceable Kingdom shall flourish and thrive.  Oh, Kingdom Come.  

    • Gregg

      Good word and as always, great comment. IMHO “professionalism” (as you describe it) should not be considered elitist but is seems it is. I don’t think most parents instill admiration for achievement in their children. These days they are more likely to tell them the achievement is not fair.

      So if our Kingdom were to come, I have 2 questions. Is there a better system of Government to enable the “Dream”? Would it be a better place if the label “professional” were to be bestowed willy nilly and we had a more equitable outcome based on victim hood as opposed to merit?

      • Ellen Dibble

        Thanks, Gregg.  Good question about better system of government.  And I think children’s DNA makes them want to (need to) please the parents, and how parents themselves see achievement gets imprinted and modified, I suppose, in adolescence… hmm.
            But victimhood as opposed to merit?   Here is where I see the “system” itself rigged for predatory behavior.  We see it most clearly in the banking system, but even without the shenanigans there, by definition the haves are lending money to the have-nots, and the have-nots are not going to get ahead without making investments in either/or/and personal startup businesses and/or education for better employment.  
            So the poor are paying the interest on the loans to the rich.  In order to succeed.  To some extent that is the definition of the rich preying on the poor, and I suppose that is why on Good Friday, last time I checked, Jesus was throwing over the tables of the money changers, and perhaps why Islam does not allow such transactions (Muslims have devised other ways). So capitalism by definition advantages those at the top, with interest from those trying to get ahead from the bottom — while of course the rich are not happy for the competition, right?  Capitalism is self-defeating that way.  Progressive taxation can help, but the rich have found lots of win-wins (they think) from supporting the underclass in their state of can’t-get-out-of-this-place; not worth it to give up the perks, for either side.  
            I think when the world is changing so fast, lots of forward-looking investment is needed both as individuals and as governments, and so this dysfunctional aspect of banking comes to the fore.

  • Yar

    The politics of rugged capitalism fails when resources are limited. Self over community has its limit.  What can we learn from schools of fish, hives of bees, or the concept that single cell organisms learned to work together to build a thinking individual?  Everyone wants to be a brain cell an nobody wants to be in the lining of the gut.   

    We are a young nation with an aging population.  At the rate we are going we will soon be a very different country or group of countries.  The industrial revolution is a flash in the pan,  we have much work to turn innovation into a sustainable society.  A society built on exploitation and consumerism is not on a sustainable track.  We talk about growth as a goal of our community, while ignoring the effects growth has on our already overcrowded world.  We divide our world view into ‘us VS them’, which makes sustainability a meaningless term.  Our concept of sustainability is limited to a desire for individual immortality, as we come to grips with our own mortality, we shift  into “grab as fast as you can.”  Unregulated growth is a definition of cancer, in other words our nation is devolving into single cell organisms.

    • Ellen Dibble

      So not all “growths” are to be yearned for?  Not at all.  Change, yes.  Growth, no.   Generation-upon-generation, yes.  Immortality, no.  See yourself in the eyes of the rest of the organism’s parts (that of the human race), yes.  See yourself as “independent” — not so much.

      • Yar

        How do we get stronger dedication to the community and less about the individual?  We must build communities that support us in all stages of life.

  • Pudyson

    As a first generation American myself, I know that a Canadian immigrant is more than twice as likely to rise in social class than one who comes to the U.S.
      My Italian parents who emigrated to R.I. sent “care” packages to our bombed out relatives during WWII.  Now my Italian cousins live better than we do in the States. The few emigrants, in the 50′s and early 60′s, went to Canada, not the U.S. with its restrictive immigration policies.
       In my little ancestral village, the Italian government provides college at low cost. Their health care is excellent and accessible, their food of better quality, their families close and caring, their spacious marble filled homes (paid for in cash not mortgages) are villas…amazing in this small, isolated (3,000 inhabitants) in the Abruzzi mountains.  Compare this to any town in the Appalachians, let alone a typical US suburb!
       Best of all the middle class is Europe with almost no pockets of poverty seen as in the US….even the non-assimilating, begging Gypsies dress well and have personal apartments in Europe, no longer living in the camps of the past.  
        Here in the U.S. we hear the anti-socialism, anti-entitlements harangues of Republican politicians. Economists say that the European economic crisis is NOT caused by governments providing social safety nets but rather to the financial machinations of the world-wide market.
        

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

      Ciao Pudyson,   

      All true !!!   Especially the part about the family.   I feel sorry for many italo-americans and north americans in general.  Many families are train-wrecks.
      They have been fractured by superficial materialism and a socially engineered society led by marketing and consumerism. 

      Italians are so much more together, and as much as the US media likes to gloat about Italy’s financial crisis,  Italians will do just fine…they can take it.   Italy has been bombed by British, USA and Germans and people were eating wild greens to survive.   Italians are more social and enjoy the simpler things in life. It is the people in the USA that will be killing eachother in the streets when they can’t afford their netflix.

      Its all about the FAMILY.  In the USA,  the courts, the judges and parasite lawyers have helped fracture the family, leaving its children clueless to look to be exploited by the media.  Even though some Italians will jump at the chance to make money in the US, all admit they have no intention of staying there.   Truth be known, more than 70% of earlier Italian immigrants to the US, returned to Italy.

  • Jasoturner

    Americans are now more concerned with credentials than competence.  We don’t build much anymore, but we litigate, we move money around, we gamble in the markets.  Unfortunately, you don’t need very many people to control these activities.  What happens to those without the connections and without the business and law degrees?  Why, they become lower middle class service workers.  Catering to the credentialed elite.

    • Gregg

      “What happens to those without the connections and without the business and law degrees?”

      They should get a degree and network up some connections. Just a crazy suggestion.

      • Sam Walworth

        Yes and 100k+ in student loan as well, and that will go a loooong way to hel you out in the loooong run ..

        Am I right?

        • Gregg

          I did okay without a degree or the accompanying loan. I had to do without for a very long time but passion and hard work prevailed in the end. Things are peachy now and it had nothing to do with a degree or connections. If you choose to put yourself on the hook for $100K then I would suggest having a plan and realizing the risk.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I am happy for you, if you got it honestly! 
                Since the start of the Space Race, degrees have been pushed, as a requirement for a decent-paying job!  It was not always true, and the job openings of today, may easily disappear tomorrow.

          • bellavida

            You may have done OK, but the tide is turning for the rest of us.  I have a degree, and it is getting increasingly difficult to make ends meet.  I could seek an MBA….but at the rate my company is hiring MBA’s off the street at a much lower salary than I make, I cannot justify the cost of it, even at a state school.  The point of today’s show is that successes like yours are few and far between.

        • Jasoturner

          I would guess that my degree probably has me earning $40K more in pay and benefits than I would be making had I stayed in the trades and moved up to supervisor or department head.  However, I have a very marketable degree (in engineering), and a very busy field in energy conversion, energy conservation, and energy planning work.  The story might be very different had I gotten a degree in journalism, say.

          But, that said, even if I had incurred significant debt, it would have delivered a pretty good return on investment.

          • nj

            And yet, we need journalism (at all levels, local to national) as much as we need engineers.

            But the right-wing, “free marketeers” would be blaming those in journalism who are underpayed that it is their fault they can barely earn a living in their field.

          • Jasoturner

            Indeed, when it comes to trying to save our republic, there are very strong arguments that journalists are far more important and necessary than engineers will ever be.

      • Ellen Dibble

        As I look over the achievements of people in the general territory near where I live, the people WITHOUT college degrees have often attacked life more aggressively and more successfully.  They have not expected anything owed them for years of study they have not committed, and they look for the chances that college graduates see no reason to seek out.  The uneducated sometimes educate themselves about where the real needs are in the community, and how to fill those needs, and they don’t brandish a diploma. They just set to work.  A community usually appreciates these people and can’t do without them.  They hire experts when they need to.

        • Jasoturner

          There is much to what you say.  I find many professionals to be lacking in imagination and entrepreneurial thinking.  But they are excellent indeed in tracking billable hours…

          On the other hand, many small business folks I know do quite well by identifying a need and addressing it competently.

          • Modavations

            NASA went out because it became Welfare for Nerds

  • dan

    Thank god for this, and for so many of your other recent economic-minded topics, Tom. The new stats on mobility are a sobering refutation to nearly every point on the Republican platform. I imagine the conservative think-tanks of the G. Norquist persuasion will simply have to ignore this research, because they have no compelling answer to it. Societies with sharp class delineations and few means of moving up and down the ladder are not strong societies. Do our friends on the right want a strong society, or just a few strong individuals (of their choosing)?

    • Ellen Dibble

      It seems to me that being rich in America no longer means security and nice things, maybe enough for a couple of generations.  No.  Being rich in America is now about power.  I don’t think Republican voters, the mass being shoved around by the campaign, understand exactly how that is true.  Above a certain amount of money, the surplus is power — and hanging onto power.  Not letting in the competition; putting up the barricades.  Lobbies are the weapons of those with vested interests.  Congress listens.  
            But by definition, lobbies represent those with something to lose, not something to gain.  And we think of America as being a self-motivated nation, with people motivated to redefine themselves (and the nation).  So — where do the Republicans come down on this?  Go back to the economic modalities that made the powerful (uberrich) so extremely powerful, as movers-and-shakers both economically and politically?   
          How is it that the “working class” could be made to buy into that idea?  Democrats, HELLO??

      • notafeminista

        No, being “rich” in America still means those things.  It is just now that the 99% (so-called) think the “rich” somehow don’t deserve their “riches” and those “riches” should be given to someone else far more deserving.

        • Ellen Dibble

          If you’re earning a million dollars a year, you’re probably setting some of that aside “for retirement,” and you are therefore bringing in riches above what you’ve earned, in investment profits.  So this is where the liquidity of our economic system comes back to bite us.  It’s built into the system.  Back in the days of Eisenhower, when we were building the interstate highways, they tell me there was a 70% top tax rate, and we were doing great.

          • notafeminista

            The US was also the only serious manufacturer on the planet, Europe and Japan having be devastated by WWII, and the rest of Asia not out of the dark yet.

          • StillHere

            How did taxes create that economic miracle?  How was it that government spending was it a smaller portion of GDP than it is now?  Or was it the fact that American industry was rebuilding Europe who at the time was also our only competitor when it came to export manufacturing. 

          • Ellen Dibble

            Someone else knows better than I do.  Someone said that the high tax rate motivated the “employers” to expand the businesses and hire more people, so as not to end up too profitable.

          • StillHere

            Really, that makes no sense.  You don’t have to hire people to be less profitable.

          • Ellen Dibble

            What do you mean?  If you make a million dollars, hire five people at $100,000, you now make $500,000.  If you play your cards right, the business can now produce five times more, and you may have two million dollars to distribute.  Worker-owned was not exactly it.  But workers were part of the idea of success for a company — before the quarterly profits on the stock market began to dictate everything, everything, national policy, corporate direction.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Unless it’s a CEO, that bankrupts the company, and gets $MILLIONS in BONUS, for doing it!

          • Modavations

            I hated it when Frankie Raines,Jamie Gorelick,et al took 100milllion in commission from Fannie.As for bonus,these guys should have to pay,when they don’t meet their target.When I don’t produce,I get no pay!!!!

          • Modavations

            Even Marx wouldn’t make such a statement

          • Ellen Dibble

            I am not trying to be a reborn Marx.

          • TFRX

            When someone like Moda stops calling you a Marxist, Ellen, that should signify that you’re agreeing with (say) Ben Nelson too often.

          • Ellen Dibble

            Which created a broader industrial base, wider employment, and less divergence wealth-wise.  Also, don’t we pay a large and growing part of our GDP on interest on the debt?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Does a drug-lord deserve those riches?
              Does a loan-shark deserve those riches?
              Do thieves deserve those riches?
              Do ‘financial managers’, that bet AGAINST their clients that they claim to represent, deserve those riches?
              Does a rich corporation, that STEALS an invention, deserve those riches?
              MANY more examples!

          • Modavations

            80% of American Millionaires are self made men.You confuse Corzines’ Crony Capitalism with honest, small businessmen(The backbone of Americ)a.Are all rich men greedy?

  • Plain old Cory

    We probably just need to lower taxes on corporations, capital gains, and the Job Creators.   If we do more of that, everything will be fine.

    • dan

      “Okay!”
      -Pres. Obama

    • Gregg

      It sure would help. Maybe we could start by simply not raising them. Cutting them seems like a pipe dream.

    • JustSayin

      Well that, and another banking scandal, plus a larger bailout this time to get the economy moving. Concentrate  more power and wealth at the very top and create laws to keep it that way. Reaganomic utopia here we come… 

  • Steve

    Old, very successful, XC coach…

    “the wolf is as strong as the pack and the pack is as strong as the wolf.”

    Hope the analogy is appropriate.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Y6CO5C2HE4WM2OYGCDVWGPRXXM oldman

    “merit gets rewarded”

    Sometimes – but corporations that can get more work out of their employees while providing less reward make more profits. You may get reward from merit, but short term profits deem they take your hard work and give you crap for it.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Merit gets chewed up, spat out.  “Work your fingers to the bone, what do you get, bony fingers.”  There’s a song about it.  One also has to be Machiavellian, depending on your particular, um, career.

  • RolloMartins

    “The refusal of King George to allow the colonies to operate an honest monetary system, which freed the common man from the clutches of the money manipulators, was probably the prime cause of the Revolution.” –Ben Franklin
    The American Royalty (Bankers, hedge fund managers, CEO’s, etc) have ended capitalism in this country. Crony capitalism–corporatocracy–is not capitalism, it is a stifling of capitalism. Free up the markets, end the stranglehold of corporations, and you will have market mobility. You’ll also have your government back.

    • AC

      how do you propose to do this? i don’t completely understand how ‘markets’ work so i’m curious about how you ‘free’ them?

      • notafeminista

        Yeah you do, you probably just don’t realize it.

        Free market means you get to buy with your money what you see fit – economic liberty.

        If you sell a good or service, you are free to charge what you see fit for that good or service – keeping in mind that whoever purchases that good or service has a “tipping point” – in that they will only pay so much for said good or service.

        You are free to make choices based on your economics - not what the state determines.

        • nj

          Notaneconomist is vying for the Nobel Prize. He should submit this to the Committee. He’s a shoe-in.

          • notafeminista

            Thanks for the shout-out :)

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Most working-class have seen this!
          Welcome back.

  • Anonymous

    George Carlin sums it up for me:
    The owners of the country, don’t want you to move up.
    The politicians are put there to give you the illusion you have a choice.  It’s a big club and we ain’t in it.
    The American dream is just that, a dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it. 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acLW1vFO-2Q

    • Plain old Cory

      Please feel free to use Carlin any time.  Love him!

      It is all true.  When wealth is speech, the wealthy speak the loudest.

  • Common Sense

    Tom is always guilty of selective quoting and ignoring context to support his biased narrative so here’s a quote from Pew, “The Pew Economic Mobility Project conducted an update to its 2009 national poll to reassess the public’s perceptions of economic mobility and the American Dream two years later, as the nation emerges from the Great Recession. While pessimism about their own economic circumstances has increased, Americans remain optimistic about the future. They see a role for government to help poor and middle-class Americans succeed, but a majority believes the government currently does more to harm than to help economic mobility. ”

    The government does more harm than good, so let’s force the government to do less with less.  Cut spending, get the deficit under control and get the government out of the people’s way as they strive to make a better life for themselves and their families. 

    • AC

      i don’t see how the government does more harm than good? can you explain what you mean? i look at other countries with ‘less’ government (or what they have is so corrupt) & it seems like a free-for-all, with constant fighting. I like our government….

      • Anonymous

        The right can’t explain this. It’s a sound bite.
        It’s rhetoric designed to confuse people into thinking there is something behind it. No government is perfect.
        Ours is failing due to the dysfunctional nature of Congress and how the courts have decided that money equals free speech. We have government that is basically working for the special interest and that’s the problem, in my view.

        • Gregg

          ” No government is perfect.”

          Absurd, no one says that. Why inject garbage?

          • AC

            i just took it to imply the old “you can’t please all of the people of the time”…..which is true…..at least, it seems true to me, sometimes i can’t even please myself !!

          • Anonymous

            Garbage? You people on the right want to make government fail and then go on to point the figure at the idea of it. The garbage here is when I read day after day the things people on the right post that are nothing more than sound bytes pulled from right wing talk shows or commentators.

      • StillHere

        According to Pew’s surveys, on which this whole discussion is based, this is the perspective of a majority of Americans. 

        • TFRX

          Get into government, destroy everything one can, then step back and wait for their Dunning-Kruger voters to say “It doesn’t work”.

          Such a sweet, sweet gig the right wing has.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            AND  WHINE that they aren’t rich enough  for doing it!

      • Modavations

        In USA today the poll asked what do you fear most,Big Business,or big Govt?.Big Govt was feared the most.There is only one place I travel to, that does not query how much cash your bringing in.That is H.Kong.Hong Kong is the world’s most laissez faire economy and probably the richest.Even the bums are well coiffed

        • AC

          i thought they had a bunch of protests last summer tho?

          • Modavations

            I don’t know about that,but suggest you take a trip to H.Kong.I could live there

          • Terry Tree Tree

            We’re NOT stopping you!

    • Anonymous

      So you want to cut spending and have less government.
      Whatever that means. I suppose being regressive is a stance, but the reality is for the majority of Americans wages have been stagnant or falling for the past 30 years.
      It’s gotten so bad that now Caterpillar, who has factories in Canada, is now using it’s deal with it’s US workers as a threat on the Canadian ones. In other words in this case American workers have been so beaten down that they except anything this is now the norm. The race to the bottom is paved with downward mobility.  

      • StillHere

        You’re completely, perhaps intentionally or naively, ignoring the strong Canadian dollar which makes everything more expensive for a US-based company. 

        • Anonymous

          That’s not what the negotiations were about. By your argument then when any one nations currency is stronger all workers should be paid less. That’s absurd.

          • StillHere

            It was about costs.  How ignorant are you?  Where in the public sector do you work?  You certainly have never had P&L responsibility.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Your specific cuts to spending? 
          The parts of government that you want to get out of the way of the people?
         Your ways to pay for the VERY EXPENSIVE wars of ‘W’, that are quite a part of the deficit?
         Your proposal to get and keep a healthy workforce? 
          Your method of keeping healthy children, that can study better, not distracted or kept from school by sickness?
          The specific policies that you propose are ‘common sense’, to improve this country, that are NOT part of the vague ‘platform’ of each ‘party’?

      • Modavations

        The govt.should do two things and two things only.Protect the borders and act as a referee.Welfare should be administered by family and church-temple.The Dems.are in the business of keeping America’s poor,poor.Afterall,without the dependent classes,who needs the party of the Social worker.

        • betterin2012

          Go take a coffee break Moda.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            We know when Moda’s pathetic little business is failing when he has so much time to spend here. You should see how hysterical he got when someone questioned his income. He likes to brag he’s “half assed rich”.

    • Modavations

      Tom A,is in my opinion biased to the left.I got hooked on NPR’s comment board during the show on Gabby Giffords.He was going on and on about right wing radicals being violent.Lefties kept calling in, saying both sides were guilty.Tom kept saying ya but,it’s more prevalent on the right.Thomas,Thomas,Thomas,the shooter was a hippy

      • Sam Walworth

        wasnt he mentally incompetent to stand trial?

        • StillHere

          That didn’t stop Tom from going off on the rhetorical lessons from Tuscon, all directed at conservatives.  Tom fit the event into his belief system to draw the conclusion he made before he had the facts.

          • northeaster17

            Lets not forget the lady from Wasilla and her rhetorical cross-hairs. Especially the ones on Gifford’s district on her target map. 

      • mary elizabeth

        The shooter is mentally ill and declared so-not a hippie, whatever that is . 
        The right may not be more violent, but their enabling of guns in the hands of the unstable with their support of
        the NRA and   loose regulations contributes to acts such as Gabby Giffords life altering injuries.
        It was reported that gun sales this Christmas season skyrocked.   
        Fatalities of police officers by guns is up 13%  last year.

      • Anonymous

        Please stop with your BS. That kid was mentally ill and I doubt he knew what he was. You seem to think it’s OK to post complete lies and fabrications and then complain when someone calls you on it.
        You cry on like a baby about being called names and yet you come on this forum day after day posting lies, fabrications and insults, calling Tom a “lefty” is a good example of how you use language to vilify those you don’t agree with. You sound like a McCarthy era anti-communist zealot.

        • Modavations

          You will never hear me call you an idiot,stupid,Einstein,Poopsie,troll,modatron,and on and on.The pitiful thing is the worst of the offenders Jeffe,NJ,Terry TT, are 50 and 60 years old.If you were 20 year old college kids,you’d be excused.I said,im my opinion, Tom A.is skewed left.Again,you’re world view is challenged and you don’t know how the react

          • Terry Tree Tree

            When, and where did I call someone a name?
               I have questioned others about this.

          • Anonymous

            You have a bad memory. You have called people commies, fascist, idiots, and a host of other names.
            Now you are doing again, and you don’t even know it.
            Troll is a person who comes on blogs and forums and constantly post a lot of rubbish and nasty comments. You do a lot of this.

