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Economist Tyler Cowen On The End Of Average

American inequality grows again. Economist Tyler Cowen says it’s going to change us, and describes how.

In this Aug. 29, 2013, file photo, protestors demonstrate outside a fast-food restaurant in Los Angeles. Thousands of fast-food workers and their supporters have been staging protests across the country to call attention to the struggles of living on or close to the federal minimum wage. (AP)

In this Aug. 29, 2013, file photo, protestors demonstrate outside a fast-food restaurant in Los Angeles. Thousands of fast-food workers and their supporters have been staging protests across the country to call attention to the struggles of living on or close to the federal minimum wage. (AP)

US inequality is hitting record highs again, we learned last week.  Higher than Gatsby levels.  The USA pins the needle for inequality globally.  Higher than China.  Higher than India.  Americans have generally been unruffled by that, but then the 20th Century brought our greatest time of equality.  In this century, says my guest economist Tyler Cowen, inequality will explode in the US.  You’ll be rich or you’ll be Mexico-style poor.  He’s OK with that.  Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz is not.  They’re both with us.  Up next On Point:  equality and inequality in America.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Tyler Cowen, Holbert C. Harris Chair of Economics at George Mason University and chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, co-author of economics blog Marginal Revolution and author of “Average Is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation” and many other books. (@TylerCowen)

Joseph Stiglitz,  Economist and professor at Columbia University, recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001, former senior vice president and chief economist at the World Bank and author of “The Price of Inequality” and “Making Globalization Work.”

From Tom’s Reading List

NPR: Tired of Inequality? One Economist Says It’ll Only Get Worse – “It’s a radical change from the America of 40 or 50 years ago. Cowen believes the wealthy will become more numerous, and even more powerful. The elderly will hold on to their benefits … the young, not so much. Millions of people who might have expected a middle class existence may have to aspire to something else.”
Washington Post: Gap in employment rates between rich, poor at widest levels in records dating back a decade – “The gap in employment rates between America’s highest- and lowest-income families has stretched to its widest levels since officials began tracking the data a decade ago, according to an analysis of government data conducted for The Associated Press. Rates of unemployment for the lowest-income families — those earning less than $20,000 — have topped 21 percent, nearly matching the rate for all workers during the 1930s Great Depression.”

Wall Street Journal: Wanted: Jobs For the New ‘Lost’ Generation – “From Oakland to Orlando—and across the ocean in Birmingham and Barcelona—young people have come of age amid the most prolonged period of economic distress since the Great Depression. Most, like Mr. Wetherell, have little memory of the financial crisis itself, which struck while they were still in high school. But they are all too familiar with its aftermath: the crippling recession, which made it all but impossible for many young people to get a first foothold in the job market, and the achingly slow recovery that has left the prosperity of their parents’ generation out of reach—perhaps permanently.”

Excerpt: ‘Average is Over: Powering America Beyond the Age of the Great Stagnation’ by Tyler Cowen

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  • henry_twentytwo

    Thanks Obama.

    • JGC

      I am still waiting for the promised “Trickle Down Theory” from the Reagan Era…still waiting….doodleydoodoo dum…hmmmm….yup…still waiting…hello?…hello?…

      • hennorama

        JGC — as you know, “Trickle Down Theory” = Pee on my head and tell me it’s raining.

        An excellent example of Republispeak, as cynical as “rich person” = “job creator” and “estate tax” = “death tax”.

        All three are nonsense.

    • AC

      what the heck does this even mean?
      Obama is responsible for decades of trending data? or do you still use a milkman and a bank teller?
      i must say, this is the dumbest comment ever o_O

    • Shag_Wevera

      Thanks, William Henry Harrison!

    • Don_B1

      Henry, if you are really just 22, you do have an excuse for “believing” that:

      1) Obama caused the Great Recession (December, 2007 to June 2009),

      2) Obama proposed spending too little to recover from the Great Recession so that he could fight with Republicans for the rest of his presidency.

      After all, that, or various equivalents, is what the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck have been preaching to you for the last five years, so why not believe it? First ask yourself if you have ever, ever, tried to verify even one of their claims by going to the base data? Do you even know how to do that?

      The point at which growth in total U.S. income started going predominantly to the most wealthy was the late 1980s, with the recovery from the Volcker/Reagan double dip recession and the passage of the Income Tax reform act of 1986, which greatly lowered marginal tax rates for the most wealthy. See particularly item 3) in the following:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/13/this-is-how-everyones-been-doing-since-the-financial-crisis/

      [P.S.: This is a good source for rational discussion of financial and political issues.]

      The other potential big player in inequality growth has been technology, where, as an example threat which has not yet occurred, the improvement of speech generation might allow any new advertisement to be spoken “using the voice [characteristics] of famous people” without their actually having to read the speech.

      But what you need to ask is this: “Unlike in a household, where some members work outside the house, an economy like the United States is mostly self-contained (trade is about 10% of GDP), so my spending is your income and your spending is my income: if we both reduce our spending, which happened following the Lehman bankruptcy, how does our income begin to grow?”

      No one with the psychology that your comment has indicated ever seems to even try to answer that question.

      Why is that? Think about what an answer means: that only government spending can replace the reduction in spending that put the economy into a tailspin following the financial crisis. All too many consumers found themselves underwater on their mortgages, a reflection of the overleveraging that not only the banks indulged in but also of what consumers had done to themselves by using their homes as ATMs to replace the expected growth in income that the “recovery” led by the Bush administration following the 2001 Recession did not provide.

      [ Remember how the Bush administration celebrated the growth in home ownership while the administration was praising the subprime mortgage market supported by the big investment banks use of derivatives? ]

      And once consumers had greatly reduced their spending because of their perceptions of reduced wealth (housing resale values) and fear of losing their jobs, that spending was not about to recover until their debt was paid down and job security improved. Many homeowners suffer(ed) reduced home values because of foreclosures of neighborhood homes, so it is not just those who did overspend, etc., who were affected.

      While unemployment is high, wages are unlikely to improve as employers see that as a lever to keep wages low.

      I encourage you to more closely examine your beliefs and the sand foundation they seem to be based on.

      I welcome any questions or comments.

  • JGC

    Yikes! Team Tom: It should be “Joseph Stiglitz” in your introduction (not “Sitglitz”).

  • StilllHere

    I’m not sure this guy’s message falls into On Point’s tired meme of inequality, but they’ve got their agenda to push no matter what the facts and it does seem to be red meat for their base. Anyway, Cowen seems to suggest you’re either going to work for a machine or make machines work for you based on your skill set. Doesn’t seem earth shattering.

    • AC

      i’ll agree with this, well the comment on Cowen. i’ve been saying this forever, in fact, i feel slighted! i shouldve written a book and been interviewed!

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Larry Summers withdrew and the markets look up at this hour. Is that a reflection of the judgement of the world’s economists that he was a contributing architect of this mess we are in, or just random variation in the ‘numbers’?

    … Yay! One down…

    • hennorama

      MMTCW – In my view, Larry Summers’ candidacy was always intended as a way to get the intended candidate(s) into the process. Summers was never going to be confirmed by the Senate, even if he allowed the process to get that far.

      The other candidates, while imperfect, now look much better, as in “Well…this candidate’s not perfect, but they’re waaaayyy better than Summers!”

  • Fiscally_Responsible

    We used to have a good manufacturing base in this country, which provided good paying jobs to people who entered the workforce after high school. Unfortunately, in many of those industries (steel, manufacturing TVs and many other products), the unions got greedy and lazy, instituted work rules that destroyed productivity, and killed the jobs.

    • Yar

      The bigger factor was an attempt to move our pollution offshore. Wages are only part of the picture. Unions are not nearly as greedy as the corporations they work for. Unions have a vested interest in keeping a business alive were-as a business has a vested interest in killing the union. Blame games seldom solve problems.

      • Bluejay2fly

        100% exploit labor + the environment = max profits.

        • HonestDebate1

          I disagree, it’s an unsustainable get rich quick scheme and not a sound long term business model.

          • Yar

            The rice patty farmer in China is as close to a long term sustainable business model as we have. Do you have a better example? Sunshine based and carbon neutral.

          • Don_B1

            In today’s global economy, the wealthy see profits elsewhere after they have despoiled the current location.

            As graphic examples, what coal mining executive lives in the “reclaimed” sections of West Virginia? What executive of any company, certainly not a power company, lives close downwind from a coal-fired power plant anywhere?

            Not all, but executives of companies in extractive industries feel that they can just move on after wreaking disaster in the local area where they “set up shop.”

    • Bluejay2fly

      It’s a very complex situation that involves way more factors than unions. I bet you never even thought of competitive advantage? We built brand new factories in Japan, Korea, and Germany which were formerly parking lots post WW2. Do you think your 1900′s era steel mill can compete with a new one built in 1950 very inexpensively under the Marshall Plan? I could go on about the past but the more important issue is EXTERNALITIES. I could move my plant to a non union southern state and save on energy costs, taxes, and wages BUT that city will never bring in a business to replace it. That northern city thus dies while a southern one booms. Is this a good business model? If that is you attitude why not move it to Mexico? The government should have worked more closely with industry to establish realistic environmental regulations, perhaps subsidized some industries and used tariffs, used fines, and established a cooperative but vehemently protective relationship with American business. Nowhere in this economy does that exist accept in our defense industry where these companies cannot move overseas, we cannot purchase foreign military equipment, and the EPA and other agencies are not allowed on site because many of the building materials are classified.

    • AC

      right.
      automation has nothing to do with it…..!
      talking about being stuck in the 50s, perhaps you should check your shoe size…..

    • Ray in VT

      Perhaps you would care to make sneakers in Vietnam for $70/month where the factory can pollute the air and water at will. Please, let us try to compete with that.

      • Bluejay2fly

        After Operation Ranch Hand there probably isn’t much more we can do to their environment.

        • Ray in VT

          I hadn’t heard of that one.

          • Bluejay2fly

            Tens of millions of gallons of Agent Orange and Agent Blue poured into their ecology. If we admit to our vets it was toxic poison then we are on the hook for the clean up so we deny it is harmful. There is your flag pin wearing patriotism at work. Kind of like how the Capt of the USS Liberty was quietly given the MOH in a shipyard instead of the White House.

          • TFRX

            I’ve known about Agent Orange for a long time, but never knew the term “Operation Ranch Hand”. Good share.

          • Ray in VT

            I just watched The Campaign, and one thing I noticed was how huge Will Farrell’s flag pin was. He must be a true patriot.

  • Yar

    Dueling hours of ON-Point: this hour Global VS next hour Local economy. Understanding the relationship is essential. The global economy is based on exploitation, while a local economy is based on protection. We are racing to the bottom as we strive for unregulated Global competition. Failure to reform immigration is rooted in an exploitative Global economy. The people who ‘work for us’ are not equal, in citizenship, in pay, in civil rights. From the clothes we wear, the phones we use, to the food we eat, we cannot on our own separate ourselves from the exploitative nature of a Global economy. Strong local economies which strive to source locally and strongly regulate global trade is our only hope of limiting exploitation. Local communities must take an ethical stand against the exploitative nature of global free trade. The question I have as a citizen in a local community is how can I make a difference in the level of Global exploitation. It is a difference in free trade and fair trade.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    Does the right believe that inequality is not increasing or that it is not a bad thing?

    How does the right reconcile the historical record of great prosperity that accompanied greater equity and the decline of that prosperity with the increase in inequality and the right’s push for policies that only worsen inequality? Are they seriously intent on propellins us towards third world America.

    • Bluejay2fly

      We do not have a third world America in this sense. You are cold and unemployed so you simply stab some guy walking down the street and boom free food, heat, and place to stay for LIFE. Let’s say living in prison is not your thing and you work ,but you fall off a scaffold and are injured. You do not have the 600K to fix your problem but the ER cannot and will not turn you away. One way or the other they will fix you even though you shall never pay the bill. Disability, SS, Medicaid, Welfare, Prison, those options do not exist in the Third World. What we have is worse because people are given more but it is never paid for because it goes to this abstract thing called debt. I live in New York my state debt is 140 Billion and my National Debt is 16 Trillion and my city debt is 3 Million that is the terrible scam that is being perpetrated.

      • Shag_Wevera

        So what is your alternative?

        • Bluejay2fly

          Way too long and complicated to place here ,but let’s say have a more humane and realistic out look towards life. Capitalism can work provided you realize that from cradle to grave there are impacts and aim for balance. Accepting zero growth should be some companies goals but that would get you fired in todays world. Convincing people who do not need your product to buy it, making it less durable and or repairable, or adding new features every year to make consumers want to junk the old one are hallmark of our system. Look around you, people eat too much and buy useless crap that is destined for the landfill. Worse yet, people are more unhappy today than ever. We need to really tweak the system.

          • Ellen Dibble

            I was ready to “launch” when Cowen began with singing the praises of marketers and motivators. To the extent Americans have had access to excess junk — call it junk — the old-style consumer values that considered white bread a luxury (and later revealed to be less than nutritious) have been pretty much ditched. There is another direction we need to be motivated towards.

  • Shag_Wevera

    Hopefully the imbalance becomes so great that the free-market laissez faire ship capsizes and we figure out something better for the huge majority of Americans.

  • Yar

    Please explain the economic concept of Jubilee, it has to have an economic reason for existing. I suspect it was intended to prevent revolutions that occur as wealth gets too concentrated and poverty becomes too prevalent. Inflation can serve a similar purpose. It puts an expiration date on money. Use it or lose it.

    • AC

      what is this jubilee? i have never heard of this??

      • thequietkid10

        Just looked that up myself. The only thing I found was a biblical based idea that every 50 years all debts should be forgiving. Which is BS in my opinion.

  • thequietkid10

    It’s a highly complicated problem, there’s a lot I can say on the topic.

    I do think that the subject in general is something of a red herring. After the general population achieves a basic set of needs, who care if the 1% makes 10 times that middle class of 10,000 times the middle class. Government shouldn’t be in the business of helping you and me “keep up with the Jones” (or in this case the Rockefellars)

    As to the topic at hand. I think there is a lot blame to government policy, either through killing competition (to the benefit of the established business owners) or the nonstop Wall Street Stimulus coming from the Fed and the tax payer. That being said, people today have to compete globally, which is something we didn’t have to worry about in the 50s and 60s. And nothing (well nothing short of starting World War III), no trade agreement, no economic policy is going to change that.

    • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

      The less income there is in the hands of the 99%, the less consumption there is of the goods and services of the 1% and you end up with a shrinkage in the economy and thus less investment in new businesses to produce stuff that consumers with less money can not afford.

      Henry Ford understood this basic premise and raised wages fueling his own business.

      That’s why excessive concentration of wealth is not a good thing, aside from the tangential economic effects of creating a mass of poorly educated, malnourished people, or moral implications of not caring how poor the masses are (many being children), or recognizing that this is an economic system that we are born into, not one we choose at birth.

      There has to be a balance and we have gone off the tracks: the fundamentals have been ignored by economic geniuses the likes of Dubya and his Randians who, although not totally responsible for, finished the foundation of this semi- jobless recovery, unlike any recovery in prior recessions.

      • thequietkid10

        I’ve never much cared for this line of thinking. It’s not as if the 1% is hiding their wealth under a mattress somewhere. They are investing it in the stock market, loaning it to banks, buying consumer goods, employing private assistants, donating it to the poor, etc.

        • sickofthechit

          Do you seriously believe that? They are sitting on over 2 trillion refusing to invest it, they are squirreling it away in offshore tax havens because they are so blinded by their own greed and selfishness that they can’t even bring themselves to recognize the suffering of their fellow humanity. charles a. bowsher

          • InfinityBall

            And have you seen the size of the mattresses these “offshore tax havens” stuff all those dollar bills in?

      • Bluejay2fly

        A least the wealthy back in the golden days built factories and engaged in welfare capitalism. All our rich seem to due is let domestic sacrificial zones like Detroit burn. Placing more money in the off shore Casino does not help people living in the rust belt.

  • jimino

    Mr. Cowen is a leading spokesperson for those who would redefine the American dream from one that promised widespread economic security for anyone who will work hard to one in which a few can get fabulously rich. Of course, the latter is possible in even the most corrupt and impoverished country. The former is truly what made us great.

    His employer is funded primarily by the Koch brothers and other like-minded wealthy donors, which makes him a classic propagandist and a perfect example of what Upton Sinclair said about similar so-called experts in a different period of predatory capitalism: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!”

    • http://what-could-posibly-go-wrong.blogspot.com/ NC_Tom

      Thank you so much for your response. It saved me from typing it myself. It is so sad that NPR feels the need to have hacks for the rich like this on here. It is somewhere between sad an awful…

  • alsordi

    Its amazing that banal entertainment and patriotic flag waving can distract an entire nation from realizing that the wars that are perpetually waged by the top 1% and for their pals in the top 5% , are responsible for maintaining the ruthless US economic system, and particularly the fiat dollar, that the wealthy PRINT FOR THEMSELVES.

    The media cannot help but discuss the growing wealth gap, but they completely ignore the connection of the LOSS of TRILLIONS to war that would be otherwise social contributions, and the thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of maimed, that greatly add to the burden of families that are either in the bottom class or heading there.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Gay marriage, abortion, gun rights, all wedge issues which distract from the grand theft that is occurring in America. The masses in this country are pretty darn stupid.

      • alsordi

        and now comes the charade to appoint the most important leadership position in the western world (Head of the Federal Reserve). The Media has framed the distraction as a big change for woman’s equality, but Gellen is part of the same crooked cabal that wages endless war to maintain the value of the otherwise worthless currency they create out of nothing..

  • BOBinRSI

    Average…what is average? Average US per capita is about 50K/year. Average for the World may be close to 9K/year. Turkey, Mexico, Romania…..might be how things would look in that balance. Not so bad, could be worse.

    • Bluejay2fly

      Subtract our debt which is monetizing that standard of living and its a different story.

  • HonestDebate1

    The irony here is the efforts to spread the wealth around in the name of equality makes things worse as evidenced by the numbers after 5 years of Obama. Money is not divided into shares and passed around. It is earned. When one person makes more it does not mean someone else has to make less.

    • Ray in VT

      So when a company buys a profitable company, lays off the entire American workforce, ships the jobs to China (gets a tax write off during the process), and a guy who hasn’t even worked for that company makes a reported $700k off of the deal, then he’s “earned” it?

      • HonestDebate1

        Yes.

        • Ray in VT

          Horsesr*p. That guy is just profiting from the labor of others, while doing nothing himself. But they are creating jobs in China. So there’s that.

          • HonestDebate1

            You’re entitled to your opinion. I can’t really elaborate or I would. Is your scenario real or imagined? I can only make assumptions about it.

          • Ray in VT

            The facts are accurate to the best of my knowledge. It was fairly well covered last year, just not by many of the sources that you prefer I would guess.

          • HonestDebate1

            I didn’t question your facts.

          • Ray in VT

            I didn’t say that you did. As I said, it is a real case, and the facts are accurate to the best of my knowledge.

          • HonestDebate1

            All I am saying is you didn’t give me enough facts to comment further. It’s cool I am not asking you to. I just think you are speaking in general terms. I’m not sure of the details or to what extent it’s a problem.

          • Ray in VT

            I think that a basic Googling of the facts that I outlined could easily bring up the exact situation.

            So, you’re not aware of the problem corporate raiding, outsourcing and the vast financial rewards that can be reaped by de-industrializing and shipping jobs to Third World countries. I’m surprised that Rush doesn’t cover that.

          • HonestDebate1

            Now you’re just being contentious and snarky. First of all Rush does talk about those things. Secondly I listen to more NPR than Rush. Third, I have no interest in googling it.

            Take your misplaced outrage up with the outsourcer in chief, Obama.

          • Ray in VT

            I’ll gladly contact Romney, our outsourcer who would be President, just as soon as I figure out whether or not Chrysler is really shipping all Jeep production to China.

          • HonestDebate1
          • Ray in VT

            This says that he did:

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickallen/2012/07/12/how-mitt-romney-invested-millions-in-outsourcing/

            Also, he did tell people just what I said. You might want to look it up. I’m still trying to figure out how Obama raised my payroll taxes if they are the same now as when he promised that he wouldn’t raise my taxes.

          • HonestDebate1

            Fail. I hate shooting the messenger but David Corn? Really? Investing overseas is not the same thing as outsourcing jobs overseas. Obama used stimulus money to outsource jobs. Even if we accept Mother Jones, Romney is a piker compared to Obama in regards to outsourcing. And you have no comment?

            And now you bounce to the payroll tax. You’re like a pinball. Politifact had to admit their lie of the year was actually not a lie and true. So you bounce when confronted. I linked the China Jeep deal, you bounce. Hey I know why don’t you work in gemworld and the NAACP? Hell, you even bounced to Valerie Jarrett the other day. That was weird.

            My comments garner quite a few replies so I had to scroll up a long way to find the start of this thread. Take a look and notice all the changing of the subject and distraction from my most excellent point which remains unrebutted despite 698 replies to this point.

            The gap is bigger after 5 years of Obama’s spreading the wealth. No wonder no one wants to touch it.

          • Ray in VT

            Way to shoot the messenger. Why are you hating on Forbes? You were all wet for last year’s column about how GM was going bankrupt again. How’s that working out?

            Three Pinocchios, says Factcheck on Obama the outsourcer:

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/obama-and-outsourcing-a-guide-to-the-gops-charges/2012/07/11/gJQA1LBIeW_blog.html

            Romney said that Jeep was thinking about moving all production to China, and they have not. Is he a liar or just wrong. I mean, he can’t be a liar, because he’s a conservative.

            When you make a most excellent point, then that will be news, especially lately, when most of your points are the same tired old lies and distortions.

            So, did Obama raise my taxes if they’re the same as they were when he said that he wouldn’t raise them in 2008? After reading your “excellent points” from the other day I still can’t figure it out.

            How is Valerie Jarrett and Obama’s Revenge? Ever find a real, credible source for that “quote”.

            Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it will take a long time to turn around 30 years of trickle down, especially with the insane clown posse that is today’s House of Representatives under the GOP, but maybe there’s hope for America. Maybe we can get rid of the TOP in 2014.

          • HonestDebate1

            Because it was based on Corn’s report. No, I just passed on a report that said they were headed that way. I don’t want any company to go down. Of course that’s impossible for GM because taxpayers are propping them up to the tune of billions.

            Only 3?

            “The claim that Romney outsourced jobs as governor is equally overblown.”

            And I don”t know what quote you are talking about regarding Jarrett. I don’t pay her much mind. Have I ever even commented about her?

          • Ray in VT

            Ok. So it’s okay to shoot the messenger when you want to, but others are to be chastised for doing so?

            You passed on an opinion piece from a “free markets” guy, which should have looked suspect even to the layman. The taxpayers are currently propping up GM? I thought that that deal was over and done years ago?

            So now it’s about an Obama ad. I don’t get it. You’re all over the place.

            Oh, you don’t remember linking to something? What a shock. I am often amazed by the amount of your own posts that you can’t recall.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, I gave my reason.

            The deal isn’t over until we get back the billions we’re owed that are propping them up.

          • Ray in VT

            There is a difference in those two, and Romney’s firms engaged in outsourcing. Take these if you want:

            http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2012/06/22/romney-outsourcing-bain/

            http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/romneys-bain-capital-invested-in-companies-that-moved-jobs-overseas/2012/06/21/gJQAsD9ptV_story.html

            Feel free to take any stand you want. The government divested, and while I would like GM to pay back the balance, I don’t think that they are obliged to, and I think that the outstanding sum is likely smaller than the costs that would have been incurred had the company collapsed.

          • HonestDebate1

            If they aren’t obliged to pay back the balance like the banks did then we are propping them up. The Volt was an utter failure even with taxpayers paying (more propping up) for a good portion of every one sold. Their business plan is still unsustainable. They still owe over $16 billion and the collapse thing is a red herring. They were never going to collapse. What should have happened is they file bankruptcy and restructured to something realistic. In the end they still went bankrupt, they still closed plants and thousands of employees still lost their jobs. It was all for naught and the fundamental changes that needed to be made were not addressed…. and taxpayers are on the hook for billions.

          • Ray in VT

            If they aren’t getting anything currently, and they aren’t or weren’t obliged to totally repay everything, then I still don’t think that that qualifies as propping them up. Propped up is more proper, given that those actions occurred in the past.

            You want to talk about red herrings? How about your proposed solution. Where exactly were they supposed to come up with the sort of private financing and such in the midst of a credit crunch and a financial collapse?

            Last I checked they’re running strong profits, so how is their model unsustainable, unless, of course, you want to stand by that Forbes opinion piece from last year.

          • HonestDebate1

            Go buy a Volt today and taxpayers will pitch in $7500. That’s propping not propped.

            Are you really going to say if not for the bailout GM would be history? I think that’s nuts but even so it was more than a bailout. If we had simply made a loan and let them restructure that would at least have been tolerable even if it was still a mistake. Obama installed his own CEO, told them what cars to make and made taxpayers help buy cars for yuppies. The Volt is a toy for the rich and nothing more.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, by that standard, which is a pretty low one, the government is also propping up Ford, BMW, Fiat, Nissan, etc., as well as efficient window manufacturers, efficient appliance makers and a host of other things, including every non-profit business that gets to be tax exempt, churches, the oil industry and others.

