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Should The Wealthy Worry About Inequality?

Multi-millionaire Nick Hanauer says he and his fellow super-rich are killing the goose — the American middle class — that lays the golden eggs.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, right, speaks with Ady Barkan of the Center for Popular Democracy as she arrives for a dinner during the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo. Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014.  (AP)

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, right, speaks with Ady Barkan of the Center for Popular Democracy as she arrives for a dinner during the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium at the Jackson Lake Lodge in Grand Teton National Park near Jackson, Wyo. Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. (AP)

Nick Hanauer is a millionaire many times over.  An entrepreneur.  An investor.  He was one of the first investors in Amazon.com.  Has started more than 30 companies.  Sold just one to Microsoft for $6 billion, cash.  He’s got a pile of fancy homes.  The plane.  The yacht.  His own bank.  And a message for his fellow American super-rich:  If we don’t figure out how to re-balance the wealth in this country and save the middle class, it’s all coming down.  The country.  The plutocracy.  The works.  This hour On Point:  Nick Hanauer, multi-millionaire, and his message for the super-rich.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Nick Hanauer, entrepreneur and venture capitalist. Co-author, with Eric Lui, of the book “The Gardens of Democracy.” (@NickHanauer)

From Tom’s Reading List

POLITICO Magazine: The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats — “The divide between the haves and have-nots is getting worse really, really fast. In 1980, the top 1 percent controlled about 8 percent of U.S. national income. The bottom 50 percent shared about 18 percent. Today the top 1 percent share about 20 percent; the bottom 50 percent, just 12 percent.

US News & World Report: Census Bureau: The Rich Got Richer — “Overall household wealth declined by $5,046, or 6.8 percent, between 2000 and 2011. But not everyone experienced the decline: While the bottom 60 percent of households saw decreases in their overall net worth, the richest 40 percent saw sizably bigger increases. The ratio of median net worth of the highest 20 percent of households to the second highest 20 percent increased by more than double, a sign the wealthiest Americans became even richer over a little more than a decade.”

Forbes: Nick Hanauer’s Latest Near Insane Economic Plan — “Nick Hanauer has gone public with another stage of his plan for the US economy. Essentially, raise wages for everyone and she’ll be fine. The problem with this is that Hanauer is simply factually wrong in a major example that he uses to bolster his case and then remarkably uninformed about the economics of the situation. So much so that it’s entirely fair of me to call this latest iteration of his plan ‘near insane’, as I did an earlier version of it. “

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  • brettearle

    If the wealthy ignore the growing Plutocracy, ultimately, it will be at their grave Peril.

    • Godzilla the Intellectual

      Thanks, Captain Obvious.

      • brettearle

        Most of us feel just terrible about your Ego bruise.

        But, although slow to Heal, soon you’ll be up and running and displaying yourself as a Fool, rather than the Buffoon that you are showing yourself to be, Today.

        We know that you can do it….

      • brettearle

        Sigh…..

        If you could finally get over the declaration, I made, in recent weeks, that curing us of all Ails would find such Healing Remedy, in your permanent removal from the Forum.

        But, alas your Ego is still bruised from the comment.

        I would have considered the Topic closed. But, once again, you had to rear your petty shrunken head, yet again.

        Say Hi to your withered Ego for me, will ya?

        • Godzilla the Intellectual

          I will never stop until you leave and don’t come back, or change your screen name.

        • Godzilla the Intellectual

          Dude, what you are talking about???

          Are you a transvestite? Wear women’s clothing? Perhaps under your jeans you wear pantyhose?

          Don’t be afraid. I hear they have made great strides with gender reassignment surgery where they can make you feel like a REAL woman. If that is what you want you should go for it.

    • responseTwo

      when the poor have no food, they eat the rich.

      • StilllHere

        first they have to get off their couch.

        • responseTwo

          I don’t buy your stereotype. Go watch fox news.

          • StilllHere

            You are the stereotype.

          • Ray in VT

            Thanks for getting the lame insults off to an early start today.

          • jefe68

            Did you expect anything else?
            It’s the way some of the right wingers roll… being trolls.

          • Ray in VT

            Well, that plus some libertarian true belief about how wealth redistribution upwards isn’t a problem.

          • jefe68

            Some libertarian ideas I can find myself agreeing with. Such as the decriminalization of marijuana usage.
            Or not being the worlds police force.
            However the rest of the ideology seems based on nothing but selfishness.

            This show is really about what kind of society do citizens want. Do we have one that is inclusive or exclusive. Do we have a decent national health care system or do we have one that is driven by profit only.
            Laissez faire capitalism versus the common good and social democracy.

          • Ray in VT

            I very much enjoy and attempt to practice a sort of social libertarianism, which has a long tradition here in Vermont. The sort of laissez-faire capitalistic libertarianism, combined with some of the ideas of Ayn Rand, goes very much against the traditions of community that exist here.

          • Don_B1

            Here are some thoughts on why libertarianism probably will not play well across the current Republican spectrum:

            http://www.salon.com/2014/08/23/the_gops_libertarian_time_bomb_why_going_rand_would_be_an_electoral_disaster/?source=newsletter

            And that doesn’t include what it would mean in the final race against a Democrat.

          • nj_v2

            ^ Leading the conservo-posse lame distortion assault for the day. They’ll be competing to outdo each other.

        • John Cedar

          Ha!

        • MTeez

          Assuming all poor people are lazy is ignorant. You must never pay attention to those in the service industries

          • StilllHere

            What I see in service industries is often new immigrants who come here with nothing, working their butts off and making their life incredibly better. They find social mobility here extremely attractive and make it work for them. Those who have been coddled by multi-generational government dependence, not so much.

  • http://flustercucked.blogspot.com/ Frank TheUnderemployedProfessi

    The wealthy should be concerned because if the nation transforms into a third world country, poverty-driven crime would increase. Also, the percentage of the populace able to feel empathy for the suffering of wealthy people would decrease. It’s no fun having to go everywhere with body guards or to have to fly around in helicopters because you’re terrified of driving in the streets. The wealthy could even become targets for kidnapping-and-ransom schemes, which is already common in Central and South America (especially Brazil).

    To learn more about the kidnapping/ransom problem in Brazil, check out the documentary films Manda Bala (“Send A Bullet”) and, if you can somehow find it, Ransom City (which once aired on PBS Wide Angle).

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

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/ransom-city/introduction/959/

    http://www.pbs.org/wnet/wideangle/episodes/ransom-city/essay-kidnappings-little-hope-for-sao-paulo/1902/

    • J__o__h__n

      That will trickle down in the form of increased private security. Stop trying to hold back the job creators!

    • John Cedar

      For all intents and purposes, there is no such thing as “poverty driven crime”.

  • Jasoturner

    For those with extensive wealth, income inequality is probably not strategically important. They have sufficient resources to ensure that they and their heirs will have adequate money for a life of private clubs, expensive colleges and exclusive, exotic vacations. They live in an orbit of others like themselves, bound by access to money rather than national boundaries. This is probably, by the way, why so many politicians work so hard to get rich. They have given up on America as a land of opportunity, and they “want theirs”, having seen how their wealthy donors live.

    For the reasonably well to do – say a small business owner catering to homeowners – there clearly is a self interested reason for hoping the middle class does not implode. The question is, do they look beyond today’s payday to contemplate a world of fewer potential customers? And if they do, can they do anything about it?

    • Ray in VT

      Whereas I think that the lower end of the higher end of the wealth distribution ladder, such as the small business owners that you reference, has much more at stake regarding wealth/income problems for those of the middle class and the poor, I think that the very wealthy have a stake too, as many of them have wealth based upon public consumption. If those streams are threatened, then surely the massively wealthy have enough to sustain themselves, but who doesn’t want more?

  • Jon

    it’s not the haves job

    • Ray in VT

      Whereas it may not be their job per se, it does not mean that they do not have an interest/stake in the issue that could negatively affect them and their incomes.

      • Jon

        thus in come the lobbyists – the cancer of democracy

  • HonestDebate1

    In a word, no, No one should.

    • Ray in VT

      Better informed and educated people disagree highly.

      • Jon

        not that I agree with honestdebate1′s libertarianism – the higher the education the higher the damage to democracy in this case

        • Ray in VT

          It does far less damage than ignorance.

          • Jon

            it’s about doing or not doing (wrong or right) not about who is smart or ignorant on the issue that is not their business.

            politicians have to be separated from capitalists to behave like normal human being.

          • Ray in VT

            I would prefer to have someone who is informed on an issue to be the one doing the doing, or at least forming the basis of, or highly contributing to, the policy debates, rather than one who is ignorant on an issue.

            I think that to expect politicians to be entirely divorced from any influential or powerful group to be unrealistic. I think that the best that we can do is to have an informed and open discussion, with open access to who and how politicians are being funded, amongst the various interested groups and the public at large.

          • Jon

            1. yes to politicians no to businessmen on this issue

            2. therefore democracy dies of cancer in reality because your view is the view of the majority

          • Ray in VT

            Again, I think that it is unrealistic to expect such a group to not attempt to make their positions known, and I don’t think that it is in the best interests of society to just say some group shouldn’t get a place at the table to at least have their say and give their position, as good ideas, as well as bad, come from all areas and groups.

            Everything that lives dies, including states and empires. However, I don’t think that businessmen having a say in politics is going to kill democracy. It hasn’t yet, and powerful interests have long had a substantial say.

          • Jon

            you’re the winner according to democracy

          • Ray in VT

            In what way?

          • Jon

            are you kidding? look how many vote-ups you get

          • Ray in VT

            I wasn’t looking at that. I was thinking in terms of your comment as a response to my comment.

          • Jon

            either way is the democratic way – either reality, real or virtual. that’s the right way people believe in, right?

          • Ray in VT

            Democracy is the worst form of government ever created by man, except for all the rest (paraphrased from Winston Churchill).

          • Jon

            he’s deadly wrong. the best govt form is no govt at all with this moral premise – everyone does nothing unto others (not libertarianism) – any govt form violets this moral principle.

          • Ray in VT

            Good luck with that. Let me know how that works out for you.

          • Jon

            it’ll never work ’cause ‘everybody wants to rule the world’ – it’s religion to do unto others. govt (or libertarianism or others) is to do and rule and ruling others in any way is immoral.

          • Ray in VT

            It’ll never work because it is, like all utopian visions, doomed to fail when people are introduced into the system.

          • Jon

            it’s not about if it works – the illusion of good v evil works. it’s about the true definition of morality

          • Ray in VT

            No, I think that it is about whether or not it works. True morality is pretty much useless in the real world when it runs counter to the long history of human behavior.

          • Don_B1

            And why would humans remain “moral” in this fantasy world you want? I thought conservatives were dealt in reality. Oh, right, they live in a fantasy world, I know, but I just didn’t realize it was this unreal.

          • Jon

            define your morality

          • Jon

            define your real morality?

          • Jon

            the conservatives your refer is not conservative per se. it’s really anarchy so that they can rule in place of govt – rule of the jungle – it’s immoral.

          • Don_B1

            I believe it is also important that office holders actually consult with those representing all aspects of each issue. A counterexample was V.P. Cheney’s energy task force at the beginning of the Bush administration, where only oil company executives were (seriously) consulted.

          • Ray in VT

            Indeed. Consult, but do not be beholden to any one group or interest. That may be a huge ask, but I think that it would be ideal.

          • Don_B1

            You might be interested in how the Gingrich “Revolution” made Congress actually so dumb that it cannot evaluate the advice it might get, leaving it vulnerable to the special interests (business lobbyists, in this case) and those who are advocating ideological approaches instead of empirically proven approaches to tacking issues:

            http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/junejulyaugust_2014/features/the_big_lobotomy050642.php?page=1

            It really makes one sick when the consequences of Gingrich’s termination of the House’s Office of Technology Assessment are recognized.

          • hennorama

            Don_B1 — thanks yet again for an interesting link.

  • Ed75

    Whatever wealth we have is not for ourselves alone, but for service to others, especially the poor. There have been magnificent philanthropists who did great things with their wealth.

    • Don_B1

      Unfortunately, the wealthy who have used their wealth in the ways you correctly praise are in the minority, and a small one at that.

      For every Bill Gates there are several Foster Friesses, Sheldon Adelsons and Richard Mellon Scaifes.

      • Ed75

        I think of Florence D’Urso, who was a great benefactor to the Archdiocese of New York.

  • Scott B

    Politico’s headline is right. History is filled with stories of the less fortunate finally having had it with those in power and bringing them down.

    Joseph Stiglitz’s white paper from the Roosevelt Institute points out much of the problem, where the rich [people and big business) get richer because of the tax laws.

    There’s this idea the Right has made sacred, that trickle-down economics works, which is never has. Repeated studies have shown that the wealthy don’t let the money flow down.. Instead they invest their money in more money making schemes and tax shelters that only benefit themselves, their bankers, layers, and accountants.

  • John Howard Wilhelm

    Having read Hanauer’s Politico piece, my impression as an economist
    is that he may have a narrow perspective on economics like too many
    in my profession. Inequality is not the worst problem facing our ability
    to maintain middle class living standards, which are not sustainable
    due to peak oil despite the hype about shale oil and gas.

    Peak oil and its many consequences is an important issue which
    is not going to be adequately discussed until we move away from
    our dysfunctional two-party duopoly. That is not possible without
    voting reform, an issue I have tried to raise with programs like On
    Point and would like to raise with Tom and his guest.

    John Howard Wilhelm, Ann Arbor, MI jhwilhelm at gmail dot com

    On voting system reforms see: http://www.nationalrenewal.org, especially
    Chapter 1 and Appendix 7 of its electronic book “Third Parties and
    Voting Reform: The American Dilemma.”

    • nj_v2

      It’s not just peak oil. It’s peak water. Peak phosphorous. Peak Earth’s ability to absorb/adjust to too many people.

      • TFRX

        Yep. Peak “whatever limiting factor”.

        This is just like high-school chemistry, wherein we learned that a teaspoon of baking soda and a quart of vinegar would not make much fizz: We didn’t have enough baking soda.

        (In the West right now, repace “baking soda and vinegar” with “water” and “sunlight and warm temps”.)

      • John Howard Wilhelm

        I couldn’t agree more. JHW

    • Zack Smith

      Malthus

      • John Howard Wilhelm

        Malthus surely did not have a narrow perspective on economics. On this score, I would suggest your taking a look at the essay “Getting Malthus Right” by the late John Attarian which one can find by doing a Yahoo search under “John Attarian on Malthus” and clicking on his Summer 2000 piece in The Social Contract which one can get free.