            You call people names all the time and your not even aware of it.
            You use language to demean people who do not share your view points.
            I’m just sick of the extreme right.
            I’m sick of hearing the right say things over and over again that are lies and that demean others.

          • Modavations

            Rarey have I seen such antipithy to Free Speech and I never,personally call you guys names!!!!!!!!If I’m mistaken,then produce an example

          • TFRX

            Antipathy to free speech?

            How is the view from your fainting couch? You need to get out more, or untwist your undies.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Moda’s idea of “free speech” is his being able to make false and disgusting accusations against others and not be called on it.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Foreclosures on homes that are NOT behind in payments. 
       Robo-signing of foreclosures, for executives that reap HUGE salaries and BONE-USes, for NOT doing the job they claimed!
       Rampant Pay-day lenders, with up to 450% per-annum INTEREST.
       Rampant Pay-check Advance companies, that claim they are NOT lenders, with worse interest rates!
       “Arbitration” clauses, that ‘find’ for the company over 97% of cases!  Personal experience, the company admitted the problems, and the ‘arbitrator STILL found in their favor, ignoring the evidence, the admission, the danger, and other factors!
       Banksters that give themselves HUGE BONE-USes, for corrupt practices, from BORROWED MONEY!

    • StillHere

      Like governments, no bank is perfect, mistakes happen.  Buyer beware otherwise, the nanny state can’t stop you from being ignorant. 

      • Anonymous

        What a load of bunk.

        • StillHere

          Just as I thought, you’re some sort of paperpushing parasite.

          • Anonymous

            Just as I thought, you’re some sort of right wing thug.

          • AC

            well, this conversation is devolving quickly – i’ll stay out of it!!!

          • AC

            is that a proper use of devolve?

          • Modavations

            passable

          • Anonymous

            This person comes on here and uses language in this way all the time.
            They are only interested in name calling. I’m just throwing it back at em.
            I’m pretty sick of how some people on the right seem to think it’s OK to use demeaning language.
             

          • AC

            he was pretty rude…..

          • StillHere

            “That’s a load of bunk” to use your well-thought out critical reply.

          • AC

            well…at least snarky is a little funny….

          • Anonymous

            I’m just giving you back what you dish out and you cry like a baby.

          • StillHere

            That’s a load of unk.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            jeffe68, I have pointed out to others, that you are just lowering yourself to their standards.   Don’t I get my message across without name-calling?

          • Anonymous

            I’m giving what I get back.
            But you are right.
             

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Thank you for giving a hand-up to others, that may be above or below where you started! 

          • Modavations

            In my opinion,you’re scared to death of a different world view and react with temper tantrums.

          • Modavations

            Thses guys haven’t read the new NPR guidelines.No temper tantrums before 10:00AM

          • betterin2012

            get a job or your own blog please.

          • nj

            Leather Dave played a good game there for a while, pretending to be all rational and inclusive.

            True colors showing through. 

        • Modavations

          It’s still 10 minutes before mindless name calling and tantrum time.Don’t tell me you’ve already emptied your magazine.

          • mary elizabeth

            You misrepresent the  truth so often that some  feel  obliged to respond and correct.   Ignoring your falsehoods contributes to the pool of misinformed voters.

          • nj

            But it’s always Moda-trolling time. 

      • northeaster17

        The nanny state can’t protect one from ignorance but when the game is rigged by fraud that’s when ignorance ends and crime begins. 

        • StillHere

          Then prosecute the fraud, if it exists. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Regulations and safe-guards were put into place decades ago, to help the consumer be AWARE of the dangers, and beware of banking thieves.  Those safe-guards have systematically been DESTROYED, by the banksters!

        • Anonymous

          So without gun control in a trigger happy environment, we are all waiting on the next stray bullet. “Bankers gotta shoot, fish in a barrel gotta swim. I hope their weapon misfires and they take one in the chin. Can’t help critiquing this nightmare of mine.”

          • TFRX

            Nice Oscar Hammerstein II riff!

      • TFRX

        It’s so cute to see someone root for Mr. Potter.

  • Modavations

    To all the hand wringers.We live in a golden age,the world has never seen such affluence.

    • Yar

      How do you explain that over half of our world’s population lives on less than the value of 2.50 dollars per day?  Yes there is affluence, often at the exploitation of people and resources.  What do we owe to those on whose shoulders we stand?
      http://www.globalissues.org/issue/2/causes-of-poverty

      • Anonymous

        Modo wants to stand on faces, not shoulders. It is a big pile of victims giving meaning to those who live large. I thought we were a two-legged herd species but some bulls have mutated. They’re all bull all the time, seeking friction with anything that moves. (Is that 10 minute time limit expired yet?)

        • Yar

          We know how to take care a bulls down on the farm.  One is okay, more is just trouble.

        • Modavations

          Is it after 10:00AM ?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Effluence?

    • nj

      In the U.S., the rich have never been richer, and the middle class has never been in such recession, but that doesn’t stop Moda-troll from spewing his nonsense.

      • Modavations

        Dude,I lived in S.Africa for four years.I go to India every Sept..You’ve never seen real poverty!!!

  • Ellen Dibble

    Isn’t it a mathematical fact that some will always be in the bottom third, so if the current poor make it to the middle class, who will be in the bottom?  Just curious.
       As to paying for the wars.  Who exactly benefitted?  Have they got ideas for who should pay for them?  
       It does seem to me that our politicians have their feet of clay sunk in the Cold War, and don’t realize that not only the Pottery Barn rule of you break it, you own it; but also, you win the Cold War, you get the entire planet to be its guardian — no special Christmas bonuses for doing that.

    • Modavations

      Poor people get rich,rich people become poor.We are in a golden age!!!!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ONLY in you control the gold!

        • notafeminista

          All we need is food,fuel and shelter.  Stop being greedy.

          • Ellen Dibble

            I think most people need some  social contact too.

          • AC

            what about health?

          • Yar

            Healthcare is seen as a privilege in the US and seen as a right in other countries is at the root of our mobility.  Access to quality education is also becoming a privilege in the US.

          • Anonymous

            Wow!  You are totally in agreement with the OWS protesters.  I never would have guessed.

  • mary elizabeth

    While the old “boot straps” dictum has some merit, one has to have boots to start with and that includes health care, quality pre-school education,  intensive drug addiction prevention.
    The ‘laziness’ so often touted by the Repubs can be linked to hopelessness, powerlessness, health issues. 
    There are enough billionaires (400) in this country who could make significant investments (not charity as Buffett) in impoverished communities to lift the poor, affirm their value in the scheme of things and provide the all important hope-renovation of slums, grocery stores, clinics, job training.
     And
    single payer health care, a binary education model-college vs trade schools,  quality pre school education,  nutritional counseling enhance the population’s chances for success. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      EXCELLENT POINTS, lady!!

  • sgeuka

    Mobility is all about education.  Successful parents can afford to move into good school districts, giving their kids even more of a leg up.  Hardly anyone mentions local funding and control of schools as a problem, but unless we equalize school quality, poorer kids are going to continue to have a hard time moving ahead.  The whole concept of equal opportunity seems to have fallen off the radar.  If we reduce everything to a Darwinian struggle, why are we surprised that the people at the bottom, and their children, barely survive.

    • notafeminista

      Equalizing at any level (education,socio-economic, etc) cannot be done.  People are not equal.

      • Ellen Dibble

        After we demolish by slow chronic illnesses and the various ramifications of that, those who overeat because the food that is cheap is not nourishing, whose children inherit that, and whose air breathed is spiked with pollutants — well, maybe we’ll be as tough as cockroaches and thrive like them.

        • notafeminista

          Hey, people make choices. 

          • nj

            More windbaggery from notintouchwithreality.

            Yeah, people choose to breath air and water polluted by industrial emissions. They choose to have their food packaging spiked with BPA. They choose to absorb flame retardants from furniture and clothing. They choose to ingest genetically engineered food and pesticides.

          • notafeminista

            :)  They choose to drive cars, they want the most “bang for their buck” economically, they want central air conditioning and wall to wall carpet and they want their clothing and furniture not to burn up. They want their cold drinks cold and their hot drinks hot.  

            You tell me.

      • Anonymous

        Social Darwinism. I guess the brain surgeon, Dr. Alfredo Quiñones’ story kind of puts a kink in your theory.

        • notafeminista

          Hum.  Wikipedia (which I will concede is only as accurate as it is) says he worked as a migrant worker and saved enough money to become a US citizen. 

          Sounds like survival of the fittest to me.  Thanks for the reference :)

          • Anonymous

            Well if you heard Dr. Alfredo Quiñones he would not agree with you’re ideology at all. You have twisted my point to make it seem to support your premise. The bottom line is he had a lot of help along the way. It helped that he was very smart and driven, but he still had help.
            You seem to think only the strongest should survive.
            Which is how Hitler thought, and I’m aware that this is an extreme comparison, but that is where that kind of thinking can end up.

          • notafeminista

            We all have a lot of help along the way.  However had the good doctor not hopped the fence and saved enough money to become a US citizen, he’d still be languishing in whatever wretched environment he chose (CHOSE mind you) to escape.

            You tell me.

          • sgeuka

            No, we don’t all have a lot of help along the way, some of us have barely any help at all,  but those who do have help like to pretend they’re not privileged.  

          • notafeminista

            Privileged how?  Dr Quinone (since he’s the example in the discussion) made his own privilege.  He had to work and save money, he had to go to school every day to get the education he has and pass the classes …

            What privilege is that exactly?

          • sgeuka

            It’s always possible to find a single example to support your position. 
            Exceptional people may get ahead, but most people aren’t exceptional, a decent society should work for them too.

          • Marc

            Yeh, just like Mitt Romney — he worked as a migrant farm worker too, to save enough money to start Bain Capital!

          • notafeminista

            Doesn’t answer the question…..

    • Gregg

      Democrats reject school vouchers but the poor love them for precisely the reasons you state.

    • Anonymous

      Wealth precedes educational access and opportunity following education. Maybe education is unnecessary to that equation. Wealth provides opportunity; and poverty denies opportunity: and maybe that is what we need to understand. Meritocracy went to Hell with the Post Office. Man is it ever gonna be difficult to get it back. But education will continue to decline until we do.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    In MANY ways, the GREEDY rich have blocked people’s chance to move up!  Their LUST for POWER, with the power they already have, is choking the life out of our country!

    • AC

      but i think these traits are innate to human kind, no? It feels cyclical – the bullied becoming the bullies, etc… how do you fix this?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Reasonable laws, and PROSECUTING, the law-breakers with REAL punishment, NOT Club-Fed!

      • Anonymous

        Well, we unfixed it, so we can fix it back.
        Social engineering is necessary on a crowded and depleted planet. Otherwise you wind up in a fallout shelter with Newt and Santorum hogging the rations.

        • AC

          hahhahah!! awesome visual!!

  • Expat Bob in Nassau

    Please have your guests present their views on whether there’s a relationship between wage stagnation and any decline in the influence of labor unions during the last 20-30 years.

  • ipswichmass

    Tom, so glad the topic is not Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum!!!

  • Me

    This is part of their plan as we have been saying all the time! With the USA! Wipe out the poor and middle class!

  • http://twitter.com/drphilxr Philip Kousoubris

    My parents emigrated here in the 50′s. Upwards mobility means living within a thriving economy. The farsighted have already begun to emigrate out of the US (to Asia, etc).

  • Newhaven

    Remember, the correct mobility measure is not realized mobility but rather mobility success, relative to effort. Low observed mobility in the US may simply reflect a high standard of living for the poor.

    • TFRX

      I don’t know what “high standard of living for the poor” means when it takes money to move, the worries of “housing insecurity”, “transportation insecurity” and “food insecurity” are creeping up the economic scale, and the gutting out of government services is often done with the cry of “don’t let these lazy poor people abuse my tax dollars”.

      Hardware is cheap today. Adjusted for inflation, compared to sixty years ago, something like a transistor radio or a cheap TV costs a whole lot less.

  • Paul Chenard

    I’ll take European socialism any day to no upward mobility. Maybe those screaming why does the president want to make us look like Europe should listen to this show and read these reports. 

    • Plain old Cory

      Ask someone without healthcare making minimum wage who cannot afford higher education what they think of Eropean style social welfare.

  • TFRX

    “The stickiness of advantage” should be on a poster somewhere, for every well-born person who is born on third, keeps getting picked off base, and whose dad keeps having the umpire grant do-overs.

    While, all the time, carrying on about “rugged individualism”.

    • Marc

      I think Mitt “earned” the money he needed to capitalize Bain and do his first deal — yeh right!  If you listen dto the news just today he talked about “knowing the pains of not being able to meet payroll or getting a pink slip.”  Stupid people will believe anything.

      • Ellen Dibble

        Apparently when he could not meet payroll, he did a lot of laying off.  And the “pink slip” would probably not risk his health insurance and at least one fairly valuable residence that could sustain him through a change in career while he retrains.  Tongue in CHEEK.

      • TFRX

        Heck, even Donald Trump admitted to being in the “lucky sperm club”.

        And as far as Mitt’s dad goes: George Romney made quite a go of it running American Motors. The perpetually cash-strapped compnany which had to buy out-of-date technology from the Big Three, and also had to attract buyers with 0% financing during at least two years of the 1970s, if I remember.

        That takes some doing, some building, not just vulturizing and firing people.

        Mitt hasn’t shown a whiff of that. The fruit rotted far from that tree.

  • Newton Whale

    Reagan killed the middle class. He went to war against the unions, the biggest factor in creating a prosperous middle class, the greatest creator of jobs ever seen.

    His embrace of supply side voodoo economics has dominated the political landscape for 30 years. Here’s how that has worked out for us:

    • William

      Didn’t the unions go to “war” with themselves? Out dated work rules, gold plated medical plans, ignoring a changing world, etc…..

      • Newton Whale

        Unions, in fact, help make a nation more competitive.

        Don’t believe me?

        Take a look at two of the most heavily unionized nations in the world: Germany and Japan. Both nations are thriving and have jobless rates far below the U.S. rate. Both nations still have large manufacturing sectors, which are heavily unionized. And both nations are exporting more than ever—even to low-wage nations like China. (Japan, for example, is one of the few nations on earth that has enjoyed a trade surplus with China much of the time in recent years).

        In short, Germany and Japan are the polar opposite of the U.S. these days. While the U.S. continues to rack up record trade deficits, both Japan and Germany enjoy vast trade surpluses.

        http://www.beggarscanbechoosers.com/2011/03/how-unions-make-nation-competitive.html 

        • William

          The difference is the unions in those two countries work with the companies whereas, our unions have a history fighting against the companies. Our trade deficit is more about failed trade policies that the lack of more union workers.

          • Newton Whale

            You could not be more wrong:

            In 2010, over 5.5 million cars were produced in Germany, twice the 2.7 million built in the United States. Average compensation (a figure including wages and employer-paid benefits) for autoworkers in Germany was 48.97 Euros per hour ($67.14 US), while compensation for auto work in the United States averaged $33.77 per hour, or about half as much as in Germany, all according to 2007 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For Germany-based auto producers, the U.S. is a low-wage country. 

            Workers in the German auto industry maintain high wages and good working conditions through two overlapping sets of institutions. First, in the auto industry, virtually all workers are unionized members of IG Metall, the German autoworkers’ union. With such union density, workers have considerable power to keep wages high. German autoworkers have the right to strike, but as Horst Mund, head of the International Department of IG Metall explained to Remapping Debate, they “hardly use it, because there is an elaborate system of conflict resolution that regularly is used to come to some sort of compromise that is acceptable to all parties.”

            In addition to high trade union density supporting the power of German autoworkers’ wages, the German constitution itself includes a second mechanism for keeping employees involved in the decisions of the firm for which they work. The Works Constitution Act provides for the creation of Works Councils in each factory. The Works Councils provide a mechanism through which a company’s management must work with employees, whether they are in a union or not, on issues affecting work life, such as shop floor conditions, scheduling shifts, and other issues particular to the factory. This system, according to Mund, institutionalized “direct contact for workers’ representatives with management at various levels, from lower to middle to senior management in daily affairs. So you exercise some kind of dialogue where you don’t always wear your management pin or your union pin.”

            http://www.remappingdebate.org/sites/all/files/A%20tale%20of%20two%20systems.pdf 

          • Modavations

            50% tax rate on100,000.00 wage.US is 28% +6 % Mass.State tax.Europeans also pay 30% more for everything.I could, however,live in W.Europe if they’d improve their terribble T.V..

          • Newton Whale

            France, Germany, Italy have universal free health care and nearly free university education.

            State education is also free for the children of foreigners living in Italy, irrespective of whether they’re registered residents. University education is free for foreign students and there are no quotas, though non-EU students require a student visa. The University of Bologna is the oldest university in Italy and the Western world.  It’s not what you pay in taxes but what you get in services that is the bottom line.

          • Modavations

            I’m from Newton and my familyn is from Bolognga.I go there every september.The free university “es no mas” and I’ll bet free medical care will be next.

          • William

            A union worker in Japan goes on strike they wear a black arm band. When a union worker goes on strike here they try to blow up the company. Just look at the behavior of the union workers in WI last year. A shameful display of “me first”. If unions are so great why is the UAW membership so low compared to 30 years ago? Why do most Americans don’t belong to unions and don’t want to join a union? Why do companies move overseas rather than deal with unions? It is all a matter of risk, ownership and freedom. We prosper because we cherish freedom and liberty. We shun unions because they want to limit freedom and liberty and are failing. The need for unions has passed and we are better off without them.

          • TFRX

            “Don’t want to join a union”.

            Someone wanna get William up to speed on how many people are fired for union organizing?

            “Why do companies move overseas rather than deal with unions”

            Nice to know no non-union jobs have been offshored. What’s it like to earn a living in your world?

          • William

            If unions were to good companies would trip over themselves to have a union work force. But that is not the case.

          • TFRX

            Unions are so good for companies that corps make up fake ones.

            Someone wanna tell William about the “profit motive”?

          • Newton Whale

            Funny, but when I googled “union blows up company” I got nothin’. 

            I did, however, find numerous plant explosions and fires killing thousands of workers:

            July 17, 1944: Port Chicago Disaster. A munitions explosion that killed 320 people occurred at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California. 

            August 9, 1965: Little Rock AFB in Searcy, Arkansas. 53 contract workers were killed during a fire at a Titan missile silo.  

            May 1962: The Centralia, Pennsylvania coal mine fire began, forcing the gradual evacuation of the Centralia borough. The fire continues to burn in the abandoned borough in 2011, 49 years later. 

            April 20, 2010: Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 11 oil platform workers died in an explosion and fire that resulted in a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the largest offshore spill in U.S. history 

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_industrial_disasters 

          • William

            A recent James Hoffa quote “If there is one thing union members really like…it’s a good fight”…yeah..these are the type of union thugs we need.

    • Marc

      “Supply side” — “starve the beast” — “trickle down”  I think all terms invented by Reagan and/or Republicans.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1816544 Dan Trindade

    I think our problems stem from an unevenly educated public. How can we as a nation ensure that everyone has a shot at the opportunity inherent in the American dream when we begin our adult lives at vastly different levels of preparedness? A high school education in Massachusetts is not the same as a high school education in Arkansas or Montana or New Mexico and that stems from variations in funding, investment, and priorities. Unified standards and broad-based investment for every student in every state would go a long way towards changing this.

    • notafeminista

      Yup.  It would be bad across the board. 

    • roamsasnoun

      Standards will be tricky, but I’ll agree with education being a good first step to better economic standing.  Year-round school–Alexander, Entwistle and Olson (2001) showed low
      SES students were affected negatively by long summer vacations compared
      to high SES students.  Rich kids have opportunities to learn over the
      summer provided by their parent’s economic standing that poor kids
      don’t.  Achievement improves while kids are in school–keep them in.

      Incarceration.
       Why are we jailing non-violent offenders and exposing them to the
      economic devistation that usually results?  The cost to society isn’t
      just the expense of incarceration, but lost wages and tax revenue from
      lower earnings, and the generational effects mentioned earlier in the
      show.

    • Anonymous

      So you don’t understand the principle of musical chairs, huh? The workforce is shrinking because the Owners find an increasing portion of workers superfluous to their needs. Education factories, especially business programs, are mainly for brainwashing, breeding predation and driving down compensation. Degrees are a token of consumption like eco-tourism. Now maybe if we taught social justice and critical thinking things would improve because people could think clearer, but the Owners find that distasteful. Education as a commodity is a middle class delusion. Capping wealth and income is the only sensible starting place, and those who don’t like it can emigrate minus their riches. If they are so superior let them succeed elsewhere starting with a small grubstake. Now that’s individualism!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    If the GREEDY rich were so concerned about the Welfare mothers, the homeless, jobless VETERANS, and others that are ‘such a drain’, they would have created jobs for these people!
       They just want to WHINE about the free-loaders, while they hire illegals, that they can short-change, and abuse in many ways!