            Also, please provide evidence that Obama directed GM to build particular vehicles. I’m sure that it can be found in the same place that you can find evidence that Obama directed the IRS to “intimidate” Tea Party groups.

            Electric vehicle sales are up, and prices are down. Just like with many other products, early versions are higher priced and not so great. CD players used to cost hundreds, and the first home computer cost thousands of dollars. Those probably stayed expensive and toys for the rich, right?

          • Bluejay2fly

            People who work hard like farmers, construction workers, teachers, or mechanics are considered a joke. People fawn all over the bankers, the lawyers, the corporate elite many of whom do nothing more than move paper around adding no value to society. On a desert island it would be people from the former group I would want.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t know anyone who considers them a joke but I do see much hostility directed toward the wealthier among us.

          • Bluejay2fly

            That is like saying I really do not see racism in America. Obviously this is way too involved of a discussion. I will short cut it by saying you are what you wear, what you drive, the house you live in, to say that materialism and affluence does not matter in America is insane.

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t have much patience for people who say they do not see racism in America. I don’t get the analogy. And of course materialism and affluence matter to many Americans.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, when some of them are doing it while bilking working people, then people have a good reason.

          • HonestDebate1

            Well sure, especially if laws are being broken but most successful enterprises don’t bilk… whatever that means.

          • Ray in VT

            There’s plenty of legal ways to screw one’s workers and customers. Sometimes one can even do it so well that people will thank you for doing it. I wonder how many former North Carolina textile or furniture manufacturing workers shop at Walmart.

            Check the dictionary for the definition of bilk. Just don’t add any words to the definition that you find there,

          • Ray in VT

            As one who comes from a farm family, I think that you’re pretty right on with much of what you’ve said.

          • thequietkid10

            Pro tip, nobody cares how “hard” you work. This isn’t high school anymore. You don’t get bonus points in life for sowing your farm with a hoe, when you can produce a lot food with a tractor. Under no circumstance is someone who produces a fixed amount of product a day worth anywhere near the guy who just doubled or tripled your efficiently.

          • Ray in VT

            Pro tip. Hard work has to be done by somebody, like producing food no matter if you use a tractor or a hoe, and it doesn’t get valued at all. Pro athletes and “entertainers” get paid millions while many of the people produce our food either lose money or barely scrape by. What’s the incentive to till the earth when one can get paid millions to run a company into the ground?

          • thequietkid10

            Ultimately it is a lot easier for you or me to become a great (or even adequate) farmer then it is for you or me to become a great or adequate professional athlete. (the government monopoly protections and stadium subsidies, professional athletes get don’t hurt either). Further more “you” don’t get to arbitrarily assign value as you see fit. I don’t get to do that either. We as a society make that decision. If you don’t like what you pay for when you see a professional athlete or entertainer, don’t watch it.

          • Yar

            You are wrong, farming is one of the most difficult professions to ‘break into’. You don’t understand the source of funding for entertainment and sports either. They are funded as a hidden VAT on retail goods and services. Not watching doesn’t mean not supporting.

          • TFRX

            I dunno, I thought “farming” was just used by TQK as an example of something that didn’t require an extraordinary set of genes. Almost “ordinary person work” if you will.

            One needs to have a certain set of genes to have any of the work and practice one can do to pay off in a professional sports career. The rarified air is evident looking at how all the kids playing HS basketball get winnowed down.

            Imagine being one of the top 1000 best basketballers in the world. If you’re #1000, you’re toiling in a European or Asian league or toiling in the D-league, hoping for a 10-day temporary contract to sit on the end of the bench in the NBA.

            One also benefits to being born to the right family (even Donald Trump says he’s in the “Lucky Sperm Club”).

          • HonestDebate1

            You have a point but obstacles can be overcome.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOGj8qM6hQ0

          • TFRX

            And it’s so much easier if the obstacles aren’t there in the first place.

            If you’re born rich, you have to do a lot of screwing up to not end up at least upper middle class.

            Bill Gates grew up a millionaire’s son, then dropped out of Harvard, and wasn’t disowned by his family. The first person in my family to go to Harvard had better effing graduate or there will be hell to pay.

          • HonestDebate1

            If by obstacles you mean genes then I agree but still there are ways. And fabulous wealth can be squandered quickly.

          • TFRX

            Yeah, you can stop honest-bating about this anytime, bub.

            Being born to the proper income class means so much more to one’s future income/health/food/shelter security in this country than you’ll care to admit.

          • HonestDebate1

            “One needs to have a certain set of genes to have any of the work and practice one can do to pay off in a professional sports career.”

            I was replying to the above notion. Of course being born into a rich family can have advantages. But there is something else at work. We have a kid here at the barn and both of her parents are doctors. She had to feed horses and clean stalls for almost 2 years to prove herself before they got her a horse and now she works off much of the board bill herself despite the fact that her parents can easily afford it. She also plays soccer, plays sax in the marching band and volunteers for the handicap kids in hippo therapy. She’s a straight A student. When she goes home she is expected to clean the bathrooms and other such chores. They can afford a maid. The other night her mother brought her out to clean stalls at 8PM and was reading in her car whole she worked. I expressed our appreciation for both she and her daughter. She told me that sometimes the kid says she’s tired and doesn’t want to come out. Mom just says, that’s tough let’s go, you have obligations.

            This 14 year old will do fine in life but it’s not because she was born into a family with money.

          • TFRX

            Please stop honestbating about anec. The plural of that is not data.

            Being born into a rich family can be an advantage?

            Submitted without comment.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m just saying passing on the virtues of a work ethic, responsibility and integrity mean more than being born into family with money. And it doesn’t cost a dime.

          • TFRX

            If you weren’t trying to polish the turd that’s every Republican pres in the last few decades, you might have a point.

            Otherwise, really, just quit while you’re behind.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s also a lot easier to eat food than to eat a football. Being a good farmer is more possible than being a good professional athlete, but I certainly wouldn’t call it “easier” in many respects. I, you, and society could live without professional sports, but not without farms, and as long as society continues to assign low value and low pay to farmers for hard work, then how are we, as a society, going to attract people to those necessary jobs?

          • HonestDebate1

            But one multi-millionaire athlete benefits a community far more than one farm hand. It’s all good.

          • Ray in VT

            How much food is that athlete producing?

          • jefe68

            He’s consuming a lot…

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m sure there are athletes who invest in farms. Musicians too. I know Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull farms Salmon. Chuck Leavell (Allman Bros., Rolling Stones) is a big time tree farmer. It takes investment to produce food not vegetable pickers.

          • Ray in VT

            I’m talking about the person who is actually doing the farming, not the owner. I don’t see millionaires who own ranches or large farms actually doing much work.

          • HonestDebate1

            It’s not a chicken or egg thing, it’s a horse and cart thing. There is no job until the owner provides it. All the worker owns is their labor.

          • Ray in VT

            How far this that owner going to pull that cart without a horse?

          • HonestDebate1

            Exactly! Only the owner is the horse because the investment come first.

          • Ray in VT

            The horse is the worker, because the worker is doing the work.

          • HonestDebate1

            Then my analogy is flawed. I am taking about which comes first. How about we agree that someone has to buy the horse before anyone can ride in the cart.

          • Ray in VT

            That is true, although I am talking about filling that cart with goods, not riding in it.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s fine, someone still has to buy the horse first.

          • Ray in VT

            Does one have to have a horse in order to have a cart?

          • jefe68

            That has to be the comment of the day as misguided as it is.

            Even Julius Caesar knew he had to deal with keeping the plebs fed. He went to war over the grain stocks of Egypt.

          • HonestDebate1

            A farm hand does not produce anything, he’s just happy to have a job that matches his skill set. It’s the person who invests in land and equipment who produces the food. It’s the person who puts their money at risk to hire.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, let’s see the athlete or musician who owns that farm go out and play in the dirt or the manure, instead of just outsourcing that labor to some takers.

          • HonestDebate1

            That makes no sense.

            It’s better to create the jobs while earning gazillions for yet more ventures, more jobs and being taxed out the wazoo. Much good comes out of such endeavors.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, like the illegal immigrants who can mow your lawn after you profit from sending a couple of hundred good paying American jobs to China.

          • HonestDebate1

            I mow my own lawn and bush hog the acreage.

          • Ray in VT

            Good for you. So do I. Maybe if you hadn’t given your last $20 to Newt you could hire some takers to do it.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 — yes, but remember is was panem et circenses (bread AND circuses/arenas) together that kept the masses content.

            Sorta like today, with low-cost high calorie semi-addictive food, and lost-cost/freeish semi-addictive media, all courtesy of corporate conglomerates.

            The American Dream?

            We retort, you deride.

          • HonestDebate1

            Sports franchises give millions and millions to charity. They create gazilions of blue-collar and white collar jobs. They make people happy. Players pay out the wazoo in taxes. It seems like a good return to me, What’s not to like?

          • jefe68

            You might want to speak to a few of the residents who live in Foxboro MA who don’t share your views.

          • TFRX

            They don’t “create”.

            They transfer. That money would go to something else. Movie theaters, concerts, restaurants.

          • HonestDebate1

            I was around Charlotte when the NBA’s Hornets came to town and later when the Panthers were added to the NFL. That meant more restaurants and more theaters. Fans have to eat. When Charlotte built a new arena for the Bobcats it included lots of restaurants, it added to the art scene. I saw Stevie Wonder in the building.

          • TFRX

            And all that stuff would have been somewhere else without the teams. It wouldn’t have just vaporized into thin air.

          • HonestDebate1

            No it wouldn’t. When 25 or 30 thousand people come to town for a Basketball game or 60 or 70 thousand for a football game it changes everything. The new area was built uptown and was much more than an arena. It’s almost like another city.

          • Ray in VT

            Who paid for that stadium?

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t remember entirely but it was a combination of private and public money. It brought a ton of money back to the city and state.

          • Ray in VT

            So public investment in the economy works? Were those taxpayers that paid for it given the option to opt out if they did not want their money used to build a new stadium?

            Were incentives given to any of the companies involved to lure/keep them there? Have there been other offsetting costs, such as extra policing, higher road maintenance costs, etc.?

          • HonestDebate1

            Sure public investment in the economy can work. It’s essential. The more local the better. Yes there were offsetting cost in the form of new jobs both private and public but it was still a no-brainer. The city is much better off.

            I don’t know all the details but it was a very complicated issue. The new arena was actually contingent upon the owner of the Hornets selling the team but it moved to New Orleans instead. BET’s Robert Johnson (hence the name Bobcat) brought the newly awarded NBA franchise to Charlotte. I think Michael Jordan owns them now. The city is very happy with the outcome because of all the financial tentacles it spurred. Going back, it was the Hornets originally coming to town that raise the profile of the city enough to get the NFL here. That elevated the city even more. The Panthers stadium was built with private money.

          • Ray in VT

            They get tax breaks that shift costs to other parts of the tax base, strong arm municipalities into caving to their needs in order get them to stay, drive up cable/satellite rates.

            Everything has a down side.

          • HonestDebate1

            Sure but when it is dwarfed by the upside then it’s an easy choice.

          • TFRX

            Pro tip: Every rich person who hides behind the Stars and Stripes when it suits them also calls themselves “hard working” but are never called on it.

            Those in the white-collar and jetshare class never say their occupation is easy.

          • hennorama

            thequietkid — just out of curiosity — is this sowhoe of which you speak in NYC?

            Amateur tip: one rarely if ever sows with a hoe. Hoes be fer weedin,’ yo.

          • thequietkid10

            Oh, so that’s what I’ve been wrong all these years…thanks

          • hennorama

            thequietkid — thank you for your response. You are of course welcome.

            One hopes that has been your sole lifetime error. If so, you’ve lived an exceptional existence.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — pssst .. what’s “Horsesr*p”?

            I tried working it out, but failed methinks:

            Horsesragingflap
            Horsesremnantflop
            Horsesrighttoworkhockeychip
            Horsesropedip
            Horsesrulesmanship

          • Ray in VT

            I didn’t even notice that I misspelled that. Good catch. I think that horserap is likely the rap styling of an old nag doing Rapper’s Delight or something.

          • hennorama

            Now THAT would be a sight to see!

          • Ray in VT

            Almost as good as that movie about horses playing baseball.

          • hennorama

            ACK! Now I’m going to have that image in my brain.

            Now … do not think of a zebra.

          • Ray in VT

            It was an SNL sketch with Anne Hathaway, actually. I quite enjoyed it.

          • hennorama

            [Insert obvious horse mouth/Anne Hathaway joke here]

            [PS] TYVM for replacing the image in my brain.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, one could do that. She herself has said that she has large features on a small head, and my wife thinks that she’s a bit weird looking, but I find her quite attractive. I think that part of it is that she carries and presents herself in a pretty clean and gracious manner (one major wardrobe malfunction excepted).

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — Ms. Hathaway is inarguably attractive, spousal opinions notwithstanding. She has a very symmetrical face, as do many who are considered most attractive. (see link below)

            Prior to her “hooker with a heart of gold” role in Les Miserables, Ms. Hathaway had the requisite “gritty” role in the film Havoc. She certainly has had a very successful career thus far.

            Here’s the link:
            http://www.uproxx.com/webculture/2013/03/symmetrical-celebrities/#page/1 (Ms. H is in the 3rd image)

          • Ray in VT

            I’ve heard of the symmetry link before, and it is interesting. I’ve seen some of her work, and in interviews and such she seems very nice and genuine. She takes a lot of flak for some reason, but I think that she’s a talented actress. Again, though, my wife could care less. She’s a big David Tennant fan.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT — you might share this with your spouse:

            http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/tennantface

          • Ray in VT

            She loves Craig too. She’s got a thing for Scotsmen. It’s a good thing that that is the plurality of my ethnic background.

          • hennorama

            Ray in VT – That’s pure dead brilliant. Lang may yer lum reek!

            Assistance provided by:
            http://scotlandwelcomesyou.com/scottish-sayings/

          • Ray in VT

            I think that it is on the Nerdist that they run a bit with John Barrowman called Scot or Not, where John Barrowman says something, and the guests have to guess whether or not it is actually something Scottish or something that he just made up that sounds sort of authentic.

          • Ray in VT

            Some of those are just creepy.

      • StilllHere

        Please name 190 companies who have done this.

        • Ray in VT

          Why not pull another number of our the hat? Like 2, as in the proper number of l’s in still or the last grade that you likely completed.

          I am talking about one, so I only need one. Bain.

    • Bluejay2fly

      You obviously voted for that reprehensible scab Romney.

      • HonestDebate1

        Proudly.

        • Bluejay2fly

          He will certainly go to Mormon hell if there is one. Good job.

          • HonestDebate1

            How’s that hopey changey thing working out?

          • Bluejay2fly

            I am a conservative Republican which means I have not backed a candidate in years. Run another Eisenhower and I will back the POTUS.

          • HonestDebate1

            Then that makes your previous comment a bit odd despite my appreciation for your putting it out there. We hear a lot of talk from libs about moderating conservative views to attract independents. Romney won the independents in 2012. It was conservatives sitting it out that gave us Obama. Nice job.

            It’s never the choice between the lessor of two evils, it’s a matter of what is best.

          • Bluejay2fly

            I broke from the party when it lost its intellectualism Fox News vs. William F Buckley and it became beholding to the military industrial congressional complex and the forces of globalization(NAFTA). Reagan was the last GOP candidate I could agree upon and it has been a desert ever since. Our system is nothing more than a choice entre Budweiser or Corona either way it is beer.

          • Ray in VT

            Better than that ding batty opposed the bridge to nowhere after they took away the funding for it thingy.

          • Ray in VT

            I was listening to To The Best Of Our Knowledge last night, and they referenced that Joseph Smith envisioned Mormon society as being very communal, where all possessions were to be turned over to the Church and people only getting back what they needed. I wonder how the words of the Prophet squares with Mr. Romney’s economic philosophy?

          • HonestDebate1

            Romney lost, isn’t that an exercise in futility? Do you ever wonder how Obama’s new view on gay marriage squares with his Christianity? Do you ever wonder how Biden’s views on abortion square with his Catholicism?

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, but they’re godless, relativistic Democrat libruls. Conservatives are supposed to be better, like Gingrich on the sanctity of marriage for instance.

          • HonestDebate1

            Perfect, thank you.

          • pete18

            I would expect that he would receive better treatment in Mormon hell than you would in secular heaven.

            Of course one wonders what Beelzebub would have to say to him at the flaming gates given how right Romney was about so many things during the campaign.

            http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/was-mitt-romney-right-about-everything

          • hennorama

            pete18 – even a broken analog clock is right twice in awhile.

            Mr. Romney on the other hand seldom knew what time it was – not his, aka “the good old days.”

            Is he still looking for more horses and bayonets, and playing Battleship?

          • pete18

            The broken clock theory hasn’t worked too well in Obama’s case.

    • jefe68

      If a CEO makes more than 500 times of the lowest employee and a lot of that pay is tied to stock options as well, than it does effect how much someone makes.
      Just look at the Walmart model versus the Costco model and you’ll clearly see what you are on about here is wrong. Not that Costco’s model will work for every company, but it does prove that sharing in the profits and growth helps a company to be profitable. Of course Costco charges a fee to belong but their model does and can work.

      http://money.cnn.com/2013/08/06/news/economy/costco-fast-food-strikes/index.html

      • HonestDebate1

        I have no problem with the shareholders paying the CEO 500 times what they pay the greeters.

        • Ray in VT

          Do you have a problem with a company that pays its CEO 500 times what it pays its greeters paying many of its workers so little that they fall into poverty classifications and get state benefits in order to make ends meet?

          • HonestDebate1

            People choose their income, they don’t have to work at Walmart.

            Did you now that Walmart has a policy that prevents employees from ratting out shoplifters? They have decided that it’s too risky to prosecute. That’s when charges of racism, sexism and bias get leveled. Lawsuits ensue.

            I knew someone who got a night job stocking shelves at Walmart and had to go through drug test, tolerance training and all kinds of hoops because of a system that favors lawsuits and is hostile to business. Let’s start there.

          • TFRX

            This is the same Walmart who locks their workers inside, and had to take out full-page image ads saying “We don’t run over puppies with tractor trailers” “We pay every employee for every hour they work”?

            You really oughta spend more time on planet earth.

        • jefe68

          As you always say it’s not about you.
          It’s about how to create an economy that works better.

          The workers at Costco are not using government resources such a SNAP or Medicaid, unlike that of those employed at Walmart.

          Craig Jelinek earned $650,000 in 2012, plus a $200,000 bonus and stock options worth about $4 million, based on the company’s performance. By contrast, Walmart CEO Mike Duke’s 2012 base salary was $1.3 million; he was also awarded a $4.4 million cash bonus and $13.6 million in stock grants.

          http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-06-06/costco-ceo-craig-jelinek-leads-the-cheapest-happiest-company-in-the-world

          http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/04/17/walmart-pays-workers-poorly-and-sinks-while-costco-pays-workers-well-and-sails-proof-that-you-get-what-you-pay-for/

          • HonestDebate1

            Walmart provides inexpensive goods. If someone invents a DVD player it is out of reach for most until Walmart makes them affordable. Is it better to make poor people pay more for products.

            And are you really suggesting it’s Walmart’s responsibility to pay enough so people don’t need food stamps? It’s not.

            Cut to the chase, what do you suggest be done about this perceived problem?

          • TFRX

            Wow. You have a lot to learn about Walmart.

            Please tell us about how “WalmartComesInAndSavesTownsAndCities” next.

          • jefe68

            So does Costco.
            They are costing using your tax dollars to do it.

          • HonestDebate1

            No they are not. The government is handing out the food stamps all by themselves.

            What are you suggesting be done?

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He — “Walmart makes them affordable”? Wow.

            Please point out exactly where Walmart makes ANYTHING, sir, affordable or not.

            The scale is tipping in favor of your breathtaking ignorance vs. your mewling stubbornness.

          • HonestDebate1

            The same with wide screen TV’s.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He — where exactly are the Walmart wide screen TV and DVD player factories located?

          • HonestDebate1

            They don’t make them, they buy them buy the gazillion and make them affordable.

          • hennorama

            Yet more weight on the breathtaking ignorance side of the scale.

            Please tell everyone how “buy[ing] them buy [sic] (nice try at baiting) the gazillion…make[s] them affordable.”

            “Affordable” to whom, exactly — Walmart, or the ultimate consumer?

            Please also demonstrate how Walmart, which is strictly a middle man, fits into your words, that “The supply creates the demand.”

            If Walmart is a buyer, then they are not a supplier. If Walmart is a buyer, they are not “mak[ing]” anything, affordable or otherwise.

          • HonestDebate1

            If you don’t understand Walmart’s buying power makes otherwise unaffordable products affordable to the consumer then I can’t help you.

          • Ray in VT

            And it has done that in part by paying its workers very little and by forcing down production costs, very often by strong-arming companies into shipping jobs overseas. Gotta love that.

            I think that a company does have the responsibility to pay its workers enough that they can survive. Walmart has just figured out a way to game the system and enrich itself at the expense of the public.

          • HonestDebate1

            I think buying power is a much bigger factor. I don’t think a company has a ethical responsibility to pay their workers anything. but they won’t get many employees that way. They have no problem filling jobs.

            Do you have a problem with the pot smoker who can afford a bag a week at the expense of the public?

          • Ray in VT

            And that company is riding the system by using it to pay its workers less.

            Is it medical weed?

          • HonestDebate1

            Then that’s government’s fault not Walmart’s.

            And no, it’s Pineapple Lady Uno from Guido.

          • Ray in VT

            So, when a company finds a way to game the system in order to pocket millions or billions at the public’s expense, then it’s the government’s fault? If so, then let’s find a government solution to a government created problem. We could raise the minimum wage or prevent the company from taking food stamp money from its employees that it pays too little to live on.

          • HonestDebate1

            Walmart’s pay scale has nothing to do with the government. Paying a wage people accept for the job description is not gaming anything.

          • Ray in VT

            Paying them so little that they can qualify for state assistance so that one doesn’t have to pay them more is. I just want to get Walmart off of the dole. A good kick in the pants to the minimum wage should help with that.

          • HonestDebate1

            It doesn’t work that way at all. The costs would get passed to the consumer and jobs would be lost. They don’t have any trouble filling the jobs. And why are you assuming walmart pays everybody minimum wage? Walmart’s starting pay is $17/hour in N. Dakota. The answer is a thriving economy. Imposing labor cost unrelated to the market is hostile to the economy.

          • Ray in VT

            The high cost of low prices are already being paid by the tax payers by Walmart working the system. They wouldn’t have to cut jobs or raise prices, but those are two options, and the negative effects could be offset by less public spending to subsidize Walmart profits and increased buying power from those getting better pay.

            Red herring alert! $17/hour in North Dakota! Please tell me how you propose to enact the sort of boom in other places that North Dakota is experiencing (in part due to years of Federal backing of fracking technology). Even when we had full employment during the boom years millions of people were being paid minimum wage, which buys far less than it used to.

          • jefe68

            Yes I am suggesting that Walmart pay it’s workers enough so they don’t need SNAP to eat. What part of being part of society don’t you get?

            If Costco can pay decent wages so can Walmart. I already posted two articles on the financial aspects of the two companies. That you wont read them is not my problem. That you wont do your own research on this topic is also not my problem. With that I’m not going to go back and forth with you on this. I’ve stated my viewpoint. Living wages are more productive to a society than poverty wages.

  • fun bobby

    NPR brought to you by Wal-Mart, where you can buy forever stamps.

    • Bluejay2fly

      That certainly do not last forever.

      • fun bobby

        really? I have not read the fine print. it would not surprise me as I doubt any of the items at walmart will last forever, except in landfills

  • Coastghost

    Dire as things are and sound for Millennials and Gen-Xers just now: according to Professor Cowen or Professor Stiglitz (whoever’ll answer), how much wealth transfer does he expect to occur as the very last of the WWII-era cohort and the bulk of the Boomers die? If much/most of America’s wealth is held by Americans 60+, I’d expect a generous turnover as even modern medicine continues to fail to confer immortality.
    Plus: what about the well-padded Gen-Xers and Millennials who HAVE scored big, with lucrative internet start-ups, acting/music/sports contracts, et cetera: are they simply not feeling much loyalty to their cohorts? Somehow, I haven’t gained the impression that the Zuckerbergs, the Rowlings, the Lohans, the Lady Gargoyles of this age are masters of philanthropy, nor do our “cults of celebrity” show signs of losing their necessary mass appeal.
    Further: how much of this “move in w/the parents” phenom is a matter of someone cramping someone’s style, and how much of it is conscious collaboration and cooperation among and within “family units”? Could be some social gains there when done right, ‘twould seem. (When done wrong, we could have a rash of murdered parents–or offspring–to contend with.)

  • jefe68

    There was a segment on 60 Minutes about robots (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18560_162-57601121/are-robots-hurting-job-growth/) and how they are a huge factor in this equation in the present economy and moving forward. Not a huge fan of 60 Minutes, but it was an interesting segment.

    One interesting figure came up in one of the interviews. That 60% of the workforce could be put out of work.
    I’m not sure where this figure came from but even if it is 40% that spells a lot of trouble for any economy. If the American economy is dependent on consumers, which it is to the tune of 70%, and if this 40 to 60% number is correct, who’s going to buy all the stuff that drives our economy?

