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The 1 Percent Speaks

A former Bain Capital man and Romney supporter says income inequality shows our economy is working.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES (Portfolio Hardcover)

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES (Portfolio Hardcover)

My guest today Ed Conard was a partner with Mitt Romney at Bain Capital -a partner and managing director at the private equity firm Romney helped start.  Made – ballpark – hundreds of millions of dollars.  Retired at 51, rich. 

Now Ed Conard is a major Romney supporter, and he’s thinking and talking about the US economy.  About growth and incentives and inequality.  Inequality is not the problem, he says.  Inequality is the answer.  A sign of the riches – the incentives – that drive the economy forward. 

Up next On Point:  the “point-one” percent speaks.  Ed Conard, American incentives, and inequality.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Edward Conard, former managing director and partner at Bain Capital. He worked there from 1993-2007, and worked side-by-side with Mitt Romney. He’s the author of Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong. You can find an excerpt here.

Timothy Noah, senior editor at The New Republic and author of The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do about It.

C-Segment: Romney at Liberty University

You can find a full transcript of Mitt Romney’s commencement address at Liberty University from May 12, 2012 here.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Ever since the financial crisis started, we’ve heard plenty from the 1 percent. We’ve heard them giving defensive testimony in Congressional hearings or issuing anodyne statements flanked by lawyers and image consultants. They typically repeat platitudes about investment, risk-taking and job creation with the veiled contempt that the nation doesn’t understand their contribution. You get the sense that they’re afraid to say what they really believe. What do the superrich say when the cameras aren’t there? ”

The New Republic “Conard says that the more investment you have, the cheaper the stuff that the 99 percent buy will become. This argument (which I think of as the “Who Needs Good Jobs?” argument) presumes that Americans will consume even when they can’t actually afford to, and data on the current recovery provide some evidence that may be true.”

Slate “Conard’s more interesting claim is that inequality isn’t just the consequence of socially beneficial activities, it’s the cause of socially beneficial activities because inequality leads to investment”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • http://www.facebook.com/jcspires51 James-Clifton Spires

    How nice. A one-percenter says the economy is working — for the one percent …

  • http://www.facebook.com/notstevelyon Steve Lyon

    You should ask Conrad why rich people like him and Romney need to get economic benefit such as in the way of preferential tax treatment first before maybe they decide to invest and create jobs for the rest of us. It’s almost like they are holding the recovery and widespread employment growth hostage until they are taken care of first. Romney already pays a 14% effective tax rate based on his mastery of gaming the system. What more economic incentive does he need before he applies some of his offshore tax-sheltered capital towards putting his fellow Americans–whose votes he is now asking for–back to work? Or do working class Americans need to wait for parity with the third world before they are once again able to successfully compete for jobs in the global economy?

  • Hidan

    Poor guy this economy and the attack on the rich must be hard for this former managing director and many of the others Wall Street Magnets. Todd Snider even wrote a song about the hardship that Mr.Conrad must of faced. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8eOOzs9nuQM) Than Atmosphere came wrote a song one how graceful the likes of Mr. Conrad are (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mjBhEaqbPw) than another how much people care about the likes of Mr Conrad and his crew (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AYu2WnK38k&feature=relmfu)

    • Hidan

       “Than Atmosphere came and wrote”

  • Jacob Arnon

    It’s working for him alright, It’s not working for millions of children in poverty. They didn’t cause their poverty and they won’t have as much of a chance to live normal lives as will the children of the affluent. 

  • JGC

    Sometimes the affluent like to point to their charitable donations.  They often say it is their money, and it is their right to spend it as they see fit. Just curious as how that works out to artistic vs. historic vs. humanitarian vs. religious causes. Surely the Koch brothers feel their charitable donations are going to worthy causes, too.

    • JGC

      Oops, forgot to mention “political causes” as well. 

  • scmcf

    This is going to be good.

  • Jim978

    Mr. Conrad argues that inequality works, since the U.S. economy has outperformed that of its “high-wage rivals.”  I guess it depends on how you define “works.”
     
    Money is a convenient and often necessary way to measure many things.  However, the amount of money a person earns tells us little about that person’s character.  In my opinion, the same is true of a society.  One should not confuse richest with best.

    • Drew (GA)

      “However, the amount of money a person earns tells us little about that person’s character”

      Oh I don’t know, maybe it tells us a lot if we’re listening. The fact that someone has a large amount of money would (to me) speak volumes about their character. It demonstrates what they value, what they feel is important. We all know the slant choices must take if we consistently do what’s most profitable. Conversely, someone who is poverty stricken has likely made choices that were driven by something other than profitability. Yes (I can hear you’re thoughts) maybe they were just lazy, but the majority of the time that is simply not the case.

  • NewtonWhale

    Too bad you didn’t get the author of this piece in the Sunday Times:

    Capitalists and Other Psychopaths

    I always found the notion of a business school amusing. What kinds of courses do they offer? Robbing Widows and Orphans? Grinding the Faces of the Poor? Having It Both Ways? Feeding at the Public Trough?

    There was a documentary several years ago called “The Corporation” that accepted the premise that corporations are persons and then asked what kind of people they are. The answer was, precisely, psychopaths: indifferent to others, incapable of guilt, exclusively devoted to their own interests.

    There’s been a lot of talk lately about “job creators,” a phrase begotten by Frank Luntz, the right-wing propaganda guru, on the ghost of Ayn Rand. The rich deserve our gratitude as well as everything they have, in other words, and all the rest is envy.

     But while “job creators” may be a new term, the adulation it expresses — and the contempt that it so clearly signals — are not. “Poor Americans are urged to hate themselves,” Kurt Vonnegut wrote in “Slaughterhouse-Five.” And so, “they mock themselves and glorify their betters.” Our most destructive lie, he added, “is that it is very easy for any American to make money.” The lie goes on. The poor are lazy, stupid and evil. The rich are brilliant, courageous and good. They shower their beneficence upon the rest of us.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/opinion/sunday/fables-of-wealth.html?hp 

    Masters of the House

    Charge ‘em for the lice, extra for the mice
    Two percent for looking in the mirror twice
    Here a little slice, there a little cut
    Three percent for sleeping with the window shut
    When it comes to fixing prices
    There are a lot of tricks he knows
    How it all increases, all them bits and pieces
    Jesus! It’s amazing how it grows!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izgc7IhcGG4

  • NewtonWhale

    Your guest’s name is “Conard”, not “Conrad”.

    One is known for his Heart of Darkness.

    The other wrote “Lord Jim”.

    Your Freudian slip is showing. 

  • John in Amherst

    The economy is certainly “working” if working means delivering more and
    more money and power into the hands of fewer and fewer people.  If the
    economy “working” is measured with other metrics – say, providing
    financial security and economic opportunity to an expanding (as opposed
    to a shrinking) number of people, the current system is falling apart.   

    It is truly amazing how many of the extremely wealthy seem to lose sight
    of how much luck plays a role in their having become wealthy.  “1%
    amnesia” also seems to include forgetting how difficult scraping by on a
    low wage can be, and how the relative purchasing power of the minimum
    wage has fallen over the past several decades.  Finally, the defenders
    of trickle down theory conveniently ignore how skewed our economic
    system has become in terms of disproportionately rewarding some career
    choices (money management, law) relative to others that require
    equivalent sacrifices in terms of toiling through years of education and
    hard work.

    • William

      I don’t think Bill Gates, Jobs, etc…were lucky..they are all very talented, smart and worked very hard. I don’t think most actors that are very successful and wealthy are lucky..it’s talent, but mostly determination and years of overcome rejections and failure. I don’t think the guys that started Wendys, Walmart, McDonalds were lucky..they were very determined and struggled for years. Luck has very little to do with become successful.

      • Victor Vito

        …and they should have more than me, but not at the expense of healthcare, retirement , and education.

      • Tracy

        Both Gates and Jobs have publicly acknowledged that they benefited greatly from the luck of being in the right place at the right time, early in their development. All these elements play a role.

      • bellavida

        What’s luck got to do with it?  First of all, you can’t deny they were born with the gift of higher-than-average intelligence.  Yes, I agree they need to work and foster that gift but you cannot foster something that isn’t there in the first place.  In the second place, I believe I read in Malcolm’s Gladwell’s Outliers, how Bill Gates was lucky enough to have access to one of a handful of computers in the country, at the University of Washington, and unfettered access to it at that that, and this contributed mightily to his practice at programming, in his teens.  So to say luck has nothing to do with an individual’s success is disingenuous.

  • SteveV

    Who is responsible and what to do about it is debatable. I’m referring to two
    issues in our society. The blurring of wants and needs and delayed
    gratification. I grew up in the 50′s and knew the difference between the two.
    The only purchases that went on the credit card were immediate “needs” when cash
    was not available. All that has changed. Our new motto: “I want what I want when
    I want it”. Ask a young person today to define “delayed gratification”. You’ll
    be surprised….or maybe not.

  • Gregg

    Envy is the only deadly sin which does not bring pleasure.

    • TFRX

      Again with the “you guys must be envious” schtick.

      It’s getting tired.

      We don’t envy them money. We’re pissed that they’ve tilted the gaming table over the last 40 years or so, then have the nerve to squak “Invisible Hand! Invisible Hand! Nothing you can do about it with government!”, among other things.

       And their avarice is not a sin to concern us, is it?

      • Gregg

        You see it your way, I see it mine but it’s a good question. I don’t see avarice, in and of itself, as a sin so long as it doesn’t cross ethical, moral and legal lines. A lot of good can come from avarice. 

        • jefe68

          And yet the collapse in 07 was due to a lapse in moral, ethical, and legal lines.
          Your point is absurd.

        • TFRX

          You outed yourself.

          Envy (whatever you project it to others as) is a sad sorrowful sin, and avarice (as practiced by people who are rich) isn’t.

          • Gregg

            No good comes from envy, that’s all.

    • jefe68

      Envy of what? I don’t envy the wealthy. You don’t get it do you?

      • nj_v2

        Greggg is clueless on many fronts.

    • MrNutso

      Hardly envy, since I’m close to a 1%er myself.  However, I know that a healthy economy and society must benefit everyone, or everyone is at risk from a financial catastrophe.

    • Victor Vito

      I don’t want Bill Gates’ life.  I want my life with health insurance and etirement when my body fails.  I want good schools for my kids.  I want good services and infrastructure.  I don’t think I need Gates’ worth to afford these things.

  • http://twitter.com/cwooley89 Charles Wooley

    really, I obviously haven’t heard this guys spheel yet, but just the caption is ridiculous!
    I’d like to hear this guy and paul krugman on the same show!

    • Gregg

       Me too.

  • AC

    this will sound bad, but - I feel the population issue as well as the technological changes are really some major root problems to the loss of jobs and the resulting blow on the economy. You just don’t need a lot of people to run a modern business –
    Even if the 1% (who are better equipped to survive these changes) did share – it would only go so far.
    Too many people. Just too many & most not needed. Stinky way to live……I worry for the day I get replaced by software, so I’ve taught myself to be the progammer that will do it & keep my head above water…

  • Chris B

    Give us Barabbas!

  • HalEBurton

    Nigeria, Haiti, and El Salvador are all examples of countries with huge income inequalities. Nigeria has vast oil wealth that has been completely squandered.

    Moreover, the Koch brothers have 20 billion dollars each. As far as we can tell, that money is not being invested in risky ventures if it is being invested at all.

  • Gregg

    How can I but a used car if some rich person doesn’t buy it brand new first? Where would I be if that top 1% didn’t pay 40% of the bill? How will vilifying the rich change my life for the better? How will the rich getting richer change my life for the worse? 

    • AC

      resources. 7 billion and counting, the cost of these resources (not just monetarily) is going to be very dear….it’s a weird time in history…

    • Jim978

      Gregg,

      If the rich get richer by shipping work overseas and eliminating your job, you may find that your life has taken a turn for the worse!

      By the way, the top 1% pay the largest share of income taxes (between 36% and 39% depending on who is reporting), but income taxes are only a part of the picture.  When all taxes are taken into account (federal, state, and local), the share paid by the top 1% is only marginally higher than that for the bottom 99%.

      • Gregg

        But why should I blame the rich for practicing prudent business? If more money can be made shipping jobs overseas then something’s wrong with the system, blame government. Why wouldn’t the opportunities of a global marketplace out weigh the hazards?

        You did not mention Social Security and the cap but I think you must use it to get the results you claim about taxes. I consider paying into a program that pays you back to be far different than a tax on income.

        • Drew (GA)

          “If more money can be made shipping jobs overseas then something’s wrong with the system,”

          Of course something is wrong with the system, does that mean that those who exploit it’s failures should have zero accountability? Perhaps I’m wrong but it seems that your take is: The best way to thrive in a den of thieves is to get to stealing, then blame the Den Leader for your malignant actions.

          Participation equals complicity.

          • Gregg

            If your question is should criminals be held accountable then yes. If it’s, is all outsourcing criminal, then no.

        • denis

          When in Rome do as the Romans do?

        • Jim978

          You say, “I consider paying into a program that pays you back to be far different than a tax on income.”

          The fact that you consider it different is neither here nor there.  Income taxes pay for defense, they are used to build roads and bridges, they help ensure food safety, they pay for disease prevention and public health programs, they help support schools and universities … and the list goes on.  You may not get paid back in cash, but there is a payback.

          Neither is the near equality in tax payments just because of Social Security.  People pay real estate taxes (directly if they own, indirectly if they rent), if you smoke or consume acoholic beverages, you pay taxes.  If you stay in a hotel, you’ll pay taxes.  If you fly, you pay taxes.  Have a land line or cell phone?  You pay excise taxes.  The same is true of you have a cable or internet connection.  Many states impose personal property taxes.  In most states you pay a sales tax every time you shop.

          It is true that many of these taxes fly “under the radar” since people don’t sit down once a year and fill out a return to remind themselves.  But they are taxes nonetheless, we all pay them, and those in the bottom 99% are paying a far higher percent of their income in such taxes compared to the top 1%.

          • Gregg

            Are you suggesting we implement a progressive cell phone tax?

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Mafia dons, and drug-cartel ‘leaders’, practice
          ‘prudent business’, for THEM. 
              YOU defend THEM?

        • nj_v2

          Greggg offers, “If more money can be made shipping jobs overseas then something’s wrong with the system, blame government.”

          Yet Greggg is among the complainers about onerous government “regulation.”

          • Gregg

            Yes, regulations that make doing business in America crazy on many levels given the global options.

          • jefe68

            So you would be OK with pollution on the levels they have in Beijing? It’s so bad there that people develop permanent health conditions due to the air alone. You can’t drink the water, and for most people there is virtually no health care.    

          • Gregg

            Your non-sequitur does not make what I wrote untrue.

      • denis

        could someone please tell us what % of the taxable income or what % of the gnp or what % of the U.S. wealth is controlled by the top 1%? 

      • Quadraticus

        When the government finally starts means-testing Social Security and eliminates the payroll tax in favor of raising marginal income tax rates, you’ll have a point: right now, there’s still this (IMO ridiculous) notion that SS is a savings program, where your benefits are proportional to your contributions, so putting it in the same category as income tax is disingenuous.

    • Drew (GA)

      “How will the rich getting richer change my life for the worse?”

      The most financially beneficial choice is NEVER the most ethical one. That’s great if you enjoy living on a ship full of nothing but cut-throat Pirates. Me? Not so much.

      You could have asked how the rich getting richer will change your life for the better.

      • bellavida

        It’s going to get him, if he’s lucky, a job that when adjusted for inflation, is stagnant for at least the last 10 years, without a pension and no health insurance.  He can shop for that on his own in the free market.  

    • jefe68

      Did you read this mans article? This is not about being wealthy it’s more about social Darwinism and an attitude that I find abhorrent. This man personifies greed on steroids.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/magazine/romneys-former-bain-partner-makes-a-case-for-inequality.html

    • John in Amherst

       How can the mice in the barnyard eat if the pigs don’t spill some slops out of the trough?  Please!  Trickle down is nonsense.
      Vilifying the rich won’t improve anyone’s life.  Restructuring the economy so that more people get a bigger share of the goods and income produced would.  As the rich are able to satiate their desire for material goods, they turn to buying political influence that serves their interests, which are far too often not the interests of society at large.

      • Gregg

        It’s funny you used that analogy after I spent the weekend killing rats in our barn. The rich folks horses spill too much grain and what they do eat just goes through them and comes out just as tasty to a rat. I’d flush them out while my wife grabbed’m by the tail and gave them a good whack. I love that woman. They start to take over if you let them.

        Anywho, I don’t like the analogy.

        • Drew (GA)

          Yes, poor people are rats Gregg and if we don’t oppress them they’ll take over. Wow.

          If that wasn’t what you meant I apologize, if that was what you meant: Wake up.

          • Gregg

            I said I didn’t like the analogy but I figured some would. The story happens to be true, I was just telling the tail.

          • Drew (GA)

            Tail or tale? Telling the tale of grabbing the tail.

          • Gregg

            Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Sure reads that way, in context!

        • aj

          Let’s see if your so clever when the 299,000,000 rats eat your face off. lol 

          • Gregg

            I worry about that, it keeps me up at night.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Grabbing rodents, which are greatly inclined to bite, as much as they spread disease, and whacking them, is an indication of intelligence?
              Interesting that YOU flush out the rats, and SHE catches them?

          • Gregg

            She’s way way tougher than I… and she did it in heels.

          • Gregg

            I was joking about the heels TTT but you should have seen her playing “Crocodile Hunter” with that copperhead.  It was in the road when we were leaving to go out for dinner. I ran back to the house to get a hoe, she kept it from slithering into the woods by (again) grabbing it’s tail. She really did do that one in heels. Then I killed it with the hoe.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I have killed a few copperheads, too.  NOT in heels!  I have not caught one by its tail, although I have seen it done. 
                How many Bain executives have taken these risks?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Heels, in barn manure, and hay?  You stretch credibility, once more!

      • William

        Does trickle up economics work? Where? It failed in Russia, China and all the other Communists/Socialist countries. The EU has attempted trickle up economics for 50 years and it is crumbling.

        • aj

          Plymouth Fucking Rock! And Sweden too.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Children have access to this board, and should.  Could I talk you into more appropriate language?

        • jefe68

          Failed in China? What do call what has been going on there for the last decade.

          That depends where you live. Sweden is doing well and so is Germany, but they have made a lot of mistakes. It’s far from crumbling, but then again from reading your comments you seem to think going back to the Gilded Age would be progress.

          • William

            They tossed communism and are going full speed to capitalism. There were huge number of very succesful companies out of the Gilded Age. Those old robber barons did a lot of good too.

          • aj

            Socialist policies did far more good than your captain of industry

          • bellavida

            Yes, let’s go back to the Gilded Age, when there was rampant child labor and 12 hour work-days.  

    • Victor Vito

      When I was a kid, my factory worker lower middle class parents could afford a new car.  A 79 Olds Cutlass Supreme in fact.  Powder blue…

      • Quadraticus

        It’s too bad government has so heavily regulated the auto industry that the cheapest new cars are now out of the reach of lower middle class folks. Ask yourself: why aren’t there $3,000 new cars?

        • Victor Vito

          The Cutlass was $7999.

        • jefe68

          Are you serious?

  • Drew (GA)

    If only we could realize that everything comes with a cost. There’s nothing wrong with earning lots of money. Most of the time it is not being “earned” at all though, it is being taken. The more that one has that they don’t need, the less someone has that they do. Hard to believe but it really is that simple.

  • TFRX

    Let’s say “income inequality shows our economy is working”.

    When, prior to ~40 years ago, did “income equality (sic)” ever show our economy wasn’t working? And when did the rich suffer for it?

  • NewtonWhale

    I’m a big believer in capitalism. I’m also a big believer in
    fire.

    They each do one thing, and only one thing, without concern
    for anything else.

    When controlled properly, they both offer enormous benefits.

    When uncontrolled, they consume everything in their paths
    leaving behind nothing but scorched earth and ruined lives.

    The difference is that no sane person spends a moment arguing
    that we should remove the controls on fire, or idolize and reward arsonists.

    • Drew (GA)

      Great comment!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      EXCELLENT ANALOGY!!

  • Victor Vito

    Y’know, if the folks at the top would have just given up 4-5% on the top marginal rate as a gesture of patriotism and shared sacrifice, lots of Americans would have bought it.  Conservative talking heads could have beaten liberals over the head with it for years.

    But they can’t.  They can’t willingly give up one damned dime.  It isn’t enough to be at the top, they have to subjugate those at the bottom. 

    How far can they push this advantage?  I wish I knew.

    • Ryan_hennings

      Victor,

      Why do you believe the top 1% should pay more?  Why do you feel they don’t pay enough?  Raising taxes is not going to fix our deficit and debt problem.  Don’t take your eye off the ball, its the SPENDING!  Instead of raising taxes, cut the spending by a tiny 5% each year and the deficit is long gone after 10 years.  Don’t drink the Kool-Aid the left and the Community Organizer is serving about “the rich need to pay their fair share.”  They already pay the majority of revenues!

      • Terry Tree Tree

        ‘Conservatives’ CUT Taxes for the rich, then started TWO wars, with NO extra income! 
           ‘Conservatives’ installed Medicare part D Prescription Plan, which pays 30 Profit-Driven companies, WITHOUT any way to pay for it!
            ‘Conservatives’ have instituted hiring 85,000 Private Company ‘Security Contract Workers’, without raising the money!
            ‘Conservatives’ NOW want to cut spending?
            WILL ‘conservatives’ cut the spending going to their criminal cronies?

        • Ryan_hennings

          Kind of hard to call President Bush a “Conservative”.  If you think that only “Conservatives” do this you are sadly misinformed to the 10th power.

          I assume you are a fan of the President, right?  If so, can you tell me why you are not critiquing the Community Organizer for doubling down on the very same policies you just described?  What about ObamaCare?  Pretty big spending bill don’t cha think?

          My response to Victor was only to show that raising taxes will do diddly squat to paying down the debt and deficit.  The spending is the issue and I’ll hold any party accountable.

          If you’d like I can post several facts that will prove raising taxes will do virtually nothing and we need to speed our energies on cutting the socialistic spending.

          • Victor Vito

            What difference does it make that he spent time as a community organizer?  Why does this draw your strong disdain?

          • Ryan_hennings

            Wow, Victor.  I now realize that debating you is like debating a kitchen table.  I have posted several facts of why I have disdain toward Obama.  You chose not to read them I guess so I will move on to someone that has a brain.

          • Victor Vito

            You have some definate Obama hatred.  It seeps through most of your posts.

          • Ryan_hennings

            Wonderful reply Victor.  It amazes me people like you can vote and help mold the future for our children.  

          • jefe68

            We need growth tax increases and cuts to bring down the debt and the deficit. Your comments are a bit misleading and I think you know it.
            Cutting taxes will raise the deficit, simple math, less revenue.

          • Ryan_hennings

            LOL jefe68,

            Where is my posts have I advocated lowering taxes?  Try reading before you spew crap.

            I’m saying we need to cut the spending by 5% each year.  Within 10 years deficit is gone.  It amazes me how the politicians are spending like drunkin sailors, yet the left wants to raise taxes to support their habit.  You are so blind by partisanship.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ‘W’ called himself a ‘compassionate’ ‘conservative’!  He also represented himself as a ‘Christian’!  So do many of the Republicans, while demonizing the Democrats, as ‘ngodly’ etc…!
               The Bibles that I have read, or been read, say that Jesus Christ said that the way we treat the least among us, is the way we treat Christ.
                A rich AWOL, self-admitted, and his admin., started 2 wars, with countries that did NOT supply MOST of the hijackers that ‘attacked the U.S.!   These same ‘conservatives’ sent few, if any of their own families in harm’s way. 
                ‘W’ compared himself to FDR, who’s 5 sons served in the U.S. Millitary, including James, that was a U.S.Marine, that fought behind the lines on Japanese-held islands!

          • Terry Tree Tree

            ‘W’ called HIMSELF a ‘compassionate’ ‘conservative’, then PROVED himself to be a HYPOCRITE, along with most of his admin., and followers!
                ‘Conservatives’ PROVED they cannot be trusted to be conservative!
               WHERE did President Obama claim to be a ‘compassionate’ ‘conservative’?

      • Eric M. Jones
        • Ryan_hennings

          I’m not sure what your point is Eric.  Are you implying that everyone should own equal shares of assets?  If so, that economic model will never work and has been proven in history and everyday life.

      • Charles A. Bowsher

        I am sick of seeing this “talking point” show up everywhere.  So what if it doesn’t close the gap in our deficit completely.  It would be a start.  Begun is half done.

        • Ryan_hennings

          Charles,

          My “talking point” is based on basic Math.  Let me do some math for you.  These are numbers from the CBO.