    • notafeminista

      You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

  • Common Sense

    The majority of Americans believe the government is doing more harm than good when it comes to mobility. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Because the GREEDY rich have CONTROL of most of the government!  The GREEDY rich get laws that make them richer, while cutting the chances of the working-class!

    • Plain old Cory

      I challenge your assumption.  How do you know what the majority of Americans want?  Those same Americans scream like hell if you take away medicare or social security, or whatever government service that benefits them personally.  We are a nation of hypocrits when it comes to handouts.  BTW, the well to do want capital gains tax reductions, lower corporate tax rates, TIF districts, etc, etc, etc. 

      • Common Sense

        Pew Study cited as the basis for this discussion, see link above.

      • AC

        what are TIF districts?

        • Plain old Cory

          It is a local taxing authority to support things like stadiums, theatres, entertainment districts, and certain businesses.  Usually it exempts them from property taxes and raises revenue for them.  BTW, these taxing authorities are usually unelected boards composed of local entrepeneurs.

    • Anonymous

      Since our government’s main role in this matter is to INCREASE disparity by advancing the transfer of wealth to the top few percent, I would say Americans are correct.  Just not in the way you think.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Does a “market economy,” as the guest is setting forth, determine which purchases are best done privately, for profit, and which purchases are best done collectively?  Romney seems to think the more that is dealt with by the states, the better — because states are close to the ground and know the problems intimately.  But I think even one state has about the population that the entire USA had in 1776.  And we found advantage in hanging together, versus hanging apart.  Now we’re looking less at cooperative pluses.  If a state suffers a three-year drought, hey, send your citizens to Seattle.

  • Modavations

    The left wants to mitigate(marxist redistribution) by bringing us down, the laissez faire types want to mitigate, by making everyone affluent(modism redistribution)

    • Plain old Cory

      Your statement engages the illogical fallacy that everyone can be affluent.  In a free market capitalist system their must by definition be winners and LOSERS.

      If you “lose” in the American free market, you will never retire, you will not have health care, and you will not participate in the “American Dream”.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Those on the Right can’t help but make a religion out of their own half truths. Yes focus and effort can give one an advantage in a competitive economy. But because it works for some does NOT mean it works for all. If everyone had a doctorate, then with supply and demand, we’d have those with doctorates cleaning toilets. 

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Moda’s blind spot… and this is typical of those on the Right who believe their self-serving myths, is they refuse to acknowledge how the rich rig the system to benefit themselves. They instead pretend they are morally superior to those they try to lock out. And as we see from someone like Herman Cain… they then blame those who struggle as morally deficient.

      • Mike

        There is nothing in the definition of a free market system that requires anyone to lose anything.  In fact, free exchange between willing parties ensures that they both win, or they wouldn’t engage in the exchange.

        • Plain old Cory

          Competition is implicit in the idea of free market capitalism.  In competition, there are winners and losers.

        • TFRX

          Free exchange means everyone gets the same information, competitors in the stock market, say, or both buyer and seller.

          Good luck with that belief.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            AND same speed of bids!

    • Marc

      By raising tax rates on the rich to what they were pre-BUSH?  When times were great!  Under a two term Democratic President!

      • Modavations

        To quote Bill Clinton( before Newt and the boys showed up and dropped the cap.gains tax)”we’ll have 200billion dollar deficits for as far as the eye can see

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          This Moda Lie has already been demolished… but due to his heavy lead paint consumption as a youth, he obviously doesn’t remember… or he’s lying again.

          Take your pick Einstein.

  • Jalapenomom

    THE OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE SINGLE-PAYOR HEALTHCARE!!!!!

    • Michaellong100

      Millions show up without health insurance each year at  hospitals. They are called newborns. I have a message for you!

       If you haven’t started a hedge fund by the second trimester then you don’t deserve health care. Get a job – you little Marxist and don’t just lie there in your FREE incubator, that I paid for.  

  • SteveV

    Of course I don’t want the rich taxed more. I expect to be rich someday. Of
    course, if I become convinced that I’ll never be rich, then I want to tax them
    to the limit. Am I a hypocrite? Of course, but I’d rather to be a rich hypocrite.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Once we needed to “prove” we were better and morally superior to the “Communist” world. We placed God in the Pledge of Alliance, and we instituted policies that promoted the growth of the middle class to disprove the Marxist prediction capitalism inevitably led to a two class society… of struggling workers and the filthy rich.

    But once the Soviet Union collapsed and China adopted a “capitalist” economic model, that “need” for the middle class disappeared. Combine that with the Right’s fear a comfortable middle class cannot be easily cowed like insecure working class but instead can be a source of social instability as was seen in the 60′s… then the Right’s support for government policies that supported the middle class collapsed and they tried instead to sabotage upward mobility even while perpetuating the myth such mobility was inherent in the very nature of America itself… and if one failed, it was their own fault.
      

  • Ellen Dibble

    I can’t understand why Americans would worry about a next generation being less affluent if they’re sitting pretty in the ways some Americans currently are.  The next generation might not want that kind of life at all.

  • Newton Whale

    The GOP experiment in Reaganomics brought us this:

    The U.S. economy lost 524,000 jobs in December, closing out the worst year of job losses since World War II, the Labor Department said Friday.Nearly 2.6 million jobs were lost in 2008, with 1.9 million destroyed in just the past four months, according to a survey of workplaces. It’s the biggest job loss in any calendar year since 1945, when 2.75 million jobs were lost as the wartime economy was demobilized.The 1.5 million jobs lost in the fourth quarter were the most in any three-month period since 1945.”Both the U.S. economy and job market fell off a cliff in September,” said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for IHS Global Insight, who said the unemployment rate would rise to at least 9% by early 2010.”The speed and the breadth of the deterioration in the U.S. economy since September are staggering,” wrote Richard Moody, chief economist for Mission Residential.”Even with passage of a large fiscal stimulus package, labor market conditions will continue to deteriorate through 2009,” Moody said. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/carnage-continues-with-524000-jobs-lost-in-december?print=true&dist=printMidSection Every Republican candidate wants more of the same Reaganomics that destroyed the middle class and the American Dream.

    • Scott B, Jamestown NY

       I have to laugh at Newt calling himself a “Reagan Republican”. Reagan raises taxes and said that a bus driver paying as much as a Wall St millionaire was, “Crazy!” 

      Reagn brought us “trickle-down economic” which has had over 30 years to prove itself, and it’s only proven that it doesn’t work or we would be having this huge income disparity. 

      “Don’t tell me that it’s raining when you’re pissing down my back” – Skid Row, “Riot Act”.

  • Scott B, Jamestown, NY

    Santorum said their are no classes in America.  I’d like to invite him to work way too hard and earn minimum wage for a few months and see if he can look and see the soles of the shoes of the rich that aren’t just walking, but running, away off into the distance financially.   Does he really thinks that when Joe Schmoe Walmart-worker shows his face in line at his Congressman’s office that he’s going to get ushered in, let alone really listened to, vs the lobbyist for whatever interest contributed to his campaign?

  • Angelee

    why has race not been mentioned in this conversation? there is a very real difference in mobility if you are white in this country. just consider the statistic on incarceration that was mentioned by Reihan. 

  • Sam, Buffalo, NY

    Oh my, judging from the tone of comments on here, we are an angry bunch.

    Where is this anger coming from?
    Our expectations? Are we expecting to do better than before?
    If we work hard, do all the right things, etc?

    Have the guests looked at the ever increasing numbers of single mothers and the fact that more and more fathers choose not to pay child support? 40% of all women who give birth now, ARE single mothers.

    There have been studies made showing that children from single parent households are worse off than kids from homes with both parents.

    And as a side note. I bring home the same amount of money as I did 10 years ago. I have switched jobs just once during those 10 years. I had raises every year, and 1 pay cut, but the ever increasing insurance costs and taxes eat up more and more of my salary.

    • nj

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but, among other things, i’m pissed that national politics is increasingly controlled by entrenched, monied interests; so-called free-trade agreements erode jobs here; the unregulated financial industry is allowed to commit fraud and gamble with other people’s money without prosecution; that people can lose their life savings, their jobs, their house if they simply get sick and their insurance company decides they aren’t entitled to full and fair compensation…

      I’m pissed that mature, establish corporations (fossil fuel, nuclear energy, corporate agriculture, etc.) receive massive government subsidies and that we spend obscenely large amounts of money on so-called “defense” while schools go begging and people whose jobs disappear because of corporate-controlled policies can’t get subsistence unemployment compensation.I’m pissed that Obama rolled over and caved to corporate interests time after time after time; appointing corporate lobbyists to key administration positions after promising to ban lobbyists from his administration; bailing out even of a public option for the so-called health-care (i.e. leave-no-insurance-company-behind) legislation.I’m pissed (well, more bewildered) that anyone can possibly take seriously the  Republication Ass-clown Posse of presidential candidates (with the exception of Huntsman).

      And i’m pissed (well, more annoyed than pissed) that i have to wade through the nonsense of the Trolling Right Wing Fox-So-called-News bots who infect this forum with their inane prattle day after day, but i guess that comes with the territory of “free” speech.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The guys swear they ‘will love you forever, if you let me’, then show you that their ‘forever’ ended that morning?
         I don’t remember making that, or a similiar statement!

  • John

    The last 30 years have be used to squash the middle class and the poor so only the rich benefit from all the productivity?

    Why should CEOs and executives make 400x, 500x, 600x, 1000x more than the average worker?

    Rich CEOs you better realize that you don’t look like success anymore to the 350 million in the U.S. — you look like food.

  • Tom

    There is an important gender dimension to this.  Young men are less well educated than their fathers, while young women are much better educated than their mothers. They are beginning their lives on quite different trajectories.  Real median income for males has been declining since the early 1970s as they have fallen ever farther behind the escalating educational needs of the workforce.  But women get it and their economic prospects are far better as a result. 

    • TFRX

      I don’t know if I’d say “women get it”, any more than this is an effect of women entering the “higher labor” marketplace (in more advanced positions than what was considered “womens’ work”).

      How advanced, how degreed, how middle-class (with only their own paycheck), was everyone’s female American-raised ancestor born in 1900-1920? Then, advance it half a century, and what do we see?

      It’s not something I’d estimate to have happened in simply one generation.

    • AC

      i think we’re also stupid enough to work for $0.25 less on the dollar than male colleagues in the same industry/level of experience….plus supposedly we’re ‘biddable’

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Unfortunately, you have some points, although I’d like to word it differently!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paolo-Caruso/1778940602 Paolo Caruso

    Capitalism is all about “gains without consequence”.

    If corporations can get you to work more, faster and for less pay… and without striking….THEY WILL.

    If corporations can get you to send your kids off to die in war to open markets and grab resources for their profits, while you wave a flag….THEY WILL.

    If corporations can make even more money, while taking away your health insurance and public services…and without you toppling them… THEY WILL.

    If corporations can make more money abroad, while leaving you unemployed and your children with a bleaker future… THEY WILL.

    Its all about greed and fear.     The power elite will grab anything and everything  as long as you allow them.   They will not stop for altruistic reasons….only for pitchforks and torches.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

      The secret is that no one, not even the stauchest of capitalists, want a truly free market even though they claim to want one. A truly free market would be chaotic. You’d have open warfare between businesses and corporations.

      What everyone really wants, but doesn’t want to admit, is regulations, but not just any regulations. They only want regulations that will benefit themselves and themselves only. 

      • nj

        I continue to lobby for banning the term, “free market.” At the least, anyone using it should have to define exactly what it means. I say there’s no such thing.

        Any economic system is a fabrication, a human construct. The instruments, institutions, modes of exchange, regulations, etc., are all conceived, put in place, and maintained by human institutions.

        Access to and participation in those institutions that set and and control the system is the issue, not whether it, on the whole, is “free,” whatever the hell that means.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

    I just wish people would stop believing blindly in ideology and look at some data when making policy decisions. 

    It’s easy thinking about things like regulation being a bad for jobs and certain trade policy can protect jobs, but what does the data actually say?

    If we are serious about solving a problem, we need to approach them in a more logical and methodical way than quoting political bullet points that have become likened to dogma.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Family instability, that the guest says “we do have here,” meaning out-of-wedlock births, and I’m thinking Santorum is probably prescribing no abortions, no homosexual families…  I like the idea that the man (one partner, let’s say) needs to be able to offer the protection and stability to sustain a family, and that part of our economy is working against “the family.”  Values, versus value of the parents’ work-time.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      HYPOCRICY by the ‘compassionate’, ‘conservative’ ‘Christian’ ‘right’, that are WRONG!

  • Suzie in Newport RI

    If I am understanding him correctly, Salam’s argument is that it is more difficult to move up into the highest income echelons in the US than in other countries being discussed because there is such a huger gap in the US between the highest echelon and the lowest (the 1% and whatever segment of the 99% constitutes the lowest). This is completely specious!  To use one abominable statistic (the gigantic gap between rich and poor) as an apology for another one (the difficulty of upward mobility) strikes me as typical twisted Republican/conservative/neo-liberal aplogetics.  

    Long live the OWS movement, which has made the dangerous move of putting its finger on the truth of inequality in the USA.

  • John

    Oh yes. Blame it on single family households.

    Why are there so many? It’s because you lock up their fathers for petty crimes while the criminal elite steal trillions with impunity.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      WELL STATED!!

  • Joe in Philly

    Economic/social mobility is largely a function of education. Canada and the European Countries have focused on delivering high quality education to children; affordable medical care to all; and low to no-cost access to higher education. Yes, the US has the best university system, but access to it available to few, and our K-12 education system (because it is largely based on property tax) has failed. 

  • Chip

    This is not a surprise at all.  There are less companies today then ever before, think mergers and acquisitions.  

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Look at how much money people have to spend on education and healthcare.  How many more people would be able to do better if they didn’t have to go tens-of-thousands or dollars in debt for college? Or try to pay health insurance premiums that increase seemingly exponentially above the cost of living increases and medicine.

    • John

      Health insurance premiums are sucking the money out of saving for retirement.

      It’s $6000/year (average) for many single people. 

      TEN YEARS OF THAT IS AT LEAST $60,000 that could have gone to retirement.

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

        Get rid of COBRA as we know it and let those on unemployment buy into Medicaid with some small fraction of what they get in unemployment.  Then, when [hopefully] they find a job, and if their employer offers it, let them opt to continue paying into Medicaid, or go with what their employer offers; maybe even a combination of both – to cover what the other won’t.

        No one can afford COBRA, at least not for long. When my wife and I were both laid off and we looked into COBRA it would have cost us over 75% of our unemployment. Had we not qualified for Medicaid our newborn daughter wouldn’t have been able to get the care she needed, and I would not have been treated for cancer.

      • Modavations

        I pay 11,000ish

  • John

    Talk about how it’s common practice to lay off employees so the top executives can make their numbers for their bonuses.

    ALL THE MONEY AND ADVANTAGES ARE GOING TO THE VERY TOP!

    • Anonymous

      You have stated the number one truth.  Almost all the gain achieved by the increased productivity of our economy has gone to an increasingly smaller number of people who control capital and thereby, control corporate policy and compensation from those entities.

      I’m in my late 50′s and growing up in my middle class neighborhood and school, the thought of retiring fabulously wealthy at age 35, or 45, or even 55, wasn’t even a concept held by anyone.  I still don’t think a significant number of people really want to be mega-rich, except in their lottery-winning dreams.  They just want to go to work in a reasonably safe place where their honest days work allows them to have a decent lifestyle that doesn’t leave them on constantly the precipice of financial disaster.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I got a call the other day from unknown, if I would participate in a 30-second survey, I would win a two-day cruise.  Slam.  Slow burn.  There was a time when only extremely wealthy grandparents went on cruises, and that was in order to get from here to there for business purposes, before airplanes were jets.  Now people think that all sorts of things are usual parts of the good life, because apparently the economy needs us pouring money all over it.  I blame Madison Avenue, and K Street.  And the need for grand GDP, in order to generate taxes, in order to pay the national debt…
        But why does the American Dream include so much…

    • Soli

      This is what bugs me in all this talk. The dream seems very tied into consumerism and “stuff” and is it really sustainable?

      • Ellen Dibble

        Yes, I think that young people would do well to look for a life that is tied to a community, realistic as to what makes for a good life, and not chasing after every last gadget or flashy offering.

      • Sandy Pickup

        no, it is not sustainable. more stuff, bigger everything does not mean we have a better quality of life and that we have gotten ahead

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Got the same call, several times!  Anyone KNOW that it is NOT a scam, which it sounds like!   My relative, an African prince wants to give me money, but I have to pay up-front for it?

  • http://neilblanchard.blogspot.com/ Neil Blanchard

    How does healthcare affect this issue?

    Neil

    • Ellen Dibble

      Vastly, vastly, vastly.  If you don’t know it, count your blessings.

  • JustSayin

    He’s saying that wealth creates more opportunity. He’s going to be silenced by a mountain of ideological rhetoric. The American Dream states that wealth is not a factor in success in any way.

    If my drunken father beats me and keeps me out of school because of his religious beliefs, and crack whore mom ran off with the postman, and I’m hungry every day… The dream is believing that this position is equal to being a Kennedy kid.

    Wouldn’t it be a better country if opportunity was based on skill and intelligence and not solely on wealth and cronyism? IMO If opportunity was presented as on American Idol, the nation would be better off.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    My father’s generation (Depression kid, WWII vet) not only had the benefit of a booming economy, but the vets had the GI Bill and the free education it brought them.

    • notafeminista

      Yeah because of WWII.  Europe and Japan were literal ash heaps and the rest of Asia wasn’t out of the dark yet.

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

        Ashes happen in war. We didn’t start it, but we did finish it.  We also turned around and aided them through the Marshall Plan, and they more than just crawled out of the ashes, they emerged like Phoenixes.

        • notafeminista

          Yup.  The US was the only one capable of doing any business, thus our economy was booming.

      • Anonymous

         Regardless of why our overall economy boomed during the time in question, the reason it was sound was because its fruits were distributed throughout the population much more equitably than now.

        The question we now face is what to do when the private economy ceases to perform this function so necessary to its very existence and success.

        • notafeminista

          No it’s not and the cause cannot be disregarded.  At the very least it is intellectually dishonest.

  • Sandy Pickup

    Is there a difference in US and European countries in what we value as far as “moving up”?

  • Sam, Buffalo, NY

    AND we are the hardest working country in the world!

    We have 5 paid holidays (that is IF you work in a job that pays for holidays!!!) per year. It is the lowest number.

    I checked.

  • Sam, Buffalo, NY

    I think that’s why people are angry.

    There is less and less hope, that no matter how hard you work (something that is in your control) you cannot get ahead.

    Even if you work 10 – 12 – 14 hour days, you still cannot get ahead.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    I don’t understand why so many on the Right fear unions and any idea from Europe that work. Europe is greatly unionized, teachers in particular, and they’re not demonized as wrecking the economy. While some countries have some outrageous entitlements from unionization, like in Greece it would cheaper for the government to pay everyone to take a cab to work, rather than the trains, but on the whole every indicator points at things being better for mobility.  But everyone decries that if we take anything that works from Europe, and apply it to us, that we’re on the path to hell from Socialism.

    • William

      Well, if you look at how Obama gave a huge share of GM to the union (UAW) and told the shareholders “tough luck” that is a scary situation.

      • TFRX

        I understand that telling shareholders “tough luck” is something that American businessmen of a certain strata are skilled at.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Like Rick Waggoner, the CEO, that lead GM into bankruptcy, and got $MILLIONS for doing it?

        • William

          Yes….unlike the famous Obama quote to the Republicans after he got elected “I won”

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1439572620 Joe Lee

      The problem with unions is the same problem with corporations or any other group who gets power. Unions are incentivized to protect their own interests above all else, like the businesses are out to protect their own interests above all else. Both completely lose the bigger picture.

      I’m not against unions, or against corporations. However this antagonism is a lose-lose proposition. If both labor and businesses truly worked together instead of trying to screw the other side over, they would both make much more than they do fighting each other.

      • TFRX

        But when I read the papers or watch TV, all I get is the steady drumbeat of “why are unions ruining the company’s future?”.

        When the board of directors’ dump trucks are loading sacks of money out of the corporate treasury, our media chants “they’re at the top, they worked harder, they’re smarter, that’s a natural outcome of free markets, whatsyerproblemyacommunist?”

        Sounds like an unequal game in which the unions’ every move needs to be made with the health of the corporation, thirty years hence, in the balance, whereas the suits get to grab what they can, while they can.

      • Modavations

        Teamsters are 40% Republican and Trumpka gives 100% to Dems.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          WHICH Republican candidate was REALLY going to advance the cause of the working union members?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I KNOW that my union has contributed to, and politically supported some Republicans!

      • Rgardener98

        I’d say it’s always been the corporations screwing labor over, versus the other way around. It’s the whole reason historically why labor guilds of old and labor unions came into existence. With only 7% of the working population now in a unionized private sector job, it’s safe to say the labor union itself is pretty much out of existence. The clear fact is that there is no such thing anymore — and we accept this slavery as the “free” market at work — as a level playing field for workers (people who work as employees at companies) to have a say over their labor and their lives. And that’s a lot of time spent out of our lives NOT having any freedom. We have no job guarantees. We have no negotiating ability or leverage on the job. And we are afraid of losing that job constantly because there are so few jobs.