    The other factor here is history. No nation can sustain itself with a population of up 40 to 60% unemployed or under-employed.
    Civil unrest and violent revolutions are born out this kind of strife.

    • fun bobby

      jefe you have made a coherent statement! I like it and agree 100%. consider that 15% are employed as drivers and that driverless cars already exist and its just a matter of time(less than 10 years) before all trucking and driving jobs are gone. I think the only solution is to move to a consumption based economy as we have been in the US.

      • jefe68

        Funny you mention the word coherent.
        Did you not read the part where it was mentioned that our consumer based economy cannot be sustained if 40 to 60% of the workforce is put out to pasture.

        • fun bobby

          using the current conception of an economy where people work for money to spend on consumption I agreed with you. (remind me not to agree with you again if you are going to be difficult and rude about it) I am proposing moving to some sort of a system where consumption is your work. as a nation this is essentially what happens when you borrow money from china and then turn around and buy things from china. they need us more than we need them so they loan us money to buy things from them otherwise they would have nothing to do. what America is truly exceptional at is consumption. its mutually beneficial but as the Chinese are replaced by robots we will need new conceptions of economy. we need to find a way to make it work on an individual level. perhaps they will start “paying” people to surf the web or watch TV.

          • jefe68

            You can’t be serious. By the way go ahead, don’t respond nor comment on what I post.

          • fun bobby

            jefe under my plan you might do pretty well

  • SteveTheTeacher

    How is the notion that the United States is, quintessentially, a capitalist based economy, different from the notion that the United States is a Christian nation?

    How does capitalist notion of ever growing growth, consumption, and production of waste is account for the disruption of the equilibriums of our environment and the limitations and finite resources of our planet?

    From mathematical modeling to systems analysis, I’ve seen rigorous elaboration on the tendency of capitalist systems to result in inequitable accumulations of wealth. It would be nice to hear discussion of such analysis.

    I’d also like to hear discussion of alternatives to capitalism such as models proposed by Manfred Max-Neef, Micheal Albert, etc.

    • Yar

      When your Christ is money, then it is the same. To find what a people worship, one only has to look at their cathedrals. Banks, hospitals, sport arenas, what buildings of note are in your town? Attacking capitalism in America is seen as an attack on religion.

      • SteveTheTeacher

        Capitalist and Christianity do have much in common.

        Both ended up in the Americas by historical accident. Both rolled over different economic and spiritual practices in practice by the indigenous populations. Both were forceably imposed on enslaved Africans. And both are based solely upon faith, having no material
        foundation at their cores.

        That the present capitalist system will end is not in doubt. In addition to the impending environmental crisis resulting from excessive consumerism, trends in production and consumption of food, fresh water, and energy indicate its lack of sustainability.

        The question is, will we be able to put into practice a more just and sustainable alternative.

    • fun bobby

      then you should attend an anticapitalist rally

      • SteveTheTeacher

        Or the World Social Forum and the like, eh?

        But the NSA isn’t able to keep track of all our conversations that way.

        Guess we have to keep pushing the mainstream “liberal” media to air more of the progressive voices heard on programs such as Alternative Radio, Democracy Now, Making Contact, and Free Speech Radio News.

        • fun bobby

          the mainstream media become less relevant daily. anyone can listen to those shows online. relying on radio broadcasts seems like an anachronistic plan

  • tbphkm33

    Problem is that high inequality can affect innovation. In the new era of U.S. inequality, expect the U.S. no longer to be the innovative economy it has been. More-and-more, the U.S. will be relegated to 2nd world status, watching dynamic economies from the sidelines.

    • HonestDebate1

      But isn’t fabulous wealth the best motivator for innovation?

      • Yar

        Look at how innovative our system of incarceration is. Look at our voter suppression system, our campaign finance system. Wealth is such an innovator, it innovates new ways to exploit every day.

        • HonestDebate1

          No amount of money can keep me from making my informed vote. I cannot be suppressed.

          • fun bobby

            I bet they could pay someone to suppress you

          • Yar

            Or simply not count your vote.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        No

      • StilllHere

        Apparently, fabulous taxation is.

    • fun bobby

      which economies will we be watching?

  • TomK_in_Boston

    I am really outraged about all the “experts” talking about inequality as if it’s the result of economic forces beyond our control. It comes from our choices, dammit, specifically Reagan voodoo econ, aka class warfare.

    How freaking stupid can you be to not see that massive tax cuts on the rich and the corporations wd put inequality on steroids? Come on! Just look, and see that the problem really got going after the disastrous election of 1980. Inequality and tax rates:

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/05/28/opinion/052813krugman1/052813krugman1-blog480.jpg

    Then you can look around the world, which our pundits don’t like to do, and see the relation of taxes and inequality

    http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1159884/original.jpg

    Then there’s Union busting. our policy choice:

    http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/sites/democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/files/resize/images/charts/unionincome-graph-600×429.jpg

    No policies to stop offshoring, relentless privatization of the public sector…

    We’re doing it to ourselves. If we want a middle class society, big tax hikes at the top are the first step.

    • TFRX

      Of course it’s described as “the natural order”. Because you don’t want to disrupt the natural order, do you?

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Dam right, the 1% and their brainwashed pawns want that natural order to keep the $ torrent coming.

    • StilllHere

      I’ll take forces beyond our control over correlation is causation platitudes.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Good boy, TP right on schedule. No matter how strong the evidence, the righty bots have to say “correlation is not causation”. It’s a great way to never learn anything.

        • StilllHere

          You’ve got no evidence of causation, only correlation. What you think you’ve “learned,” is a bunch of hooey designed to make you feel better about the forces you think you don’t control.

          • TomK_in_Boston

            Ha ha ha. just keep your head in the sand and listen to talk radio and faux.

  • wauch

    Are you kidding me Tyler Cowen? Wow Tom we need to reevaluate the credibility of your guests given the insistence by economists such as Mr. Cowen that economics is a science when really it is just opinion with countless carve outs for ideology.

    • Coastghost

      Oh good! We can finally dispense entirely with socialism, hoorah and hooray. Keynes can take an overdue hike, too . . . .

      • wauch

        I agree with Keynes taking a hike. You confused me with someone who looks at the world via entirely free market or socialists glasses. I don’t and neither should you. We have economists presenting themselves as loyal to the data, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

        • Coastghost

          Perhaps we agree then that “descriptive economics” is preferable to “prescriptive economics”. Prof. Cowen has his views but he has never struck me as someone intent on steering the data. (We’ll get a chance to compare his performance this hour with Prof. Stiglitz’s.)

  • Wahoo_wa

    Today on Hyperbole Hour….

  • Charles Vigneron

    I’ve never heard your program teaser that made my stomach turn and shut off the radio. I’m with wauch on this.

  • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

    On the whole, Computerization, robotics and export are reducing the need as a percentage of our population for highly skilled, well paid laborers. The future today is getting bleak for many; what options to we have to avoid a seriously dystopic future?

    • fun bobby

      luddite revolt?

  • J__o__h__n

    We have college graduates working retail and food services jobs. The problem is the middle class is disappearing. Improved K-12 isn’t going to solve that.

    Mexican wages aren’t going to cover American rents and student loans.

  • Leonard Bast

    The future belongs to the marketers? Hopefully I’ll be dead.

  • d clark

    Thanks to globalization, American’s standard of living declines. Time to use our military strength to reassert ourselves.

    • Leonard Bast

      Who will we use it against? The multi-national corporations responsible for globalization and the outsourcing of our jobs? Which corporations should we use our military to attack first?

      • fun bobby

        I vote apple

    • fun bobby

      oh? is your tv smaller than it was 10 years ago? how will wasting money on war benefit poor Americans?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Move to Texas? Are you kidding? I keep hearing people will be moving to urban areas, and that climate change will cause people to gravitate to concentrated housing.

    • fun bobby

      yeah when society collapses what place would be better than one crowded with starving angry people with failed sanitation systems?

    • Prairie_W

      As someone who lives on a ranch in rural TX –drought-ravaged rural TX! — I’ve noticed that there is considerable cooperation, finally, in helping to conserve water. Communities matter. Small communities — at least reasonably prosperous small communities — seem to be better at sharing responsibility. It’s tough going, but I’m proud of how our area is doing at a stressful time.

      • TFRX

        Are you west of the 100th meridian?

        As a northeastern suburbanite, it’s good to hear the unadulterated word from someone in rural TX on the subject.

        However, the Rod Serling fan in me worries how much more drought the prarie can stand before the social structure strains.

        (PS I will take as a given that you already know what the Ogallala Aquifier is.)

  • Ellen Dibble

    Cowen speaks of improving K-12 education, but with more families needing two incomes, and lots of evidence showing that preschool is what makes the difference in socialization and achievement, it seems to me that pre-K is top priority.

  • Casey Reyner

    How long can this system be sustained? If the wealth gap continues to increase that means there is wealth redistribution from bottom to the top. How long can the poor continue to afford to make the rich richer before they run out of money. Or will the government have to step in and pay poor people just so we can continue to be the consumers, and patrons of the wealthy.

    • fun bobby

      note the recent rise in food stamps enrollment

  • Ellen Dibble

    Congress keeps juicing the inequality, and I’m thinking the motivators on K Street are part of that. By definition, those at the bottom need to borrow money to get enough advantage to give them firmer footing. They pay to the banks. Those on the bottom, just colllect “rents,” of one sort or another from those doing the climbing. And the taxes on that interest, capital gains, is less than that on those climbing. In fact if you’re earning under about the average, say $45,000, you can be losing about a third of your additional earnings each year to the loss in subsidies, whether for health care or “affordable housing.” There is a legislative way to keep people feeling allergic to earning more money. Ask a majority of seniors even now, in my experience.

  • geraldfnord

    All explanations for gross inequality always seem to be rationalisations for irrational acquiescence to basic pre-human hard-wiring for life in an arbitrary hierarchy.

    The wealthy and powerful have always had convenient explanations as to why they live well at their ease and others live in pain and toil and desperation, but whether what suposèdly favoured them were God, blood, a distorted interpretation of Darwin, their leadership of a vanguard Party, or the wonders of the Market, all these explanations eventually in hindsight look blinkeredly vacuous and self-aggrandising.

    Those whose stock-in-trade is stroking the powerful with the aid of these notions—and they always show up—end up seeming self-interestedly callous at best and at worst, toadies, but we should not view them too harshly: ‘kissing up and kicking down’ is a basic hominid hierarchical strategy for getting more food and mating opportunities, and it’s not as if we could reasonably expect significantly neo-cortical behaviour from a courtier.

  • Yar

    As for a chess comparison, what happens when one player kicks the board over as a way to end the game. Isn’t that what terrorism really is?
    What jobs do you see most people doing? Who provides the food?
    Lawyers can be replaced by computers too.

    • fun bobby

      farmbots. japan is working very hard at making farming robots as few kids there have an interest in farming

  • ThirdWayForward

    Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut (1949)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Player_Piano_(novel)

    • fun bobby

      classic. don’t you love how all those old dystopian novels are coming to fruition?

  • Ellen Dibble

    In progressively unequal communities, it seems to me the intergenerational responsibility will shift. It used to be the family tried to keep the family farm, or the family house, assuming someone could afford to maintain it and pay the taxes. Now, the degree of establishment of a “family” is pretty diluted. But I can imagine the government saying sell off your house before you take advantage of Medicaid nursing home care. Oh, wait, they do that already. And people needing health care refuse to get it because selling the house for the additional cash in order to fund the necessary cash puts them out of range of that government assistance.

  • ToyYoda

    I think the mass proliferation of 3d printers will economically liberate the creative types just as computers have economically liberated the “geek” types.

    If I were to start over again, I would still do computers, but I would definitely learn industrial design along the way.

  • Wahoo_wa

    The more the guest talks the less convincing he sounds. The broad sweeping conclusions seem more than a bit far fetched. Miss Chleo would sound more convincing to me in comparison. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWyHiV3l3MA

    • fun bobby

      I miss that particular con artist

  • thequietkid10

    I think this guy is off the mark on the “computers testing everything” theory. It sounds like NCLB on a broader scale. And that is not exactly a great model.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It seems to me that those whom the current tax and legislative situation currently thwart resort to lots of addictions. You can’t stay unmotivated and in your little corner without external mood management. Talk about motivation…

  • J__o__h__n

    I thought the conservatives just wanted to roll back the New Deal or maybe even the Progressive era. I had no idea that returning to medieval times was the goal.

    • TomK_in_Boston

      The time machine has been re-adjusted. 1920s too advanced for current righties.

      When asked re capitalism “what nation ever did it better than the USA”, R Reich says “Us – in the 50s and 60s”. Amen! It’s stupid to sat there is one single pure “capitalism”. The version we had that worked for all has no relation to the current Scrooge version.

    • geraldfnord

      I believe Karl Rove and Stephen Moore have stated that 1890 were about right, further fuelling my suspicion that they’re nowt but base Spencerians.

  • Jim

    I hate to agree a lot of things with Tyler… i really do.. but i think he is right. his analysis is very consistent with the social mobility of this country. I rather agree and work the system, not against it.

    I like Professor Stiglitz, but i hope he has a good argument against it…

    but one thing I don’t agree with Tyler… it is NOT ok. what made America grow tremendously in the 60s and 70s is the notion of a middle class.

  • J__o__h__n

    The Bohemians living in Brooklyn have trust funds.

  • Casey Reyner

    I think Mr. Cowen, lives in a fantasy land, built by Capitalism.

  • geraldfnord

    ‘Excessive limits on what democratically elected governments can do’ ==’Most power lies in the hands of the most-monied’

    (‘No limits…’==’tyranny of the majority’, but there’s a lot of room between those two poles, and we’re far too close to ‘excessive limits’ these days.)

    Maybe it will all work out: once enough people don’t much propert, support for property rights will decline, if they’re sane and know their self-interests.

  • hellokitty0580

    Frankly, this whole conversation leaves me incredibly depressed. As a millennial, I grew up in the 90s with the promise of more economic equality than ever before. The American dream seemed like something tangible and real. I followed my/The Dream and got an education- a master’s degree… Now it all seems for not. I’m not quite sure where I fit into this world. I’m underemployed and I’m not sure what my career will end up being like. I know that I don’t want a career in the sciences or technology because that isn’t who I am or where my strengths lay. I know I’m intelligent, a hard-worker, creative, and insightful, but it doesn’t seem like any of that will matter in this economy Tyler Cowen is describing. It seems like technology is king and anyone else that isn’t technological or scientific or mathematical is chopped liver.

    • PithHelmut

      I see the unpaid workforce and that value is never rewarded. It is acknowledged but only to pat them on the back to keep it going. Same with the military. Calls for people to join the Peace Corps or to do community service – that is what untold numbers of people are doing because the paid jobs are silly to do or not available. Our entire value system is whacky. We don’t value those who live within their means as far as energy and water is concerned. Polluters get to dump for free. Whacky. We need to be together and unite against this unnecessary inequality and injustice. America can be so much more.

    • fun bobby

      you should start your own business

    • sickofthechit

      Actually, it was all for “naught”, but don’t despair. I think we need to think in terms of national or even international boycotts that are targeted at specific industries or companies and are limited in duration, say a week or a month. The very real fact that the lion’s share of productivity gains over the last several decades have gone to the upper reaches is unconscionable. We, the 99% or 90% or 80% really have the power if we will only wield it. charles a. bowsher

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think the degradation of the environment — air, water, food, stuff in general — will guarantee that lots of people will have to proceed with seriously vitiated heallth. Those with money to correct epigenetic changes or able to find optimum environments for work and living will be able to know they are the creme de la creme, in a very real sense. Some will be in fact less functional and unable to do anything about it.

    • geraldfnord

      Don’t forget the trans-human improvements they’ll be able to afford, say greater strength, no conscience, longer life, ability to survive as an anthropophage—our incredibly popular vampire fiction might turn out to be as a memory of the future.

  • Mari McAvenia

    Great observation by Tom Ashbrook: Yes, our ancestors DID emigrate from feudal Europe (and elsewhere) to escape the entrapment of closed societies. Yet, these days, the shift backwards towards greater inequality in America leaves most people in a terrible bind. Where can WE go?

    • Bob Gerwien

      Europe

  • Rick Evans

    There is an alternative to Mr. Cowen’s di$topian future. It is an ownership society which taxes consumption and funds investment in a national exchange traded life fund. Everyone would own a minimum part of the economy but would also be encouraged to accumulate knowledge and skills.

    Self driving cars will be an early prototyping of this experiment. When I heard about the rapid development of Googlemobiles my thought was taxi drivers are shaking in their books. Then I thought, “Not necessarily. Taxi drivers can become taxi owner operators letting their Googletaxi.” work for them. Today’s taxi owner rents out his cab for the hours he’s not working and sleeping.

    The real question is will our financing and business systems favor fleet owners over individuals.

    • fun bobby

      clearly small operators will be pushed out by the high cost to entry in the self driving cab industry. consumption taxes are the most regressive. our future in America is to consume as much as possible so the world continues to subsidize our prolific consumption as they do now

  • sickofthechit

    He blames the poor and those of us in the lower 80% who haven’t “applied” ourselves!? Up Yours buddy! charles a. bowsher

    • hellokitty0580

      Seriously! What? I was supposed to get a degree in computer science merely because it’s worth more in a labor market??? That’s not where my strengths lay. I’m a writer, policy analyzer, an artist, and a humanitarian. But according to Mr. Cowen there won’t be a viable place for me in the future economy. And oh well, its my fault because I didn’t apply myself to some scientific-based field.

      • fun bobby

        they are called starving artists for a reason. we have plenty of those sort of people so you are not that valuable. thank you for accepting responsibility for your situation

        • hellokitty0580

          I was actually being completely sarcastic when I said it was my fault. Who are you to call an artist invaluable? I guess you’re the person who would call Monet, Van Gogh, or Rembrandt invaluable as well. Do you listen to music? Do you call your favorite musicians or writers invaluable? The artists in our world document humanity. They express the feelings of humanity. We NEED this because humans are not automatons- we are SENTIENT BEINGS that have needs which cannot be met by money.

          I’m not asking for handouts. I worked by ass off to get two degrees, one in international relations. What pisses me off is that I DID do the “right” thing. I got an education and I worked hard and now I’m being told it doesn’t matter. Mostly because of the greed of Wall St and our idiots in Congress. All I want is a fair shot having my own little piece of life- paying my debts and enough money to feed and house myself while also enjoying my interests in my free time. The BASICS of life. Now that’s asking for too much.

          • Mari McAvenia

            The “poverty is a personal choice” crowd haven’t got a shred of imagination to split between them. They can dream up reasons why THEY are the rightful inheritors of all the wealth on Earth, at the expense of all other life-forms, yet cannot see how people with peaceful visions and powerful talents should share a single crumb of it. That’s called “blind greed”, my friend.

          • fun bobby

            peaceful visions don’t pay the bills

          • Mari McAvenia

            Nor do snipes at creative artists. Divide and conquer is the name of the game. Why do you resent creativity so much, Bobby?

          • fun bobby

            actually I bet comedians will take longer to replace than musicians or visual artists

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, computers aren’t good with humor:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ6KWfZz4BY

          • fun bobby

            I resent those who blame others for their lack of success and think they should get things because they “deserve” them. you are owed nothing from society because you got a degree. plenty of artists make plenty of money with and without degrees. a great thing about the arts is that one actually requires no formal training for success. all that is required is talent and/or vision/marketing. this means the barrier to entry is in some ways very low meaning there is a glut of “qualified”(as if having a degree in art or philosophy confers a talent ) individuals. some artists are billionaires. they prove they system is not rigged against them if you are not one of them its your fault.

            you said this

            “All I want is a fair shot having my own little piece of life- paying my debts and enough money to feed and house myself while also enjoying my interests in my free time. The BASICS of life. Now that’s asking for too much.”
            who do you want to provide that for you?
            how have you not been given a fair shot?

          • Mari McAvenia

            You’re preaching to the wrong choir. Media moguls who get rich on the talents of trusting, exploited creative artists are no more endowed with “talent” than the average CPA. They don’t (and can’t) grow beans they just count the beans a bit better than somebody who is focused on bringing beauty and truth to the fore of human consciousness. You can go back to counting your beans, now, and let us get on with our own work. Artists don’t threaten your materialistic way of life. Quit making cases for the destruction of ours.

          • fun bobby

            media moguls?
            how have I done that exactly? feel free to be a hack all you want. just don’t complain when you cant pay your bills with it.
            I am still waiting for you to explain who should provide for you and how you have not been given a fair shot.
            I have been thinking about your plight and I think what you need to do is demand a refund from your college. perhaps you could return your degree since it has not provided the income you expected. think about how crazy it is that people spend so much money on something with no warranty that you cannot return or resell. now think how crazy it is for those people to demand recompense from society at large.
            its funny how you have labeled me as a “bean counter” way to “stick it to the Man”.

          • Mari McAvenia

            Look, I stepped in to defend hellokitty’s initial post. The answer you want must come from her. I do think it’s a waste of time and money to go to “art school”. I never did that. I’ve worked to support myself all my life, starting at age 13. Sometimes that work has been creative and well compensated. Sometimes it’s been menial and degrading. Nobody ever gave me a handout or told me I deserved special favors because I have unusually enhanced and deliberately cultivated creative and manual skills. It’s who I am. Even as I have mucked out horse stalls at the crack of dawn to pick up extra grocery money for my kids, I’ve never become the waste matter which filled my pitchforks. I won’t allow anybody to force me down there in my own opinion of myself. A CEO ain’t an automatic saint anymore than a garbage man is an automatic slob. An artist is not an automatic commie, either.

          • fun bobby

            good, why would a person with a work ethic defend someone without one?

          • TFRX

            If it were anyone but a trollster like you, being accused of not having a work ethic might raise some hackles.

          • fun bobby

            I think you deserve that too. go back to school and get a useful technical or business degree.
            perhaps look up the meaning of “invaluable”.
            should everyone with a philosophy degree be given a lucrative job because they have a degree? we have machines capable of creating novel art and music. all educations are not created equal. you like most people are becoming obsolete on top of having a larger supply of such people than the demand.

          • hellokitty0580

            I wish someone would replace you with a machine.

            Wait, I think you might be an internet troll already.

          • fun bobby

            once we are all replaced by machines we can all pontificate online full time. ir ead a book like that time ironically written before the internet existed

          • hellokitty0580

            I think you’re devoid of humanity.

            I would never go to school and waste my time or a school’s time learning something I have no passion for and therefore would do a poor job of out in the labor market.

            Basically what you’re saying is that it’s better to have a bunch of carbon copy techs out in the world who do a terrible job at what they’re doing because they don’t love it than to have a diverse economy full of people with different skills who are passionate about what they’re doing and that create new paths exponentially because of their creativity.

            God forbid your absolutist ideals and intolerance of difference ever take hold in society.

          • fun bobby

            I am saying that its not anyone else’s fault if you get or develop skills that are not in demand. if we all just followed our bliss no one would fix the sewer or do anything unpleasant. if people were doing what they wanted it would not be called work it would be called fun. I don’t have any problem with creative people. I consider myself to be one. If those are your choices don’t complain if you don’t get paid enough.

        • Ellen Dibble

          In many ways, what makes for a starving artist is exactly what makes them valuable: they rub the establishment the wrong way. The reveal what is not commonly recognized or accepted. They find a way to get under the skins of those with the money that might sustain them. Why do it? In theological terms, one would call it a “calling.” However, there are no monasteries for that sort of calling.

          • fun bobby

            sure there are. they are called artists colonies

          • fun bobby

            perhaps I should use the word “profitable”. value is vague and could apply to lots of nonmonetary ideas

          • hellokitty0580

            Life isn’t about money. Money is a tool. It’s not the end all and be all. That’s the difference between me and you.

          • fun bobby

            sure but you seem to be the one complaining she is not getting enough money despite her unmarketable degrees

          • TFRX

            Tangent: I submit that “calling” is a watchword.

            If whatever you do for a living gets redefined as a “calling”, run for the hills: Someone wants you to be poor while doing it.

            Teaching? A “calling”. Nursing? A “calling”.

            (Note: Art doesn’t really apply here, as it’s different than “craft”. Plenty of talented craftspeople worked on making a multi-million dollar Hollywood movie, and they don’t do it to starve. Is that movie art? Nobody knows.)

        • geraldfnord

          Is that what you’ll say when it’s your turn, or your spouse’s or child’s, not to be ‘valuable’? Or are you and they, perhaps, Unconditionally and Perseverantly Elected?

      • Mari McAvenia

        Humanity is obsolete according to these “new” models of practical economics. Piffle. Even economists and computer geeks have physical bodies. Souls and consciences? Doubtful. The rise of the heartless bullies continues unabated. That’s why artists and writers are more important than ever. Don’t give up on who you are!

        • fun bobby

          we have computer capable of art and poetry. she can be replaced by a machine

          • hellokitty0580

            Don’t let your lack of creative ability make you bitter. It’s unbecoming.

          • fun bobby

            yeah that’s it, I am bitter because I am not an unsuccessful artist.

          • hellokitty0580

            It would seem like it.