          2011 Federal Tax Revenue = $2,303 B2011 Federal Spending = $3,598 BSince the top 1% paid 28.1% of Revenue = $647 BLet’s say we double their taxes so now the Federal Tax Revenue = $2950 B (still haven’t closed the deficit)Let’s say we triple their taxes. Now the Federal Tax Revenue = $4244 (YEAH!! now we have taken care of the deficit and starting to pay off the debt)But what if we cut spending by 5% every year for the next 10 years. Everyone can cut their budget by 5%, right? We would then be spending $2154 B. So why do we have to raise taxes? How much of my money do you think I am allowed to keep Charles?Do you think smart people (top 1%) are going to pay 61% of American revenues? Nope, you will drive more money and jobs overseas. Thus, you just destroyed the investors and capitol of American business. Now the unemployment rate has exploded.If you want real tax reform. Check out the Fair Tax. Consumption based tax, not Production based tax.

          To conclude, my opinion is based on facts and basic math.  It’s not a “talking point” as you suggest.  This proves that Obama is full of it when he says the “evil rich” need to pay their fair share.  Don’t drink the Kool-Aid, do the math.

          • Victor Vito

            If we accept your number that the 1% paid 28& of taxes…  What percentage of wealth an assetts do these same one percent control?  THAT is the important stat.

          • aj
          • denis

            this is the most important number in this discussion…. Ryan Hennings wants to ignore the fact that the top % do not pay tax in relatin to their ownership of the wealth in the U.S.  

            On the spending side… does anyone have the figures for what the government spends per capita compared with 20 or 25 years go? 

            It is so sad to see the decline or the U.S. lead by voices like Ryan Hennings!

          • Ryan_hennings

            What does this calculation prove?

          • Ryan_hennings

            Well I guess since the top 1% owns 84% of the wealth there is just no way any of us can make a living.  What a defeatist attitude.

            Let me ask a few simple questions.  What is keeping you from building wealth yourself?  Who and what is in your way?  Or is this all about what is “fffaaaaaiiiirrrrrrrr”?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            The rich, that have 84% of the wealth, need to PAY over 84% of the taxes?   OR, are you just WHINING for the GREEDY rich?

          • Ryan_hennings

            Do you think there is a finite amount of wealth in this country?  Forget it, I’m not going to try to explain economics to a socialist!

          • http://twitter.com/cwooley89 Charles Wooley

            to Ryan- 
            Even though I tend to swing left, I am not opposed to spending cuts, particularly on medicare and social security which both desperately need to be brought out of the red…

            And there are many government programs that are inefficient and wasteful they should be cut as well.

            But some of the things that government does like most infrastructure projects pay dividends into the future that far outstrip their costs. They create jobs in the short term, and value in the long term. 

            Basically I agree with you to some degree that we should trim our spending, but why is cutting revenues and raising taxes on the top 1% mutually exclusive?

            Does anyone out there think that we should raise taxes at the highest income brackets, close tax loopholes, whilst still rooting out and eliminating wasteful spending?

          • denis

            Where do you get creditable info that says social security is in the red? And of course if the top earners paid their fair share it would be in surplus as far as the eye can see

          • http://twitter.com/cwooley89 Charles Wooley

            Social Security is solvent for now but is projected to go into the red by 2017 & be completely unsustainable by 2050

            guess I should have specified that but the general point stands, we need to fix these programs before they become a major problem

          • Ryan_hennings

            Charles Wooley,

            I like your reply, but I would modify it slightly.

            1.)  I would cut spending first.

            2.)  I believe that the tax code has gotten very convoluted with crazy deductions and “loop holes”.  I’m a huge fan of the Fair Tax which would eliminate these issues easily along with several other problems (but that is another conversation).

            3.)  Once the spending has been cut, government has shrunk, and the tax code has been simplified, then, and only then, I would consider raising taxes to close the deficit IF it existed.  But there will be no need to because the spending is our problem and doing step 1 and 2 solves our problems.

            Unfortunately, the spending won’t get cut until we have a real leader in the White House and the people in this country start voting for representatives that are willing to do what is right for our budget.

          • Charles A. Bowsher

             I make $12,000 per year. I don’t think I can afford to cut my budget by 5%/year for 10 years. My point is they need to start paying back what was stolen with their lobbyist and bought and paid for congressmen!

          • Ryan_hennings

            Charles A. Bowsher,

            It seems to me Charles you need to stop blaming everyone for your problems and do what it takes to get a better job.  Perhaps some sort of higher education.

            You are a classic case of the left-wing cry babies that think someone is keeping you from being successful.  Do it yourself!

      • Victor Vito

        Which spending?  Medicare and Social Security, or the Pentagon and tax breaks for Walmart?

        • Ryan_hennings

          Victor,

          You are so partisan it is sickening.  Do you realize that Obama has given one of the largest tax breaks to GE?  http://politicalvelcraft.org/2011/07/22/obama-allows-g-e-a-green-light-in-paying-no-taxes-for-the-5-1-billion-in-profits-worst-bailout-in-u-s-history-g-e-received-182-5-billion-in-obama-buddy-bailout/

          Plus, the Pentagon has repeatedly requested cuts, but Congress continues to ignore them because their job is to “bring home the bacon” to their states.  So military programs continue to get built.

          Yes, anything in the federal budget needs to be reformed that especially means Medicare and Social Security which is the bulk of the spending.  We need to incentivize individual responsibility to save for your own retirement.

          Reforming Medicare and ObamaCare is too complex to answer in this forum and if off topic, but we all know they are in the red.

          • Victor Vito

            Uh, I never said I was pro Obama… 

          • Terry Tree Tree

            List of Republicans that have exposed and are prosecuting their own contributors, that have committed crimes?   Republican ‘morals’?

      • Pete

        The economy needs spending. Lots of spending and the high salaried people aren’t spending fst enough so we need to tax the h.. out of them

  • John in Amherst

    Granted, vilifying the rich won’t improve anyone’s life.  Neither will glorifying the rich. 
    Restructuring the
    economy so that more people get a bigger share of the goods and income
    produced would.  As the rich are able to satiate their desire for
    material goods, they turn to buying political influence that serves
    their interests, which are far too often not the interests of society at
    large.
    The 1% seem far to willing to devote their money to walling and gating themselves off from common societal problems, like maintaining a good system for educating our kids, like making sure water, air, and food are safe for everyone, like sharing in military duty and civil law and order. 
    Hey! 1%ers! you want to have an unbridled ability to earn?  how about an unfettered sharing in the responsibilities of citizenship?

  • J__o__h__n

    Is David Axelrod behind this guy’s book tour?  Every time he opens his mouth, the middle class is more likely to vote against Mitt. 

     
    This book is like when the villain reveals his plans to the hero whom he thinks he has defeated before he finds a way to turn the tables. 

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Less expendable income = less demand = less opportunity = less growth.

    Today we have trillions in capital floating about looking for somewhere to go and we have minimal growth illustrating that the arguments that reducing taxes on the wealthy and freeing capital are rubbish:  Middleclass Joe and Jane’s ability to buy things drive growth, not Billionaire Bart and Betty.

    If no one has money to buy $200 sneakers, no one is going to
    invest in a $200 sneaker factory.

    Today the wages given to American workers by their management is being reduced at a regular rate while more and more profit is funneled more to executives and speculators or rather “investors”. The middle class has shrunk substantially since 2000. Not since the great depression have we seen such great income disparity.

    By cutting wages of people who will actually spend it and redirecting it to folks who will invest it overseas, you shrink the economy.

    Henry Ford understood this when he raised the wages of his workers above the industry average.  When asked why Ford is said to have replied, “If I don’t pay them more, who will buy my cars?”

    Snap out of it Mr. Conrad. These are facts, not theories. The economic policies you promote have decimated the middle class and will transform America into a third world economy.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Income Inequality works for the GREEDY rich?  History proved THAT, many times! 
       Someone that has made their fortune off buying distressed companies, putting them in much greater debt, then taking profits from that debt, and abandoning the companies to fail, or survive, with that greater debt, is saying he made it BETTER for ALL the families that lost their JOBS, and income, to fill his pockets?

  • Yar

    There is not the vocabulary to explain farming to a miner.  Even though both are harvesting plants, the miner doesn’t understand the planting of seeds.  Much of what is being called economy is really mining.  Europeans came to America, conscripted labor from Africa, China, and other far places and we called ourselves capitalists.  We passed laws to protect these forms of economic slavery and say we are innovators.  Now we have machines to replace much human labor and declare that capitalism is based on world markets and survival of the fittest is part of evolution. 
    I am a farmer, I have a love for place, I want to leave a better homeplace to my children than was given to me by my parents.  My understanding of economics is based on balancing the environmental consequences of each of my actions.  This is a different world than the business professional who sees potential profit in each trade while ignoring that the source of that profit is a decrease in real value to person who earned it in the first place.  Language is inadequate to communicate sustainability to a miner.  When one resource is tapped out, they simply move on to the next.  Why is it that the richest areas in resources have the deepest poverty?  Do you build or simply consume what others have built?  Many will read yet few will understand.

  • Brothersower88

    I don’t think people are claiming economic inequality is the problem. 

    People who work incredibly hard, take good risks, and are brilliant should make more money than people who lack drive, wisdom, and knowledge.

    The problem is found in the perceived lack of equal opportunities, corruption as means to wealth, the “sense” that the rich get to affect (or contribute more financially to) politics more than the poor, and the “feeling” that the fortunate don’t care about the less-fortunate.

    Before anyone says that the rich create jobs (or the reverse; trickle up v. trickle down), please include studies (not editorials; actual data, graphs, equations, etc) that support the claim.  I have been trying to find them, but have been unable so far.  Links appreciated.

    • aj

      ‘While they were waiting in line for tickets to the David Letterman show, NewsHour Economics Correspondent Paul Solman asked a random sampling of people to look at three pie charts representing how wealth is distributed in three different countries. In one country, everyone had an equal slice of the wealth; in a second, the rich had slightly more than others; and in the third, the rich held 84% of the total generated wealth. Solman asked people to guess: which one of these countries is the U.S.?
      Although most people guessed that the middle pie chart represents wealth distribution in the U.S., the third pie chart, with the most income inequality, is the correct one. Economists say that most Americans don’t realize this inequality exists in their country because they rarely look beyond their own communities, which tend to be more homogeneous.
      One high school student says she thinks it’s getting easier for wealthy Americans to ignore the income inequality because they insulate themselves from the rest of the population. However, when asked to identify the country they would like to live in based on the pie chart that represents its income distribution, most Americans chose the chart that represents Sweden.’

      • Sam Walworth

         thanks AJ,

        Somehow I have felt (after living in Asia and Europe) that America is a very secluded community, in which only community ties are found between people of similar race, ethnic background and economical status, they always keep the “odd ones out” at the bay, which is less common in Europe

        • aj

          Indeed. Welcome home.

      • aj

        Most Americans want to live in Sweden.

        • aj

          They are just too stupid to know it.

        • Sam Walworth

           Michelle Bachmann just became a Swiss Citizen.. and thats to make sure that her kids can have live in Europe as well..

    • William

      I would think simple logic determines which is better…trickle down vs trickle up. We saw the Communists countries all fail due to trickle up economics and now the EU is imploded with their version of trickle up economics. We have done pretty well in the past with trickle down economics. To some, it may not seem fair, but the brightest, hardest working, people make this country work and create the companies, products..etc  that generate the greatest amount of economic activity, create wealth and jobs.

      • Brothersower88

         You didn’t include an actual study… for thousands of years simple logic determined the sun revolved around the Earth.  How accurate was that.

        We have the data from the last 50 years… lets “see if the sun revolves around the Earth”.

        • William

          You don’t need someone to tell you how to think. A simple look at what works in life and what does not work is easy to obtain on your own. If you wait for some “expert” to tell you then you fall into the trap of relying on that “expert’s” logic and is he bias or have his own agenda.

          • Brothersower88

            Would you allow a random person off the street to diagnose you medically?

            Specialists’ opinions should and do have more weight than simpletons’ opinions.

            It is the specialists responsibility to create the opinion, it is my job to determine if I think it is sound and will believe it (be persuaded).

            If I ask a doctor why my arm hurts and he tells me that I broke it in two places, I can take that as sound.  If I ask a guy off the street why my arm huts and he tells me I must have eaten sausage, I will obviously not believe him.  Using the offered sound information and judgment, I can take appropriate action.

            The sun revolving around the Earth “works in life” and is wrong.  A flat Earth “works in life” and is wrong. Sometimes you need someone who spent their life studying the subject to add some value and insight into the conversation and influence your opinion.

          • William

            If a doctor told you that you have cancer would you not do some research own your own? Are all doctors created equal? Not likely. Why live life like a sheep waiting to be led around by someone who most likely has their own agenda on what is good for you?

      • jefe68

        Communism, at least in the former USSR was not trickle up economics. Speaking of the former USSR they are now an oligarchy.

        • William

          Certainly it was trickle up. The government did not allow anyone, or at least they said, they did not allow anyone to have more than the average worker. There were no titans of industry creating wealth during that 70 years of suffering.

  • Joe
    • Victor Vito

      All powerful politicians will….

  • Guest

    Ed Conrad is a vampire capitalist. He sucks the blood from living companies to enrich himself. I’m sure its easy for him to defend his raping and pillaging of the American economy from his insulated gated community.

  • ana

    William Henry Channing writing in 1920:
     
    “To live content with small  means, seek elegance rather than luxury and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy rather then rich,   to study hard, think quietly, talk gently, act frankly, listen to stars, babes and sages with open heart, to bear all cheerfully, do all bravely, await  occasion, hurry never,  in other words let the spiritual, unbidden, and unconscious rise up through  the  common…….”
     
    Food for thought in a world where those “with the most toys win.

    • aj

      Thats a fine quote, thank you

  • Victor Vito

    I’m sure glad that I don’t have to construct arguments defending the folks at the top.

  • Ellen Dibble

    The problem is that our government is the shadow of wealth, and its size and grasp and spread is a reflection of that wealth.  Human-size wealth, which enables choice and relaxation in this world, that is an admirable goal, but the wealth in the United States and the world goes so far out of bounds that it is Rule of the Capital, by the Capital, and for the Capital.  
       Not Capitol.  Not People.

  • Ellen Dibble

    And I would like to point out the word “canard,” or unfounded rumor or story, i.e., fabricated report.  I believe it is the French word for duck, related to canary.  It can be floated in the mine to see if the air is good.  Sort of “polling” to see what wins.  What is a canard?  Trickle down economics?

  • Comfortablyoff

    Study after study shows that the happiest countries are
    those in which income inequality is lowest. For one of the latest such studies,
    see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.ezp-prod1.hul.harvard.edu/pubmed/21841151

    Psychol Sci. 2011 Sep;22(9):1095-100. Epub 2011 Aug 12.

    Income inequality and happiness, which states “Americans
    were on average happier in the years with less national income inequality than
    in the years with more national income inequality.”
    This applies even to persons who fall within Mr. Conard’s favored class, namely, those in the higher or highest income groups. Witness the article in today’s NY times on the demise of the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, which states:

    “A shared sacrifice ethos did not exist at Dewey. Mr. Davis
    subscribed to a “barbell” compensation system. On one end were the so-called
    rainmakers with big books of business who were lavished with multimillion-dollar,
    multiyear guarantees. Dewey’s stars were paid as much as $10 million a year.
    (Mr. Davis himself earned about $4 million a year, but cut his 2011 salary to
    $300,000.)

     

    On the other end of the barbell were partners who worked on
    the court cases and deals brought in by the rainmakers. These partners were
    paid about $300,000, creating a dynamic where the highest-paid partners were
    making 30 times more than the most junior ones.

     

    At Skadden, by comparison, the highest-paid partner makes no
    more than five times the lower-paid ones. One former partner called the
    arrangement ‘something closer to
    feudalism than a true partnership’.”  Income disparity & economic unfairness have been the stuff of revolutions, from the French Revolution to Tunisia. While the US is not about to be engulfed in revolution due to economic disparity, it the trend continues we amy well arrive at that day at some point.  I grew up in a part of the world, south africa, where for generations Whites would say “South Africa will never ‘go Black’.” That was true for centuries, but we all know the final outcome. Things that seem distant or impossible may well come to pass.  Mr. Conard would do well to heed history, for both his and the rest of our sakes.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I’m not sure revolution would be the fruit of our celebration of exorbitant wealth.  I think instead, there will be a huge number of Americans who fail to thrive, who live thwarted in mind and body by the kinds of duress that this manipulated supply chain (air, water, food, etc.) foists on people who cannot pay to escape it, or control the effects.  As we see, people do not thrive; it could be said they are genetically worse, incapable of facing the current conditions.  But who creates those conditions?  And do we need that many people?  No.  We just need the 1 percent and foreign labor.  And computers.  Something like that.

      • aj

        Where have you been? Look around you lady.

  • amazon

    Do you really think the current system of creating a structural elite whose great-great-great grandchildren will not work for a living but will rule the political economy of the US is sustainable American dream?  I’m for allowing a “winner” to keep his/her hundrends of millions earned but 90% tax on all trusts, etc.  Their progeny will continue to have unimaginable advantages even without inherited fortunes.

  • Matt Wade

    I’m just gonna leave this here:

    http://www.romneyeconomics.com/gst/gst-intro
     

    • Josh

      This guy and Romney are vultures.

      Now he writes a book to tell us how wonderful their work is. 

  • Stacey

    Inequality might help drive the economy. But it sure isnt good for democracy. 

    • MrNutso

      Which results in more inequality.

    • Drew (GA)

      Democracy is not Profitable, nor is Equality.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    That ‘BIG INEQUALITY’, has been growing , for the past 30 years, and SNOWBALLING in the past ten! 
        In that same time, GREEDY rich got GREEDY RICHER, while the infrastructure has steadily declined, the poor working class, have lost ground!
       GREEDY corporations have changed the U.S. Patent laws, so GREEDY corporations can TAKE that ‘innovation’!

  • Victor Vito

    What should be the fate of a dim-witted custodian who works dilligently, and shows punctuality and dedication but does not possess the tools to progress any further?  Should he have health insurance?  Should he be able to have a family and a home?  Should he ever be able to enjoy a retirement?  Is he a peon who is beneath the care and concern of the 1%?

    I don’t worry about the fate of the privilegded.  They’ll find their way to prosperity under ANY set of rules.  I worry about the least of us, who are easy to make suffer.

    • AC

      what happens when his employer replaces him with the next commercial grade ‘roomba’ type robot who doesn’t need any of that?

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

    I think what this guest has to say is important to hear though I know that I am going to drastically disagree with just about all of it. Kind of like watching Fox for 30 min. every week. I have to know what the other side is thinking even if it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. Ignoring it outright leaves me just another close minded fool.

  • Dan (Burlington, VT)

    Opportunity and social inclusiveness inspires and motivates people to work.

    Equitable Income
    Tax

    by Dan Nielsen

     

    PDF of Power Point
    Presentation:

    http://www.slideshare.net/DanNielsen14/equitable-income-tax-12905343

    http://slidesha.re/ILLvG6

    http://www.linkedin.com/in/dannielsen14
    (view full profile, Applications – Equitable Income Tax)

     

    Statement of
    Purpose:

    To inspire more equitable policies which encourage fair
    incentives and rewards, job creation and economic development.

     

    Background:

    - The US has
    an increasing wealth disparity and national debt.

    - The top 1% earn up to 10,000 times median income and up
    to 1,000 times the income of doctors and the President.

    - The top income tax bracket has been as high as 92%
    (1951-1952) and as low as 24% (1928).

    - The first (bottom) income tax bracket has been as high
    as 23% (1943-1944) and as low as 0% (1923).

     

    Proposed Ideas:

    - Federal income tax of 10% up to median income
    ($27,500).

    - Above median income, federal income tax increases 10%
    each 500% increase in income and is capped at 49% tax:

    Federal income tax = 6.213 • ln(income) +
    [-6.213 • ln(median income) + 10]

    - Combine capital gains and all other sources of revenue
    as personal income (taxed 10 – 49% as shown above).

    - Lower business tax to a flat rate of 20%.

     

    National Health Care Revenue Plan:

    - All US citizens
    pay 10% of income for national health care.

    - Health care
    benefits increase with higher health care premiums.

    - Eliminate
    incentives for unnecessary procedures and costs.

    - Create
    incentives for efficiency, cost cutting and preventative health.

    - Make US
    businesses more competitive internationally by removing employee health care
    costs.

     

    Conclusions:

    - Combine capital gains and all other sources of revenue
    as personal income taxed 10% up to median income, then increasing 10% each 500%
    increase in income and capped at 49% tax:

    Federal income tax = 6.213 • ln(income) +
    [-6.213 • ln(median income) + 10]

    - Create conditions for job growth by removing health
    care costs and lowering business tax to a flat rate of 20%.

    - All US citizens pay 10% of income for national health
    care.

    - A more equitable distribution of wealth will increase
    consumer demand, worker motivation, innovation, human health and economic
    growth.

    - Increased economic opportunity will minimize crime and
    welfare.
     

    • aj

      Key takeaways,..

       ‘Create conditions for job growth by removing healthcare costs

      ncreased economic opportunity will minimize crime andwelfare.’

  • Terry Tree Tree

    WHAT innovation did Mr. Conar CREATE?   Another way for those with wealth and power to grab MORE wealth and power, at the expense of 99% of the U.S.?

  • Dave

    Tom, Mr./Ms. Producer- can you folks get Prof. Paul Krugman on the line?   would love to hear his take on this…

  • Jsrsports

    Are you kidding me? This man is a double-talking psychopath. Severe income inequality = revolution. I hope they are ready.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Not surprising that the economic rapist thinks what he has done to get rich is good. He made millions when he failed and he made millions when he succeeded. Try that at your $10/hour job.

    The 1% keep telling us how good it is that they have most of the money. Also not surprising. And as long as the 99% believe it, the 1% will keep taking money they do not deserve. They are not successful because they work harder than everyone else. They are successful because they are paid way more than their value because “you have to pay to get good people”. Keep believing it folks and the 1% will be the .1%.

    Ask this man just where the innovation happens with Romney’s $21M blind trust income. Not 1 second of work and his tax rate is < 15%.

  • Sam

    For a bottom line sorta guy, just this: Adam Smith (!) warned that when too much wealth is sucked up to the top while the masses can’t afford to both afford day-to-day needs AND SAVE…THAT economy will not work, will not survive. Historically, the crushing of the middle class precedes revolution.

  • Julia

    Insufficient education + helicopter parenting = risk adverse people.

    • Chris B

       Averse.  Your insufficient education is showing.

      • Julia

        Your response, saying you dislike my answer (“averse”) and insulting my education, says more about you than it does me. Have a nice day.

        • Chris B

          Easy there.  Actually, I didn’t say that I disliked your comment.  I pointed, out that you either used the wrong word or misspelled the right one, which you have to admit is ironic given that it’s in the context of a comment about education. 

          Hope you have a nice day too!

          • nj_v2

            Three punctuation mistakes in the post from the glass-house inhabitant. Pot meet kettle.

  • Abel

    Ed is a parasite. All the productivity gains he’s talking about have yielded profits that his class alone takes. Moreover, the private equity groups have liquidated the productive segments of our economy for their own benefit. What have they replaced it with? Debt, financial “innovation” to hide it, and an unsustainable service economy. 

  • Dankuhn2

    Plutocrats like this guy had better enjoy their status today, because history tells us it will not last.  If it’s 1790 Paris or 1917 St. Petersburg, the people will eventually have their heads.  

  • Amahl Harik

    Nonsense.  Mr. Conard keeps bruiting the market-boosting innovation of Facebook.  Ask him how many jobs Facebook has created.  Place that against the insane wealth that accrues to those very, very few people.  Mr. Conard is only arguing for the winner-take-all economy that he and Romney want to advance.

    • bellavida

      Yes, and one of the Facebook founders, after making all his wealth here in the US, is hightailing it to Singapore where there is no capital gains taxes.  It may be legal to avoid capital gains taxes, but very ungrateful, to the country that allowed him access to a Harvard education and the country where he earned his wealth.  

  • bob reis

    rich people think poor people are too stupid otherwise they would act like rich people and they’d be rich too.  like all such points of view, there is some approach to some kind of reality. 

  • Josh

    What are you talking about?

    I am a part of the start up community and we are out here taking risk.

    You are looking down from the top and don’t even know what’s going on down here.

  • Ellen Dibble

    “If I take risk, how much reward can I have,” and I ask the gold mine, canary that I am.  Oh, there is enough gold to poison you.

    You know what, after about $100,000 a year, I do NOT regard that as reward.  I regard that as Responsibility.  With a capital R.  It is in some ways immoral, unless I can figure a way to maneuver the extra resources into something that helps others.  Now, I have huge doubts about various charities.  How would I choose?  I think even for the likes of Bill Gates it is a full-time job figuring out how to deploy so much money.  Even for the United States Government, with all its inputs from millions of experts and millions of voters, can they deploy my tax money in a way that best benefits us? 

    I will take responsibility for up to a certain level, and beyond that, I leave it to the experts in social well-being.

  • AC

    put him on the spot – mention the loss of jobs due to technology in tandem with the growing population….

  • MrNutso

    How many people split the 15% and how many split the 85%?

  • marym

    When you mention STeve Jobs, he’s actually created much more jobs for China than he has for the U.S.