        Unions evolved out of necessity because of a lack of labor laws protecting society and individuals from the horrors of work, from the horrors of the “entrepreneurs” we have turned into icons. But the policies that came after the big labor union surge of the 1930′s (when FDR saved capitalism by leveling the playing field so that more people could earn more money putting more “demand” into the economy) were disavowed by the laws that the corporations wanted (Taft Hartley in 1948). It is virtually impossible to unionize a workplace. You have labor law firms that specialize in working with corporations to block and defeat labor union drives. You  have companies that close factories because they’re unionized, reopen them in what used to be the south, but after NAFTA they just moved them overseas.

        Without new broad-based policies (including the costs of education — education for what jobs? — the costs of healthcare) and targeted legal reform that addresses the gross inequities in the employer-employee relationship, good luck to all of us in attaining the mythic American Dream.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Which union members get $MILLIONS for bankrupting their company , as a Golden Parachute?
            Which unions got the percentates of  pay raise that executives got? 
           Which union members get paid $MILLIONS for making BAD decisions for their company?

    • Rgardener98

      Actually, the Right totally demagogues this union issue. They never stop beating the drum because their propaganda and demonization has created the widespread fear and distrust of unions that they seek.

      We have great graduate research programs here that attract people from around the world. Most don’t stay after they graduate. The reason is not difficulties with immigration. It’s that opportunities are far greater in their home countries. Most of our immigrants now come from hellish places and will accept the low-wage low-skill jobs that seem to make up a preponderance of our consumerist economy.

      The Right has been successful through its think tanks, the politicians, the major media, graduate schools of business, to own the conversation. They are the framers. They allow what’s permissible in societal discourse. And the black and white, good and evil, standard talking points surrounding economics is zero-tolerance of anything that counters free-trade economics and globalization. Listen to Romney’s pathetic demonization of European welfare-state type socialism anytime the subject comes up as to how to fix our economic mess. None in the political class, dominated as it is on corporate largess, will ever consider the real problem, that is, Wall Street and corporate globalization together with a criminally complicit political class, which is completely responsible for the hollowing out of our economy, the crushing of the labor movement which allowed for so many middle-income livelihoods, and the vanishing of career opportunity.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Seems to me the class warfare is the rich trying to keep those below them stuck where they are.

    • Jasoturner

      I don’t think the rich care about those “below” them one way or another.  I think they just want to tilt the game to the greatest extent possible in their favor so that making money is easy, relatively risk free, and not illegal.  No millionaire I know – and I actually know a few – seems to harbor ill will towards people like me.

      • TFRX

        Fair enough observation, but I wonder how much “trouble” are you to their ambitions.

        Are you on the news as your local “occupy”, making trouble at hearings in your state capitol, or doing other things which they may perceive as a threat to their tilting of the gaming table?

        • TFRX

          While I’m at it, to what extent do they identify with each other because of their strata, and less for other things, say, churchgoing, clubs, school communities, or such?

      • StillHere

        Philanthropy numbers suggest this is not correct.

      • Scott B, Jamestown NY

        It’s not the individual bajillionaire that’s sitting there, lighting stogies with $100 bills and wringing his hands in anticipation of the evil he’s about to unleash on the unwashed savages. And a business owner with just a million bucks isn’t plotting the abuse of his workers so he can be the next robber baron.  But when you have the like of the Koch brothers, Grover Norquist, the PACs and SuperPACs, and the combined efforts of sundry Wall Streeters that are ever seeking to keep more and more of what they have, to pay less taxes than their janitors do, that’s where the disconnect lies.

        These people most likely aren’t going to have an epiphany on their own. Now and then you hear bout someone like Wendell Potter,  a VP at Cigna Insurance. He was literally out for a Sunday drive, and runs across a free health care expedition while he was back visiting his parents and saw thousands of hard working Americas, and people just down on their luck because of the economy, lining up for free heath care. Abramov had to go to prison to learn his lesson. 

        Dump Paul Ryan, Mitt, Newt, et all, and anyone on Fox News in a minimum wage job for a few months, or make them work the medical expeditions and talk to the people…  Walking through a soup kitchen or talking with people at the lunch counter for a couple of minutes, for a photo op or a sound bite, just ain’t going to do it.

        • TFRX

          I take it you’ve read Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickeled and Dimed”.

          In a balanced media world, someone hosting the Sunday gasbags would have that title at their fingertips, ready to drop on some upper class twit.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The EVIDENCE says so!

  • Joe in Philly

    Recognize that a college degree in Canada and the most European countries represents a much more demanding process. The watering-down of degree requirements, grade inflation and the emphasis on sports in US colleges are yet other reasons why we are lagging our global counterparts. Just look at who’s getting the advanced degrees in science and engineering in this country; its the Asian grad students and they are now returning to their country of origin! As an aside, why not, as Energy Secretary Chu has suggested, that these students be granted a Green Card upon graduation?

  • John

    There are classes in America you dumb _______ Santorum.

    Criminal rich and the rest of us.

    • notafeminista

      Well now, there are no red states and no blue states just American states right?   

      • TFRX

        Considering how many red states are “tax recipients” and how many blue states are “tax dollars”, yet right-wingers want to keep that birthrighteous quality of “fiscally prudence”, I can see how you’d like everyone to not know the difference.

        • notafeminista

          Frankly I don’t care.  I’d just like the left to hold itself to the standard it sets. 

          • TFRX

            Of course you don’t care; it goes without saying.

            And if you want me to speak for “the left”, you really need to brush up on a little idea called “false equivalence”. Reality has a well-known liberal bias.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            But you DON’T want the ‘right’, ‘compassionate’, ‘conservative’ ‘Christian’ ‘we want everyone to be wealthy’, and other empty drivvel, to hold itself to its OWN standards?

          • notafeminista

            Food, fuel shelter yet?

        • Modavations

          Every hell hole ghetto is run by Democrats.The business of the left is keeping the poor,poor.

          • TFRX

            Keep going, Foghorn.

          • Modavations

            What does this bring to the conversation?

  • Bruce

    I think similar studies also indicate that in the U.S. family background exerts a greater influence on income than educational achievement.  Specifically, in the U.S. you are more likely to make your way to the highest-earning one-fifth of the population if you are born into the top fifth and do NOT attain a college degree than if you were born into the bottom fifth and did.
     
    If you view a college degree as a proxy for intelligence and hard work, than what does this mean?  Are you better off being born rich, dumb and lazy than poor, smart and industrious?
     
    I think the above implies that inherited wealth and opportunity have a greater impact on income inequality than the guests have indicated, and viewing the market as a reliable gauge of social value is misguided. 

    • TFRX

      Bill Gates was raised by a millionaire and when he dropped out of Harvard, he was not disowned. It turns out he was an exceptional person. Who knows how many other people in his strata are simply getting all those second chances?

      Conversely, I wonder at what income percentile that “dropping out of college” (let alone out of Harvard, fergawdsakes) is an almost off-the-cliff setback to professional ambitions.

      • TFRX

        “Who knows how many other people in his strata are simply getting all those second chances?”

        …by which I mean, without having Gates’ qualities that allowed him to become who he is today. We likely know his name much better than any 100 of the “thanksdads” 10-watt bulbs in 100-watt sockets.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Where would Bill Gates be if IBM didn’t come knocking looking for an operating system desperate to enter the new PC market? Gates didn’t have an OS. They bought out a company that did which was really a clone of the most popular small computer OS of the time: CP/M . This indicates business savvy, not technical genius.
         
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CP/M
        .  

        • TFRX

          Who knows where he’d be.

          Without getting into every granular step of his career (that’s another show) his record of making something where there was nothing speaks pretty evidently.

          That constrasts, in my book, with the Jack Welches and others who play accounting games, and four years after they leave, a company is in shambles.

        • Jasoturner

          Well, don’t forget that he wrote one of the first higher level language compilers for early PCs.  He’s no dummy.  But it’s true he basically hit the lottery when he bought the basis for DOS and convinced IBM to let him control it.

          • Modavations

            Half his genius was buying DOS.The rest of the complaints are Penis Envy from failed men

          • TFRX

            More projection from Moda.

      • Jasoturner

        I dropped out of college after two years, and then spent eight learning the printing trades.  I finally returned to school by working full time nights and studying during the day.  I even got a free graduate degree thanks to a teaching fellowship.  BUT, I was one of several older guys who tried to go back to college and get a degree.  I was the only one who made it.  Kids, illness, lack of time and lack of ability all worked against my friends.  So at least from my experience, if you don’t have a family that can help you pay, you have maybe a 10% chance of getting yourself through college after dropping out.

        On top of that, when I went to school I think UMass Boston was less than a grand a semester.  It’s a whole new ballgame in the pricing department today.  Which makes it even tougher.

        • Modavations

          I went to B.C. for either $3000,or 5000 per year.That was 1970.I wonder what that translates into todays dollars.

          • Jasoturner

            Dunno, but tuition alone is now $42 large at B.C.

          • Modavations

            I get the alumni stuff and think BC is worth the 42,000.Tough school.4 hrs.home work every night.I was a young hippy lad thrown in the middle of smart jocks.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Moda is talking about his salary as a janitor. Why he finds that relevant is anyone’s guess.

          • nj

            I would demand a refund. The time spent there clearly had no effect.

          • Modavations

            What does this bring to the conversation?

      • Bruce

        I’m not suggesting that there aren’t plenty of smart, hard-working college drop-outs or rich kids who never attend college and accomplish great things either with their inheritance or other advantages like getting their start running a family-owned business.  And there are brilliant exceptions who border on genius and make enormous contributions to society. 
         
        The Pew study I’m referring does not account for these exceptional cases, but was examining all the aggregated data and trying to identify factors that correlate with the striking income inequality and lack of economic mobility in the U.S. in contrast with other developed countries.
         
        If you listen to the GOP contenders in NH and other conservative acolytes of Ayn Rand rail against any form of economic redistribution which might mitigate the problem of inequality, it’s obvious that their proposals do not take into account the lack of mobility, and they would aggravate the existing income disparity. 
         
        When conservatives advocate eliminating inheritance taxes, reducing taxes on unearned income, and making Bush-era marginal tax rates for the wealthiest permanent, we hear the same tired clichés to justify Wealthcare:  we dare not raise taxes on the “job creators;” we shouldn’t “penalize, confiscate or loot” the most successful among us because they “work harder” or a more “intelligent” than those who would “mooch” and won’t “take a bath and get a job.”
         
        The rhetoric that the laissez-faire, libertarian ideologues invoke is based on the false assumption that wealth itself represents virtue (i.e. thrift, hard work, intelligence) and that all the rest including poverty the lack thereof.  But the studies indicate otherwise.  For example, those who must work the night shift or stand on their feet all day or engage in physically demanding labor probably earn considerably less, but work considerably harder than the white-collar executive in a plush office suite.
         
        In addition, many of the wealthiest among us will freely admit that in addition to hard work and talent, luck and circumstances play an important role in their individual success.

        • TFRX

          Good “unpacking” on the topic.

          And I chuckle over how many suit-wearing types are just assuming physical labor is something that a 60-something needs to do for another two or three extra years to “fix social security” lest those workers fall into the trap of “laziness” and moral hazard.

  • Jeff D

    People are not tolerant of income disparity, they cannot do anything about it.  Politicians have firewalls that protect them from the masses of discontent.  One of the firewalls is wealth.  Washington is a gated community.  When a politician leaves office, they slide into a lobbying position.  So the cycle of money continues to revolve.  Most politicians don’t care about their constituents, they care about their position, wealth, and status.  Consider it like the African plains, (the politicians and wealthy and corporations) are the lions, the prey is the (money, benefits, and opportunities) that benefit the masses. When the lion catches the prey they will devour it until they are full and then leave any scraps for the vultures (the citizens, people) to fight over.  It will never change. 

    • JustSayin

      Your summation of the Lion King movie is excellent.

      How many people viewed The Lion King as a harmless cartoon, and not blatant totalitarian propaganda. 

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    “The left wants to mitigate (marxist redistribution) by bringing us down, the laissez faire types want to mitigate, by making everyone affluent(modism redistribution) “Clearly the person who wrote the above refuses to understand that government DOES have a role to redistribute wealth. When working properly the public and private sector bootstrap each other to higher and higher levels of prosperity. Government does this by protecting patent rights, improving the social infrastructure… education, public health, roads, ports, law enforcement, proving for a currency and national defense, etc. Government can build up sections of the nation the private sector would never bother with… such as we saw with rural electrification. It can give money for education and health care to poorer states which obviously must come from richer states. But to accomplish the above, the public sector then needs to tax the private sector that benefits from social investment. This was the “rising tide” JFK talked about… not that we needed to give the rich everything and hope something trickled down to the rest of us. The doctrinaire Right claims this is redistribution of wealth blind to the fact that no one makes their wealth on their own. A killer idea is worth nothing in an impoverished 3ed world nation without the infrastructure to exploit it.

    • Dennis_in_Omaha

      We have learned that redistributing wealth is not as important as redistributing opportunity. Lately though, we have been tax-subsidizing slave labor opportunity in Asia, while ignoring our Asian friends.

  • AC

    i’ve had to consult on a project in Canada a few times – going through customs to tell them you’re there for a job puts them right on edge ….they keep the jobs for their people

  • Ralph in Michigan

    Tom: Please let your guests finish a point they are making!

    • Stephen

      I actually like his interruptions lately–he’s forcing speakers from both political persuasions to deal with the “elephants in the room” (of which there are many) and not dance around them pretending they aren’t there.  

      So many of the speakers use no data, or very selective unrepresetantive data, and ignore the obvious ripostes to their opinions unless Ashbrook brings them up.  

  • Sam, Buffalo, NY

    I still haven’t heard the point that large companies simply do not pay people the amount that is in accordance with the inflation and increasing taxes and insurance.

    When I approached my employer for a raise, they said, it’s not in a budget. This was in 2008. Beginning of the recession. We all got 5% cut.

    I had to wait almost 2 years to get my raise. And when I got it, I couldn’t negotiate. It was 5% – take it or leave it.

    ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!

    Back 10 – 15 years ago this was unthinkable. You negotiate your salary and raise and your benefits. Now, it’s … you’re lucky you get this.

    • Still Here

      With an 8.5% unemployment rate, there are potentially a bunch of people waiting to take your job.  If you don’t like it, you’re free to leave.

      • TFRX

        Sounds like another GOP bumpersticker waiting to be printed up:

        2010: Jobs are Job N+1 (after gays and lesbians, womens’ rights, and other red meat to valuistas)
        2012: You’re free to leave.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        CEO, and Board Member raises in pay and perqs, in the same time-frame?

    • Modavations

      Open your own business

      • TFRX

        And how’s life in Galt’s Gulch, where bankers are in fistfights to loan money to every startup which waltzes down the pike?

        You seem to say you live in the real world, but the jury is still out.

        • Modavations

          just another temper tantrum.

          • TFRX

            Just another hack, either that or you have magical intonation skillz. Funny how often they’re on display here.

  • Common Sense

    Tom, why do you find it necessary to demean the points of your guests, especially before they make their point?  Yes, it’s your show and you want to get your opinion out, but rudeness is not the way to do it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Wes-Nickerson/100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    If you want upward mobility in the US, then support Jill Stein for President. Let’s take back our democracy from the Wall Street corporate criminals and build a green future for all of America, with the Green New Deal.

    http://www.jillstein.org/

    Don’t be fooled. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are Wall Street parties. But the Green Party is standing up for our rights and fighting for our future!

  • Anonymous

    Good that a caller just pointed out a social factor – the political influence of labor unions in shaping the character of social policies. All the European countries mentioned so far, and Canada as well, have a strong Social-Democratic political tradition (i.e. Socialists). Nothing like this here, but we have had institiutional racism for too long and the strong influence of other cultural factors, such as the prevalence of an ideology which focused exclusively on the individual as the agent of social transformations. Mister Salam was very eloquent on this regard.
     While rightwing ideologues have been exploiting class resentment, these ideologues have made any conversation about social class a taboo. No one so far has spelled out loud and clearly in this conversation that for decades structural factors have been stacked against the average American worker. This has contributed signbificantly to the breakdown of families and the falling of cultural standards about the less previliged mmembers of society. If you do not believe me, ask William Julius Wolson and other prestigious sociologist about it. The participation of sociologist, people who happened to approach the question about social mobility from a wider perspective than your average economist would have been in order. 

  • Sam

    Europe & Canada have better upward mobility… and you though socialism is bad. Silly Republicans. 

    • Modavations

      iN YEAR 2000 THE rEPUBLICANS TOOK OVER cANADA..Before Harper and Martin, the Canadian Dollar was worth .65cts,in favor of the USD

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        And your point? In 2001 the Republican Bush Junta was installed in the US. So you’re crediting “republicans” in Canada for raising the value of the Looney yet ignoring the role the GOP played in the US in demolishing the value of the US dollar?

        When Bush was installed the exchange rate was
        .66. Four years later it was .81. 

        Are there any intelligent Right wingers out there?

        source: http://www.x-rates.com/cgi-bin/hlookup.cgi

  • Jean Smith

    In the seventies an orphan could go to school supported Social Security survivors benefits and have the $700/semester tuition covered by PHEAA. Those supports are history and tuition is up a thousand percent. 

    • notafeminista

      Greedy teachers.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Teacher pay went up 1000%?

        • notafeminista

          Nah, teachers work for free.

      • TFRX

        I’ll bet you blame sports ticket prices on greedy athletes too.

        • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

          They are all millionaires…how is it that they are NOT greedy?

          • TFRX

            Not sure how deadpan you’re being, so I’ll be a bit wordy.

            Of course they’re not all millionaires; the median income level and career length suggests a three-year stint with the Erie Sea Wolves or Lake Charles Ice Pirates, not a Tom Brady or Derek Jeter.

            When it comes to negotiation, grabbing every cent one can is always a prerogative, if not a synaptic defense pre-narrativized and invoked on behalf, of management. Labor? Not so much, according to what I see in media coverage.

            Look at the NBA lockout: Players show up, the gate is locked, and all we are fed is “a pox on both their houses”. The next time the players strike, I can bet my bottom dollar that our CNBC hacks will beat the drum about “greedy players”.

            And it’s a well-explained fact that sports tickets plus other costs of attending a game are priced at what the market will bear.

    • Modavations

      Overpaid professors!!!

    • AC

      i’ve been looking into adoption for myself. There are still subsidies they give for daycare/preschool etc, & in MA, their tuition is taken care of for a state college or university….the biggest drawback is these kids are usually incredibly sick from fetal alcohol syndrom and have too many special needs. It’s so expensive to have a handicapped child, i am still a little in shock…

      • Terry Tree Tree

        More of a problem, is Methamphetamine, which is getting WAY too prevalent!

        • Rose

          #1 reason children are in foster care in Oregon and Washington (2006); not sure about now; as I’ve moved back to NC, where it’s making its way here rapidly.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Thanks for looking into it, I hope you can and do!  They NEED someone!  The GREEDY rich have caused SOOO many of them!

  • Jeff D

    Jill Stein sounds like another opportunist.  We know the type quite well.  Post your net worth.  I don’t listen to wealthy opportunists talking about problems of the less wealthy in order to advance their mobility on the backs of the lower class. 

  • Modavations

    Thomas A.,
          You insist on calling Heritage a “conserative” think tank.May I suggest you call Brookings a “liberal’Thimnk tank

    • Dennis_in_Omaha

      By definition, by being liberal you are open to a more inclusive range of debate.  If your point is that he should refrain from the insult “conservative” that is understandable, how can you think well if you only have a limited input.
      But calling Brookings “liberal” even if they are not politically liberal, is hardly an insult at all.

    • Dennis_in_Omaha

      By definition, by being liberal you are open to a more inclusive range of debate.  If your point is that he should refrain from the insult “conservative” that is understandable, how can you think well if you only have a limited input.
      But calling Brookings “liberal” even if they are not politically liberal, is hardly an insult at all.

      • Modavations

        The Pol.Correctness of the left is intellectual fascism.All the murderous regimes started out as so-called inclusive leftists.I didn’t mean Brookingsis at fault for being Leftist,I reject Thomas A.s calling Heritage conservative,but implying Brookings,even keeled

  • Modavations

    80 % of American millionaires are self-made men……Terry TT,are all rich greedy?You confuse Cronycapitalists like Corzine,with honest men.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Thanks for regurgitating the Right wing myth… a religion built on half truths.

      I’ve asked this before and I’ll keep asking even if you keep evading it: What is a killer idea worth in an impoverished 3ed or 4th world nation without the necessary infrastructure to exploit that idea?

      What infrastructure? How about a literate and educated workforce? A legal system that allows for the existence of limited liability corporations, intellectual patent rights, and contract law? A judicial system to oversee such laws? What about stable monetary and banking systems from which to get credit? What about systems for national defense and law enforcement? What about a system to insure public health… from clean water to vaccination programs? What of publicly financed basic research?

