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It’s About The Middle Class

James Carville and Stan Greenberg on Election 2012. Money. Power. And the battle over America’s battered middle class.

President Barack Obama lays out his plan to extend tax cuts for the middle class, during an announcement from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 9, 2012. (AP)

President Barack Obama lays out his plan to extend tax cuts for the middle class, during an announcement from the East Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 9, 2012. (AP)

James Carville was the “Ragin’ Cajun” political strategist who pushed through Bill Clinton’s “it’s the economy stupid” White House victory in 1992.  Stan Greenberg is the Democratic pollster who digs in deep on what Americans really want and feel.

And right now Carville and Greenberg are both waving their arms and shouting about the American middle class.  It’s dying, they say, and we’re not America without it.  Romney talks” big economy,” they say.  Obama too, until recently.  But the winning way they say, is a laser focus on the middle.

This hour, On Point:  James Carville, Stan Greenberg, and the blazing crisis of the American middle class.

-Tom Ashbrook

 

Guests

James Carville, political consultant, attorney, and prominent liberal pundit. He’s co-author of the new book It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!

Stan Greenberg, Democratic pollster and political strategist who has advised the campaigns of Bill Clinton, Al Gore, and John Kerry. He’s co-author of the new book It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!

From Tom’s Reading List

ABC News “Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg have a message for the Obama campaign: Stop trying to convince voters that the last four years have been good for them, and start talking about what you are going to do in the next four years to make the economy and their lives better.”

Talking Points Memo “In a series of memos and media appearances last month, several Democrats fretted that the campaign was bungling its economic message by trying to persuade people that the economy is actually improving, rather than sympathizing with their troubles.”

Politico “In their forthcoming book, “It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!” Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg lay out both a harsh critique of Republican fiscal policies and a groundwork for Democratic economic proposals and, as you might expect, it’s Carville who comes out swinging with some of the most colorful language. Here are the book’s best quotes.”

Excerpt: It’s the Middle Class, Stupid!

Use the navigation bar at the bottom of this frame to reformat the excerpt to best suit your reading experience.

 

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  • JGC

    James Carville! Yabba dabba doo! Should be a fun hour. 

  • Drew (GA)

    Enjoyed reading the supplied material, looking forward to the show.

  • nj_v2

    Demo punditry, strategy, and bloviating. “How can we talk a good populist game and still cave to corporate interests?”

    *yawn*

    • HIdan

       DC Democrats always seem to cave to Corporate interest. Just wait for the shocker when they vote to extended the Bush Tax Cuts for all (after getting maybe extended unemployment insurance). Than agree with republicans (after the debt goes up by X tax cut extension) that the deficit is rising again(after republican collective amnesia about tax cuts increasing the debt)

      • nj_v2

        The kabuki dance continues. Watch as the forum partisans pretend their “side” is, in some significant way, “better” than the other. 

        Round and round we go.

      • ana

        Is not that the  reason for the former Bush cut extension?  A rather tough call for the President to leave  thousands without resources, one that goes directly back into the economy.  
        What is your suggestion?

  • Ryan_hennings

    I thought this show was suppose to have balance?  Today it seems to have just lefties.  Boo

    • nj_v2

      Ha ha! Corporate Dems are “lefty”! Good one!

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      Where did you see the part about balance?

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    So why do lower and middle class Republicans vote against their economic interests? What Svengali mastery do the Republican High Priests of Propaganda have such that the faith of the masses in Lazy Fairy Mythonimics doesn’t waiver, even in the light of the reality of 2007 meltdown? They chant in unison for  more deregulation even after the BP oil spill, even after Wall Street’s crime of the millennium, the list is endless. When will Democrats come up with clear and emotional but fact based talking points that drive to the heart of the matter that don’t ramble on in great detail ad nauseum just like this post?

    We need to tear down the myths!!!

    See this 6 minute lesson in economics by the Billionaire Nick Hanauer. We need more straight talk like this! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBx2Y5HhplI

    • Hidan

      Quite Simple and the Spin is actually base on the evolution of Mankind(which is odd). When talking often times a key phases/name/attack/praise is repeated over and over again while X properganist is talking(this is done in church all the time). So what happens is someone could spend a great deal of time watching/listening to a issue and only come away with the key phase/name/attack/praise totally missing if the rebuttal or main point make sense or is valid whatsoever.

      Democrats do this as well but Republican tend to be far better cause often they can make it sound simple black and white solution. The news media does the above on Foreign Policy repeating key U.S. government talking points using a key phase/name/attack/praise

      ” Every time you read it or say it, you make another copy in your brain.”Rightwing Talk radio is great at thishttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTepA-WV_oE

    • MrNutso

      No one wants to believe that they will always be lower or middle class.  They think they have as much chance of making the american dream.  Therefore, they don’t want curbs in case they are able to joint the 1%.

      • MarkVII88

        While this may be true, it simply isn’t a realistic point-of-view.  Especially in our current economic climate, the deck is incredibly stacked against anyone from the low or middle class rising above their current station.  From health care costs, lending regulations and bank hoarding that make it difficult to get loans, and federal/state/local taxes that make it difficult to own and maintain a business or home.  Seems like if you start low you will stay low no matter how hard you work, unless you’re incredibly lucky.

    • MarkVII88

       I believe that low and middle class Republicans “vote against their economic interests” because these blocks are more likely to also be socially conservative and place greater emphasis on these issues.  Wealthier Republicans are always more concerned with keeping what they have and growing corporate and private wealth than they are with social issues.  If given a choice between vetoing abortion rights or tax increases for the wealthy, my guess is the wealthy Republicans in government will always choose taxes first. 

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      Thanks for the link.  I have enjoyed and shared it.  Nice and plain spoken, which these sorts of things need to be to reach anyone.

    • Guest

      Judging by your posts, economic self interest is the lens through which you view everything.  Can you not conceive that there are citizens who ask whether something is good for the country and enhances freedom, and not whether it puts more money in their own pockets? 

  • Hidan

    Obama won so many votes in 08 was because he (claimed) liberal views and would fight for transparency and the middle-class, fight against lobbyist(though the party of No messed things up a bit and our fake Democrat Senator Droopy Dog manage to get the republicans interest in bills to water them down.Democrats mainly loss in 10 because both obama and the democrats instead pushed Corporate interest in the Health Care Bill and Moderate Republican policies instead of liberal ones. Instead of realizing this Obama staff decided to go to the right of many republicans for F.P or outright follow in Bush’s foot steps than ignore the liberals in his party knowing/believing they will be forced to vote for him anyways. The Independents are fickle and saw in 10 that obama didn’t follow threw with many of his promises in 08 so now he’s trying to spin things to get him to vote for him again.

    The funny thing for the Republicans is out of all the people they voted to represent them for President they pick the guy that Obama based his Corporate giveaway Health Care on. And flips flops on a grand scale. Republicans hate Obamacare but than go and vote for a Republican who created Romneycare(baseline for obamacare). Either there too dumb to realize they voted against there own interest(even when there personal interest was repelling Obamacare).

  • Akilez Castillo

    Obama is extending Bush Tax cuts. Universal Healthcare is not fully implemented yet but ridiculed so much.

    Middle Class has suffered so much for 10 years and still struggling.

  • Hidan

    -James Carville

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=James_Carville

    Stan Greenberg-

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Stanley_Greenberg

    “”Greenberg’s private sector clients include: the National Basketball Association, BP Amoco, British Airways, The Boeing Company, Monsanto, United Healthcare, Business for Social Responsibility, the Recording Industry Association of America, the Business Roundtable, the Direct Marketing Association,
    and the Organization for International Investment. Greenberg has
    conducted extensive research in Europe (particularly Great Britain,
    Germany and France), Central and South America (Argentina and Brazil),
    and Africa (South Africa). He specializes in research on globalization, international trade, corporate consolidation, technology and the Internet.”

    In 1997 Philip Gould, Stanley Greenberg and James Carville collaborated on a London-based opinion polling group and high-powered transnational consulting organization, GGC/NOP, owned by United News and Media

    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=United_Business_Media

    While Carville is consided mostly liberal he been working with an DC Dem Greenberg on Globalization and seems deeply involved in Corporate Interest(Monsanto,BP,etc. )

  • http://www.drewgasux.com/ AlabasterMural

    A couple of lefty 1%ers talking about the middle class, Republicans need not listen.

    • John

      Should be no problem, since not listening is what Republicans seem to do best.

    • nj_v2

      Ha ha! Corporate Dems are “lefty”! Good one!

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      Better than listening to 1%ers telling me why we shouldn’t raise their taxes.

      • Gregg

        Taking more from the rich won’t improve your life one iota.

        • Greg

          Oh yes it will. And it will improve their lives too.

        • TFRX

          You forgot to accuse Vasco of envy.

  • jefe68

    Why is that there are only two wealthy men on this show?
    In the case of Mr.Carville, we have one who is closer to the top 10% of wealth than the 90% who are not.

    • TFRX

      Hey, they invited every rich Republican with a sense of noblesse oblige they could find.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    Sorry James.
    It is still the economy and we are still not stupid.