  • Chris B

    The most infuriating thing about how these Wall Street jerks amass their wealth is that it has nothing to do with creating anything remotely useful.  It’s by coming up with ever more crafty ways to slice up the pie created by those who actually do work and create in such a way as to skim off some for themselves.  They add nothing.  Parasites is what they are.

  • Andrew Farkas

    How arrogant can one person be? The fat of the matter is that the payoffs for success ARE huge, and it’s only fair for the 0.1% to pay the same tax RATE as the bottom 50%– I mean 99%.

    Why does making $1M entitle you to keep 85% of your money, when I only get to keep 65%?

    I pay for roads, fire and police protection, and water supply. You pay for:
    roads
    airspace (ATC)
    fire and police for your home AND business
    subsidies for your business
    customs enforcement to protect your business
    police investigating white collar crimes
    etc, etc.

    You get SO much more from your taxes, so why do you think you should pay a smaller share? We’re not asking you to pay a higher rate than we are, just tht you pay your fair rate. Stay greedy, and we will ask for the 90% tax rate of the mid-twentieth century.

    • Yar

      Consider the ‘tax’ called health insurance, and the rate is much more regressive.

  • Petecalanni

    What another DB this guys is …. In 1977 I was earning a good living as a steel worker. Now 2012, with $30,000 invested in a college degree, I am earning the same wage as 1977 but without all the benefits that came with that 1977 job. Keep investing for the good of the economy you blowhard, and next time keep your rich mouth shut!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=690142126 Tomer Chasid

    The problem with his argument is that it creates an extremely unfair and therefore unjust society where only the extremely talented are rewarded and everyone else who are still motivated to provide for their families suffer.  This middle and lower class families are being penalized, in essence, because they wont sacrifice their families in order to pursue financial success through 80 hour work weeks.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    “Lucky risk taking” are you kidding me!  How much of the money you “made” came from over-funded pension funds?  Pensions you drained then changed to Defined Contribution if any from Defined Benefit? 

    Conard and his ilk love to say how important the small companies are, but how many of these employers are offering any “life” benefits like health care, retirement, education, etc?

    He claims that household asset values have increased over the last 20 years or so.  Try excluding the asset values of the top 2% and see if household asset values have increased or decreased. 

    “Income inequality shows our economy is working.”(?!)  It doesn’t show “our economy” is working, it shows that “your economy” is working.  Sad to say their is no “ours” in “yours”.

    Did your research with surveys of the literature? I deem thee “Mr. Fluff”

  • bob reis

    and workers are stupid too, otherwise they’d hire someone else to do it for them and be bosses.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The problem that I see here is that Conard is praising “wealth” that doesn’t represent any actual resource, product, or service.  I have no objection to people making money from actual value, but fake wealth based on imaginary value is nonsense.

  • marym

    Face book has asl only created about 5000 jobs, unlike the days of Hewlett Packard, Dell and IBM.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Because he got rich, eliminating jobs, and using wealth and power, coercing innovations from those that could not defend themselves, he KNOWS the ‘TRUTH’ about the economy?

  • Some sanity at last!

    This is the first intelligent economic discussion on WBUR in a long, long time.

    • Joan

      This is a race to failure again……

      You call this discussion sane –to place the welfare of 99% percent of the population in the hands of the the i %percent ? I call that insanity and a race to failure 
      again.  Even Jamie Diamond, the chief executive of JP Morgan Chase called his Bank’s role and his own “sloppy” and “stupid” . Joan 

  • neilinbrooklyn

    This guy makes a strawman argument.  No one is arguing that nobody should be wealthy.  No one is arguing that the street sweeper should make the same as a C.E.O. 

    What we’re complaining about is that the inequality has gotten so much more extreme than in the recent past (and more like it was just preceding the Great Depression).  The wealthy are just being asked to give something back to the society that enable their riches; to pay their fair share of taxes.  And you know what – THEY’LL STILL BE RICH!  (Maybe they’ll only be able to afford 4 or 5 mansions, rather than 7 – boo-hoo.) 

    I reject this ridiculous notion that people won’t take risks or make sound investments, if they have to pay higher (even much higher) taxes.  Investing would still be the main way for the wealthy to get richer, as opposed to putting it in their mattresses.

    • Thinkin15

       As I heard someone say; the poor will be unmotivated if you give them more money but the rich will be driven to be more successful if you give them more. How absurd!!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The rewards for innovation are being limited by the mega-corporations!

  • Guest

    There’s a big difference between a Steve Jobs, who commands an enterprise that creates and makes things, vs. someone like a hedge fund manager who creates nothing and is essentially a parasite involved in a shell game at a casino.  Has nothing to do with allocating capital to businesses who need it.

    These cowboys extolling the virtues of financial risk usually do it with other people’s money.  

  • Kashby

    Did this guy tell Mitt to tell us that he “saved” GM??

    Cmon man how stupid does he think we are???

  • Josh

    From his book:
    If predatory bankers took advantage of home owners, why did down payments decline, thereby shifting risk from home owners to lenders?
    If the risks were easy to spot, why did top politi­cal and financial advisers encourage lenders to make unsound investments?
    If new regulations encourage banks to hold enough capital to fund withdrawals and not just loan losses, how will the economy underwrite the risks necessary to reach full employment?Is this man kidding? The banks are not risking anything as they know the taxpayer will bail them out.How do they know that? They put their guys into the government including right at the top: Hank Paulson from Goldman Sachs to U.S. Treasurer.

  • marym

    Also it’s hard to think that it’s right to buy up a company, pay yourself loads of money, and then leave, leaving the company in debt, which is wasn’t before. the company is then forced to declare bankruptcy, the workers lost their jobs, but the investment bankers got their $$ anyway

  • Tacitus Alter

    I am appalled that you would give a creature such as Mr Conard a public platform. If his actions at Bain had been honourable, surely he would have been proud to perform them at a degree of remuneration comparable to that of a GP, a prosperous shopkeeper, or a small banker; his immense wealth can only be regarded as the sign of his willingness to sell his last shred of decency for gain. I am not sure what I find more loathsome in Mr Conard: his lack of shame at having taken such remuneration rather than distributing it to others in equal shares, or his presumed delight in broadcasting his scurrility to the world. I for one shall not number among his listeners; let him seek to buy himself an audience.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    DID Bain Capital execs get RICHER, when a company was shut down by them?

  • Ellen Dibble

    I can certainly say that people do not take risks if they have no “give” in their trajectory.  If you have parents with a garage you can stay in, that is a cushion.  If you have the kind of safety net that lets you put all your resources into your undertaking, versus health care and “affordable” housing, that is a help.   You have to set up shop in a shack off the grid in order to gather the steam you need for take-off, put enough money into the stock market that some will be growing with the growth of the economy and will be there if and when you get sick.
        And no, there is no room for partners, friends, and family in this scenario.  Risk-taking is all on you for a long, long time.  For decades.  It can be done, but not easily.

  • Ben

    Ed Conard talks about thinks that benefit the middle class.

    What middle class!?

    Ask him about education funding. 

  • BHA in Vermont

    Trickle down! YES!

    What a hack. The 99% have no ability to become “risk takers”. The 1% has all the money. Everyone else is living day to day. Maybe have a little saved. Romney and Conard can take risks with enough money to start a company. If it fails? So what, they have tens of millions more to play with.

    Ask Conard how much of HIS money was at risk when Bain took over a company. How much did HE make when the company fared well? How much did HE make when the company FAILED? 
    Ask him why HE didn’t have to cover the losses when companies FAILED?

    • Charles A. Bowsher

       That is why it is time to go to a time-based economy for the essentials of life such as food, shelter, health care and education.  My theory is that it will cost us all the same amount of time to achieve a subsistence level so that the person making $10/hour “spends” say 20 hours per week to get the basics, and the $100/hour spends 20 hours per week as well.  We each awake each day with the same amount of time ahead of us.  This or a similar theory is how we rebuild our economy on a more fair footing.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Interesting concept!  What about time-multipliers, such as computers, and other machines that can create product, without a person involved after START?

        • Charles A. Bowsher

           I think we can figure out something to take that into consideration. Point is, capitalism as they practice it is not sustainable, it will lead to a very bloody revolt I’m afraid.

    • William

      Sam Walton was not rich but took a huge risk to start his company. Ben and Jerry too risk to do what they loved and became wealthy. All across America there are thousands of successful companies that were started by risk takers with very little money but had the ambition to seek their dream in business.

  • Gerry Schlenker

    Is Conrad willing to both take risks and accept them when things go wrong. If so he then has credibility. But that is not what we say happen in ’08 WS banks needed to be bailed out because of their “risk” taking.

  • Thinkin15

    Such a self-serving argument. Keep feeding the giant Ponzi scheme so that the people at the top make more and more. It’s an addiction to money. They want it for bragging rights among their piers. If the people who are much lower on the totem poll don’t keep feeding the system the top can’t keep gaining. Of course they want us to think it’s ‘good for all of us’. We’re not fooled.

  • troll_doll

    Does Instagram or any of the value that it generates benefit “everybody”? Locating all the wealth in the hands of just a few people doesnt generate jobs, infrastrucure, health benefits or ANYTHING for the greater population in america.  99% PROTECT YOURSELF through democracy now before you lose it all together.

  • Scsmits

    Why do the wealthy make huge monetary contributions to political campaigns of U.S. Senators and Congressmen to enforce inequality. And, oh, it just happens to put a lot more money in the pockets of the wealthy?

    What incentive would anyone have to become an elementary school teacher if the inequality motivates them to go into finance?

  • Drew (GA)

    “We can demand anything we want” says your guest.

    You can believe anything you want too Mr. Conard, that doesn’t make it so.

  • June Foley

    He makes the case for voting Democratic beautifully. Under the Republican vision he puts forth only blind ambition is rewarded. He seems content to set up the rules such that those of us who value family, education, arts, or anything other than money will end up in Dickensian style crushing poverty.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The problem is that we don’t hire school teachers and doctors and police on those $19.  We fight a war on the credit card.

  • Robbie

    what planet is this guy living on?? Where was he during the disastrous Bush decade? 

    • Dave

      he was literally living on the “i have 100′s of millions of dollars” planet

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.a.stearns Mike Stearns

    How much is enough incentive to work hard?  Is a million dollars not enough? 32 times the US median income?  Is 10 million? 100 million?  Is a billion?  When did pride of achievement and responsibility stop being sufficient motivation to try our best? 

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Hasn’t Bain Capital been doing the OPPOSITE of what Mr. Conard says needs to be done?  In MANY ways?
       WHICH large companies PAVE roads, with their OWN money?
        How silly is this guy going to get?

  • Josh

    Looking through the comments I have to say thank the lord the people are waking up to how criminal the rich in this country are.

    HEY, WE KNOW YOU BOUGHT OUR GOVERNMENT TO RIG THE SYSTEM TO BENEFIT ONLY YOU!!!!!!!!!

  • http://lowenfoundation.org/index.html FLowen

    This guy speaks in smoke and mirrors, if he had something meaningful to say, he could say it simply.

    Instead it’s just more justification and confusion covering the legal thievery these people have mastered.

    He has no concept of a holistic society that works for most!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Smith/100003482624630 Jim Smith

    Locally Tom, Bill Scotti of Hamilton, MA. Sold his business to Guitar Center/Bain Capital.  Had six stores, rented and sold instruments through our local School Band Program. 
    He was retained for two years and then laid off by a Bain
    Capital Management reduction plan, where hundreds of employees were laid off.  These companies now under Guitar Center, Musi & Arts has a 1.5 billion unsustainable debt. service.
    Moodys downgraded their rating to unsustainable. 
    Look local Tom, you don’t have to go far, man !

  • Maxgcan

    This guy totally lost me at “I wasn’t there at the time.” So I turned off the radio. What a cop out! and what a joke.

    • bellavida

      Maxgcan, right after he said that he stated he also couldn’t speak about specific companies due to confidentiality clauses he signed with Bain.  

  • Ellen Dibble

    Cars and oil is a value?  Aren’t we trying to Unwind that now?  Thanks but no thanks?
      And now a computer can create the same profit (paper profit) simply by gambling?  Harvesting and mining this value.  
       We have used this money to employ a lot more people than Europe and Japan have done?
        In what jobs?  Service jobs, he says, which we are very good at retraining people for.
        Doesn’t he forget the balloon?  It unemploys people when the emptiness of those profits come due.

  • Josh

    The 99% makes, the 1% takes.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    What about necessary talents that don’t create fantastic “wealth,” measured in only dollars?

  • Ellen Dibble

    You get more tightrope walking by making sure people get a “second act.”  A Third Act.  A Fourth Act.  Not bankruptcies, but more of a mediated pathway, economically.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Tom, “incent”?  What’s that?

    • Ellen Dibble

      I think it’s “motivate” with the motivator being dollars and cents.  Versus “sense” in a socially aware kind of way.

      • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

         Nope, it’s just being grotesque with language.

  • J__o__h__n

    Tom, stop saying “incent.”

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    If we’re going with a tightrope analogy here, why not built a cable car that can run on the rope, providing lots of people a much safer way across to the wealth on the other side?

  • BHA in Vermont

    JERK!

    MOST talented people HAVE NO ABILITY to follow this man’s “advice”.

    Tell him to go to the slums. Starting with no money, no contacts: Go out and take those risks and again become as rich as he is now.

    • Josh

      These rich are something. It’s a wonder they don’t choke on their bull everytime they open their mouths.

  • Andrew Farkas

    Conard’s pretty ignorant for someone speaking publicly: the interstate system was a public construction project, not private. We have need for such projects today, both in terms of infrastructure and in terms of jobs; our power grid is falling apart, and that project alone would be equivalent to the interstate system.
    It’s also pretty ignorant to ignore the social implications of a larger income gap. When most of the country is poor, do you really think that people are going to resign themselves to dumpster diving? No, they’re going to break into Conard’s house and take what they need. Or, what’s happening in so many other countries will happen here: rioting and revolution. This guy was in charge of an entire company? I suspect that some advisers who were paid much, much less were the ones making real decisions that kept them afloat.

  • Michael lazdowsky

    The return on investment that he keeps referring to, benefits those that have the ability to invest. How do you increase the return on investment? By keeping wages of teh employees low.

  • YadaYada

    I appreciate his insights, but the gentleman keeps repeating that a few people at a computer today are capable of creating a billion dollar company; but i dont hear anything acknowledging all of the workers necessary to make that company run and function. What about the infrastructure that makes it possible?  It takes more than big ideas to make a company successful.

  • Anne in VT

    Ed just said that people take the risk crossing the tightrope and the first guy falls off… What he doesn’t say is that the first guy who falls off the tightrope knows he’s going to be bailed out by the taxpayers.

  • BHA in Vermont

    How many JOBS is Conard creating with all his money?
    I bet it is really close to ZERO except for the lawn boy, the pool boy, the maid.

    • Josh

      And no doubt those are all foreigners. So none.

  • Jaki Reis

    What I am hearing Mr. Conrad refer his statements to is return on investment and he just stated “we worked our tails off” to make our company profitable.  All we are asking for is a living wage for the time we spend working our tails off for those corporate profits. He is saying that the people who take the risk of starting up a new company need an enormous return on their investment.  When we ask for a simple livable wage we are also asking for a return on the investment of our time and effort making that company profitable.  And a little extra money to buy the products we, and our neighbors, are making.

  • IsaacWalton

    You NEED to incentivize the rich to influence policy to keep industry here. Because they have NO incentive to invest in companies here when labor is so expensive.

    • Josh

      Their incentive should be being able to leave their golden cages as the populace grows angrier and angrier at being pushed down the ladder by them.

    • http://lowenfoundation.org/index.html FLowen

      The reason labor is so expensive and prohibitive is that the corporate-government collusion has made being an employer so onerous, you either have to have a HOT HOT product/service, or be a big corporation.

      High labor costs are a contrived “barrier to entry,” brought to you by the rich to keep the tribe limited.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Executives are FAR MORE EXPENSIVE!  How many executives can produce 500 TIMES more product, than the workers on the line?

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Risk Takers?  Which true risks has Bain taken? 
         What are Mr. Conard’s inventions and innovations? 
       How much ‘risk’ does Mr. Conard take, NOT backed by government, or insurance, or other means?

  • Quadraticus

    How many jobs were created by Apple’s products? The caller is thinking of Steve Jobs’ hiring practices at Apple, entirely neglecting all the downstream productivity gains, consequent freeing up of capital, and new businesses made possible by the now-excess capital.

  • Beez

    “Talented people”…give me a break!
     We’re all talented. Yes some more than others in ways that can offer financial benefits. But it’s not talent that made them rich – it’s opportunity- for the most part. 
    Sometimes it takes a lot more talent to just be middle class. Would all of these “great talents” have been able to make a success of themselves if they came up with an underprivelaged background?

  • Ncarrozzacd

    I’m reading the books (and blog) of Seth Godin:  ‘Linchpin’, ‘Tribes’, ‘The Dip’, ‘Poke the Box’.  He addresses this problem in depth and with imaginative insight.  I highly recommend!    

  • Stacey

    there’s a logic flaw there;Conrad says the top people need incentives to produce, but the rest of us apparently dont need incentives, because things like google give us increased value. But these non-monetary values dont inspire Conrad, right? Same old same old – the elite need cash, and i dont, because the elite need it!

    Ha.

  • Thinkin15

    Exactly! What’s the motivation for workers in the middle? The GOP mantra is keep wages low, cut benefits, and good luck with saving for your retirement! Everything the right is advocating is to keep wealth at the top. Give them an innovative idea and they will by it from you and take it and keep the future profits and cut jobs. Thanks, but no thanks.

  • RobertB660@gmail.com

    It’s hard to take this guy seriously. His worldview is from a cloud overseeing tall glass buildings, Harvard MBA’s, & stacks of Wall Street journals. While the rest of us claw through reality with our hands dirty and our pens ready to pay our next debt. Why do these self-servers get air time?

    • Josh

      So we will know who are enemies are.

  • terjeanderson

    Conard’s argument in 4 words “Let them eat cake.”

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Conard believes that capital is the sole source of value in an economy.  He’s ignoring labor, innovation, marketing, distribution, regulation, resources, management, and need.

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

    I have an issue with the argument being presented that workers’ wages matter more now than they have before. I used to work at one of those leading edge tech companies Mr. Conrad claims is creating so much value. Over the years, I saw my experience and knowledge become devalued and replaced more and more by management theory.

    The upper echelons of the company believed that the road to making the company grow and expand was to push for increased “worker productivity” which translates directly into making the workers do more for less money.

    Wages for engineers at my old company have been stagnant over the past 10 years while management and executive wages have gone through the roof. 

    It seems like people like Mr. Conrad have completely reduced the working environment into a set of theory and numbers without actually understanding what actually goes on with people who actually do the work to implement and produce actual goods and services that are consumed. 

    • bellavida

      Exact same thing has happened in my company, a large insurance company in the Midwest, with respect to making workers do more for less money.  In years past, people at my level at my job, were paid hourly, because of the nature of the work.  It was switched over to salary along with a small raise in base pay, but the workload has gone up exponentially.  We are expected to complete as much work as is thrown at us, all the while our benefits being whittled away.  

  • aj

    Boooooooooo! Off with your bloody head! 

  • Ellen Dibble

    Big Government, Big Brother.  Who is that little man behind the curtain?  The Wizard of Oz?  Nope, maybe Bane Capital, or is it Bain.  Oh, Staples would never have got off the ground without them?  And our two local office supply stores would still be in business?  I’m wondering.  I’m wondering.

  • MrNutso

    There are jobs and then there are jobs.  How many jobs have been created that provide upward mobility over time and that will give their children a better future, and how many jobs are just living pay check to pay check.

    • Ellen Dibble

      Exactly.  Are we so proud that everyone is now working at Dunkin’ Donuts who used to be teachers and accountants and engineers and what have you?  We retrained them so fast to pour coffee?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    What about the quality of life in many European countries?  If he considers the total value of a society, his argument collapses.

  • Tbone

    Another self-satisfied, greedy parasite trying to tell real people that the current system works for all of us? This fool is just another Mitt Romney clone.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    The LUST for POWER is the root of ALL EVIL!
       Money is just one form of power!

  • Kate

    Comparing economy to the 50s & 60s; point taken on size of companies but flip side, equal opportunity and meritocracy began to take hold and then get traction in the 80s & 90s mostly in larger companies. I’m 65 and was a mid-level exec back in the day. No problem with Gates and Jobs getting rich AND their companies were
    somewhat equal opportunity but with smaller companies…not so much in my MANY
    years in high tech.

    Ask guest how many women and Afro-Americans have worked at Bain? How proportional to the population? How many of their white males come from mid-level schools and have working class backgrounds? 

  • Julia

    Maybe if banks would invest in small businesses and new inventions, instead of CDOs and/or credit default swaps, that would provide new jobs and maybe the economy would get off the ground.

    • Ellen Dibble

      So all this money that is sitting on the sidelines (as we hear) might get mobilized into jobs if we promised lower taxes and higher profits to the people with these resources?  We are being bribed?

      • Julia

        banks need to be banks and uncouple themsleves from investment houses.

      • Josh

        Don’t fail for that argument.

        U.S. companies are sitting on over 2 Trillion in cash.

        They are NOT GOING TO PUT IT TO WORK HERE.

        THey are looking to invest in the BRICK countries.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        EXTORTION!  NOT bribery!

    • Josh

      Banks aren’t lending to small businesses.

      And if you can get a loan you have to put up your house or money as collateral. 

      The banks aren’t risking anything.

      • Julia

        that’s my point.

  • ToyYoda

    Ugh!!! Why did you remove Timothy from this discussion?  Having both articulate and thoughtful speakers with opposing views would have really enriched this discussion!

    • Terry Tree Tree

      “That’s complicated”, is NOT what I consider the answer from an articulate and thoughtful speaker, that is selling his book! 
         The articulate and thoughtful speaker was limited to a few minutes, at best!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    So far, I’ve yet to see why Facebook is worth more than the price of a 20 oz. bottle of soda.  Imaginary needs moving imaginary money around isn’t wealth.

  • Greyman

    California’s Gov. Jerry Brown doubtlessly envies JPM chief Jamie Dimon this morning: Dimon has only a $2 billion outrage to contend with, Brown is staring into the depths of a $16 billion hole . . . .

    • Greyman

      . . . and if Elizabeth Warren continues to call for the break-up of large banks and financial institutions with the logic of “too-big-to-fail”, why would this logic not apply politically to the state of California? For years Californians boasted that if their state constituted a stand-alone economy, it would dwarf those of most nations on the planet. I suspect, therefore, that California is closer to the situation faced by Greece than its affairs are even close to comparable with JP Morgan.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        North California, Middle California, and South California?  More?   Better names?

    • Josh

      I guess that’s why one of Facebook’s founders renounced his U.S. citizenship. Doesn’t want the U.S. to get a dime of all the wealth he created.

      Doesn’t that blow a hole in Eddie’s argument?

      Wait no, he probably thinks that’s great.

      • Greyman

        Surely you would not mean even inadvertently to impugn the motives or character of our good friends in Brazil and Harvard? Eduardo Saverin has his own interests and need not profess loyalty to either his homeland or his alma mater, ans I guess that folks north and south of the equator who know him can readily view his move as prudential.

    • Greyman

      On another hand, though, Gov. Brown has scads of citizens who can easily and gladly pay $40,000 dinner bills, and surely many of them are close personal friends who are also loyal and considerate Californians . . . . BTW: what in-state taxes do Hollywood studios pay to Sacramento these days? (Not to exempt rival Silicon Valley, heavens to murgatroy no) (as far as all of that goes: what does the corporate edifice of the New York Times pay to Albany? it’s not so common a datum that it slips or slides off the tongue, or does the NYT no longer advertise? . . . .)

  • Just saying

    Steve Job may not have created lots of new jobs but his products has created many jobs. Think of all the people employed in goof paying jobs developing applications for his products.

  • Lisa

    “Inequality” is a problematic target for what is good or bad about capitalism.  The main problem is this persistent worship of what amounts to social darwinism that generally rewards those who have the means to take risk in the first place and then touts it as evidence of innate talent, gumption, morality, etc.  In truth, no one in our society is a success or a failure due to mere boot-strap discipline and talent.  Instead, people take risks when they have nothing else to lose – and in this case, we hear about the few successes.  Or, more likely, people “take risks” when they have the resources and the support network – the means – to do so without taking any true life or death risk.

  • Catherine

    Are those innovators and risk takers really motivated by the prospect of huge financial return? Historically, haven’t those individuals really been motivated by ideas, vision, and drive? It is opportunity that allows the innovators to bring their ideas to fruition. Maybe it’s only in the Wall Street world that money drives risk taking and that’s because it’s usually someone else’s money.

  • MrNutso

    Why is Europe and Japan bad?

    • Josh

      This guy wants a few billionaires created rather than a sold middle class like in Japan and Europe.

      That’s what you need to know about his “thinking”.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Look, we didn’t go to Liberty University.  Call that luck or good sense, depending on which political philosophy you prefer.  Why are you making us listen to the keynote speech at Liberty’s graduation?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      To expose the silliness of the Republican candidate?