  • TFRX

    This would really do with unpacking the idea of “rich” in income into finer levels. I am wary, as our press should be, of people who would like to lump someone at the 70th% income in with someone at 90% or at 99%.*

    This is especially borne out when it comes to the
    accumulation of assets. At some point the DuPonts (or such) can buy or start a business for an eight-figure sum, and have it fail, and they won’t be worried about unretiring. They’re the DuPonts. It’s what they do.

    Which small business owners are like this, and which aren’t?

    PS Anyone wanting to avoid a replay of the inheritance tax bullflop needs to have started thinking this way yesterday. I’m looking at you, NPR. (CNBC? No reason to throw good after bad.)

  • John Cedar

    Poor people in American are better off than they have ever been.
    I give credit that at least the topic was adjusted from income to wealth inequality.

    Pointed headed libruls seem to picture the wealthy as a bunch of Scrooge Mcduck’s swimming in vaults of gold. Most wealth is held in the form of assets that are useless to poor people. The doctor’s scalpel and tigers driver are the same thing in the hands of the unwashed masses as a widget company is…useless.

    • TFRX

      Pointed headed libruls seem to picture the wealthy as a bunch of Scrooge Mcduck’s swimming in vaults of gold.

      Submitted without comment.

    • MTeez

      Give me Tigers driver from the last Major he won and I’ll bet it’ll turn into money

    • Ray in VT

      I know. Almost all poor people have a fridge. They should quite complaining.

  • MTeez

    Everyone besides Hannity huggers can see that income inequality is a problem. The question is how? Raising taxes on rich will be difficult. If we can adjust income to inflation or tie it to the highest paid like Japan I think would be a good solution but also near impossible.

    • John Cedar

      Yes, lets use Japan as our economic guide…

      • StilllHere

        20 year recession, yes, looks like a good time.
        This is what you get from Reid regressives.

        • Ray in VT

          20 years of recession? Please, do tell.

      • MTeez

        Because ours economy has proven to be perfect right? And I never suggested that we take Japans “economic guide” I made a suggestion on how they structure income equality.

  • andrewgarrett

    The globe is far more equal than it used to be. There has never been a smaller portion of humanity living in poverty and the global middle class has never been larger. Americans still have a living standard beyond the wildest dreams of most of humanity, of course. We are a global “one percent”, if you will. We get worked up because some American families that used to be able to afford three cars can now only afford two.

    • Ray in VT

      Yeah, that’s it. Declining median household incomes aren’t really a big deal, because we’re still way better off than people in the Third World.

      • jefe68

        That’s a straw man argument in my opinion.

        We live here in the US not in Bangladesh or Egypt. Income is relative to the society.
        Bill O’Really once used the idea of people having fridges and TV’s as examples of them not being so poor. Nice when a multimillionaire tells people with low incomes that they are fine because they have a fridge. I’m reminded of the Dickens story A Tale of Two Cities in which these very same arguments are put forth by the French and some British aristocracy. The French lost their heads.

        • TFRX

          To succinctify your post:

          “I used to dream of living in a corridor.

        • hennorama

          jefe68 — that “argument” is hardly limited to Bill “The white establishment is now the minority” O’Reilly.

        • Don_B1

          Even Adam Smith recognized that! In The Wealth of Nations, in his example of a man needing a linen shirt in order to get a job which then allowed him to provide the necessities of life. In other words, it is also the culture one is living in that determines what is “necessary” to live.

          But the “conservatives” on this blog have such blinders on that they don’t see their shallow thinking, or, if they do, expect readers of their posts to be shallow thinkers and accept their distortions and strawman arguments.

      • James

        First world problems?

        • Ray in VT

          Oh, there are plenty of people who have those. My wife complained about the new OS for her phone screwing up her calendar, and my brother complained when milk dropped to $9-10/100lbs. I think that the first is clearly what one can derisively call a “First World problem”. The second I don’t think is, as while $9-10 is a great price for milk in much of the developing world, it is far, far below production costs here in the U.S.

          • TFRX

            I call shenanigans.

            Your other posts prove that you are clearly shilling for Big Refrigeration, simply to keep kids from getting rickets for the business of your dairy farmer brother

            Sincerely, Ice Harvesters and Almond Milk Providers Amalgamated.

          • Ray in VT

            Shenanigans always makes me think of Super Troopers.

    • John Cedar

      The one used care they can afford runs better and is safer than anything we owned in the 70′s when I was a kid*.

      *Not counting modern GM cars of course.

      • Don_B1

        Adam Smith, in The Wealth of Nations, recognized that “necessities” depended on the culture as well as the “food, clothing and shelter” necessities of life. He used the example of a linen shirt, which isn’t a direct “necessity” of life, except that a man could not get a job without one, and without a job a man could not provide those three basic necessities of life.

        How shallow is your thinking, or do you just expect the readers of your post to be shallow thinkers?

        • John Cedar

          What the hey are you talking about?
          Cars are no more necessary in 2014 than they were in the 70′s, 80′s, 90′s.
          Yet they are a bazillion times better, safer, more reliable and packed with luxuries. Even the used rusty ones that the “poor” people drive.

          I won’t ask how shallow your thinking is but am mystified that you and other liberal “thinkers” do not acknowledge this improvement in the lives of today’s poor over yesteryear’s middle class.

          One can only assume it is because your life experience in the 70′s-90′s did not involve owning one of the many unreliable vehicles with no AC, no radio, manual everything and something always on the fritz.

    • jefe68
    • J__o__h__n

      As long as we reduce my rent down to the global average too (and my other expenses) it would be a fair comparison. Dragging down the American middle class doesn’t help the globe because the Chinese sweatshop workers are raising their living standards.

  • John Cedar

    Wealth or income? Pick one and argue it.

    If your house is worth half as much but you still live in it…

  • John_in_Amherst

    Bill Gates famously said that after making your first $5 or 10 million,
    it’s not about what you buy with your money, it’s about what you do with
    your money. Gates and a few prominent members of Fortune’s 400 richest
    genuinely seem to want to follow Andrew Carnegie’s idea that one should
    spend the first half of one’s life amassing a fortune, and the second
    half giving it away. Unfortunately, there are a lot of filthy rich who
    amassed fortunes on the pillage of the environment and the backs of the
    poor and who seem to care not a wit about life outside the gated
    compounds and/or Park Avenue suites in which they live.

    E.g.:
    Sure, David Koch recently gave $40M to upgrade paleontology at the
    Smithsonian. But he and his brother are contributing many times that
    each year to causes like ALEC and various PACs that pervert the political process so that GOP-sponsored lax
    labor and environmental regulations keep the sluice gates to their
    fortunes open and money keeps pouring into their bloated coffers. So we end up trading publicly owned fossils, well-lit and dusted, for depressed wages and wholesale climate change and pollution?

    And
    even in Carnegie’s case, he treated his employees and the common
    citizens of coal and steel towns with what amounted to imperiousness and
    reckless cruelty (e.g.: look up the Homestead Steel Strike or the Johnstown flood of 1889). This he
    justified by asserting he could make better decisions than the workers
    as to how to spend the fruits of their labors.

    When what the
    wealthy do with their money is rig the game politically to insulate
    their fortunes at the expense of the common man and “the greater good”,
    the system is FUBAR. From the looks of things, the world is close to
    being there. This is increasingly an international problem, as the super rich increasingly become global citizens, their corporations always in search of the lowest wages and loosest environmental and safety regulations, their fortunes floating in off shore accounts and tax havens. Tragically, with modern tools of surveillance and
    propaganda, organizing and educating the oppressed is getting ever more
    difficult. With the militarization of the police, the difficulties
    organizing protest, let alone rebellion, is sealing the deal on a
    permanent plutocracy.

    • brettearle

      Excellent.

      But, if I may extend your last sentence?

      “is sealing the deal on a permanent plutocracy…..leading, ultimately–within 20 years, maybe–to a bloody revolution, which End State could very well be Fascism.”

      • John_in_Amherst

        20 years? try maybe 2, if the GOP wins both houses of congress and the Whitehouse in 2016.

        From the British Dictionary: ” Fascism: any right-wing nationalist ideology or movement with an authoritarian
        and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy
        and liberalism”

        With the rightward tilt of the media (especially FOX), internet search engines joining w/ the NSA for the surveillance of the general population, and surplus military gear already in the hands of many police forces, the stage is set. Another crisis like 9/11 and we are there.

  • Michiganjf

    From the lead caption to this On Point segment:

    “Billionaire Nick Hanauer says he and his fellow super-rich are killing the goose–the American middle class — that lays the golden eggs.”

    WOW!

    This is TRULY a “DUH” moment from the media and one of the “super rich.”

  • Jim

    Of course not, even the not so well off conservatives who dream of being rich someday won’t consider twice. It is a dumb and stupid question. Inequality will stay as long as capitalism exists. Everyone without the wealth will just have endure the pain of making end meet. Just blame you were bornt in the wrong womb.

  • creaker

    The thing that worries me most about growing inequalities – if you look at the income charts, those at the top have had very good growth (minus a blip in 2008-2009) while those further down in the food chain are flat or losing.

    In a capitalistic system growth is everything – when the lower tiers no longer have the money to spend to continue that growth at the top, what will those at the top do to our system to insure their growth continues? Eventually we’re going to hit that point where King John is sending out the soldiers to take everything the peasants have by force.

  • toc1234

    let’s see, how do I, as a billionaire, become an instant liberal-media darling? oh, I know, write a self-loathing book about inequality.

    • Ray in VT

      I know. Showing concern for growing income and/or wealth inequality in America. What a self-hater.

    • brettearle

      Or, maybe, own up to what a vicious, miserable person I just might be….because it’s probably true….

      • Don_B1

        Actually, maybe just recognizing that doing what is “best” for an individual may be bad for everyone when enough individuals do it. And that it may not take many to cross the tipping point.

        It’s a form of the tragedy of the commons. Except that only a few get to win in the short term and all the descendants get to lose.

    • jmpo’lock

      No “self loathing” here, just facing the reality of the situation, understanding exactly where the wealth and opportunity comes from. The reason why USA is (was?) different from third world countries and oligarchies. i.e if we do not change to a more equitable situation, the golden goose will die, and NO ONE gets rich

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Capitalism: bats 1.000 when one person ends up with all the wealth and assets on earth. Everybody wins! Well… sorta.

  • levigirl

    Can’t wait for this one…. Yes, we rich should not crush the middle class, yet I will still keep my yacht, plane, 15 luxury homes… But I will give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe he will surprise me

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Ah, but the laws of Mother Nature are still intact.* She has a society-destroying back hand that will amaze you.

    * And working just nicely, thank you very much.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    If “bona” is the right modifier to fides in this case.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Hey, Nick. Can you put one of your $2000 shoes on one yacht and another shoe on another boat? At the same time, as you scoot your way across the Med? If you can’t.. what’s the second schooner for?

    {like a catamaran}

  • Kathy

    Inequality is obviously a problem. I don’t see any indication that the plutocrats need to worry though. We do have people rising up against the changes in society, but they reserve their pitchforks for “liberals” and Mr. Obama.

    When the revolution comes, the people will rise up, put the middle class against the wall, and raise churches to the sacred Job Creators.

  • perihelion22

    Oh don’t worry: Two percent of the population has fifty-percent of the wealth, and fifty-percent of the population owns two percent of the wealth…and they have guns.

    • John_in_Amherst

      have you been paying attention to how the police are armed lately?

      • brettearle

        One could, potentially, declare our society, already, to be a Police State–based on a possible implication of what you say above…..and, therefore, quasi Fascistic….

        • John_in_Amherst

          true

    • hennorama

      perihelion22 — again, pitchforks are much cheaper than firearms, and without those pesky pre-purchase background checks.

      • brettearle

        Soon–at the Retail ready–there’ll be electronic Tuning Forks to brandish.

    • TFRX

      The trick, as being practiced by the right, is how many of that latter 50% can be convinced by the 2% that the threat is coming from some other part of that latter 50%. And brandish their guns accordingly.

  • Michiganjf

    Whole Foods stock has been HAMMERED lately…

    The consensus on Wall Street is that the company has focused far too much on “boutique-ifying” the perimeter of their stores, dumping their past “bargain brand” strategy in favor of high margin, “artisan” foods which cater to high income shoppers… the belief is that Whole Foods is seriously limiting the number of shoppers to which they cater… a recipe for ultimate disaster, since there simply aren’t enough high income shoppers to sustain hundreds of grocery stores at a reliable growth rate.

    Wall Street realizes, ON SOME LEVEL, that there just aren’t enough wealthy people to sustain the vast majority of businesses in the country… if the vast majority of people can’t spend much, businesses can’t earn much.

    This is an UTTER DENIAL of the stupidity and fantasy inherent in “trickle down economics.”
    Republicans have ALWAYS HAD THIS DEAD WRONG!

    As Colbert says: “The market has spoken!”
    If you want to create jobs, help to again create a healthy middle class in America!

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Hey, a police state. Just in time government, ‘eh?

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Bad news, Nick. Your Bentley takes the ever-growing pot holes just like my Altima does.

    Hint: Having another Rolls doesn’t make the ride any smoother.

  • Bigtruck

    To paraphrase Marie Antoinette – Let them eat Burger King

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Nick is now banned from our silk drawers of the month club.
    –Marks and Spencer, plc, City of Westminster

  • Scott B

    David Simon, the creator of “The Wire”, told the tale of what the problem is so many of the ultra-wealthy. He said, in an interview with Bill Moyers, that when he first started becoming wealthy he bought all the usual stuff: homes, cars, boats, etc. But eventually he ran out of stuff to buy; he couldn’t spend his money fast enough; and that even sitting in a bank, anyone as a multimillionaire, money starts accruing at a phenomenal rate.

    He went to point out that when the ulra-rich run out of toys, they start wanting to accrue (hoard) even more money. They do this by influencing policy makers, such as: Tax laws that benefit themselves, like reducing inheritance taxes that only effect a relative handful of people; fighting environment laws that mean the businesses that make them money have to spend money [that they could be getting] to meet those laws; and money earned through capital gains go untaxed.

  • Kathleen Stark

    I’ve noticed a number of movies lately where the rich are selfish and cruel and the poor are rebelling. Hunger Games is one example that comes to mind.

    • brettearle

      Do you think, perhaps, that pop culture is predicting a Revolution?

      • Kathleen Stark

        I think pop culture senses what’s going on and exploits it, but not cynically. Injustice and anger about it are what’s going on. Artists (in this case writers and film makers ) have been good at interpreting culture.

    • jmpo’lock

      This isn’t new at all. Check out ANY Steinbeck.
      Or check the annual love fest that is: “It’s a Wonderful Life” a great movie that most Americans seemingly don’t comprehend

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    In America, however, the rich probably don’t have the number of Glocks the unrich own. And those embittered, hoi polloi goobers know how to reload in a hurry.