          • fun bobby

            like hitler. oh how I wish I was an unsuccessful artist then I would be full of sweetness

    • StilllHere

      that’ll learn em

    • fun bobby

      how much does one have to earn to be in the top 20%?

      • sickofthechit

        In 2010 according to census bureau statistics 75% of wage earners made less than $50,000 per year. Something like 93% made less than $100,000 per year. So the stop 20% are making at least say $80-85,000 per year. The real disturbing number is the wealth distribution in this country. The wealthy go to special seminars to learn how to not only preserve their wealth for countless generations, but they are also setting themselves up to be the survivors in charge in case of widespread catastrophe. charles a. bowsher

        • fun bobby

          80,000 a year does not seem like out of touch wealthyness. poor people are prepping as well but that’s why the billionaires want us to be disarmed. if one were to go to the grocery store near me they have had a help wanted meat cutters $15.50 per hour sign up for months now. for a two income family it would be over 60,000 a year with no overtime. one would imagine you get a raise after a while if you do a good job.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Instead of all this techno babble, how about a big tax hike on the rich and the corporations? That’s the way to curb inequality.

    • fun bobby

      yes making the rich poorer would make the gap less. how would that benefit the poor though?

      • Mari McAvenia

        That’s an oxymoron, Bobby. “Make the rich poorer”, huh? The rich will still be rich until they become the poor. Can’t be both at the same time.

        • fun bobby

          and when they become the poor the gap will be eliminated and we can all rejoice?

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Come on! It’s better to have the $ going to infrastructure, R&D, education, municipal services, etc than raising the level in unca scrooge’s money bin from 50′ to 55′. Also high taxes encourages reinvestment of corporate profits instead of obscene compensation and stupid acquisitions. Romney style vulture capitalism wd be impossible without tax breaks.

        When you say “make the rich poorer” remember they are richer now than any time since the 1920s and getting more so every year, so why would scaling that back be a concern? Taking 5′ off unca scrooge’s money bin is bad for the economy when it’s only at 6′, he won’t even notice when it’s at 55′.

      • jimino

        Dumb.

        • HonestDebate1

          Then it should be easy to answer.

      • HonestDebate1

        And that’s the point.

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

    This is pretty much imaginary – it doe not include climate change. Here’s what I think the future needs to be:

    Food production is key to getting our economy going again, and to the survival of our culture. Climate change directly affects our fragile fossil fuel dependent food production system. It is not really farming, but rather it is soil and water mining.

    If we switched back to real farming – using our knowledge to significantly improve on what we had been doing for about 10,000 years before we “discovered” nitrogen fertilizer and the internal combustion engine, then here are all the deadly problems we would solve, by putting ourselves back into step with the cycle of life:

    * We would stop eating oil and gas, which as you and I know are finite.

    * We would let the soil come alive again — it decomposes the stuff of life and makes it available for growing new life, building and improving the soil making it better and deeper and sequestering carbon rather than mining it, eroding it, and poisoning our waterways.

    * We would cut about 25% of our greenhouse gas output from the crappy-water-soluble-nitrogen-to-nitrous-oxide-nightmare, that also includes dead rivers and dead fishing zones along the way.

    * Local food production not only means far less oil burned transporting food around the world (the average food item travels 1,500 miles to your mouth!), but it also means far more nutritious, much better tasting food that makes us all much healthier — we probably would see cancer rates go down, too!

    * We would totally solve both our immigration problems and our unemployment problems at the same time. And we would
    make big dents into our drug problem, our prison problem, our hunger problems, and our decaying civil society would be renewing its way back to health.

    Wes Jackson proposes that we move to 80% perennial agriculture within the next 50 years. We need to listen to the wisdom among us if we want to solve our major problems.

    We have a sustainable abundance of renewable energy –
    up to 16X more energy than the needs of the entire world. Everybody can have as much electricity as they need — and all that economic activity supports all our local economies.

    Since renewable energy is available everywhere, to any and all people — then the need for a military largely goes away. Since living soils store water much more readily than dead soil, we stop needing to use up our fossil water supply.

    We simply must do as nature does — we must have zero waste. Waste means that we are not doing it right: no disposable plastic, no disposable people, no disposable land, no disposable species.

    • fun bobby

      so can I assume that you have become a self sufficient organic farmer? we have a shortage of farmers and those interested in farming. you are going to need a whole lot of farmers to produce nearly as much food as we do now with mechanization and oil fertilizers

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

        Factory farming is the cause of at least 3 major problems. And factory farming is unsustainable – soil erosion and water scarcity are already becoming huge issues.

        Organic farming builds up the soil (rather than wearing it out) and it saves water, and it provides healthy food, and yes it would employ a lot of people.

        That is the point!

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

      Electricity is the nexus of many renewable energy resources. Renewable energy sources are all over the place, and no one can monopolize them. These are quite democratizing — energy is available virtually anywhere and everywhere.

      Sure geothermal on the surface is only in a few places (Iceland, parts of the USA, New Zealand, etc.) but wind is in many places, including the corridor from Texas up to the Dakotas, and basically all around the Midwest, California, and offshore from our coasts. Wind scales up well, getting more efficient as the turbines get bigger. We now have direct drive turbines that eliminate the weakest piece of the previous generation — the transmission, and so they generate more power, break less often, cost less to build and maintain, and they save about 17 tons of weight, to boot.

      Solar can be virtually anywhere — Germany even! Germany is about as sunny as Washington state, which is the least sunny place in the lower 49 states. Solar is great for the highest load which is for air conditioning — and there are no grid losses when it is right in the
      same building. Solar scales down nicely.

      Combining solar and wind along with a few gas turbines (methane from sewage or farm wastes) for peak load, and a hydro power station with an elevated reservoir works very well. Here’s how this works in Germany:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tR8gEMpzos4

      Here’s a Scientific American article on powering the USA with renewable energy 100% by 2030:

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=a-path-to-sustainable-energy-by-2030

      And we can use wave power — there are three companies (at least) around the world that already make these — here’s the one in New Jersey:

      http://www.oceanpowertechnologies.com/

      Most of the world’s people live close to the coast, so wave power and tidal power are close by.

      We need to transition to renewable energy NO MATTER WHAT. Eventually, the finite resources we are using now — oil, coal, gas and uranium will run out, by definition. The earth is just one planet; and it is the only one we have. The other more likely scenario is that we will cause too much climate change by burning up the carbon fossil fuels dumping all the carbon that has been packed away over million and millions and millions of years back into the atmosphere in less than 200 hundred years, and we will have more chaos in our climate than we can adapt to.

      So, hopefully oil and coal gets too expensive so that we will switch to renewable energy — which will last another billion years — until the sun explodes! And it will not pollute in ways that we cannot deal with.

      We need to stop subsidizing oil and coal. We need to be able to stop requiring a huge military to defend oil supplies.

      We need to stop using up all of the finite resources — our factory agriculture is totally dependent on oil and gas and phosphorus and chemical pesticides. It kills the natural life cycle within the soil — the dirt that we are utterly dependent on for our lives. Dead unproductive soil that erodes into the sea won’t grow anything. It won’t hold water and it won’t let it filter down into the aquifers that we are pumping dry as fast as we can.

      Life itself created all the soil, and we are made of the exact same materials that are in the soil.

      Oil is the primary reason that we have accelerated so quickly from living within that cycle of life to living beyond what the earth can sustain. We need to use our intelligence and our scientific knowledge, and our
      adaptability to change what we now know needs to be changed; before we lose too much of the life support here on this earth that we cannot live without.

      There is no “planet B”.

      • fun bobby

        sounds like your plan puts a lot of people out of the job and out of business

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

          Quite the opposite.

          Do you think that paying $1 Billion PER DAY for oil is good for our economy?

          • fun bobby

            yes.

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

            No, that money leaves out local economy. If we got all our energy from renewable energy, then all the money we spent on it would stay in our local economy – and it then gets spent again and again in our local economy.

            Never mind the lack of pollution and all the health problems – and climate change and all the myriad of problems that is causing – and how much climate change will cost us in the future.

            To review:

            oil = short term profit for a few + lots of problems = lousy economy getting worse over time.

            Renewable energy = long term stable economy + profits for many people = good economy that will get better over time.

    • HonestDebate1

      The IPCC has a new report coming out that says the warming rate measured over the last couple of years is half of what was predicted in their 2007 report but I’ve been saying that report is useless for a while now. The problem is virtually every report since uses it as a reference.

      However, a few weeks age I visited your site and watched a video or two. Your car is very cool. How’s it coming?

  • Ellen Dibble

    It seems to me the post-war era of middle class stability was an era of conformity, obedience, and sort of brainwashing, which we used to think was the Soviet curse, but pretty much the enemy was us. If you could grow up to be a zombie, you were set. You could read in Mark Twain about the 19th century where it seems to me everybody not working as a cog in a mill had a need for personality and individuality. Seems. Once upon a time there were no farms with thousands of employees agreeing to be repetitive and dependable. I’m happy to get back to that.

  • Yar

    We are two weeks from revolution if the transportation system fails. A truckers strike could start one today. Cut off the food supply and people get violent quickly. We are much closer than your guest says.

    • fun bobby

      that will certainly hasten the arrival of the robot driver scabs. they should use their time on strike to find new jobs. I suggest learning plumbing as that will be very difficult to make a robot to do everything. are the walmart drivers in the union?

  • Joseph Rice

    After reading in the NYT this Sunday about the money to be made speculating in carbon tax credits, I find it hard to believe that even the plutocracy will be sustainable long-term. They will eventually have to cannibalize themselves financial (us peons will probably be reverting to actual cannibalism).

    • fun bobby

      no they will just buy up large tracts of rainforest like the bush family is currently doing. they will buy up the carbon sinks and the carbon credits will make the rich richer.

    • hennorama

      Joseph Rice — yes, that’s the ultimate dream — a peon-eat-peon society.

      Soylent Green is people!

      As an anagrammer, I must also point out that Soylent Green = Stolen Energy.

  • ThirdWayForward

    A problem with increasing concentration of wealth is underconsumption — lack of demand. There simply are not enough people earning enough to buy the products that are made. Historically whenever there has been overconcentration of wealth in our economy, there has been a major crash followed by depression. We may be in for another downturn, which could be precipitated by a crash in China or continued slide in Europe.

    The increasing concentration of wealth is not natural, and historically it has followed economic cycles:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_inequality_in_the_United_States

    We need to

    1) Tax capital gains the same way as wage income

    2) Pay down the national debt using a 1% annual tax on wealth that would apply to fortunes larger than $20 million. The first $20 million would be tax-free.

    3) Lower the work week to 30 hours per week. Redistribute work equitably. RIght now those who have full time jobs are mostly overworked, while a considerable section of our workforce is underemployed or completely unemployed.

    • fun bobby

      I was with you until #3.
      maybe we could change it to define 30 hours as full time or even 20 hours so they cannot dodge obomacare and other penalties they get for hiring full time workers but avoid by changing to part time workers

    • William

      Why tax capital gains but allow non-profits to not pay any taxes? Or churches to not pay taxes ….

      • Ray in VT

        Agreed. If a church can afford to build a 200 foot steel cross that costs millions, then it can afford to pay taxes:

        http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/10913

        • William

          My problem with churches is they lobby for more social programs but they don’t have to pay for them.

          • TFRX

            Churches lobby?

            One, that’s illegal. Two, when I think of churches and (nominally illegal) political activity, I think of women’s healthcare suppression, and gay rights suppression.

          • Ray in VT

            Part of my problem with some churches is the lavish spending on facilities and goods that have nothing to do with religion, sometimes while enriching their pastors/leaders.

          • jimino

            You mean some churches promote Jesus’ teachings? That’s outrageous!

        • HonestDebate1

          Media Matters and the NAACP can afford to pay taxes too.

          • Ray in VT

            So can the Heritage, Cato and the National Association for the Advancement of White People.

          • HonestDebate1

            I assume you mean the KKK. Glad to see you finally get the comparison. So it seems the churches are the last thing we need to worry about.

          • Ray in VT

            I see the Klan more like Cato and Heritage. A place for conservative white people who don’t like blacks.

          • HonestDebate1

            That’s sick Ray. You are reaching a new level of gratuitous nastiness. I’m flabbergasted you would write such trash. What’s happened to you?

          • Ray in VT

            I got dragged down by subjecting myself to months of the sorts of disgusting comments like comparing the NAACP to the KKK.

          • jefe68

            Feathers getting rustled I see.

          • HonestDebate1

            Aside from the fact that democrats started the KKK and the last KKK Kleagle in Congress was a democrat leader respected by democrats, do you think Heritage and Cato are a place for white Conservatives that hate blacks?

  • ThirdWayForward

    If-us-land-mass-were-distributed-like-us-wealth.png

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:If-us-land-mass-were-distributed-like-us-wealth.png

    Map of the US divide by wealth classes 1%, next 9%, next 30%, next 20%, bottom 40%.

    • fun bobby

      it is to some degree.

  • sickofthechit

    The top 20% control 88% of our nations wealth. They control the making of laws and taxation to benefit themselves. The game is rigged, plain and simple. We need a paradigm shift where basic levels of human needs are paid for based on a certain number of hours of “work” (volunteer or otherwise) each period. That way the ditch digger and the lawyer both pay the same amount (say 4 hours per week) for their healthcare. They pay the same amount for a basic humane level of sustenance, housing, transport, etc. charles a. bowsher.

    • fun bobby

      does “to each according to his need” sum up your position?

      • geraldfnord

        How about max(‘according to his ability – ε for small ε’,’according to his need’)? Needs are much more limited than abilities: the Market is a great technology for optimising the use of those abilities, and efficiently enough that we can support those bad at its games, inducing a small frictional loss but one not one comparable to speed-of-light limitations on information flow, or that induced by that irreducible fraud that stems from the same impulses as drive the Market in the first place.

        I don’t wish to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs, but I think the bits of golden yolk and golden albumen left in the shells should be used to feed the poor, much as the poor rightfully own the corners of our fields in some systems.

        • fun bobby

          feel free to help the poor as much as you are able

      • sickofthechit

        No it does not. I am talking about what I consider are basic human rights. In the first part of the example of a “time” based economy I indicated that both the ditch-digger and the lawyer would “pay” 4 hours of their time each week for their health care. The ditch digger is paid $10/hour for his ditch digging, the lawyer is paid $100/hour for his “lawyering”. Other than their jobs they are equal as far as age and health factors, so their health insurance should cost the same to be fair. Under our current system if the health care premium is $200 per week then the ditch-digger has to pay 20 hours of his time for the same care the lawyer only pays 2 hours of his time for. Remember I consider health care to be a basic human right. It isn’t free, it has to be “paid” for, but it should “cost” us all the same.

        Apply this same system to education, basic food costs, basic housing etc. and pretty soon you do have a much more fair society. People are no longer devastated by an illness, they and their children have real opportunities. The children, the disabled, the elderly all pitch in in some way or another to satisfy their “time” requirements. The children attend school to satisfy their time requirements, the disabled and elderly do some sort of volunteer work to satisfy theirs. charles a. bowsher

        P.S.(The system I really like was put forth by Robert A. Heinlein which started with the premise that by our birth on this planet we are all granted a “share” of the value of the global resources. We are all born with a “legacy” so to speak. The value of that “legacy” is enough to pay us all a living wage which meets our basic needs and if we want to have extra then we find a job we want to do. There are then no economic barriers to achieving our individual potentials. There is more in his book called “For Us the Living”. You may want to read some of his other books first to understand his style better.)cab

        • fun bobby

          what if the ditch digger quits his job? who pays then?
          oh I have read Heinlein.
          I have thought a future economy should be sort of what like you suggest. like how people in Alaska are paid to live there. we should all be paid to live in America our share of the natural resources, and airwaves and such. instead the government collects the money on our behalf, spends it and then takes more from everyone and borrows in everyone’s name to give ever more wealth to corporations

  • sickofthechit

    Aren’t we already at “Hyper-Inequality”? If you look at financial wealth the wealthiest 20% own 93% of our nation’s wealth. Time for either a paradigm shift or a revolution. You have a few years at most to decide which you prefer. Not choosing is still a choice. charles a. bowsher

    • fun bobby

      what do you suggest? what have you done? this must be bad since the top 20% have acquired 5% more wealth just in the 5 minutes from your last post

      • StilllHere

        I’m selling my wealth to them on ebay this moment!

        • fun bobby

          so you are another victim of the collapsed sports memorabilia market?

  • geraldfnord

    If fifty percent of the population met the standards for being in the élite, Mr Cowen, those standards would be revised until only at most two percent of them (and, be assured, the ‘right’ two percent) met them.

    But again, let us not hate this courtier: he’s just trying to get by, and it’s much easier to shrug your shoulders and claim that it’s something functionally equivalent to ‘the Will of God’ when that Will treats you well, and your salary (or emoluments) depends on it.

    But I _do_ fault him for continually and disingenuously saying ‘that’s not going to happen’ of things he has steadfastly done his best to prevent.

    • jimino

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”


      Upton Sinclair

  • Ellen Dibble

    Stiglitz points out that the winners in our economy are not the significant innovators, in general. I’d point out that somehow the “motivators” have also taught Americans to celebrate the winners, regardless. Celebrities, regardless of their misdeeds, the wealthy regardless of Machiavellian tactics, probably covered up — we are taught that Joe the Plumber wanting to be a millionaire is de facto good. Especially if he wins the lottery? Generally, we miss the step about celebrating the plumber per se, because he keeps the system functioning.

    • geraldfnord

      I blame a dumbed-down variant on Calvinism: the rich are the Elect, unconditionally and irreversibly elected; they get no more than they deserve and the Preterite poor no less.

      (‘Dumbed-down’ because Calvin held the Saved and the Damned to be equally undeserving, that none might boast.)

      • Ray in VT

        Love that Prosperity Theology.

        • TFRX

          Isn’t “Gusto Gospel” another term invented for it, about a century ago?

          • Ray in VT

            Never heard that one.

          • TFRX

            It may not have been very popular a phrase.

            Short lesson: “Work ethic” was invented by the new leisure class long about the 17th-18th century so the growing class of businessmen (and I mean men) could come up with some reason to tell poor people that the Dickensian-style impoverished living cheek-by-jowl with incredible new wealth and pollution was simply the Godly, natural order of things. The new mercantile class had leisure time, and needed to explain that without poor folk getting the uppity idea that they were good enough for leisure time as well.

            As a term, “gusto gospel” was another, later, term describing how to have well-off people not take a vow of poverty or charity.

            Like everything religious, some folks really did concern themselves over being a good Christian while reaping incredible financial rewards* that used to be the hope of only royalty, and some others were just looking for an easy out.

            (*See the history of, oddly enough, Milton Hershey, who grew up an orphan, and also the Cadburys. Maybe chocolate brings out the introspection in folks.)

      • Ellen Dibble

        You may have a point there. American Calvinism and the religious concept of the Elect seems to square with my sense of it too. We may not be majority Protestant anymore, though. Why is it such a seductive ideology? People come here and buy right into it, it seems to me.

    • fun bobby

      plumbers will all have jobs after the doctors lawyers and bankers are replaced by computers

  • perihelion22

    I keep posting this but not many care. Education, retraining and all that crap is a waste of time. Start the revolution. See: http://www.periheliondesign.com/downloads/Wealth%20Distribution%202007%20update.pdf

    • Coastghost

      Serious “education reform” hasn’t even been attempted, how would we know?

      • Bob Gerwien

        I think it has been. We have done an awful job of reforming it but our attempts seem to always be apply a business model to Education. Hell our approach at everything including war is based on a business model. Maybe that’s the problem.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Bingo!!!

      • fun bobby

        they do it all the time. by now one would think that no child should be left behind

      • TomK_in_Boston

        LOL, public education being privatized everywhere, teacher Union bashing everywhere, vultures like Bane getting a piece of our Ed dollars and you say no “reform”, which is Newspeak for class warfare. I don’t think so.

  • MrStang

    Tyler Cowen is a Plutocrat enabler/rationaliser.

    What is striking to me is that anyone making less than $1 million/year listens to this guy’s description of conditions he helped create.

    • geraldfnord

      Don’t hate him, Ivan or Arnold, he’s just living-out his class interests. Just make sure his bad ideas don’t win.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Caller George says we’re on decline. Where has he been? There are huge, huge advances. But people have to shift their personalities to accept being beggars more, to find the castle on the hill under whose shadow to shelter. Already on line, you can queue up for financial favors without a whole lot of screening. The American spirit is not of being huddling masses, under the shadow of a master of questionable morals. No.

  • ThirdWayForward

    The problem is mainly inherited wealth. Most of the uber-rich are not self-made people — they started out with large fortunes. They are no more crafty than the rest of us.

    We also need to heavily favor employee-owned and controlled enterprises because this is the only way to rationally reconcile the interests of business ownership with the needs of workers and the rest of society. We have created a monster of an ultra wealthy financial aristocracy which has no allegiance to American society at large. They will move their money to wherever in the world they believe that they can get the best return on investment. A considerable sector of the uber-class don’t want to support the American productive infrastructure nor social security programs (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid), food and housing support).

    They have bought the US Supreme Court and have their tentacles firmly in the Republican Party apparatus. They have undue influence in the Democratic Party as well. It’s really far from clear how we can extricate ourselves from this mess because they control large sections of the media. Things get more Orwellian every passing decade.

    • Ellen Dibble

      The scrappy American we likely all see as quintessentially American has the kind of bootstraps life which, if coupled with the sense of community we see as basic “values,” will not even want to be in that top 20 percent. They’d look at it as plastic, foisted, like pink flamingoes, and say, “Get real.”

      • fun bobby

        how much do you have to earn to be in the top 20%?

        • Eric Silva

          Households earning greater than $105,000 are in the top 20%. The median household income is about $50,000.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_States#Household_income

          Those are 2011 numbers.

          • fun bobby

            do people feel that’s unattainable?

          • hennorama

            fun bobby – from a prior post on the topic of “Upward Mobility In America” which discussed “A new, nationwide study on upward mobility” by a team from Harvard University and UC Berkeley:

            US Household Income Quintiles 2011:

            (upper limit of the range, in US $)

            Lowest 20,262

            Second 38,520

            Third 62,434

            Fourth 101,582

            Highest —-

            Based on this data, the “pole vault” from the lowest quintile to the highest is $81,320. Another way to look at it – going from the lowest to the highest requires at least a quintupling of household income – no easy task.

            Remember, these are by household, not per individual. The Harvard/UC Berkeleyteam used household income also.

            Source:
            http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxfacts/displayafact.cfm?Docid=330

            Site for the study:
            http://www.equality-of-opportunity.org/

          • fun bobby

            there is an opening for a meat cutter down at the stop and shop for $15.50 an hour

          • hennorama

            fun bobby – thank you for your response. Did you have an actual point?

            Let’s say someone gets that job, and works 40 hrs./week for 52 weeks. They would have earned wages of $32,240 in that time. If this was the total income for a calendar year in their household, they would be in the 2nd quintile above.

            They also would be less than one-third of the way to the top 20 percent, using the 2011 figures.

            Was that your point?

          • fun bobby

            sure but if its a household with another adult who also gets that job then they will be over 75% of the way to the top 20%. that’s the point.

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

            Oh boy, that’s about $500/week take home and about $32K/year gross.

          • HonestDebate1

            You remind me of the time I was on the road and hungary but gave my last $3 to our bass player because he had a sugar problem and needed something to eat more than I. He said, what am I supposed to get with $3?

          • fun bobby

            not too bad to start for an entry level. not bad for a single person. with two at that wage its almost 65K. without working a second or part time job, as many people do, and with no over time that puts them squarely in the middle class without college or advanced degrees.

    • fun bobby

      conveniently, a French doctor devised a device to solve problems of economic inequality run amuck.

      http://wiki.theplaz.com/w/images/thumb/French_Revolution_Guillotine.gif/300px-French_Revolution_Guillotine.gif

      • TomK_in_Boston

        American presidents FDR, HST, DDE…LBJ handled the problem a bit better. What they did is there for us to see and do.

        But if the oligarchs keep taking, setting up an aristocracy like the French had, the USA may turn to your method before long.

    • jimino

      C’mon now. As Gregg has repeatedly pointed out, those coupon cutters, even the 8 year-olds, have EARNED every bit of the money they receive.

      • TomK_in_Boston

        Like W and Mitt!

        Did you know that Mitt “did it all himself”? The fact that he was “entitled” by a CEO/Governor father had absolutely, positively nothing to do with his success. Amazing.

  • ToyYoda

    Onpoint needs to screen their callers better.

    The woman whose daughter is spending $40k/year on a five year old is either lying or her economist daughter is not thinking economically. I suspect the former.

    The man who says that Mexicans regret moving to America. Well those Mexicans can move back, but they don’t. And I’m sure every Republican would love to kick them out of the States.

    I want to see inequality fixed, but airing two callers with questionable claims is not going to move the discussion forward.

    • TFRX

      We’ve hit PublicRadioPolite here. No matter how ill-informed, how talkingpointswithbreathcontrol the low-information callers are, none of the callers are lying, ever.