  • Bea

    Define middle class.

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      Great point.

    • Akilez Castillo

      People who are willing to vote against their common interest as long the other party’s President fail.

      • Gregg

        Like supporting those who want to raise taxes in this economy?

        • jimino

          Explain the economic principle that makes raising taxes on the truly wealthy (which rate is now LESS than the rate paid by many working poor and virtually every middle class wage earner) harmful to the economy.  I think that claim is BS.

          Here’s what I would say to those like you:  “OK. I surrender to your position.  Will now tax everyone’s income, from whatever source, at the same rate as someone currently earning ordinary income of $40,000, which is 15.3% of their TOTAL INCOME (that by itself is more than currently paid by those whose income is from cap gains, dividends or carried interest), plus income tax of 25% of their taxable income.  You can’t possibly think someone making hundreds of thousands or more should pay a lower rate than a middle-class wage earner, can you?

          Or do you think that someone like Mitt Romney should pay a lower tax rate than someone making $40,000?

          • Gregg

            I disagree with the entire premise. Right off the bat we have to define “truly wealthy” and compare it to what is on the table. Obama loves to say “millionaires and billionaires” but he wants the top rate of the Bush tax cuts to expire. That means $250K (please correct me if I’m wrong). At that rate it greatly affects small businesses. I think the Democrats have a plan to make a new million dollar bracket, that would change the discussion but I still wouldn’t call it “truly wealthy”. So there’s that.

            To get the notion that the poor pay a higher rate it takes deception. For on thing, the “rate” typically means the “tax rate” but you have to look at Social Security and the cap then lump it together to get your claim. Paying into a program that pays you back is not an income issue. From an actuarial perspective the cap is totally appropriate. It’s their money, it’s their retirement, it’s their life. Income tax to fund a insatiable government with no limits is an entirely different matter.

            There is also inherent wealth redistribution built into the tax code for instance, the “Earned Income Credit” and the “Alternative Minimum Tax”.

            The biggest thing is, there is not enough there to make a difference. There is no upside.

    • StillHere

      People who live within their means.

  • Akilez Castillo

    Superior Aviation Beijing Co Ltd, a Beijing-based aerospace manufacturer, has executed an exclusivity agreement to acquire Hawker Beechcraft Inc for $1.79 billion, the US manufacturer of business aircraft announced on Monday.

    • Akilez Castillo

      Another American company down the drain bought by
      China and again American jobs lost to Chinese workers.

    • http://www.drewgasux.com/ StillHere

      It was bought out of bankruptcy due to a lack of demand by business and military customers.

      • Akilez Castillo

        What will a Chinese company do with the technology that they inherited? That is the big question is it military purposes or solely for peaceful business purposes.

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

    The US middle class has been cannibalized by the 1% for decades. And since the middle class is shrinking while capitalism requires ever increasing growth, we’re being cannibalized faster and faster.

    Scranton, PA – they’ve just reduced all city employees to minimum wage, including police and firefighters, expect more and more cities and corporations to follow.

    • http://www.drewgasux.com/ Still Here

      Balancing a budget has nothing to do with class, it’s more about reality.

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

        Expecting police and firefighters to put their lives on the line for minimum wage does not even remotely resemble reality.

        I also noticed they didn’t mention whther mayor is taking any sort of pay cut along with his employees.

        • http://www.drewgasux.com/ StillHere

          You should read more carefully then, because he is and they are. 

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

            Well, then, don’t complain when it’s our turn. You can’t drive economies that are dependent on consumers when those consumers are all making minimum wage.

          • StillHere

            Maybe you should blame the former leaders of Scranton who made terrible deals with their unions and now everyone is paying for it.  The mayor’s trying to avoid bankruptcy, but it seems inevitable.  Time to hit the reset button.

        • Greg

          In many small towns they get paid nothing at all. Nothing. It’s all volunteer.

          Nothing like one America for the rich and another for everyone else.

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

            Wait until they expect the volunteers to start bringing their own fire engines.

          • TFRX

            Now that’s what I call entreprenurial spirit!

            “Bring your own truck, hose, firesuit and respirator. Pay: none. Well, you get to march in a parade once a year, unless a fire breaks out.”

            But it looks good on a resume!

            (I don’t even know if I’m kidding anymore.)

          • StillHere

            Mostly because they don’t have the taxbase to support full-time employees.  Your class warfare is tiresome.

          • Greg

            So are you.

          • Still Here

            Don’t blame me for your failure and inadequacy.

          • kelty

            That is generally only FD, not Police, and only in small communities. County Sheriff Dept generally cover communities too small for regular duty PD and they get paid. How many mid to large towns or cities could primarily rely on a volunteer FD? This isn’t the 50′s were most people work & live in their towns & cities. How comfortable would most folks feel knowing your house could burn down because there weren’t any or even enough vol. firefighters in available to save it.

  • Vasco DeGrabya

    Some focus should be on the working class and poor, because that is where many formerly in the middle class now reside.

  • John in Amherst

    The GOP strategy is to divide and conquer the middle class.  The splitting wedges are many. Divide it by race.  Divide it by religion (or disinclination toward same).  Divide it by gun ownership.  Divide it by choice in reproductive freedom and gay rights and the correlate, sexual morality.  Divide it and keep it distracted and then offer it a vehicle whereby artificial parochial interests think they can dominate politically and achieve a victory for their causes, trumpeted 24/7 by Talk Radio and FOX as the core of the American way of life, i.e.: the party of corporate America, the GOP, and sizable chunks of the middle class are willing to vote away their own economic self-interests.  All the while, the top 2% have resources to live the “good life”, walled off from crime and pollution and crumbling infrastructure and the moral strictures and racial divisions ceded to the “middle class” factions in exchange for their votes.  Machiavelli would be proud.

    • Gregg

      Is it the GOP telling the poor they are poor because the rich are greedy? Is it Romney with a website targeting white votes or is it “African-Americans fro Obama”? Is it the GOP telling Catholics they can’t practice their religion as they see fit? This is the most divisive administration ever.

      • TFRX

        The GOP is telling white poor people that their real enemy are “the other” poor people, and that the impediment to poor whites’ ride up the escalator is just a few more percentage points taken off the marginal tax rates that rich people pay.

        • Gregg

          Give me a quote.

          • TFRX

            Dogwhistles abound.

            And how many links to Teabaggers waving Obama-Witch Doctor posters do we need?

            I don’t care that you’re not racist. Your side needs racists to get elected, anywhere.

          • Gregg

            That’s sick.

          • TFRX

            You lie down with dogs, and you’re surprised you have fleas?

            Let’s not hear anything more about your incredible needle-threading journey to  being the non-racist, clear-eyed righty who wishes the right-wing candidates would be less racist because they don’t need it to succeed.

            They need the racists’ votes.

      • John in Amherst

         Catholics are free to practice their religion, just not free to foist it off on those who don’t believe a bunch of celibate men should choose how women control their sexuality.  As for the poor – and a lot of people in the “middle class” whose real income has not increased since the 70′s – it IS because of tax breaks that have skewed the income distribution toward the rich and siphoned money out of the general economy toward the investment vehicles employed by financiers and high earners.. 

      • John in Amherst

         Romney has his Teabagger surrogates to race bate for him, and he has nothing to repudiate them, or Trump and his birther nonsense, or any of the other GOP proxy groups that assail the President’s nationality, patriotism, honesty or belief in gun ownership.

    • Bubba

      What was the underlining “causes” of 1775-1783 and 1861-1865 and one I was involved in 1964-65 ?
      Is it proper to insert examples of Arab Spring; i.e. Libya, Egypt,Syria and is their more ?

    • Guest

      Your comment is ludicrously humorous.  You left out “divide it by income, and tell half of the country that the government can provide all of your wants and needs from cradle to grave if the other half pays their fair share.”  I never thought I would see a presidential election where one candidate vigorously and purposely did his best to pit one group of Amercans against another group of Americans, but that is exactly what President Obama is doing with his castigation of anyone who has achieved success.

      • TFRX

        Castigation?

        I hope you’re rich enough to be the victim with the hurt fee-fees you have.

      • John in Amherst

         And your comment is ludicrously hyperbolic.  The president is hardly “castigating the rich” by pointing out growing disparity between the earnings of those at the top and everyone else, the fact that the rich now pay less in taxes than at any time in decades, or the fact that the very wealthy can afford pay more to support the society that has given them the opportunity to become fabulously wealthy. Even a cursory examination of the income disparity between the wealthiest of us and the rest of us over the past 30 years, and especially the last 12, reveals stagnation in earnings for “the middle class”, a mushrooming growth of wealth for the richest few (your idea of half?), and a precipitous reduction in the real value of the minimum wage for those at the bottom.  Obama is not talking about dividing the wealthy against the not wealthy, nor is he promising a “free ride” to anyone.  He is talking about fairness. He is talking about compassion for people who are struggling to get by.  He is talking about how, when a greater and greater share of the national wealth settles into fewer and fewer hands, there is less money for most people to meet their daily needs like buying food, and paying for things like housing and cars and all the transactions that in aggregate keep the economy robust.  Obama has sited the verse from Luke, “To whom much is given, much will be required” when discussing the need of the wealthy – a group in which he places himself – to shoulder more economic responsibility by paying taxes at a rate that, until the Bush years, seemed reasonable.  This verse, along with various biblical passages admonishing us to care for the sick, the indigent, the stranger in our midst, to be compassionate toward those who are incarcerated, to be charitable and kind, and warning about the difficulties associated with being rich and entering heaven (camel through the eye of a needle sound familiar?), are verses the GOP seems to have redacted from their version of scripture. 