    As we used to say in the US Navy: payback is a mother*$&#er.

  • Charles Vigneron

    Whoever loves money never has enough.
    Whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income.
    They do not serve the purpose for which society created money.

    Feedback loop and eco-system are the words he uses for the modern listener. This is old, old knowledge.

  • Charles Miller

    I’m a PhD who is looking for employment (but likely not in my field). What amazes me is how low offered salaries are… in the 30′s and 40′s for jobs that require a PhD and experience! I can really see the slippage of the middle class. I used to make 90k, now looking at 40k jobs.

    • Jeff

      What is your degree in?

      • Charles Miller

        Biomedical research – electrophysiology – working with animal models to obtain neural responses obtained from electrical stimulation of them. Related to cochlear-implant research. In PhD-dom, one can easily overspecialize and the job market in research is extremely picky.

        I was supported by “soft money” for 20 years. My luck finally ran out when the NIH funding rate plummetted from 20% to 10% funding rate. Not much incentive for new scientists!

        • Jeff

          Take a look outside your current location…I know there are quite a few medical device companies looking for workers in the Boston and Minneapolis areas.

          • Charles Miller

            I am looking nationwide. I know of only 2 other places that do similar work. Just recently, universities are just starting to address the long-standing problem of training students (so that they can help out in the labs), but not considering their later hire-ability. A bit of a conflict of interest.

        • InActionMan

          Time to start a business my friend.

          • Charles Miller

            Yep. Actually, I did that. Tough to make work… …back to the online searches!!!!

    • hennorama

      Charles Miller — obviously, you should simply move to the Bakken oil fields, and get a job as a roustabout.

      • Charles Miller

        Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind

  • Salty

    OK class… Welcome to Econ 090. Lesson one: Most rich are rich because they made better decisions than those who aren’t and / or they work harder than those who aren’t. … Class dismissed.

    (And the instructor above is far from rich.)

    • TFRX

      Lucky sperm club, anyone?

      • Salty

        Read about Bill Gates education before Harvard and while he was there. …full of smart decisions and thousands of hours of hard work and practice… He is a great example of my point.

        • InActionMan

          He’s also a sociopath.

          • Salty

            ????

    • brettearle

      OK, Class….welcome to the unabridged version of the above:

      Some who are rich have earned it off the backs of justifiably aggrieved and beleaguered employees and workers.

      • Salty

        Smart decision: If you feel you are justifiably aggrieved and beleaguered then quit. Take your labor somewhere that will treat you fairly.

        • brettearle

          There is NO question that it is EASY to quit, much less leave, before quitting, after finding another job.

          I mean this is the easiest friggin’ thing to do in the World!

          The Job market is soooooo plentiful.

          Thanks to you, for your sound advice…..Every oppressed worker, in the country and the world, salutes you….

          • Salty

            I am glad you agree. In my hometown I could find anyone a job tomorrow if they wanted one. I doubt if my little town in Kentucky is that different form just about anywhere.

          • brettearle

            Either I missed your sarcasm or you missed mine.

          • Salty

            I was not being sarcastic and it wasn’t clear to me that you were.

          • Salty

            I wasn’t being sarcastic; I was trying to be obvious and transparent. No clever literary tricks on my part. Just sharing my experience and reality in my small slice of America. Perhaps you have a different pie or a different slice.

    • jmpo’lock

      You better invest in those guard dogs and electric fences, since clearly that would be the better decision than helping develop an equitable society where such defensive measures aren’t required…

      • Salty

        What’s not equitable about anyone who works hard and makes smart choices can get ahead and succeed?

        • Ray in VT

          How about how that isn’t how it works in the real world?

          • InActionMan

            Salty’s half right. You will never get rich working for wages. They do not tell you this in school. If you want to be rich figure out a business you can run. Plan, Plan, Plan and read every book you can find on running a business. They will not teach you this in school.

            Working for wages is for schmucks.

          • Salty

            It worked for me and I see it working everyday in my community. Perhaps my home town (in Kentucky) is radically different from yours.

          • Ray in VT

            I see it too. It certainly helps, but I see plenty of good people working their tails off every day who do not get ahead, while others who do far less succeed much more due to circumstances such as being born into a wealthy or connected family. One can indeed say that working hard and making smart choices can get one ahead, but of course that does not mean that one will. It isn’t a panacea as some seem to present it, which you may or may not be advocating.

  • Larry Schell

    It has been said (in this context) that Religion is the opiate of the masses.

    …for Americans, Television is now filling that role.

  • Ed

    The politicians are bought, paid for by interest groups for the rich. Working against equality. Many of the rich, are so rich they do not even realize there is a problem because they are insulated from the common man.

  • optimisto1 .

    So how to end inequality? To give free money to those Ferguson protestors they did not earn?

    • TFRX

      Submitted without comment. The whole of it.

    • jefe68

      Really? Is this the level you think on?

      • optimisto1 .

        But those people lack skills and education to get a middle-class job. Is it my fault?

        • hennorama

          optimisto1 — “those people,” huh?

        • jefe68

          It’s everyones fault. Including the people who lack the skills. If you want to unpack this using critical thinking skills by all means pontificate away.
          If however if you want to view this through the lens you are using in these comments, then it’s hard to have a rational conversation.

          • optimisto1 .

            I am sorry, this is not my fault. If you are sick and poor it is not my fault. It is your own fault.

          • Charles Miller

            Wow. Being poor is “your fault”. Have you ever studied the history of our country, and how first-generation immigrants (lets say, the Irish), have to work hard to get above poverty? I sure hope that you don’t take a tumble due to some unfortunate event, as you’ll end up hating yourself!

          • optimisto1 .

            Hey Charles. I am first generation American myself and working hard making 6-figure middle-class salary. So what is the problem of those sick and poor people who were born here speaking English?

          • Ray in VT

            Perhaps you should try being born into severe poverty or to have a variety of medical conditions that hamper your abilities before dumping on the many people who are born into adverse situations.

          • Charles Miller

            Oh, this is tiresome. I’m glad you’re doing well. It is saddening that you have little empathy for the poor. As Jesus said (paraphrasing) “the poor will always be amongst us”. Some folks don’t have the brainpower, or proper family training, or poor schooling, or mental illness, to do well.

            Again, I hope you continue to do well and don’t take a surprise stumble. You are one of the lucky ones. I have been lucky too. But I also know how disadvantaged one is by being born into a poor family and neighborhood.

            Seems we won’t agree on much.

          • optimisto1 .

            I was not born to rich family either. But I am not supposed to pay for well-being of those less fortunate. This country has 50% who are dependent on the government handout. Soon we will be broke.

          • Charles Miller

            Ever go to a public school as a kid?

            Been protected by our very expensive military?

            Visit a library?

            Use a road????

            Be able to drive, state-to-state, on a good highway system?

            Ever have yourself (or a relation) go to a publicly-assisted school or college?

            Have need for a fire department or the protection of a police.

            I would argue that you also “mooch” from government programs.

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

            Ever drink clean water?

            Breath clean(er) air?

            Flush a toilet?

            Buy food at a supermarket?

          • Charles Miller

            Yep. People who say “I don’t get what I deserve” really should think carefully about that statement. What do any of us deserve? What a presumptuous notion.

          • jmpo’lock

            You do understand that this prosperity you are benighted enough to receive is because you came to OUR country right? One that WE the people founded to such ends? And that it is up to WE the people to maintain it…

            And not let selfish sociopathic a-holes ruin it for future generations of Americans, Native and Immigrant

        • jmpo’lock

          If you are anti-tax and regulation leading to the failure of education, opportunity, and shared prosperity…if you are a rat race, kiss up / kick down selfish American, then yes, it would be partly your “fault”

    • Charles Miller

      How about restoring progressive taxation, such as what existed during the Eisenhower (that liberal!) admin. Do you realize that the median household income in the U.S. has, once adjusted for inflation, DROPPED, by 40%???

      Why bring race into this discussion?

      • Lector

        According to the IRS’s 2011 data, the top 1% paid an effective tax rate of 23.5%. The next 4% paid a 17.7% rate. The next 5% paid 12.8%. The next 14% paid 9.7%, and the next 25% paid 7%. The bottom 50% paid 3.1%. That is, by definition, progressive.

        • jmpo’lock

          That’s only Fed taxes on earned income. Useless as far as the big picture goes. This is why Romney paid a total tax of only 14%. Your data would only show the tax rate of the “1%” who have paychecks. Those people are chump poor compared to Wall Streeters and people like Hanauer, they are not the true 1% or better yet the .00001%

        • Charles Miller

          No doubt that it is still progressive, but it is MUCH LESS SO, so much so that we now are creepy toward an oligarchy. Heck, even Glenn Beck trumpeted that notion (over and over), but of course blamed Obama for it!

          “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands
          of a few, but we can’t have both.”

          Louis D. Brandeis (Supreme Court Judge)

  • Michiganjf

    Tom!

    Get a clue, please!

    The idea is that “YES, the wealthy will get richer in the short term, but long-term, they are hurting even their own prospects!”

    That is the very meaning of “killing the goose which lays the golden eggs!”

  • Jylene Livengood

    Another example of inequality amuck is market basket and fast food where walk out strikes cripple business because employees are treated as things. Thrse folks are not stealing from owners – they are fighting for survival or least bad.

    • Lector

      Careful. Market Basket employees were not “treated as things.” The new CEOs did not change any policies, reduce anyone’s wages, or change anyone’s benefits. The employees walked out because of what they were afraid MIGHT happen.

      • J__o__h__n

        most likely not might

  • Jeff

    Are there actual ideas about how to “redistribute the wealth” without using outright theft?

    • Ray in VT

      Who is advocating “outright theft”?

      • jefe68

        I find it fascinating how some on the right hear these kind of discussions. It’s almost as if they only hear what their script allows them to hear.

        • Jeff

          There was a reference to a revolt where all wealth would be taken…remember Tom’s mention of an “escape plan” for the rich?

          That would be theft, redistribution using the tax code is also a form of theft.

          • jmpo’lock

            Well yes…read history. Every time wealth gets too concentrated there are violent rebalances. THAT is what he is trying to AVOID!

          • Ray in VT

            Referencing the fact that great wealth inequality and the loss or lack of political or social power by a very large part of society has often resulted in revolts by the general public against the few who control the wealth and power is not advocating.

          • jefe68

            That’s an extreme outcome, which was how the comment was framed.

          • BillSpinner

            Progressive tax structures are not theft, they are a way to slow the accumulation of wealth and reduce taxes for those who have less.

          • Ray in VT

            Also, taxation is not theft, at least not according to any definition that I could find, but I do not have an American Right Wing Newspeak Dictionary, so perhaps that is where my difficulty lies.

      • Jeff

        Tom just said the pitch forks are coming…are you listening?

        • StilllHere

          No, he’s broadcasting his own show which replays his favorites memes.

          • Ray in VT

            I find the clown show that you air to be far better when I am in need of a laugh.

        • Ray in VT

          See my other response for a clarification for citing precedent versus advocating a position.

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

      Yes, paying a living wage.

      • jmpo’lock

        And actual progressive taxation, and enforcing the law against tax dodgers, havens etc., and actually prosecuting white collar crimes….

        • Lector

          The US tax system is quite progressive. The more you earn, the higher percentage you pay in taxes (and many people pay nothing at all). Look up the numbers. The top 10% earn about 47% of income but pay 70% of all taxes.

          There is not enough money in the hands of the top 1% or 10% or 20% to solve the problem.

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

            It is no where near as progressive as it was in the 1950′s – when we had the greatest widespread prosperity.

          • Lector

            OK, but don’t confuse correlation with causality. The progressive-ness of the tax system didn’t cause the prosperity. The health of the economy, with the US producing goods for nations around the world whose economies were ruined by WW II, caused it.

            Take a look at US tax receipts. Since the income tax was instituted 100 years ago, the rates have fluctuated all over, with the top rate ranging from 28% to 90%. In all that time, the portion of GDP collected by the government in the form of taxes has never exceeded 21%, and the range has been tight. In times of recession, it dips to 15-17%, and in boom times, it rises to 19-20%. It’s not as simple as raising rates…

          • jmpo’lock

            Too wrong for me even to begin comment

          • Lector

            Do you have different numbers, or do you just not want to acknowledge it as true?

          • Don_B1

            You are being (more than) disingenuous here. The Federal Income Tax provides just 42% (2010) of all federal revenue, while the Payroll tax provides 40%. The rest is the Corporate Income Tax (9%) and Other (6%) plus Excise Tax (3%).

            Note that the 1% pays only 2% of the Payroll Taxes, so the tax burden is much more evenly distributed that devious conservatives try to convey. And an even distribution of the burden is actually unfair as higher taxes are much more easily paid by the wealthy than the poor.

          • Lector

            I don’t think I”m being disingenuous. I think that I’m comparing apples to apples. You’re right that the total tax burden is distributed more equitably than the personal income tax burden (which is heavily biased against the higher earners).

            Medicare is a defined benefit: someone who makes $10,000 a year gets the same benefits as someone who makes $100,000 a year. Social Security does vary with earnings but only up to a point. If you want to make payroll taxes equitable by uncapping the earnings subject to the taxex, then upcap the benefits.

            SS and Medicare are supposed to be insurance programs, not wealth transfer schemes. If you and I each take out a life insurance policy with a $500,000 death benefit, should you pay more in premiums just because you earn more money than I do?

      • DeJay79

        Yes Yes Yes!!!

    • Bigtruck

      Are there actual ideas about how to create Plutocrats without using outright theft?

      • Charles Miller

        RIght. The very rich are extremely dependent upon the masses. Look how wall street and big banks fleeced us all… and got away with it.

        If Joe Average worker engaged in such grand theft, he’d be instantly fired. Instead “We’re too big to fail”

        • Bigtruck

          Instantly fired, they would be in jail!

          Not just the given the equivalent of a 100 dollar fine.

        • jmpo’lock

          Indeed “currency” does not exist outside functioning civil society.
          I doubt most of these “innovators” would innovate so well in a Mad Max environment

  • Jon

    while I admire the speaker’s moral responsibility, with one opinion always comes an opposite. Both are meddling with politics that is not their job. Eventually both will try hard to manipulate the politicians thru lobbying and political contribution. it’s the cancer of democracy

    • Jon

      if he’s really concerned quit business and go run for public office

      • jmpo’lock

        I think he has a pretty good soapbox, as well as insider information…after all, he is on the radio right now. Don’t you think simply acknowledging the problem, especially to his other rapacious capitalist buddies, is the beginning of finding a cure?