  • Ellen Dibble

    So our innovators are greedy hogs?  Isn’t there anyone who develops the science for correcting DNA flaws in cancer, who did so because they love the work — or love certain people with cancer?  Would I rather have those Ungreedy being our innovators and our Great Wielders of Power?  Or would I rather have the power held by the rich.  I would rather have the power behind our government be The People in the Broadest Possible Measure.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1408098372 Mari McAvenia

    Why on earth did your producers pick this radical propagandist to rant on about how glorious economic “imbalance” is…for a few. Ugh…turning off my radio.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Conard needs to understand that unregulated risk-taking only creates wild fluctuations in the economy without any actual creation of value.  His approach is to make a lot of money in the short term and get out of Dodge.  I’m more interested in long-term growth.

  • Andy

    Human nature is to create and innovate. The conservative insistence that money is the only possible motivator of human accomplishment is deeply flawed. Why must “growing the economy” be the sole goal of human civilization anyway? Perhaps our species should have other goals, such as increasing health, happiness, and human equality. Cure for cancer? Cures aren’t profitable, only long term treatments are… the pursuit of profit above all else is a detriment to the greatest possible innovations.

  • Robbie

    This guy is still making ABSOLUTELY no sense to me at all..  44 minutes of pure drivel and nonsensical repackaging of the same failed policies and economic theories that put us in the mess we found ourselves at the end of the Bush years. Now he is championing bailouts for his banks??
    What a crock!
    He is making me nauseous.

  • Elizabeth in RI

    Wow – can Mr Conrad really believe his own arguments?? These huge salaries for top execs are not driving innovation – just their egos. This nation was based on people of all social strata taking risks and profiting. The elites always profited more, but everyone had a chance to advance. This huge disparity is only driving down the incomes and motivation of the huge middle class that in fact drives the economy. The 1% need to realize that without good paying jobs the rest of us can’t buy the products they profit from.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Guranteeing BAILOUTS?  WHERE are the ‘risk takers’ he praises?
       He  just eliminated his own arguement!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joseph-Rice/100000693874282 Joseph Rice

    After reading they NYT article,
    and listening here, I think the issue has to do more than how our society will
    need to be structured long term, rather than mere “inequality”.

    As technology progresses, there
    are simply fewer and fewer  bodies needed
    to produce, as the innovations are driven by a relatively small number of
    innovators. Now the problem comes when the small number of innovators need to
    sell their product to people with declining incomes. In addition, we can’t just
    “wish away” the growing number of people who will have no meaningful
    part in this (although I suspect the one-percent is actively pulling up the
    drawbridge over the moat through cuts to social services, gated communities,
    reducing funding to schools, fighting health care reform, etc.).  And I think that people have a real sense
    that this is happening, and that is why they are getting restive. The general
    population admires, and even idolizes many people who are in the one percent;
    so I think “they hate success/envy wealth” can be put in the same
    category of word smithing as “death tax”.

     

  • Jim

    I have a hard time understand how only a very small percentage of people succeeding is a good thing for society.

    Look.. i understand that technology and intellectual  growth benefits society. However, many of these jobs do not create employment here. these jobs are being shipped overseas.

    This, Mr Edward, thinks it is ok. well, that means he is not admitting that our companies in the US have not successfully help our society succeed.

    Our country is facing a structural and frictional unemployment, more with the first. Companies have stopped training and retraining employees. instead, they are taking the easy road out and laying off their workers and replacing them with newer workers for such skills.

    Such methodology works for many companies. we can see it from their income and wealth accumulated. however, it is not conducive to making our society better.

    lastly, i strongly do not believe in the trickle down effect. that is a shenanigan performed successfully by conservatives.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Risk-averse, short-term debt, seems to describe Bain!

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Exactly so.  Some companies innovate and produce real products and services.  This guy generates imaginary wealth and siphons off his own cut.  Sounds like a Ponzi scheme to me.

    • TomK in Boston

      Bain takes no risk. The model is borrow the funds for the takeover and once in control borrow every penny that the company can get to repay the original borrowing plus pay enormous fees to the vultures. At that point they are already winners no matter what happens, but they do their best to stripmine even more. They lay off workers, cut service and quality, cut wages and benefits for the remaining employees, for a short term boost in profits and pocket some of that, too, and award themselves bonuses for the good profits. At that point the company is dead and they try to sell it if they can, but it doesn’t really matter because they already have the real money.

      Bain and Etcha and Conard are poster children for what’s wrong with our system. “Private Equity”, sanitized language for the honest “Leveraged Buyout”, is nothing but a con game. Etcha and Conard are less honest than a NYC 3-card monte guy.

  • TomK in Boston

    This is disgusting. Tom, you should be ashamed of giving a platform for such gekkoism. Inequality is the result of deliberate class warfare policy, notably the lowest taxes at the top since 1929. End of story. Say goodnight, Conard.

  • Aranphor

    So you’re rebuttals is to tell Tom it’s a complicated answer then you go off on goalpost moving? Well now, you do have a weak argument.

  • Anne in VT

    So, what Ed is saying is that the banksters and hedge fund managers are NOT really risk takers even though he wants us to reward them.

  • Ansapphire

    Talk about a bs artist. 

    • Josh

      Just a bs-er. Nothing artistic about him.

  • Josh

    Yeah Chinese money fueled the housing bubble.

    We know that. And we also know they got PAID BACK with our tax dollars.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      How much was Bain involved in that?

      • Josh

        I don’t know.

        I was replying to his statement about the Chinese money fueling the housing bubble.

        Just adding that the Chines threatened us so they got their money back out without loss.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Ask Conard what he means by “risk.”  It sounds like a magic word that slides away when anyone attempts to nail it down.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    The economy IS VERY different. During Reagan’s recovery, corporations created jobs here in the USA. In this recovery 4 out of 5 jobs created by ‘our’ corporations are created overseas.

    That is why you cannot disparage “Obama’s” recovery by comparing it to Reagan’s. Our corporate job creation engines have been converted into shareholder value creation engines as some of our best jobs (engineering including SW and R&D) are outsourced and replaced with lower paying jobs.

  • Ed Siefker

    Does Conard forget that Steve Jobs got his start in the 1970s? That’s before Reagan happened and inequality shot through the roof. 

    Oh yeah, and Steve Jobs was a middle class kid who’s parents spent their life savings on his education.  If there is no middle class, and they’re unable to afford a quality education for their kids, where is the next Steve Jobs going to come from?

    Who does Conard think is stupid enough to believe this tripe?  Oh yeah, Republicans.

  • IsaacWalton

    “Innovation powers growth”…of what jobs? Nope. Mr. Conard keeps saying that a few people and a computer can do more than hundreds used to….he’s talking about innovation creating $$$ growth…that kind of growth goes to a few (c-level execs, high dollar investors) not your typical worker.

  • Daniel

    Innovation is irrelevant if your consumers can’t afford to purchase your product.

  • BHA in Vermont

    “Complicated question”

    No it isn’t a complicated question. Put the CEO’s butts and ALL of their assets on the line. They get paid millions when the company does well (due not so much to their “wonderful leadership” as they want to think) they should LOSE millions when the company does well (which OF COURSE is ALWAYS due to factors out of their control and would have been MUCH WORSE if not for their “wonderful leadership”.

    If they don’t want to buy into this RISK, pay them $150K a year with no special “compensation packages”.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

     This guy is dweeb! I don’t want a President who is “Bound by a Confidentialtiy Agreement”.I tried to copy an excerpt form his linked excerpt and it expanded my lettering to banner size.He claims our economy is out performing all these other high-wage economies.  What he doesn’t admit is that all these economies have universal health care and other benefits. economiesecoeconomies

  • IsaacWalton

    Mr Conard is painting this picture….the future will not support high levels of labor in manufacturing. The majority of Americans will be in low paying service industries to serve the innovators and investors (the latter is not an innovator).

  • NAV

    In a pure world where there are innovators who come up with great ideas and then put them to use, sure, those folks can and do deserve some great return.  But that’s rare, VERY RARE and those folks aren’t the .1%, they are the .001%.  The innovators aren’t really the problem.  What about those that lead companies which are the supposed leaders, but who actually contribute very little, and have a golden parachute who lead so many of these companies into the ground?  And laugh all the way to the bank?   These are the criminals.  They are CEOs and Chair people, work on the board of directors of other companies, they okay their CEO friends, its a vicious circle.  Its broken.

  • Julia

    Ed’s been reading a whoooole lot of Ayn Rand. Ugh.

  • Erin in Iowa

    I’m listening and I feel like I’m being “talked into” buying a used car.  I hear all this crap in the corporate world I work in.  “No, no.  You grunts don’t have anything to worry about.  Trust us, let the people in the suits take care of everything.” 

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Ponzi, Ponzi, Ponzi–that’s all I hear from Conard.

  • Aranphor

     There’s some of these facts he’s throwing around Tom I think you need to hold him to. He need to show proof. I hear a lot of making up facts for truthiness sake.

  • Robbie

    I come to this forum a lot and I have never seen so many people in agreement.
    This guy’s arguments are making no sense and are in fact really offensive.
    I can’t believe anyone could be willing to embarrass himself with such a disingenuous argument.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Yup–left, right, and center commentors here all see this guy as full of nonsense.

      • nj_v2

        Actually, nonsense would represent an upgrade.

    • Charles A. Bowsher

       I think we all realize why he no longer works at Bane (pun intended) Kapital.  He rose to match his level of incompetence and is now gone.

  • BHA in Vermont

    Innovators? MOST of the super rich in the USA have “innovated” NOTHING! What innovations has Conard come up with? ZERO!

    • Tracy Hinckley, ct

      That’s ok they have had people on who claim women don’t innovate as much as men….I find this utterly false given that I have over 50 patents pending and am of that gender.   
      Sadly they are blind to all but their own self made landscape.

      I think, they are not talking so much about innovators, as they are talking about risk takers, or people given the opportunity to take those risks.  Ask any of these 1% types and every one will have an opportunity story that the took advantage of.  Someone, or some situation that gave them the opportunity to stretch without risking their whole lives.  For example facebook was developed in the safe “while at school” “still under mom, dad, and the governments wing” environment. Romney under the umbrella of his parents wealth. Etc.
      They seem to be missing the bigger picture of a healthy economic ecology results in the best innovators who given the proper opportunities or are employed by the proper investors in the economic ecology are those who become the 1%.

  • Drew (GA)

    Your guest’s stutters and pauses speak much louder than his words.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Conard, what value have you produced for humanity?  Be specific.  What the #@$&#%^& have you produced?

    • Robbie

       nada

    • jefe68

      Well he has produced some work for editors for his new book. The man is at least honest and brave enough to come out say he’s a social Darwinist. That’s more that can be said for his buddy Mitt Romney.
      But other than making a lot of money for himslef and Bain, I don’t see much in the way of Mr. Conard producing anything.

      • Steve_T

         Hot air?

  • Thorstein Veblen

    As an innovator who started a software company some years ago, I can tell you Conard is full of crap. I bootstrapped my company over 10 years ago. I tried to enlist venture capital interest, but they felt it was too risky. I didn’t need any billion dollar incentive, I was convinced of my technology and abilities and wanted the independence to see my ideas through to the market and that was enough. Today our software is used in nuclear power plants, wind turbines, medical devices, the cockpit of the joint strike fighter and tons of other applications. 

    A little inequality may be a good thing, but massive inequality leads to resource starvation to a significant chunk of the population. This means that many potential innovators will never get the health care and education required to make them productive contributors.

    • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

       Ah hah–you’re talking about a real product or service.  That’s just crazy talk to people like Conard.  How can he suck a quick buck out of your company and run away?

    • Michael

       Well said, by someone who has clearly been there.  Lack of education, food, health care is keeping many people from being innovators and/or contributors.  As Thorstein says huge amounts money is not the necessary draw for the innovator — though it might be for non-angel investors.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      So nice to hear from entrepreneurs who really care about the common folk…as they produce products for nuclear power plants and fighter jets and other such necessary and helpful technologies.

  • IsaacWalton

    THank you! Golden parachutes abound and SAVE these people from taking risks. Rich CEO’s get paid when they FAIL! 

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    That is not the air you are pulling your words out of!

  • Robbie

    please go down in the gold mine and stay there conrad!

    • Charles A. Bowsher

       …and ignore the canary!

      • Robbie

         yes!

  • Aranphor

    That’s a BS strawman argument. He thinks his audience on Tom’s show has Rush Limbaugh IQ. Wrong.

    • Robbie

       well said… although I doubt even the Limbaugh wingnuts will understand what he is trying to sell.. They are too obsessed with getting rid of the black guy in the WH

  • IsaacWalton

    Explain the HUGE sucking sound of young talent that went into the financial sector and left sciences and maths empty?!

    • Cherpsickery

      They pay better, and the “work” is easier, the insurance and school loans less.
      Engineering, and doctoring has become the world of the impoverished called. You have to want to make the world a better place if you choose one of those fields, because God knows you will be living hand to mouth. Not to mention not being able to afford daycare so no children to follow in your footsteps…and so falls a nation.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Short-run is all this guy can see.  That says it all!

  • Anne in VT

    My bottom line on this interview with Ed Connor, don’t waste your money buying his book.

    • Josh

      Did you know how these people’s books become best sellers?

      All the Right Wing Think Tank buy up their books.

      It’s a good investment for them because then they can get on radio and TV talking about the bull in them and scream how the populace of the country loves it so much they are making them best sellers.

  • MrNutso

    What BS.  Better to have one hugely paid person than 50 better paid people running a corporation.  I’d be okay with that if the one guy had to pay the money back if things didn’t work out.  Almost wrote that sentence without laughing.

  • PC

    Private equity fund managers and VCs working without a net?! Hardly.  How many of these guys are living on Ramen noodles and pulling all-nighters to crank out code?  Ed Conard and others have no legitimate right to count themselves in the same class of risk takers as the founders of Google, Facebook, etc.  

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      You betcha! We need more true American entrepreneurs like Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin who is now renouncing his US citizenship so he won’t have to pay taxes.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Enterpreneurs are STIFFLED in corporations!
       The COMPANY almost always gets ANY innovation, for years after the innovator is no longer employed there, for giving a person a job that WAS NOT innovation?

  • MrNutso

    Liberty U.  Another reason not to vote Romney or R.

  • Guest

    Thanks Tom, for doing a show that has proven to me, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the 1% truly does live in a bubble. Arrogance and ignorance all rolled into one.  Just like his candidate.

  • J__o__h__n

    Wasn’t Mitt supposed to be etch-a-sketching his way back to the middle and not pandering to extremist Christian bigots?

    • aj

      l___
           Yep___
                    l__

      • Terry Tree Tree

        LOL!  LOL!

    • Cherpsickery

      Bigots use bullhorns, moderates use votes…
      One is all blow,show,and squeaky wheel… The other is the heart beat of the country…if he keeps blowing in the wind, looking at the flashing lights, and oiling the the door, when the engine needs gas… Well at least he may learn a lesson? (third times the charm, usually, but I hope he is gone after this one)
      I think the republican party stayed home this election, I’m so disappointed in the whole lot.

  • MrNutso

    Then why are we not a theocracy?

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Because God is poor?

    • northeaster17

      Just give them a chance. Many of our larger religions actively promote the T word. 

  • Robbie

    Mitt Romney the supreme flip-flopper
    Marriage is between one man and one woman… and another woman… and another woman and another woman….. 
    I wonder if he was wearing his magic mormon undies at Liberty U?

    • Rex

      Polygamists are actually a fundamentalist sect/are not sanctioned by the LDS Church. I don’t believe Romney is affiliated with group.

      • Robbie

         my point is that Romney is pandering to the sheeple at Liberty University that universally propagate the perception that Mormons are polygamists and hethans.. 
        As for only Fundamentalist members of LDS engaging in polygamy… I am guessing you haven’t watched “Sister Wives” on Bravo? A large number of LDS members who are in polygamous and poly-amorous arrangements are far from fundamentalist.  Just saying..

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Serial monogamy, the marriage style of choice for most Americans, is hardly different from polygamy. 

        If marriage is a sacrament, then you can’t get divorced. You can’t have it both ways.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Daylight is the best disinfectant for bigotry.

  • BHA in Vermont

    “Went down to the gold mine”. Bullsh1t. There is no gold mine for MOST people. 

    These entrepreneurs he wants to be CEOs so they can make tons of money are NOT entrepreneurs, they are prostitutes. You can’t spend $20M a year. It is all about false self importance. Tell me WHY they can not, will not, work for $150K? They are taking NO personal risk showing up in their office every day.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      No personal risk? Are you kidding me! They risk having their underlings whispering about them around the water cooler. 

  • Sofie

    Another unintended consequence of income inequality: high teen births. U.S. has highest income inequality and, by far, highest teen births in the developed world. new.wellesley.edu/teenbirthstudy

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      That’s bullshit. I’ve never heard of a teen birth. They all come out as babies.

      The real problem is that most of them, Like Romney and Conrad, remain babies all their lives. Gimme, it’s mine!

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    The droning sound in this recording is annoying.  Oh, and there’s also the sound of an airplane going overhead.

    • J__o__h__n

      How can they play a clip of Romney without a droning sound?

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        That’s the sound of God moaning.

  • Rex

    After that great inspiring speech, Romney sinks down to the gay marriage debate for applause? Then he says we have religious freedom but being Christian is the best? Come on.

  • NAV

    Romney = Say what ever works.  Stand for nothing.  Flip Flop on EVERY issue.  WEAK WEAK WEAK!  Talk about your wolf in sheeps clothing.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Remember Exodus 32, in which Moses makes his people drink the gold of their idol, the all combined into the golden calf, now molten.  

    • Ellen Dibble

      Exodus 32: 19-21 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it. 
      And Moses said unto Aaron, What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought so great a sin upon them?(All that had happened while he was on Mount Sinai taking down the commandments.)

      • Julia

        What your point is what?

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Don’t go looking for moral precepts on a mountaintop when your people need food and shelter in the lowlands.

        • northeaster17

          It’s about worshiping false idol’s. Ie gold as the source rather than spirit.

    • aj

      WTF?

  • Drew (GA)

    Okay, the commentary from Conard was disturbing but this speech by Romney is literally about to make me vomit. I’m glad this one’s over OP, I couldn’t have taken much more.

  • Irene Moore

    I get very weary listening to these fast talkers wanting to worry us all about “What kind of people are we going to attract?”  when what they are telling us is that we want to attract the people whose goal is to make obscene amounts of money.  Is anybody buying that bottle of snake oil.

    and another thing – investing in research and development was what government did after the depression and until the 70′s as I recall – so the neo-cons argued that government should get out – now they tell us no one else wants to take the necessary risks – surprise, surprise

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Tom,   THANKS for having this HYPOCRITE on! 
       SEVERAL of his ‘examples’ and ‘explainations’, show that GREED has no concience, nor shame, in their hypocricy!  He refuted himself so much that he sounded like a plate of twisted spaghetti!

  • Kashby

    WT. A 3 minute radio ad for Romney??

    • Charles A. Bowsher

       WBUR (Where Bull$#@! Usually Rules!)

  • Joan

    Another one of Romney’s partners who would have let the 
    automobile industry slip into bankruptcy and to hell with 
    the one million or more workers involved with the auto 
    industry in Detroit and Ohio….That’s the difference bet-
    ween Romney and Obama….Obama wanted to save the 
    apparatus and jobs that surrounded Detroit and Ohio…..
    Romney didn’t give a hoot……Joan 

  • JustTheFacts

    Here we go again with the interviews that make me yawn.  Headline:  Rich Guy Says Everything Is Great and We Should Keep It Up
    And, the crowd gasps.  Right.

    Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  • Yar

    My parting shot for today’s show is a question for Governor Romney.  What is the meaning of Matthew 19:24?  “Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to squeeze through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get into the kingdom of God.”

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      What does it mean? That the entrepreneur who can genetically modify a needle-eye sized camel has the keys to the kingdom.

    • ana

      Perhaps it means that one should have shared  one’s wealth among the least  instead of  trying to “bring it with” by hoarding.      Each Wal-Mart heir is worth upwards of 20 billion.  Investment in impoverished areas, not charity,  would be of huge benefit while leaving more than enough for several homes or delivery of underweatr from Paris.   I would like to be informed of what Wal-Mart has contributed to uplift the lives of those who line up at their cash registers enabling such massive wealth.

  • Ray in VT

    So if the system is working, and higher income inequality is what is needed, then I would like to know what Mr. Conard thinks the right level of inequality is if we are not there yet.

    Also, Mr. Conard pretty much exclusively talked about entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors, but what does he have to say about the income inequalities that are being fueled by our celebrity and sports entertainment cultures?  What societal good do the Kardashians provide in return for the millions that they pull in?

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      distraction…from our generalized poverty.

      • Ray in VT

        Their role perhaps, but not their value.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          In a dysfunctional society, distraction has great survival value. Americans spend tens of billions on entertainment, “comfort food”, and mood-altering substances.

          Bread and circuses.

  • JustTheFacts

    Hey, Tom.  You know you’ve got a crappy interview when the “corporate attorney” gives the most candid and sincere thoughts in the segment.  

    • The Goatherder

      As the “corporate attorney” who called in, let me tell you that I could have gone on and on.  But I have to say, when he replied with distain “that is the type of thinking that attracts people to being lawyers,” I will take it as a badge of honor.  I love it when I can get under the skin of a self-rightous thief like him.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        THANK YOU SIR!  Some attorneys, I LIKE!

  • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

    Anyone who believes “inequality is the answer” must have joined Mitt in assaulting the marginalized in high school.

    This is not even so much a character defect as a fundamental moral defect of our culture. Mitt and Conrad are just those who learned how to play the game the most ruthlessly.

  • Tracy Hinckley, Ct

    The theory put forward is, massive inequality is good for the economy?  Then how is it that third world countries are plagued with it?  By this theory the world should be upended, Africa should be on top, not in poverty.
    I propose that the economy is like a good ecology.  I would propose it is like the Spanish fish farm discussed during the Ted radio hour. That a healthy ecology; wherein algey (or in our case the lower-class), fish (middle class), birds (upper middle class), and harvesters (upper class) live in balance, resulting in the best of ecologies (economies).
    Inequality destroys the environment, why would the economy be any different.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      Or it would like saying that the body is healthiest when the brain gets most of the blood and the liver and kidneys and gall bladder are starved for nutrients, while the skin cells are unimportant and expendable.

      • J__o__h__n

        Doesn’t the brain get a vastly disproportionate share of the body’s energy resources? 

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Only if you think too much.

      • http://lowenfoundation.org/index.html FLowen

        I really like your thinking, it reminds me of Wilhelm Reich.
        I think you’re right on, there are real functional parallels between individuals and society: eg. the idea that we need growth for growths sake is a cancer on society, just as it is for an individual on a cellular level.Another example is the split (disconnect) between our over-charged and over-valued egos, minds and intellectuality, at the expense of our obese, under-nourished, insensitive, stressed-out bodies parallels the culture’s pre-occupation with money, influence, status, and the rich few at the expense of the many and the environment we are all dependent on.

        We are individually and culturally disconnected from reality.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Growth for growth’s sake is CANCER!
             Un-regulated growth is CANCER!
             How many people volunteer to get cancer?

          • J__o__h__n

            smokers

  • James Wood

    It isn’t the ceo’s with the talent/innovative ideas. The idea’s come from R & D employee’s that will never be compensated for their worth. The trickle down effect never worked and still isn’t! The rich don’t take risk with their money. They save it to maintain their way of life as anyone would. Conard’s claim that, “inequality leads to investment” is like saying that the working class should be happy with the crumbs that fall off of the rich’s table.

  • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

    “I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it.” – Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice (1797)

    “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” – Jehoshua of Nazareth

    • JustTheFacts

      Take a bow, Rob.  (no sarcasm intended)

    • Bruce

      Very fitting quotes…personally I’m in favor of restoring the Seal of the U.S. to “E. pluribus unum” – suggested by Pierre Eugene du Simitiere (1776), adopted by Congress (1782) and in effect until replaced by Congressional Act (1956)

      But, alas, thanks to such paragons of national chauvinism as Joseph McCarthy, we’re stuck with what we got—“In God we trust”
       
      And if Mitt and his cronies at places like “Liberty” University carry the day, we ain’t changin’ it any time soon. 

      • Bruce

        Had problem posting image, but here it is…

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        The problem with “out of many – one” is that we have already achieved that goal: the 1%.

        While we used to advocate assimilation (and many still do – as in English-only schools), we have now learned to celebrate diversity.

        How about E Pluribus Pluribus?

        • Bruce

          I’ll have to think about it for a while & let you know…

          I certainly agree that a functional democracy depends on a awareness & acceptance of diversity, and while I personally subscribe to a multi-cultural agenda (without sounding too self-serving I hope), I am still drawn to the assimilation model (old school I guess), provided that it is grounded in legal & institutional protections and an educational system that helps us learn to embrace differences as well as unite for the common good.

          Assimilation into one, uniquely American identity formed around mutuality & communitarian values might lessen the tendency of many of us to form & retreat into enclaves where we might be inclined to define “the other” based on our perceived differences, which can lead to stereotyping and scapegoating.