    • fun bobby

      actually Mexicans are returning to mexico in record numbers. its to the point where equal numbers come and go so the # of illegal Mexicans is currently static. if we are not careful we might have a Mexican shortage on our hands

    • Eric Silva

      Many private schools in Manhattan have tuition approaching $40,000 per year:

      http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/01/27/nyregion/new-york-city-tuition-higher-and-rising.html

  • MrStang

    “It is interesting to note Cowen’s typical strategy, which like most public relations strategies is not aimed at “proof” but at convincing onlookers with incessant repetition of ideas such as “problems with IS-LM”. Cowen throws a bombshell, and then cites one vaguely similar viewpoint after another without answering any questions about how they relate to the original argument or explaining his own position at any point. A ploy to attempt to retain academic credibility in the midst of vigorous dog-whistling. He wishes to use his academic authority without being responsible to the academic community.”

    http://www.critiques.us/wiki/Brad_DeLong_and_Paul_Krugman_school_Tyler_Cowen

  • MrStang

    “There is a huge demand for rebuttals to Keynesian arguments about how to fix the economy. Anti-government right-wingers and libertarians oppose Keynesian interventions, and they have vast wads of money to throw at such issues.

    Tyler Cowen, at the George Mason University Economics Department, is employed by the Kochs for just that purpose. Apparently, one of his jobs is to undermine rival economists’ arguments.”

    http://www.critiques.us/wiki/Brad_DeLong_and_Paul_Krugman_school_Tyler_Cowen

  • fun bobby

    but robots cannot replace artists and musicans! oh darn,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cOJZs75CnUs

    • HonestDebate1

      Your gut reaction is correct. Music is the most mathematical expression imaginable and lends itself to computerization because of it. With MIDI you can tell an instrument to play note number 60 (middle C) at a velocity of 86 for a duration of 300 while applying modulation at a level of 75. Tempos are measured in beats per minute. Time signatures are essentially fractions like 4/4, 6/8 or 5/4 (for the Brubeck fans). there are quarter notes, eighth notes and triplets. Chords are built on intervals like thirds, fifths and ninths. Chord progressions are communicated with numbers like I VI IV V. It’s all numbers. But that’s only half of what music is.

      At the same time music is the direct opposite as math. That’s the part computers are not capable of. And that is where the artist comes in.

      • fun bobby

        did you note that the machine improvises in real time with a human accompanist?
        they have a poetry writing computer as well but I don’t think there is a cool video of it. they have a computer capable of designing novel consumer products like toothbrushes and cruise missiles ( I did not consider those to be consumer products until I saw a Northrup grummin ad the other day) and then narrowing down its designs to just the best. the list of things that humans are better at gets shorter every day

        • HonestDebate1

          Yes I watched it and it was interesting. But it’s improvising in the constrains of a mathematical algorithm. It has no heart. It has no soul. It’s logic is programmed.

          • fun bobby

            so is ours its, only a matter complexity. that’s version 1.0 of that machine. at a certain point it will be indistinguishable. at the current rate of advance in processing speeds and such that will not take long. maybe the elites will have human made music but the proles are going to have to be happy with their robo music

          • HonestDebate1

            While I understand your point and appreciate the technology, I disagree.

          • fun bobby

            significantly advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

          • HonestDebate1

            Okay.

  • geraldfnord

    I, too, believe these machines are coming, it’s just that I think they can be autonomous machines of loving grace, and benefitting all.

    R.i.P., Ian [M] Banks; sorry Special Circumstances passed on giving us a boost, we’ll just have to do it ourselves.

    • fun bobby

      like on the jetsons

  • Yar

    Think globally act locally.

    • fun bobby

      that’s why I buy ammo

      • StilllHere

        i hope is locally produced too.

        • fun bobby

          I wish. reloading supplies are hard to come by thanks to obama

          • fun bobby

            someone voted down a simple statement of fact?

          • Ray in VT

            I downvoted this comment ironically. Just FYI.

          • fun bobby

            ROFL

          • Ray in VT

            I was hoping that you would appreciate that.

          • MadMarkTheCodeWarrior

            Do you mean due to all the hoarding by the fearful?

          • fun bobby

            he is the best gun/ammo salesman in history. hording is not just for the fearful anymore, its for anyone who actually wants to be able to shoot their guns on a regular basis

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe Obama and the gun industry have a secret deal where he assents to them and their allies fear mongering in order to drive sales. They ought to cut him a thank you check.

  • TomK_in_Boston

    Besides the obvious need to raise taxes at the top and on the corps, here’s another way we could CHOOSE to reduce inequality by sensible economic policy. No, it’s not an “act of god”, it comes from our own choices. Questions for new Fed chair:

    Question 1: Do you believe that the Fed’s top priority should be to fulfill its full employment mandate?

    Question 2: If you were to be confirmed as chair of the Fed, would you work to break up “too-big-to-fail” financial institutions so that they could no longer pose a catastrophic risk to the economy?

    Question 3: Do you believe that the deregulation of Wall Street, including the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and exempting derivatives from regulation, significantly contributed to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression?

    Question 4: What would you do to divert the $2 trillion in excess reserves that financial institutions have parked at the Fed into more productive purposes, such as helping small- and medium-sized businesses create jobs?

    We’d have less inequality with a Fed chair who said “yes” to all and proceeded accordingly.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rep-bernie-sanders/four-questions-for-fed-ch_b_3740369.html

  • MsAbila

    Mr. Cowen is a trumpeter for neoclassical capitalism, essentially following the ‘Chicago school of economics’ where free market is the god.

    But wait a minute, where is the free market.. where? The free market is ‘free’ and boundless only to the monopolistic oligarchs…

    All the reforms he talks about is to build more monopolies; on education, healthcare, etc.
    And our politicians favor these monopolies. There doesn’t seems to be a way out for the average person. We are leaves in the wind of economics.

    • fun bobby

      that sounds sort of defeatist

    • TomK_in_Boston

      We’ve been doing that voodoo since 1980, the middle class has been sinking, and all they can say is More! More! There is no function to learn and adjust.

      Reminds me of how the righties seem to long for W’s “strong leadership” in iraq re Syria, paying no attention to how that worked out for us.

      • MsAbila

        You are right, the middle class is sinking and is being strangled in the process. And for some reason they cannot unite for their own good and preservation of the middle class values.

        We are being duped into this 2-party gov’t system where none of the parties represent the middle class. NONE.

        Also, the majority is tired of politics.

        People want to live a good life: have a home, raise their children, contribute to society.
        Nowadays, to the advantage of the chaos-seeker-neoliberals, our everyday lives have become interwoven with politics and the rules are being constantly changed to our disadvantage. And it’s being called ‘market economy’ and ‘adjusting to the globalized world’. What nonsense! Something, many things don’t add up in this new economic system, and we all know that.

        • fun bobby

          read the paper on plutonomics written by citibank

        • TomK_in_Boston

          Yep. It’s our policies, not vast economic forces, 3D printers and acts of God. In addition to raising taxes at the top and on the corps, helping Unions, stopping the attack on the public sector and discouraging offshoring, how abt raising the min wage? raising SS payouts? Student debt is a huge problem. How about states fully supporting State Unis so they can be free again, instead of raising tuition and prioritizing tax cuts and prisons?

          The solutions are simple and obvious, since they’re what we used to do! Spare me the econobabble and technobabble. Robots didn’t make the 1% pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.

    • hennorama

      MsAbila – the last time the ‘Chicago School’ theories got a real tryout was in Chile, under General Pinochet. One might consider this the first 9/11 disaster, as the coup occurred on September 11, 1973.

      Milton Friedman’s laissez faire economic ideas were “translated into action” when his Chicago Boys implemented them in Chile, after General Pinochet launched a military coup in which President Salvador Allende was killed/murdered/assassinated.

      The coup happened with CIA assistance, at the behest of US business interests affected by Allende’s nationalization of copper mines, banks and other foreign-owned businesses. The circumstances surrounding this coup are discussed in detail in the interesting book “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein, and elsewhere.

      (For those who don’t know, the Chicago Boys were a group of young Chilean economists, mostly trained at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman and Arnold Harberger, or at the UC-affiliated economics department at the Catholic University of Chile).

      What was the outcome? Between 1973 and 1989, Chile’s economy became the most unstable in Latin America, alternating between deep declines and soaring growth. After averaging out these crazy swings, Chile’s growth during this period was one of the slowest in all of Latin America. One also needs to examine income inequality, which greatly increased. Adjusting for inflation, most workers earned less in 1989 than in 1973, while the incomes of the rich skyrocketed. (Sound familiar?)

      The environment also suffered greatly due to a lack of regulations, and Chile became one of the most polluted countries in Latin America. Not to mention the lack of democracy, and suppression of political opposition under Pincochet’s reign of terror and widespread human rights abuses.

      Somehow, conservatives have come to view Chile as a huge success story. In 1982, Milton Friedman praised dictator General Pinochet because he “has supported a fully free-market economy as a matter of principle. Chile is an economic miracle.” Apparently it did not matter to Friedman that the economic changes in Chile were essentially implemented at gunpoint.

      The statistics also do not bear out his claim of Chile as “an economic miracle.”

      Between 1972 and 1987, the GNP per capita fell 6.4 percent, adjusted for inflation. Per capita GDP was over $3,600 in 1973. As late as 1993, it had risen from its lows under Pinochet to only $3,170. Only five Latin American countries did worse in per capita GDP during the era of Pinochet and Friedman’s Chicago Boys.

      Chile is far more accurately characterized as a tragic failure of Friedman’s ideas, and the Chilean people are still paying the price today.

      Here are some other things Friedman said about Chile:

      “The real miracle of Chile is not how well it has done economically; the real miracle of Chile is that a military junta was willing to go against its principles and support a free-market regime designed by principled believers in a free market. The results were spectacular. Inflation came down sharply. After a transitory period of recession and low output that is unavoidable in the course of reversing a strong inflation, output started to expand, and ever since, the Chilean economy has performed better than any other South American economy.

      “In Chile, the drive for political freedom, that was generated by economic freedom and the resulting economic success, ultimately resulted in a referendum that introduced political democracy. Now, at long last, Chile has all three things: political freedom, human freedom and economic freedom. Chile will continue to be an interesting experiment to watch to see whether it can keep all three or whether, now that it has political freedom, that political freedom will tend to be used to destroy or reduce economic freedom.”

      Regarding politics and economic freedom, Friedman also said “while economic freedom facilitates political freedom, political freedom, once established, has a tendency to destroy economic freedom.”

      I guess all that’s needed to maintain economic freedom is a so-called “benevolent dictator,” or a dictator willing to “disappear” anyone who opposes him.

      Sources:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Boys
      http://www.cbe.csueastbay.edu/~sbesc/frlect.html
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/mar/03/chile-earthquake
      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/10/AR2006121000302.html
      http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/L-chichile.htm

  • 2Gary2

    tax the rich hard and spread the wealth–anyone who can purchase a island has too much money.

    • Ray in VT

      But that would hurt my business of selling private islands to bazillionaires.

      • HonestDebate1

        Do you remember the disastrous effects from the luxury tax on yachts? It hurt everyone but the rich.

        • Ray in VT

          It hurt the poor almost as much as taxing trust fund babies that want to sit back and inherit millions that they didn’t earn.

          • HonestDebate1

            That money was earned, it was not doled out by government. You have no right to it. Why do you care?

          • Ray in VT

            How do you know, and the trust fund babies who want to sit back, do nothing and get rich didn’t either. Last I checked I wasn’t after it, and I care because I don’t want to see ever more of our nation’s wealth concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. A problem seen to be of concern starting at least 100 years ago, but seemingly forgotten or ignored now by many.

          • HonestDebate1

            I know that at some point it was earned. I know it was not doled out by the government. I know you have no right to it and I know whoever earned it can give it to whoever they please.

          • Ray in VT

            Sure. They can do whatever they want with it, once they follow the law. Don’t like taxes, then just don’t live in civilization.

          • HonestDebate1

            Nobody advocates breaking the law.

          • Ray in VT

            Non sequitur.

          • HonestDebate1

            Then why did you bring it up? Nobody advocates paying no taxes either.

          • Ray in VT

            I just thought that we were talking about how taxing anything, especially the rich, hurts the poor. The rich just can’t bear the tax burden that they did under that horrible soaker of the rich, Ronald Reagan, or even Clinton. Even getting back there is breaking them.

          • HonestDebate1

            You’re life will not be improved one iota no matter how much the rich are taxed but you might feel better. It can also hurt the poor, that’s true but no who says taxing anything always hurts the poor. Take the luxury tax:

            “According to a study done for the Joint Economic Committee, the tax destroyed 330 jobs in jewelry manufacturing, 1,470 in the aircraft industry and 7,600 in the boating industry. The job losses cost the government a total of $24.2 million in unemployment benefits and lost income tax revenues. So the net effect of the taxes was a loss of $7.6 million in fiscal 1991, which means the government projection was off by $38.6 million.”

            http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/will102899.asp

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He — I thought I had seen all of your obscure right-wing sources already, but jewishworldreview.com is the new leader for most obscure.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m surprised you’ve never heard of them, they’ve been around 25 years. They are a great source for writers like Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Charles Krauthammer and many other esteemed journalist.

            I am even more surprised you have never heard of George Will.

            I am not at all surprised you did not speak to the issue of what happened when Bush 41 levied the Luxury tax everyone here is pining for some version of.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – Perhaps you are confusing longevity and prominence.

            That obviously obscure website is so obscure they practically beg their readers to help them become less obscure:

            “A FRIENDLY BUT SERIOUS REQUEST TO THOSE WHO PASS JWR MATERIAL ON TO OTHERS.

            “You are always welcome to spread the word. We encourage it! But in the future, please email your friends with just an article’s title a paragraph or two and the URL (web address) instead of copying the entire article. The more visits our site receives, the better we are able to convince advertisers to sign on and … the better JWR will become. Similarly, please don’t copy our material to your own website or submit JWR articles to “newsgroups”; just link us. Does it really make sense to help fold JWR because you don’t feel like copying an article’s URL?”

            AND,

            “Pass it on! Include our banner on your home page!”

            One is surprised that they don’t have a Visitors or Page Views counter prominently displayed on every page.

            See:
            http://www.jewishworldreview.com/0600/about1.asp

            Do they have any actual original content, or are they merely aggregating (aka stealing) from elsewhere?

            As to the citing of an article by Mr. Will, from 1999 no less – let’s just call that “weak tea.” Few if any in this forum are proposing Federal consumption taxes, which is what the now-expired so-called “Luxury tax” was.

            Here’s a much less obscure reference from the same author:

            http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/story?id=132568&page=1

          • HonestDebate1

            “Remember this costly farce when you hear talk about helping the common folks by taxing the rich.”

          • Ray in VT

            Sure, taxing those trust fund babies to fund something like education or highways or something will just hurt everybody. Especially the poor. Feel free to believe as much nonsense like that as you want.

            Tell me, why can’t the wealthy pay as much now as they did under Reagan? Are they really so bad off?

          • HonestDebate1

            They pay a larger portion of the bill now than they did under Reagan so I don’t get your point.

          • Ray in VT

            They’re also taking in a much larger share of the national income, while almost everyone else’s income has stagnated or outright declined. It’s pretty big news.

          • HonestDebate1

            You just implied the rich paid more under Reagan and then bounced to the tired talking point. The rich aren’t taking anything from anyone.

          • Ray in VT

            You would know about tired talking points. It’s your main staple.

          • HonestDebate1

            Don’t hate me because I’m right, there are better reasons.

          • Ray in VT

            When you’re right then I will recognize it, but I’ve rarely seen it.

            You still haven’t told me how Obama broke his promise to not raise taxes vis-a-vis the payroll tax if it’s the same now as it was in 2008.

          • HonestDebate1

            Yes I did Mr. pinball. Contrary to your assertion, the rich are paying a larger portion now than they did under Reagan. How is that wrong, smarty pants?

          • Ray in VT

            No, you didn’t. You said that it was or wasn’t a tax. I don’t remember. Then you somehow concluded that me now paying 12.4% payroll tax now, which is the same as when Obama took office, is a tax increase somehow.

            The rich paying a higher portion now than under Reagan is right, not wrong.

          • HonestDebate1

            “The rich paying a higher portion now than under Reagan is right, not wrong.”

            Exactly, now apologize and we can move on.

          • Ray in VT

            Apologize for what? They are taking in more as a share, and they should and are paying more as a share. That still doesn’t answer my question.

          • HonestDebate1

            “Tell me, why can’t the wealthy pay as much now as they did under Reagan?”

          • Ray in VT

            Nope. Payroll tax. If it is the same now, then how am I being taxed more, but go ahead and answer that one too.

          • HonestDebate1

            That was your question not mine. You had to bounce off of 3 bumpers before you leaped back to the payroll tax. Sorry, the machine has tilted and we can’t move on until it’s reset by an acknowledgement of your error. If we went back to Reagan’s day the rich would be paying less and 6 million of the poorest would be paying more. You need to clear it up, is that what you are advocating?

          • Ray in VT

            Reagan now the poor. You’re all over the place. I just can’t understand. It isn’t possible for me to follow anything more complex than Obama bad something something, and I certainly can’t recall what I’ve said or to what I have linked.

            I’m simply advocating that you address my questions, as you regularly insist that people answer yours.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, you made an assertion you cannot back up and THEN started changing the subject by asking questions. First things first.

          • Ray in VT

            What did I get wrong? I’m still trying to get a straight answer out of you for things last week.

          • HonestDebate1

            You said the rich paid more under reagan, that is false. The patrol tax is just a red herring. I didn’t even lean on it because I don’t consider it a tax. Either way. just because Obama cut it doesn’t mean he didn’t raise it. He raised the payroll tax. It’s not rocket science and it is not necessary to cite to back up my assertion that Obama raised taxes on everyone after pledging not to raise taxes one anyone below $250K. Obamacare alone does that but his tax hikes are numerous beyond that.

          • Ray in VT

            Yes, I said that the rich paid more under Reagan. That is correct. They did pay more.

            So, if it isn’t a tax, then he could have raised it and it wouldn’t be a tax increase. Good to know.

            Are you of the opinion that ending a temporary tax cut is a tax increase? That is the only way that your logic can work. Do you charge a store with raising prices when a sale ends? No matter how one slices it, though, payroll taxes are not higher now than in 2008, so Obama has not raised my taxes above what they were then, so to say that he has raised payroll taxes is dishonest in my view.

            I still don’t know where I can find Obamacare taxes listed on any form that I have had to submit or have received.

          • HonestDebate1

            You are ridiculous, The rich have never paid a higher portion of the bill, EVER. That is because the Bush tax cuts took 6 million of the poorest off the rolls completely. The rich took up the slack There is no way in hell you can say the rich paid more under Reagan. No way, no how. You cannot back that up.

            I don’t consider it a tax. I raked Rush over the coals for saying it was a tax increase. But what difference does it make? Call it whatever you want, he raised it. When the cost goes up it’s raised. It went up despite going down first. When the sale ends prices are raised. When the Obama tax cuts expired (can’t call them the Bush tax cuts because Obama extended all of them) the top bracket got their taxes raised. Up is up. It wasn’t a tax cut because he raised it to only 35% and it was 90% at one time.

            Obama did raise your taxes by way of Obamacare. How many times must I say it? He pledged he would not raise “any of your taxes” if you were under $250K. He did. Obamacare is mandatory and the SCOTUS ruled the “fine” is a tax. Does everyone who smokes earn over 250K? Or everyone who uses a tanning bed? And on and on. He broke his pledge with or without the payroll tax.

            Did you consider the payroll tax cut a tax cut?

          • Ray in VT

            It’s not about me.

            I didn’t claim that they paid a higher share (or should I use some other word that you prefer, considering your dislike of its, as well as other, definitions). If you think that I did, then please provide me with my words. I said that the rich are paying less now than they did under Reagan. That is true, but feel free to continue to froth over facts with which you disagree. I can easily back that up, and you could easily discover that as well, except you appear unwilling to challenge your preconceived notions or accept evidence that contradicts those beliefs.

            So, you raked Rush over the coals for saying that it was a tax increase, but you’re saying that it is a tax increase? Please explain that apparent contradiction to me.

            Obama is not and has not required people to pay more in payroll taxes. A temporary tax cut/reduction/holiday followed by a return to that original rate is not a tax increase, just as the end of a sale this week at the grocery store is not a price increase. I forget, though, that taxes can only ever go down, and I think that it is intellectually dishonest to compare the expiration of temporary tax cuts that were supposed to end with a permanent tax reduction from 50 years ago.

            I think that it was unwise for the President to make such a pledge in the first place, and you have actually cited a few examples that will hit some people under $250k, although certainly a number of those taxes, such as tanning or taxes, probably don’t hit very large percentages of people, and I don’t have problems with them. Smoking and tanning have bad health consequences. I don’t see a problem with making people who engage in such practices, who will long term be more likely to place demands on the health care system, to pay up front for it. One can’t have the low tax environment that Bush created forever. Also, why would a true conservative like George Bush get people’s skin out of the game and make them a part of Obama’s 47% (whoever they are)?

          • nj_v2

            Translation:

            I … have … no … clue.

          • JustEdith

            My concern is the way it affects our democracy. I wish there were separation between big money and state. If money = free speech, well some folks have more speech than others and that to me is not really a representative democracy.

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

            Money |=| Speech

            Giving money to someone else is an action, and therefore should not be protected.

          • hennorama

            Yeah, except no.

            “What is Earned Income?

            “Earned income includes all the taxable income and wages you get from working or from certain disability payments.

            “There are two ways to get earned income:

            “You work for someone who pays you

            or

            You own or run a business or farm”

            Source:

            http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/What-is-Earned-Income%3F

          • HonestDebate1

            “What is Earned Income?”

            Well evidently it’s a term in an IRS publication as defined by government.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He — feel free to offer your own definition.

            Based on your history, one doubts one will be forthcoming anytime soon.

          • jefe68

            This should be good, considering that he does not think a tax is a tax.

          • hennorama

            jefe68 – a forewarning — be prepared for a selection from the Gregg Smith Response-O-Matic containing the words “don’t” and “think.”

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t think so.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He — your first three words are correct; reward below.

          • HonestDebate1

            Just the payroll tax.

          • HonestDebate1

            There are many ways to earn income that you did not include. I am more concerned with what is not earned and even more so with what people seem to feel they are entitled to. Even worse is what some, including the initiated of this thread, say people are not entitled to own what they’ve earned.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He — translation:

            You cannot provide an alternative definition. Well done.

            Not.

          • HonestDebate1

            Sure I can but now I won’t for sure just to tick you off. You’re a financial wiz, you know about these things. I’ll stick to my point as it relates to this thread and decline following you into the weeds. Sorry, you don’t make the rules.

            It’s two words not one. You are supplying a definition for an accounting phrase out of a government document not a word. Earned is a verb not an adjective unless you are talking about the IRS publication but nobody was. I wrote “that money was earned”. You can earn money that is not classified by the IRS as “earned income”. I did not reference the IRS and do not intend to be dragged into that mess.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He — the defeated retreat, as you ably demonstrate.

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

            How does a society expect to survive if a huge majority of people are starving poor?

            I care because our democratic society depends on it.

          • HonestDebate1

            A society cannot survive with half the population paying the way for the other half.

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

            Nobody is advocating this.

            The most successful time in the USA was just after WWII and because of the GI Bill a lot of people got “free” college educations.

            That money was paid back at about 7:1. When the middle class succeeds – everybody succeeds. The economy is vigorous, and lots and lots of people are able to live comfortably, without struggling.

            Ironically, it was during WWII that we first got health insurance through jobs. Like almost every other 1st world countries, the USA needs to go single payer – it will cost about HALF of what we are paying now, and if everybody is healthy, everybody can work hard and be part of the vigorous economy.

            When the middle class succeed, everybody succeeds, remember? If anybody gets sick and has to go bankrupt to pay for healthcare, then this will kill the economy. Sick people can’t work. People without insurance go to emergency rooms, and we pay far more than if they had normal preventative care.

            Also, we made huge investments in our infrastructure after WWII. Highways, bridges etc. and we all need the electrical grid, the Internet, the railroads, the airplanes, etc. – so why aren’t we continuing to invest in these?

          • HonestDebate1

            We’re at 47% now so I disagree, some do want it.

            The problem is we can’t trust our government. We already gave them a trillion for infrastructure before Obama admitted the “shovel-ready jobs” were not there because of onerous bureaucracy. For healthcare reform we got the job killing Obamacare and it’s unworkable.

          • fun bobby

            yeah it has nothing to do with the fact that we had destroyed the Europeans manufacturing ability and that half the place was leveled and we made a fortune during the war profiteering

          • nj_v2

            More utterly bogus right-wing clap-trap. Par for the course for DisHonestMisDebatorGreggg.

          • fun bobby

            can you identify a case of anyone in America starving to death not due to anorexia or mental illness but genuine inability to acquire calories?

      • 2Gary2

        better to hurt your business and be able to help thousands of people live better. You would figure out another way to make money I am sure.

    • myblusky

      The rich are the ones with the controlling votes to change thing so my guess is, they aren’t going to start taxing the rich since that would be self defeating. I believe our Congress and Senate members are making approximately $160,000 – $190,000 a year. While they aren’t among the super rich, I believe an article I read cited them in the top 5% so I don’t really see them doing anything to disrupt that. It’s just human nature to protect one’s self and their family. What are you gonnna do?