        • Jon

          well I dare not judge performer’s motivation

        • Jill122

          Buffett pointed out about 5 years ago that if there is a class war, his class is winning. He and Gates then started a foundation so that wealthy people could give half of their money to charity when they die.

          And yet — no changes to the tax code which is a huge source of wealthy for the already wealthy, and no change to the minimum wage. No change to the tax breaks that cause fossil fuel companies to wind up with millions in tax credits every year.

          Piketty’s book pointed out what Mr. Hanauer is saying. Still nothing from Congress.

          Obama wanted a small tax increase for those earning more than $250k — nothing.

          Instead we got Citizens United so that the very wealthy could contribute to elections without any of us knowing how much and who — dark money.

          • jmpo’lock

            Those are the “bad” ones that he is directing his manifesto towards….and he is probably in agreement that unless changes come, and relatively soon….well the guillotine

  • George M. Anderson

    La Marseillaise is not just the anthem of France.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Who owns Florida when it all goes underwater? Oh.. that’s right. The rich will. Salty orange juice anyone?

  • GWelch

    We are seeing a concrete example of this in the current Market Basket supermarket fiasco. The owners, in an attempt to line their pockets at the expense of their work force, have instead fomented dissent and rebellion among their workforce, thereby reducing the value of their company.

    • brettearle

      Some of the conflict, though, is Bad Blood…..

      So much Bad Blood, indeed, that the Feuding Parties don’t care who they are burdening, below them.

  • J Lawhon

    I’m ready with my pitchfork! Let’s get ‘em

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Remember: drive them to the windmill. I’ve got the pitch tub, the matches, and the sticks. Hoober Doober

    • StilllHere

      Next commercial, I promise.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    All those falling overpasses will make great crenellations and loop holes when the rich drive underneath. Poof poof poof: a fitting sound, ‘eh?

  • Enuff_of_this

    Tom, we have all come across the class of people who feel that they are better than the rest of us because of their money and status, but on the other side of the coin, there is no shortage of people who far less means that are equally as arrogant by making it very clear that they are “owed”.

    • BillSpinner

      But they are owed an equal opportunity, right? They’re not getting it.

      • Enuff_of_this

        They are owed the right to earn it. Not making enough money to afford to live? go to school and get a better job.

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

          Gee – why didn’t I think of that?

          Do you really think that is all that is required? If the rest of the system is stacked against the poor – which it is – then your point is proven wrong by what we already have.

          • Enuff_of_this

            you get out of it what you put into it, period

          • jmpo’lock

            out of touch and simplistic Mr. Romney

          • Enuff_of_this

            take the spoon out of your mouth when speaking to me

          • Don_B1

            And how does a poor young teen get the money to get that education? Already too many are taking out loans that will hamstring them with debt for the rest of their lives.

            Life for the lower 50% (even the 99%) is far more complicated than your post implies.

        • BillSpinner

          You’re saying that currently everyone in this country has an equal opportunity to go to a good school and get a good job? I disagree. That’s like saying everyone has an equal opportunity to win the lottery.

          • Enuff_of_this

            read what i wrote. don’t regurgitate what you feel

          • BillSpinner

            OK, please clarify: Do you think people deserve some equality of opportunity? Do think that it currently exists?

          • Enuff_of_this

            Do I believe people should handed an opportunity? No, because in many instances the opportunity will be squandered and wasted. We all go to the same schools, learn the same basics and like it or not there is a certain order of events that must be followed in order to get ahead and survive. The biggest impediment I see thwarting people is their own attitude

          • Don_B1

            You equate elite private schools with the worst performing inner city schools?

            Then why do people pay tens of thousands of dollars to send their children to elite private schools?

          • injun2

            My father and his 5 brothers all became either doctors or lawyers, and my grandparents were poor dirt farmers in Oklahoma, my great grandparents being forcibly removed from their lands in in Georgia in the Trail of Tears.

          • BillSpinner

            That’s awesome! I look forward to an economy in the future where that kind of opportunity exists for many more than it does today?

          • injun2

            As dire as being poor today is, I would argue that there is more opportunity today to going to college and reaching the middle class than my parents generation ( I am 60). Not only did they have discriminition for being Indian (worse than being black in those days), they had the Depression and the Dustbowl

          • BillSpinner

            I wish it were true that there is more opportunity now, but aside from less discrimination, things are worse: no New Deal, no GI Bill, and instead of 30 years post WWII of broadly shared economic gains, we’ve had 30 years of flat wages and growing inequality.

          • Enuff_of_this

            Look at what has happened since WWII, people started getting better educated and manufacturing was beginning it’s slow and steady decline in this country. The demand for higher wages and better benefits helped spark te search for more efficient and cheaper was of suppliying products to market. Computers and robots came along and people didn’t adapt, they resisited and held out for the old way of doing things to come back and save the day and restore full employment, an affordible economy and equity for all. How is that working out for you?

          • BillSpinner

            I disagree with your analysis, but am interested in how you think people should have adapted as technology, globalization and the financial industry changed the job market.

  • Barbara Watts

    Mr. Hanauer claims that the role of capitalism in creating a successful society is in providing innovation, new tools. If he means technology, I would have to disagree- looking historically technological innovation has come from government investment which is from the public via taxes. For example much new technology originated from space and aerospace programs – Boeing pre 1960s was largely funded by government contracts.

    • Jill122

      You can look upon the government’s role as research and entrepreneurs as development.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The false equivalency of how so much worse it is elsewhere.

  • twenty_niner

    The Fed has pumped over $3 Trillion into the economy since mid 2008. That money did not go to the 99%.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      GE and Delta Airlines pay no income taxes. But they reap vast rewards being “American” corporations. HD

    • hennorama

      twenty_niner — the vast majority (about $2.6 Trillion) is being held by banks in excess reserve at the Federal Reserve, and is not circulating in the US economy. Otherwise, we’d be seing much higher rates of inflation.

      See:
      http://www.federalreserve.gov/releases/h3/current/
      http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/EXCSRESNS

      • twenty_niner

        Yes, M2 money velocity has not recovered at all, demonstrating the state of the “real” economy – not that healthy.

      • Don_B1

        The stated purpose of the Federal Reserve’s Quantitative Easing (QE) program was to reduce long-term interest rates, facilitating recovery in the housing industry through lower mortgage interest rates.

        The Federal Reserve actually has a target inflation rate of 2%, but has little power to affect it in the current economy where its one major tool, the Federal Discount rate has to be as low as possible to stimulate the economy. Without fiscal policy that would stimulate the economy, the actual real interest would have to be negative, which, of course can only be achieved with an inflation rate that much higher than the interest rate near 0%. This is what is meant by being up against the Zero Lower Bound (ZLB).

        The only way the Fed can do this is to make a creditable commitment to keep the discount rate near zero until the inflation rate rises to the desired level, which would be the desired negative rate above zero. But it has so far not done that, probably because of the known reaction of Tea/Republicans, which would be to declare that the Fed was “debasing the currency.”

  • hellokitty0580

    I’m thankful Mr. Hanauer is drawing the connection between the unrest in Ferguson and economic inequality. The issues of racial discrimination and economic inequality are deeply intertwined. And I’m thankful that Mr. Hanauer is smart enough to reflect on his part as a billionaire in our society. It’s not that he shouldn’t be rewarded for his hard work, but we all have a role to play in our society and how it progresses. The mega-wealthy don’t seem to really give a damn about the United States a nation, as a community in it together.

    • jmpo’lock

      Yes, in other words he is saying: if we can’t lift up the middle class, no one gets wealthy. So, pay a bit more taxes won’t hurt, in fact it will help maintain their privileged position in society

      • Don_B1

        The IMF published a report on a study of Redistribution, Inequality and Growth last spring where it showed that economies with less inequality grew faster than those with higher levels of economic inequality. I provided a link in another post on this discussion blog.

  • Charles Miller

    Why do poor or middle class people (getting poorer) tend to identify with the wealthy, so they are cowered by propaganda such as the phrase “Job Creators” or “makers and takers”? These are pretty cruel formulations, given the squeeze on the poor and middle class

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      The memes of bs they swallow whole with the mindless telly and BBQ we “serve” them. HD

    • hellokitty0580

      What you’re talking about is the “Chauffeur’s Dilemma.” It’s a common parable discussed in intro econ classes. The story goes that a chauffeur in New York City picks up a wealthy businessman. As they drive down the street, the chauffeur sees the a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk. If someone were to ask him who does he think he is closer to in economic status, he would answer the wealthy businessman in his car. In reality economically the chauffeur is much closer to the homeless man.

      Essentially, I think people are not knowledgeable about economic and financial institutions and how they favor the wealthy and allow the wealthy to keep their wealth. Also, no one wants to think of themselves as close to homelessness. That’s scary. So people will identify with what they hope to be, not necessarily what the economic reality is.

    • jmpo’lock

      Its the kiss up/kick down rat race business/political mentality

  • Topana

    Normally Tom you are very good at balancing contributing and letting your host talk. Whats wrong today, why are you not letting him talk and express his ideas and finish his thoughts?

  • Ellen Dibble

    Hanauer says that the plutocrats are needed because they generate new solutions, something to that effect. (Not because they generate jobs.) That may be one of the unfortunate effects of the inequality. The solutions that could be generated by the non-rich aren’t being enabled now, not so much, by the government, by an echelon of prosperous and secure middle class making way for and encouraging the advances coming from the young and the less wealthy. Dynamics of growth may be more squelched than we are aware of because of not the insulation around the rich but the insulation around the poor, in terms of time and in terms of having access to effective strategies, by groups or singly. Yes, since 1980, the strategy of keeping some people dependent seems to be galloping in so many ways. The idea of entitlement does victimize those at the bottom.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The wealthy own their own electric, water, and sewage treatment plants, do they? Gee: I hope they know how to refine their own petroleum distillates.

    • Mari McAvenia

      They’ve probably rigged all the Public Works to explode when they have to bug out on their private jets. Terrorism isn’t just for the poor, you know.

  • Scott B

    Will Nick help me start a bank where everyone gets the same interest rate?

    Those of us living hand to mouth get charged more of what we don’t have, so we can’t get a new car, a new home, even a refi, et al. Things that would contribute to the economy, and save us money in the long and short term. How many of us in the 99% are driving cars that require constant repair and get bad gas mileage, live in houses where the hottest part of the house in the winter is outside of the windows – where all the hot air is leaking out, or can’t get a refi because we “are not profitable”, even when they finance us for the same house to begin with!

    • Jeff

      Don’t worry the liberals will offer up subsidies for green cars which only the rich can afford! Great solution!

      • Scott B

        Like the Fiskar Karma or the Porshe 918 Spyder? Awesome cars. I don’t think I could afford the windshield wipers on either car.

        • Jeff

          Yep, and if you add state/federal tax credits it ends up being $10,000 handed out to rich people that can afford that $90,000 price tag (i.e. Tesla).

          • Scott B

            That’s on top of getting the lowest interest rates, that is if they decide they want to get a car loan. Wait! What loan?!

  • optimisto1 .

    He is comparing USA to Denmark, Norway, Sweden. He is out of his mind comparing 300mln multi-racial country to small all-white educated countries.

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

      No country is all-white. Why does this matter, anyway?

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      False equivalency: like most things on FOX and MSNBC. HD

    • Ray in VT

      So, am I to understand that a country with large numbers of brown people can’t attain the sorts of outcomes that the nations mentioned have?

    • Jeff

      Keep in mind that Norway functions off of fossil fuel funds, Denmark has a 50% tax rate for the average citizen (they live in apartments until age 40-50, many never buy individual homes). Sweden is run off of nuclear power and they also pay high tax rates.

    • jefe68

      Denmark, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are not 100% all white nations. Please, try using some common sense.

  • lauklejs

    One point he doesn’t make since he probably has the same problem. The super-rich’s ostentation has in the past been recognized as a symptom of an inferiority complex. That is why Reagan’s Risk-Taker notion is a sick abuse of the “greatest technology invented for the amelioration of human problems”. The risk-taker notion is enabling them in their inferiority complex instead of confronting them.

  • jmpo’lock

    It’s fairly obvious. The top has decided to longer share in the prosperity and productivity generated by labor. New tech has allowed companies to produce more, with less labor, and higher profits. These profits clearly do NOT trickle down, they are ever more concentrated in finance, CEOs , management and shareholders. We have a choice. We can decide that humans, by birthright deserve a dignified minimum quality of life, like Star Trek; Or, we can continue down this rat race kiss up/kick down social moray and eventually end up in a violent rebalance….

  • GWelch

    I find that it is not the wealth that irritates me; it is the sense of entitlement that usually seems to accompany it. There is an embrace of shared citizenship only when it benefits the wealthy, and a contempt for all others.

    • jmpo’lock

      You nailed it!

    • StilllHere

      Really, some would say those at the bottom act the same.

      • jmpo’lock

        Yeah, indeed, with all their lobbyists, Super-PACs and bought legislators…

        • StilllHere

          Sense of entitlement, contempt for others, embrace of shared citizenship only when it benefit themselves.

      • Ray in VT

        I know. Those people at the bottom. Feeling entitled to a place to live and decent food to eat in return for what they do. How dare they?

        • StilllHere

          You should get off the farm someday and see what the real world is like.

          • Ray in VT

            I recommend that you check out the real world. I live and work in it every day.

          • TFRX

            Whoa-hoa.

            So “the farm” isn’t “the real world” to right-wing trolls any more?

            Careful. You’ll lose those people you’ve been fooling in flyover country who believe you have any of their interests at heart.

          • Ray in VT

            And here I thought that farmers were a part of the real ‘Merica. It has always seemed to me that life on an operating farm, with the raising of crops and animals, with the buying and selling of goods and the hard labor that go into making the whole operation run is about as “real world” as it gets, but perhaps I have been wrong all of my life. I’ll have to let my brother know that he doesn’t live in the “real world” because it has been decreed so by some Internet db.

          • jmpo’lock

            No Farms, No Food

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Supply side economy = everyone’s in the purple chips.
    So we can all cash out now?

  • JD

    This ties in with recent discussions you have been having about how police forces are becoming militarized. As you know historically, one of the major roles of the police has been to protect the interest of the elites. The police role was only minimally directed at law enforcement. Its
    primary function was serving as the enforcement arm of the reigning
    political power, protecting property, and keeping control. It should also be noted that there are more private police officers than public. We should all be gravely concerned.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Commercial television: the mindless telling the mindless everything we all want to hear. So much for public education.