          I suppose I’m still working out the balance between collectivism and individualism, a balance which may depend on the particular situation in which we find ourselves and the moment in history that presents us with a particular set of options for remedying that situation.   

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            There are some old world nations that are based on a shared genetic as well as cultural identity – and some are going through identity crises and nativist backlash as immigration changes their national characters.

            But, generally, national identity (forged as it is around artificial political, rather than cultural, boundaries) has typically served nothing more than bellicose protectionism or military aggression.

            In 19th and early 20th century immigrant communities in America’s urban areas, strong cultural affinities led to community-based social services and mutual self-help.

            As those communities dissipated and assimilated into suburban homogeneity, we needed government to step into the breach and create a social safety net and myriad social services which don’t work very well for anyone and tend to dehumanize it’s “beneficiaries”.

            It’s true that cultural differences have often led to feuds and discriminatory animosities and competition, but that was often fueled by a wealthy political class which needed to keep the working class divided so that it couldn’t unite against their corruption, wealth and power.

            There is even a large white underclass (the NASCAR crowd) that has been deliberately kept ignorant and poor to serve as a buffer against people of color and immigrants.

            Diversity in a large nation-state typically serves social needs better than managed uniformity, unless such diversity is a managed competition to prevent revolt.

          • aj

             ‘ a social safety net and myriad social services which don’t work very well for anyone and tend to dehumanize it’s “beneficiaries”. ‘

            Could you elaborate on why they dont work well, with a paragraph or two, please?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            I believe I already did. 

            Whether we turn human relationships into market commodities (the service economy) or into bureaucratic functions (government services), we’ve removed the most essential ingredient: face-to-face, heart-to-heart and community-based human interaction.

            Furthermore, with government bureaucracies, we’ve added tons of red tape and paperwork and required documentation that no one I’ve ever met enjoys dealing with. And we’ve accepted yet another database that tracks our every move from birth to death.

            When Congress passed Social Security legislation, there was broad public distrust of being “numbered” (like in Nazi Germany), so the government promised that our SSNs would never be used for anything other than social security. 

            How long did that last? Now hospitals issue SSNs to newborns without the parents (or certainly the infant’s) permission. Soon they will insert a RF chip under the skin of every newborn.

            You can’t get a driver’s license, open a bank account, apply for a job, get a passport, or even vote without that all-pervasive number.

          • aj

            Hence, FICA witholding = an acceleration of the Orwellian police state. A -necessary evil- at best; and yet SS is of mediocre sustenance, like cold porridge.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Not so fast. FICA was established along with the Social Security legislation of 1935, but the SSN was not used as a taxpayer ID until 1962 and, until 1972 the SS card said “For Social Security Purposes – Not for Identification”.

            In 1966, the VA started using SSNs and in 1969 the military used them as well, and its use continued to become more and more standardized. After 1986, parents had to get a SSN for all dependent children over 5 years of age, and by 1990 for all children over 1 and it’s now required from birth.

            It’s a stretch to say that FICA withholding is a police state element, though the creeping universality of the SSN is certainly a central element of the security state.

            In fact, in 2004 Congress passed The Intelligence Reform
            and Terrorism Prevention Act which required a more secure, tamper-proof SS card (so terrorists can’t get work in the US unless they work for the CIA).

          • aj

            vvvvvvvvYour right I conflated FICA witholding with the SSN ID. Huge distinction, I concede that fully. Thanks.

  • Michael

    Mr. Conard calls his own premise into question by explicitly admitting that “innovators” would innovate even if they were not as well compensated.

    Even if you accept Mr. Conard’s premise, he speaks only of the very wealthy who are innovators.  Most of the 1% are not innovators. Most of the 1% invest relatively little in innovation. One subgroup of the 1% is executives.  Several studies, including one recent one reported by the BBC this past week that examined the US and several European countries, show that there is no correlation between executive compensation and productivity.  The only country in which there is a correlation is Germany which has very strict laws about boards of directors, including a provision that they must have significant worker representation.

    Unfortunately, much of the excess executive compensation is an unintended consequence of a law that made top executive compensation transparent.  Once executives saw what other executives were making, they wanted more. Thereafter compensation escalated at a staggering rate. And the reason they wanted more had nothing to do with the wealth itself — it was to prove that they were better than the other execs — that they were top dogs — they wanted/”needed” to be able to show that “my compensation is bigger than your compensation.”

    Mr. Conard’s 1% friends, including Mitt Romney, are investing most of their money in areas that do not create innovation or wealth.  As he stated in the interview, there is a lot of money that is sitting idle right now in the US.  These extremely rich people and corporation could invest that money in innovation or jobs, but are waiting for a good return which is not that risky and which often does not create any value.

  • Michael

    One other thought about risk-takers.  Many (not all) risk takers, including those at Bain Capital, have learned the lesson of leveraging their risk.  Usually they are risking other people’s money in a way that they gain a lot if things go well and lose little or nothing if things go bad

    • Aranphor

       Yep, and it’s true, they win whether or not the outcome. What’s worse is most the profits are not passed on to individuals.

      This game was played by the Rich leading up to the Great Depression. Same old tricks by those in charge of the power.

      • Tracy Hinckley, ct

        Sadly using others money is what is fought in business schools,so is cheating.

        Bell bottoms…sigh, those who do not know their history are bound to repeat it. Well spoken. Our grand parents would be so ashamed.

    • Alan in NH

      The risk-taking of an entrepreneur or a financial investor is nothing compared to the every day risk-taking of any coal miner.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Mr. Conard ‘PROVES ‘ his worth, by NOT answering ANY serious questions about his subject!
        “That’s complicated”, is NOT an answer that is worth the MILLIONS of Dollars, that Mr. Conard has been paid.
        My children and grandchildren could be taught to say that, before they were 2!
       Children learn how to say “No!”, before 2, also.  We could pay 2 year-olds a LOT less than the Republicans in Congress!

  • Aranphor

    There’s an old saying which came to mind listening to Mr. Conrad, which I will paraphrase. “Don’t (DO SOMETHING) down my back and tell me it’s raining.”

  • Robbie

    I’m guessing this Mr. ConArtist’s book will hot be on the bestsellers list anytime soon. lol

    I’ve never seen so many people on this forum agree on one thing in such huge numbers.

  • northeaster17

    Ol Mitt preaching to the bones of Falwell. So low, so low. 

  • TomK in Boston

    Why do we need to listen to a fake Gekko when the real one said it so much better? Conard surely doesn’t contribute any ideas that go beyond “Wall Street”

      “I am not a destroyer of companies. I am a liberator of them! The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind. And greed, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.”

  • Joe

    Obama top recipient of BP cash
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2010/05/05/politico-bombshell-obama-biggest-recipient-bp-cash

    Whatever you might think, I’m sure that Obama has not allowed himself to be corrupted by a mountain of cash from BP.

  • walterwz

    Delete the 1% and we will have a better world.

    The US economy has performed very well for this author and his 1% cronies.  What is the real condition of the majority.

    For this guy and those who think like him leaving the 99% in debt slavery with no health care, no safety net, no real prospects beyond sweat shop labor equals motivation.

    The benefits, that only go to huckster scum bags like this author are absolutely worthless to the vast majority of those of us who merely wish to make a living.

    The people who are behind turning us into the precariat need to be opposed by any means necessary.

  • Joan

    Let’s keep the Gods of Wall Street just the way they are…
    http://www.marketsqueeze.com/2011/10/21/the-new-yorker-cover-keep-things-precisely-as-they-are/And let’s all make offerings (cuts) to appease them…So they will all know how we are humbled before them and believe how they will save us from ourselves…….

  • JGC

    Occupy is planning a LaughRiot for May 18, coinciding with the G8 summit.  But after listening to Mr. Conard for the past hour, I’m afraid the joke is on the 99%.

  • Abdollah

    Two points:
    1. what sort of risks Mr. Conard and Romney and other at Bain Capitals took to reap millins of dollars with dismantling and destruction of many companies.
    2. Nobody is saying that there should be no income disparities or against profit but the question should people who are in 1-10% of income bracket should pay fair shares in taxes and not rig the system so that people like Mr. conard and Romney pay no income tax or less than 15%.

    • William

      Doesn’t government destroy companies too? Was there not a EPA offical that wanted to “crucify” oil companies. What is the difference?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        If you can’t tell the difference, I doubt you’d consider the answer.
            Actually, you have proven my premise, SEVERAL times, with your protection of the Catholic clergy criminals!

  • Joan
  • Pointpanic

    Good morning ladies and Gentleman. welcome to the Mitt Romney shoe ,broguth to you by Bain Captial,profiting at the expnse of workers and citizens since 1993. And NOW the star of our show ED CONARD.

  • Pointpanic

    What ashamelessly blatant promo for Rpmney, this hour was.Even Mr. Noah’s response to Ed’s self-serving cannards about inequkaity benefitting the middle class failed to question an system that generates inequlaity. Risk takers my foot. Capitlaism gas always enabled “risk takers” to keep their profits while passing their losses on to the rest of us, even as they preandown that misl;eading “bootstrap” rhetoric. THen on top of this Tom sees fit to vomit Romney’s comencemnet speech on us. So where are the voices on “public” radio who question the “fre market” system? ‘BUR has hit an all time low with this show. So much for “independent journalism”

  • Terry Tree Tree

    A PARASITE, unless Mr. Conard can prove that he has actually ‘created’ something that has benefitted society, and the U.S.,multiples MORE than the wealth he has accumulated!
        Does Mr. Conard defend the ‘protection’ racket, as they get wealthy, by providing the same values that Bain has?

  • Tacitus

    This article on yesterday NYT goes well with the story: Rich people and their adulators like Conard are just Psychopatic http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/13/opinion/sunday/fables-of-wealth.html?src=me&ref=general

    • Greyman

      Has anyone told the Mayor?

  • Bruce

    Thanks OnPoint for having a Romney surrogate provide the tortured logic and ludicrous rationale for a rapacious, unregulated capitalism:
     
    –a whole hour spent by an equity manager worshipping at the altar of Innovation without one word about the other driver of Innovation besides risk-taking:  fed. govt. investment in basic research and development, education and infrastructure, much of which would be sacrificed so the super rich could retain a fraction more of their income thru lower rates of fed. income, inheritance and capital gains taxes.
     
    –a whole hour extolling the virtues of Innovation which presumably would include those innovative financial instruments (e.g. Credit Default Swaps and CDO’s) which helped tank our economy and which allowed those fearless “risk-takers” on Wall St. to walk away with fortunes in their pockets at the expense of the real economy.  Ask Jamie Dimon how well Innovation has served the financial industry and his own company lately.   
     
    –a whole hour singing the praises of the “House of Cards” Bush economy which, even counting the housing “bubble” distortion, witnessed the first decline in median family income since WWII and stagnant wages for all but the 1%ers—all while individual productivity increased!
     
    –a whole hour promoting increased inequality without mentioning that historically, we have tolerated a higher degree of inequality in the U.S. because we also expected a higher degree of social and economic mobility.  The silence on our declining mobility was deafening.
     
    –a whole hour in which no one challenged the assumption that lower marginal rates incentivize hard work, investment and job creation that benefits the economy as a whole, in spite of the fact that no empirical data can be found to support such a proposition (a.k.a  “trickle down” economics, “voodoo” economics or a “Trojan horse” for wealthcare).  And no mention of the failed Reaganomics experiment to generate enough revenue for cover the cost of winning the Cold War and maintaining our other Fed. commitments without amassing a huge debt.
     
    –a whole hour in which the guest ridicules the Europeans without being confronted with the fact that many of those countries (i.e. Nordic) with higher tax burdens and public expenditures (as a percent of GDP) than the U.S. have equaled or surpassed us historically in terms of GDP, employment and productivity growth WHILE maintaining social insurance and safety-nets for their people.
     
    –a whole of hour in which the guest writes-off our manufacturing sector consistent with Mitt’s insistence on letting the auto industry go bankrupt and throwing millions of Americans out of work.  But why should this principled stand against the auto bailout (which by almost any metric was a success) surprise anyone given Mitt’s admitted penchant for “firing people?”

    • Pointpanic

      Spot on,Bruce. BUR’s key contribution to the rise of corporate facism.

    • Erka

      Yeah, that was great!!
      Amazing how steadily this guy can lie about research, innovation, and Europe… The basic research point is really important, and I really wonder what kind of innovation this ass has ever brought to society, besides job destruction…

  • TomK in Boston

    Arrogant gekkos like Conard help me understand what caused the mass execution of aristocrats in the French Revolution.

    ps In the 50s and 60s when the top tax rate was 80-90% the “innovators” were innovating like crazy as modern electronics and computers came into being. Doesn’t seem like taxes are a problem, if you look at evidence instead of ideology. CEOs were richer than workers of course, but they seemed quite comfortable and motivated making only 50x as opposed to 500x.

  • Ghad

    Bravo Tom, very interesing  point.

  • Bewildered

    Ed Connor’s presentation
    sounded like Gordon Gekko’s revisited, heavily mixed with “economic” blabber
    and casino terminology.  In his
    intellectually limited view, the main mechanism of business propulsion is “risk
    talking”.  Which means that if each
    individual in the society takes really big “risks”; her(his) financial success
    is guarantied.  Of course, the guy
    never gives any definition of his interpretation of risk and where to find
    those many sources of risk taking.  
    Here enters his great idea of 
    “inequality”: since very few have access to those financial sources to
    begin with, only they can take those risks on behalf of the masses.  His examples of huge successes: Steve
    Jobs, Mark Zuckerber, Seriozha Brin, and others.  What enormous risks did these individuals had to take at the
    beginning to come out with the alleged proportional success?  Another example: what risks did the
    bandit capitalists in Russia have to take to amass their fortunes at the
    expense of the rest of Russian population?  Zero, they just had to get in cahoots with governments of
    Yeltsin and now Putin in order to produce all the inequality needed for their personal
    financial success.  Such a
    theoretician

  • J. Aplin

    I haven’t read Mr. Conard’s book, but have heard him on a couple of interviews. I’m sure he is very knowledgeable in risk taking and wealth creation, but what struck me was the seeming amorality of his arguments – he even criticizes Warren Buffet for wanting to give away his fortune, saying that that money could be more productively invested, (and presumably the benefits may trickle down someday to the ones that Mr. Buffett wants to help).

    I’m not against the “American Dream” of getting rich, or the one percent. But I have to think that the growing wealth disparity is not good for the country as a whole, partly because the people making the decisions (or paying for the decisions) are increasingly out of touch with the average American.

    Mitt Romney is an example – he is probably a fine person, good to his family and friends, …, but numerous times he has shown himself to be woefully detached from the world of the 99%.

    Just as recent war decisions were heavily influenced by war hawks who had never fought in a war, the political decisions affecting us all are increasingly being made by politicians, or more precisely the big donors they rely on, whose lives include private planes, limos, gated communities, exclusive country clubs, open-door access to the decision makers, and limited exposure to the rest of us.

    Can it be good for this country to have wealth creation be the only political priority, and the ultra wealthy be the only ones with influence?

    Do we want to go back to the days of the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts? 

    I wasn’t around then, so I don’t know for sure, but I have a feeling that is was not the best time for the 99%.

  • twenty-niner

    The Guest does have a point. If we all won the lottery, no one would go to work the next day. In fact, the real value of money is derived from the fact that some have it and some don’t, thereby creating incentive – the willingness to exchange labor for money. If everyone is a millionaire, then no one is, because it would be very difficult to get millionaires to come mow the lawn or sit on an assembly line all day making BMWs.

    Advanced industrial economies see this affect with low-wage jobs as more people move into the middle class. I’m sure no one on this board, which is educated and mostly middle class, would be willing to work in a Burger King or a field picking lettuce, because we are far to wealthy (or at least were) to consider it.

    Imagine if we were all just middle class. Entire industries would be wiped out: yachts, upscale autos, luxury homes, etc., all providing lucrative jobs. Moreover, venture capital would no longer exist, which means companies like Apple, Cisco, Intel, and even that piece of crap, Facebook, would have never come in to fruition, along with jobs and wealth they created, not to mention their many products that have vastly improved our standard of living.

    Economies either require unequal wealth distribution to incentivize work or unequal power distribution to coerce work, as was typical prior to the 19th century, and also demonstrated by Fascism and Marxism in the 20th century. What’s critical in an incentivized economy is the elimination of corruption (which is extremely difficult), and the democratization of opportunity (also extremely difficult). This is where government comes into play. Unfortunately, as the corruption on Wall Street has only intensified since the bubble, our current government has failed us.

    • Michael

      This is standard red herring.  No one is talking about everyone having the same wealth. Despite the conservative bull-hockey, very few American’s begrudge the wealthy being wealthy. It is the degree of disparity that has gotten ridiculous and threatens to undermine democracy itself. Many people concerned with the crazy level of the wealth gap are not even saying that everyone should be kept from malnourishment and should have at least a basic level of health care — though many of us do believe this.

      • TomK in Boston

        Exactly – didn’t see this when I replied above. I can really do without red herrings and straw men. The alternative to Bane-style capitalism is not socialism where everyone has “equality of outcome”, it’s a better version of capitalism.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Americans generally didn’t begrudge the wealthy their wealth only because we were indoctrinated into the Lincolnian republican (Horatio Alger) myth that today’s laborers would be tomorrow’s capitalists, and that if a man failed to rise above his status he had only himself to blame. The legacy of this, as John Steinbeck pointed out many years later, was that in America the poor regard themselves as “temporarily embarrassed millionaires”. 

        But the reality of the ante-bellum period was that 4% of the inhabitants of New York City controlled 50% of the wealth, and only a tiny percentage of the wealthy were self-made; the vast majority being born into wealthy families.

        Fortunately, as the Occupy movement gives evidence, we are waking up from this false dream and realizing that the system has always been rigged by and for the wealthy. For a time, enough workers were brought into the middle class to sustain the illusion of generalized prosperity (that is, if all the coincident poverty was ignored, as it typically was). But the bubble has burst and the myth is exposed as what it always was.

        • aj

          Some Patriotic capitalist really ought to reply to this with a counter factual; so we can pretend RR is wrong.

          ps They are in the streets in Madrid. Solidarity goes out to Los Indignados! 

    • Pointpanic

      so the only motivation for living is money? maybe we don’t need BMWs and Yachts . Life would be organized along egalitarian ways of living that benefit everybody. Marxism is not essentially coercive. The Z”marxism” of the old Sov. Union and N. Korea is highly questionable.

      • twenty-niner

        so the only motivation for living is money?
         
        No, money is just means of exchange to convert your labor into the farmer’s labor for example, who grows your carrots.
         
        maybe we don’t need BMWs and Yachts
         
        Take those away, you take away the plants needed to build those, the jobs inside those plants, the jobs building and maintaining those plants, the jobs in the communities built around those plants, and so on. Further, we can get along without a lot of things. Millions of people get along without running water. I would rather not be arbiter of what people can and can’t get along with.
         
        Life would be organized along egalitarian ways of living that benefit everybody
         
        Egalitarianism doesn’t even work on a small scale. After the first few days on the communal farm when the utopian sugar high has worn off, you start to notice that you’re getting up earlier and working harder than Joe the Plummer over there, and you start to think you deserve more tie die for your T-shirts.

        • Pointpanic

          What? if it weren’t fro unions in the early days of capitlaism people woukld still be working twelve hour days for a pittance with no bathroom breaks. At least in an rgalitarian society workers would have a say in their conditions.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          Your rationalizations work only if you consider the last few thousand years of human history – the history of “civilization”. 

          But humanity existed in a much more socially and ecologically sustainable manner for 2.4 million years, with highly egalitarian economies based on need rather than greed.

          Inequality is inherently unstable, unjust and unsustainable. That is why the global economy is collapsing – further growth is impossible and everyone resists “austerity” or shrinkage.

          • notafeminista

            Oh they did not.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            If you care to make a more intelligible comment, I could answer it.

            Who is “they”?

            What did they “not”?

          • notafeminista

            I made a perfectly intelligent comment.  You don’t like the comment which makes it no more or less intelligent.  However, your comment about egalitarian and ecologically sustainable communities prior to say, 2000 BC is balderdash.   Animals were hunted, hierarchies were created and there wasn’t one blessed thing equal about it.  Women still bore the children, still kept the homes all at the whim of the men.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            You made a perfectly unintelligible comment, using pronouns with no obvious referent.
            I suspected, but could not know, particularly given your pseudonym, that you were trying to pull the patriarchy myth out of your hat.

            And it should have been clear, since I referred to the millennia before civilization, that I was speaking of cultures greater than 12,000 years back, and in response to the absurd statement that “Egalitarianism doesn’t even work on a small scale.”

            Apparently, you would not see a society as egalitarian unless the men also bore children.

          • notafeminista

            Oh those pesky details.  Once the children are born, they then must be cared and provided for.  Most often by women.  Your cultures of 12,000 years ago were hot in the summer, cold in the winter and frequently drank and bathed from the water source that was used for waste.   Much better, I agree.

          • twenty-niner

            Interesting point, but I’m sure heirarchies formed from the onset, as can be observed with primates and other social animals.

            In theory, wealth can be distributed equally, but not power. If you take away wealth as the motivator (the carrot), you’re going to need more authority (the stick). I generally prefer carrots over sticks!

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            Hierarchies are natural and fluid, with power often either rotated, dispersed, shared or dependent on the acquiescence of the members.

            Wealth and power are not of the same order. Discrepancies of wealth are taken, not given. Power in indigenous and harmonious societies is given and can be taken back if it is not exercised for the highest good of all.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Mr. Conrad obviously wants that 19th century model again! 
         Piracy and Robber Barons, as banksters, ‘investment’ people that RISK others’ money, jobs, pensions, families, homes, and FAR MORE, for the GREEDY rich to get GREEDY richer?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        CORRECTION!  Mr. Conard.

    • TomK in Boston

      Off-point, 29er. Nobody in the USA argues against inequality, despite some far right lies. It’s all a matter of DEGREE. We’re capitalists with inequality and winners and losers and innovators when a CEO makes 50x a worker salary and the top tax rate is 90% and the median income increases when GDP increases, and we’re capitalists with inequality and winners and losers and innovators when a CEO makes 500x a worker salary and the top tax rate is 15% and the median income is decoupled from GDP. There are many flavors, but it’s all capitalism. It’s rather obvious which version works best.

      How do you get capitalism where everyone gets a piece of the pie as opposed to Bane capitalism? Taxes, regulation, unions, to name 3.

      • twenty-niner

        I don’t disagree that disparity is way out of whack.

        In my view, rapid monetary expansion by the Fed (from 1982 on) has played a much larger role in this than most people recognize.

        This has kept Wall Street flush with more cash than it knows what to do with and has directly led to the over financialization of the economy. This has fueled four bubbles along the way: tech, housing, bonds (both corporate and government), and derivatives, with the last two remaining to pop. Couple that with de-regulation in the 90s, and we’ve got a serious problem, which is actually world-wide because the other central banks have acted in concert.

        On top of this, we recklessly gave China’s vast low-wage labor pool unfettered access to our industry, which created the giant sucking sound that Ross Perot used to talk about. Add the two together: cheap money + cheap labor, and you you’re bound get an unhealthy shift in wealth upwards.

        • TomK in Boston

          Mostly agree, maybe agree on the Fed.

          You can’t ignore the tax cuts. Cutting the tax rate at the top from 90% to the current 15% for the super-rich who get most from cap gains is IMO the major cause of the over-financialization. There would be a lot more incentive to keep $ in the real economy if taxes at the top were higher.

          I’m really, really sick of hearing about all the horrible socialist things that wd happen if taxes at the top were raised, even to a level that is still low by our historical standards. The tax structure is simply a setting on our capitalist machine. If we set it too low and the system runs poorly, we do not magically become commies if we turn it back up.

          Union busting is also an important part of inequality. Wages for working stiffs are now determined by a race to the bottom. When a Conard says we have to be competitive, he means with asian wages. You’re right that bogus free trade is a big part of this, but unions were one thing standing in the way of the race to the bottom. 

    • Cherpsickery

      I have no issue with an inequality that is a smooth upward curve, as you have described. That is the definition of a healthy economic ecology. The thing is that is not the world he is describing. His chart is is a step chart with a vast differential.

    • William

      I think so many people have lost ambition and there is a movement to blame those with ambition for their own failures.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Like blaming Children, because they were molested?

        • notafeminista

          Like blaming the US for 9/11.

  • Joe

    G.E. paid no taxes on $14 billion in profits.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/ge-filed-57000-page-tax-return-paid-no-taxes-14-billion-profits_609137.html

    Could Jeff Immelt, the C.E.O. of G.E. and Obama’s ‘Jobs Czar’, be considered a member of the 1% club as well?

    • Pointpanic

      Yes, I think so, Joe. So much for Obama’s “socialism”.

  • JeanBruce

    The risk takers aren’t risking their money. They risk the pensions of school teachers and pay themselves way more than any school teacher will see just in fees for funding their gambling. 

  • Michael

    To get the rancid taste out of your mouth read  Gardens of Democracy.  One author is a rich entrepreneur who has the opposite viewpoint of Conrad, among other things disagreeing with the notion of the rich as “job creators”.