  • Michael Shapiro

    I’m glad you guys are talking about this, but a cynic might call it “The No Shit, Sherlock Show.”

  • Greg

    Romney and Obama tied. So what?

    The lesser of two evils for the people is still evil.

  • Akilez Castillo

    The middle class the back bone of the American economy.

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

      Back bone has been the special on the menu for a while now.

  • WINSTON SMITH

    Given our budget deficit and national debt ($15 Trillion and counting, although the rate of increase will increase exponentially when Obamacare kicks in), we can’t afford a tax cut.  We couldn’t afford it under Bush and we can’t afford it now.  This is politics, pure and simple.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    The crisis is indeed the Middle Class.

    Destruction of the middle class has destroyed the American Dream. Aside from destruction of so many people’s hopes, dreams and lives, upward mobility has nearly vanished, thus elimination of the American Dream! What the heck! Corporations put money in politicians pockets, but people vote!

    Show us some positive legislation change for the middle class, not for the wealthy, not for corporation?

    Washington is constipated with corporate empowered radical right wing ideology with no willingness for compromise.

  • MrNutso

    Damn.  The stream died right at the start of the program.

  • Nick Grey

    Please hear me!  If you want to go after Romney, do side by side ads about his comments when he flip flops. Republicans that I know, plus the RINOS and independents are really worried about his lying and flip-flopping.  It’s the Flip-Flopping, Stupid.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       Obama has far more (and more recent) flip flops than Romney but nice try.

  • StillHere

    Obama had his chance.  He does not know how to govern.  He’s tried to impress his will or walk.  He offers nothing.

    • Greg

      True. But Romney offers picking the middle class clean by the vulture elites.

      • Worried for the country(MA)

         Lame.

        • Greg

          But true.

          • Worried for the country(MA)

             How?

    • TFRX

      Your comment has been tabled by anonymous hold and will not appear without approval by 60% of the board.

    • MrNutso

      What does Romeny have to offer and how will he govern?

  • Tina

    These two men just explained our economic situation in the first four minutes of the show!  They both said what President Obama should have been hammering home for months and months!  

  • Vasco DeGrabya

    Question:  How do you beat the rich?  How do you have a society where some do better than others without grotesquely exploiting that freedom and creating a serfdom?  How do you extract more sacrifice from them when they are masters at hidng wealth.  They will buy gold, or send cash overseas, or whatever it takes not to comply with any sort of taxation and redistribution.  They own and control media, government, and the means of production.

    So I ask, how do you beat the rich?

    • Gregg

       If you can’t beat them, join them.

      • Vasco DeGrabya

        Sure Gregg, let’s all be rich.  That’ll work.

        • Gregg

          Many times it’s a choice.

          • Patrik

            I dont care to be rich, I just need enough to live modestly.  I will not accept having to be rich to live modestly.

          • Gregg

            That’s an interesting way to look at it. 

      • Greg

        Or eat them.

    • Pam

      There are more of us than them. The majority working together and truly listening to each other should be able to move mountains. I have four grandchildren under five years old. I want a fair, kind and ethical society for them and my children. I am in grad school studying Economic Sociology. We need to believe that we each have the power to make a difference and the vehicle for change -ourselves.

  • Bward19

    Tom, you finally have guests who are telling the truth and reading the pulse of our country. The elites have stolen money from us, the federal government with wars, banks and oil subsidies and want to take from my social security! Frankly Tom you have been interviewing too many accountant politicians who focus on the deficit! Remember 2008 and how the banks scammed taxpayers and now want us to pay for their trips to the Cayman Islands with my social security.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    Many of the “Occupiers” were
    decried for their claimed “Wealth Redistribution” aims. Most who
    decry them don’t really have an idea what the actual wealth
    distribution is in the United States. Answer this question before
    you read further. How much wealth (meaning money, land and assets)
    are controlled by the wealthiest 20% in our nation? If you guessed
    50%, you are to low. If you guessed 60%, you are two low. If you
    guessed 80% you are still to low. Don’t feel stupid if you got it
    wrong. It is just that it is such an outrageous number for you to
    contemplate that you couldn’t even imagine it. It is actually 88%!
    That’s right, I said 88%! Let me repeat that, 20% of our
    population controls 88% of our countries wealth, and they want more!
    In 2007 (when the Great Recession began) it was 85%. That’s right,
    the “lower” 80% of the populations share of our nations wealth is
    now down to 12% form 15%. (Figures are from the United States
    Section of a Wikipedia entry on Distribution of Wealth. The Wiki
    ariticle referenced a Forbes Magazine article by Deborah L. Jacobs
    titled “Occupy Wall Street and the Rhetoric of Equality. Whose link
    is shown below.
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2011/11/01/occupy-wall-street-and-the-rhetoric-of-equality/

    A Little Game of Poker

    In terms that might make it easier to
    understand what this means for the future, imagine a poker game where
    you are using 100 chips and a double deck of cards, but you throw
    away four twos from one of the decks. So now you have 100 chips and
    100 cards to deal out. There are 100 players in the “imaginary”
    poker game. Each player is dealt the number of chips and cards that
    correspond to their share of our countries wealth. The wealthiest
    player in the game is dealt 37 chips and 37 cards. That’s right, one
    person in the game (the “one percent” you hear so much about) is
    dealt 37 chips and 37 cards. It is “fair” since the wealthiest
    1% of our population own 37% of our countries wealth. So there
    he/she is with their 37 chips and 37 cards. The next player gets a
    corresponding number of cards based on their wealth. The result is
    that the first 20 players are dealt out 88 chips and 88 cards amongst
    them of the total 100 cards. The remaining 80 players are now
    essentially having to share 12 chips and 12 individual cards amongst
    groups of them. By the time you get to the last card, we now have 30
    or more people having to share 1 chip and 1 card. Now answer another
    question. Do any of those (meaning us) 80 players even have a chance
    of winning this game? Not knowing any better, one might venture to
    say that the game is rigged. I certainly think it is. That is what
    I think Occupy wants us to come to grips with, and solve.

    So when I hear someone say we are
    waging Class Wwarfare against the wealthy and that it is somehow
    wrong, I just remember the poker game they expect us to “play”
    in. Compared to the Class Genocide that has been waged against the
    middle and lower classes, a little Class Warfare just might be a
    rational, reasonable response. Seriously, how many more hands of
    their style poker will it take before the 1% own 99% of the
    chips/wealth? I’ll give you a big hint. It doesn’t progress
    mathematically, it progresses geometrically so that the old sign
    warning “The End is Near” carried by the Doomsayer is more and
    more accurate as each day passes

    There are numerous way to restore some
    sanity and a little fairness to what has happened and what will
    happen. Big question for us though, is whether we are willing to
    take the medicine necessary to cure this ill?

    What is that medicine? It can take
    various forms. Recognition, I think the first, most important thing
    is that there be widespread recognition that there has been gross
    unfairness for sometime in how profits and opportunities have been
    distributed in our country. Discussion, Wide ranging discussions
    that result in a gathering of ideas to change the future. The status
    quo can not be allowed to continue. Testing, Try out some of the new
    ideas. You get the idea.

  • JonS

    So tell me Stan and James what specific policies Obama should promote that would help the middle class? How can you improve the lot of the middle calss without improving job prospects and the economy? Who hires the middle class? DUH–it’s employers so how can you help the middle class without addressing the concerns of employers?

    • Patrik

      The problem is those employers that want more money than they need.  One person doesn’t need millions of dollars. 

  • Nick Grey

    P.S.  Random comment, James,  in case you are listening. It is not an effective anti-Romney strategy to show rich guys and Romney at Lake Winnipesaukee.  That’s just Wolfeboro.   Until very recently, this was a middle class vacation spot, and one area is the called the Poor Man’s Riviera.

  • MrNutso

    That’s right Mitt.  So why don’t you support Obama’s proposals that will add +/- 160,000 jobs per month?  Oh wait, can’t support anything that makes Obama looks good.

  • T.D. MacLam

    The middle class are suffering, however nobody cares about the poor. Romney does not care & neither does Obama.  Since Pres. Clinton’s selling out the poor and and middle class to entrenched wealthy interests, the problems have only worsened.  More middle class are now in the swelling ranks of the poor and disenfranchised.  Pandering to the middle class for votes will not help this country. 

    Neither the morally bankrupt Republican Party nor the ideologically bankrupt Democratic Party address the issues of poverty, war, or economic injustice which continue to damage our country.

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

    One thing that doesn’t get discussed much – much of the last decade was a mirage, an economy driven by a huge unsustainable bubble. It it wasn’t for that, we would have been seeing dismal numbers much, much sooner.