  • henrietta11

    The guest is casting the poor and middle class as the aggressors and the “nice,reasonable” rich.like himself as victims.
    Most of us are not aspiring to be billionaire “innovators” but want to live comfortably without having to make millions of dollars.
    The “innovation” economy is not solving all problems.

    • jmpo’lock

      No I think he’s just trying to point out the obvious. If you have a vast majority of a population living in ever more servitude to a state and society run by ever smaller super rich, the violence is almost certain to arrive. see: Arab Spring

  • Ellen Dibble

    Solutions: preschool for all. If women are expected to work outside the home, how can this not be necessary? And it is proven to be a huge equalizer in terms of socialization and intelligence. Yuppies who struggle so hard to get their toddlers into the best preschools should be an obvious sign that people who know, know that this works. And the help for working parents is a no-brainer. If it took a full-time housekeeper to cook the soup and scrub the linen, it would be different, but we’re in a new place. Women stuck at home can feel lucky but also unmoored, unneeded.

    • Charis Loveland

      Universal preschool and an actual maternity leave would be an excellent start. The middle class is squeezed in all directions: you still have to pay a fair amount in taxes, but you pay an excessive amount for health care, child care, and other services to keep parents in the work force. It’s shameful that the US is the last industrialized nation to offer no paid maternity leave. Then, daycare or preschool is so expensive. I just got back from a Montreal vacation, and was discussing life in the US with a woman at the salon. Her jaw was on the floor when I told her how much I paid, despite health insurance, for the birth of my daughter, for daycare, for college and graduate school, for general living expenses. I’d be willing to pay more in taxes if the government provided more services to support families. The lack of support for raising the next generation in the US is reprehensible.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Well meaning = the excuses offered up by the culpable.

  • Kheck

    Individuals around my age of 23 have grown up in this
    Plutocratic age. We are influenced by what is on television shows that display yachts and private islands, and we are exposed to lives the mega rich lead through social media in following individuals like Dan Bilzerian and the Kardashians. The lives of the mega rich were not as transparent years ago to the general public. Is this dangerous for our younger generations or will be helpful in strengthening the middle class? Are our views about money and life being warped and corrupted? Are we too influenced into striving to obtain power and money to bring about happiness and satisfaction?

  • WorriedfortheCountry

    The Billionaire from Seattle is the one who sounds confused.

    • jmpo’lock

      No, I would say enlightened. You see, He won’t be surprised when the pitchforks come out, as you evidently will be

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

      I thought that rich people are smarter?

      • Ray in VT

        Except when they say stuff that you don’t agree with.

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Who said that?

    • Ray in VT

      Why? Because he doesn’t believe in laisse-faire trickle down?

      • WorriedfortheCountry

        Well, at least he acknowledged the need need for deregulation. He was sort of all over the place — kind of …. ‘confused’.

        • Ray in VT

          Didn’t sound confused to me.

  • Scott B

    Trickle down economics has never worked. Even Reagan new that.

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

  • Charles Miller

    Let’s look how unfair / ridiculous our “health care system” has evolved. It’s based largely on having a good job, and many employers are cutting back on that fringe. We are the only country with such a capricious system. And yet we spend WAY much more than any other country (17% of OUR GDP) on health-care… plus, we don’t get the best results.

    THis is just idiotic, but look how Obama’s minimal (republican) approach has been excoriated. Are we no longer capable of working toward social justice?

    • hellokitty0580

      It’s a good question. I think the majority of Americans are either scrambling around trying to keep their lives together or too buried in their stuff and buying and electronics to be concerned with the policies that govern our country. People are forgetting that WE, the PUBLIC, are our government. Look at our voting percentages. No one votes. No one cares to be informed. So this is what we’re left with. Businesses and wealthy lobbyists taking advantage of our American numbness. I find it hard to blame our government when we’re the ones that chose them.

      • Charles Miller

        With today’s Congress, that notion (having disengaged non-voters) almost seems like a strategy. Because nature abhors a vacuum and while Congress refuses to even address big issues, those working the levers (those who donate big, or have K-street lobbyists) continue their operations behind the curtain.

        • hellokitty0580

          Maybe it is the strategy, which if that is the case then it is disgusting. We’re entrusting our democracy to these people.

          • Don_B1

            It really is the strategy. Proof is only as far away as the effect of negative advertising, which has been proven to suppress the voting of moderates, so only the base of extremists come out to vote in extremist legislators and executives. Then the moderates sit back and say that there was nothing they could do with such lousy choices.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    We’re not living in The Handmaid’s Tale. No one is required to breed.

    • Jeff

      Just like no one is required to buy a product from a big business…don’t like the wealthy then don’t buy their products.

      • jmpo’lock

        True

  • blueshift

    The reason paul ryan and john boehner believe the rich are ‘job creators’ is because, if you’re a Congressman or Congresswoman, they ARE job creators. For 435 representatives, 100 senators, and a President.

    • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

      Nothing stopping us from repealing Article I. HD

  • skelly74

    The super rich and powerful are trying their hardest to circumvent the U.S. Constitution and ensure that only the “pitchforks” are the only available tools handy for a suppressed people, by attacking the right to own personal firearms.

    So be it. Let them eat cake.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    The fairy tales worked when we lived in a fairy tale land. But that country no longer exists.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Madam DeFarge: your knitting needles are awaiting you. At your seat to the comeuppance.

  • GWelch

    I agree with the Henry Ford argument, but it is not directly applicable today. Ford offered higher wages to stop employee turnover to other factories by fostering higher morale. The trouble today is that there is nowhere else to turn for jobs.

    • StilllHere

      That doesn’t even make sense on the surface, employment is at 94%.

      • GWelch

        How much of that is part-time, minimum wage with no benefits? We’re talking about minimum wage here.

        • StilllHere

          With 94% employment there would appear to be plenty of options available.

          • GWelch

            The options are better for the person on the other side of the counter when answering the question “Do you want fries with that?”

          • StilllHere

            Again, 94%, if you don’t like what you’re doing, do what the other 94% are doing.

          • Mari McAvenia

            Repeat the lie often enough and people will believe it’s true eh? You didn’t make that one up. It’s as old as the hills.

          • Mari McAvenia

            Those options are not appearing because they don’t exist.

          • Don_B1

            A lot of those 94% that are employed are already not working in a job that is paying them well, so they are looking for better jobs all the time. College educated people working part-time jobs or in low-level restaurant industry.

            There are just not that many jobs with good pay, but people have to eat and sleep, etc. so they will take less than the job they would like, which accounts for a high level of employment, but a lot of it is not what is wanted.

            You are making totally irrelevant comments!

        • Mari McAvenia

          He doesn’t realize that most long term unemployed people are not even counted anymore because they are so numerous. 94% is a figure pulled out of some accountants sphincter.

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

      If people are getting well paid, then they *stay* in the job they have. They then prosper, and they spend their earnings, so the economy is boosted, and other businesses all then prosper, as well.

      • GWelch

        No disagreement here – I think that that is what I said. If there is a decreasing market for middle class jobs, then employees feel no need to increase wages and employees have no alternatives.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Forget the pitchforks. I think that the urgency for some better American solidarnost is due to the looming threats the world faces. What would it mean to the roiling stresses about oil, if Americans could (a) present a united front and (b) therefore take the lead. Do I mean global warming or global defections into various attempts at unrest, upsetting the status quo? It’s related. It’s related to our being in a kind of gridlock locked into the Reagan ideology that Hanauer is saying is either “mistaken or a lie.”

    • Don_B1

      Everyone should hope that it does not come to “pitchforks,” as that is almost always a trip into a worse condition (think the French Revolution or the austerity policies of Chancellor Heinrich Brüning which crashed the German economy in 1932) where the following government led to chaos or worse.

  • dweebus

    What you are looking at is Collapse. Jared Diamond lays out the argument really well. Our plutocrats are insulated from the consequences of their decisions, so they drive us off the cliff. Your anecdote of the shuttle van illustrates this disconnect very well.

    And if “capitalism” finds new solutions to human problems, one must understand that an economy IS much like an ecosystem. It depends on energy flows and waste dumps. As energy declines and dumps are filled, as the pie contracts, conflict rears its ugly head.

    As a young lad, my Poli Sci prof. (a Ghananian) showed a very simple pyramid diagram. Modern societies with a fat middle class, abide. Those without, fail. No exceptions The MC is a buffer between us unwashed masses and the vultures at the top. Take the buffer, and shove it down into the unwashed category, and the fuse is lit.

    The solution, re-localize, downscale, de-carbonize, and yes, re-distribute. Otherwise, someday, (my own personal guess is a timescale of 10-20 yrs.) the people WILL resist. What is the phrase, “We Are The 99%.”

    The pitchfork is sharpened and the torch is ready. Viva La Revolucion! ;)

    • hellokitty0580

      Hear, hear! Our economy is an ecosystem. I’ve been thinking that for a very long time. I agree with everything you’ve said.

      Where are you from? Did you study at the University of Ghana in Accra?

      • dweebus

        I am originally from the Rocky Mountain region. That prof was an immigrant from Ghana. Brilliant man. TY for the kind words. (Somehow Frank Herbert’s “Dune” comes to mind)

        • hellokitty0580

          That’s cool. I studied abroad in Ghana and have my Master’s in Africana Studies with a focus on sustainable development. I wrote my thesis on the relationship between capitalism and racism and how that has stagnated development in Africa. However, I think many of the ideas I was researching are applicable to the United States as well.

          • dweebus

            So do you think “sustainable development” (we meet our needs, and leave enough for the needs of the future populace) is even an option at this late stage of the game?

          • hellokitty0580

            What other choice is there except to continue on the way we’ve been going? I think people need to get with the program, otherwise food and water will be scarce, there will be massive floods and loss of land, and weather that we won’t be able to sustain ourselves under not the mention the loss of biodiversity.

          • dweebus

            I come from the perspective that Industrial Civ. is an irredeemably corrupt and ultimately unsustainable enterprise. Having said that, option one: voluntarily downscale. Option two: be downscaled involuntarily by Mother Nature- overshoot. My great fear is that we crossed the Rubicon and there is not enough time for a voluntary transition. Worst case scenario: the Sixth Mass Extinction. Check out Hemenway and Meadows.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nLKHYHmPbo

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f2oyU0RusiA

          • hellokitty0580

            It’s interesting that you have this idea of voluntary downsizing. It’s an idea that I’ve also had, but I’ve never really heard anyone advocate it. I think it’s somewhat radical.

            For instance, the industrialization of our food production, and particularly meat production, is completely out of whack. It has negatively affected our health, the environment, and it’s an abhorrent way to treat animals. If we downsized our meat industry we could bring back local butchers and create more jobs. Also, people would be more knowledgeable about their meat It might raise costs, but the raise in costs would account for externalities like pollution and the rise in costs would make people eat less meat, which is better for you anyway. This would be one “down-sizing” that would potentially help our country in many ways.

            However, when one talks in this way, you’re called a Luddite. People are accustomed to the standard of living that we’ve developed. I think the ironic thing is that if we disconnected from all our electronics and got back to a much more earthy, basic way of living people might be happier.

          • dweebus

            If you haven’t, read James Howard Kunstler’s, the Long Emergency. He is a huge advocate of downscaling, one of the great thinkers in the area. Yes, it is radical, by today’s standards. But being a radical is getting to the root of it. Thats why the square root sign is called a radical.

            I have been called a Luddite (and worse). The resistance to the realities of our predicament (and resultant name-calling and tantrum throwing) is why I am pessimistic for a voluntary transition. So I feel all we can do is try and build local community resilience for the storms that are surely coming.

            Shoot, could you imagine Obama promoting these ideas. LOL. Impeachment proceedings would begin the next day. Our Leaders are clueless: the Pied Piper leading us off the cliff. We must lead ourselves, in our neighborhoods, if possible.

          • dweebus

            On Meat: An interesting fact. One can raise corn and soybeans, harvest it, and feed it to cattle in a CAFO. You get about one cow per acre at the end of the year. Or you can graze the cattle on natural prairie. You get about on cow per acre per year. One system enriches ADM, and Monsanto, the other preserves an ecosystem and biodiversity. The plutocrats chose number 1.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    You mean the lending problem where Obama held NO ONE accountable? Except the taxpayer, of course. He’s always the chump at the party.

  • Scott B

    Ryan, Boehnor, Cruz, and the rest thing that by slashing, if not entirely ending, social safety net programs that everyone using them (like us lazy unemployed abusers of the system, in our hammock sipping mohitos all day) will suddenly go find all these well paying jobs.

    The great irony here is that they keep propping up big biz, like Walmart, with tax breaks, as well as for their owners, execs and shareholders, while the company has over 15% of its workers on Food Stamps (SNAP), and is the largest recipient of SNAP funds from its customers.

  • StilllHere

    We spend almost $1 trillion on anti-poverty programs. Is this wasted?

    • Jill122

      It barely keeps people from scraping their chins on the sidewalk. ANOTHER reason why we need to create jobs while we’re helping people to eat.

      • warryer

        What if we put those people to work on farms instead of giving handouts? That way they EARN their food.

        • StilllHere

          We can’t force people to work and we can’t tell them what they can buy with their food stamps …

        • jimino

          What if we make those responsible for destroying $8 trillion in middle class assets pay it back out of their personal assets? That way they can take responsibility for their actions, something they constantly demand of others.

          • warryer

            I would agree on that. Personal responsibility would solve so many problems.

        • Don_B1

          How about recognizing that this country’s infrastructure is steadily decaying and localities have been putting off routine maintenance because the anti-tax lobby (Tea/Republicans, mostly) has prevented raising enough revenue to pay for it and the other things that are necessary, like first responders, educators for the next generation, etc.

          At current borrowing costs, there will never be a better time and there will be a big payback in lower transportation costs and a better educated populace (schools and good teachers are a form of infrastructure). All of which could be putting the country on a path to better lives in the future, what all of the preceding generations have left to us, but what we seem to not be doing with the weak exuse that “we can’t afford it.” Well, in actuality, “we can’t afford NOT to do it.”

    • TFRX

      Ask anyone who doesn’t need to go to an ER for healthcare because Medicaid exists.

    • Charles Miller

      As in any other big-money operation, I am sure there is waste. It is a human failing and it happens in private industry, probably to a much bigger extent.

      Let’s go down to Mississippi, the biggest recipient of federal aid and see if they need or benefit by fed programs.

    • Charles Miller

      Are you including Medicare in you #1 trillion estimate? Could you site the source of your data?

      • hennorama

        Charles Miller — the figure bandied about requires a redefinition of “welfare” and “anti-poverty programs.”

        • Don_B1

          Absolutely anything spent by the government that does not DIRECTLY benefit the 1% is wasted.