  • jimino

    I couldn’t listen to the whole show, and haven’t read all the comments, so maybe someone can help me out and specify what Mr. Conard’s unique “innovation” was that was so highly valued by the market, and some idea of what he personally “risked” to accomplish his success. 

    • Cherpsickery

      Can’t think of any thing? At least not that came up in the interview? He was all about economic inequality being good and the trickle down being good…

      He went to the “right” schools to make contacts with people with the same principles and wealth to learn how to game the system, and has now written a manifesto of the uber rich, which we now seem to be spending an inordinate amount of time discussing…sigh.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Jamie Diamon, and J.P. Morgan PROVE that MORE banking regulation is OVERDUE!
       Reinstall Glass-Stegall, implement the Volker Rule!
       Banksters CANNOT be trusted to ‘self-regulate’!
       JP Morgan investors should ask, and receive answers to, HARD QUESTIONS!

    • Anne Arthurs

      And Romney’s response to Chase is that he wants to repeal Dodd-Frank.  That ought to scare the crap out of a lot of people.  But it won’t.

    • William

      Uncle Sam loses 60-80 billion a year in Medicare fraud so don’t we need more HARD QUESTIONS or some sort of Voker Rule, Glass-Stegall etc on government?

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        We need more fraud-prevention workers, which requires better funding of these programs, which requires that we eliminate the  FICA taxable income ceiling and tax the rich.

        • aj

          Taxing income led to Prohibition. Enforcing Prohibition began the police state. According to YOUR -short history- above witholding income & FICA from all citizens accelerated the Orwellian police state.  

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            You’ve got it backwards. Prohibition, and the consequent loss of alcohol taxes, led to the income tax.

            Prohibition was mainly a battle between the pietist Protestants and immigrant Catholics, between rural and urban cultures, and between women and men.

            But drinking was being recognized as a medical and social problem. In 1830, when the temperance movement built,
            Americans consumed 1.7 bottles of hard liquor per week, three times the amount
            consumed in 2010.

            There is nothing in “my” history which would suggest that tax withholdings had any connection to a police state – only to the increasing economic disparity and the exploitation of workers.

             

          • aj

            I added that last part in, to see if you were paying attention. Do you play spades?

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            I don’t play. I’m from the star Sirius.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        WHICH Republican Congressman, or Senator, HAS helped put their own financial backers, that were defrauding Medicare, behind bars?  Moral high-ground?

  • Petedmers

    Income disparity is inevitable. The value of what one person does compared to another is judge by the beholder and as such there will never trully fair distribution. However, when the disparity is as exorbitant as it is today, in many cases, a factor of over 100 times, something is wrong when we allow it to continue. In order to pay the high salaries, money to pay the common worker is reduced, thus the market place is reduced, thus the need for workers is reduced, thus we have the situation that exist now. A very sluggish economy which will self destruct, because the ultra hugh salaries continue to increase as a percentage of the total economy.

    The income disparity talk is all about the wealthy investor but it is not the wealthy investor who is receiving the bulk of the high income. 25% of the GDP is paid to 1% of the work force. However, corporate profits are still in the 8% to 10% range. How can this pay the investor 25%. The income disparity is the salaries and bonuses paid to executives, celebrity performers, pro-athletes, TV commentators, etc, all people who are over paid for the services that they contribute. The payments made to these people is part of the cost of goods and services that we pay for and as such, collectively, we are vover paying by 25% for everthing that we purchase. The wealthy investor gets his 10% from his deserved profits. The executive gets his salary through extortion.

    These high paid people are banking their money not investing. The wealthy investor is still investing and still taking in high incomes, but the high wage earner isn’t investing because of the weak market which they are causing.

    High incomes are not equal. High income from investment is good. Ultra-high salaries are destructive.

    • kenrubenstein

       Nice argument. Yes to reasonable income inequality. No to a banana republic.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      But you ignore one critical element. You call investment good and deserving of a profitable return, but don’t analyze the source of the wealth that makes such investment possible.

      Income inequality produces excess wealth, which is then available for investment (earning money with money rather than real productive work).Thus significant income inequality is a precondition for investment.

      Any economic system which allows some to earn more than they need while depriving others of their subsistence needs is morally bankrupt. And it’s impossible to earn more than one’s labor is worth without exploiting either the labor of others or by expropriating the natural commons (land and resources).

      All profit is theft.

      • Petedmers

        Yeah. There are investors who got rich and good for them. But they can only get the profits. That is 10% Those receiving the 25% of GDP aren’t investing because there is no market because they are taking all the money. And the money they are taking is stolen from the collective wage pool.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          You’re merely repeating yourself, and what you say is based on a very simplistic understanding of the economy. 

          You assert that “income disparity is inevitable” when it’s a function only of a capitalist economy. And you claim that work value is a subjective metric when other economic systems consider human labor to have intrinsic (and equal) value.

          You also ignore that all profit is a form of theft, whether 10% or 25% (or the 12,000% that corporations make as a return on lobbying).
          In a truly just economy, no body would exploit others, no one would be deprived of the necessities of life, everyone’s work would have equal value and everyone would receive a fair return for their labor but no more – there would be no such thing as profit.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Citizens’ United allows corporations to be psycopathic , destructive, GREEDY, with SUPER-CITIZEN RIGHTS!

  • J__o__h__n

    How many more entrepreneurs would we have if we had national health care?  How many people would take the risk of starting new businesses if we had a better safety net? 

    • http://www.findingourdream.blogspot.com Hal Horvath

      A *lot*.

    • Anne Arthurs

      There was a story on NPR last year (can’t remember what program) that talked about how entrepenuership exists at a much larger percentage in Europe because people there don’t have to worry about losing health care and their retirement savings to strike out on their own.  And since income equality is much greater there, the only way to make more money is to start a business.  I found that interesting considering how we think our capitalist/anti-socialism is superior.  I think more of a blend might serve us all a bit better.

  • James T. E.

    How much did the last billion Steve Jobs make really help anybody else? 
    Why not just have a 90% marginal tax rate as we did in the 1950s which was the best time everfor the middle class in the U.S.?

    • http://www.findingourdream.blogspot.com Hal Horvath

      Unknown to most in washington is that there is a marginal tax rate that brings in the most revenue, and it isn’t 90% or 20%, but in the range of 45-60%

  • http://www.findingourdream.blogspot.com Hal Horvath

    When does an inventor/innovator think about his/her marginal tax rate?

    Never.

  • kenrubenstein

    There are many ways to say “Let them eat cake.” The “job creators” never produce actual statistics to support their claims that their ventures actually create large numbers of jobs. Few jobs are created for the brightest people, many of whom are imported for the purpose. These guys, Romney included, are so deep in their private bubble that they have a very distorted view of pragmatic reality.

  • Ben

    Isn’t this just Reagan’s Trickle Down theory of economics, rebranded?  We know that theory was a bald faced lie.  And now this guy is trying to get us to encourage Wall Street that just imploded from wild risk taking, to take MORE risk!  What does he think we’re smoking?

    I have to love that argument for free trade with china.  We have to spend that $1 dollar on the Chinese made item, because we’d have to pay $20 for that same item made in the US.  So instead we can spend $19 in the US, and some how be a richer nation?  WTF?   The math there is pretty simple.  We just lost a dollar that is never coming back to the US. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Virgil-Starkwell/100002249009131 Virgil Starkwell

    One problem with this theory (and there are many) is that people like Romney aren’t innovators of anything that provides value to society. They’re not contributors who are being rewarded. They have much more of a parasitic relationship to society. So should we all be trying to figure out how to become successful parasites, draining resources from America rather than adding them? For the most part, you need to be born with such parasitic privilege, like Romney, Bush, and the rest.

    • Gregg

      If a business is loosing money and in imminent danger of going under then someone comes in and saves it along with half the jobs, isn’t that a contribution?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Bane execs GOT money, from EACH company, whether the company survived, or NOT?
           MANY of the Bane VICTIMS, say the company that Bane put into bankrupcty, could have survived, WITHOUT Bane ‘saving’ them into bankruptcy?

      • Terry Tree Tree

        The patient had a pimple on his nose, so we saved the rest of his body, by cutting his head off?

  • http://www.positivelyaware.com Josh Thorne

    I don’t think that access to a new product can legitimately be called a transfer of value to the population. That idea may work somewhat for a case like Google, where a basically free product is offered to consumers via 3rd party ad revenue or the sale of back-end analytics. Or the case of a TV show where you can say, well sure Fox’s The New Girl may not employ or benefit that many people, but look at the value it offers society.
      Apply that model to any standard product and it falls apart. For example, you may criticize a Kellogs CEO for receiving a 50 million dollar bonus. That CEO could counter with: “But we made it possible for you to buy Frosted Flakes at a mere $4 a box. A fraction of the start-up costs of production
    (while still netting a profit for both Kellogs and the middleman), with the added benefit of everyone now having access to the delicious crunchy taste of Kellogs brand Frosted Flakes.
    Through the greater fool theory, that CEO inexplicably leveraged dry sugared corn into a payout that equals hundreds of times what the people who actually make the Frosted Flakes are paid annually.
      At that point the salesman can claim that any product offered is so desirable, that our lives are enriched by its presence, and therefore there is no inequality.
      If that were the case, wouldn’t the presence of the product be enough to satisfy the salary requirements of the board of directors? Why not pay CEO’s by giving them access to their own amazing products?

  • Sphart123

    One of the greatest inhibitors of innovation is health insurance. I was just laid off from my university, along with about 60 of my fellow professors. We could band together to take our knowledge and do more for society. But we all need to get back into the traditional sector that will keep us and our families insured. Thus, our willingness to innovate is stymied by the system as it’s designed. 

    • kenrubenstein

       The medical profession is even more in need of regulation and transformation than the investment sector. It works well in some instances, but it’s largely a money-driven medical-industrial complex.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Actually, the American medical system works extremely poorly in curing disease or maintaining health. The only area it’s quite good is in acute trauma intervention.

        A 2003 metastudy of iatrogenic (medically-caused) injury and death determined (with highly under-reported data) that “the American medical system is the leading cause of death in the United States”.

        • TFRX

          Please tell me this is on your top ten list.

          • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

            The problem is not just insufficient insurance coverage or even insufficient access to the medical system. The problem is a medical system which is broken and does more harm than good. 

  • James T. E.

    This guest is the guy who, when you inform him that he’s stepping on your foot, says, “But that’s a good thing!”  He’s not in the middle class situation, but he’s telling the middle class, you have no right to be unhappy, because there’s growth.  For whom, sir?  For whom? 

  • Gerhardovic

    My family was fabulously wealthy in czarist Russia.  Today the only thing I still own from that era is a silver soup spoon my grandfather used to use.  We escaped, with our lives, because we gave away all we owned after the Revolution.  When envy of the rich peaked, our relatives who resisted died by firing squad or of starvation in the gulag.  I hate to think that is the path we are on in the USA, but the similarities are more disturbing than most people realize.

    • kenrubenstein

       I can understand your sense of trauma, but the two situations are hardly comparable. Here things have become unbalanced, and many wish to restore the balance between free markets and regulated markets. Few, if any, want a neo-Communist revolution.

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        Viva Fidel!

      • aj

        ‘ Hasta la victoria siempre! ‘

        -Ernesto Che Guevara

        • kenrubenstein

           Mmmm, not very balanced, in both meanings of the word.

    • http://www.positivelyaware.com Josh Thorne

      Your story, though tragic and deeply regrettable, glosses over the neglect, oppression, and human rights violations that many aristocrats were guilty of, as well as where and how they acquired that wealth to begin with.
        That being said, altering a tax rate in one direction or another will not currently result in an armed uprising.

    • Ben

      It’s sounds like you’re trying to point to a problem, but all I see is a solution.  After centuries of oppresion, greed, and privalege, your family finally did what it should have done in the first place – share the wealth.  I think your family was quite lucky to have been spared.  You have to wonder how much mercy was ever shown to your family’s serfs?  I think the fact that your alive to tell this story shows how much more humane those who have suffered tyranny can be than those who practice it professionally.

      The people who have been ruling this country, profiteering on the misery of sick people, polluting our land/water/air, profiting off of slave labor, supporting oppresive regimes in client states, and sending our kids to war against oppressed poor brown people around the globe, these guys quite frankly deserve some payback for their sins.

      • aj

        5 stars

    • aj

      thnx for sharing

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I DO NOT ENVY THEM THEIR GREED, AND INHUMANITY!

    • Richard Brautigan

       When not enough people have enough property, and have been schooled in the strange notion that self-interest is normative, they will quickly see that ‘respect for private property’ does them little good, and act accordingly.

      The safest thing for our wealthy to do, in this heavily armed and truculent country, has been to make sure that just enough of the rest of us have enough property that we’re co-opted by the system that helps us.  They feel they went too far, back when they were more afraid of Communism than anything else, with the result that all of us began to think as if we had rights (as in: the civil rights movement, women’s liberation, gay rights, the vague idea that not all of us had got just what we deserved), so they dialled back to teach us not to annoy our betters.

    • Zero

      Inequality of any kind causes revolutions of any kind.  FDR, who was left of Obama, saved capitalism.  If inequality would have gotten worse…I can only imagine what would have happened.

  • Mnowak

    How come all the good questiosn were too complicated to answer simply?

  • Ann Marie Coleman

    I would like to suggest that you also interview Dean Baker from the Center for Economic Priorities on this topic. He wrote a great article at http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds&columnsmitt romneysppartner-in-crime-ed.conards-unintendedconsequences

  • Lavallee K

    Humans (men) were able to acquire and maintain the ability to amass power and wealth through the means of war and/or slavery, and now the rule of law by means of lobby.    All the Earth’s resources were eventually claimed by these types of individuals as private l property.   The environment was allowed to be utilized without respect for others or responsibility to the consequences for pure profit.   They only way the destruction will stop is if goods and services are sold at the real cost to produce them.  The rich are rich because they don’t have to account to anything, and in the end  when we will not be able to sustain a livable  environment, I am sure that the wealthy will  have enough resources to escape the horror.    

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      I hate to inform you of this little secret, but our current dysfunctional cultural paradigm was enacted by both men and women. And much of modern feminism is about giving women access to the halls of economic and political power traditionally reserved for men, so that they can come out of the closet as the power behind the men and assume the destructive power in their own right.

  • Geneletrix

    There are so many right-wing creeps supporting Governor Scott Walker in his recall election in Wisconsin.  The recent video tape is damning evidence of how this works.  The rich heiress says, hey Scott, how about making Wisconsin a right to work state?  Scott says, first the public unions… divide and conquer.  Then Scott Walker get’s a $500,000 campaign contribution.  Throw in a little Jesus with wall-to-wall paid TV propaganda and half the people buy it.  Don’t ever ask me to save you from an angry mob, ok?

  • guest

    There is something so weird about the psychology of the investor class that they are not happy enough to make billions on legalized gambling but also want their faces carved on Mt. Rushmore, they seem to need to be celebrated as well. Also, that they put themselves in the same class as creative innovators like Steve Jobs, the founders of Google or Facebook is so very bizarre. And that they can’t conceive that people can be truly successful and essential to a functioning society without being rich… Wish someone would write a book about what accounts for their very strange psychology and world view….

    • Ayn Marx 666

       I don’t think it’s weird:  it’s basic primate behaviour to want status and the improved food and mating opportunities it brings…meaning that all the things in the material world are insufficient for many unless they know that other primates think themselves somehow less than he.

      See the “Abominable Fancy”, in which one of the pleasures of the Blest is to observe keenly the sufferings of the Damned, and to know that the Damned know that the Blest are above them watching…just don’t do it shortly before you must interact with your boss, or you may be ruined by the improved perspective.

      • guest

        I think you’re right, but it seems that creative innovators like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, or any entrepreneur who has actually created something don’t have this same need to be acknowledged as “above” the rest of society. They seem fulfilled by their accomplishments…It seems a weird trait of the investor class in particular, Warren Buffet being a notable exception, to be obsessed with being seen as “on top”….

  • Zing

    Another day of whiners who made poor choices of education and career.   If you’re all so smart, why aren’t YOU rich?  

    • J__o__h__n

      No one is complaining that we aren’t rich.  We are complaining that some people took too much.

      • nj_v2

        It’s not even that, really. It’s that the system is rigged to give the well-off advantages that aren’t available to mere mortals.

      • Sy2502

        Took from whom? If the CEO of Google is paid several millions a year, those millions are not coming from my bank account, I can assure you of that.

        • Pointpanic

          no not from your bank account ,from your taxes.

    • Pointpanic

      yes they took too much at teh expense of the rest of us. yet they tell us to “pull ourselves up by our bootstraps”

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Mr. Conard is WHINING that he should be RICHER, and WE should throw money at him!

      • Roy Mac

        One of my instructors at the Stanford Business School recounted a conversation he’d had.  An alum asked him why he was so smart but wasn’t rich.  His response (he was probably the leading commodities trader in the market) was, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?”  And he was rich: he loved trading and he love teaching.  Unlike this sociopath and his former boss, Willard.

  • Guest

    The kind of risk Conard and Romney like to praise so rhapsodically is the kind that has no downside, for them. That’s the essence of being in the 1%, where you’re so protected you have nothing to lose.  Even if you fail at everything, and your actions/decisions cause a lot of damage to the lives of others, your kids still end up in the best schools, you’ll never lose your home or healthcare.

    The real risk-takers are the people who fight in our wars and risk their lives just so they can get a college education.  Nobody is signing up for our current wars because they believe in the cause, they just want the benefits as a way to get ahead.

  • AlanD

    The CEOs are risking other people’s money and the company’s money, not their own money and lives. Hence, they really are not taking risks and are not going to be hurt like the 99% are.

  • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

    A Short History of Property, Labor, Wealth & Taxation in America

    It was understood, in early agrarian America, that one’s labor was one’s primary and essential property, and that a free man had the inalienable right to the fruits of his labor and to freely exchange such fruits with others. Thus, any non-tangible compensation for one’s free labor, such as money (merely a token of exchange for later redemption), was no different from a direct barter, and no less than 100% one’s own natural property.

    It was only when one created surplus (profit or unearned income), or more value than one produced by one’s own labor, that one had economic “income” which accumulates into economic wealth (capital). Economic surplus (profit) can be generated only by the exploitation of the labor of others, by charging interest on a monetary loan, or reaping dividends from an economic investment. Or it can be generated by appropriating part of the natural commons for one’s exclusive use – land and its bounty – and charging rent to others who are thereby deprived of its use. It is this latter form of “real property” that is purely a social invention and hence not inalienable.

    True income, being a form of theft from others, demands a return to society in the form of taxation, tariff or excise. It was broadly understood that a man’s wages belonged to him alone; but profit, interest, dividend and rental income belonged in part to everyone and could be legitimately re-appropriated to redress the economic imbalance.

    This was, in fact, the view of Thomas Paine, expressed in his final revolutionary pamphlet, Agrarian Justice (1797), and shared by a number of great American thinkers, such as Henry George (the author of the most read book in America after the bible, Progress and Poverty, 1879). And it was for this reason that Paine proposed an inheritance tax to redress the imbalance every generation and to fund a universal social security program, and that George proposed a single tax on land (the expropriated commons).

    But, since our national constitution was written by wealthy land-owners, and Congressional acts were often made at the expense of the peasant and working classes, the wages of labor were considered constitutionally taxable by the federal government while income from artificial property was not. This came to a head when Congress in, 1894, attempted to impose a federal tax of just 2% on incomes over $4,000 (worth $107,446 today). Derided as “un-Democratic, inquisitorial, and wrong in principle”, it was challenged in federal court and ruled unconstitutional by those who controlled the nation’s wealth.

    So in 1909, President William Howard Taft proposed a 2% federal income tax on corporations – “upon the privilege of doing business as an artificial entity and of freedom from a general partnership liability enjoyed by those who own the stock” – and a constitutional amendment to allow an income tax. That 16th Amendment, opposed by northeastern industrialists, was nevertheless ratified in 1913 and the Revenue Act of the same year, signed by Woodrow Wilson, enabled a tax on income “from any source whatever”.

    Yet that first constitutional income tax was a very progressive tax, because of the nation’s first populist uprising. The Socialist Labor Party advocated a graduated income tax in 1887,and the short-lived Populist Party demanded a graduated income tax in its 1892 platform. So the tax was 1% on the incomes of couples exceeding $4,000 (about $94,000 today), as well as those of single persons earning more than $3,000 (about $74,500 today), and up to a 7% top marginal rate for income beyond $500,000 (nearly $12 million today). This 7:1 ratio was the highest and most progressive America ever had (Reagan dropped it from 6.36:1 to 1.87:1 in 1986, and today it’s a theoretical 2.64:1). It would require only a few years following ratification for the federal income tax to become the chief source of revenue for the federal government, but less than 1% of the population paid federal income tax at the time. The 99% were free.

    Taxation and war have always been tied at the hip in America. The nation’s first income tax (later ruled unconstitutional) was initiated to pay for the Civil War. The 16th Amendment was passed in time for WWI and, by the depth of our involvement in WWII, the top marginal rate was 94% for incomes over $200,000 (more than $2.5 million today) with no taxation below an income of $2,000 (almost $26,000 today). But Congressional slight of hand maneuvers brought millions of additional Americans onto the tax rolls. This included taxation of both state and federal public employees, basing taxes on gross – rather than net after living expenses – income with a “standard deduction”, serial reduction of the statutory exemption and dependent deduction, the initiation of wage withholding, and a temporary Victory Tax of 5% on gross earnings beyond $624 ($8,000 today). Withholdings were required even on those with non-taxable earnings, forcing the filing of a return in order to receive a refund, thus circulating a great deal of money through the treasury and avoiding federal borrowing – in effect, an interest-free loan from workers to the government. To further the subterfuge, Congress created the “adjusted gross income” which, for businesses was after-expense net income but for wage earners was gross personal income.

    The income tax was magically transformed from a “class tax” to a “mass tax” under the guise of a war emergency. The number of returns filed in 1939 was approximately 4 million, or 3% of the population. By 1945 the number of people required to file a tax return increased to almost 50 million – 36% of the American people. The income exemption and standard deduction were not raised until 1969.

    The definition of “income” in the 16th Amendment was economic gain beyond basic expenses, and the income threshold for taxation reflected this concept. Because of the massive currency inflation caused by World War II, somewhere around 1943–1944 the cost of living exceeded the statutory exemptions. Since then, the cost of living has far exceeded the statutory exemptions and standard deduction. In 1913 the minimum taxable income was three to six times the average salary. Today the statutory exemption and standard deduction is approximately one-tenth the average cost of living. As a result, today’s workers are enslaved both to their employers and to the government.

    • aj

      must read 4 insight

    • Ayn Marx 666

       To speak of wealth, rather than income:  most of the property in this nation is held by artificial persons created by society via the State; much of the property either is or is rooted in the Statist construction of “intellectual property”, in which State violence and its threat are used to prevent others from using what could be used by anyone.

      I think i.p. does something useful in creating greater incentive to innovate, and a remunerative way to disseminate, but it has been taken far too far, and in any event its creation represents a sort of theft from everyone else which demands fair recompence [sic---I hate Noah Webster].

      Even in the case of non-i.p., the service rendered by the State to a man in helping him retain and pass on some hundreds of millions of dollars is so much greater than that it renders in protecting what property the rest of us has that the rich owe in that way as well.

      I don’t believe, as Franklin did, that the rich man owes his wealth to the use of society down to the last fraction of a cent (as the repayment of a just debt), but all the ‘self-made’ men would be shivering barbarians—or worse, barbarian war-lords, given their typical personality—were it not for the unearned benefits they have reaped from their fellow-man

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        For the history of the fiction of intellectual property and its abominations, see my blog Ideas are not Property: People Aren’t Property, Property (Corporations) Aren’t People, Spreading Ideas Is Not Theft

        http://riversong.wordpress.com/ideas-are-not-property/ 

        “If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.”

        - Thomas Jefferson, letter to Isaac McPherson, Monticello, August 13, 1813

    • aj

      Care to infer what kind of ‘ universal social security program ‘ a President Tom Paine had in mind? Similar to FDR’s or something more expansive, more european?

      • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

        It doesn’t have to be inferred, since it was explicitly described in his pamphlet, Agrarian Justice. It would be paid for by an estate (inheritance) tax on accrued wealth (which is made possible by society).

        I shall now proceed to the plan I have to propose, which is, to create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property; and also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age…[For context, the average annual wage of an agricultural laborer was around £23, which is almost US$50,000 today. £10 would translate to about US$21,000 and £15 to nearly US$32,000.]

        There are, in every country, a number of blind and lame persons totally incapable of earning a livelihood. But as it will always happen that the greater number of blind persons will be among those who are above the age of fifty years, they will be provided for in that class. The remaining [estate tax funds] will provide for the lame and blind under that age, at the same rate of £10 annually for each person…

        It is not charity but a right, not bounty but justice, that I am pleading for…I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it.
         
        The plan here proposed will reach the whole. It will immediately relieve and take out of view three classes of wretchedness – the blind, the lame, and the aged poor; and it will furnish the rising generation with means to prevent their becoming poor…The plan here proposed will benefit all, without injuring any. It will consolidate the interest of the republic with that of the individual.