      Without such infrastructures, that killer idea would be worth nothing.

      A well developed and well run PUBLIC sector is crucial in making that wealth possible. THIS is the moral basis for a strongly progressive tax code. Perhaps the income tax should be renamed the Opportunity Tax.

      • notafeminista

        Ask the guy who invented microloans.

        • notafeminista

          Look up the Tiviski camel dairy in Mauritani.  Then get out more.

      • Guest

        Well said. The sad thing about this is that there are a few morons here that are barely making it but keep buying thew crap that Rush and beck and others sell to there own detriment. Usually people living in the red states where education is an after thought. Keep them ignorant and you can control their small minded thinking as Hitler did for his red states. Ever wonder why Repubs always try to kill education bills?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      You keep asking the SAME questions, after they have been answed many times!  That lead and mercury you ingested in your youth evidently affected you FAR more than you think?
         I APPLAUD those that became rich through HONEST means!  THAT is the ‘American Dream’! 
         I have hopes of becoming rich, through honest means, myself!  Therefore, I am NOT what you keep saying about me!
         Cronycapitalists, whether John Corzine, Bernie Madoff, Newt Gingrich, Kenny ‘Boy’ Lay, or any others, are usually criminals, and should be treated as criminals, when exposed!

      • Modavations

        80 % of American Millionaires are self made men.Let me go over this  “lead”thing,for the twentieth time.My comment on chewing on lead painted window sills,riding bikes without helmuts,playing with mercury from broken thermometers,smashing 50 rolls of caps with rocks,climbing 100′ in the air in trees,hunting snakes and lizards in the swamps,didn’t harm me or any of my mates.Our mothers smoked butts while they breast fed us ND None of my friends have died of lung cancer.As for you’re believing in the Senegalese phone scams,your niavety is in my opinion,breath taking.

        • TFRX

          And your ability to project your anec- into “data” is hilarious. Don’t let us stop you.

        • Johnrichardshaw

          That explains the brain damage you have obviously incurred Too bad you’re the last to know

    • TFRX

      Another from Modatrolls’ greatest (sic) hits (sic).

      Who gives a crap about millionaires (provided you are telling the truth, a big “if”)?

      We are dealing with the middle class here. Unless you’re saying that everyone in the middle class would have been a millionaire if it weren’t for taxes.

      • Modavations

        Son you need anger management help

        • TFRX

          If you could sell that magic browser extension giving you particular insight into my vocal inflection and non-verbal communication, you’d be as rich as you want us to think you are.

          Keep blowing, Foghorn.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Percentage of ‘self-made’ 80% that are drug-dealers, white-slavers, sex-exploiters, child-exploiters, banksters, credit-default creators, scam-artists, inside-traders, hypocritical clergy, thieves, and other criminals?

      • Modavations

        Business is business

  • notafeminista

    To sgeuka below:  So you concede that Dr Quinones  (and others like him) succeeded largely on their own merits – which of course means that society didn’t work for them.  It means they made society work for themselves.  I think you would also concede Dr Quinones started out with some pretty huge challenges to his education. (Language disparity, income disparity, housing disparity and so on)  why isn’t that possible for others facing similar or equal challenges?

  • Tina

    Thank you for referring to statistics that tell, sadly, of some of the economic discrepancies between African-Americans and the wider population.  I’m glad, too, that one guest brought to light  the effect of incarceration on income, for, as we know, African-Americans have disproportionately higher sentences than Whites, often serving more time for the same type of crime.  Would you do a show on these aggregate unfairnesses  focusing on African-Americans.  A specific show on the poverty of Native Americans would also be very much appreciated.  Thank you!  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      GREAT SHOW IDEAS!!

    • Yar

      There is a strong economic incentive to keep prisons full.  I expect  if the local jailer see too many empty beds, he mentions his plight to his friend the sheriff, and suddenly arresting the local drunk becomes a top priority.  The empty jail cells of Mayberry are as fictional as the town.  There is an entire sector of the economy surrounding incarceration. Follow the money and you will see that even as crime rates drop to an all time low, incarceration continues to increase.

      • TFRX

        There’s another show to be held, about privatized and built-to-spec prisons, and how that ended up in Arizona’s “Ver are yur paperz” law.

  • David D. Ward

    Really Tom? You’re not sure how having single-payer healthcare impacts economic mobility? How about this: About a decade ago, I started my own contracting company in the high-tech world. I was successful in consistently getting high-paying work, and was making about twice what I had been as a full-time employee. But, I had to stop and take a full-time job. Why? Because my wife is a Type 1 diabetic, and I could not afford all of our other bills plus her healthcare. I am blessed to have a job and eventually made a good niche in the company I now work for. But, In a country where there was single-payer medical care, I could be living a much more relaxed and prosperous upper-middle class lifestyle, and perhaps my insurance company’s CEO would not have been able to buy that fourth Mercedes or third home. I absolutely know I am not alone in feeling this way.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Thanks for the real-world example, of the damages done by the current DEATH PANELS of insurance CEOs!

    • Modavations

      Europeans pay 50%ish in taxes.

      • Sam Walworth

        and when the tax payers are sick or become sick, they dont have to sell their houses and declare bankruptcy.

        they dont have to take 100k+ in student loans

        they dont have to sit in the traffic for hours (they can take trains or buses)

        they get better vacation.. and oh yes

        paid maternity leave (not Short Term Disability)

        • Guest

          Not to mention their health care is far better than ours as a country AND their total costs are almost 10% less than ours.
          HMMM less cost and better results yet the cool-aid drinkers think that because “Obama Cares” we should kick him and his program in the teeth. Makes sense to me

          • Modavations

            Untrue.My uncle is a blood guy in Paris.My girlfriend is Swedish.Eng is falling apart.Ask Lord Moncton(?)what they did to his mum.My friend in Halifax says he’s broken hearted by what happened to Canada’s health system and the leader of NewFoundland(?)flew to Miami to get a heart op.Castro flew to Spain

          • TFRX

            “Anec-” is not a prefix to “data”.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        German economy is pretty good!  They have strong unions, too!   
           Thanks for proving MANY of your own positions to be HYPOCRICY!

      • Guest

        and yet they live pretty good
        result: high taxes don’t affect livi8ng standard or the economy

  • Modavations

    Govt is the result of affluence,not the other way around

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      How many current fortunes predate the Constitution?

      When working properly, the public and the private sector bootstrap each other to higher levels of prosperity. THAT was the rising tide JFK talked about.

      The Right pretends the public sector impedes the private sector and thus is evil… even though common sense tells us wealth depends on a government created infrastructure. Just one simple example: the market doesn’t create money, it’s money, a creation of government that creates efficient markets.

      • Guest

        well said

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        and what response do we hear from OP’s resident village idiot? crickets!

    • Dennis_in_Omaha

      If you make a comment like that, you better have something to back it up.  Affluence is the result of public policy.  Individuals living in caves never created an economy I would be jealous of, much less respect.

      • Modavations

        A sucessful,affluent  hunter said”, carry my spears”and I’ll give you a steak..And thus, was born government

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Due to mercury and lead ingestion in his youth, Moda has these ‘discussions’ with celebrities, powerful politicians, and ficticious characters, in which Moda is the ‘wise advisor’, to which they ALL flock.

          • Modavations

            Terry,Terry,a guy who thinks Senegalese phone scammers are real,should try eating some lead.You’re niavety is breathtaking

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Somalis are AFFLUENT?

      • Modavations

        Greece of Parthenon times,had no govt.Free men met and voted in quorum.

        • Plain old Cory

          Uh, that WAS there form of government.

          • Plain old Cory

            sorry…  their instead of there.

          • Modavations

            Sparta was run by kings,Athens by quorum of free men(not slaves).During the times of the Parthenon,that is

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Quorum of free men.  That sounds like a form of government, if the mercury hasn’t changed your brain!

        • Guest

          Alexander the Great and his army may disagree with you

          • Modavations

            He was Mecedonian and I certainlly stand by my statement.

      • notafeminista

        If one is busy worrying about where the next meal literally comes from and whether or not the tribe across the way might attack, then one does not have time to make laws and governments.

        We can have a discussion about the lack of mobility and whether or not humans cause climate change because we have stability.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Some stability, for a while?

  • Earl Shepherd

    Great topic.  Sadly, upward mobility as a unique factor of America has never been true for most Americans.  One of the reasons that this phenomenon is so striking now…is because America is less wealthy comparatively speaking to other western countries.  Considering that many of those countries were bombed completely during WWII gives us greater insight into the question of American upward mobility.  The class factor and the resistance to upward mobility can further be examined when we see that America is willing to expend multiple times the numbers of dollars incarcerating a instead than educating.  America thrives on keeping others beneath them instead of excelling themselves.  

    The myths of America’s upward mobility continues to be promoted by our politicians.  

  • Sgtwildey

    The talk about ‘stickiness’ to the bottom and upward mobility is intentional for myself. That is to say that the %1 of this country sets such a bad example that I would jump off a bridge if I woke up one morning with a white collar around my neck knowing that I stepped on millions of Americans for my own financial gain. In my mind, you have to be callous pig to be in the %1 of this country and I would rather live 200 years as a blue collar than 30 years as a pig. My house will never be made out of the hearts and spines of the middle class so I’ll be hopping off the elevator long before it ascends to the penthouse of greed. An example? Congress trades on insider info legally when they should be the very ones to ensure that no one ever trades on insider info but, they’re pigs setting that bad example. So, who wants to be a pig? Who could be proud of it? Not me. Never.

  • Lack of Mobility

    I blame Obama.

    • Murphy9682

      Your an idiot

      • Lack of Mobility

        At least I can spell.

        • Guest

          congratulations 

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      Complete and utter nonsense.

      • AC

        i think this is a bait comment….

        • AC

          not your’s, the LoM person’s….

        • Common Sense

          It’s interesting to see where responsibility falls based on one’s political perspective.    Some are only too willing to blame this or the last administration for issues that are so complicated as to be impossible to identify the exact policy or time responsible. 

          • TFRX

            Nice false equivalence of “this or the last administration”. The facts suggest otherwise.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Some of them have resulted from long-term, cascading decisions, through different administrations, by people with an agenda, behind the scenes!

  • mark

    As a therapist in Vermont, I have a different perspective on the increase in mental health diagnoses relative to “diminshed” power to change your social/economic status.  A Mental health diagnosis has become one means to “reach up”, I’m afraid.  Many have approached me with a request to confirm/support a diagnosis, like Bi-polar disorder, so that they can access their SSDI benefits.  Having a mental health problem gets you something you couldn’t get before.  $ .   I try to see and support a vision of people as full of possibility vs. limited by disabilities.   Sometimes our mental health system and our desire to grow and expand and rise above class strata are at odds.  I hope these efforts are made with integrity.

    • TFRX

      First, does this have any resemblance to stories of upper-middle-class kids who get diagnosed in order to get more time to take the SATs? (Apologies if not.)

      Second (and this is more open-ended), isn’t there still a difference to being diagnosed for someone very poor v. with some means? Would that be easier to answer for someone working in a place with more “market based” healthcare structure than Vermont?

    • Anonymous

      Mark, SSDI is not upward mobility for most people. And, even though there are few jobs in Vermont, a person can earn some limited income while receiving SSDI benefits. Nationwide only about 11 million people get these checks, though some have dependents. Your diagnoses would probably not carry much weight in eligibility hearings, so don’t worry. It remains difficult to legally obtain a judgment of “fully disabled” and no adjustment has been made for this downturn. Corruption of the SS system occurs mostly in the political/bureaucratic sphere and not in the medical/legal realm. Increasing enrollment may be the result of an older demographic and/or poorer access to preventive care. Even if an applicant is terminally ill s/he must wait 5 months for benefits to begin. In actual conditions SSDI is often a cruel and inadequate solution. It offsets against (subrogation) against other disability insurance and often results in a net income loss. At my times of illness that was the case with me, so I’ve never applied. I think you need to investigate further to calm your concerns. Recently there have been mobilizations of bias on public radio against disability claimants. You aren’t part of that, are you?

      • mark

        I appreciate your thoughtful response.  I am not opposed to individuals requesting assistance to deal with limitations.  At the same time, there is often a strange and alienating sense of entitlement around disability claims.  Limitations come in all sizes and colors.  We all have them.  A request for support with my limitation connects me with the other so much more effectively than does my Demand for my SSDI check.

  • Four Elements

    “Each wave of entrepreneurs attempts to suppress the following wave.”
    Don’t know who said it but I like it.

    • Modavations

      Nonsense.Laissez Faire types want everyone to be affluent so they’ll buy our products.

  • Anonymous

    This would remain a pretty enviable forum if we ignored the anti-social posters and left them to self-extinguish. We call this strategy co-existence. Irrational extremists have to meet our standards of argument and civility before they receive replies. It seems to be working over at billmoyers.com (Bill Moyers & Company debuting Jan.13th) Disqus is our format too.

    • Modavations

      Bill Moyers job for LBJ was to “out” gays.Read his mea culpa in NYT

      • Terry Tree Tree

        His mea culpa?  You mean that he admitted it to the public?  In the New York Times?  Expressed remorse?  Does he still do it?  Is he trying to make amends?

  • Modavations

    Income disparity is everywhere.It’s the shot of becoming a zillionaire that attracts people to the U.S.Want to close the gap?Extend school vouchers to the poor and reestablish the nuclear family.Instead of a marriage penality,I suggest a marriage bonus

    • Yar

      School vouchers will undermine public education.

      • StillHere

        Just like tenure and general lack of accountability.

        • AC

          i work with a few teachers during competitions and they’re wonderful….they support their students even during their free time….

          • Worried for the country(MA)

            Good teachers (at least in our local towns) are grossly underpaid for what they do.  It will eventually hurt our society to underpay teachers.

        • TFRX

          Do you have to buy office supplies for your job?

          • Modavations

            If you would,please tell me your profession

          • TFRX

            I’ve worked for skinflint hacks that I wouldn’t trust to supply our commodes with facial tissue.

            And it’s obvious you’ve never talked to a teacher. They have to buy “office supplies” all the fekking time.

          • Modavations

            You have anger issues.Again,what is your profession

          • TFRX

            Big talk from someone who has an axe to grind about “social workers”.

            Do you have some incredible smartphone app which gives you insight to my non-verbal language and vocal inflection? If not, your claptrap about “anger” is awfully thin.

      • Modavations

        I’m interested in smart kids,not teachers

        • Guest

          That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. Stupid teachers breed stupid children. Your comments help us to see who taught you

  • Dennis_in_Omaha

    It feels wrong to keep slavery in Asia.

    It feels worse paying for it with American taxes.

    It gets even worse when your job opportunity is sent to those slaves.  Public assistance is cold comfort when you could have been working and accomplishing something.

    Those who still have some work find that their tax debt is increased twice.  First, wealthy Americans partner with foreign governments to cheat on their American tax deductions.  Secondly, many people who desire to work and help pay down the debt, simply cannot. But instead of the chance to work, they face the indignity of increasing the debt with public assistance.

    If anyone doubts that there is a global war against poor people, just look at our tax code.

    In the name of “free trade” and getting our own government out of the marketplace, we have surrendered to allowing the Chinese government to dictate who the winners and losers are.  Poor people in America do not have representation in the Chinese market the way the Walton and Murdoch families do.

    Yet poor people in America are the ones who pick up the tab of the debt that the Chinese government creates.  Deductions for income taxes paid in another country are deductible in our country.  But if the company is majority owned by a foreign government, they are paying taxes to themselves, keeping slaves, and sending the bill to us.

    This is taxation without representation, and that’s not fair.

    If you want to be like the original tea party, the closest thing you have to a British government tax stamp is the label, “Made in China”.

  • Stephen

    I am less concerned about class warfare, than I am about “semantic warfare” that refuses to even try to grapple with the issues calmly and carefully.

    “Class warfare” as a descriptive term in the current political discussions is largely a red herring (or more vividly, a stink bomb).  We are hardly on the edge of, or even within sight of, something like the French or Russian Revolutions.  Part of the problem is that “class” has so many meanings to so many people.  “Class” is not the same as “caste”, nor can it be established simply in economic terms, nor is it fixed by law or genetics.  It is multi-dimensional, and also has a time component that changes very slowly, despite economic jolts like un- and under-employment.  (I think it makes more sense to think of it as averaged over a long period like decades, or even a generation.  “Class” includes one’s education level, one’s family background to some extent, and one’s career, not just one’s income level at some point in time.)  We all know that it is possible to change “class” by hard work, but we also sense that it is getting harder and more unpredictable by some measures.  I may be better educated, have had more impressive jobs, and be far better travelled than my parents and grandparents, but I am not necessarily better off or more secure financially in the current economy.Have I moved “up” or not?  I would say “yes” in many, but not all ways.
    To criticize political policies that have allowed one group (to pick two caricatures at opposite ends of the spectrum: the top 1%, and the fabled “unwed welfare mothers”) to benefit at the expense of other groups, is not necessarily “class warfare”–it may be an attempt to make distinctions in order to talk meaningfully about a very complex subject.  

    Some people who have a political ax to grind are using the words to be inflammatory, but many others are just trying to make sense of the last two decades.  The problem is, that this can’t be done in sound bites–not by candidates, and not by commentators.  Until we are willing to have attention spans longer than a sentence or two, we are not going to be able to make sense of what is going on.  I am less concerned about class warfare, than I am about “semantic warfare” that refuses to even try to grapple with the issues calmly and carefully.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

    One of our biggest problems is that we cannot speak the truth about minority issues…all because of the disease known as political correctness.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      MOST of the ‘minority issues’ COULD be talked about, because in many parts of the country, whites are the SAME issues!
         If you start your ethnic jokes and slurs with ‘This dumb Honkey….., you can probably carry on.
          I am a white male, FYI

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

        Wrong. Kids raised by single mothers have no role model. And those who do show intellectual achievement, are accused as “acting white”…  but that is racism…so we cannot talk about it.

        • AC

          i think you are missing at least 1000 variables in your argument…….

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

            Probably the White people don’t want the colored people to succeed.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Thanks for making my point. A culture that does not value education and achievement is DOOMED to failure. Watch your TV news, read and understand. Just the reply one could expect from a mindless PC robot.

          • Modavations

            I’m with ya lad

          • Guest

            Wow, is this a case of broke back mountain learns to post on the PC. You two ought to get together and share a sleeping bag after you hang your quota of N*&g*&s

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Check your own bigoted credentials first. It is impossible for people like you to think for themselves. Mindless and monolothic, have you ever had an original thought of your own? Or are you just a parrot mouthing the leftist party line? Seems so.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            will answer above!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Would Moda cheat on Barney?    Oh, that’s right he champions Newt?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            It just got a LOT better.  You  have to read it!

          • Modavations

            When you’re not being rascist your praising communists and terrorists.What’s up?

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            I dont intend to write a novel. The point is valid and clear.

          • Modavations

            and 100% spot on.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Thanks!

          • Guest

            One more bigot to join you there son. Now why don’t yall go chew a jaw of backer together and go shoot ya a N*&R while yer at it

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            See my reply above. You fools never fail to prove me right. Leftists are as predictable as the sunrise.

          • AC

            I am so far from being a leftist, it’s not even funny. Fail.

          • AC

            i’m a math person, i wasn’t asking for a novel

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            OK – 2+2 is 4. Got it? The issue I raised is as simple as that.

          • AC

            Simple math for a simple mind. You’re no help, except for a gullible 7yr old…..

        • Modavations

          most righteous

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Most truthful. Like I said HONEST discussions on race are not possible in this leftist delusional world.

          • Modavations

            i HAVE NEVER BEEN CALLED A leftist.I think you’ve confused me with another

          • Terry Tree Tree

            WOW!  A FIRST!  Someone called Modavations a ‘Leftist’!  There may be hope for him yet?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Look how dangerous name-calling can be!

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Please read my comment…I did not call you personally a leftist.

          • JR SHAW

            RUSH, DON’T YOU HAVE A BIGITED SHOW TO PUT ON? WHY DON’T YOU LEAVE US LOWLY UNEDUCATED TO FIGURE THIS OUT

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Thanks again leftist idiot. You fools keep proving my initial statement EXACTLY CORRECT.

          • Modavations

            Ah yes,the tolerant, open minded left

        • Terry Tree Tree

          NO white kids are being raised by single mothers?
            My children were raised by their single father, when their mother left us. 
             That was less common, and I got a LOT of flak, from many sides, but raised them! 
             They are FAR better off, financially, than I am, and I am glad for them, and proud that they overcame the handicaps they had to achieve what they have!
             Got a racist stereotype for me?  Or, can we take the HONEST discussion, of how to make this mess better?

          • Modavations

            70% of Black kids are born out of wedlock.90% in the ghetto.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            BIG step UP, from 180 years ago!   Hurrah for progress!
               Remember, they weren’t really allowed to marry, and parents and children were sold off?
                Way to teach ‘Family Values’?
               Their generations are getting better!
               Look at the progress since Equal Rights, and Equal Opportunity! 
               There’s a LOT of forced-cultural actions to outgrow!