          But anything that does benefit the 1% is only a small downpayment on what they deserve for their gift of choosing to live here.

      • Charles Miller

        So far, crickets on getting the source of the $1 trillion figure.

        • hennorama

          Charles Miller — that’s SOP for the entity you queried.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    No one is forcing anyone to eat a feces sandwich.

    • Charles Miller

      What is that supposed to mean?

  • injun2

    He says that the Republicans like Paul Ryan aren’t evil, they are just economically “confused.” They are students of Friedrich Hayek, a Nobel winning economist. Just because Mr Hanauer believes in the Keynesian school is a disagreement over the better economic philosophy, not that they are confused

    • Jill122

      How is the economy working? That’s the question. How are things working out on the ground? Forget Hayek, forget Keynes! Can we continue to go on like this without upheaval?

      • injun2

        The economy isn’t working because we have followed Keynesian economics since the New Deal

        • BillSpinner

          Bull. That ended with Reagan. Since then we’ve had obstruction of Keynes by market fundamentalists.

        • TFRX

          And got SocSec. And Medicare. And the GI Bill. And a whole phalanx of public goods that companies and people got to live on, work on, play in.

          And your great-great-grandma isn’t in poverty like she would likely have been 100 years ago.

  • Joe

    I wonder how much Nick Hanauer’s company pays its employees……

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    If we go to war in Iraq again, this time we will win! And we’ll all get rich in the jobs boom. Happy days are almost here again!
    –John McCain, someone’s idea of a US senator

  • Lee Barrios

    As a teacher embroiled in the national/international privatization of public education, I can easily relate to Nick’s perspective. When our public education system is “transformed” into selective and resegregated charters and other taxpayer monies formerly used to support our public schools are diverted to private schools for vouchers, we will seal the deal. It is an indicator, a warning, a wake up call to the American public that history bears out. When control of education is handed to the plutocrats the foundation to sustain our democratic republic will collapse. The same multi-millionaires who control our politicians are now taking control of our schools. Follow the money.

    • StilllHere

      And it leads to teachers unions or so campaign contributions tallies would suggest.

      • Lee Barrios

        And corporate lobbyists. Money is money.

    • TFRX

      Why does every “school reform” movement out there start with “destroy the teachers’ unions” and “there are carloads of great teachers out there who aren’t teaching now waiting to replace them”?

  • George M. Anderson

    “What does he want,” asked Neo
    “What all men with power want; more power,” said The Oracle.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    We’ll all get rich selling Bitcoins to one another.
    –Granny Hokum’s Old Fashioned Economy Liver Rub

  • levigirl

    Inflation?

  • Jeff

    Can we please tell the truth here? First, the USA has the highest tax rate in the world. Second, all money made in the USA will still be taxed at the US tax rate…the only money that will avoid that tax rate is money already made over seas, it will simply remain there. Third, avoiding taxes so that you can have a more successful company and pay people more and offer customers more products is the best thing you can do for your company. It’s the government that’s greedy…cut spending and cut taxes, these businesses will stay here when the greed in government is reduced!

    • Ray in VT

      Feh.

    • warryer

      Companies have a bottom line. If there is an edge to be gained they will do it.

    • Dane Wolf

      Should no one in society pay taxes?

    • Charles Miller

      So much for being patriotic… or even vaguely caring.

      Yep, you’re right. We can have a “money-first” ethos. But it will be boring. Oh wait, we’re there already.

      • Jeff

        How is giving your money to government in order to have them waste it patriotic? Every dollar made in the USA will have US taxes paid on it, might it just be that US corporations don’t want to pay US taxes on money made in Canada, Japan, China, Europe? Who’s being greedy here? Other countries don’t tax dollars made outside the country the USA is unique in that aspect and they have the highest tax rate in the world. Time for changes here in the USA, it is outrageous…but only because of the tax rate, you can’t blame a business for doing what’s best for a business.

        • Charles Miller

          How is giving Pepsi $1 per bottle of pop such a great thing for anyone?

          How is running up a half-million bill at a hospital for major surgery such a good thing?

          How is letting manufacturers write our federal laws through the cozy lobbyist-elected merry-go-round.

          I think that your ilk tends to criticize U.S. gubmint for spending too much… but AT LEAST it is all regulated and subjected to transparency. The waste that goes on in the private sector is hidden.

          Just look how our country was raped by big banks in 2008… using other people’s money to play Las vegas games.

          • optimisto1 .

            Charles, you have to address it with the greedy lawyers and greedy doctors. They have a green light to charge as much as they wish.

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

            So, we just need to go to Single Payer!

          • optimisto1 .

            We could go to Single Payer if this country did not have 47% of folks who depend on the government handouts and on medicare/medicaid. See, there is no another 300mln multi-racial with 30% obesity 47% dependents country in the world which you could point finger and compare USA to. It should be on a state-by-state basis, not federal one.

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

            Single payer would cost less than HALF of what we pay now, and it would – by definition – pay for everyone.

            You are not coming off as a racially tolerant person, by the way. I think if you actually knew what you were talking about, that you’d know that bad health knows no racial boundaries.

          • optimisto1 .

            First of all, how do you know about single payer cost?
            And, second, why pointing to the facts that this country cannot be compared to Europe/Canada/China, any country because of it’s population stats makes one racially intolerant?

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

            Because almost every other country with a healthcare system uses single payer. And they all pay far less than we do – and they cover everybody.

          • optimisto1 .

            Ha, there is no such country in the world comparable to US. Then why democrats use race as a factor all the time? Why the racial make up matters for the schools and colleges and employers? And when you go to emergency room why do they indicate your race in the paperwork before treating you? So for healthcare it does matter. You can compare the healthcare costs in Utah and Mississippi and see the difference.

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

            Ha – how’s that possible? Are we special, somehow?

            Race has been a long time problem here in the US, because we had slaves, and then we had Jim Crow, and we had discrimination – and many people today are still racist. We have to try and prevent the effects of this racism.

          • optimisto1 .

            OK, Talk is cheap. Start with yourself. Move in all-black neighborhood first, and settle there. And then tell us how it is working out for you.

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

            Racism is a big problem – and it is self perpetuating. As long as people like you think that the “other people” are somehow different than “we” are, then we will continue to have racial problems.

          • optimisto1 .

            No, as long as people like you keep on lecturing “Do as I say, but not as I do”.

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

            Yeah, I’m the racist for saying that racism exists and we need to do everything we can to address it …

          • optimisto1 .

            Whatever. It will always exist. And if you think you can address it – you are lunatic (pardon me), or to be pc – delusional. In order to address it you need to eliminate all races and/or mix all people in the world of different races with each other to create only mixed race babies. Basically, you need to eliminate white people first.

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

            Why will it always exist? My grandfather was racist, but somehow I am not.

            Race is social construct, and pretty much we will all be mixed together. I’m a mutt, and probably you are too. What is “mixed race” actually?

            I have Neanderthal DNA, and also Denisovan DNA. I have Native American DNA. EVERYBODY who’s ancestors came from anywhere outside of Africa has Neanderthal DNA.

            The only people with “pure” homo sapiens DNA are those whose ancestors never left Africa.

            Please explain how one “eliminate(s) white people” ?

          • optimisto1 .

            Please, don’t make a clown of yourself. If you respond to US Census Bureau or in these days job applications, what race do you indicate about yourself? Neanderthal?
            I am saying hypothetically how you can put an end to “racism” if you somehow eliminate white people. But, you know, then Asians will rule the world. Actually what is the definition of racism? Did your grandfather treat blacks differently then whites just because of their color?

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

            Are you a “pure” homo sapiens, or a mutt? Because if you have so-called white skin, you are the latter.

          • optimisto1 .

            But first you have to start with greedy universities in this country who charge so much for tuition fees.

          • Charles Miller

            That is due in part to the increasing layers of administration, folks who pull in great salaries and do little in the teaching mission. Then there is the reduced support for state universities by state legislators.My university has seen large cuts from the state. And then what happens? The U behaves “more like a corporation”, creating “profit centers” that compete and charge against each other, offer non-essential “work out spas” for students that, for a long time, didn’t need that.

            School costs are ridiculous. But it is not due to skyrocketing professor salaries.

          • Jeff

            Funny, I figured the whole 2008 collapse was encouraged by government loans, government programs to get “low-income” people into single family homes and the fact that Fanny and Freddie were purchasing garbage bundled mortgages instead of investigating if the bundles were worth anything. On top of all that the banks would see major penalties if they didn’t hand out loans to certain groups…this whole thing was government driven but yeah we blame the banks because they were ordered to hand out those loans.

          • Charles Miller

            I doesn’t surprise me that you think it was the gubmint’s fault.

          • jefe68

            Well it was the governments fault on one level. The Feds let the banks and investment banks get away with destroying a lot of economies around the world in 2007 and 08.
            Our federal government and a lot of state governments are beholden to Wall Street and a host of other cooperate interests.

          • Charles Miller

            Recall that Bush greatly reduced funding to the watchdog SEC.

            And remember THIS political ploy? That the Bush were going to be TEMPORARY? Yeah… right.

          • TFRX

            You figured wrong. The “push the poors” loans and “punish the banks for nopt lending to certain groups” stuff is overplayed in the fantasy history of the right-wing advocacy media.

            Don’t you figger better?

          • StilllHere

            It’s Barney Frank’s legacy.

          • Jeff

            Yep, Mr. Frank was vehemently defending Fanny and Freddie as those government run entities were dragging us into the black hole known as the 2008 housing collapse. Don’t believe me? There’s visual evidence to back up my claim.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIjoW_IXos4

        • jefe68

          Oy vey. It would seem that there is no point trying to reason with your ethos.

    • Kiep99

      Jeff, don’t confuse the statutory rate with the actual taxes collected. The effective Corporate rate – deductions, etc. often = $0 taxes.

      • Don_B1

        The percentage of revenue from corporate income taxes fell from between 5% and 6% of GDP in the early 1950s to 1.3% in 2010. The average rate for all corporations is around (or under) 10%.

    • Jill122

      The effective tax rate is very low. Buffett pays 17% — less than his assistant. Hedge fund managers pay 10% due to a wonderful loophole. A few years back it was reported that Exxon paid nothing and in fact was owed a great deal of $$$.

      Inversions are a great thing. You should look at the deal Burger King is contemplating — the same deal Walgreens would have done if their customers hadn’t said they would go to CVS instead. NPR had a great story on it yesterday. All the details laid out and they are not what you described — not even close.

      And finally, that’s NOT what happens when corporations make great profits. It doesn’t trickle down to employees or customers. Even when there’s a union looking over their shoulder, it’s difficult if not impossible to share in the profits. Companies point to their shareholders as the first people who must be paid; Not the employees who are building the companies.

    • Charles Miller

      Jeff, doing the old trick of using marginal rates as “the” rate? That’s an oldie that works on the ill-informed. Oh wait… we are.

  • optimisto1 .

    This idiot says we have to increase minimum wage – to give people more free money so they will go and spend money and stimulate our economy.

    • George M. Anderson

      Is there a problem here I am not seeing?

      • optimisto1 .

        I’d like to get some free money so I can go on a spending spree.

    • Mari McAvenia

      “Free money”? Is that what you consider wages for labor to be? I’ll bet you long for the days of slavery to return to these shores.

      • optimisto1 .

        Free money is what above the market rate for your labor

        • Mari McAvenia

          That’s not a sentance. It’s gibberish. Folks, consider the source.

        • Don_B1

          Currently wages are depressed as a result of the high level of unemployment. The lack of unions also depresses wages for everyone.

          Most people do not consider human workers with the same “replaceable” at minimum cost as a piece of machinery.

          • optimisto1 .

            The wages are not depressed. They represent market supply and demand. This is a capitalist society. Love it or leave it. Millions of illegal immigrants line up to make those depressed wages.

    • Jill122

      If you were working, you wouldn’t believe that people are getting “free” money for their labor.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Global Heating = Economic Growth.
    Everybody wins! {except the planet}

    • Don_B1

      Global Warming will change the local climates, resulting in less agricultural productivity and therefore lower GDP but more storms and the resulting need for spending to replace infrastructure will increase GDP without providing for future growth in GDP by building new infrastructure beyond what existed.

  • Scott B

    $10@hr is chump change in some areas, but where I am that’s a pretty good wage, since most jobs here are at the $8 min wage.
    I’ve talked to business people here, and while $10 is probably doable, when they hear a demand for $15@hr they know that the area won’t support that. NYC, Seattle, Atlanta – yes. East B.F.E and Pennsyltucky- no.

  • Jay

    Go Tom!!!
    keep after him.

  • http://hlb-engineering.us/ HLB

    Tomorrow on Tom’s show: Pee Wee discusses the world economy.

  • Ed

    Not only are decent jobs going abroad but many are lost to robotics.

  • Jeff

    Top 1% have 20% of the income but pay 40% of all federal income taxes…they need to pay more?

    • StilllHere

      And the bottom 47% pay nothing.

      • Charles Miller

        Where did you come up with that figure? Oh, from Romney’s luncheon!

        • optimisto1 .

          Maybe you can enlighten us how many % pay 0 of income taxes ?

          • Charles Miller

            You ARE asking the person who stated that, right?

      • jimino

        You must really hate all those children, elderly, and disabled who aren’t paying what you see as their fair share,

        • hennorama

          jimino — not to mention a good chunk of military families and veterans, too.

        • jefe68

          You’re asking him to use critical thinking skills and rational thought. Somehow I do not see this as something this guy engages in very much, if at all.

      • hennorama

        Stilllhere — that figure is not only an anomaly of the Great Recession, it’s also out of date.

    • Charles Miller

      That is a very misleading use of figures. OF course they pay more taxes as they are making HUGE sums of money. Duh. Actually, you are mixing data sets, using some percentages in one way, and another in a different way. Not an particularly insightful “analysis”

      • Jill122

        He’s parroting Romney — their side’s idea of a “winner.”

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

          If those stupid poor people would just trust the smart rich people … we’d have President Romney!

      • dawoada

        There is no mixing of data sets; they have 20% of income but pay 40% of taxes. A percentage is a percentage. The problem is they are not only paying more but they are paying MUCH more.

        • Charles Miller

          That’s bull. At least in terms of your favorite “percentage” measure. Do you not hear Warren Buffet mentioning that his secretary pays a greater percentage in taxes than he does.

          The middle class largely has no access to all of the tax dodges and investment available to the wealthy. To pretend otherwise is just foolish.

          • dawoada

            Actually it gets worse. The to 20% of earners pay 93% of income taxes. See CNBC: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101264757#.

          • Charles Miller

            Once again… Because they make so much. Why not phrase this as the effective tax rate that they pay? that’s a more logical comparison.