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

        Most people in Congress are millionaires when they get elected, and certainly after they have been in office for a while.

        Why is that I wonder?

        • HonestDebate1

          Because we elect them over and over.

          • fun bobby

            lol the paycheck is a drop in the bucket

      • 2Gary2

        I predict that (much higher taxes and redistribution) will be the price the rich will pay to live in peace and safety. As Gerald Celente says when you have nothing left to loose you loose it.

        The inequality in the USA is at a crisis level and you are correct about congress. As in the FDR days the rich will be forced to willingly pay more to avoid a revolution where they would be left with nothing. There are more poor than rich. It will be the lesser of the two evils they will face.

        Granted the vast majority of Americans are not too bright (see the south) but even they will not accept the inequality that is coming.

        Look at life in the banana republics. The rich have to have several body guards to be safe etc.

        • fun bobby

          how many body guards does Bloomberg have?

    • Sy2502

      And who are you to decide what “too much money” is?

      • 2Gary2

        let me say this another way–The 6 walmart heirs have more wealth and income than the bottom 150 million Americans. That is too much money in the hands of too few, especially when walmart relies on the tax payer to subsidize their low paid employees.

        • Sy2502

          Again, who decides what’s “too much money”? And since when in America is it acceptable to take stuff away from people because they have too much of it? Because if that was the case, most women’s shoe closets would get raided by the IRS. 2 pairs of shoes for you, you don’t need more than that.

          • 2Gary2

            I think anyone with a shred of common sense would not need to ask your question. I would start by not allowing anyone to be a billionaire.

          • Sy2502

            So you don’t have an answer, it’s supposed to come to me from the heavens or something? We rob people of their property because you say so. Got it.

          • HonestDebate1

            You should change your moniker to Robin Hood.

          • nj_v2

            You should smash your keyboard with a three-pound sledge hammer and throw it in the trash so we’d be spared any more of you mindless prattle.

          • pete18

            So where would your cut off line be? What would the most amount of money that you, the enlightened one, would allow people to make? And how exactly would that make anyone else better off?

          • 2Gary2

            I would take enough from the rich and corporations to make them have little to no political power.

          • pete18

            That’s not an answer, it’s a meaningless bromide. If you really mean what you say and would like to make it a law, you need to put a specific number to it. How much is too much?

          • fun bobby

            how?

          • fun bobby

            I think the Chinese had a policy sort of like that for a while

        • fun bobby

          yes walmart is terrible, like how they have pledged to use our money to subsidize their employing every veteran who applies. those `bastards’ even gave away a billion dollars of their dirty money to charity in America. and a hundred million around the world. the low lives have even pledged to spend 50 ill gotten billion dollars here in America to revive manufacturing. they are conspiring with other retailers to do this to the tune of 500 billion of domestic purchase across the industry. they have a scheme to sell billions in locally grown produce to poor people at discount prices, and I don’t want to get too conspiratorial here, but I think the president may be in on it.

          http://news.walmart.com/news-archive/2013/02/28/first-lady-michelle-obama-celebrates-walmarts-progress-on-making-food-healthier-more-affordable

          not only this they have evil plots to create zero waste and be powered 100% renewable energy. they also keep saying things about “sustainability” in every thing they do and “fair trade”. those things can’t be good. they are even using their evil influence to try to get the sugar and salt reduced in their foods. its like racketeering. do you think we can stop all these terrible things or is it just too late?
          I fear the latter as they have been brainwashing people lately by sponsoring some sort of propaganda broadcaster called “NPR”

          • 2Gary2

            it is estimated that every walmart that DOES NOT OPEN will save the tax payers over 900,000 per year. This does not include the documented driving down of wages walmart causes and the multiple of other businesses that go bust due to walmart.

            Here in WI it was estimated that the average walmart costs over a million dollars a year to the tax payer.

            While they may do good here and there on the whole walmart is a net loss to the country.

            BTW-giving veterans low pay jobs is nothing to brag about.

            My problem is walmart making money from tax payers subsidizing their low wage model.

          • fun bobby

            hmm sounds like a bargain given the savings. consider this

            “Walmart’s newest ad notes shoppers spending $100 per week at a supermarket could save on average more than $700 a year by purchasing the same kind of packaged grocery products at Walmart. The ad is supported by a recent independent study from Global Insight on comparative packaged grocery prices, showing overall that Americans shopping at supermarkets could have saved more than $21 billion last year by purchasing the same categories of food at Walmart”
            that $900,000 seems cheap to get access to such savings for everyone in an area. at a million bucks a pop that 21 billion would support 21,000 walmarts. that’s just grocery savings not counting all the other low low prices.
            not all walmart jobs are low wage. of course entry level jobs are not ideal but now they have an opportunity to work their way up which is something they would not have if they had no job at all or if got a entry level low wage job at a place without as many opportunities for advancement. unemployment of vets is a growing problem. who else is stepping up to hire vets?

      • The_Truth_Seeker

        The 99% decide – how’s that?

        • Sy2502

          You don’t seem to understand how the law works very well. If 99% of Americans wanted to bring back slavery, the Constitution would still not allow it.

          • fun bobby

            if 99% of Americans truly wanted something we could amend the constitution

          • Sy2502

            Yes, of course. But I am trying to have a rational conversation here, which seems to be harder than pulling teeth. Let me try again. The Constitution ensures equal protection under the law. That means no law can be made to strip a group of people of their Constitutional rights solely based on their belonging to that group. The Constitution does allow for taking away people’s constitutional rights, but only on a person to person basis (i.e. criminals) and only after a lawful process (judicial process) has taken place, with all the appropriate safeguards for the person in question, who’s afforded the possibility to defend oneself.
            Now it sounds to me like you are advocating removing the private property rights from a specific group of people, and with no method of lawful recourse. Could you please espouse the overarching principle on which your proposal is based, and how it fits with the existing laws, precedent, and the Constitution?
            Thank you.

          • fun bobby

            you must have me confused with someone else. all I did was point out that your statement about not being able to bring back slavery with solid 99% public support was wrong. our constitution has be amended a number of times. personally I would like to see government shrink to a size where it is not a burden on anyone. I think one thing we need to start doing is exercising our third amendment rights. honestly, in this day and age what’s the difference between the old timey practice of quartering soldiers in someone’s home and todays practice of extorting money from me in order to quarter them elsewhere?

          • Sy2502

            I have no qualms with your posts Bobby, which I happen to share. I am trying to get Gary to put a bit more thought in his position. Our Constitution is more than a list of laws. There’s an overarching set of principles on which our country was founded, including liberty, equal protection, etc. One would like to think our laws should fit into this overarching set of principles. Now to go to your post, we both know that every administration has been trying to outdo the previous one in demolishing the Constitution. But decent, self respecting people should fight this trend, not encourage it. Like the government needs encouragement to encroach on our rights to begin with…

          • fun bobby

            I agree 100% that we eschew our principles at our own and even the world’s peril
            the judiciary seems to be our last hope at this point. what can we do?

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            I don’t think the Constitution mentions “money”. It concerns itself primarily with civil rights. The right to “accumulate” (rather than work for) enough money to be able to BUY the government and pay off anyone you want, wouldn’t have been met favorably by the Founders – that’s pretty obvious (since they didn’t America to be controlled by “Kings” – or “Kingpins”).

          • Sy2502

            Then that’s a problem related to how government is done, not how much individuals make. Change the way campaign contributions and lobbying work.

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            TAX THE RICH! – Don’t do them physical harm – Don’t steal their property – Just TAX IT! Charge them a luxury tax on their jet planes and yachts. John Adams wouldn’t have objected to that idea (he just didn’t want mob rule and vigilante rule – like we now have with stand-your-ground).

          • Sy2502

            They already are. And why would you even mention “physical harm”?

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            Taxes AREN’T unconstitutional, but allowing people to have guns that can kill dozens of people in a few minutes should be and they should never be used for threatening our own government or its representatives (as some on the Right have done). The Constitution only intended for people to be able to own 1-2 “muskets”, should a militia need to be assembled to protect the country from OUTSIDE threats, or maybe for hunting (not for protection against “perceived” internal threats). Tax the rich AND all gun owners (for each gun they own) – then make them get liability insurance as well! The Constitution does not prohibit any of such measures to stem gun possession and use.

      • fun bobby

        its some amount of money more than what he makes

        • Sy2502

          Could you make it even more nebulous?

          • fun bobby

            I don’t know how much he makes. the point is that “how much is too much” is clearly subjective but its a fair bet that its more than whatever whoever is doing the complaining makes

          • Sy2502

            That’s precisely what I am trying to pry out of him. Some kind of overarching principle would be a good start, then maybe some way of making it a bit more rational than “you make more than me and I am jealous so I am going to take it”. Also some bounds on how to prevent something like this from being abused would be really nice. I will patiently wait for him to put his thoughts together in some rational and cogent form.

          • fun bobby

            just don’t hold your breath

    • fun bobby

      so because you cannot afford an island no one should?

      • 2Gary2

        re-read my post. I say nothing about myself.

        • fun bobby

          if you feel like you have too much money and don’t wish to buy an island to remedy that I would be more than happy to assist you. I am sure lot of peoples livelihoods depend on private islands so I am not sure what would happen to them. many if not most wealthy people are philanthropic when they realize or decide they have too much money they give it away(plus it helps with taxes) . do you think the bill and Melinda gates foundation does good work? do you think that the billions warren buffet gives to charities have done good? do you think they would be spent as efficiently under government oversight? stop thinking that force is the best or only way to achieve change.

          • 2Gary2

            generally the chairety the rich give to does little to help the poor–naming a wing of a new school; college building does nothing for the poor.

          • fun bobby

            if the only giving was people donating to their colleges. unless of course that money goes to scholarships for the poor.
            I think curing polio and other persistent diseases globally may have a trickle down effect on poor people don’t you? do you think that money would be better spent buying office furniture for a government bureaucrat or naming a government building? perhaps that money would better spend so we can finally discover why lesbians are fat? better yet we could use it to send the president on a multimillion dollar trip to Hawaii or buy some cruise missiles with it!

      • The_Truth_Seeker

        Yeah … basically!!!!

        • fun bobby

          that’s called sour grapes

          • The_Truth_Seeker

            NO – it’s called justice and “the Christian thing to do”!! (but I’m not even religious – are you??. You can call it what you want, but calling it something doesn’t make it go away. I will just keep calling it social injustice, monopolistic practices and even fraud in many cases! How many cable and internet providers do you have?? In Canada, the LAW says every community has to have at least 4 to chose from!!! Most people in America have only 1-2. How’s that for competition? How about every hospital having a multi-million dollar MRI machine (which they have to put lots of people through to pay for it and make money – whether they really need it, or not)?

          • fun bobby

            in Canada the lights turn yellow before they turn green again and they produce tons of asbestos. have you ever watched Canadian cable? it is terrible because they have to have a certain amount of Canadian programming. ( I don’t know if Canadians still all steal direct tv anymore but that’s what they used to do.) they have free healthcare there too, why not move?
            the cable monopoly is rapidly becoming obsolete and already has for many people. no one actually needs cable to begin with. you can watch free HD tv over the air or read a free book from the library. I know a guy if you want some direct TV but its legit not like in Canada, you will have to pay for it. are cable monopolies what’s preventing your acquisition of an island? MRI machines?

    • hennorama

      2Gary2 – I thought cocaine was the “too much money” standard. Maybe it’s just the standard for entertainers.

      “Cocaine is God’s way of saying you’re making too much money.” –Robin Williams

      http://thinkexist.com/quotation/cocaine_is_god-s_way_of_saying_you-re_making_too/223674.html

  • TomK_in_Boston

    ICYMI: Here is where a discussion on inequality should start, and it ain’t about robots and 3D printers. Too bad how Tom’s guests are so far off-point:

    http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2013/05/28/opinion/052813krugman1/052813krugman1-blog480.jpg

    http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/sites/democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/files/resize/images/charts/unionincome-graph-600×429.jpg

    Anyone with a microgram of common sense would look at the “inequality and taxes” graph and say “Oops – we screwed up with those Reaganomic tax cuts. Better return to higher rates at the top”.

    However it’s great for the 1% and they call the shots, so we can’t do that. It doesn’t help that ignorant non-1%ers support them.

    • pete18

      Still waiting to hear from all the envy warriors the theory that shows how some people having massive wealth prevents other people from becoming middle class or rich themselves. How does that work, exactly?

      • Ray in VT

        Ignoring the case that people build and the examples that they cite doesn’t mean that one hasn’t had one’s question addressed.

        • TomK_in_Boston

          The pete18 script is programmed to print out “envy” when it detects any mention of our formerly great middle class society.

          • pete18

            If I am scripted than you are a meticulously crafted Russian novel, adapted into a movie, directed, given blocking instructions to and then lip-synced. The action begins on the word, “oligarch.”

      • StilllHere

        Exactly and you won’t, because there is no connection. Could you graph all the same variables next to NFC/AFC and note that the rise of the NFC is a direct result of the decline of the middle class; or is it the reverse?

        • nj_v2

          The right-wing trolling echo…

      • nj_v2

        You really don’t have a clue, do you? Thanks for making that clear.

        • pete18

          No, not for your line of thinking, I’m completely clueless. Maybe you could answer my question and educate me.

    • hennorama

      TomK_in_Boston – some added information:

      Corporate Profits as a percentage of GDP are at or near an all-time high of just under 11%. Since 1970, corporate profit’s share of GDP has more than doubled (from 5% to almost 11%).

      Wages and Salaries as a percentage of GDP are at or near an all-time low of just over 44%. Since 1970, Wages and Salaries’ share of GDP has declined by nearly one fifth (from 54% to 44%).

      Coincident to the above, since 1970, union membership as a share of the U.S. workforce has declined by more than half (from about 25% to a bit over 11%), as you have pointed out in one of your charts.

      This chart shows Wages as a percentage of GDP (in red) and Corporate Profits as a percentage of GDP (in blue) using Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED). The timeframe is Jan 1, 1970 through April 30, 2013.

      Note how Wages as a percentage of GDP drop during each period of Recession (indicated by the shaded areas), and rarely recover to their prior level.

      • hennorama

        To those who [Vote down]: Why? The post above is purely informational.

        • fun bobby

          now you know how I feel. it has to be worse for you because I know that most of the inexplicable down votes I get are from jefe

  • myblusky

    Medical bills are listed as the number one reason people file for bankruptcy. This seems to be a biggest problem. Most of us hang by a fragile thread when it comes to health costs. One horrible accident or one mutated gene can wipe us out financially. Healthcare keeps advancing, but so does the cost – which is understandable because of the money required to develop it.

    How will we make it affordable?

    We have to figure out a way to make these advances affordable to everyone because in the end, the heart and emotions always win out and people will do whatever it takes to save the ones they love which includes going bankrupt.

    • MsAbila

      Why do Americans go bankrupt caused by medical bills?

      Because the American society was sold the ‘idea’ that a healthcare system works best when it functions as a ‘for-profit’ system when sold to the citizens.

      In the meantime, there is SILENCE about how much of public funds are being channeled towards private companies that supposedly advance medicine. And they do advance, but only for profit – and that’s when you, healthy or ill, have to come up with hard-earned cash (or cash from selling your investments) to pay for insurance, co-pays, out-of-pocket-expenses, etc.
      The current American medical system does not want you or anyone else to be healthy because there is no profit in being healthy.

      Obamacare will not work on the long-run, it may be a temporary patch for now, but the real solution to an affordable health care is the single-payer system, where costs are checked and supervised by a third-party entity and insurance companies are omitted. Can this ever happen? Good luck to all of us!

      • jefe68

        It’s a fee for service system, that’s why it’s so expensive. You get more tests because doctors and hospitals are payed by each service they do.

        They also have no consistent fee system for anything. That’s why it can cost $2000 for colonoscopy in one hospital and in the same area the same procedure can also be as high a $5000 or more.

        It’s dysfunctional, period.

      • JustEdith

        Some things just should not be commodoties and healthcare is one of them. Doctors are often between a rock and a hard place with insurance companies. On the one hand the companies don’t want to pay for this or that, later if the doctor misses something s/he can be sued for malpractice, and then their malpractice premiums of course go up. The insurance companies also pay late and the billing is so complicated that doctors have to pay special administrative staff just to do the billing for them. It’s a crazy system.

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

        We *need* single payer.

  • hennorama

    Another mass shooting.

    Hucking fell.

    • jefe68

      We will never learn.

      • hennorama

        jefe68 – I for one hope you are wrong, and soon.

      • fun bobby

        what is the lesson?

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

          We have too many guns, and way too many assault weapons.

          It’s hard to have mass shootings without assault weapons and large magazines. Like Australia, after they banned assault weapons, they have had NO mass shootings.

          • fun bobby

            who has too many guns?
            what is an “assault weapon”?
            what percent of people who are shot to death are killed with whatever an “assault weapon” is?

            that’s funny because what seems to be a constant in all these situations is that they occur in gun free zones. after we banned assault weapons in America we had columbine.
            2 of the worst 4 school shootings in history took place in Germany, a place with very very strict gun laws. the worst school shooting in America was perpetrated with pistols with small magazines. the guy I saw interviewed today who was standing next to someone who was shot in the head reported the shooter used a pistol.
            and of course in the deadliest attack on an American school no gun was used at all.

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

            We here in the USA have way too many guns.

            An assault is a military style weapon – duh.

            Look up what they did in Australia.

            We have had 5 mass shootings since Sandy Hook.

          • fun bobby

            military “style”? so we need to ban this

            http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31oOOJB1L%2BL._SS500_.jpg

            ?
            perhaps you could elaborate but don’t worry if you cant, Dianne Feinstein cant come up with a coherent definition either

            I am well aware of how they increased their home invasion rates in Australia by confiscating peoples guns. they do not have a right to bear arms there. here is a little news from down under.

            http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/elderly-couple-bashed-in-home-invasion/story-e6frea83-1226533341166

            this incident today was apparently perpetrated with a double barrel shotgun. we do not know yet if it was in fact Jill Biden’s gun. what exactly are you suggesting doing about double barrel shotguns like Jill Biden’s and Obama’s?

          • hennorama

            fun bobby — you mention several school shootings, yet today’s mass shooting was not in a school.

            Also, please demonstrate how the DC Navy Yard is a so-called “gun free zone,” as you seem to indicate in your post.

            Not trying to put words onto your fingertips but simply trying to avoid misinterpretation and misunderstanding.

          • fun bobby

            so we should delineate between school and non school mass shootings then?they asked a man who worked there and he said they were not allowed to bring guns to work. I don’t know if its just for visitors but they also have metal detectors/ x-ray machines in a checkpoint for entry

          • hennorama

            Sir — it is YOU and not I that “delineate between school and non school mass shootings” by only mentioning incidents that occured at schools in your post.

            You would be well-advised to avail yourself of a mirror’s intended use.

          • fun bobby

            what other mass shootings would you like me to include? perhaps the one where gabby giffords was injured? hmmm I guess that guy used a pistol as well. but we have to “doooo something” so we might as well ban whatever we feel like constitutes an “assault weapon” right? hmm looks like all those other famous non school mass shootings took place in gun free zones as well. did you have a point?

          • HonestDebate1

            As I recall Ft. Hood was a gun free zone as silly as it seems.

          • fun bobby

            as was this place

          • hennorama

            If, as virtually all news reports have indicated, there was ARMED SECURITY present, how was this a so-called “gun-free zone,” sir?

          • fun bobby

            ohh that was the point you were trying to make. a “gun free zone” is not really a place free of guns (clearly) its a place where citizens are not allowed to bring their guns. this clearly does not apply to the police or armed guards nor does it apparently apply to anyone with intents on committing mass murder. perhaps they would be better called” be prepared to duck as you are not allowed to be able to defend yourself and are thus a known sitting duck” zones but that might be hard to put on a sign. the dammed murderers keep ignoring the rules! maybe they need bigger signs

          • anamaria23

            It is reported that the alleged shooter entered the building with a DB shotgun, after shooting the person you mention, shot security officers and took their guns, one semi automatic, to go on shooting.
            The school shooting at Newton was accomplished with an assault rifle.
            How many mass murders in Germany per year? Very few.
            12,00,000 gun deaths in USA per year. How can you not be incensed by this!
            There is no defense for this.
            For an eloquent statement tune in to Lawrence O’Donnell tonight for an interview with trauma center chief of medicine at D.C hospital who sees this on a daily basis.
            Do you pick up the slaughtered off the floor? Are you an EMT who delivers the dead and wounded? Do you sit with the families left?
            Or do you just declare you rights to do as you darn please!

          • hennorama

            anamarie23 — as you point out, assuming news reports are accurate, there was ARMED SECURITY that was overcome in this incident.

            As you no doubt recall, a week after the Newtown Massacre, the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre called for “…Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school…,” and that an NRA-paid study released in April 2013 recommended “that at least one armed guard be stationed on every campus in America.”

            Today’s horrendous tragedy completely disproves that idea.

            See:

            http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/dec/21/nra-full-statement-lapierre-newtown

            http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/04/02/187546/nra-paid-study-calls-for-armed.html#storylink=cpy

          • HonestDebate1

            While I did not support LaPierre’s idea, I’d rather see the principle and teachers not prohibited from packing, I do not understand your logic at all. Are you saying we should not allow armed security because the bad guys will take the guns from them and that this case proves that?

            How about we wait and see what happened before we assume such things? If anything, we need better security not worse. There must be some reason the armed security did not do their job and take him out. I’ll wait before I assume it’s incompetence but they had the advantage as they should have.

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – thank you for your baited reaction.

            While it is prudent to “wait and see what happened,” my remarks were qualified.

            Assuming news reports are accurate, ARMED SECURITY was overcome in this incident.

            Assuming news reports are accurate, the alleged shooter acquired additional firearms and ammunition from the ARMED SECURITY he had overcome.

            Various studies of the records of police weapons discharges indicate they hit their intended target about one-third of the time, or less. Police officers routinely train for, and sometimes experience these circumstances, certainly far more than nearly all other civilians.

            Would you expect “the principle [sic] and teachers” to do better?

            As to your remarks “There must be some reason the armed security did not do their job and take him out. I’ll wait before I assume it’s incompetence but they had the advantage as they should have” – WOW.

            These mass shooting scenarios generally involve offenders who are determined to kill, and to kill through surprise. Those are two enormous advantages the offender has over even well-trained, well-equipped, and highly alert security, who are simply doing their job, and are not expecting to kill anyone at any moment.

            You might want to reconsider those remarks, sir.

            See:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/08/nyregion/08nypd.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
            http://www.theppsc.org/Staff_Views/Aveni/OIS-%20What%20We%20Didn't%20Know%20Hurt%20Us.pdf

          • fun bobby

            I like it. I also think we need to get rid of all armed guards and disarm the police. we would all be much safer. did you know the police kill 8x as many Americans as terrorists?

          • hennorama

            fun bobby — again, I beg you please, dear sir, to stop misinterpreting my words.

            Allow me to rephrase your awkwardly worded question, which could be interpreted as “When it comes to killing terrorists and Americans, American police officers should improve their aim.”

            The rephrasing:

            “[D]id you know [that] the police [in the U.S.] kill 8x as many [U.S. residents, compared to the number of U.S. residents killed by] terrorists?

            ANSWER: If that was your intended question, no, I did not. Please provide the source for the facts implicit in your question.

          • fun bobby

            seems like it was easy enough to understand although I see how it could be misinterpreted if someone was apt to do so. that’s a pretty popular statistic I bet you could independently verify it or disprove it using the interwebs.. anyways, you keep mentioning that it was armed security that in fact exacerbated this situation. if you are not arguing against the efficacy of armed security what is your point?

          • HonestDebate1

            The first place the Sandy Hook killer went was the principles office. All she could do was lunge at him. I just think the victims should be allowed to have at least a snowballs chance in hell, that’s all.

            As I said, I’ll wait before I assume incompetence but you’re assuming the armed security was well trained while simultaneously assuming a packing teacher would not be. You know what they say about assumptions.

          • fun bobby

            yes I found that annoying too. I go to the range about 8 hours a month. most cops go to the range less than 8 hours a year. people who know nothing about guns should just defer to those who do.

          • Shark2007

            Adam Lanza knew a lot about guns. That didn’t work out to well did it.

          • fun bobby

            did he? what evidence suggests that? I don’t know where he would have learned anything proper since his mother apparently did not know basic firearms storage rules or the laws in her state. her criminality and stupidity unfortunately cost her her life and the lives of a number of others. is there point you are trying to make?

          • hennorama

            Debates Not, He – thank you again for your baited reaction. It’s clear that you are a fisherman.

            “[T]he [potential] victims [of death via firearms are already] allowed to have at least a snowballs [sic] chance in hell,” sir.

            I assume nothing, sir. Facts are facts. As stated:

            “These mass shooting scenarios generally involve offenders who are determined to kill, and to kill through surprise. Those are two enormous advantages the offender has over even well-trained, well-equipped, and highly alert security, who are simply doing their job, and are not expecting to kill anyone at any moment.”

            Your offer of nothing by way of rebuttal allows my statements to stand unchallenged.

            Thank you again.