        Read more at my blog Thomas Paine’s Radicalism http://riversong.wordpress.com/thomas-paines-radicalism/

  • aj

    u should of had john bogle on, to counter this well-to-do turd

  • Terry Tree Tree

    This GREEDY rich individual is telling us that HIM getting GREEDY RICHER, while 99% of the people get poorer, is GOOD? 
        FOR HIM!
       WHAT has Mr. Conard invented?     The cure for CANCER?
       Has HE invented a cheap cure for AIDS?
        Has HE innovated an END to AUTISM?
        With his wealth, he should have invented ALL the above, AND MUCH MORE!
        OR, has he just ‘invented’ another way to take other peoples’ money, jobs, pensions, and futures, to get GREEDY RICHER?
      

  • Maureen

    Let’s trot the one percent out like a rare species, shall we?

    Dare we believe … They speak!  They speak to us!

    A bit redundant, as all they do is speak.  On every news hour, television show, billboard, and currently, in every piece of legislation.

    And last time I checked, this page still linked to Facebook, which is likely cyber stalking me across the internet as write this.

    Marvelous, this weird endangered species whose newest boy-man is going to give us a carefully calibrated presentation on taking chances with our non-existent resources.  

    Hush, children, and listen: the oracle is opening.  

    How terribly broad minded of you, On Point.  Meanwhile you have never aired a lucid critic of capitalism: yes, capitalism, that holy notion we are meant to swallow obediently every morning with our multivitamin.  

    Would that be a bit too on point, or is its face simply not white, male, and marketable enough for you?  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Forrest-Johnson/1245793776 Forrest Johnson

    I am one of the 1% and I am worried.  I just sent an e-mail to some of my peers, suggesting that we were over-committed on financials.  These days, most financial transactions involve the purchase of deriviatives, futures, credit default swaps, or something else that has no intrinsic value.  The deriviatives market alone amounts to hundreds of trillions annually, eclipsing the real economy.

    This is going on with very little federal oversight or transparency.  Hedge fund managers collect huge, hundred-million dollar salaries, for what amounts to legalized gambling, and are treated as successful entrepreneurs and “job creators,” which they plainly are not. The dirty truth is that all this speculative ferment adds NOTHING to the economy. The total net value of all those trillions in derivatives is ZERO.

    And yet, when the speculators lose big, when their house of cards comes crashing down, it is the taxpayer that is left paying for it. Heads, we win, tails, you lose.

    • aj

      “MAYOR of London candidate Ken Livingstone has sparked a new outrage after telling an audience: “Hang a banker a week until the others improve.”

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Mr. Johnson,    If you are one of the 1%, WHY do you not invest in JOBS for the 99%, and encourage your peers to?
          As you point out, MOST of the usual ‘investments’, are gambling or theft! 
          You, your peers, and the people getting JOBS, would ALL profit, from smart investments in the JOBS sector. 
         The GREEDY rich, will continue to PROFIT from the loss of JOBS of their countrymen.  YOU, and your peers, that will help, CAN do MUCH!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Forrest-Johnson/1245793776 Forrest Johnson

        To answer your question: U.S. corporations are sitting on trillions in cash, which is not invested in production because of the weakness of the consumer market.  While the economy has expanded over the last ten years, real median family income has not. http://www.npr.org/2011/09/13/140438725/census-2010-saw-poverty-rate-increase-income-drop

        Weak consumption -> weak production -> fewer jobs

        The surplus cash ends up partly in mergers and stock buy-backs, but mostly in financial instruments.  Hence, we have booming financial markets while the real economy is stagnant.

        • Zero

           Ah yes, weak demand.  I guess instead of firing 600,000 public employees we should have hired more to stimulate the private markets.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          That’s why I implored YOU to act for the benefit of the country, NOT JUST your pocket!
             You said you are part of the 1%, therefore, you have the wherewithal to START JOBS, and influence your peers to do so, too!
             YOU’ll still profit, maybe not as much money, but profit.   If you have a reasonable sense of people, and the more open territory, you’ll profit.
              YOUR millions, and those of your peers, can make a BIG difference!
              There ARE innovative, and inventive people in the world.  I see several of them at the Tenn. Inventors’ Assoc. meetings that I attend!   I meet MORE in regular life.   REAL solutions, to REAL problems, with potential for REAL profits.
             Look around, please.

  • Ayn Marx 666

    Every useful thing of which I know—largely the growth of science and mathematics, and of technology—was done for love.

    People can get _incredibly_ involved in the outcome of games that will have nothing to do with whether they and their children will suffer hunger, exposure, or disease.  We don’t _need_ the floor of capitalism to be the deepest pit we can dig in the root-cellar; people will strive mightily to be on the third floor rather than the first.

    I don’t blame this person:  he is acting out a rôle dictated to him by his circumstances, so much like the lowest mugger or prostitute, he is not really responsible…in a better world he could have done something useful.

  • Roy Mac

    This guy is not a capitalist.  He is a parasite.  In the current Russia, he would be a plutocrat, with a private army.  Come to think of it, he probably has a private army billeted in Greenwich–or he should.

    Capitalists put up risk capital for the purpose of making things or punching holes in the ground or learning how to provide stuff people want to buy.  These twits spend their capital on lobbyists, gaining guarantees from corrupt office-holders.

  • RightequalsWrong

    Take some risk, single mother with four kids and two jobs that couldn’t get an abortion because of three day waiting period( Utah), which I’m sure Conard is all for. It’s risky to fail a massive bank, you’ll end up with a bailout and keeping your job so you can do it all over again, like I said risky.

  • Roy Mac

    Tom Ashbrook.  Usually you have interesting guests.  What was the issue today?  Did this dipshit make a contribution to WBUR of some several hundreds of thousands?

    Your shows are normally of a high caliber, occasionally mediocre, rarely crappy.  Today was crappy; exceptionally crappy.

  • Cmb

    I listened to todays OnPoint.  What I heard was inequality. Asking some people to pay more than others for the same thing.  Last I checked, my bank account or pay stub was not examined when I bought a gallon of milk.  Everyone is equal.  PLEASE ask everyone to pay the same for the same.

  • Tomashbrooksucks

    I’m assuming he’ll have magic beans to sell after? And yes let’s be sure to demonize Europe, no vision over there minus the entire space program we imported out of Germany, and healthcare for everyone? Hey Tom, you should interview Satan next, people will probably have less gripes. This is the worst of garbage journalism, allowing a rich guy to rationalize why everyone else should suffer. At least get Noam Chomsky to debate him. It might have the crazy side effect of actually educating the listening audience, clearly something that wasn’t important for the shows producers. Christ I weep for the future..

    • Cmb

      You are in a free society. What would you do if dropped
      in a free country as Louis and Clark? Just go DO!

  • KenS Miami

    What I heard tonight was a 1 hour infomercial for Mitt Romney.

    • Greg Ribot

       Disinfomercial

      • Pointpanic

        THat’s right, too Greg

    • Pointpanic

      THank you Ken THAT”S the word ,I was looking for.

  • mmblt

    I work with a few ‘entrepreneurs’. They constantly trash every social program. When I mention that they haven’t done this all alone, that there have been ‘helping hands’ all along the way, they redirect the conversation. These are some of the most self-centred individuals I’ve ever met. If they would ever develop anything  worth while (a stretch in these cases), they would immediately look to sell the idea ‘off shore’ and avoid all taxes. They are all ‘Great Americans’ just ask them….

  • blblivvy

    Spread the risk, spread the reward. How would it be different if many more people had the money to invest and their contributions were put toward these risky entrepreneurial opportunities? They could all benefit from them, instead of educating an elite group, ensuring that only the elite will have that opportunity? What if many more of us had access to the kind of education that fosters the talents you’re talking about, and many more achieved, and many more reaped the rewards.
    It’s SOOOO simple, isn’t it

    • Cmb

      Everyone has access to all the education.  I’ve looked on the internet.  It’s all there.

      • Zero

        You probably can get a college education with personal research on one’s own.  But doesn’t take a college education to do that kind of research?

        Moreover, the idea of a college degree is that most people are too stupid to realizes the smarts in front of their face that we need a diploma to hand them.

        Irony: you need a college education to realize you don’t need to go to college.

  • try to contain it

    Tom Ashbrook, usually spectacular, failed immensely tonight by not containing his bias. It was an otherwise fantastic program. 

    • Guest

      You mean his bias in favor of rationality?  Tom’s preserving his brand by turning on the bozo filter and not lettlng this charlatan guest spew his nonsense unchallenged in order to sell books.

      Conard was lucky that the tricks that made him rich that Bain was able to use were even legal at the time. Convince struggling business owners to load up their company with crippling debts while you collect huge fees, collect even more by selling your stock as you falsify the company’s record, then get out before the whole thing implodes.

      Are there any companies Conard/Romney was involved in that didn’t follow this pattern?  A single turnaround success story that wasn’t saddled with debt?

      There’s a reason that vultures like Conard used to be put in prison. We need those laws back on the books.

  • MA Entrepreneur

    Awuful.  An exercise in how to lie with statistics.  Just for starters, the false comparison with Europe and Japan as if there weren’t light years to travel between the extremes in the US and those and Europe.  Or lumping in golden parachuted CEO’s and Private Equity raiders using other people’s money with the founders of Google and facebook, who have indeed taken risks and bet their careers — there is no equivalence AND there is no requirement for extreme inequality to get them to take their risks.  A shot at a 10 fold improvement in potential wealth, sure, 100x, yes, sometimes, but 1000x?  Not required and bad for our ecomomy and our country.

  • LN

    There are
    two camps here and it’s difficult to even start have the discussion because
    these camps have very different values!

    On the one
    side, you have people who believe that capitalism is the most effective way to
    grow an economy. Sure.

    On the
    other side, you have people who believe that we should be striving to create a
    better society for everyone. The example the guest offers for Europe is a case
    and point. Most Europeans countries have Matured in their values and determined
    that Education, Health and a more equitable society is what they, as a group,
    they should be working towards.

    The
    U.S.A., on the other hand, (like an immature teenager) has decided that we
    should be seeking more growth so that we continue to be the big Dog, regardless
    of what happens to the people in the boarders.

    Yes, thus
    far, Capitalism is only system that provides the most returns for *investors*; however, this does not
    translate into returns for society and the people make possible those returns
    (the workers). European countries on the other hand have made the tradeoff:
    less growth for more stable, secure societies.

    It’s a
    value judgment as as long as the values are so divergent the conversation is futile.

    • Oneninetieth

      The problem is that is dude only a capitalist when it’s convenient for his argument (oh yeah, his pocket book too). He has no problem straying from capitalist position the situation calls for it — sounds a little bit like Romney, strangely enough.

  • Hidan

    Was Mr. Conrad everything folks thought he would be?

    • aj

      He sure iss. Its official, his role in society is the equivalent of…

      …a smallish, semi-dry, extraordinarily tenacious remnant of fecal matter which, when unwittingly rolled into a mixture with toilet paper lint by the action of wiping, becomes almost irremovably entangled among ones anal hair, a situationality exacerbated by the vigorous chafing and friction between the buttocks and most commonly remedied by the sad and almost entirely unavoidable remedy of plucking out at its root the individual hair to which each dingleberry is conjoined.

      I can Google an imagery and post it if need be?

    • Terry Tree Tree

      He sounds to be ALL the GREEDY I expected!
         Says that it’s EASY to become wealthy, then answers every pertinent question: “That’s too complicated”?
         Doesn’t he impress you as knowing his subject?

  • Scooter

    Tom- I am about 3 minutes into this interview( on WNYC) and I KNOW this guy is bent on spinning his personal postition into a philosophy. In the shadow of JP Morgan’s sinful gamble, I find it difficult to listen to this guy. I love your show and admire your capacity to bring two sides of an argument to the show. But just for the record- this guy is killing our country.

  • Oneninetieth

    Wow, this dude is pulling stuff out of his azzz. He’s a capitalist and by extension a laissez faire marketeer but he advocates compelling China to purchase more American goods rather than saving. Well, Mr. Expert they already do: airplanes, machinery, raw materials, entertainment, even IPods, but all this is really besides the point. On the other hand, he believes uncompromisingly that inequality is good for the economy is good. I say “Go grow a pair already.” If you’re going to be so ruthless, don’t wiggle around and come up a lame interventionous (and not true to capitalistic) policy as to “force China in the short run to” buy more from us. What on earth is that going to do make meaningful changes for the better. Stop skirting the issue. We want real solutions.

  • Peter

    This idea that the 1 % are responsible for job creation, growth of or economy is nonsense , when the middle class is grows  , our economy will only thrive . Trickle  down economics does not work , plain and simple. 

  • LN

    This guy is probably the type that wholeheartedly believes
    that less taxes is good for society; at the same time, he speaks very highly of
    innovators and entrepreneurs. My questions then, where is the next generation
    of entrepreneurs and innovators supposed to be educated….Only a small fraction
    of the population can afford to go to private school. Basic statistics would
    prompt one to seek out innovators of the larger proportion.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Stiffling the education of the masses, allows the GREEDY rich, to get their lackluster children educated to a superior level, in the ‘best’ schools, ensuring their mediocrity, a prominent position in employment?

  • helenejpowers

    This guest was way off-base and not of the usual caliber of your interviewees, Tom. As a Progressive Christian involved in the Occupy Movement, I am beyond tired of hearing from these folks for whom greed, profit and the bottom line are a religion and world view. They’ve already brought our world and planet to a dangerous tipping point. Let’s hear from more creative folks, such as those in the cooperative community (2012 is the International Year of the Cooperative), with a triple bottom line of people, planet and profits. http://blog.helenepowers.com/

  • Skeyewoker

    When the argument is about risk and reward, I believe the core (the point) of the argument raises what motivates. In 1959 Herzberg published the results of what motivates people. The study has been repeated redesigned challenged during the ensuing years–with the same outcome. People find reward in three things: achievement, challenge, and collaboration.

    Notice big bucks is not in the list.

    I have seen the movie and read the book. Neither Steve Jobs nor Mark Zuckerberg nor Instagram and not even the Israeli guys who did that fantastic instant messaging app (which AOL finally bought up) did it because of the big bucks. They did it because they thought it ought to be done, it hadn’t been done, and they were going to figure out how to do it.

    They didn’t need the possibility of big bucks to do it. In fact I bet if we looked at all the efforts that have been done to get big bucks, we will find a dearth of innovation.  To Innovate is a different outcome from To Make Big Bucks.

    If big bucks worked as a driver of innovation, Japan, Russia, and many other countries would have much more innovation than they have. The genetics of the culture (mostly mysteriously) drive innovation. (No help for those who desire to change their cultures innovation.) However notice Japan has been more successful at implementing many of our electronic innovations than we have. Over and over they have taken our innovations which died at the patent office and built electronics which we then buy back from them. Different cultural genetics.

    Ted Conner clearly has accomplished much in his life and is a very good speaker. And I am not comparing him to Hitler when I say Hitler also accomplished much in his life and was a very good speaker. I mean in my comparison to indicate other things than earning lots of money, publishing a book, speaking well must be considered when talking about the welfare of a whole society. Many accomplished people made very convincing arguments for slavery. Women have made many advances, but still do not get to play by the same rules as men. I could go on and on.

    Richard Wilkinson in his TED Talk illustrates that the countries that have the greatest inequalities between the rich and the rest also have a much lower quality of life than the countries with the least inequalities between the rich and the rest.

    Great reward does not drive innovation, here or anywhere else. In fact much innovation is driven by how the masses can benefit. Let’s have an innovative conversation about  employing the masses, not the 1 in a million who hits the lottery.

  • http://twitter.com/matcatastrophe mat catastrophe

    Mr. Conard got completely destroyed by every other person spoken to in this piece. All he could say was, “Um. Sure. Well, that’s a complicated question with a complex answer” which boils down to “That totally blows a big hole in the side of the steaming hill of dung that I call a thesis.”

    Thanks for making my day a little brighter by giving this guy a platform to show the inanity of the arguments he makes.

  • Katherine Boyd

    I’m not an economist but I understand what Paul Krugman and Joe Stieglitz are saying when they talk about the economy and what needs to be done to fix it.  I DO NOT understand what Ed Conard is saying.  He makes absolutely no sense.  And his thesis, that inequality is good and more inequality is better, is beyond belief.  The man is completely out of touch with reality, and I hope that conservatives who back Romney will listen to Ed Conard and reconsider, because Romney is just as out of touch as Conard.  

  • Zero

    Romney at Liberty University…?  God forbid he goes to a place where his opinion may be challenged….

    I can’t wait for the debates. 

    • stephen carr

      A great debate between Romney and the man who said he would bring hope and change and instead brought Geithner and Lawrence Summers to the White House, gave a free ride to Wall Street and apparently told his Justice Department “this is not the Fraud you are looking for” with a wave of the hand.  Who will actually represent the truth in that debate??

      • Zero

        I think it’s pretty obvious that Obama is at the mercy of the banks filling his pockets instead of the republicans.  I have said here before that if Obama doesn’t try to end the corporatocracy, I’m done with the democrats and moving to a more liberal minded party.

        And Bush had the chance to force the banks to refinance ‘everything’ but TARP was a hand out.  That was really the only time we had the banks against the wall, but yes, Obama has handed money over to them without stipulation. 

  • Greg Ribot

    Everything Ed Conard is telling us about the economy is wrong, that’s for sure. I heard him saying the same things earlier today on the Brian Lehrer show. Twice in one day on NPR!!? I guess if you tell lies often enough they’ll become the truth.  He wants us to disregard our own experience, logic and history. If the Romney campaign can colonize NPR to this extent, then you can
    only imagine how much the commercial airwaves are being inundated with
    this pseudo intellectual hogwash.
    Didn’t we just see how these self proclaimed geniouses socialized the risk while keeping the profits?  What good is it if the economy is bigger when everybody’s life sucks because of these parasites. 
    All of this self serving nonsense is based on layers and layers of false assumptions. These “talented” people are strip mining the economy and the entire planet.   If they were rewarded according to their accomplishments, they’d all be in jail.

    • Redredrobin

       re: twice in one day on NPR….give the guy more shovels, he’ll dig deeper ditches…

  • Jim

    I don’t agree with what the guy was trying to say, but it’s worse that he didn’t seem very well informed or insightful. This might have been okay for the second hour, but it was not good to put it in the first hour. Please try to find a more well informed conservative if you are interested in discussing these types of views.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GZME4AW5QLKO43ABQGZ77JPXBA Erik

    I have been trying to come up with a thougthful, insightful comment on Mr. Conard’s conversation today but I cannot. This guys on cloud 9.

  • Michael M

    Between the ages 25 and 70, sixty percent of Americans will spend at least one year below the official poverty line…
    Where is the big success Mr Conard is talking about and for whom?
    As for ‘great innovators’, what jobs do they create — everything, from screwdrivers to baby clothes, is made in China –.  How many people does Apple employ in the US?

  • Joan

    Lets go back to taxing  the rich ( two million or more) at 90%.  To avoid paying taxes they will invest their tax obligations in new investments. This way they will create jobs.  

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    In addition to doing a time-trade based economy for what would be subsistence level living outlined earlier herein, I would like to see the government (that’s us!) create a new series of government bonds that only American Citizens can invest in where the interest earned goes directly to overdue tax bills as well as a payback from those who profited most from the “temporary” Bush tax reductions.  It is obvious they were a mistake.  We may not be able to get it all back, but it would be a start.  The system was manipulated by the wealthy to such an offensive degree that something along those lines must be done to at least restore some sense of fairness.    Our country needs us.  Are you willing to be a patriot or not?

    Why weren’t their war bonds for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars?
    Maybe it is time to wage war on our domestic problems.

    To Romney and Conard, Cayman islands indeed!  If you like it and your other tax-havens so much I say go there and live.

  • DaveD

    I listened to part of the conversation with Conard, and he kep talking about “risk takers” and all the good they do. 

    I knew a guy who came from a very well-off New England family. Father went to Harvard, grandfather went to Harvard, great-grandfather went to Harvard, etc, etc. My friend was a really nice person, and I have nothing against him. When we were young, he tried to start a few different businesses, each time borrowing some money from dad and/or grandpa, and each time starting out with introductions to presidents of banks and CEOs of corporations. Each business failed, and after each failure my friend would then spend a few months at the family’s beach house, thinking of what went wrong, and what to try next.

    My mother finished high school (public, of course) and my dad made it to 10th grade before dropping out to get a job. I have kids, a wife, and a mortgage.

    As I mentioned, I hold nothing against my lucky friend; however, I always think of him when I hear people talk about Romney and what a great, risk-taking businessman he was. It’s not much of a risk when you start out with connections and money, and have no fear of ending up on the sidewalk with your wife and kids.

    What’s that line about George W? “He was born on third base and thinks he hit a home run.”

  • Guest

    Mr Conard, My seven year old son just completed a module about taxation and had questions as to why we would pay taxes so that other people get “stuff”. I think the answers apply to this discussion and hopefully it will help you to understand my family’s view of “American Exceptionalism”:

    1.  We care deeply about those in our community would not want to eat a great steak dinner and live in a fancy house while there was a kiddo a mile away who was going to bed hungry and cold.
    2.  We have been exceptionally L-U-C-K-Y.  While your Dad and I work very hard, the real reason that we are able to have a nice house and live in a safe neighborhood is because God gave us a healthy dose of smarts.  That is has absolutely nothing to do with anything we did or didn’t do…we were born that way and we have a responsibility to help those who weren’t as lucky.  There may be a few people who are lazy, but most people would gladly work as hard as they could to have what we have.  They just weren’t as lucky either in smarts or in circumstances.  Most people who are successful think there is something special about them or that they deserve it.  Don’t believe it for a second - it has a lot to do with luck.
    3.  Nobody who has been successful gets there on their own.  Your teachers are helping you to learn what you will need to know to get a good job.  Your coaches are teaching you how to work on a team.  The lady that helps Mommy clean our house makes it so that we have more time to spend doing things together instead of scrubbing the floors.  EVERYONE in our lives makes our life what it is.  You are surrounded by people who are ready to give you a helping hand and we need to do the same.  We live in a community and we have a responsibility to make sure everyone who needs a little help gets it.
    4.  If you still don’t think it’s fair, then think about what it would be like if you had very poor people on one side of the street and very rich people on the other.  What if you were one of the poor people?  Don’t you think you would be mad…especially if you were working hard..and what do you think would happen?

    BTW…I need a CONCRETE (with documentation) example of a company that Bain Capital invested where you or anyone at Bain Capital thought there was a 99% chance that the company would fail.  If there is one, I see that as proof positive that we are rewarding *BAD* decisions – your chances are better at your local bookie.

  • manganbr

    Someone needs to do a more consistent analysis of the  aristocratic ideology that lurks behind much of the free market rhetoric lately. Is this the triumph of free market economics, or the persistence of the “ancien regime?” The emphasis now so often is on how the wealthy will create jobs for everyone else (rather than on how the market creates the conditions for people to contribute, and, perhaps even create jobs for themselves). The ideological mystification is the claim that the financial ambitions of the wealthy, if left alone, will translate into opportunities for everyone (as if that’s an unquestionably logical proposition). But at the same time, in this rhetoric, there’s a sense that, even if this opportunities don’t appear, well too bad, because the free market is good and natural and pure in itself, regardless of the results for the larger society. 

    It’s one thing to argue that we shouldn’t hate the rich for their wealth, or stigmatize success; but it’s quite another thing to base an economic philosophy on a demand that we trust in their social benevolence. 

  • Vic Volpe

    I thought the historical value of a society was judged by what it builit, not how much the “builders” were compensated.  Did Thomas Edison and Henry Ford do what they did because they wanted to be wealthy?  Steve Jobs?  Bill Gates?  What will be the legacy we leave for those who follow if we are mainly concerned about “adding value” instead of creating something (other than creating wealth)?

  • observer

    All the G.O.P.’s Gekkos , The truth about the job creators ….
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/09/opinion/krugman-all-the-gops-gekkos.html

    The Austerity Debacle , Paul krugman, NYT
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/30/opinion/krugman-the-austerity-debacle.html

  • Redredrobin

    This entire premise that the US has done a much better job than Japan and Europe is flawed.  What is the measure of better?  Walking around Japan, i challenge you to find homeless, delinquency, poverty…. it’s much much harder to find. 

    Furthermore, it doesn’t matter your background, your salary, or your medical history, you get equal access to healthcare.

    If a measure of success is by how well a nation takes care of its own and not by how well the richest of the rich drive the economy (not to mention contribute to the swindling of the world’s nation states with unrealistic promises driven by greed), Japan and most of Europe are far beyond the U.S.

    • jefe68

      I can find you a boat load of homelessness in Tokyo.
      It’s not on the scale that we have here, but it’s there. 

  • http://twitter.com/TongoRad TongoRad

    Seems to me that these “risk takers” are immune from the actual risks of working class life.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    One of the thousands of Volunteer Fire Fighters, and Volunteer Rescue Squad members, that risk our lives, jobs, health, and other things, to help our fellow man in danger, WHAT do these ‘risk-taker’ MILLIONAIRES truely RISK?
        Disgusting cowards, hiding behind their wealth, mostly acquired by fraud or other crimes!