          • dawoada

            Who cares what the effective rate is? What really matters is how much total tax they pay and it is a much higher relative to their income.

          • Lector

            So, things like the mortgage interest deduction or health care reimbursement accounts or charitable deductions or deductions for dependent children or medical insurance don’t count?

            There’s a pretty strong argument to be made for a flat tax with no deductions.

          • Charles Miller

            I’m not sure I’m following you, but I would suspect a flat tax would only worsen our nation’s hurtling toward even more income disparity

          • Lector

            It’s possible to structure a flat tax to be revenue neutral. One of the problems with our current tax code is that it’s designed as much for social engineering as it is revenue generation. For example, we believe that home ownership is something that government should promote, so our tax code includes a deduction for mortgage interest.

            If we want to promote certain behaviors, have the debate, and appropriate specific funding for it. Don’t bury it in a set of regulations (the tax code) that is intended for a different purpose.

            There are some inherent problems with income or wealth disparity, but they are relatively inconsequential. The real issue is whether or not most people can support themselves through work. If decent jobs are available, it really doesn’t matter whether Larry Ellison makes $50 million or year or Bill Gates has $50 billion.

            In the short term, redistributing wealth a)provides more money to some people, b)feels good because it punishes the rich, and c)gets politicians elected. It is, however, unsustainable. Margaret Thatcher said it best: “Socialism is a great idea until you run out of other people’s money.”

          • Charles Miller

            Of course the tax code has a social engineering aspect of it. Few would argue against it. It’s just that since the Big Reagan Lie (trickle down) falsehoods have been used to claim a benign bit of social engineering when it has only made income disparity a threat to democracy.

            The formerly high marginal rates, excise taxes, the inheritance tax, etc., were all designed to forestall an oligarchy. But with the relentless right-wing efforts to do away with these negative feedback loops (i.e., designed to prevent huge wealth in the hands of a few), we a predictably head toward rule by a few.

            So the “Job Creator(TM)” efforts is yet another form of social engineering. A pretty ugly one. Certainly not based upon Judeo-Christian values. Or was Jesus just having a wink at the Romney-ites of his time when he mentioned that eye of a needle?

          • Lector

            I certainly don’t disagree that large amounts of money can distort democracy. Note, though, that the big spending comes from both sides. The majority of the biggest political donors are liberal groups (look it up). The conservative super PACs spend somewhat more than the liberal ones, but there is hundreds of millions in spending on both sides. Obama raised more money than Romney. The Democrat congressional re-election committee raises more money than its Republican counterpart. Any criticism of money in politics has to be directed at both sides.

            That’s one of the reasons I’m suggesting that the tax code should be used to only raise revenue for government spending. The decisions about what to do with that revenue should be separate and therefore more transparent. For example, rather than bury a credit for oil exploration in the tax code, have a debate about whether the government should write a check to companies that drill for oil. On some level, it’s semantics, but II believe that a decision to write a check to Exxon is far less likely to occur.

      • Don_B1

        When the total amount of revenue collected by the federal government is analyzed, it looks like this for 2010:

        Federal Income Tax 42%
        Payroll Taxes 40%
        Corporate Income Taxes 9%
        Other 6%
        Excise taxes 3%

        So the wealthy (1%) pay 40% of the 42% of federal revenue, but individually they pay less than they used to pay on the same amount of income, a smaller percentage of their income.

        But the payroll tax (F.I.C.A. and Medicare) is upper bounded by cap on the amount of income on which each individual is taxed, and since the average individual income is about half the cap, the top 1% of earners probably pay about 2% of the Payroll Taxes.

        Therefore, the 99% pay 60% of the Federal Income Taxes and 38% of the Payroll Taxes, or at least 40% of all the federal revenue while they earn less than 80% of the wage income (quite a bit less of taxable income — on the order of 20% or more? — is in dividends and interest as well as in capital gains, which is not a large percentage of the income of the 99%). So earning 60% of all wage income the 99% still pay about 40% of all the federal revenue. Not at all that unfair, but a number the conservatives will never accept.

        • Charles Miller

          My bottom line is that the marginal rates for the wealthiest have been continually whittled downward over the last 30 years. But the real proof in the pudding is that we are seeing a widening separation from the very wealthy and everyone else. From a recent study, the median household income has (once corrected for inflation) slipped by a whopping40%. Meanwhile, the rich are getting richer at an accelerated pace. This simply is not healthy for a democracy, as we are becoming an oligarchy. How many person responses from your senator or rep have you gotten?

          I think that it takes real mental contortion to argue against these basic trends.

          Oh, try buying tickets to a major league baseball game. To get my wife and daughter and myself into the cheapest seats in St. Louis, it would have cost $150. I recall when bleacher seats were $1.50 and I’m in my early 50′s.

          • Don_B1

            I basically agree with you! I was just trying to put the contributions of all workers in perspective, which means that all taxes need to be “counted” and even I left out the sales taxes and fees that represent a much bigger percentage of a person in the lower 50% of income. So often conservatives even leave out the term “income” when they discuss the “47%” who don’t pay them, leaving some to (falsely) infer that 47% do not pay any taxes.

            And while I remember that intangible “extra” enjoyment that comes with actually being at the game, sometimes I know that I am “seeing” it better on my HDTV at home.

            I see I reversed the intention of the last sentence. What I meant to reference was the amount of total revenue that the wealthy pay in income tax is only about 22% and on 20% of the income, that is not unfair.

        • Lector

          In the context of this kind of discussion, the word “fair” is meaningless. I suggest that the closest we can get to an objective definition is “equal.” For example, if the top 10% make 47% of wages, they should pay 47% of taxes. Any other definition of “fair” incorporates too many value judgments and subjective evaluations.

          We should talk about what’s sustainable or productive, not “fair.”

    • D_from_Tennessee
    • D_from_Tennessee
    • nj_v2

      ^ Tired, useless, right-wing meme alert!

  • Lector

    The problem is not inequality per se; it’s the inability of enough people to make their own way. Regardless of the starting point, if everyone’s income or wealth grows at the same rate, inequality will increase.

    In the US, we are coming out of some 50 years of fortuitous circumstances. World War II saved the American economy and devastated a significant amount of the rest of the developed world’s economic capacity. American factories were ready to supply the rest of the world. Doing so required the labor of many millions, including those with little education and even limited intellectual capacity. Our education system turned out eighth grade and high school graduates who could (relatively) easily find a job that paid them a wage that would support them and their families.

    Those jobs are gone, and they’re gone for the right reasons. The question now is what those millions do. Only a significant redesign of the educational system will prepare people for the jobs that are and will be available. High school curricula oriented to the skills needed for technical and service jobs need to be implemented. A clear option for 1-2 year post-high school programs leading to certification in relevant skills (coding, IT tech, health care services, paralegal work, etc.) should be developed. Fortunately, we have in our community college system an infrastructure well suited to stepping up to this task.

    Referring to the problem as “inequality” leads all too easily to the conclusion that the problem can be solved by taking away from those who have (wealth redistribution). It can’t. With the exception of the ultra liberals, no one begrudges Nick Hanauer and his ilk their wealth (as long as it was come by honestly). The focus must be on helping people prepare themselves for the economy in which we live and expect in the future.

    • Jill122

      I’m an ultra liberal and I don’t begrudge him the money he’s made. I simply wish that the republicans would allow a few percentage points more in taxes and some clean up of the loopholes.

      We need industry leaders who understand “enlightened self-interest.” Wouldn’t hurt if the part of the 99% who vote for them also understood it.

      It’s great to look into the future and come up with solutions for the next generation — we still have millions who go to bed with food insecurity, people who don’t have access to good healthcare (thanks to republicans who would not permit a rise in Medicaid caps – $3500. in my state!) homeless, people trying to make it on $7.50 an hour and not a lot of training programs for those who would use them.

      It takes some “redistribution” if you will to try to tackle all those problems. I don’t call it redistribution. Trickle down has been with us for 30 years. Before that we had a much more progressive tax schedule, and a minimum wage on which people could still live.

      • Lector

        Federal revenues are at an all-time high, and we’re still $500-700 billion in the red. Should the next $100 billion in revenues (whether it comes from economic growth or higher tax rates) go to increasing federal spending or simply paying for what we’ve already committed?

        We have made more promises than we can keep. We need to change the promises made for the future. Raising taxes is not the answer.

        Raising the minimum wage doesn’t help, either. Only about 18% of minimum wage earners live in poor households, and something under 5% of minimum wage earners are sole breadwinners. The answer isn’t to pay fast food workers $15/hour; it’s to foster an educational system and economy in which those people can get jobs that pay (and are worth) $20 or $25/hour.

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

          We have tax cuts that were not paid for, and two wars that were not paid for.

          • Lector

            Those two things certainly have contributed to the $17+ trillion debt, but they are not the principal cause. The real issue is entitlements, and it’s only going to get worse. The government is spending at a historically-high rate, far above the rate of tax receipts. When things like prescriptions drug benefits for Medicare recipients and the ACA keep being added, we fall further behind. Do the math: you can’t tax people enough to pay for all the programs we’ve enacted and the promises we’ve made.

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

            They are two of the three main reasons – the third is the recession itself.

            The ACA *saves* money in the long run.

          • Lector

            You clearly want to believe that, but it’s just not true. Some 70% of the budget goes to entitlements, and the cost of them increases every year.

            I do believe that an analysis was constructed to show that the ACA saves money, but that is different from it actually saving money. Among the other fanciful notions that analysis included was that Medicare spending would be cut significantly. Every year for the past decade plus, the budget has included an assumption that Medicare spending would be cut, and every year Congress has approved a mid-year appropriation to restore the funding. If the cuts have never been made up until now, what makes you believe that they will be made to help pay for ACA?

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

            It is, in fact, true that the ACA will save money in the long run.

            Have you noticed that all the noise and squawking about Obamacare has more or less, gone away?

          • Lector

            Well, we don’t know that. We do know that the projections that showed it saving money in the future depended on assumptions that run counter to actual behavior.

            If you look at places where ACA-style reforms have been in place for a while (MA with Romneycare and Oregon with their expansion of Medicaid), the results have been increased costs.

            No, I haven’t noticed that objections to Obamacare have gone away. There’s quite a bit of discussion going on regarding the implementation, its perverse incentives, and its effect on costs and hiring decisions,

          • Lector

            If you look at the places where some form of Obamacare has been in place (Romneycare in MA and Oregon’s expansion of Medicaid), the results have been increased costs.

            Why do you think that the Medicare cuts that are needed for ACA to save money and have been proposed and not made for 10+ years will now be made?

            I have not noticed that discussion of ACA has gone away. I see considerable ongoing discussion of the problems its implementation has caused, its perverse incentives, and its effect on hiring decisions.

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

            Massachusetts has one of, if not the lowest percentage of people without insurance. That means that emergency rooms are not how very many people get their primary care.

            I live in Mass so I have a good idea of how it works. The costs were increasing a lot *before* we got Romneycare, and they have stabilized.

            The stupidity of (mostly) Republican governors who have essentially cut their noses off to spite their faces – are hurting their citizens by not implementing the Medicare expansion – is just that – really dumb.

            Despite all the obstruction – the shrill noise about Obamacare / ACA has virtually gone away.

          • Lector

            We share a geography, as I also live in MA. Yes, more people have insurance, but a)costs are significantly higher than what was projected and b)emergency room use has not declined. This is also what has been seen in Oregon, where they expanded Medicaid in advance of ACA. There, they expected costs to decline as people availed themselves of primary care. Instead, they’ve seen emergency room use continue unabated.

            As for governors declining participation in the expansion of Medicaid, where does the money for that come from? The idea that something is “free” because it’s paid by the federal government instead of the state is silly. Whether local, state, or federal, all government revenue comes from us. Should I feel better if I pay $1 in federal taxes that then comes back to MA in Medicaid funding than I do if I pay it to MA, which then spends it on Medicaid?

        • Don_B1

          The number of people old enough to retire is growing, and they are almost all eligible for S.S. benefits, which therefore must grow over time, both by number of recipients and to cover the inflation that occurs..

          With a growing population, there will be a need for more teachers and first responders, thus more wage earners with salaries that grow to cover inflation.

          The same is true for the military and defense costs. Thus holding government spending constant (as you seem to imply) would actually be reducing government functions. so government spending has to increase with GDP growth as a minimum, and actually should increase (though only temporarily) if GDP takes a hit, as many people will become unemployed and must have a source of income to cover the bare necessities of living until the economy recovers.

          And you have, maybe not deliberately, effectively cherry-picked your numbers for the counts/percentages of people earning the minimum wage who are trying to support themselves. It is much closer to half than to the 18% and 5% numbers you cite, but don’t tell where/how they were arrived at. See:

          http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/when-living-wage-is-minimum-wage/

          for a good discussion of this issue.

          • Lector

            Assuming the numbers in the article you cite are correct, there are some 13 million people earning less than $10.10/hr. I don’t know how anyone can say whether that’s too many or too few or just about right. Is the work they’re doing worth more than $10.10/hr.? As determined by whom?

            Is any person who wants to support himself or a family on his wages somehow entitled to a job that pays enough to do so? What constitutes support? Is it a place to live? Does each person get his own bedroom? Is it enough to eat? Sufficient calories or sustainably grown, organic food? How about transportation? Able to get where he needs to go or a late-model car with air bags, anti-lock brakes, and gas mileage above 25 mpg? How about cable television? A cell phone?

            I’m not being facetious, just trying to make the point that it’s a very slippery slope when you try to determine what someone “should” earn.

            I am not suggesting that government spending should remain constant. I do think that it should bear some responsible relation to the amount of government revenue. There is no scenario in which we can afford the existing entitlement programs and debt level in the future.

            Since at least the seventies, government spending (in nominal or real dollars, per capita, or any other way) has risen steadily beyond inflation, beyond population growth, and beyond the growth in GDP. I think the jury is out as to whether and by how much government spending should increase during an economic downturn, but the problem is that the “temporary stimulus” of the most recent recession has become permanent.

            Government is spending at a rate of 21-23% of GDP with revenues running at 18% (if the economy is healthy enough to generate expected tax revenues). Adding $500-600 billion to the debt every year is unsustainable. When Obama leaves office, the debt will be ~$20 trillion. Every percentage point increase in interest rates will cost another $200 billion in debt service. Even if rates only increase a couple of points (keeping them below long-term averages), that’s an extra $400 billion we have to spend.

            Where does the money come from? The idea that you can simply transfer wealth either directly (e.g., mandating artificially-high wages) or indirectly (taxing more and having the government give it to people) without affecting investment, growth, and employment is pie-in-the-sky thinking.