    • Still Here

      Decades actually.  Credit bubble, stock market bubble, housing bubble …

  • Still Here

    Democrat’s plan to grow the middle class appears to be having them all work for the government. 

    • jefe68

      Funny how under Democratic presidents there has been more growth in pure economic terms than any GOP administration by 2 to 1.

      Since John F. Kennedy was elected president in 1961, job growth under Democratic presidents has outnumbered that under Republicans by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis.

      During that period, non-government payrolls grew by almost 42 million jobs under Democratic presidents, compared to 24 million when a Republican party member was in power.

  • Greg

    Th 16 TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT went straight into the pockets of the elite in this country.

    They are going to pay it off because WE WON’T!

    • Still Here

      You don’t pay your way now so no surprise there.

      • Greg

        I’m sure I pay way more taxes then you do.

      • TFRX

        You forgot to call him a young buck driving his Cadillac on the way to the welfare office.

      • Steve_T

         LOL like you do.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Obama would be better served if they’d make ending the Bush tax cuts more graduated. We have six tax brackets, the highest of which is $180K. So the guy making $180K gets taxed at the same rate as the hedge fund manager that made BILLIONS? How’s that work?

    In my part of the country if you making $250K@yr you’re doing really well. But that doesn’t hold true for many other areas such as DC, LA, NYC, Chicago…

    The country could use at least a few more tax brackets. The 4% increase could easily, and more fairly, broken into 1% increments, starting with 1% for the +$250K crowd, 2% for +$500K, and so on, and maybe a 5% increase for those making more than something like $50M@ year. 

  • Webb Nichols

    Why will no one talk about the facts? Because it is political suicide. The
    new normal in the United States is 7 to 9 percent unemployment going forward.
    There are more people than there are jobs. The question is what will this
    country do to protect those that want to work but can not find work.

     

    Until there is parity in the cost of production world wide including the
    effects of the carbon footprint, jobs will continue to leave the United
    States.

  • MarkVII88

    One of the biggest misrepresentations of success is the monthly jobs number report.  How can you possibly use this as a reasonable gauge of economic recovery if you don’t compare the wages of the jobs created to the wages of the jobs these people lost.  If you were an aeronautical engineer but are now working at Home Depot, there’s no comparison.  

  • JonS

    Get real Stan and James: The reason the middle class has suffered is because we have a global economy that has forced companies to shift jobs overseas in order to compete. High paying jobs require increased skills and education that unfortunately our public school system is unable to satisfy. What’s often overlooked are the number of high paying jobs that go unfilled by companies because we don’t have qualified people to fill them!

    • Greg

      Put up tariffs. DUH

  • Still Here

    Now we’ve got about $1 trillion in student loans because of Fed lender’s generosity.  This bubble will burst and taxpayers will be on the hook. 

    • Greg

      Student loans, even private ones where backed by the US government.

      Why should the banks get the gains and the taxpayers get the loses?

      Now the taxpayers get the gains instead of the banks.

      I know you hate that.

    • Steve_T

       Do you always get everything backasward?

  • Elizabeth Gannon

    Tom, I love your show, and it is rare that I have an opportunity to listen to it live…  first, your two guest speakers are Washington insiders–  secondly, they ride the “reactionary wave, just like all the other political wonks.  With all that said, this election is NOT about the middle class, it is about the political corruption, the inside deals, the two party system control people’s lives, and the political leaders destroying the economy.  These “leaders” accept no responsibility for their actions, are quick to blame the other party, and are guilty hypocrisy.  A company with such financial statements would be bankrupt!

  • Greyman

    “It’s the economy, genius!” is the just reproach American voters can greet President Obama with come November 2012: the economy has been THE political issue the whole time he’s been in office, even though Obama found time to pivot from the economy for almost eighteen months with his Democratic Congress to pass Obamacare without substantive Republican assistance or participation. Now we have professional tearjerkers like Carville and Greenberg playing a violin duet for the middle class that Clinton and Rubin and Pelosi helped out in the late 1990s with the Clinton Administration-led drive to repeal Glass-Steagall and deregulate the financial services sector. Whenever Obama hurls someone else’s money at the private sector, his experience with the solar industry, at least, shows only a talent for fostering further unemployment. Americans already seem to be enjoying an economy worthy of Obama’s genius.   

  • Robert Davoli

    Great show… Extreme left guests, extreme left view, extreme left show.  Where is the balance?

    • Greg

      Turn on FOX or Clear Channel Radio for your Right Wing Hate propaganda.

    • TFRX

      Extreme left? I think that says more about your media habits than today’s panel.

      Can you even name one person left of today’s guests?

  • imjust Sayin

    President Obama should claim a superior approach to capitalism.  He is the only candidate who seriously addresses how the tax code is being mis-used to centralize the economy around Chinese slave labor and polluting energy.

    The health insurance exchange creates a market.  I don’t have a market yet.  I just have too accept what my employer buys.  We need to dcentralize away from employer insurance.

    Some folks say rich people pay the most taxes, well if we decentralize the economy, the tax burden can be shared. 

  • Greg

    Internet bubble under Clinton was what provided the growth.

    It popped in 2000.

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

      But it brought in so much in tax revenues we were running at a surplus – that  was gutted by the Bush tax cuts so when the next crash came in 2008, government had no resources to deal with it – and even during the bubble we had to run up huge deficits.

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

    Welcome to globalization – what difference does it make to the world economy or the profits of the 1% if billions live in poverty? None. What difference will it make then if a small portion of the world’s poor (like maybe 300 million) are living in the US?

    We are an opportunity to make money off of. Beyond that we are nothing.

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

    When Romney talks about the need for “job creation” I must stifle a sneer. This man made mass “job deletion” his very profitable business for decades. How can any self-respecting member of the “middle class” put an iota of faith in Romney, the quintessential Jobs Butcher? Smarten up, middle-classies, this dude is taking your indifference for ignorance and he’s milking that for all it’s worth…If Obama has fumbled with the economic ball, Romney will suck all the air out of said ball, first, then stick YOU with the bill for it.

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Make everyone in Congress work a minimum wage job for 3 months, with no outside income, no platinum insurance plan, nothing extra, and try to meet the basics for their families. Maybe throw in a curve like they have to find $400 for a care repair, or they have to experience and ER visit and find money for co-pays, meds, etc. 

    Let Wendell Potter take them to a health safari in WV, where hard working people, working way to hard for way too little, have to stand for hours to get basic healthcare like a check up, see a dentist, an eye doctor for free because they cannot afford insurance.

    Let those in congress really work in a food pantry or soup kitchen for more than a photo op. Make them work there a month or they don’t get paid.

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

      You and I both know that the pampered, spoiled, mani-pedied members of Congress couldn’t hack a REAL job for one full day, let alone a month. They went into the con-game of politics because they don’t have the moxie to work & strive for a measley crumb, like us decent, ordinary plebes.  

  • Anna

    The real pressure should be put upon our obstructionist, business-protecting Congress.  Until we (the voters) bear down and insist legislators cooperate and resume their expected responsibilities, its hard to imagine things will change soon.  

    Companies are sitting on hoards of cash, so which ‘regulations’ or issues, exactly, prevent them from hiring?

    • TFRX

      No regulations, really. But demand, i.e. the thing that middle class and poor people used to “supply” more of? That’s gone wanting.

      At some point lopsided redistribution of money as the rich have practiced over the last ~35 years have left us with a rich class who simply don’t want to buy one more mansion, yacht or $300k supercar with their money.

      • TFRX

        Read “as the government has practiced, to the almost exclusive benefit of the rich”. (I are my own copyeditor.)

      • Anna

        There’s nothing wrong with responsible wealth (i.e., the philanthropic rich, and wealth grown through respectable business practices), but those that hoard, hide money offshore, renounce their citizenship to dodge taxes…THAT’S the dispicable conduct ‘average’ folks resent, and rightly so.  

        While not always in agreement w/ them, it stuns me that unions have not seen the economy and job situation as an opportunity to rally more members, but perhaps the events in Wisconsin cast a lasting shadow.  I am convinced companies are being told, (yes told) not to offer gainful employment and by doing so, are suffocating the country’s economic growth.  
             

        • TFRX

          But “responsible wealth” is not something we can have government demand of anyone.

          When the spit hits the fan, I recognize noblesse oblige when I see it.

          And unions are still trying to get our media overlords to take seriously the fact that talking about forming a union gets people fired, illegally, in RealAmerica(TM). It’s not part of the narrative for our Beltway Inbreds.

  • Bfbowman98

    What about the report that has just come out saying that DIGITAL automation has made the biggest hit on middle class jobs in the past 15 years?? Typical white collar office jobs are being replaced by computers & repetitive production jobs replaced by machines.

    Tax & government policies cannot do anything about that!!!

    • imjust Sayin

      There is sooOooo much work to do that slaves commit suicide in apple computer factories in China.

      Our tax code reimburses the expenses of companies like foxconn in china to hold slaves.  

      Income tax deductions for income tax paid to foreign governments is supposed to increase competitiveness for american made goods.