          • 1Brett1

            Then there are the “you-need-to-wait-and-see-because-you-don’t-have-all-the-facts-but-I-can-speculate” arguments…

          • fun bobby

            does it? one incident proves that all armed security is useless? perhaps we should give all those marines guarding our embassies and the secret service pink slips? what fools to have armed security at a military installation, why would they ever need it? its not like anyone would ever attack them. that was proven today right?
            I agree with you we should get rid of all armed security officers everywhere and people should be allowed to carry guns and protect themselves. or do you just agree with the first part?

          • HonestDebate1

            I don’t always agree with you and sometimes vehemently disagree but at least you have an argument when we differ. Henny is making no sense at all. I chalk it up to ideology trumping truth.

          • fun bobby

            I just calls em like I sees em. the whole gun control impulse seems rooted in irrational fear. I think they have thoughts of shooting people or themselves and are afraid if they had a gun they would do so. so they think everyone should be disarmed because they fear what they themselves might do if they had guns. people who are arguing for things based on irrational fears often cannot make sense because they are senseless. its a cognitive dissonance thing. who can rationally say that a ban on anything has ever proven effective in America?

          • hennorama

            fun bobby – Dear, dear sir — I did not write anything like “one incident proves that all armed security is useless,” nor did my post mention “marines guarding our embassies and the secret service.”

            Nor did I posit anything like the idea that “[no]one would ever attack…” a “military installation.” Neither did I write anything suggesting that it was foolish to have “armed security at a military installation” as you imply in your commentary.

            In addition, I did [EDIT: not] even remotely suggest ANY part of “we should get rid of all armed security officers everywhere and people should be allowed to carry guns and protect themselves.”

            I beg you please, dear sir, to stop misinterpreting my words.

            Allow me to condense my words, in yet another admittedly quixotic quest for understanding, and behavioral change:

            If news reports that the alleged shooter both overwhelmed ARMED SECURITY and acquired additional firearms and ammunition from the ARMED SECURITY he had overcome, the NRA’s concepts of “armed police officers in every school…,” and “that at least one armed guard be stationed on every campus in America” are null and void.

            ==========

            One hopes with all possible fervor that the reports that the alleged shooter both overwhelmed ARMED SECURITY and acquired additional firearms and ammunition from the ARMED SECURITY he had overcome are false, but chances seem very few.

            One especially hopes, absent every and all reservation, that if the reports that the alleged shooter acquired additional firearms and ammunition from the ARMED SECURITY he had reportedly overcome are true, that the worst possible nightmare of any owner of any firearm – that any possible so-acquired additional firearms and ammunition were NOT used to injure and/or kill any person(s) that the weapons and ammunition were intended to protect – did not come to pass.

          • HonestDebate1

            “I did not write anything like “one incident proves that all armed security is useless”

            “NRA-paid study released in April 2013 recommended “that at least one armed guard be stationed on every campus in America.”

            Today’s horrendous tragedy completely disproves that idea.”

          • fun bobby

            “Today’s horrendous tragedy completely disproves that idea.”

          • fun bobby

            henn I am surprised with your attention to detail you neglected to correct that persons obviously crazy statistic

          • hennorama

            FB – despite evidence to the contrary, I am not infallible.

            I see no cause whatsoever for laughter, fun bobby.

            The larger point of [anamaria23]‘s comment stands.

            Whether it is “12,00,000 [sic] gun deaths in USA per year” or 1,200,000 or 120.000 or 12.000 (likely the intended figure, which itself is far lower than the actual number) or 1.200 or 120 or even 12, one SHOULD “be incensed by this!”

            Here are some estimates of the actual values:

            In the U.S., there are about 88 people PER DAY who die from injuries resulting from the use and misuse of firearms. About 2 of every 3 deaths of these deaths are Suicides.

            There are also about 202 nonfatal firearms injuries PER DAY day in the U.S..

            So on an average day in the US, about 290 people are wounded or die as a result of firearms-related injuries.
            The number of deaths includes Homicides (including Justifiable Homicides), Suicides and Unintentional/Accidental deaths.

            CDC reports preliminary data for 2011 showing 32,163 firearms-related deaths, and final data for 2010 showing 31,672 firearms-related deaths.

            See:
            http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_06.pdf (Table 2 on page 19)

            Further, CDC reports 73,883 “Overall Firearm Gunshot Nonfatal Injuries” for 2011, and 73,505 in 2010.

            See:
            http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-deaths-and-injuries-statistics/
            http://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/nfirates2001.html (Go to Section2. then select “Firearm” then [Submit Request] under Section 3.)

            For two excellent visualizations of firearms deaths, see:

            http://guns.periscopic.com/?year=2013 (let this one run for a bit, then look at the “Stolen Years” counter in the upper righthand corner. Then realize that this is less than ONE THIRD of the actual figure.)
            http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

            These are not causes for laughter.

          • HonestDebate1

            When have you ever considered the larger point about anything?

          • fun bobby

            but you would have to admit someone being off by a factor of 1000 is pretty funny. suicide and access to guns do not correlate internationally. otherwise Japanese and koreans would never commit suicide but they lead the pack. many states have liberal gun laws compared to many nations yet we are not anywhere near the top of the list for suicide rates.
            the homicide rate has been steadily falling.

          • HonestDebate1

            1000? That’s nothing, she once explained away over 37,000 rapes as a rounding error …. or something.

          • Ray in VT

            Yeah, but you also claimed that a report said that between 0 and 9 black women raped by white men during a given year, which was not at all what the report said.

          • HonestDebate1

            The report, as I recall, said 0.0 with a footnote explaining that meant between 0 and 10. So to Henny it meant the 37,460 rapes of whites by blacks means nothing.

          • Ray in VT

            Between 0 and 10 was the number of responses from the survey, not the instances nationwide. I spoke to the report’s author, and she said that interracial rape was relatively rare, with some 85-90% being within one’s own group, and that with such relatively rare crimes, there can be wide swings based upon a change of 1 or 2 reports. My main issue was with your misrepresenting the content of the report.

          • HonestDebate1

            Dude, I gave the report. That’s not misrepresenting squat. It said 37,460 to 0. Now I understand the nuances of the survey and the methodology, fine. The same methodology that concluded the zero also concluded the 37,460. You can equivocate all you want.

          • Ray in VT

            Who’s equivocating? I am pointing out that you made a claim that is not what the report said.

          • HonestDebate1

            No, go back and waste your time to read the entire threads. I gave the report, I distorted it beyond all credulity to give the benefit of doubt to illustrate that you can’t explain away 37,460 as a rounding error caused by methodology .

          • Ray in VT

            Take a look at the other years. That number swings wildly from year to year, so why pick 2004 (I think that it was), and what led you to that particular year and why? I think that there was little bending over backwards, except to attempt to create the impression that there is some sort of epidemic of black on white crime.

          • HonestDebate1

            While the epidemic argument could be made that was not my point but many believe there is an epidemic of white on black violent crime. My issue has always been with the media and the race hustlers convincing blacks they are helpless victims and vulnerable prey to whites. The Trayvon Martin case was when I ramped up the rhetoric to counter the lies. The biggest threat to blacks is other blacks. Racially motivated white on black violent crime is rare. Racially motivated black on white violent crime is not. The rape numbers stemmed from that debate.

            I’ll tell you what, pick any year you want to, I think the numbers came from 2005. And forget about 37,460 times as many black rapes. Lets throw out 37,458 of them willy nilly and go with 2. Show me a year where there weren’t at least twice as many black on white sexual assaults as the inverse. Then run the per capita numbers considering 12% of the population. Then explain why the Duke lacrosse and Twanna Brawley bogus incidents were media sensations.

          • Ray in VT

            Haha hahaha. “Racially motivated black on white violent crime is not.” That’s probably the best one that I’ve heard today. It’s good to know that you are still apparently taking the position that whenever a black person commits a crime against a white person it is racially motivated. The real facts behind racially motivated violence is that blacks take it the hardest, but I don’t expect you to “believe” that, as you seem to reject, upon the grounds of belief, that with which you do not agree.

            I have previously cited a very large study that details regarding how rape and sexual assaults are mostly intraracial crimes. Feel free to go back and check that.

            “37,460 times as many”! The hits just keep on coming.

            I am quite aware of the per capita numbers, and they are both disturbing and concerning, but please show me where those numbers have gotten worse or are on the rise. Crime rates were much worse 20 years ago. You must have really been freaking out back then.

            I am of the mind that if a white lady, “exotic dancer” or whatever or not, had claimed that she had been gang raped by a bunch of frat guys, then there would have been a great amount of outrage. Would some of the same people have been yelling about it? Maybe not, but some of the usual suspects, who do sometimes cry wolf, do have a leg to stand on when it comes to the history of black people getting harsher treatment at the hands of the justice system and the history of white on black crime being punished, in some places, to what one might not call the full extent of the law.

          • HonestDebate1

            I never used the word whenever. Please don’t tell me what I think. Blacks take it the hardest from other blacks not whites. And it has nothing to do with what I agree with, look in the mirror.

            And don’t condone fraud, lies and the ruining of lives by saying the race hustlers have a leg to stand on.

            The last thing a black person needs to worry about is being murdered by a racist.

          • Ray in VT

            It’s funny. You seem to want to cry racism whenever a black person commits a crime against a white person. Please provide some context or facts, then for your contention that “Racially motivated black on white violent crime is not” rare. I have previously cited hate crime statistics. What do you have?

            “The last thing a black person needs to worry about is being murdered by a racist.” Another good one. There’s plenty of stuff that black people probably worry less about.

            Please read my comments regarding race and history if you seek to have some understanding regarding my comment regarding “race hustlers” (which we’re still waiting for a definition of, by the way), although I expect one of your lame, canned responses regarding how whites have it worse and black people get their transgressions explained away or something.

          • 1Brett1

            I appreciate your continued attention to such matters…I have found the arguments going ’round and ’round in much the same manner with each mass shooting.

            If one points out that there was someone who was armed and in a position to stop the tragedy but actually had his gun used against him/couldn’t stop the tragedy, the typical counter-argument is that a different kind of armed “good guy” other than an armed guard or the one in the example would have made the difference, though, so the “ineffectual armed guard” argument is irrelevant.

            Then there are the arguments about shootings happening as a result of “gun free zones.” Yet, again, evidence of people being present who were armed and were unable to stop the shootings is regarded as irrelevant.

            Then there is the argument that more people should be armed in society and that this would deter those who would consider committing such mass shootings. Yet it isn’t reasonable to make all people armed and ready to encounter any emergency situation. The counter-argument would call that some form of straw man, the counter-argument being what I would call the ‘no-one-is saying-that’ argument. So, one is left thinking, okay, they must mean “some” or “more” people should be armed instead of what there is now (whatever that is, that isn’t enough people currently armed). I guess we should rely on luck, then, with increasing the number of armed folks milling about in everyday society, or some kind of increased probability, in hopes that the right person with the right gun will be in the right place at the right time to stop the shooter. I guess any examples to the contrary are just irrelevant examples of the right people with the wrong gun being in the wrong place at the wrong time as being the problem, not the shooter’s access to guns.

            Then there is the weapon itself as an argument. The counter argument being a gun is a gun is a gun; it doesn’t matter what kind of gun gets banned, killings still happen; “why, people can kill with a butter knife,” etc. Then, that gets reasonably responded to with, “a butter knife might only kill one or two people as opposed to the assault weapon’s ability to kill many in a few seconds.” That gets met with, “you- are-just-making-stuff-up-we-don’t-know-what-would-have-happened-if-the-guy-had-had-a-butter-knife…” argument, or a, “he-might-have-extensive-training-in-hand-to-hand-combat-and-could-have-killed-even-more-people-with-a-butter-knife” argument. Another argument against limiting the types of guns people should own, speaking of butter knives, is the, “what-do-you-want-to-do-outlaw-butter-knives?-people-kill-with-butter-kinves-too” argument.

            A single incident of someone stopping a killer with a gun is proof positive that gun ownership stops crime, but one hundred examples of being armed either did not help or brought more tragedy/deaths, is absolutely irrelevant, proving nothing.

            Then there is the dispute over statistics, which is another thing that goes ’round and ’round…I consider your comments to be well researched, with reliable statistics, and sound in their perspective. There is no concession to any of your points, ever, though, it seems…Anyway, so, thanks for presenting some balance, hennorama.

          • hennorama

            1Brett1 — had I been able to say it better, I would have.

            Very, very well said. (reward below)

          • fun bobby

            perhaps he got ahold of biden’s wife’s gun!
            I guess this is another example where people were needlessly killed because the police had guns. if only those officers did not have semi automatic weapons!
            “12,00,000 gun deaths in USA per year. ”
            after I got done laughing I felt sad that things have gotten to this point with disinformation. at this rate everyone will shot to death in less than 30 years! we need to do something!! Its funny you should mention DC, a place where lawful carry is banned. should it not be a paradise free of gunshot victims?

          • HonestDebate1

            They pretty much banned all private ownership of guns in 1997. Violent crime went up not down.

          • nj_v2

            Another vaporous dispatch from the Bureau of DisHonestMisDebatorGreggg’s Butt.

          • HonestDebate1

            Prove me wrong smarty pants.

          • jefe68

            Murder is at a 20 year low point except among youths.

            Suicides, on the other hand, went up. “Firearm suicides increased in the majority of (metropolitan) areas during this time period,” Mercy said. The report found 38,122 suicides involving firearms in 2009-2010, up from 34,232 in 2006-2007.
            –CDC

          • HonestDebate1

            Where was I wrong?

          • jefe68

            The problem with the kind of comment you are posting on this subject is you cherry pick. the reason the murder rate is down is not because more people own guns, because that has been charting the other way for 30 years.

            But I’m really sick and tired of even broaching this subject with gun rights zealots.

          • fun bobby

            how has gun ownership been “charting” for the same period?

          • fun bobby

            youths are not allowed guns now. its sad to hear about those young victims of drug prohibition.
            Do you think that further restricting guns will make fewer people want to kill themselves? seems to be working great in Japan and Korea

          • hennorama

            “Mercy said” — tragic irony, that.

            Mercy said.
            Mercy sad.
            Mercy
            Mercy
            Me.

            Sad, me said me.

          • HonestDebate1

            Still drinking?

          • nj_v2

            “That which is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

          • hennorama

            HA! That gets a [Vote up] on the basis of “vaporous dispatch” alone.

            Glad I wasn’t consuming any liquids while reading that, else my screen would now need a thorough cleaning.

          • StilllHere

            why are you so focused on guy’s butts?

          • nj_v2

            Why are you such a pathetic troll?

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

            Really? Says who? They have had no mass shootings, since then. None.

          • HonestDebate1

            There’s this:

            http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/?Article_ID=17847

            Also homicides by knives have gone up significantly. There was a mass shooting in 1996 which spurred the new laws. Since then fire has another weapon of choice.

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

          • fun bobby

            yeah its pretty wild that anyone could call for more gun control after seeing that poor soldier in Britain slaughtered in the street with knives

          • fun bobby

            no its not. look up VA tech the worst school shooting in history achieved with neither “assault weapons” nor “large” magazines

          • HonestDebate1

            An assault weapon was not used in this shooting.

          • Ray in VT

            Have a source for that?

          • HonestDebate1

            Funny, you didn’t ask for a source when others claimed an assault weapon was used.

            CNN actually had a rolling banner that said it was an “AR15 Shotgun”. No point really but it is funny, just some low-level keyboard puncher. It would be foolish to make much of it. It’s certainly not as grievous of an error as NBC and CBS made by identifying the wrong person. That happened in the Boston Marathon bombing as well. And who could forget ABC’s Brian Ross saying the Aurora shooter was a Tea Party member. Yep, best to stick with Fox for breaking news,

            I only mention all of this to illustrate how eager some are to have the story fit their preconceived notions. Diane Feinstein jumped all over it.

            And look at this cover of the NY Daily News:

            Oh yea, almost forgot:

            http://www.iqmediacorp.com/ClipPlayer/default.aspx?ClipID=47d86164-07d7-4e9d-afc8-8920f4c8af4e&PN=bt9sZFac%2bKA%3d

          • Ray in VT

            I asked for a source because what you stated contradicted other accounts that I read, and I think that your history regarding being factually accurate is questionable at best.

            I agree that there ends up being a lot of faulty info that comes out initially, like when Fox reported last year that the guards at the Cairo Embassy weren’t armed or like when Beck harassed the heck out of that Saudi kid for days after the FBI said that he was clear.

  • hennorama

    I’ll wager that some crass jackasses are already using the mass killings at the DC Navy Yard to promote the sale of ammunition and firearms.

    I’ll also bet that the traffic on white nationalist/separatist/supremacist websites spiked as soon as the FBI released images of the alleged shooter.

    Same as above for various other websites, such as TheDimness.com and DullLisa.com.

    And of course, all of the “you can pry my rifle from my cold dead hands” sites too.

    • HonestDebate1

      I don’t know about that but I’m sure there are many using it to advocate for gun control. Obama actually had family members of Sandy Hook victims standing behind him when he advocated for more laws. Talk about crass.

      There was also another incident at the White House just a little while go. They don’t seem to be related but one wonders.

      This is awful, I can’t imagine the horror. My thoughts now are with the families.

      • hennorama

        Debates Not, He — yes indeed, everyone’s thoughts and prayers are with the families, friends and other loved ones of the dead and wounded, and all others directly impacted by this horrendous and far too common mass shooting.

        UNFORTUNATE UPDATE from slate.com’s ‘How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since Newtown?’ website: ‘Matched Deaths: 8,185 or more since Newtown’

        These are “only the number of gun deaths that the media can find out about contemporaneously.”

        Unfortunately, this very high number is likely only about ONE THIRD of the actual total.

        FTA:

        “Update, June 19, 2013: As time goes on, our count gets further and further away from the likely actual number of gun deaths in America—because roughly 60 percent of deaths by gun are due to suicides, which are very rarely reported. When discussing this issue, please note that our number is by design not accurate and represents only the number of gun deaths that the media can find out about contemporaneously. Part of the purpose of this interactive is to point out how difficult it is to get accurate real-time numbers on this issue.
        Using the most recent CDC estimates for yearly deaths by guns in the United States, it is likely that as of today, 9/16/2013, roughly 24,480 people have died from guns in the United States since the Newtown shootings. Compare that number to the number of deaths reported in the news in our interactive below, and you can see how undertold the story of gun violence in America actually is.

        See:
        http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

        BTW – quibble with the “Killed By Guns” part of the site’s title if you wish. If so, simply substitute “Killed By [Projectiles Fired From] Guns.”

        If you’re interested, I can supply various evidence proving that I would have already won at least one of my hypothetical wagers.

        • HonestDebate1

          Aside from your first paragraph, I have no idea what your point is. Just say it.

        • fun bobby

          that’s odd because when someone commits suicide I always hear people say they killed themselves. I had no idea it was the gun’s fault. we should ban those things then no one will commit suicide anymore. perhaps if we make our gun laws more like japan with a complete ban we can achieve a suicide rate like theirs. that would be great right? bans have proven very effective at making whatever is banned cease to exist and hard for children and criminals to acquire. just like how no one has to worry about being tempted by drugs because they have all been destroyed by the war on drugs,

    • fun bobby

      I doubt it since there is already a shortage of ammo and they can’t keep the guns on the shelves. it does appear as though some crass jackasses are already taking advantage of this to promote foolish nonsensical restrictions on liberty. I bet they even say we need to ban “assault rifles” when this was done with a shotgun!

    • StilllHere

      Seems like you are guilty of the crime you condemn, using this tragedy to further your own political agenda. I guess it’s ok if it’s your agenda though. Don’t waste a good tragedy right!

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    The earth just has too many people – that’s the basic problem. We need to get back down to 4-6 billion. There just CAN’T be enough jobs for everyone, if we don’t, because of technology (and later, it might have to go down to 3-4 billion!).

    • hennorama

      Are you volunteering?

      If not, or even if so, what’s your plan for the mass extermination of nearly half of the planet’s population?

      • nj_v2

        For someone so careful about language, you sure jumped to some unsupportable inferences.

        • hennorama

          nj_v2 — TY for your response.

          Presumably you are referring to my use of the words “volunteering” and “mass extermination.”

          These were intentionally employed to be provocative.

          Obviously, there are other methods of population reduction, such as starvation, suicide, murder, warfare, toxic contamination, asteroid impact, etc.

          One might fairly conclude that today’s mass shooting has altered my normal reserve.

          • fun bobby

            perhaps he was suggesting promoting responsible family planning?

          • StilllHere

            perhaps post-term abortion?

          • fun bobby

            I support 73rd trimester abortions

          • StilllHere

            Phew, I’m in my 74th.

          • nj_v2

            So your response to a criticism about making an unfounded assumption is to “presume.”

          • hennorama

            Supreme Super Me Ere Umps Pees Rum.

            See Rump Sere Ump?

      • Shark2007

        You’ve apparently not heard of birth control. I’ve already volunteered to not have children as it was obvious to me that humans would breed themselves well past the carrying capacity–which will only end badly.

        • hennorama

          Shark2007 — Thank you for your Shnarky response, and well done as to not reproducing.

          Pray tell — what level of human reproduction or birth control will result in the population reduction that [The_Truth_Seeker] claims that “we need”?

          If you can actually answer that question, please answer this followup:

          Who will enforce/ensure that said changes occur, and how?

          • fun bobby

            the Chinese have had a pretty good run

          • Shark2007

            I agree with Garret Harden, the only solution is mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon. Not that it is likely. It seems people prefer the old fashion means of dealing with human overpopulation, war, disease and starvation. They find it more entertaining and less work.

        • fun bobby

          but then how will your DNA continue?

          • Shark2007

            The advantage of understanding evolution is you can choose not to let its dictates control your life. Besides if I had had a child I would have spent the bulk of my non-working hours trying to give it a leg up in the competition for resources, which we are exhausting at an increasing rate. Little enough of the natural world has survived the more than doubling of the human population during my life time.

          • fun bobby

            so you have chosen to be unfit?

          • Shark2007

            If you use the definition biologists use, yes, that is my choice, by the same token those few guys in the tenements who can barely read, who get dozens of girls pregnant are more fit biologically because they’ve gotten their genes into the next generation. How much of that superior fitness do you think our society can handle? You want more of it?

          • fun bobby

            our society is what creates the conditions for him to be so successful. seems like more of a commentary on our society than on that individual. perhaps we should demolish those tenements and cut off the public assistance and let them sink or swim and then see if they still have 5 kids. that would be the solution a study of evolution would suggest.

          • Shark2007

            That was the Nazi solution to the Jewish ghettos. No surprise that is coming from you.

            I was only trying to make the point that “fitness” as used by biologists is very specifically defined and is not used in the way laymen use the term in everyday speech. If you want to understand “fitness” the way biologists use it you could read Dawkins’ book, The Selfish Gene, or Ridley’s book, The Red Queen.

            Individual organisms are just samples of the population’s genes. Fitter genes become more frequent over time in the population. But since the environment is always changing, which genes are fitter than others changes over time.

          • fun bobby

            wow, playing the Nazi card seems rude and uncalled for. I have not suggested oppressing or exterminating anyone. cutting SNAP and gassing people are just not equivalent at all.
            thanks for pedantry, which of my statements suggested to you I have an imperfect understanding of evolutionary philosophy?

          • Shark2007

            You are the one suggesting that their housing be destroyed and that they and there children not be fed. You think the results will be different?

          • fun bobby

            I think they and “there children” will be fine. I think, not only will they survive without government largesse, they will thrive.

            “I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion of the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer. ”

            Benjamin Franklin, On the Price of Corn and Management of the Poor, November 1766
            please tell me what exactly you think would happen if the snap stopped tomorrow.

          • Shark2007

            You can believe that fairy tail if you want. Don’t expect any one familiar with the facts to buy it.

          • fun bobby

            yes great Britain and France are great. they have not had any riots in France in like 3 months. Here is an article about how great their socialism is working out in the UK

            http://metro.co.uk/2013/08/05/new-riots-only-a-matter-of-time-author-warns-3912005/

            c’mon I have been quite generous with you. please tell me what would happen if tomorrow there as no SNAP.

          • Shark2007

            You seem to prefer Tyler’s Mexico model, I prefer the Finnish model.

          • fun bobby

            yes I am sure universal conscription would be great but that seems tangential. seems like you are avoiding the question.c’mon man, what would happen tomorrow if SNAP ended?

          • Shark2007

            It will produce the effects usually associated with inadequate or more inadequate diet. Too bad you can’t seem to figure that out.

          • fun bobby

            I was not talking about you personally I was talking about what larger effects we would see in society

          • Shark2007

            You are all to typical of the wing nuts. Go back to slurping up Ann Coulter. You have nothing of value to contribute to the discussion

          • fun bobby

            you are typical of people who are afflicted with cognitive dissonance and narcissism. observe as you attempt to have the last word.

          • Shark2007

            Describing yourself I see

          • Shark2007

            The general affect is we would have more stunted minds like yours, guess you want more company. You must be a fan of the future portrayed in Brave New World.

          • fun bobby

            that must be what’s wrong with me! I did not eat enough government cheese. how could anyone thrive without government largesse? no one suffers malnutrition in brave new world.

          • Shark2007

            You might try reading the book. Your comment shows you missed my allusion.