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            Again…my point is proven…thanks. The silly and over used term of racist is already in your lexicon – ready to slander anyone with whom you disagree…such crap. Standard leftist propaganda and BS. A rational discussion with people like you is IMPOSSIBLE, precisely because of people like you!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Rational discussion does NOT require racial slant.  The low-life, drug-addicted, won’t-work, got-to-steal, baby-starting, immature, irresponsible problems in my area, are white!  No blacks, no hispanics, no other minorities, of any number, on Welfare, raising babies in single-mother homes.
               There are people of the types I just listed, in every race, ethnic group, religion, etc… 
                Low-life is low-life, and doesn’t reside in one color!
               Until you can recognize that , you cannot see the actual problem, therefore you cannot find the actual solution!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You asked lower, about original thought.  21 Sept. 2001, I came up with an original thought of how to get more victims of the Twin Towers out, faster, and safer!  Checked it with the president of the Tenn. Inventors’ Assoc.  Followed his advice, and contacted the offices of my U.S. Senator,(Republican) and my U.S. Congressman, (Democrat), and sent their offices a sketch, with a verbal explaination. 
               Rubble Rouster was so simple that it could have been in use that morning!  10 to 30 times faster, FAR safer for the victims, FAR safer for the rescue personnel! 
               I never asked for a cent, just recognition that it was my invention.  Wanted it saving lives, as soon as possible.
               NOTHING!
               I have given it to ‘capitalists’, with the ability to produce it!  NOTHING!
               No one has exposed ANY serious flaws, NOR why it would NOT work.
               NOTHING! 
               They CARE??

          • Terry Tree Tree

            There have been tsunamis, earthquakes, building collapses, and other places that Rubble Rouster could have been used to save lives.  Rich people have ignored it.  What’s a poor working stiff to do?
               It hurts, knowing that I could have helped save more lives!  I do what I can.

          • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

            I think you are drunk.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Why?   Did I slur my words?  Can I NOT walk in a straight line?
                I ask you to look at my response to an objection you raised with me about my tolerance, in the Friday ‘Week in Review’.   I think you mis-understood my message.

      • Modavations

        Funny that you must tell people that,don’t you think?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          “J”?

    • Anonymous

      Here’s your chance.  What’s the truth you want to bring out? 

  • Dennis_in_Omaha

    If, that is, if, you REALLY believe in the fullness of capitalism, then you have embrace unions. 

    The moral strength of capitalism is the personal ownership of investment.  That is respecting the true worth of ALL investment in a company, money and labor.

    When an investor puts money into a company he often gets a pre-determined share of the company’s value in return.  These are less time sensitive because you only have to beat the rate of inflation to get an honest return.

    The investment of labor is much riskier.  After a certain amount of work is done, many workers can be fired at-will before they receive a pension.  Their labor investment is not receiving equal protection under the law.

    Investing your labor is becoming a worse bargain because our tax code subsidizes slave labor competition.  In this context, reduced union influence spells disaster for everyone.

    • StillHere

      Trained workers also have the freedom to leave, and with them the company’s substantial investment in them. 

      • mary elizabeth

        To where?

        • notafeminista

          Anywhere.

          • JC1742

            Workers can’t go anywhere.  There are these things called “nations”, and most of them forbid the entry of workers from other nations.  As an American, I can’t legally work in most of the rest of the world, and my friends in other countries can’t legally work in the US.

            Corporations, on the other hand, can and do “work” anywhere they like.  But you and I can’t (legally) do the same.

          • notafeminista

            Yes they can and yes you can and you know it.  You have to jump through about 47 immigration hoops but it can be done, and people have done it every day for years.

            Man I wish the Left would come up with a phrase other than “I can’t”.  Dang.

          • Anonymous

            Wow again!  You favor allowing anyone who wants to to enter our country to work, with no restrictions.  I never would have guessed.

             

      • http://twitter.com/wwwcash Criostoir

        Are you still here, feel free to go away.

    • TFRX

      Don’t forget that “slave labor” and the “Made in the U.S.A. label” exist together, thanks to Tom DeLay, in the Northern Marianas.

      Love that freemarketfulldisclosure stuff allowing us to make informed decisions.

  • SoundMoneyRadical?

    Ron Paul on the destruction of the middle class, even though global growth/wealth isn’t declining.

    http://www.c-span.org/Events/Voters-Meet-with-Ron-Paul-in-Hollis-NH/10737426965/

  • fredlinskip

    For decades since Saint Ronald, Americans have been sold (and amazingly majority of Americans bought into) the prophecy of “trickle-up” economics. The idea is that if we just make sure that $ continues to trickle up from the masses to the “master class”, then  jobs and quality of life will magically improve for everyone.   
    This is apparently what is refferred to as an “Orwellian” scenario. At the end of the book Animal Farm, the animals who have worked harder and harder for less and less, all the while imagining their lives were improving look into the farm house window to see that, like in the Who song they had been “fooled again”- the new leaders they had brought into power had become the old, (although The book doesn’t actual reveal if the animals actually comprehend the truth).

    • Michaellong100

      When Reagan lowered taxes, he set the highest tax rate to 50%? Under Obama it is 35%. (Look it up). Reagan specifically wrote about his opposition to Lindon Johson’s great society. He actually supported a lot of the new deal legislation – like GLASS STEAGALL. The problem is not with Reagan, he was a politician not a lobbyist. 

      Obama is the lobbyist from Goldman Sachs (His biggest contributor).  You confuse him with a politician. Obama put Ben Bernenke, Tim Geithnar and Larry Summers in charge of the economy. He reappointed the Fed Chair – Bernenke, a registered Republican, who oversaw the biggest loss of wealth since the depression. Reagan reappointed Paul Volcker as chair of the Fed – a Democrat and one of the best Fed chiefs in history. Obama appointed the father of the derivatives market – Larry Summers when Wall Street is making 41% of corporate profits???  Last year the SEC had the smallest number of prosecutions ever!  Last time I checked the DOJ was still in the executive branch – where are the prosecutions? If Reagan’s financial and regulatory policies were enacted today it would be considered a radical swing to the left. Obama is a lobbyist, same as Bush, Gingrich and most politicians today. 

      Quit drinking the cool aid. 

      • Johnrichardshaw

        why do repubs always use the same terms that dems use such as the coolaid
        Like the bail out or not it saved the US and world from a total collapse. There is not a single economist that disagreed with him at the time of the bail out and many say the bail out wasn’t enough. Since the bail out what has been determined to have brought this on Repubs are blaming for the economy they killed w/ Bush’s tax cuts

        • Michaellong100

          So what if the bailout saved us from collapse? We are supposed to thank Bernenke for saving the economy from a disaster that he created? Obama’s economic team is Bush’s economic team. Obama has done absolutely nothing to reform the derivatives market. He has the same tax policy, a looser financial regulatory policy, and is on the payroll of every major bank. 

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Are you referring to the Stimulus?  The bail-out of GM and Chrysler, or the BANKSTER bail-out?

          • Modavations

            Tryb to say banker please.My bankers are honest.It’s the lefts crony capitalists that you should rail against

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Tryb?  Tribe?  Trib, short for Tribune, which Tribune?

          • Modavations

            Short for I’m too lazy to correct myself.Sane folks get the jist.What college did you attend?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            With this admission, and your confessed ‘limp-wristed’ interest in Barney Frank, and other guys, I see where you get that self-label you keep using…  Lazy Fairy.  I was wondering what you meant with it?

        • Modavations

          Economists have adjusted up,economists have restated,economics misjudged…..It’s a fake science.Palm readers are more credible.

          • Fredlinskip

            Some truth there.
            That’s why it’s up to citizens that truly profess to care about their country to wade through the baloney and get to the facts and then make informed judgments.
            The facts are there to be seen- It’s a matter of removing our blinders.

      • JC1742

        We should note that neither Reagan nor Obama (or any other president) actually changed any tax laws.  That’s done by Congress.  Yes, the president has some influence.  But the president doesn’t vote on tax bills.  If you don’t like the taxes, you should be blaming your representatives in Congress, and trying to change them if you don’t like the way they vote.

        Of course, you will have a lot of effective competition from the secret corporate contributors.  Not a lot we can do about that, unless we send people to Congress who will change the laws about campaign funding.

        • Michaellong100

          What secret contributors? Anyone can find out that the top derivatives traders are also Obama’s top donors. Obama is the greatest gift that Wall Street could hope for. He occasionally makes vague references to reform and complains that Republicans won’t let him do anything. He purges or ignores real regulators (Sheila Bair, Elizabeth Warren, William Black, Paul Volcker). He appoints Bush’s team – Bernenke and Geithnar or bank executives to any important financial position. He fights financial prosecutions and has built over an entirely new bubble in CDS contracts on European sovereign debt. 

          How much worse could it be?

          • Michaellong100

            Look it up. I see Goldman Sachs, Citi and JP Morgan in the list of top contributors, and that is just what is reported. 99% of government is bank lobbyist not politicians. We are supposed to fight about nonexistent issues so everyone can ignore the wholesale kleptomania that passes as government policy. 

        • Fredlinskip

          Good points.
          Reagan lobbied tirelessly in order to lower  tax rates.
          He was aided by circumstance, because his “star” and “political capital” had risen quickly in response to his heroic recovery from a would-be assassination attempt at the hands of Hinckley.

          • Modavations

            JFK was the first of the great tax cutters.Read a few economic speeches of his and tell me his rationale

      • Fredlinskip

        You raise some interesting points.

        I don’t mean to cast Reagan as “evil emperor”. I only point out that the “kool-aid” of “trickle-up” (also referred to as supply-side or Reaganomics”) was first sold to America in substantial way at that time.
        Yes the highest tax rate was higher under Reagan than now, but he lowered this rate subsatntially compared to predecessors (70+% under Nixon, 95% Eisenhower) and the kool-aid “en masse” was sold to America that high taxes and government was the problem.

        Volcker, under Carter was largely responsible for maintaining very high interest rates (20+%). Under Reagan, Volcker lowered interest rates substantially, which I would argue did more to stimulate short-term growth of economy than any other policy changes under Reagan.

        Reagan’s financial and regulatory practices could not be enacted today, because there is currently far too much resistance from GOP to enact anything so “liberal”.

        Obama administration has made efforts to improve regulatory policy, but you may or may not have noticed that these efforts have been fiercely resisted by GOP, under the guise that these regulations would “hurt business” (witness recent difficulty in appointment of a head of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency).

        Paulson and Greenspan played larger roles in the creation of the financial meltdown than those names you mention, long before anyone had heard of Obama.

        • Michaellong100

          Are you kidding me? Obama’s 2009 reform was political cover. If you want to see what we needed listen to Roosevelt’s speeches from 1933 that created Glass Steagall. Obama gave vague half hearted speeches, that explained nothing to the public. What had to pretend to do something. 

          He collected money from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Citi at the same time. Look at this donor list. He certainly wasn’t going to mess that up.  Bernenke was Greenspan’s protege at the Fed and continued the Anne Rand cult started by Greenspan. Tim Geithnar (registered Republican) was running the New York fed during the explosion in the derivatives market.  

          If you want to see how sold out the Dems are watch Lloyd Blankfeins testimony. The Dems could have destroyed him by pointing out the difference between his insurance contracts on his own products and the value of the underlying assets. They carefully avoided the most obvious questions and instead focused of fake, vague outrage about business. Obama is a brilliant bank lobbyist.

          • Fredlinskip

            Obama walked into a pretty difficult situation after election. Was he to immediately stop the bailout process initiated by W and Paulson? That would have been improbable. If you want to claim Obama “ain’t no Roosevelt”, I might be inclined to agree. it does not surprise me that Godlman would “hedge it’s bets” by supporting Obama- there certainly was a lot at stake for their business at the time.
               I don’t see anything in your response that refutes my claim that Greenspan and Paulson were more responsible for meltdown than the other Sachs “players”. And No, I’m not happy with the overall influence of “government Sachs”. 

               BUT all in all it seems you have artfully dodged most of the gist of my original comments which was the relationship of “trickle-up” to America’s current financial and employment demise.

          • Modavations

            He volunteered

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Let’s not forget that 6 months AFTER Reagan took office we entered into the deepest recession since the 30′s. 18 months later peak unemployment was higher than in 2009. Unemployment was over 8% for nearly two YEARS.

          The Orwellian Right sweeps this under the rug.

    • J R shaw

      I agree that taxes were much higher under Ronnies reign ( he was a smart guy) The term is “trickle down” as the wealthy get richer their wealth is spread to those “under them” who sell yachts, and cars over 100,000. Hmmm yea that helps everyone doesn’t it
      Facts are that higher taxes actually spurs economic growth. almost 3 trillion dollars sitting on sidelines in the pockets of big business and being used to pay CEO’s huge bonuses and going to pay other wealthy people dividends
      Higher taxes has been used for at least the past 50 plus years I have been in business as an incentive to hire and buy needed equipment when you get close top the next higher tax rate

      • Modavations

        Reread JFJ’s economic speeches and then tell me why you think he dropped tax rates

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Who cares. The JFK tax cut stopped at 70% for the highest rate. You’re claiming he’d cut taxes forever even when they’re now HALF that rate.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Even your precious Laffer Curve says if tax rates are too LOW, then now enough revenue will be collected.

            So if in constant dollars Clinton’s last year revenues have only exceeded FY2000 in 2 of 10 years, and then totalling a paltry 140 billion or so, then TAX RATES ARE TOO LOW!! 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    China: knock knock!!!

    America; Who is there?

    China: ChinaAmerica: China who?

    China: Do you want to borrow more money to save your economy.
    America: sure!!!

  • RChicago

    Elections are bought and paid for by corporations. Lobbyist make deals and buy votes.

    Lawyers clog the system with frivolous lawsuits that make them rich and stifle growth and innovation.

    Small businesses have little to no protection from getting bogged down and financially strangled by all the red tape. No socialized health care so if you have a pre-existing condition and want to be self-employed chances are you won’t get coverage and if you do, it will be more expensive than you can afford (been there done that).

    Prisons have become big business with multimillion dollar contracts. We put a lot of people in them that don’t belong there for petty offenses which is a financial drain on society through taxes.

    The list is endless.

    Welcome to the land of few opportunities.

    I signed Bernie Sanders petition for campaign finance reform, but I definitely want and need to do more to change the system.

    • Still Here

      Is that how it works in Chicago? 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        You don’t see it in the rest of the U.S.?  Get out and look!

        • Still Here

          Is that how it works in San Francisco?  Portland?

          • RChicago

            I found Portland to be better than Chicago when I lived there but it wasn’t immune to it’s share of problems.

          • Still Here

            Due to corporations buying elections?  Did any of the corruption so well-documented in the case of Chicago involve corporations?  Was Daley a tool of corporations?  How about Blago?

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/3ETFGMQ3B7VD4AAMILBBEVMCWE JasonA

      Sanders is one of the few honest people in Congress.  Very few indeed.

      • RChicago

        Yeah – I wanted him to run for president, but he has made it clear he doesn’t want to. Sane people who can’t be bought really don’t want that job.

  • Robert Long View

    Founding Father, Wise Patriot, & Entrepreneur turned Diplomat, Ben Franklin paraphrased here: “death & taxes are certain.”  Bottom line; 200 years later nothing has changed.   Those that don’t pay taxes don’t care about the rest.  Call it class warfare — plain and simple.  

    • Still Here

      50% of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes.  Are you saying they don’t care about the rest, or aren’t invested in the tax policy/spending debate?

      • TFRX

        Nice conflation of “too poor to owe income tax” with “shirking all taxes”, except you’re not on Foxnation’s site. So that’s a fun fail.

        You need to go on your own “Nickeled and Dimed” tour to see how easy those folks have it.

      • JR shaw

        Everyone pays taxes whether they are state taxes, payroll taxes   sales tax    etc etc
        Please stop with the 50% BS

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Who prided himself at taking 5 million workers off the income tax rolls? It was Bush. Now the orwellian Right uses their own policies as “proof” the rich are over taxed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_C2STBLZJK4VKQBV27DVQX3I6CU FAX68

    The 99% means. I am almost there but not quite.

    rich people who never experience hunger or grew up prosperous and never ever needed help from the government are the 1%. The rich who never experience an empty stomach and feel the pain of hunger.

    Have you ever scrape the pearls on the road side (rice)?

  • Anonymous

    So much for “European Socialism” stifling economic growth

    • Modavations

      They are turning away from socialism and that is why they are progressing.There is not a country in Europe still run by the left,except Greece,Norway and Finland and they are coalition right-left

      • Anonymous

        Extreme oversimplification. That just happened within the last 5 years. This study is much, much broader than that, and goes back much further in time. In addition, “conservative” in Europe is still pretty far left compared to the United States

      • Kubajean

        Do not forget that by European standards Obama is very conservative.  And Mitt Romney and other republicans would be considered radical fascists

        • Modavations

          All the European countries are now run by Republicans except Greece,Norway and Finland.Norway and Finland are right-left coalitions.All fascists started as socialist-communists

          • Guest

            The so-called right in the euro-zone isn’t as radical as that in the US. To claim they’re the same is a gross distortion.

  • JRshaw

    Wow , Listen to the responses here. Is this one nation under god? How sad that people have come to be so self absorbed with their own cause and opinion that they hate others that disagree with them. What ever happened to if your enemy is hungry feed him. If your enemy is thirsty give him a drink.
    What about really looking at what is in EVERYONE’S best interest even if it may not be what will be in the absolute best interest of self. Jesus must have been the first socialist simply for having a heart
    Economies are always built from the Bottom up. You grow the base and you grow your overall market and EVERYONE benefits, even at the top
    Killing public sector jobs may be necessary in the future as we draw down the overall cost of government but doing so in the middle of a recession, Really??? Really???
    Higher taxes has never stopped jobs from growing. In my 52 years in business it has proved to be just the opposite. When taxes were higher under Clinton and Reagan when our businesses grew and we got close to the next incrementally higher tax rate — we would hire a few new employees and buy needed equipment in order to STAY UNDER THE NEXT HIGHER TAX RATE.
    This makes the economy grow—yes higher taxes makes the economy grow.
    Right now big business is sitting on almost 3 trillion dollars of cash sitting on the sidelines. Lower taxes has created greater profits and business have shown when left on their own they will choose to keep the saved tax moneys and pay the CEO’s huge bonuses and send the wealthy investor/stockholders huge dividends
    The very first step to right the economy is to simply allow the Bush tax cuts to expire and restore the incentive to businesses to hire and invest in their own companies

    • Terry Tree Tree

      THANK YOU!   For the truth about business and taxes, from a business person, that has been there!

    • Modavations

      They will invest the money when it is advantageous.No one minds paying taxes if they are used efficiently.In my opinion this is not the case

    • Robert Long View

      Big Global Biz will bring back capital and North American jobs first to Mexico and later to the U.S. when they are certain the Labor Unions are broken here.  Hopefully, Mexico in 2012.  The reason Global Capital hates Obama is due to the revival of Detroit. But, Wall Street loves their whipping boy, Obama.  I pray he can prevail.  

  • goodport

    Tom, I think you were surprisingly rude and insensitive to Salam’s concern and point about the alarming increase in the rolls of the mentally ill in our country. One in 76 (as he stated) would affect upward mobility in those families dealing with the problem. To refer to them as “crazy” (especially after Salam mentioned his dealings with this in his own family), and then airily dismissing any point he was trying to make just because you were coming up on the the end of the program and wanted to drive a smooth wrap-up was beneath you. Would you refer to other disadvantaged groups in such disparaging terms? No.
    I’m not being “touchy-feely” about this. I do not have members of my family dealing with mental illness, but winced in sympathy for those who do as you plowed along toward your program end with crass remarks and refusing to either listen or take the salient point. Go back to the last 5 minutes of this program and see if you don’t owe an apology–to Salam and your listeners.
     

    • Common Sense

      Well said.  Thank you for your perspective.

    • Aimee

      AGREED. I am a longtime listener and supporter of the show but Tom’s “Crazy” comment startled and angered me deeply. 

  • Xflowers

    Our commitment to public education has declined to the point that for many in the middle class a university education is no longer affordable.  Case in point; it now costs $80,000 for tuition, room and board for four years at The Ohio State University, Ohio’s leading land grant university.  OSU used to be affordable for the great middle class, many of whom can no long afford to send their kids there without the kids taking on huge student loan debt.  The strategy of the school, as they’ve watched state support decline, has been to attract wealthier students, who in the past used to attend private colleges, by expanding the honors programs with all the perks associated with it, which has decreased the space available to middle class students for whom private college is not an economic option.  Incidentally, I’ve spoken with someone on the board of one of Ohio’s fine private colleges who told me they now are looking well beyond the state of Ohio for students since so much of their traditional pool is being lured away by the state schools. As a solution to the problem they created by shrinking their support for state universities, the state legislature has expanded cheaper, much lower quality two year community colleges.  One can get an associate degree in extracting blood; or if you are lucky and can afford it, you might eventually be admitted into a four year university.  This trend can only exacerbate income inequality as well as undermine the economy of the state that already laments that only 26% of the population have a college education, 5 points below the national average.  And yet I can almost hear the words of the governors and state legislatures in years past who set this trend in motion, “We can no longer afford….”  Apparently, they didn’t consider the long term consequences or they might have understood that we cannot afford NOT to provide opportunities for quality education to all of our young people.  