    • Gregg

       You need to see someone about that.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        I see wreck victims, when paged to a wreck.  I see people with problems, when paged to a fire. 
           Who else do you reccomend that I see?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ADZ6TZZKHWRLDNAOP6R2MBBP6A Bob S

    The only measure by which our economy is working better than Japan’s or Europe’s is the GDP.  Of course, having 1% of the population locked up in prisons and a cancer epidemic requiring expensive treatments are just two of many examples of things that will drive up GDP, but are detrimental to quality of life.

  • Bgaidry

    “If Americans want to live the American dream, they should go to Denmark.” – Richard Wilkinson

    http://www.ted.com/talks/richard_wilkinson.html

  • Guest

    Edwards last name should be “Canard” not Conard.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      CON-artist?

  • Guest

    When Conard talks about all these scary “tightropes” that the rich and successful have managed to cross unscathed, he cleverly avoids pointing out that there are, in fact, TWO KINDS of tightropes. One is provided with a nicely padded safety net below it that is held up by friendly Boards of Directors, and the other is the “real one” that everyone else, particularly the middle class and not-well-connected entrepreneurs have to cross. ALL PEOPLE in our society cross multiple tightropes every day! They must make tough decisions every day! But, the people we call  “successful” and sometimes worship have never really taken any big risks – this is a big fallacy and myth that is being foisted on us by people like Conard, in a desperate effort to deflect attention from the fact that our economy is just not fair. Most of the people we regard today as highly successful entrepreneurs, never “suffered” one day in their lives, they never lived in their cars, they never went without health insurance, they never had massive student debt and they certainly never went hungry or lost all their money! People like Zukerberg, Jobs, Brinn, Bezos, never had to take HUGE RISKS and in the case of Zuckerberg he had nothing to lose and everything to gain by working on Facebook (as a college project!). What risk did Zuckerberg take? How much did Zuckerberg “suffer” in order to get where he got? Wouldn’t he have worked on this anyway, even without any guarantee of wealth?? He worked on it because he thought it was cool and exciting. Same goes for everything Jobs did (it wasn’t about the money). These claims that we only get innovation and invention by rewarding people with huge sums of money in exchange for HUGE RISKS is complete nonsense and not supported by historical fact. The reason that Europeans and other cultures don’t innovate quite as much as we do (and they DO innovate – particularly in terms of social progress), is that they don’t value developing “new gadgets”, acquiring “new toys” and making lots of money as much as Americans do – they also value quality of life. We might do well to adopt some of their priorities for a change.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      European Patent System is FAR more Expensive, and difficult, than USPTO USED to be! 
         Foreign Corporations have changed the U.S. Patent Laws, so now it will be EASY for them to steal from inventors!

      • Guest

        Agree, but beyond that, domestic companies like these changes as well, and foreign companies don’t even have to wait for patents to issue to steal new ideas, they just use hacking and planted employees. To add insult to injury they now will also be able to apply for patents – in the U.S. – on technology they may have stolen, as long as it can’t be proven they have stolen it (i.e. by spying or hacking) and get to the patent office first! All the documentation in the world won’t be able to help anymore if it’s not already at the patent office. How is a company going to know what they are working on is being stolen if they are being hacked? They might only find out when a Chinese patent issues on it. The U.S. messed up a pretty good system (which was developed before the Europeans). All this is designed to make life simpler for multinationals – the independent inventor can go to hell.

        Anyway, as a said, Europeans and others aren’t as obsessed (yet) as we are when it comes to material things and “shinny new bobbles” (although the Chinese and Indians are getting there pretty quickly). If EVERYTHING becomes Americanized then we will be in trouble indeed (we use 5-10 times more stuff, including energy and water than anyone else).

  • Guest

    “Risk Takers” – Give Me A Break!!!! LOL

    The real risk takers are those – ever fewer – independent inventors that are willing to spend their last dime (including their lunch money) trying to do something truly innovative and, preferably, without the “help” of fat-cat “vulture capitalists”. They don’t do what they do because THEY EXPECT a huge payout – they do what they do for the same reasons that artists and musicians do what they do! Conard KNOWS NOTHING about what motivates the innovative spirit (and has always motivated it). “IT’S THE FREEDOM TO BE CREATIVE – STUPID” – not the money! Nicola Tesla was once wealthy, but he spent it all on continued invention and he never regretted losing it or “expecting” to get it back. He died in poverty but kept inventing right till the end. THAT’S who the real innovators are, THAT’S who the real entrepreneurs are, THAT”S the kind of people that used to represent the “American Dream” – not people like Conard!

    I am glad to see that there are now some good internet based alternatives to the vulture capitalists, when it comes to seed money (with no strings attached).

  • Rod

    It’s insulting that this man would rely so heavily on a “mining” metaphor. My grandfather and great-grandfather, ordinary people, were both killed in silver mines in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah (now known for ski resorts with colorful mining-related names), serving the interests of the individuals (the 0.001%) who never set foot in any of these mines. One only need to cruise South Temple Street in Salt Lake City to see mansion after mansion built for these people. My ancestors, despite this guy’s claims, never had a chance.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/IZ657XKUJRORVV35QSB663MNY4 Neal

    This guy Ed was shoveling more krap than a farm and sewage plant combined.

    • Guest

      Well then … he “deserves” even more money, doesn’t he??? Especially since he’s figured an oh-so “clever” argument to support letting the rich get even richer, by any means :-).

      Yeah, that “tightrope” analogy is rich too. He’s SOOOooo brave, don’t you know.

  • twenty-niner

    I disagree with the weak demand thesis as it’s typically laid out. There is actually strong demand for innovative products such as smart phones where sequential growth has gone parabolic. There is, however, little demand for same old, same old. There are only so many SUVs one could possible want to own, and the housing bubble borrowed a lot from future demand for these types of durable goods, as home owners cashed in equity for Escalades.

    In my view, debt bubbles produce way more mal-investment than tech bubbles. In the end, the tech bubble gave us huge advances in communication, allowing literally everyone on the planet to become connected, further allowing the amount of information at one’s finger tips to grow 10 orders of magnitude.
     
    The debt bubble, with significantly more investment than the tech bubble, gave us piles of bricks and sheet rock, exaburban sprawl, a derivative-based nuclear arsenal, descimated balance sheets for governments, banks, and consumers, and a wicked nasty recession that’s trying it’s best to become a depression. In short, the debt bubble has given us a decade of mal-investment.

    Now Keynesians want another debt-fueled decade of mal investment to mask the affects of the last decade of mal investment. If we take this course, in ten years, our stew will certainly be cooked. What we need is less debt-based investment building piles of bricks, and more venture-based investment building new technologies. As demonstrated by smart phone sales, the demand for innovation is still very strong; so as a country we need to get back to the business of inventing, which is the true engine of growth and wealth.

  • Angry listener

    Conard justifies his empty analysis with a typical end-run around the lessons of history:  “this is a different economy than it was before.”  Free-marketeers riding exploitive bubbles frequently use this rationale to justify lack of regulation and the so-called virtues of inequality.  As if the rest of us don’t understand the idea of value creation.

    But the truth is that capitalism has always needed intervention to save it from itself.Did you hear how many times he invoked Google and Facebook, as if the key to economic health were simply a clever technology problem?And really, was there not enough wealth available before the superrich started compensating themselves, to the detriment of the economy as a whole, with truly obscene amounts of money?Please.

    • kyzipster

       ..good points. He seems to think we can all ride into the 21st century on a bubble as internet entrepreneurs, or something. If we don’t make the cut, too F-ing bad. It’s as simplistic as Ayn Rand and look where her ideology brought us.

  • kivenaberham

    here is why ed conard is full of sh•t!
    corporation don’t take risk, they buy innovation from public college and public university and turn around to sell it for billions. they armed themselves by the use of patent trolls. these lawyer as solder of war against working class start up. the american computer business millionaires are also traitors. they hide their money in country other then america to avoid paying tax and they spread wealth globally and not locally. this is the mulit-national corporate feudalism. the real super power in Washington. they are not interest being in united states. nor support america. they mean to whatever it take to make a profit. anyone who see their family their community lost their home and job would know this. is that good for america? only a rich man would say that. american steel industry was sold out to oversea by american business traitor (ABT), these millionaire did not want to be in the game of innovation, not would they want to putting their money where their mouth is.. , the fact are 3rd world country compete with japan’s steel industry at the same time we close ours. but the japanese steel industry is still alive today! why? because they buy and sell quality product! we can and could have done the same. but the american business traitor (ABT) walk away with billions. japanese millionaire invest in their own country. but the facts are american millionaire have destroy this country, not build it. and as always blaming working class people for not saving enough. WHAT A JOKE! all the while the rich banker lost billions gambling our investment away! the american millionaire don’t have any REAL loyalty to america! i say get out the forks people, its time to eat the rich!

    • Charles Gervasi

      You’re saying that it’s really not adding value review universities’ technology transfer office, find patents worth licensing, investing your own money in to get the idea started and to get credibility with early-stage funding sources, getting enough sales to interest angels or VCs, getting the technology commercialized before investors lose interest, and selling the commercialized technology to a company or getting an underwriter to take it public.  It sounds like you’re saying all that’s trivial and doesn’t add value.  The only reason you don’t do it is you recognize it ads no value and don’t want any part of it.  

      I don’t mean to be snide, but if you’re saying it’s easy to start a business using patents held by a public university.  It’s a lot of hard work, and the chance of success is low.

      • Guest

        Universities research new drugs, find ones that work, describe how to make them, patent them, test them (at least initially) and then basically “give these away” to the pharmaceutical companies to further develop and market and make TONS of money from (while the universities often get little or nothing from future profits). Remember too that most of this kind of research is done using taxpayer money. Want to know why pharma isn’t developing many blockbuster new drugs and prefer instead to make them “time-release” or combine them with other existing drugs and claim them as being something new? Because they don’t want to spend their own money to do this, they are waiting on more breakthroughs from university researchers.

  • Truth Seeker

    Romney and his “buddies” have never risked ANYTHING and have lived a charmed life compared to “true” American entrepreneurial heroes. Rich guys don’t automatically get to be called “heroes” of the economy and “job creators” (unless they actually create a “sizable” number of jobs). The way the rich get and stay rich is by other people agreeing to do the “dirty work” for them (including in China for Jobs and Apple).

  • OldQuote

    Over the previous week, I’ve heard of a series of 1%er’s are leaving the US.  Move their business off shore and now themselves.  Good riddance… right!?!?  Now who’s is going to pay for all these programs we want??

    • bkres

      Make it so that they can’t take “their money” with them. That wealth to my mind, not theirs, since it’s scientists and researchers who generate most innovation, and they are paid well but modestly by in large, and it’s workers who generate all the value. The investor class has a role, but the degree to which unearned wealth has far more power than those who produced earned wealth is ridiculous. How is it fair when PhDs are getting $20,000 a year as post docs in bio-tech firms while investors are getting “deserved” bigger dividends? It’s ridiculous. 

      Living in a city with a 30% poverty rate, having come up in a highschool with a 70% drop out rate, I’ll come out and say it: if making them give up a small chunk of their great wealth to help those who are deprived of their future makes me some sort of evil thieving commie, I’ll be an evil thieving commie till the day I die. 

    • Guest

      This is the same-old, same-old argument that people like Conard are making. We aren’t buying it anymore. Just tax the bastards like we did 30 years ago and only give tax credits for companies creating NEW jobs here in the U.S. (including foreign companies). Then tax foreign profits, push “American Made” labels, etc. We can fix this in a couple of years and get another $100B in revenues easy. It’s people starting at the bottom that create jobs – not the rich (why do they have to?).

  • Guest

    Tax greedy bastards like Conard 40% – that would help a LOT.

    • Pete

      Instead of making ad hominem arguments against Ed Conard and the “evil 1 %” you should try debating the points that are being made.  If he is so wrong this should be easy for all of you to do.

      Here is one of the many reasons why raising the tax rates, particularly on the wealthy, is a bad idea:

      TOTAL TAX REVENUE = TAXABLE INCOME * TAX RATE
      For example, if taxable income was $10 trillion, and average tax rate was 20%, the total tax revenue would be $2 trillion. Simple, right? So why wouldn’t total revenue increase to $3 trillion if you raised the average rate to 30%?! It’s because this assumes the other number, taxable income, stays constant. But the fact is, it doesn’t! Businesses and individuals change their behavior in response to changes in the tax rate structure. This partially explains why tax revenue actually increased under Kennedy, Reagan, and Bush (at least until the 2007 financial crisis), despite the fact they cut rates. Let’s examine why that first factor, taxable income, goes down in response to an increase in the tax rate.

      1.    Investors shift money from taxable investments (such as stocks and bonds) to non-taxable ones (such as municipal bonds). All investors, from millionaires to fixed income retirees, seek to maximize their annual investment income. Tax-free investments like munis naturally pay a lower rate of return. Taxable investments like corporate bonds, pay a higher rate. Since the government taxes a chunk out of taxable income, the after-tax return changes in response to a change in rates. For example, say a $1000 corporate bond pays 10 percent, leading to a $100 interest payment. A marginal tax rate of 30% means the after-tax return is $70 ($100-$30 tax). If the municipal bond pays a rate of 6 percent, the after-tax return is $60 ($1000*6%). So because $70 is higher than $60, the investor stays with the corporate bond. Now assume the marginal tax rate is raised to 50%, the after-tax return of the corporate bond is now $50 ($100-$50 tax). Since the municipal bond now pays $10 more, investors are likely to shift money from the corporate bond to the non-taxable muni. Consequently, that first factor, TAXABLE INCOME, drops to $0, and the tax revenue from the bond is completely eliminated. Sure, this is a simplified example, but rememberinvestors nowadays are more sophisticated, especially wealthy individuals that can hire expert accountants and lawyers to squeeze out every penny of income. Computers are making this easier every day.

      Source:
      http://www.balancedpolitics.org/editorials/why_do_increased_tax_rates_lower_revenues.htm
       

      • Guest

        See all the other comments below! You’re just talking MONEY, again -
        it’s all people like you seem to care about (get a real life that includes
        something more than that). And that’s NOT all that retirees care about. What
        about what makes their lives easier (like home care and health care)? What
        about what makes people want to get up in the morning and go to work? What
        about jobs? What about time off to spend with your family? What about
        vacations? What about low cost education? What about people who do amazing
        things without “expecting” much of anything, except maybe recognition
        of their efforts? For people like you it appears “money” is the end
        all and secret to happiness, when really it is just a fetish and way of keeping
        score. Pretty pathetic circular arguments all (leading back to how to allow the
        rich to make more and more money without having to contribute much back to
        society). Things worked just fine 30 years ago and even 60 years ago when tax
        rates were MUCH higher – everyone was employed and MUCH HAPPIER.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Complex way to say that GREEDY rich are going to STAY GREEDY rich, at the expense of everyone else?

  • Guest

    While we’re at it, lets have him walk a “real” tightrope, like 1000 up over the Grand Canyon – then he can show us all how “brave” he and his buddies are. His book isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. This is a re-hash of 1920s propaganda, pure and simple.

  • News Skeptic

    It’s pretty simple, Conard – if you’re accepting odds of 1 in a 1000 of making lots of money – THEN YOU’RE NOT DOING IT FOR THE MONEY!!! And quit using examples of entrepreneurs who don’t really care that much about money (like Zuckerberg, Jobs, Wozniac, Brin, Buffet and even Gates) and probably don’t agree with you at all – that’s a very cheap shot and costs you the <1% credibility you might have had BEFORE this book!  

  • Terry Tree Tree

    Over 600 comments!  Did he win the Miss Congeniality Contest?

    • Pointpanic

      more like a defecation contest

  • Terry Tree Tree

    I hope Ed Conard READS these comments!  
       He will see how effectively he sold his book, and silly concept?

  • Samsara

    I was hoping Tom would ask him why he personally felt he needed to make $100 million dollars. (We know he thinks he deserves it.)

    It scares me that this man is in the same cohort as the man who might be our next President.

    Hello, Brazil! 

    • Guest

      Why does he deserve more than people like Jonas Salk who made ZERO from HIS GREAT CONTRIBUTION (he could have made billions)?! Why don’t people like that, including the President (and most other great contributors to society) need lots of money to do what they do? These are all B.S. arguments to not only allow the rich to keep making more money but to now ALSO allow them to claim themselves as “heroes” – makes me sick, really.

  • notafeminista
  • Charles Gervasi

    I am an Obama supporter but was I was surprised to find I agree with most of the guest’s comments during the 30 minutes I listened.  The only part I question is his views on wealth disparity.  He seems to think it’s not a problem as long as overall wealth increases.  But the most valuable wealth is the first wealth we earn.  As we earn more, its utility decreases.  So _all things being equal_, uniformly distributed wealth is best.  Things are not equal, and there’s no policy to distribute wealth equally without ending the economy as we know it.  So we should accept wealth disparity but recognize it’s undesirable.  

    I really agree with the parts about how capital is allocated.  It seemed like he was saying we need to admit which capital is low-risk and (tacitly) insured and regulated by the gov’t and which is risky.  We need both for the economy to function well.  The trouble is the recent crisis put monies in peril that people thought were invested very conservatively.  

    I suspect President Obama would agree with the guest on these points.  It was a great show.  

    • Pointpanic

      I do too. Obama is not the “liberal’ everyone thinks, he is. Furthermore if inequality is “necessary” doesn’t that call capitalism into question?

      • Charles Gervasi

         It shows capitalism is not perfect, but in terms of generating marketable goods and services it’s amazingly better than anything else that’s been tried. 

        • Pointpanic

          yes, Charles, Captialism excels at generating marketable goods and services but when it does so at the epense of social equality and justice as well as the environment, it crosses a line.There’s more to life than consuming goods and services contrary to what capitalists want you to believe . Democracy calls us to be informed citizens who are capable of thinking critically about vital issues. Capitalists would have us be passive consumers.

          • Charles Gervasi

             I believe in capitalism and in what you say.  Informed citizens need to be aware someone’s always trying to sell you something and convince you you need more. 

  • Tom Sarratt

    I have a huge respect for Tom’s abilities to question a guest on nearly every point I am curious to hear explained further. But I was incredulous as I listened to Tom ignore the obfuscation and nonsense and supposed “facts” this guest used in replying to Tom’s questions. I think this is the most poorly prepared I have ever felt Tom to be for a guest. This guest was a snake oil salesman of the lowest degree and the fact that Tom continued to accept his ridiculous replies almost unchallenged was infuriating. Polite is one thing, but continuing to pitch softballs rather than ask some of the obvious questions he should have asked (Who is going to buy your goods and services when the Middle Class is gone?) Thank GOD for the other guest who called Conard out for his foolishness.

    • Pete

      I don’t think he suggested for a moment that the middle class would be gone or diminished by his point of view. On the contrary, he is suggesting that the only way the middle class grows is with an expanding economy and the only type of economy that can expand is one in which risk, investment and new business is not impeded or discouraged by government. This is the same position John F. Kennedy, liberal icon, took in the early 1960s.
      The principle and logic is the same.

      • Guest

        The economy worked MUCH BETTER 30-60 years ago when tax rates (including on capital gains) were much, much higher. Money DOESN’T “create” innovators – they are born (to then be exploited by the rich). The people you are talking about are the “successful vultures” – NOT the successful innovators and inventors and scientists and creators of new things who may also OCCASIONALLY get rich but usually don’t.

      • http://lowenfoundation.org/index.html FLowen

        Yeah, they especially like that risk part, where they reap and keep the rewards, and off-load the risks and debt to tax-payers.

        It thereby follows they shouldn’t have to pay any tax on such gains, being the heroes they are. 

      • Terry Tree Tree

        THEY have PROFITED, whether the workers suffered, or not. 
           RISK?
           When I see them putting their life on the line, to help others, I’ll accept that maybe they will ‘risk’?

  • http://www.lexalexander.net lexalexander

    Conard’s claim that “risk takers” should be rewarded rings quite hollow in a system in which Jamie Dimon can lose $2 billion of shareholders’ money in six weeks (and let’s face it, since 2008, every dollar that JPMC has played with has actually been taxpayers’ money) and still remain not only in his job but also on the board of the New York Fed.

    For people like Dimon, THERE IS NO RISK. THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED. THERE IS A CLUB. YOU AND I ARE NOT IN IT.

    And I’m not going to vote for anyone who appears in any way inclined to do anything with this system besides blow it up and start fresh.

  • Terry Tree Tree

    A 2 year-old, sitting on ALL but 2 toys, thinks it’s BEST that the other 99 2 year-olds share 2 toys?

    • Steve_T

       I think that makes them look like a spoiled brat or a child. The truth of it is, they are Vampires sucking the life out of this country. We’re just food.

  • Romney Bin Bush

    In every society, the obscenely rich and powerful have a perfect explanation to justify and protect their status. It was the case during the feudal ages, during the robber baron era, during today’s oligarchies like Russia, and even in dictatorships like Lybia and North Korea. You plebes just had the privilege to listen to how our own oligarchy justifies their status – we are the risk takers who create all the wealth. What BS!

  • marygrav

    Listen, not only hear what this free maket fiend is saying.  He is calling the 99% stupid and lazy.  He talks about the 1950s and 60s but does not factor in the point that Europe and Japan was just rebuilding.

    Then as Japan modernized its steel industry, the American Industrialist sent its steel making to Asia. The Unions were busted and those that did survive was raided by men like him and Mitt.

    All the losses have been shared out among the 99%; while the profits goes to the 1%.

    • Jljjcovga

      If you follow history both Germany & Japan rebuilt (with the help of the US) their manufacturing facilities after WWII including steel mills.  Our steel manufacturing plants were old & slowly modernized and had a strong union membership making very difficult to compete on a worldwide basis both in price & quality.

  • kyzipster

    Nowhere in this interview was the $14 trillion debt mentioned. Working people should not have to pay off this debt that gave the top 1% even greater wealth through the Bush era tax cuts. I don’t believe that the tax rates of the 1990s are so oppressive that they would hold back ‘risk taking’.

    This Conard person is a goof ball, rattling off his bizarre opinions that have no basis in reality. Where is the threat to the wealthy? Americans don’t hate the wealthy, we resent that they’re richer than ever while working people have lost so much in this historic recession. With inflation we’re losing more and more everyday.

    We want fiscal sanity, fair pay and security for a life of hard work and decent, affordable education for our children. And oh yeah, affordable health care for all. That wasn’t even in the conversation.

  • Guest

    Finally the truth is allowed to be told (after months of censorship):

    http://www.marketplace.org/topics/wealth-poverty/nick-hanauer-ted-talk-income-inequality-controversy

  • Doubting Thomas

    This was difficult to listen to, simply because he tended to ignore the actual concerns of people affected by the problems we have in this country. Ed preferred to go back to his talking point that instead of being frustrated, people should work harder and take risks.

    He ignores that with a few exceptions, this tried and true formula no longer works. Privatized profits, socialized risk is our new formula. Capitalize on that and you’ll get very wealthy very quickly.

    • Doubting Thomas

       “Pouring money into innovations that power growth.”

      I have a theory that the more buzzwords you use, the less you actually know about the subject in question.

      But it’s good to know that Romney, if he resembles anything like this man, is exactly who I think he is. Sad.

  • Guest

    Greedy bastards are destroying the planet by commodifying everything that sustains life.  Until there is a major shift within politics, economics and the environment life on this planet will become ever more impossible to survive on.

  • Mark Knoeller

    Who in our society should be the beneficiary of our cumulative civic endeavor? No one can avoid contributing to the economy. Why should so few benefit so much? The  by-products of our socioeconomic system in addition to wealth are industries, institutions, infrastructure, agriculture, science, eduction, and so on. Those that have benefited most apparently control the talking points, and influence decision makers to perpetuate a system that maintains their power. Shall we forsake all else for wealth.

    Consider the transformation of farming, from family business into mega business, and neighborhood family business to box stores. How  many of us can safely go about our daily activities walking or bicycling? Is it possible to live with out a car, or live off of the land? Are business, institution, and social culture what you would call ideal?

    Government, or our collective ideals are not the bogeyman, greed and fear are. Those with power and money have been the biggest beneficiaries of our economic effort, and look at the world around us (education, environment, poverty, violence, ext…).

    The world is a better place when I contribute my fair share. When I succeed it is my responsibility to help others succeed.

    And yet we are encouraged to consume more and more and more. Taking advantage of others is a primary principle of many who have benefited in our society. It is not profitable to let everyone have equal access to resources. Letting those that can afford it to drive up prices isn’t just wasteful, it is harmful. 

    We have converted healthy ecosystems, fresh water, clean air, the creative inspiration of the working public into increasingly unhealthy environments and tremendous wealth for very few.

    We must adopt the idea that the world is our home / house and everyone in it is our family. The things we do to the planet, to our neighbors we do to our children. our house and ultimately our selves.

    Giving so much wealth and power to so few assumes the rest are not worthy. And ignores the fact that the core principles of all humankind are much the same. Releasing the genius of all are people is the only way forward.

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