            You think we would have the current biomedical industry with out 50 plus years of public investment in basic research?

            Go back to listening to Rush. You don’t seem to be sufficiently perceptive to get anything out of On Point. At least Rush will keep you entertained.

          • fun bobby

            I guess your ad hominem demonstrates that you have lost it

          • Shark2007

            You seem to be quite adept at ad hominem yourself. You dish it out but can’t take it? You must follow these closely as you respond so quickly.

          • Shark2007

            I am we’ll aware of evolutionary theory, what do you mean by evolutionary philosophy? Are you referring to so called social Darwinism which has nothing to do with the theory of evolution.

          • fun bobby

            thank you for failing to explain your pedantry or apologizing for calling me a Nazi. I would be happy to answer your questions assuming that you meant to put a question mark where you put a period.
            there are competing theories of evolution.
            no.

          • Shark2007

            What competing theories did you have in mind?

          • fun bobby

            I don’t know why I should bother answering your questions when you have failed to answer mine and also been a jerk but here is a breakdown

            http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evolution/

            For some time the Lamarckian theory was rejected but I feel like new discoveries in the area of mRNA tend to support his theory at least as a component in evolutionary change.

          • Shark2007

            You seem to neither understand Lamarckian theory nor the role of mRNA. Experiments have proven the Lamarckian theory is false.

          • fun bobby

            the fact that you think anyone fully understands the role of mRNA at this point demonstrates pretty clearly you don’t know as much as you think you do

          • Shark2007

            I don’t think I said “fully” about anything. Do you have a particular paper on mRNA you are referring to? If so link to it with a full URL

          • fun bobby

            maybe after you show me the “experiments that have proven Lamarckian theory is false” those must be amazing because that would be proving a negative.

          • Shark2007

            Lamarkian theory has been falsified by repeated experiments, one of the most famous being the amputation of mouse tails over many generations. The acquired characteristic was never passed on to the offspring. The experimenter always needed to do the amputation.

          • fun bobby

            that’s not a very sophisticated experiment.
            when was it performed?

          • Shark2007

            The late 1800′s. If you redefine Lamarkianism, you can mutate it to match some modern findings, but the word looses its meaning and is not to useful.

          • fun bobby

            meh

      • The_Truth_Seeker

        It needs to be done gradually (or maybe the planet will do it “naturally” – through famine and pandemics). Incentivize not having more than 1-2 kids and offer a big bonus for couples not having any kids. If you want more than 2 – you have to pay a “kid tax”. Normally I would not favor anything like this, but the fact is the planet just has too many people. we will completely destroy the planet if the population goes above 10B – besides there will be tremendous poverty and violence if we don’t do something (have you seen the movie Elysium?).

    • fun bobby

      that’s what we have war disease and famine for

      • StilllHere

        and krispy kremes, no?

        • fun bobby

          I heard those are going out of style but I am sure many American “foods” have been doing their part to reduce the populatioin

          • StilllHere

            how about a few rogue drones?
            that could clear out some of the excess.

          • fun bobby

            while effective for killing women and children in relativity small numbers I don’t know how well it scales. I suppose they could build a heavy bomber drone loaded up with MOABs. I am sure the good people at Northrup grummin would be happy to take a shot at solving the problem

      • The_Truth_Seeker

        Not very original Bobby!

        • fun bobby

          why mess with the classics? would you feel better if robot apocalypse was on the list?

    • Shark2007

      People who have looked at it estimate it would take 3 or more earths with no people on them to supply the current earth’s population the resources necessary for an American life style. So from the Koch brothers view, the masses need to adjust to their new condition so the deserving rich, such as themselves can continue to enjoy the finer things in life without worry.

      • fun bobby

        and thus “bounty basic” paper towels

        • StilllHere

          always makes me feel like a 1%er when i use the “bounty basic”

          • fun bobby

            no that’s for the proles the 1%ers get to choose between the “bounty select a size” or the “bounty extra soft” or the “bounty quilted napkins”

          • StilllHere

            even their napkins are quilted? man, that’s living. it probably absorbs spilt crystal better too.
            well, at least they use the same scratchy toilet paper as the rest of us.

          • fun bobby
      • The_Truth_Seeker

        The “Elysium” scenario, eh?

  • harverdphd

    Well at least thanks for giving the losers who populate this comment board daily the opportunity to fantasize about a revolution which will never happen against a 1 % that doesn’t exist.

    • Paducah72

      “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
      — Warren Buffett

    • hennorama

      Truly classy, as usual.

      At least you’re not alluding to a former LAPD officer’s burnt body, as you have in the past.

  • OnPointComments

    I wonder if those who commented last Friday about being shocked by the Romney campaign’s statement on Benghazi were equally appalled today by President Obama using the occasion of the slaying of 12 victims at the Navy Yard, eight people injured, one gunman killed, to launch into another of his typical tirades against Republicans and anyone who is successful. Surely if Romney issuing a statement after the death of four Americans was bad, then President Obama using 12 deaths to continue class and political warfare must be horrendous.

    • Shark2007

      The irony of OnPointComments being so off point. He wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity to attack Obama.

    • hennorama

      OPC – first, please allow me to preface my response to your bravely indirect reference to my various comments from Friday last by saying:

      If you see Kay, why…oh you… nevermind — see you next Tuesday!

      Please also allow the preface that I have only very recently learned that one of those killed in the DC Navy Yard incident is personally known to me.

      Consider also that the resultant tightness in my upper neck muscles may be affecting my central nervous system.

      Please also allow for the considerably higher-than-ever-before consumption of Tennessee Sour Mash Whisky observed on the part of at least one of we two.

      To wit, sir:

      Kiss my motherloving icehole.

      Thank you everso for your bravely indirect comment.

      • jefe68

        Well said. And my condolences to your loss.

        • hennorama

          jefe68 — Thank you very much for your very kind words.

          Never in my worst nightmares did I expect such a thing. I have experienced similar loss before, but this has ”hit closer to home” for reasons that just now remain mysterious.

          Hucking hucking fell.

          My loss is less than miniscule in comparison to the loss now being experienced by those closest to the fallen.

          Please excuse any rambling or sentimentality, as the Whisky is having the desired effect.

          Again, thank you for your very kind words. They are indeed appreciated.

      • OnPointComments

        My condolences for your loss.

        I suspected that the outrage over Romney’s statement was either insincere, or that he broke a rule that was reserved for only one political party. Thank you for confirming my suspicion.

      • TFRX

        You know someone there?

        Good grief, Henno. Condolences going out.

        • hennorama

          damned distance
          damned time

          piercing reality slays one still
          piercing reality slays one
          piercing reality slays
          piercing reality
          piercing

          stillness provokes
          sun’s rays mock

          cells afire
          hellish flame

          invasive
          pervasive
          intrusive
          abusive

          stillness

          fire flame
          pyre shame
          tender tinder

          damnation close
          damn nation
          damn

          time unbound
          time unfound
          time

          still

    • MattWMott

      Uh, I’m new to the partisan bickering on this site but I’d guess that the answer is, “no.” If you’re talking about what I think you’re talking about, the speech Obama gave yesterday was already planned, and the comments about the shooting at the Navy Yard were added as a preface to acknowledge that tragic events had just taken place. Here’s the transcript, with the Navy Yard comments at the top:

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/running-transcript-president-obamas-sept-16-speech-on-the-economy-and-the-navy-yard-shooting/2013/09/16/c63b2c30-1ee4-11e3-b7d1-7153ad47b549_story.html

      Is that what you meant? If it is, I think your characterization of the remarks misrepresent them.

      • jimino

        Since you claim to be new to this, I’ll give you a little advice. Using facts and logic like you did will be utterly useless with the brainwashed fools like OPC. His thinking would mean that if you happened to be born on Christmas, you could never celebrate both your birthday AND the holiday without being accused of claiming to be as important as Jesus. In other words, he’s an idiot.

      • jefe68

        Facts, you want facts? He don’t need no bleeding facts. He’s right because he says he is.
        (sarcasm)

      • OnPointComments

        I agree, President Obama is an empty suit. The remarks had already been planned and loaded into the teleprompter, making it impossible to adjust for the situation. He added a few paragraphs at the beginning, and kept the rest just as it was.

  • Shark2007

    I was listening to Tyler at the beginning of the show and kept thinking — this guy sounds like an Ayn Rand disciple, so it was not a surprise when it was revealed that Tyler has a position at he Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The founding funders of the Mercatus Center are the Koch brothers. Tyler would be out on the street if he questioned the desirability of the increasing inequality he predicts. He is being well paid to sell the Koch’s bad soap. His message is resistance is futile you will be incorporated into the Koch just as he has. He even claims you will like it. He seems to have missed the irony of his suggestion that successful marketers will deserve to be among the rich on the rich/poor divide.

    • StilllHere

      It seems you’d rather criticize his supposed associations than refute his facts. How come? Because you got no facts?

      • Shark2007

        You are known by the company you keep. Tyler’s main screed is that we will evolve to a hyper-unequal society and that having the bulk of the American population regressing to the economic level of “poor Mexicans” (his words) will be good. It is a prediction of the future, only time will tell how accurate a prediction it will be.

        You might want to check out the article in the New Yorker on the Koch brothers purchasing influence by funding Heritage, Mercatus and numerous other “think tanks” such as the Heartland Institute.

        Tom’s other guest offered a range of actions that could be taken to make the economy more like the 60′s and less like the Gilded Age. Even though I currntly gross more than 6 figures, I prefer Joseph Stilitz prescriptions and goals for the future.

        • pete18

          So then you must have not voted for Obama given his association with Reverend Wright. Right?

          • Shark2007

            Are you suggesting that Obama’s income was being supplied by Reverend Wright?

            I voted for Obama because I could see who Romney associated with: tax dodgers, corporate raiders and “Let’em die” tea party types.

          • pete18

            Which you find worse than being associated with racists and anti-Semites.

          • Shark2007

            You seemed to have missed Obama separating himself from Reverend Wright. You must have loved Romney flying around with the birther Trump. I guess if you are rich anything goes.

            There seemed to be plenty of racists supporting Romney — you must have missed them by not listening to the news, or reading the blogs.

          • HonestDebate1

            Even Oprah knew to get out of that church pronto. Obama was there 20 years.

            “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.”

          • Shark2007

            The famous tea bagger tactic of quoting out of context. No surprise there. The Obama haters convert every forum to vent their spleen.

          • HonestDebate1

            There is no context that shows his distancing himself as anything but political expedience. 20 years speaks for itself.

          • Shark2007

            It’s a free country, you can believe anything you want even if it isn’t true. I listened to Obama’s speech after Wright became an issue and know you are taking that quote out of context. It seems to be a favorite tactic of the right wing media and their echo boxes.

            Your boy Mittens didn’t distance himself from Trump because in addition to having money, Trump had, for a brief time, been one of the cavalcade of non-Romney front runners. He don’t want to alienate his birther supporters or the Jessi Helms Republicans.

          • HonestDebate1

            I listened to the speech he reluctantly made too. I didn’t know Romney went to Trump’s church for 20 years.

          • Shark2007

            Yes, they’ve been going to the same church for much longer than 20 years. You know, the Church of Mammon

          • pete18

            So you find having an association with a rich “birther” for a campaign season to be more problematic than a 20-year relationship with a racist whose sermons you listened to every Sunday? What you’re really saying is that you don’t actually care about the company people keep you just like to use that as an excuse to attack people you disagree with politically.

          • Shark2007

            Exactly what was this relationship? What evidence of it do you see in Obama’s actions as president? What about various Republican’s relationships with whacked out right wing preachers. Who was it that said 9/11 was punishment for America’s sins? How often did Bush embrace this preacher? Is he the same one who said Katrina was a similar punishment? Perhaps that is why Shrub said “you’re doing a great job Bownie”

          • pete18

            As I said, knowing people by their associations isn’t really of any interest to you. Their political party is all you really care about. It’s OK, you can admit to this.

          • Shark2007

            Sounds like you are describing yourself. In case you missed it, the topic under discussion was Tyler’s prediction and embrace of “hyper-inequality” You are the one who went off topic by going after your favorite hate object, Obama.

            Tyler’s point of view is quite predictable, given his position with the Koch funded Mercatus Center. The Mercatus center is funded by the likes of the Koch brothers to publish “research” that supports their version of the libertarian agenda. It is an add agency for libertarian views masquerading as an academic research institute by buying co-location at George Mason University.

          • pete18

            Actually, instead of making an argument against Tyler’s ideas or facts, you tried to distract with a lo-budget, non-argument about his associations, which has nothing to do with the validity of his thinking. Then you got called on it. Obama was just an easy contrast to ferret out your double standard. There are plenty of valid arguments one could make against Tyler’s ideas, why don’t you try one of them?

          • Shark2007

            Which “facts” did Tyler bring up that you found so compelling?

            What are your arguments against Tyler’s screed?

            It should be entertaining.

          • pete18

            You are the one who is critiquing him, what arguments did he make that you found so lacking?

          • Shark2007

            I’ve addressed that in other posts here. You claimed there were plenty of grounds for criticizing Tyler, so I simply asked what they were. Makes one question whether you really have any thing of his that you are critical of or just writing it as a limp rhetorical device. You’ve also never answered the question about which “facts” Tyler discussed that you found so compelling.

          • Shark2007

            Perhaps political party is all you care about. I don’t recall Tyler announcing which party he was a member of or voted for. Given there was so little energy in his presentation, maybe he is a closet Democrat, just trying to milk Mercatus enough to send his kids to college.

      • Shark2007

        Which “facts” did Tyler bring up that you found so compelling?

  • geraldfnord

    May I suggest tax cuts?…specifically, Pres. Kennedy’s propsed tax cuts that set the top marginal rate at 70%.

    • Shark2007

      I would support a top marginal rate of 70%. Bring back the 60′s

  • TJPhoto40

    WHY are most of the people in this little blog going on about gun control and related stuff when the topic above is the program on economic inequality. Gun control is a worthwhile topic, but it doesn’t belong in this blog. Stay “on point,” folks!

    • StilllHere

      Inequality is a red herring.

      • jefe68

        Troll.
        “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
        – Warren Buffett

      • TJPhoto40

        Meaning what, StillHere? That you don’t believe it’s real or that it doesn’t matter? Either way, you’re delusional if you think so. Maybe the poor can eat some of that red herring while you stuff yourself with whatever fine vittles you’ve got.

    • hennorama

      As I was the person who first brought up “Another mass shooting. Hucking fell.,” please allow me to respond:

      Please see:

      Madison, James

      Constitution of the United States of America, Amendment I.

      • TJPhoto40

        Cuck the Fonstitution, to use your original play on words. You’re off point, and that’s the point.

        • hennorama

          TJPhoto40 — yes, “Cuck the Fonstitution.” That’s going to win your argument.

          Please allow a Constitutionally permitted rebuttal:

  • WiserNow2

    Wow…after reading over some of the more recent
    comments, it’s apparent why our country is in the trouble that it is. Too many of us are so hyper-critical of new input or suggestions, too condescending, and destructive when it comes to civil discourse.
    We will NEVER move forward to a more equitable state in
    our country if those who are oppressed or feel marginalized refuse to cooperate with one another. We are called to a new mindset (a sincere desire of goodwill for all), so that the outcome for ALL might improve. If I refuse to donate my “beans” and you refuse to donate your “vegetables,” if you reject what I have to offer and I reject what you offer, then we cannot create the rich “soup” that each of us desires and needs.

    In my very humble opinion, we’re all (individually) just here to respond to our highest calling – to overcome self-absorption
    (self-righteousness, arrogance, condescension, etc.) and to overcome fear on this playground called Earth. What is our highest calling? Every time you see an unmet need, you respond…selflessly.

    The inequality which we observe and experience is just
    our opportunity to respond…sincerely, generously, creatively, and selflessly. If the 99% can’t come together to engineer a fairer, more equitable future for ourselves and our offspring, then we don’t want it badly enough.

    True wealth has nothing to do with one’s financial assets (we’ve all seen examples of wealthy people who have “everything,” and yet they’re still fearful and miserable). True wealth is a product of living from the Heart, making meaningful contributions to those in need, and closing one’s eyes at night feeling grateful, proud, and content for a day well-lived.

  • fun bobby

    are they still doing that “fight for 15″ thing pictured above? that’s so two weeks ago

    • StilllHere

      Now it’s fight for 18, inflation don’tcha know; meanwhile Chilis is going to terminals to order from your table and eventually delivery by Roomba, cleans while it brings your onion rings.

  • fun bobby
  • OnPointComments

    Paraphrasing John Adams, written in 1787:

    Suppose a nation, rich and poor, high and low, all assembled together: not more than 10-20% will have lands, houses, or any personal property. If all were to be decided by a vote of the majority, the 80-90% who have no property would usurp the rights of the 10-20%.

    Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted.

    What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them.

    The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If “Thou shalt not covet,” and “Thou shalt not steal,” were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free.

    http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/v1ch16s15.html

    • jimino

      Since you seem to be claiming to be some sort of historian, from whom did those sacred property owners Adams refers to buy their property? Do they still owe on it?

    • hennorama

      OPC — Were John Adams alive today, he would no doubt recognize that about two-thirds of U.S. households own and occupy their homes, making his supposition merely that — a supposition.

      See:
      http://www.nmhc.org/Content.cfm?ItemNumber=55508

      • OnPointComments

        The percentages are different, but his concept is valid. I find it amazing that John Adams warned the country in 1787 of exactly what many desire to do today: let’s levy a high tax on the rich and have no tax on others, let’s abolish debts (mortgages? student loans? both have been suggested), let’s redistribute what the rich have accumulated to those who don’t have as much. I bet the consequence that Adams predicted would also surely happen: some of the money redistributed to those who didn’t earn it would be quickly gone, then another redistribution would be demanded.

        • hennorama

          OPC — first, please let me apologize directly for the implied profanity in my comment to you on Monday. My unrequited pre-requiem rage is no excuse for bad behavior.

          That said, I’d be perfectly happy to — well “happy” is not actually in my currently-available emotional range, so let’s substitute “willing” — I’d be perfectly willing to cover the non-issue of progressive taxation, and the non-issue of those with higher incomes paying a greater share of the TOTAL taxes paid by individuals, but that seems to be a waste of both time and space.

          As you know, there’s really very little progressivity regarding the share of TOTAL taxes paid (Fed + State + Local) compared to the share of TOTAL income.

          That some might suggest higher taxes on those with higher incomes, or some relief for those unable to pay their debts is neither new nor surprising.

          The underlying theme is toward great EQUALITY, not toward greater anarchy. Equality and freedom are of course both highly ideal, and highly conflicted.

          That is America in a nutshell — highly ideal, and highly conflicted.

          Apologies again for my prior indiscretion. Not my proudest of moments, to be sure.

          • pete18

            One cannot merge local and federal taxation in this discussion. They both serve different purposes and respond to different
            populations. Federal taxation is already overly progressive, one cannot make it more progressive (unfair) to make up for the problems of equality that might be found in some state tax rates. Not unless you want to get rid of states rights to set their own tax policies.

          • hennorama

            pete18 — TY for your response.

            One notes the complete absence of “this topic is limited to ‘Federal taxation,’ and excludes all other taxation” in the words from the staff of On Point/WBUR, above.

            Thanks again for your reply.

          • pete18

            That’s a coy way of avoiding my point, but it is late, so you’re forgiven.

          • Shark2007

            Lets go back to the Eisenhower tax rates.

          • pete18

            That would be exceedingly foolish.

          • OnPointComments

            When anyone suggests that we return to the Eisenhower tax rates, they inevitably mean return only to those rates for the rich. If getting the 1955 tax rates for the rich also meant getting them for everyone else, you’d be screaming.

          • Shark2007

            You ever hear of correcting for inflation? Apparently not.

          • OnPointComments

            I bet you’d still be screaming.

          • Shark2007

            I enjoyed the 50′s, traveled cross country every summer with my family, visited museums and the National Parks which were not nearly as crowded then as they are now. The 50′s tax rates had no negative effect on our quality of life.

          • OnPointComments

            Apology accepted.

            I agree in equality of opportunity, justice, freedom, human rights, political rights, and many more types of equality, but certainly not equality of outcome or results when different choices are made by people with differing levels of talent, intelligence, ingenuity, merit, self-discipline, responsibility, diligence, honesty, perseverance, and many other traits, and even equality of luck. I disagree with forcing equality by penalizing or handicapping those who have excelled beyond others or beyond average.

          • Shark2007

            Having a high income only shows they have excelled at getting lots of money. It is a warped measure of the contribution they make to society.

          • HonestDebate1

            I’m going to print that out, frame it and hang it on the wall.

    • OnPointComments

      I guess we know times have changed when John Adams gets a down vote.

  • The_Truth_Seeker

    TAX THE RICH! Don’t do them physical harm. Don’t steal their property – Just TAX IT! Charge them a luxury tax on their jet planes and yachts. John Adams wouldn’t have objected to that idea (he just didn’t want mob rule and vigilante rule – like we now have with stand-your-ground).

    • OnPointComments

      Adams’ warning included “taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others.”

      • J P Fitzsimmons

        How do you tax people who have no money?

        • OnPointComments

          In 2010, 63.2 million households with income under $50,000 paid zero federal income tax; 4.3 million households with income from $50,000 to $100,000 paid zero federal income tax.

        • ExcellentNews

          The folks behind Grover Nordquist and the GOP have some ideas on how to do it. For instance, they can sell or donate a kidney to a needing job creator. They can also sign up themselves or their children for indentured service or military service. Of course, they can also do the patriotic thing and turn themselves in at a “47-percenter recycling center”.

  • OnPointComments

    “THE YEAR WAS 2081, and everybody was finally equal. They weren’t only equal before God and the law. They were equal every which way. Nobody was smarter than anybody else. Nobody was better looking than anybody else. Nobody was stronger or quicker than anybody else. All this equality was due to the 211th, 212th, and 213th Amendments to the Constitution, and to the unceasing vigilance of agents of the United States Handicapper General.” –HARRISON BERGERON by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

    In the story, the government forces citizens to wear “handicaps” (a mask if they are too handsome or beautiful, earphones with deafening radio signals to make intelligent people unable to concentrate and form thoughts, and heavy weights to slow down those who are too strong or fast). The satire raises a serious question concerning desirability of social equality and the extent to which society is prepared to go to achieve it. (Wikipedia)

    • Shark2007

      Always interesting when fiction is quoted as a plausible future either to be sought or avoided.

      • fun bobby

        did you miss where he said “satire”?

    • Imran Nasrullah

      In this case, though, it is not government that is “equalizing” things, but capitalism that ran amok to benefit of the super-rich and to the detriment of the middle class.

      • OnPointComments

        It’s the price of living in a free society. I’d much rather have the capitalist society assign a value than the government.

        • Shark2007

          What is free when the 1% have the ability to set the rules for their benefit at the expense to the rest of us. Freedom for the 1%, serfdom for the rest. Not my idea of freedom even if it is yours.

  • Imran Nasrullah

    How sad that the real area for growth will marketing. How we can sell you more stuff, even though you will have less money.

    • fun bobby

      but you will get more stuff for your money. Americans are poorer than before but out tvs are larger

  • jimino

    One of the graduate students at the University of Oregon, John
    Voorheis, put together these animated gifs showing how various measures
    of inequality have changed state by state from 1977-2012:

    http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2013/09/state-inequality-visualizations.html

  • TJPhoto40

    Cowen is an odd commentator with his “equanimity” over this troubling situation, as Tom Ashbrook puts it, and his bizarre pronouncements such as the prediction that the US will soon have as high a percentage of millionaires as Singapore. He does make two or three reasonable points, but the rest of his reading seems to be from another planet. And pegging all hopes on improved education is ridiculous, though we certainly need a great improvement in the educational system. He credits the financially successful with innovation that rewards them, but very few of the wealthy create anything novel or beneficial; they mostly make money off other people’s money or the twisted financial system as a whole.

  • Regular_Listener

    It sounded to me like Cowen was just taking contemporary trends and extrapolating them into the future. There was little discussion of what kinds of changes and new developments we are likely to see in the decades to come.

  • Shark2007

    One way of avoiding Tyler’s future of extreme inequality is for a re-invigorated union movement. The increases in productivity since the Reagan Administration have all gone to the owner class. The deserving rich in the parlance of Shrub. The people really responsible for this improvement, scientists, engineers and workers have not gotten their share.

  • henry_twentytwo

    Thanks Obama.

    • ExcellentNews

      You must surely mean Odumbo or Nobama. Yeah, this is the result of a plot hatched in Kenya where Obumbo was born and trained in a muslim communist training camp.

      Never mind that the evidence shows that the gutting of the American middle class started thanks to the Newt Gingrich/TomDeLay “revolution”, went gazongas under George W. Bush The Third, and continued thanks to the “grassroots” (hahaha!) Tea Party sabotage.

  • ExcellentNews

    No surprise there. Anyone with a brain can see that we are heading towards a new feudal age. This development is spearheaded by a global oligarchy, which is exploiting the democratic process to create conditions favorable to its establishment and maintenance. And the peons are dazed by mass entertainment and fast food…

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President Barack Obama meets with Congressional leaders in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, to discuss options for combating the Islamic State. (AP/Evan Vucci)

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