  • Chip

    Clearly as these many posts show your show largely missed the boat on considering WHY mobility is nearly dead in the US of A and is so much better in Canada, Norway, et al. The economic system of trickle down economics, also know as neo-liberalism is at the core of the problem.  For a history of the effects of neo-liberalism look at Chile, China, Russia and other who have gone this route.  While there is a successful “class” who reap untold benefits, there is also a surplus “class” that is neither needed or relevant to our so called leaders. As we see now corporate profits are at record levels as are CEO bonuses even with 8.5% (supposed) unemployment.  And those going back to work, even at similar jobs are finding depressed wages relative to the recent norm.

    Clearly having secretaries, factory workers and police officers subsidize hedge fund managers is a path to ruin long term.  We still have miles to go to see the end of the neo-liberal experiment, it will not be pretty. 

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Don’t you mean neo-con?  Those are some of the programs of the ‘conservative’ hypocrites.

    • RChicago

      This mess is already very “unpretty” and it seems like it’s going to get downright ugly. Not really sure how to put the brakes on it. Ordinary people seem paralyzed to organize themselves in a manner that can bring about any real change. I’m always open to suggestions though.

    • http://twitter.com/wwwcash Criostoir

      Remember Marie Antoinette

    • Robert Long View

      u can lay trickle-down (supply-side Reaganomics) at the Republican alter of St. Ronnie.  Class warfare too.  

  • Modavations

    The disparity results from ill educated kids.Our kids can barely work in mcDonalds.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Your kids can barely work in McDonald’s?  Vouchers didn’t work, or did they inherit the mercury and lead?

      • Modavations

        I guess your having cognitive problems.Let me do this for the twentieth time.The disussion was about how protective we’ve become with our kids.How we protect and suffocate them over specious science.So for the twentieth time,eating lead paint didn’t get me sick,rolling mercury in our hands didn’t get us sick,none of my mates fell out of the trees we sat in one hundred feet above ground ,no one went blind from throwing rocks on 50 spools of caps,no one died from riding bikes without helmets.Even though our mothers blew smoke in our faces while breast feeding,none have died of lung cancer.Now,must I explain this for the twenty first time?

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          I could have written that in 1 line.

          The braindead usually believe they’re not.

        • nj

          Pretty clear to me at least some of those things had lasting effects.

      • Modavations

        Half the schools in Boston are now Charters and the # increases every year.Screw charters,I want vouchers.Schools must compete

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

           
          Again Moda betrays his own hypocrisy. He decries crony capitalism and Marxist redistribution of wealth yet this is his SECOND proposal to use government’s power to tax to redistribute wealth, albeit indirectly, and to line corporate coffers.

          The merging of government and corporate interests is called fascism. Yet Moda describes himself as a libertarian.

  • Kubajean

    We have increasing mental illness in part because any society which promotes the importance and welfare of the individual at the expense of promoting collective health and help is bound to lead to isolation and stress.

    We have no decent public transportation systems.

    Our ridiculous focus on university degrees as opposed to developing quality “trade” and other types of work, let alone lack of public preschool means kids get bored and don’t have any  dreams beyond ‘America’s got talent” etc etc

    Our education has been turned over to statistic-driven money making enterprises (starting from textbook companies on, including Lexiles.com etc…anyone else shocked by the fact Standard and Poors is owned by McGraw Hill?)

    We have laws that give companies breaks and then hope that in return they will “play nice” rather than actually demand they give somethingin return.

    don’t get me started on health care….

  • Jan

    At the end of On Point on January 9 a guest mentioned the ballooning mental illness in the USA.  Also mentioned was prenatal care in other developed countries, but not ours.  Thank you for bringing up these two issues!

    Regarding the high incidence of mental illness since 1987, I would like to suggest that our diet of low nutrition and high ingestion of of prepared foods is catching up with us.  Mental illness is probably less in other developed coutries because they have yet to match our market of illness causing foods.

    • Modavations

      Mostly a result of bad parenting,not mental disease

      • Grow Up Already

        What’s your excuse? Was it the lead, mercury, or bad parenting?

    • Robert Long View

      i personally believe Ayn Rand was mentally ill, probably untreated and brout on by greed.  She sure was not happy when she died.  

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Rand was a brilliant sociopath.

  • Modavations

    If you want to close the gap I suggest you graduate high school,don’t have kids before 21 and marry

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Better than a LOT of your suggestions!  You sure this is Moda?

  • morten

    As a Norwegian, now living an working in NYC – I can tell you the two reasons why Europeans move up: Free education and free healthcare. Thats it.

    Why?
    Having those securities in life makes it easier to “go for it”. You know that you can always re-educate, and that you never have to just take a job because of your own or your familys health.

    • nj

      I take your point, but health care and education are not exactly “free.” Those services are provided out of the general tax base. Everyone, in some measure, has paid for them.

    • Modavations

      50% tax rates!!!!

      • Anonymous

        Ya get what ya pay for…Right?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Gee, Moda 50% of $2 MILLION, is $1 MILLION!  How much GREED is enough?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          50% of $4 Million, is $2Million!  See a pattern here, through the lead poisoning?

        • Modavations

          That’s 50% on 100,000.00.You never answered.Are all rich greedy?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I answered AGAIN!  You can’t read, or the mercury and lead kill your memory?

          • Modavations

            Excuse me,where exactly did you go to college.I went to BC where 40,0000 applied for two thousand slots last year(?).You must have cognitive problems as I’ve explained this twenty times.Again,plaese tell us if all rich are greedy.Here’s a tip son,eat some lead,in your case it could only help

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Read my answers to you in this article.  I answered where you asked first.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Blah blah. You claim you’re half-ass rich and you went to one of the US’s best colleges. Yet you are clearly the most irrational, illiterate, and ignorant person on this board. I don’t buy any of it.

          • Anonymous

            You said you were about 60. Unless you were a mature student that means you went to BC about 40 years ago. I doubt BC had 40,000, oh wait you had 40,0000 as a number. By the way way I am assuming you mean 40 thousand and not 400 hundred thousand. Anyway, it’s better to use stats when you went than now. Mind you it does seem to be a republican trait, to use stats in very creative ways. Romney is good at this.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          As some rich German once said about the high taxes, he’d rather be a rich man in a rich nation than rich in a poor nation. Those high taxes are the tool that allow the public and private sectors to bootstrap each other to higher levels of prosperity. It’s that symbiotic relationship which is the true tide that lifts all boats… not Moda’s trickle down.

  • 99 per(common)sense

    You know, the superwealthy in this country are beginning to remind me of a Gaddafi-type economic structure – making themselves rich from the resources we have here, our innovations, hardwork & consumer base, and then not sharing the prosperity with the countrymen that built their financial base – while they outsource the work to other countries to make themselves even more money. Gaddafi sucked up the wealth of his country’s oil resources and made himself rich while leaving the rest him countrymen poor. Our people will not have the American dream if we are undermined by bought and paid for politicians, by lack of educational opportunities, by unfair practices of big financial  institutions or as fodder for predatory & opportunistic big business that only seek to use us and our economy/consumer base and do not invest in our economy/job market/people. I cannot believe that the republican candidates are talking about ending the department of education!!! How dare they try to do that to us! And our children! And our future! Education is the real inherited wealth of a people and real wisdom is using that knowledge for the greater good. It’s the only way to a better world. 

    • Anonymous

      The 1% are the new royalty.

      • Modavations

        People come to America for their shot at the moon.The shot to join the 1%.I’m in the 10% and am still working toward the 1%.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Yup, there are NO immigrants are going to other nations for the same opportunities. 

          As for another your obnoxious claim’s you’re “half ass rich”… we know better.  

        • Mfcarr

          For someone in the 10%, you sure do seem to have alot of spare time to post comments here. 

  • Robert Long View

    What did the department store heiress (not Gloria Vanderbilt) 
    say?  I don’t be grudge paying my taxes, i made 100% of my money off them (the consumer.)  

  • Anonymous

    Tom’s dismissive remark at the tail end of the show is maddening. He mentioned someone’s comment about how other country’s have single-payer, and his snicker tells us he saw now correlation. The single greatest factor in personal bankruptcies is getting sick and having to depend on a heartless insurance company (for profit, most likely)–if the unfortunate individual has insurance at all. This tends to lower one’s mobility and success. If America had a Medicare-For-All plan we’d be much better off, financially, and we’d be free to move up the socio-economic ladder.

    • Modavations

      We spend 550 Billish on Medicare-Medicaid.Divide it up and the govt could cut all users a check for about $800.00 per month.Taker it and buy your own insurance

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The GREEDY insurance execs would RAISE the minimum premium to $1200 per month, quickly!

        • Modavations

          In your opinion,are all rich people thieves?In a free market,one where there is copius competition,your greedy executive would be out of business in two seconds.I guess Marx never talked about this!!!

          • Steve Karasek

            No, but there are incentives to skim off the top wherever possible. Theoretically, this should mean that everyone is skimming so the efforts even out.

            Practically, the people on the lower end of the ladder get screwed, and there is nothing they can do about it because the free market doesn’t take into account external variables. Specifically, the power of money to influence authorities outside of the system, to sway the system.

            What Marx DID talk about was what happens when the people at the lowest rungs of the ladder can no longer afford food and shelter. They have two choices- starve and slowly die out, or revolt. He postulated that when push came to shove, one would do what they must to survive.

            Marx was a product of his times- he saw this happening around him, during the industrial revolution. The Gilded Age led slowly to the Great Depression…

            Luckily, such a crisis was averted in the US during the depression because government stepped up and took care of the people. Again, the connected on wall street cashed out of the speculative market, leaving everyone else to eat cake.

            I’m a fan of capitalism, but capitalism in a controlled environment, where it can’t break out of its bounds and influence the system in the way we have seen so nakedly in the aftermath of the crisis.

            The management of Goldman Sachs bribed the NYPD for LTC-A’s, and subsequently armed themselves for a reason(http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2009-12-03/arming-goldman-sachs-with-pistols-alice-schroeder-correct-.html). They read Marx too.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        So now you’re for Marxist direct redistribution of wealth? Of COURSE you are… using government’s power to tax, then redistribute wealth… as long as it’s to serve corporate profits. We’re you railing about crony capitalism? Your suggestion is WORST than mere corny capitalism. But then you’re oblivious to your own contradictions and hypocrisy as you are your own ignorance. Just because the US pays the outrageous bill doesn’t mean it’s the problem. As single payer nations have shown, the problem with health care in the US is an inefficient private sector. We have too many private health insurance pools covering too many populations instead of one big one that covers everyone.

        • bellavida

          You hit the nail on the head…too many private insurance companies profiteering in a business that should be a basic human right while earning HUGE profits and the administrative costs for-profit health insurers are enormous in comparison to Medicare.  There is waste, and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid…but there have been numerous studies that show the administrative costs are far lower than those in the private insurance companies.  

    • Robert Long View

      at least we could actually participate in the pie-in-the-sky entrepreneur economy that Republicans dream about… . talk about clueless

  • Anonymous

    When the Bush tax cuts are re-negotiated, estate taxes will be an important issue. Individuals receiving income  and assets that will never be taxed will secure a position that no one can aspire to. 

    • Still Here

      Wow, do you have any familiarity with the tax code at all, because that is completely wrong?

  • Craig

    Tom hasn’t mention the slave drivers at Foxconn — check the latest “This American Life” radio broadcast

    • Hidan

      Dude,

      I listen and couldn’t believe just how bad it was. I read reports but nothing came close to what was reported. Child labor, no talking on the line, refuse to treat injuries and much more.

      Next time people want to immortalize Steve Jobs they should have a report followed on what Foxconn does to their employees.

      Here’s the link if any wants to listen to. It’s quite moving

      http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/454/mr-daisey-and-the-apple-factory

      • Terry Tree Tree

        I heard it.  Remember, the reporter said they do this for a LOT of companies! 
           Would Steve Jobs and others have starved, if they had paid decent wages, and insisted on decent working conditions for the children making their product?
           They would have to scrape by on $MILLIONS, instead of $Billions!

        • Robert Long View

          o’ wow. o’wow, o’wow… .

      • Modavations

        All the guys at B.Globe and NYT are contactors.No health insurance,pensions,etc,.Jobs created a few zillion jobs and made many millionaires.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          On the backs of child-labor, and people injured, who cannot work again?  Did he make them millionaires, or are they begging in China?

          • Modavations

            My intuition says parents in China would line up around the block to get their kids employed in those slave camps.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Moda’s “proof” America doesn’t have any wealth distribution or social mobility  problems is to point to non-American nations.

            Are there any intelligent Right wingers out there?

          • Steve Karasek

            Depends which part of China, and social status of the kids. Most parents would subject themselves to such things so that their kids could ace the GaoKao and have a chance at a top school. The increasingly large portion of migrant workers might be forced to, but would still make sure their children had time to study.

          • Modavations

            People are so poor in China you have to get a green card to move from the country into a city.The avg per capita is about $2000.00 per annum

      • Robert Long View

        almost two funerals a week there due to suicides.

        • Hidan

          Very Sad.

          Before hiring the employees the employee have to sign a waiver not to kill themselves and nets are hung outside the windows to try and catch the ones that do.

          • Robert Long View

            MOU & arbitration. no psych hospitals, eh… .

        • Still Here

          proof?

    • Still Here

      Because life at Foxconn is 10 times better than life in the fields.  

      • GotProof

        Proof?

  • Hidan

    Wow Kimberly Strassel now Reihan Salam tom get your shovel. there’s going to be alot of crap

    • Still Here

      You know crap and not much else.

      • Grow Up Already

        Still batting 1000 for non-intelligent, non-substantive posts. Why do you even bother? 

        • Modavations

          Ultrax in the Stalk mode.Check the stories around Thanksgiving when he promised he was never coming back to NPR

  • Jamie

    To what extent does the reluctance/inability of older people to retire at 65 in this economy “constipate” mobility?

  • Doug Rollins

    I support NPR as a supplement to our own generally very good, publicly financed, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) . “On Point” is a particular favorite on NPR;however, I roll my eyes whenever I hear the oft repeated, “The United States is the greatest country in the world.” In short, by most measures: It ain’t! Wake up America.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Doug, Which country’s people go about in public, especially world-available media, saying their country is third-rate, or worse?
         For many of my countrymen, this is the only country they have been to.  I confess that I haven’t been to yours, and barely into our next southern neighbor.
          We, your country and mine, are credited with a major role in stopping the nazis and the Japanese, from over-running and ruling the world. 
          We, the U.S., have Hollywood, and Music City, to spread the word about our part.  Your Sgt. Preston, Anne Murray, Lorne Greene, Hank Snow, and Celine Deonne (sp?) , are outnumbered.   I’m looking forward to more talent from the ‘frozen North’! 
         I hope you take this as the irony and admission that it is meant!
          I love my country, but I can admit its faults.  That’s the only way to improve!

      • Anonymous

        They also have Robbie Robertson, Joni Mitchell, and host of other great musicians and artist.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Thanks!  I could have named more.

  • Marylin A Hulme

    I cant believe that you addressed this topic without a  voice (or several) from women.  How dare you toss off most of the planet’s workers?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Good Point!   GO!  Lady.  GO!

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        And where was the Marxist perspective? Try as the Right might, it’s not been relegated to the ash heap of history even if it’s bastardization by the USSR and Red China have. The list of ignored perspectives is endless. The question is which are relevant. In this case I do believe the Marxist perspective was relevant…. VERY relevant to any discussion that may center on class warfare. So much for the accusation that OP is a “left leaning” show.  

    • Richardsilliker

      What about the moms that stay home? 

      No one seems to care enough to talk about families.  Families are the base of the human infrastructure.  Though marriage and relationships are arbitrary your mom and your dad will always be your mom and dad and you will always be their child.

      It was addressed on this program that education should begin earlier.  However, if the importance of family was address this might negate the need for state intervention. 

      Logical arguments are being offered as solutions and the result will be the “cementing”, as the host suggested, of the context of the problem.

      The danger here is the loss of intuition.

      Respectfully yours

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Given historical discrimination against certain groups, identity politics has a valid grudge, but we also blind ourselves to our other categories when we identify with only one group over other. Who’s being “tossed off” here? Just women or workers in general regardless of their category? Is this a economic fight against economic exploitation by class? Or a fight against sexism?

  • Robert Long View

    on the employment aspect, i believe women have been doing better than middle age white males lately.  of course to actually get ahead u need 3 minimum wage jobs… .

  • Anonymous

    A lousy show, set up wrong with guests that avoided the issues, and was very superficial and shed little light. The salem guy has mentally ill relatives? Do they have health insurance to pay for psychiatric treatment? I think he has a distorted sense of reality, blaming licensing and mental illness for the U.S. being behind other countries in mobility. What absurdity!. We need another show with better guests to explain why other nations have policies that support mobility for millions of citizens, compared to what we do here, which is increasing poverty, insecurity, and downward spirals into lower economic classes for millions of people. Name the specific actions, politics and attitudes, that negatively contrast America the beautiful, beacon of freedom from the rest of the world in the well being and security of it’s citizens.

    • Still Here

      He’s got studies, stats and evidence, you’ve got nothing except your close-minded belief system.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Sure, that explains everything! Let’s concentrate at some factors that explain perhaps 5% of the problem and ignore what explains 95%… right wing policies… some pushed by corporate Dems, like free trade and deregulation that would slow social mobility even if they DIDN’T crash the economy. Then there’s the Right’s war on unions, keeping workers insecure, and it’s attempt to sabotage government’s ability to help its own people.

        Sorry Arnold “Still Here” Walker, again you’re proving you’re the one with the closed minded belief system.

      • Grow Up Already

        No substantive argument here either. Yer battin’ 1000 at non-intelligent posts!

        • Modavations

          This is an Ultrax post.If you want to see him in action,check the posts around Thanks giving

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    Why wasn’t Noam Chomsky a guest for this topic? He’s been writing about the Right’s war on the middle class at least for the past 35 years. I’ve tended to give OP a pass for being objective because Thom might occasionally bring Chomsky on as a guest to do an entire show once every few years. Few other media outlets do. Yet, any discussion on social mobility or class warfare is laughable when it only includes guests that represent the artificially narrow mainstream political spectrum in the US.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      I may have missed some of the show as I was writing to this forum so I don’t know if anyone’s addressed these points. It seems there’s been a Perfect Storm in the US to undermine opportunity.

      As I wrote in my first post to this topic: once we needed to “prove” we were better and morally superior to the “Communist” world. We placed God in the Pledge of Alliance, and we instituted policies that promoted the growth of the middle class to disprove the Marxist prediction capitalism inevitably led to a two class society… of struggling workers and the filthy rich. But once the Soviet Union collapsed and China adopted a “capitalist” economic model, that “need” for the middle class disappeared. Was vibrant social mobility a temporary phenomena?

      We also know the Right has always detested organized Labor and that war picked up momentum with Reagan. Like unions or not, they serve as a necessary counterweight to corporate power. For the Right’s agenda to progress, unions had to be taken down.

      According to Chomsky, the Right also fears a comfortable middle class because they cannot be easily cowed like an insecure working class but instead can be a source of social instability as was seen in the 60′s. The Right prefers insecure workers that won’t demand much because they are fearful for their jobs. Allan Greenspan’s comments about seeing his job as maintaining worker insecurity comes to mind… but then he just was honest about an otherwise hidden agenda.

      Combine the above with the Democrats historic shift to go after corporate money and to pursue deregulation/free trade… with the Right’s war on the government’s ability to help its own people… and indeed, this has been the Perfect Storm. Sadly, the Right’s agenda has progressed with little or no opposition from a morally and intellectually bankrupt Democratic Party.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        SOUNDS PRETTY ACCURATE TO ME! 

  • Storesale

    This is frustrating. We treat the economy like it’s a game show or a lottery.
    The focus is on “competition” rather than “cooperation”.
    What is the purpose of an economy?
    In this culture it’s about winning, beating the other guy. There is no thought about how to benefit the nation, the culture, much less the world.
    It all seems that “survival of the fittest” is the underlying theme.

    • Gregg

      I happen to believe working in your own best interest with zeal makes you far more valuable to your community. You lose me when you assume it’s destructive.

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        You’re lost in your own half-truths again Gregg. Yes, pursuit of self interest CAN benefit others. It’s a lie to say it ALWAYS does.

        • Gregg

          Can you read?

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Sure I can Greggggg… and you’re clearly denying that pursuit of self interest is ever destructive. If you think it MIGHT be in certain instances, then just say so. But I won’t hold my breath waiting for you to admit the obvious.

  • Gina Betcher

    I listened and could not rest my ears. I have lived pay check to pay check ever since I began working in this country (more officially from age 14). Remember the Walkman? That little device was so far from my hands much in the way a digital camera is for me and all other kinds of gadgets and devices I see only certain kinds of people (on facebook) able to afford and able to not still understand why not.