      But when a chinese govt partner pays income tax to itself, we are directly subsidizing a slave factory that removes tax paying jobs from our economy.

    • Greg

      Not only didn’t they stop it they encouraged it with tax breaks to buy equipment (Obama is just as bad as the Republicans. No surprise, he’s works for the elite just like they do.)

  • Pittsburgh

    Besides the risk free, high interest rate of returns the Banks got with the student loan program, they also got a fee right off the top as the loan was made.  6 or 7 percent off the top if I recall correctly.

  • Lisa Warner

    Why does Tom think it’s his role to play the devil’s advocate – no matter how uninformed and non-factual his comments are – in all these discussions?  Is he being funded by the Koch brothers, too?

    • Guest

      The funding isn’t provided by the Koch brothers. It is provided by George Soros.

      • Greg

        Just stating a lie doesn’t make it true.

        Fail.

  • Curtisjasa

    Get these guys to talk about the quality of life in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Etc. these are the highest qualities of life year after year. Could we take some pointers about education, retirement and health care from social democracy.

    • imjust Sayin

      Good pont

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      No, because for some reason we distrust or resent Europe.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    LOL.  These guys really believe Obamacare will lower costs?

    Clearly they have OD’d on the koolaid.

    When has creating a massive government bureaucracy  EVER lowered costs?

    • Tncaneoguy

       If healthcare is done well the costs of long-term treatment, treating chronic diseases, etc… should come down.  If people receive basic care we should avoid some of these costs of treating untreated illness after things have gotten really bad.  The healthcare system is attempting to do this but uninsured people who avoid – can’t afford treatment – don’t help. 

    • Charles A. Bowsher

       Medicare is the most efficient health care delivery vehicle in this country.  Ask a Senior who uses it, they love it. Problem is, many don’t realize it is run by the government.  Remember the 2008 campaign sign held by the old lady that said “Keep the Gov. out of my Medicare!
      Was that your grandmother?

    • imjust Sayin

      Stop worrying so much.

      I know that the elected government raises taxes more slowly than an unelected health insurance company raises premiums.

      I know i dont have a health insurance market yet.  I have to take whatever my employer wants…  Take it or leave it.

      And employers are slower to hire people who are over 40.  If you are not over 40 yet, dont blink it comes fast.

      The pre obama way. Is health insurance goes up fast, and jobs to pay for it are sent to china.

      If the obama way works, it might be worth it even if it is more expensive.  The pre obama way seems cheaper – it really is more expensive – but the pre obama way does not work.

      During the bush era the health insurance industry was already contracting at a time when it could have been expanding.  President obama is fixing that.

  • notafeminista

    All the mooning and wailing and carrying on about the evil wealthy elite does not change two basic facts:

    1)All people, “rich”, “poor” and in-between are self interested first.  There is nothing noble or honorable in being “rich”, or “poor” or in-between.

    2)Demanding the government, ANY government provide more services of any type to a specific segment of the population (doesn’t matter which) will increase costs across the board to the entire population including the benefited segment.  Why? Because government doesn’t generate income.  It doesn’t earn money.  It only takes money in the form of taxation from the population.    Government does not sell, manufacture or produce anything for profit.   Start from that premise.

    • Neil from Sutton

       Your premise is wrong. Start from, what can the government DO to make things better for the future, ie, education, R&D, infrastructure, help with Health Care so that everyone gets it and so that we aren’t paying for unnecessary emergency room visits, redevelopment grants for cities and towns, etc.  Start from the premise that helping people helps all of us.

      • notafeminista

        Government doesn’t pay for those things in order to make your future better.  Government does not sell, produce, or offer any service for profit to fund the infrastructure to which you refer.  You do.

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

      “Government does not sell, manufacture or produce anything for profit. Start from that premise.”

      OK. So what are these endless, for-profit, overseas wars all about? As I view it, the US government is in the business of manufacturing wars for the benefit of wealthy corporate contractors who pad the pockets of politicians who- in turn- eventually leave government to make much more money in the private sector. Tell me that the government doesn’t “make” anything again. I’m not in agreement with your assertion, here.

      • notafeminista

        Ok once again slowly.  Government does not create, manufacture or sell anything for profit for which to fund itself.

        Even your premise above doesn’t fly.  Even if government is making war to profit evil white rich men (because that’s who we’re really talking about it isn’t?)It doesn’t serve the government or any of the so-called benefits it is demanded to provide.

        Government does not support itself.  At all.  Period.  Ever.  Get it?  The money for defense, social programs, IRS employees, the CBO and everyone else, comes from taxpayers.  Period.  Get it?  There is no government factory somewhere churning out widgets in order to fund B2 bombers or Medicare.  Do you grasp that?

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      No thanks.

  • Still Here

    Every developed country has the same problem and is going for the same solution, exporting to others.  It won’t work. 

    Bush’s tax cuts produced three times the jobs Obama’s stimulus did.

    Cutting taxes is more about fairness than growth, though it will produce growth as well.

    • Steve_T

       Yeah When?

  • MrNutso

    What’s is Romeny’s fuel for the fire he wants to light?

    • Riddler2u

      Mr Romney is using smoke to blind people’s perception that he indeed has a plan when he really does. The fire is burning down the house that’s called ‘the middle-class’

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      50′s and 100′s, I think.

  • Tina

    Just one of my medications would cost over $20,000 a year if my health insurance plan did not help pay for it.  When I am solely on Medicare, I am not sure how much of this cost will fall on me.  HOW WOULD YOU REDUCE HEALTH CARE COSTS:  1)  make SURE that I have to pay a significant part of this cost by myself; 2) or control what profit margin can go to the drug manufacturers and/or the pharmacies?  

    This is a REAL question:  a lot of all the discussions about health care costs are only theoretical (and practiced by people who might not yet be familiar enough with the ACTUALITIES OF BEING ILL to even be “eligible” to be making policy decisions, in my view!!)

  • Bubba

    Tom; Why do we have ‘ALL” these Government agencies if they are NOT working for ” OUR” interest ?  Re: this Monster they call “globalization”.

  • ToyYoda

    What is the middle class?  I know individuals and households that make $200+k, and I know others that make $45k.  All consider themselves middle class, but I know that they have  vastly different means.  How can we make a coherent and cohesive policy for the middle class when nearly everyone considers themselves middle class from the Mercedes Benz owner to the ones who can’t afford a car?

  • Worried for the country(MA)

    President Obama said he will veto any tax bill that includes and extension of the current tax rates for those making >$250K.  Therefore, Obama will screw everyone IF he isn’t allowed to stiff those making >$250K.

    Thanks Obama.
     
    btw – There is NO economic benefit to Obama’s stand.  It is purely a campaign stunt.

    • Vasco DeGrabya

      That goes both ways.  The GOP can help 98% of the people but will refuse.

    • jimino

      So you believe that using the additional tax revenue to reduce the federal deficit/debt is of no benefit? 

      • notafeminista

        It doesn’t create additional tax revenue.  Read your history. 

  • Hobbsjr02871

    Under Conservative GOP regimes, rising Health Care and Education costs as a percentage of income have in fact been the two biggest tax increases on the middle class since 1980.

  • Vincent

    How, HOW are we still having this conversation without stating the obvious — profitable companies need to raise wages!  Isn’t Walmart the nation’s largest employer?  They pay minimum wage, make money hand-over-fist, and pay it out to executives and investors.  It’s not about taxes, it’s not about government policies, it’s about businesses taking responsibility and not hiding behind market dogma to excuse this destructive behavior.  Raising wages puts money into poor and working class pockets, puts more people into the tax base, and increases economic security on all levels.

    Sadly, we no longer consider business executives to be human beings capable of making ethical decisions, and we don’t show up on their doorsteps when they destroy our economy.

    • TFRX

      Raise wages?

      Let’s start with the doable: “Walmart needs to stop habitually breaking multiple labor laws and should be subject to meaningful, punitive punishment for its transgressions”.

      It’s not about bidnessmen making ethical decisions. It’s about regulating them like a government should, rather than the Randian fantasy some people (not you) still hold about their behavior.

      I mean, would you tune into World Series where the players called their own balls, strikes and outs? Maybe.

      Would you pay money to watch it in person? Ehhhh.

      Would you bet money on it? Nope.

      • Vincent

        Absolutely.  It would be a very different world if workers could afford lawyers.

        • Greg

          The current fascist Supreme Court made it harder for workers to file class action suits.

          The elite want to make sure corporations can’t be sued at all by wronged workers or poisoned citizens coming together and suing them.

        • TFRX

          I understand tort reform will fi…..

          hahahahahaha

          I can’t even finish typing that without dissolving into laughter.

  • ELKYinSC

    How to improve the US economy?
    End the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq for starters. These two wars have cost the US more than $6 trillion in the past 10 years. What do we have to show for it?  Nothing.

  • AndyF

    Throughout history EVERY class-based society that lost its middle class, fell into anarchy and then with most, oblivion.  It happened with the Roman Empire, the French Revolution, and all the others large and small.  When you look at someone like George Bush or Mitt Romney, guys who NEVER lived anything but the “silver spoon” life, they have NO identity with working people or what we call average Americans.  They spout complete falsehoods like “Job Creators” when it has already been proven that keeping the rich rich DOES NOT lead to Job Creation – it leads to consumerism and hoarding (money) among the rich.  We are ALREADY seeing this anarchy at play – if a middle class person buys a bag of weed, they can go to jail for many years – but if a rich person robs the middle class (like the banks did), NOTHING happens and in fact, they are often rewarded.  America is not “going to be lost” – it is in fact already on the road to oblivion.  The saddest part of that is that most Republicans dont get it and dont give a rats backside about it as long as they can still have their ill-gotten gains, and silver spoon lifestyle.  America is not dying, it is in fact, just about dead – we MUST turn this around NOW – there is not much time left.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       George Bush was a volunteer pilot in WWII.  I would hardly call that ‘silver spoon’.

      Romney is a self made man with an incredible work ethic.

      • Neil from Sutton

        Wrong George Bush…  Clearly the writer was speaking of GWB, not GHWB.

        Mitt had a privileged youth, the son of a rich man (George Romney was Chairman and President of American Motors before being Governor of Michigan).  He’s made more money via investment and leveraged buy outs, often on the backs of broken businesses via Bain Capital.  I’m not saying Mitt did something wrong.  I’m saying that a lot (not all) of what he’s done has been to break up companies, sell off jobs, etc, to make money.  Clearly, not what Worried for the country(MA) has stated.

        • TFRX

          It’s even better than that.

          AMC was the little brother of the Big Three. It was not easy to sell AMC Ambassadors and Ramblers for a living. They were a low-rent operation living on the largesse of the market, spending $50k a year to restlye their cars, buying engines and such from their better-capitalized competitors, and surviving in a niche market for much of the time GM had 50% of the market and when GM had been the subject of anti-trust concerns.

          It was a tough row to hoe. One might think a bit of the grit that George Romney had woulda rubbed off on Mitt.

          Well, it didn’t.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

           Where is the evidence that Mitt had a ‘silver spoon’ upbringing?

          Sure, he went to a prep school.  He then spent a year at Stanford.  Two years of volunteer service for his church.  Valedictorian  of BYU.  Then on to earn top honors in a grueling MBA and Law program at Harvard while starting a family.  These achievements were earned.

          Granted, he father was self made and wealthy. However, we aren’t talking about Paris Hilton here.  Everyone who has worked with Mitt, from Bain to MA governor to the Olympics, say that he has an incredible work ethic.

          • Steve_T

             ” Where is the evidence that Mitt had a ‘silver spoon’ upbringing?”

            Are you serious? or just Stupid.

      • Vasco DeGrabya

        I think he meant Dubya.  Your assessment of Romney is  stretch, at best.

      • TFRX

        Romney?

        As long as you’re purposefully taking others’ words out of context, do you mean Mitt BornAMillionaire Romney or his father George?

        • Worried for the country(MA)

           Check my comments below.  Mitt did not use daddy’s money to found Bain Capital.

  • MrNutso

    The person at Romeny’s rally should be angry at what Romeny plans to do with his money.

    Also,  Romeny continues to repeat his LIE that Obama has apologized for America.

    • Bubba

      I would question whether the “money” Romney has is “his”; I was a victim in “one” of the companies associated with Bain.

    • notafeminista

      I realize it’s a lot to ask, but could you at least spell the man’s name correctly?

  • Alitza

    James is right. It is about the Middle Class… and Government reform. Put the future of the Middle Class in terms of gaining Our Government back (number 1), good paying, respectable jobs (because we can’t pay our way if we’re broke… then we really are a socialist state). Not only new, good paying jobs, but jobs that used to be respectable (say the people who work in our factory-butchering plants, crawfish processing plants,…) need to be respectable again. Take your finger and point right at the as*holes. The _affluent_ are doing well and always have and need to stop being coddled, they need to compete… no more Corporate Welfare… THEY need to pay their way and compensate this country for all they have gained from it (Police, Teachers, Higher Education, oh and yeah a Middle Class!) They will call it class warfare… and the last 30 years? We tried their stinking trickle down bs and now we know for a fact what works.

  • Greg

    How did President Reagan’s 1986 Tax Reform Act change the outlook for the Middle Class?  Did that lay the groundwork for its decline?

  • Greg

    Stop using the phrase “tough times”

    Call it what it is: “what the rich want the rest of us to live like: serfs”.

  • Ellen Dibble

    If we define ourselves by profit, by GDP, in the international marketplace or loans and trade, then we look to quarterly “returns,” rather than income tax as the national bottom line.  Right?

  • coyotejazz

    Why is there no mention made of the devastating weight of defense and security spending on the federal budget? Decaying infrustructure? Unaffordable health care? Unaffordable education? Social support in the crosshairs? What a surprise

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charles-Clemens/1335771555 Charles Clemens

    Why don’t we take a look at the german social model. They are holding together the entire Euro-zone. Apparently they are doing something right. One of the vary basic things they are doing to is giving people a social safety net and they have a culture of SAVINGS first. Not the BS the the right cries but saving and conservative lives all the way down the the track. THEY don’t go into debt to get new unnecessary widgets. They conserve money, resources, people, health….. everything!! They are not about making the most money as fast as possible…. and yet they are doing just that. We should look to them for answers.

  • Michael T.

    I love to quote my late father — from the greatest generation, struggled growing up during the Depression and established a solid upper middle class lifestyle for his family — on the election of Ronald Reagan: “Mark my words, this bunch is going to make The Poor, Public Enemy #1.”   I long to hear Obama quote FDR’s 2nd inaugural address when the bankers were railing against his class-betrayal: “I welcome their hatred.”

  • Shaw Gynan

    Here’s a question for James Carville. First, I’ve enjoyed your comments and respect your point of view; however, no one is talking about the bottom of our society. 20% of the country has 80% of the wealth. The bottom 40% has 3/10ths of one percent of the economy. Doesn’t anyone think that increased purchasing power of such a huge slice of the population would contribute to overall greater prosperity? 

    Here is the reference. I understand these people don’t vote, thus the emphasis on the middle class, but to my mind, there is a huge opportunity being missed herehttp://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

  • Ellen Dibble

    The arguments about the Middle Class are tough to make when it goes more or less from $20,000 to $250,000.  To say the campaign is on both sides appealing to the middle class is interesting.  

        Have Carville and Greenberg thought about why the moneybags are holding onto their money or investing it in Africa?  Rather than building factories here and now?

  • Scott B, Jamestown NY

    Study after study shows that the 1% are investing their money on job creation, they’re sitting on it or investing in plans that use money to make money – like investing it in the banks that brought the world economies down with bad paper schemes and derivatives.  Worse, the richer they become the more, and bigger, tax shelters they have; ever more money they get to hide and claim as unearned income. 

    How is it 99% get to work their asses off, individually and collectively, and get taxed for the money they sweated for, but the 1% gets to sit in their ivory towers and not be taxed because they made their money by the toil of others?

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

    Just be careful – the 1% will come back yet again and say if we give them yet another dinner they’ll give us the table scraps – and then feed the scraps to their dogs so they don’t have to buy dog food. Again.

  • Still Here

    Apparently our best hope in these guys minds is to make a $100 TV that we can sell to the Chinese who buy it with their new credit cards. 

    • Steve_T

       I would like to sell you to the Chinese, that would solve a lot of problems.

  • JonS

    All that Democrats offer are policies to minimize the pain suffered by the middle class. They don’t offer policies to give them decent paying jobs because that requires them to address the needs of employers ie., the very group of job creators.

    • jimino

      It is against the law (civil) for a corporation to care about how its actions affect its employees, to the detriment of profit. 

      So what policies are you suggesting?

  • Tina

    The New York Times just reported this weekend that ICELAND DID bail out its foreclosed citizens rather than its banks!  

  • Giyakker

    If  you want to help the middle class, do this. Cut the cost of healthcare, education and housing. We pay $2.6 Trillion for healthcare. Cut that number in half to bring us in line with the rest of the developed world. Housing in the U.S has turned into an investment vehicle. Figure out how to keep the price of housing down, instead of doing everything possible to make it more expensive. The price of education in my city has doubled from about $6000 per student to $12000 in the ten years since my son graduated. College education in a mediocre private institution costs $35,000/year and rising rapidly.

  • Aaron

    I’m sorry, but this is why we middle-class folks also don’t like beltway folks, because they state the obvious as if it’s some sort of new insight. Where were these guys 20-30 years ago at the dawn of the deregulation and rampant profiteering that has, in large measure, undercut the stability of our nation. Until I hear the likes of Carville and Greenberg on the left and the Roves of the right take responsibility for what they colluded in, they can keep their puddle-deep empathy to themselves.

    • Greg

      Notice how they referred to their focus groups.

      We don’t need focus groups because we are living it.

      • TFRX

        When’s the last time a Frank Luntz focus group wasn’t fluffed as the “most resonant thing with voters” since “Morning in America”?