    I am different from my mother (the only direct family I have) in that I have gone overseas, I even lived overseas in different economies and much better, and I have a master’s degree. Also, I won’t marry and I have not had nor will I have children. No one has supported me, paid even for a pack of gum, since my childhood. I have worked steadily and truly hard, often having two jobs and I have recently requested some online work to accompany my full time professional administrative job. I can’t afford a car, resent I need a vehicle to get to my employer who doesn’t pay me enough to have the thing (I own it at least, but that’s all I do own). I rent, I will be 46, and I have no savings. That’s living paycheck to paycheck, paying back on the education (no one supported me as I have explained). I am paid less as one might finally realize because I am female.

    Working for a public university, you would think that by having a BA from the University of Michigan (in English) that when they hired me they would not at $11.68 an hour. This was some time ago, but a long deep and in debt crawl to doubling is something I would like to avenge and deeply.

    I guess my reward is that now everyone or the majority are living as I have been made to live. Terrible country this.

    • Gregg

      The world is your oyster, quit complaining. Schadenfreude will get you nowhere.

      • Gina Betcher

        Gregg, you are presumptuous if telling it like it is is complaining.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          The Orwellian, and often Obnoxious, Right, can’t resist turning half-truths into a religion. Sure, in a competitive economy effort and focus give one an advantage over sloth. If it works for some, it must work for all… and if not, then it can’t be their perfect economic system at fault… it must be personal failings. (Let’s sweep under the rug how the Right has undermined social mobility and opportunity.) We saw this line spouted by moralists like Herman 999 Cain… and now Gregg. Such moralists are obnoxious and clearly DO get satisfaction from the difficulties and misfortunes of others. 

        • Gregg

          You’re complaining and blaming government for not making you fulfilled and your only comfort is to take pleasure in the pain of others. Sick.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Republicans say you should have been an historian!  That pays $1.6 Million!

  • Still Here

    According to Pew, which conducted the study on which this discussion was based, Americans believe the government is doing more harm than good when it comes to mobility.  We need to shrink the government and get them out of the way of Americans who want to improve their lives.

    • Gina Betcher

      We’ve done this before and I recall the rich got richer. We definitely need to pay our public servants like public servants in place of princes. Let’s pay them $11.68 an hour. We would save a bundle, they would near starve and live with mice.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      What? No link to see if you’re accurately reporting on this poll? Of course not.

      Of course government isn’t an entity with its own agenda like Big Business has. It depends on who controls it.

      Sure… we might get those poll results if that government is pursuing Right wing policies like free trade which undermines workers thus social mobility. We can easily go back to more protectionist policies as we had in the past to protect American workers and the middle class. And we can just as easily reverse the Right’s attempt to sabotage government’s ability to help its own people.

      Then what would the polls say?  

      • Still Here

        The link is provided by Tom above.  Do I have to spoon feed everything to you because you’re so ignorant?  Pathetic.  Are there no competent left wingers here? 

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          Better careless about links than clueless of the Right’s war on the middle and working class. THAT point you evade.

          Are there any non-evasive dittoheads out there? Not in this thread.

          • Still Here

            You’re all-around clueless in the most pathetic way.  Thankfully the majority of Americans recognize your ideology for the garbage it is.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            More evasion. Thanks for proving that’s the best defense you have for whatever indefensible ideas you hold.

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      As I suspected, you ARE MISREPRESENTING THE POLL.

      There is NO evidence Americans want to reduce the government’s role in promoting social mobility. Rather

      An overwhelming 83 percent want the government to either provide opportunities for the poor and middle class to improve their economic situations, prevent them from falling behind or both.This feeling cuts across party lines, with 91 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of independents and 73 percent of Republicans agreeing.
      This proves there is mass support for an ACTIVIST government.
      By implication that means most don’t believe the market alone can provide vibrant social mobility.

      There’s some disagreement about what policies the government should follow.

      Are there any intellectually honest Right wingers out there? Not in this thread.

      • Still Here

        Look at the data yourself font-master. Americans recognize the government following years of leftist nanny state programs and engorged bureaucracies has prevented Americans from bettering their lot in life.  That’s what the data shows, not your pablum. 
        The logical conclusion, though not to the fiscally irrational such as yourself, is that these bureaucracies and government spending should be cut to the bone.  Free Americans to succeed.

        • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

          If you can’t make a point without gross distortions or outright lies, you haven’t made a point… have you Fluffy?

          Your wild projections into the poll numbers to justify your own rabid Right beliefs says more about you than the poll.

          • Still Here

            Right back at you Sally.  Thankfully your lies and distortions are bolded for easy identification. 

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            What I bolded in italics was a quote from the study.

            So let’s see where we stand. You misrepresented the study’s findings, failed to prove your claims about it, and now are calling my actual quotes from the study “lies and distortions”.

            I think we can easily dismiss you as just another braindead dittohead that confuses their own dementia with reality.

            Thanks Arnie for making it so easy to expose you again.

          • Still Here

            That’s not all you bolded you slack-jawed yokel. You really work hard at this ignorance thing of yours.

          • Grow Up Already

            There you go again. No substance to any of your posts. It’s all “you’re wrong, I’m right.”

            If you only had a brain.

          • Modavations

            This is an Ultrax Stalk.Take note

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            No, Einstein… this is an ulTRAX POST!!

          • Anonymous

            So being that you seem to think that being a an online thug is OK I’m going to throw some crap right back at you. Your ignorance and intolerance are what define you.
            It’s clear to me that you’re nothing more than a right wing thug. Are you wearing your brown shirt when you post?

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Gee Brainiac, you not only failed to prove any of your claims from the study, you also failed to show why I wrote was wrong. But then no one expected a lightweight like yourself to have anything of worth to say. GrowUp’s got you pegged… your posts are mostly you’re right and everyone else is wrong.

            Are there any intelligent right wingers out there? Not in this thread.

    • Modavations

      Careful kid.You’re dealing with a stalker.He gets drunk and goes nuts.He wanted to Bugger me one night.The next,he wanted to shoot me like a fish in a barrel.During his nervous breakdown he promised he’d never post again.Careful with this guy,he’s psycho

      • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

        Since I never said any of those things, like with Arnie this again says more about you than me. This is a current events forum based on the topic of a particular OP show. It’s not your private bulletin board or sandbox. No one cares whether you ate lead paint when you were a kid. It’s not an appropriate place for your delusions of having a higher education, lies about being half-ass rich, or your homo-erotic fantasies.

        Please find a more appropriate forum, chat room, or airport mensroom. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Are you drinking mercury again?  Who are you warning Still Here about?  There is no one referenced in his comment, nor is it a reply to someone specific? 
            Surely they have developed a treatment for you?

      • Still Here

        Thanks for the warning.  Looks like he uses his hacking skills to facilitate his stalking.

        • Modavations

          Go read Dec.2 posts.If he wasn’t a bully,I’d feel sorry for him

          • Still Here

            Wow, he is one twisted sob.  I knew he was a mindless, Marxist freeloader with Stalinist tendencies but that kind of ignorant rhetoric is pathetic.

    • Fredlinskip

      Also we need to cut corporate taxes to the level we had just before depression as Romney proposes (25%).

      We need less regulation so as to allow the possibility of occurrences such as the 07 financial collapse.

      We need to continue to deny global warming exists, because we need not care about our planet or the astronomical costs of increasing climate related disasters.

      We need to continue to deny that to pay down national debt will require any further financial sacrifice from those who can afford it.

      There should be no cuts to our National Offense budget, because our fear requires need a military budget many times that of the rest of the world combined.

      And we need to cut all programs that potentially benefit majority of Americans, because these by definition are socialist.

      Let’s make the founders and future generations proud of our wisdom and understanding of the issues that confront us.

      • Still Here

        A) your facts are wrong, B) you attribute causation with no evidence, C) you argue absurdities in the extreme that are the position of no one, D) you then jump to most illogical conclusion possible. Conclusion:  you are some kind of crazy, libbie freeloader. 

        • Grow Up Already

          You don’t really have any substance to any of your arguments. They all boil down to “you’re wrong, I’m right”.

          Why are you even here? Grow up.

          • Modavations

            This is an Ultrax Stalk.Be careful “Still”.

          • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

            Your history of eating lead paint is showing Moda. Why would I bother to write that under a different name? If like you, Arnold is incapable of writing an intelligent post or rebuttal, then people notice.

            And let’s be clear. The person doing the “stalking” is you. YOU’RE the one who went after me here first. And YOU are the one again making false accusations. But then you always were reality challenged.

            Leaving aside the matter of that ass who was writing all the disgusting porn crap… which included me BTW, you just don’t get it… that when you post here for months acting as if this forum is your private tree fort, constantly off topic, making baseless claims and accusations, never posting sources, refusing to be corrected, bragging about how much money you make, and generally acting like an idiot… people aren’t “stalking” you: YOU ATTRACT JUSTIFIED DERISION.

            Any of this sinking in yet Einstein?

            Didn’t think so.
             

          • Still Here

            Thanks for the warning.  An ignorant and stalking hacker is a bad combination for the free exchange of ideas.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Because the GREEDY rich are ALWAYS right!  Regardless of how many companies they destroy, people they destroy, jobs they outsource for GREED, people they kill by denying health care, and other crimes and immoralities, to FEED the GREED!

          • Still Here

            The greedy poor are always wrong.

          • Modavations

            The greedy poor are parasites

          • Modavations

            This is an Ultrax Stalk.Ultrax,you need help

  • SgtSnider

    1) Comparisons with Canada are crazy.  Canada is a country of 30 million people vs 300 million for the US.  They also have virtually no military.
    2) The assumption that historically there was a contract that says if we work hard and play by the rules we will be wealthy relative to our parents is pure fantasy.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      #2 was the propaganda of the last hundred years!  I helped my children achieve it.  It wasn’t easy for them.

  • Ellen Blanchette

    Numbers can show many things. Interpretation is important and I appreciate the care here in the discussion. Getting out of poverty is different than moving up when you grow up in a middle class family. Rising above the success of very successful parents is kind of harder than moving up when parents are living in poverty. Middle class mobility is harder now because, in my opinion, opportunities for good, union protected jobs with a good living wage and contractually set raises is a lot less available. Jobs in the private sector, office workers, secretaries, data entry clerks, these jobs are not protected by labor unions and these are the jobs that many people have now. Jobs not protected by unions pay well to start but don’t offer good raises and have limited opportunity for upward mobility within the company.

    Definitely, education is a big factor and rich people get better educations for their children than poor do and middle class kids in public schools have a wide variety of quality depending on where they live. College is important but not for everyone, costs are too high and graduating with high debt is a very bad thing for young people just starting out, limiting their choices and opportunities.

    Housing is, in my opinion, one of the biggest issues in upward mobility. Housing for the middle class is too big a part of their expenses and for the poor is almost unavailable in the private sector which pushes the poor into subsidized housing. Formulas for rent in public housing is punitive and works against anyone who is trying to improve their income. The message to the poor in public housing is definitely, stay on welfare, don’t get a job and if you do, don’t make more than minimum wage.

    An interesting and complicated subject. Thanks for this.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    What’s the broadest context for this discussion? It’s in a supply and demand economy, where higher wages are a key to upward social mobility, what keeps wages down?

    The leaders of business and the political Right know the answer, yet it’s amusing our friends on the Right here don’t. Leaving aside the matter of how Bush recession’s created an oversupply of labor, the longer historical trends have been the combination of the war on organized labor and how free trade made possible outsourcing to exploit cheap labor abroad. Toss in the degraded value of the minimum wage which if the 1968 rate ($1.60) were simply adjusted to inflation would now be about $9.90 an hour in 2010 dollars. In reality it’s now just $7.25… about 73% of its 1968 value. American business has cashed in each time the minimum wage has failed to keep par with inflation.

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0774473.html

    While the war on labor goes back at least a century, and was certainly embraced by Reagan, but in a bizarre twist some of these policies really took off under the pro-business Clinton who moved the Democratic Party away from Liberal ideals to pursue corporate dollars. He undermined Labor by the backdoor with free trade.

    To bring this back to supply and demand, the net result has been an oversupply of insecure workers who are reluctant to push for higher pay. Sure there are some other minor social causes like teen girls getting pregnant, not being able to finish school, and becoming single parents etc… but if the labor market were tight, then even the wages offered at McDonalds would be substantially higher than the minimum. And while it’s true that education and effort can make one more desirable, even the college educated have to face the reality it’s not just manufacturing jobs that are being outsourced… white collar, technical, and professional jobs are as well. The internet has become a dual edge sword for many. The jobs that remain somewhat safe are those that can’t be outsourced: retail, nurses, CNAs, janitorial, car repair, security guards, lawn care, construction, government workers etc. In the meantime Wall Street tries to create profits by skimming from the churn of other people’s money. Yup, this is the Golden Age.   

    So it’s amusing those on the Right who post here can make bizarre claims that government’s attempts to foster social mobility… by which they mean “liberal” initiatives like affirmative action etc., are to blame. True, government has played a roll, but not one the dittoheads want to admit to. Government has been counterproductive to social mobility by abandoning Liberal ideals that were a necessary counterweight to a dog eat dog competitive economy. With those ideas out of fashion, the Right’s war to against all but the rich could prevail. Supply and demand did the rest. 

    The “American Dream?

    R.I.P.

    • tomt

      While I have no disagreement witth your characterization of the political/economic right, its our phoney-baloney ‘liberal’ classes who provide the sucker punch that knocks the poor and working class out of the equation. 

      Every time you hear people normalize the conditions of the poor, suggest second class and miserly reforms - as President Obama can’t stop doing – gatekeep opportunity or delude themeselves with the notion that they got where they did on ‘merit’ instead of privilge, you are witnessing another brick in the wall that will affect many more people than is immediately evident.

      This is why liberalism loses.  When the hard right is more inclusive of the economically modest than our so-called ‘progressives’ – in terms of opportunity to participate in the decision that affect their lives – the progressive movement bankrupts itself and looks the fool to those of us who have faced a lifetime of discrimination, dehumanization and disadvantage. 

      Only when people from modest backgrounds – including those who had to rise up without the permission of the privileged – sit as equals at the decision-making table, will we even begin to address this problem honestly.

      Until then the gap between rich and poor will widen without pause and the pathetic, self-decieving ‘reforms’ of progressives and liberals will fail to make a dime of difference to the rest of us. 

      You only have to look at the vitaes of those discussing this issue to see the fact that this issue is being managed to preserve privilege.  Bankruptcy Joe Biden’s economy policy adviser? Another suit from the Brookings institute? Talk about bricks in the wall!

      Now that’s class warfare in action.  

    • tomt

      While I have no disagreement witth your characterization of the political/economic right, its our phoney-baloney ‘liberal’ classes who provide the sucker punch that knocks the poor and working class out of the equation. 

      Every time you hear people normalize the conditions of the poor, suggest second class and miserly reforms - as President Obama can’t stop doing – gatekeep opportunity or delude themeselves with the notion that they got where they did on ‘merit’ instead of privilge, you are witnessing another brick in the wall that will affect many more people than is immediately evident.

      This is why liberalism loses.  When the hard right is more inclusive of the economically modest than our so-called ‘progressives’ – in terms of opportunity to participate in the decision that affect their lives – the progressive movement bankrupts itself and looks the fool to those of us who have faced a lifetime of discrimination, dehumanization and disadvantage. 

      Only when people from modest backgrounds – including those who had to rise up without the permission of the privileged – sit as equals at the decision-making table, will we even begin to address this problem honestly.

      Until then the gap between rich and poor will widen without pause and the pathetic, self-decieving ‘reforms’ of progressives and liberals will fail to make a dime of difference to the rest of us. 

      You only have to look at the vitaes of those discussing this issue to see the fact that this issue is being managed to preserve privilege.  Bankruptcy Joe Biden’s economy policy adviser? Another suit from the Brookings institute? Talk about bricks in the wall!

      Now that’s class warfare in action.  

      • http://gameoflols.com zilong

        “delude themeselves with the notion that they got where they did on ‘merit’ instead of privilege”

        this is not a liberal position. it’s like saying the Laffer Curve was invented by LBJ. Misdirection.

  • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

    On a side note, Right wing wordsmith/propagandist Frank Luntz has apparently discovered that “capitalism” lacks support and doesn’t poll well.

    YIKES!!!!

    He’s encouraging GOP politicians/talking heads to use terms like “economic freedom” instead. Rush already is on board.

    Expect to hear more such deceptive language in the weeks, months ahead.    

    • http://reinventing-america.blogspot.com/ ulTRAX

      Sorry, an excerpt I’d heard seemed to indicate Rush was on board. In reality he’s taking Luntz on about this.  

  • Still Here

    I believe the American people when they say that the government is doing more harm than good when it comes to mobility.  

  • tomt

    First, our poverty rates are much higher than our poverty threshold acknowledges.  Our poverty rate is based on 3 times a thrifty basket of food, priced in 1978 and recalculated by the consumer price index, which doesn’t include food or fuel in its calculus.  The real poverty threshold – the line above which a person/family can be reasonably expected to be able to pay their bills – is 3 to 4 times that rate.  I estimate 40-50% of America is poor, if we used the actual cost of necessities instead of a fraudulent number.  So we hide 2/3 of the poor from our gaze, make invisible the extraordinary stresses for everyone who is above the USDA poverty threshold, but below the actual cost of living.

    Through these and other strategies, the poor and working class have been driven out of the decision-making processes that affect their lives. As a consequence, those who make the decisions are exclusively people who have no experience with economic stress and want. Over time, this exclusion becomes normalized in the minds of the overprivileged.

    Those born on third base mistake privilege for merit – and I’m pointing my finger directly at privilged ‘liberals’ - serve a vital role as gatekeepers, normalizing this stratified classism and sucking up all the oxygen and further denying the poor and working classes the right to speak for themselves.

    How many of our so-called ‘liberal’ intellectuals and leaders come from the same very few private colleges?  Close scrutiny shows only a handful of schools contribute public intellectuals and most of them are from Harvard.  This contributes to the bankruptcy of ideas so evident in Washington.

    How many of our social scientists are from poor or working class backgrounds? Very, very few. As a fully degreed anthropologist, I was one of only 2 people in my graduate class who didn’t come from a trust-fund background, one of 2 who went to a public high school and the only one from a family who didn’t own their own home.  This means that those who are supposed to be educating us on social conditions are almost exclusively from the most privileged backgrounds. Just as understanding women’s health issues required female doctors and researchers to shift the male dominated gaze of science and open the space to consider health from a female perspective, we need poor and working class people fully represented in the social sciences to shift the classist gaze of higher education to include these classes as equals. 

    But as the poor and working class are driven from higher education or shoved down into second-class community colleges and ‘training programs’, the normalization of privilege in higher education makes their concerns disappear as well. And America’s colleges have become as disgustingly thick with arrogance and classsist ignorance as the most privileged of Britain’s hallowed halls. 

    How many artists promoted on NPR are from poor or working class backgrounds? How many are second/third generation artists riding on their daddy’s backs? How many come from the streets? How many come from private colleges?  Far, far too many.  But America’s greatest contributions to the arts came from the streets, not the private colleges (jazz, rock, country, rap, etc.). So why are most of our artists now from extraordinary privilege?

    As the former chancellor of my graduate – public university – alma mater put it, “if can’t afford it, you don’t belong.’ 

    Everyone in decision-making power is as guilty as he is. At least he had the honesty to say the truth.

  • numbersaregreatbut

    America’s poor and middle class children are not as
    well educated as they used to be. Their parents have dropped the ball on their
    responsibilities to make sure their children are educated is also a great
    problem. Poor quality parenting and education is the source of the problem. The
    quality of education in this country has degraded significantly. Children are
    not being taught civics and other much needed core curriculums and as a result
    they know almost nothing about how the country/world they live in works. I
    really don’t care what others think the main responsibility to insure a child
    is ready to survive and thrive in these United States is the parents. Full
    stop. Parents in other countries take this responsibility very seriously. Most
    poor and middle class Americans don’t. They leave it to the
    “government” which is a very delinquent attitude. Not a new attitude but it has been
    growing in the minds and actions of these economic groups for the past 30 to 35 years and
    the result is clear. Some would say “why blame the parents? That’s simple.
    The child is here because of the parent. If the child fails to thrive the 1st
    to look to as to why this has happened is the parent. When the current president’s
    mother saw he was starting to fail in his education she stepped in. She took
    responsibility for his educations even though she was a single mother at the
    time and very busy trying to earn a living for herself and him. There are no
    excuses. Hard to hear?yes, and also true. There are exceptions of course to this
    need for a good education, because there will always be a very few individuals who are going
    to succeed no matter what kind of education they received. However, when the
    rubber meets the road it’s almost allways about the quality of the education you received
    via the government, your parents or both.  Yes numbers don’t lie but come on
    people what’s behind those numbers. When you present information in the way of the
    above interview I wonder who it is you are talking to?  I listened to the interview and it reminded me of Charlie Brown’s teacher.  I knew what she was saying but not really.

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    there’s no moving up in th eu.

  • Pingback: The Single Greatest Moral Challenge We Face | Cognoscenti

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