  • Steve

    More tax cuts for the top 2 percent just give them more money to move offshore and not reinvesting in America. Mitt Romney is the perfect example for this practice. Sucking resources out of the economy without reinvesting in taxes, R&D and infrastructure is a no BRAINER. Trickle down economics DOESN’T WORK…end of story 

    • Greg

      If Mitt Romney can’t put his money to work in America then he shouldn’t expect Americans to vote for him to be president of this country.

      End of story.

      • Guest

        Everyone who has a retirement account invested in mutual funds has global investments.

        • Greg

          The 99% don’t have retirement accounts worth much anymore.

          They have been wiped out by the  financial terrorists called Wall Street.

  • Ellen Dibble

    I believe it was a Republican (Eisenhower) administration that caused the problem to the extent that super highways and suburbs and the car culture got started, and a certain definition of “the American dream,” one that favored the banks who pulled in the mortgages, and those who took that tax deduction.  And now the gas guzzling culture proceeds.  How to unwind it?  Slowly and carefully.  You can’t vote in a total unwinding of the whole ball of yarn.

    • TFRX

      It was underway before then, actually. Like commercial television, suburbanization was an idea of the 1930s largely delayed by the Great Depression and WWII. The blueprints were pretty much in place by 1940 or so.

      I read a fascinating book about the building of the interstates. The Big Roads fleshes out the received knowledge of the 50s, and gives full weight to the influences of Robert Moses and Lewis Mumford alike.

    • Sam Walworth

       Ellen,

      Eisenhower was impressed by the Autobahn in Germany and was determined to build something like that in the USA.

      However the failure happened when unlike Europe we failed to cultivate the Public Transportation system (Taxis , Buses, Trains that would connect suburbs to the cities as well as with in the suburbs.

      Thats what we lack in the USA,

  • MrNutso

    The problem with the bank bailout is that the banks were not taken over, the executives fired and/or prosecuted, and the bank system returned to what it’s supposed to do, which is not gamble with other peoples money.

  • Akilez Castillo

    “Keep the Government out of my Medicare!

    PLEASE!!!! Does this slogan make any sense?

    Medicare is the government,  A health insurance for the people.

    • Sam Walworth

       Thanks to the puppets of Mudroach the Sleazebag. We will have more and more people en mass who will have slogan like this or “Obama Lies, Granny Dies” , “No more Death Panels” , “Keep Govt Out of My Social Security” etc

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think “employment” per se is a different construct than at the time even 100 years ago.  Being “in touch” with the grassroots — that has been so for a while.  The middle thinks the elites are doing their job, and leave them to it.  This is above my pay grade.  If the elites are up to monkey business, well, then we get mad.  It seems to me, the middle, the grass roots, community by community, where they are smartening up, are beginning to take the reins, so to speak, and more or less declaring a sort of independence.  We pay taxes, but we sure don’t  count on the Government — or the Elites.

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    To the caller, any Class Warfare is actually a moderate response to the Class Genocide that occurred in the last 30 years.

  • Doug

    I agree that we all played a part in the problems we face. We all need to share the pain to get America back on track. BUT we must ALL feel equal pain.  The 1% have been feeling all the joy and the 99% have been feeling all the pain. This need to stop NOW! 

    • Worried for the country(MA)

      I was with you until your last two sentences.

       The top 1% pay 38.8% of the income tax but only receive 18.1% of the income. 

      • Greg

        If you are so worried for the poor little rich maybe you should start worrying that they won’t be able to leave their gated houses in the near future because the rest of the country hates them so much.

        • Still Here

          You are an army of one, and a pathetic one at that.

          • jefe68

            Oh Mr. Burns, you jest…
             

          • Steve_T

             You have once again shown how laughable you are.

        • TFRX

          The next growth industry in this country is armored limosines for the rich.

          Of course, if I keep telling everyone, I won’t be able to get on the ground floor of this amazing opportunity.

          • TomK in Boston

            Wanna start a training school for maids, valets, butlers, gardeners, etc? I bet that will rake in the tuition $.

        • Worried for the country(MA)

          Clearly I have a different idea of fairness.

          Most Americans don’t hate the rich but you appear to have an envy problem.

           Actually most aspire to join the rich.  Many do it by living a frugal lifestyle and saving for a lifetime.

          I suggest you read the short story — “The Wealthy Barber”.  I might open your eyes.

      • Sam Walworth

         The top 1% pays the 38.8% of the total taxes collected, because their incomes are exponentially high from that of the rest of the guys.

        Secondly to have a fair comparison, the taxes are unfairly high on the Middle Class compared to that of the upper class (.e.g the Capital Gains Tax is very very low compared to the Income Tax and most of the big shots have extra ordinarily high income from the Capital Gains Tax)

        So, please wake up, unless you are also a CEO or an Executive, trust me things are tough, else you are soon going to have a rude awakening.

      • TomK in Boston

        Still Worried about the big bad deficit, Worried? Still think seniors should trade medicare for Ryan Groupons in the name of “shared sacrifice”? Then why do you follow the Party Line on insisting on no “shared sacrifice” for the romney types? It makes no sense.

        All that matters is the tax RATE. Throwing around numbers that change from year to year about how much the 1% pay is just smoke. As more income is redistributed to the top, they will pay more tax. Big deal. If 100 romneys had ALL the income, would you think the system was really, really fair because they paid all the income tax?

        The top rate is near the post-1929 low, the estate tax has been gutted, and the div and cap gain rate is 15%. Do you somehow not see that is an ultra sweet deal for the oligarchs?

        Even better, financial con gamers like Etchasketch can pay the 15% on ALL their income, which means they pay by far the lowest rate since 1929. In fact, I think Etcha paid about 16%, while his father, who actually made a product and released all his returns, paid about 35%. The USA was doing a hell of a lot better under the system we had in  George Romney’s day: make a product and pay taxes.

        What do you say: time to apply the “shared sacrifice” mantra to the oligarchs?

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

    There is a class war going on – we’re losing.

    • TomK in Boston

      Reagan voodoo econ = class warfare. The war has been raging for 32 years and we’re losing. The righty oligarch SOP is that whenever a non-romney notices he/she is being screwed, accuse them of class warfare.

    • StillHere

      Must be somebody else’s fault, right.

  • Bob D

    A strong middle class is the key to a strong economy. I’ve seen top executives at our company hauling down multimillion dollar bonuses for holding down costs partly by ‘stabilizing’ wages  and laying off employees, while the average remaining employee hasn’t see a raise for five or six years. By the way this company has been posting record profits.

    What do the executives do with all that money? You can only buy so many Cadillacs. They invest.  The argument that the rich invest their money thereby making jobs doesn’t fly in this economy. Investors aren’t investing in anything that creates jobs. Why? Because the middle class can’t afford to buy much beyond the essentials (if that).

    The Republican position on taxing the rich is hog wash!

    • Guinnesswoman

      I am sick of the arguement to compete companies need to lower there costs.  Why do the employees need to take the hit and not the CEO’s?  I get so angry when people blame the unions.  I will read in the paper about a union fighting over benefits, pensions, wages from some company.  While the owners threaten to leave if the union does not make concessions.  The next week I will read about this same company where the CEO made an extra million.  Once again off the backs of his or her employees.  You want to know how we can compete?  Lower the salaries of the CEO’s.  People need money to spend money to keep the economy going, simple.

  • Nancy Zahler

    I believe that teachers and other civil servants are an important part of the middle class; however, conservative Republicans are making the case that civil servants are the cause of our economic problems. In addition to their goal of reducing the power of unions, their more insidious strategy has been to try to pit working class people against unionized and public employees- so that we can fight over the middle class’s shrinking share of the pie instead of focusing unified attention on the excesses of the elites.

  • AC

    i have been in and out so haven’t felt i should comment – but i’m going to spit my usual question-
    Can you please talk about the singularity of technology coupled with overpopulation as a major cause factor here???

    • AC

      drat. too late….i doubt they could answer this anyway. everyone hides from the gloomy reality….

  • TFRX

    Caller Patrick is on to something about describing working class, working poor and middle class.

    The adage (from the 19th century?) is “the middle class was invented to keep the poor from killing the rich”.

    Our popular media has long since given up the idea of “Tell it to the Sweeneys. The Stuyvesants will understand.” That’s not the way to get anywhere in the media today.

  • David

    I <3 James Carville. Carville 2016!

  • Julia

    “Class warfare” can no longer be the war cry of  those who want to do  what they want to do at the expense of the American people and our future as a free country.

  • Newton Whale

    Yes, Tom, there is class warfare going on.

    And “Job Creator” is the rebel yell of the 1%.

  • Still Here

    I must have missed when they defined middle class.  Otherwise they offered nothing.

    • Steve_T

       Actually and unfortunately  they are unlike you. They are not still here

    • jefe68

      This guy is combination of Charles Montgomery “Monty” Burns and Archie Bunker. What a paradox.

  • DMCof VT

    Can someone tell me why the Tea Party is supporting the Republicans? Are they so rabid that they can’t see their pocketbooks?

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

      It’s the “mob mentality” at work in the Tea Party. I really believe that these folks blindly jump on the Republican band-wagon because they see their friends & neighbors doing it. Critical thinking is not the Tea Party’s strong point. Knee-jerk reactionism to calculated fear triggers- yeah, I think that defines the “mob mentality” of the TPs pretty well.

    • Worried for the country(MA)

       I’m not sure I follow your implication.

      The TEA party only supports some republicans like the ones that support cut, cap and balance.  The TEA party believes that our debt and deficit spending threatens our country and this includes the long term sustainability of the entitlement programs.

      Do any Democrats support cut, cap and balance?  There might be some but I can’t name any.  Certainly the leaders of the Democrats don’t.

  • Ellie Wyatt

    The corporate capitalism that has destroyed our economy is spent and can never come back.  we need a new system that is organized around the needs of people, and that does not mean more stuf to buy. Reducing greenhouse gases, and finding altenative energy sources should become national security.  We don’t need tvs but we do need solar panels and effective means of cooling and heating our homes and workplaces.  We do not need more cars on the roads we need first rate public transportation systems and we are in desparate need of a UNIVERSAL MEDICARE FOR ALL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM

  • Consultant

    It’s great to see all the libs/dems complaining about the $
    being spent – they were quite silent 4 years ago when the “Campaigner in
    Chief” walked away from public money when he realized he could crush his
    opponent with private $. Now that the shoe is on the other foot – the whining
    begins – better get used to it – you are about to BE crushed.

    If anyone claims
    that knowing “who” is contributing is the critical concern – not the
    amount of $ – then what has been the impact of knowing that the Koch brothers
    and George Soros are large contributors – absolutely nothing as would knowing
    who are the other major donors in this year’s campaign.

    None of this was relevant 4 years
    ago – now that Obama is in deep trouble and being crushed in spending – it
    becomes an issue – PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • TFRX

      Ah, another “Kochs and Soros are equivalent” canard, and “why won’t the Democrats unilaterally disarm?” complaint.

  • Perfectpapa

    Carville says he wrote the book to inform the middle class, that might be the second reason , he wrote the book as most authors do to make a few bucks.

    As for his complaint about low wages, what would he suggest that American manufacturers do to compete?  Raise wages to what the unions consider a living wage and than not be able to sell the product and compete with overseas manufacturers?

    consumers shop for price, made in American means nothing

    • jefe68

      …made in American means nothing. Use too.

    • TomK in Boston

      Please. The flood of cheap imports is not an “act of God”, it’s our deliberate choice to give free access to our markets to 3′rd world countries with slave labor and no environmental laws. It’s justified by zombie “free trade” arguments but they are just voodoo. We could easily adopt policies that kept mfg in the USA, but our righty oligarch masters won’t let us.

  • KayJay

    The first thing that needs to be defined in EVERY PROGRAM about the issue is “what IS the middle class?”.  My friends and family range from the very poor to the very wealthy.  ALL of them call themselves “middle class”…….  

  • TomK in Boston

    The American middle class was the wonder of the world while we had high taxes (at one point over 90% at the top), strong Unions, and strong gvt regulation.

    Since we started cutting taxes, busting Unions, and cutting regulation, the middle class has been in a tailspin.

    Isn’t the conclusion obvious?

    • Zing

       Sure; an economy based on exploitation of underdeveloped nations is bound to fail eventually no matter what you do.

    • Still Here

      Yes, I conclude that you have an uncanny ability to tie events together that have no causal relationship.  Try looking at the rest of the world in order to put your shallow analysis into some context, though that will not fit your static world view.

      • Ray in VT

        I would generally apply your critique of Tom’s “static world view” to many of the opinions that you share here.  You ask Tom to take a look at the rest of the world.  Well, take a look at the northern European nations, where they have strong unions, a strong social safety net and a much more equitable distribution of income.  I’d certainly take that approach, which in some ways is more like what we used to be like, over the low wage and high executive compensation model of the big box model that we’ve pursued here for years.

        The three items that Tom mentions are generally applied to the era since Reagan, and there has been a significant redistribution of income since that time from the lower and middle classes towards the upper income brackets.  Are cutting taxes and regulation causing middle class decline?  Maybe not, but the middle class was certainly stronger when taxes and some forms of regulation were stiffer.  Now union busting is a place where he certainly has a point.  Look at how states offer tax breaks to lure jobs away from unionized to right to work (for less) states, or the effects of free trade, when corporations shipped good manufacturing jobs overseas or across the Rio Grande.

      • TomK in Boston

        Amazing denial of reality is Still Here.

  • Worried for the country(MA)

     I suspect it is just a disqus burp.  Keep trying.

    • Drew Down

      Nope, I know those well. It wasn’t a burp at all. Take care.

  • Ann

    So totally relevant to this conversation is the Alternative Radio program this week: 
    Richard Wolff is Professor of
    Economics Emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and currently
    a visiting professor at the New School in New York. He is the author of numerous books on economics including
    “Capitalism Hits the Fan.”  His talk is EXCELLENT!!

  • Len

    The middle class is what they want to do away with!!

  • ElfmanNW

    Several people have expressed question
    about how to define the middle class. Here is my own personal take
    on that, expressing ideas as to what does and does not define the
    middle class.

    First it is about income. It does not
    include households with gross incomes greater than $100,000; that
    proportion of the population only represents 20% of households in the
    US. Income at that level is in no way, shape, or form middle class.

    The middle class includes those whose
    children attend public schools and who in general view themselves as
    participating in a common society. It does not include those who
    complain about taxes making it more difficult to send their children
    to private schools, who wish to opt out of any social contract to
    assure the common good, and who in general would like to separate
    themselves from even acknowledging the existence of well over half
    of the population.

    The middle class includes those who
    derive their income from wages (if of working age) or if retired
    derive a significant portion of their income from Social Security.
    It includes those retirees who depend on Medicare for health care.

    The middle class includes those whose
    only significant wealth arises from the value of their home.

    The middle class has been in decline
    since the Reagan revolution, and really went into a free-fall during
    G.W. Bushes administration. The future is bleak even if Obama is
    reelected, and very dismal if Romney is elected president. Either
    way the US is headed for a feudal type economy; a very small
    hereditary owner population in which almost all wealth is
    concentrated, a minor high skill class (think medical professionals,
    etc.) becoming hereditary as only the children of this class will
    have the means to enter it, and a whole lot of serfs.

    Oh, I am gladd I was finally able to
    comment after comments being closed during the time I was able to
    listen to the broadcast (6:00 pm to 7:00 pm yesterday) and
    thereafter.

     

  • Neenytyo

    Without a middle class, you CANNOT have a democracy, plain and simple.

    • Drew Down

      Without a Democracy you cannot have Democracy.

      A Democratic Republic is not a Democracy.

  • Dee

    To James Carville and Stan Greenberg….

    Gentlemen 

    I dont think it is the case completely that the Democratic Party
    has failed per say…Yes, the party has taken its eyes off the ball and it hasn’t stood up for the little guys against the big shots on Wall Street as it should have. ….

    And this has been evident when one consider the growth of 
    lobbyists for the wealthy and corporations on Capital Hill in comparison to the number of lobbyists campaigning for the middle class and the poor person on Capital Hill. 

    I heard someone say that each representive or senator on 
    Capital Hill–has 25 lobbyists assigned to him–whereas the 
    middle Class & working people have are represented by a 
    lone lawmaker…

    This injustice also get magnified in Romney’s income by 
    200 times (over 200 Million in personal income ) verse 
    my own…Currently, I would have to work over 200 life 
    times to amass Romney’s kind of wealth….

    Thus, the whole issue of the Rich getting richer speak to 
    US tax laws —favoring the rich with incentives while the 
    Middle Class and the workers bear the burden…..

    I recall when Clinton left office in 2000 there was almost 
    a trillion dollars in the US Treasury and the CBO predicted 
    a 10 trillion dollar surplus by the end of 2010…..

    Now, the big question is –where has that money gone?  

    Private corporations have profitted from Bush?Cheney’s 
    outsourcing of the war on terrorism and contracts they 
    are still receiving and must end….

    So I say nationalize the whole system and keep the banks 
    oil and utilities and Health care , etc in the public sector…

    Thus reducing the likelihood of another boom and bust from 
    the rip off artists and corporative freeloaders on Wall street…

    Otherwise , I foresee class warfare breaking out in the 
    streets and another storming of the Bastille…(It would 
    be stupid to say this won’t happen— based on the status 
    Que. People will feel they have nothing to lose…) Dee

  • Dee

    To Ann…Capitalism Hits the Fan with Dr. Richard Wolf 

    Yes, I couldn’t agree more Richard Wolf is a great observer 
    for the crisis those of us in the middle Class find ourselves 
    in today….http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZU3wfjtIJY

    Dee

  • Rain

    “”As Professor Arnold J.
    Toynbee indicates in his six-volume study of the laws of the rise
    and disintegration of civilizations,schism in the soul, schism in
    the body social, will not be resolved by any scheme of return to
    the good old days (archaism), or by programs guaranteed to
    render an ideal projected future (futurism), or even by the most
    realistic, hardheaded work to weld together again the deteriorating elements. Only birth can conquer death—the birth, not of the old thing again, but of something new.”” 

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