            We remain burdened with a populace and politicians who are content to put off the inevitable. We can probably keep the three-card monte game going for my lifetime, but I do believe that my children’s generation will live long enough to be forced to address the real issue.

          • Lector

            Take another look at the article you cite above. It doesn’t say that 50% of all workers are people trying to support themselves on less than $10.10/hour. It says that, OF THOSE MAKING LESS THAN $10.10/hour, about half are trying to support themselves.

            The article also says that there are about 13 million people making less than $10.10/hour. Since there are, in total, about 150 million people working, the 6.5 million trying to support themselves on less than $10.10/hour represent about 4.3% of the total (compared to the 3% figure I originally cited).

            I can see how you would arrive at a very different conclusion if you thought that half of all working Americans were trying to survive on less than $10.10/hour

  • JCoenen

    Totally agree w/ Mr. Hanauer, exception re: redistribution vs. growth: I’m not buying that capitalism ipso facto = potential infinite growth, and that we only need policies to ensure that folks have access to that growth. I think that’s what Mr. Hanauer is arguing. We do need this, but growth, at least in one person’s lifetime, is not infinite – some redistribution, i.e., actually NOT allowing someone to KEEP all of the 25 million they make every year, and injecting that back into the economy needs to happen in order to shrink the wealth gap.

    • Don_B1

      Requiring those in the top income/wealth groups to have to give up some of what they make each year and put it back in the economy is redistributive, as that money will go to those who are in lower categories as pay for work they do on projects funded by the money injected into the economy.

      Whether it is requiring businesses to pay a higher minimum wage or giving low wage workers an Earned Income Tax Credit, it is regulation that redistributes money from one group to another.

      And if you read some of my other posts on this day’s subject, you might come to recognize that that works for the betterment of everyone, poor, middle class or super wealthy.

  • RestrainedRealpolitik

    The Tea Party are attacking the Occupy Wall Street people and do not realize that they have some of the same target. Wall Street and Big Government are THE SAME THING. Wall Street wanted the wars as much as or more than the White House.

  • Radical___Moderate

    Wouldn’t it be something if the coming “revolution” and WWIII hit simultaneously?? It will be like living in a Cormac McCarthy novel = CHAOS!

  • Ed

    Guy Fawkes will rise again. The system can and will probably be disrupted in a major way in the future. Money is after all only paper.

    • Mike

      Yeah, but physical items are, after all, only energy.

      • Ed

        Food, Water, shelter. I am sure the mega rich are stocking up. If the system collapses, two of the best commodities will be cigarettes and alcohol
        Physical items are only energy, but look at the power of splitting an atom.
        .

        • Mike

          I was joking.

  • bilbo44

    Please. What does Nick know. He would be great in communist China or Russia. the world has changed and Nick does not see it. US middle class has gone down, but people in China and India have risen. US was in control after WWII and things have changes . We have a 300 million population and China and India have roughly 4 billion. Let me ask you Tom if you went to Washington would you tip the same knowing the staff is getting $9.00 an hour? they do not tip in Australia or New Zealand

  • Mike

    Tom always sounds like a carnival barker in his show intros. Wish he would tone it down.

  • Lee Barrios

    Nick is right about the importance and power of the 99% waking up and demanding change. Real power is a very simplistic action that simply requires an individual to refuse to comply. In my area of concern, education, where standardized high stakes tests are the weapon being used to create a culture of failure ripe for takeover, parents simply need to refuse to allow their children to take the test. Opt Out – and the same concept can be applied in many venues. The key to creating permanent change is action in large numbers.

    • J__o__h__n

      Not measuring something is the surest way to fix it.

      • Jill122

        That’s not what she’s suggesting. Testing is a great tool. High stakes testing where jobs and money are on the line causes people to make changes to protect themselves. Surely you’ve heard of the phenomena of “teaching to the test.” People can come up with great ideas (NCLB) and then watch them play out with zero good results.

        No one said Bush was being mean or evil. Just an experiment that did not go well.

        • John Cedar

          Nothing wrong with teaching to the test. What would you have them teach to? And how would you measure if the student learned what is being taught?

        • J__o__h__n

          I think there is too much focus on the test and it is foolish to have it as the sole criterion, but many of the complaints are from people who don’t want to be held accountable.

      • Lee Barrios

        And measurement is not the fix particularly when the measurement tool is not designed for the thing being measured, example: http://nepc.colorado.edu/thinktank/review-measuring-impact-of-teachers

    • StilllHere

      The failure was there before the standardized tests.

    • harverdphd

      The 99% is a myth.

  • Rick Evans

    Last week the worrisome state that 36% of Americans and 26% of Americans between 50 and 64 have zero retirement savings. Meanwhile more and more younger workers are working for mediocre wages which

    • John Cedar

      We are a nation of many grasshoppers and few aunts.
      Blame the rich.

      • TFRX

        The uncles will be surprised to find out about the aunts shortage.

        But seriously, ye don’t know much about productivity, do yez.

        • jefe68

          And he claims to be in business.

      • J__o__h__n

        I have four aunts but no grasshoppers.

  • momzwordz

    When the middle class run out of credit to purchase goods from the companies rich people own, the whole pyramid scheme of our economy will come down. The credit system has evolved to fill the gap between real wages and purchasing power of the masses. An example of the latest sub-prime lending game is car loans. Read up about how this financing scheme is following in the same footprint of the mortgage industry.
    Our economy is not sustainable with a workforce that has seen no real wage growth since the 70′s.
    Our infrastructure is crumbling at alarming rate due to lack of tax dollars to sustain it. The corporations spend all their money on evading taxes, not on contributing to the system, and the people that made them rich in the first place. Pay sustainable wages and reasonable taxes, so that all these entitlement programs they are so disdainful of, won’t be essential to the survival of the so called 47 percent.

    • Jill122

      One quick change: ” corporations spend all their money on evading taxes, and paying lobbyists and into campaign contributions, not on contributing . . ..”

      • John Cedar

        Cynical much?
        Name one corporation that spends all their money on evading taxes and paying lobbyist?

        • TFRX

          Name one that doesn’t “invest” heavily in tax lawyers and lobbying.

        • Garp

          The NFL is a non profit. I work for a real charity and real charities have to justify every penny they spend to their donors (and to the government to some extent), but the NFL is a non profit and they pay players and coaches millions of dollars. They are tax dodgers, though I don’t know how much they spend paying lobbyists to make sure they stay that way.

    • John Cedar

      Sustainable? That’s a great word. Doesn’t mean anything but a good word none the less.

  • sgk1212

    Liberals preach equality of outcome as a right, while
    completely ignoring inequality of effort.
    The simple Law of the Harvest – as ye sow, so shall ye reap – is
    sometimes applied as, “The harder you work, the more you get.” Obama would turn that upside down. Those who achieve are to be punished as
    enemies of society and those who fail are to be rewarded as wards of society. Entitlement will replace effort as the key to
    upward mobility in American society if Barack Obama and the Liberals get their
    way. He seeks a lowest common
    denominator society in which the government besieges the successful and
    productive to foster equality through mediocrity. He and his party speak of two Americas, and
    their grip on power is based on using the votes of one to sap the productivity
    of the other. America is not divided by
    the differences in our outcomes, it is divided by the differences in our
    efforts. It is a false philosophy to say
    one man’s success comes about unavoidably as the result of another man’s
    victimization.

    What Obama and the Liberals offer is not a solution, but a separatism. They foment division and strife, pit one set
    of Americans against another for their own political benefit. That’s what socialists offer. Marxist class warfare wrapped up with a
    bow. Two Americas, coming closer each
    day to proving the truth to Lincoln’s maxim that a house divided against itself
    cannot stand.

    • Bob Gerwien

      Conservatives think we live in a meritocracy. We don’t

      • Adam Clements

        Recently read the book Outliers by Malcom Gladstone. It fairly convincingly debunked the idea that ability and hard work are the main factors leading to success and rising up the social ladder. Though of course they’re still important

        • Bob Gerwien

          Random chance is so often neglected

          • John Cedar

            More often neglected by pointy headed libruls, is that the harder you work, the luckier you get.

          • Bob Gerwien

            at least I can spell. Never read the book did you?

          • John Cedar

            Na…not much of a reader

          • Don_B1

            Actually picking the right parents is the most telling factor in an individual’s success. But those that do succeed like to feed their egos and claim their clever and hard work was the big (or only) factor.

      • Charles Miller

        Because scientists would make more money not many would not be in terribly insecure “soft money” positions, which is actually repelling new students from going into science fields.

    • Adam Clements

      I’m not sure ther is great evidence that hard work is directly correlated to increased economic success. I wish it was. You’ll see a lot of people from terrible homes who are single working 2 jobs and just staying afloat. They’re putting in a lot of effort. I’d guess if you look at two people with equivalent backgrounds and compare effort and success you’d see a correlation but i doubt it works if you compare a child of a two parent household and someone who grows up the kid of a single mother without access to good education.

    • brettearle

      You are fairly far off base–even though you’re somewhat eloquent.

      You are COMPLETELY ignoring that the Aptitude of Technology is cracking an Earthquake, amid Society:

      Technology IS narrowing employment opportunities–by its own advancement as well as by its call and demand for specialized training…..the likes of which the Middle Class is having hard time keeping abreast of and lacks the specialized aptitude to be qualified for.

      THAT is what is eroding the Middle Class and increasing Plutocracy–as much as anyone else.

    • jimino

      “The harder you work, the more you get.”

      Everyone knows that those roofers, packing house employees, farm workers, maids, ditch diggers, etc., aren’t working nearly as hard as those button pushers in the financial sector and the coupon-cutting recipients of their “hard labor.”

      You could not possibly more clueless about the world. What do you do and where do you live that you could possibly believe what you wrote to be true?

      • Charles Miller

        And that brilliant Donald Trump!

      • sgk1212

        Clueless? I’m the product of a broken home, grew up in abject poverty on a dirt farm and had nothing. Today I’m working on a Ph.D. What’s your story?

        • jimino

          Been around 60-plus years, raised in a military family; was alive when our economy worked for all, when the packing house worker earned enough to buy a house, raise a family and send his children to college; when US capital shared the gains made by our economy with labor; when tax avoidance meant spending your money in the US to get a deduction; when you actually knew the person who owned and profited from the places you spent your money; when getting a Ph.D. actually meant you were knowledgeable and not just educated.

        • jimino

          Been around 60-plus years; raised in a military family; alive when a packing house worker earned enough to buy a house, raise a family and send his children to college; when the gains created by our economy didn’t go to a tiny percentage but were widely shared with all who labored to create it; when you actually knew the person who owned and profited from the businesses you patronized; when tax avoidance meant having to spend money in the USA to get your deduction; when getting a PH.D. meant your were knowledgeable and not just educated.

          • sgk1212

            So I’m wasting my time getting an education and pulling myself up to a position where I can make an industrious contribution to society. Thanx for clearing that up for me.

          • jimino

            I don’t understand where you get that from my comment. Of course you should pursue an education. But it would appear that your education to date has not provided you with much knowledge about our country’s economic history.

          • sgk1212

            Our country’s economic history? The founding fathers of this country in the mid-to-late 1700’s embraced a liberal philosophy – liberal freedoms, liberal economics, liberal education, etc. Beyond everything else, they mandated nominal government. Nothing could be further from classical liberal thought than the Modern “Liberalism” of today. The two are polar opposites. Classical liberalism (with a small “L”) addresses the thriving success and prosperity of the person and the community through the free action of individuals. Modern Liberalism (large “L”) is about government deciding what is proper for the individual and imposing its decisions by force. That is
            precisely what Adam Smith, Thomas Payne, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and all the great classical liberals opposed.

            The slogan of Modern Liberalism is “equality”, meaning NOT equality of opportunity but forced equality of result. In practice, that amounts to efforts by government to impede and obstruct the more energetic and industrious contributors to society so that they don’t reap “unjust rewards” that the less productive don’t enjoy. The goal is not to facilitate economic freedom and progress of the
            individual. On the contrary, the goal is
            to bring everyone in line with the severest form of regulation. The
            inevitable result is the triumph of the lazy, the obtuse and the minimally
            attentive. This is in keeping with their
            objective of “trickle up” poverty for everyone.

            A liberal is someone who likes spending other people’s money for goals he deems worthy. This lust for leveling perpetuates a gripping inefficiency that is damaging to our economy and serves to retard our standard of living. Diversity is on every liberal’s lips but conformity is in every
            liberal’s heart – and redistribution is on every liberal’s mind.

          • jimino

            As someone said in reply to the person from whom you copied your comment:

            “The founding fathers (and mothers) AND most all the people in the
            original colonies worked for themselves or with or for a few others.
            And many were only self-educated by family, work and the local
            community. Education, travel, contact, influence was very limited
            during a lifetime.
            There were 2.5 million, 85% immigrants from Europe, Scandinavia.
            How do you propose we return to that situation?
            Take all the time you need to answer. I will be patient and wait for your correspondence to arrive by pony.”

            And that person didn’t even mention how important it was to the success of all those liberty seekers to have an entire continent full of natural resources for which they saw no need to pay.

          • sgk1212

            I did not “copy…(from another) person”. You missed it the first time therefore I had to repeat it. In any event, you’ve missed the point entirely. I just explained the true meaning of “liberal” government — and it does not include a huge, bloated bureaucracy of agency after agency because Americans are too dumb to make their own decisions. (I hope Pony Express makes it to your house soon.)

          • jimino

            OK. Whatever you say Midnight Krewzer. Or is it Steve K?

          • sgk1212

            I’ll answer to either one. Just keep those warm thoughts coming. ‘-)

    • Charles Miller

      So Paris Hilton really worked her way to the top, right?

      • John Cedar

        There are lots of pretty, promiscuous, women, who don’t get paid $100k for showing up at your nightclub or wouldn’t bother to, if they were born heir apparent.

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

          Only smart men deserve their money?

          • John Cedar

            How do you get that out of me sticking up for Paris Hilton?

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

            Defending her? Ha!

          • John Cedar

            You heard me…

            At least in regard to deserving her money.

      • sgk1212

        Entirely anecdotal! You should know better!

        • Charles Miller

          Oh, so it’s anecdotal that very wealthy people pass that wealth down to their kids? Don’t think so. This is a mere example, not an anecdote. But this is wearisome. Let’s call it quits for awhile.

          • sgk1212

            I’ve done so , my friend. I understand the economy. ;-)

  • D_from_Tennessee

    On the point about how “trickle down” or “supply side” rule of thumb being attributed to a booming economy during the Reagan years, didn’t it attribute to increased deficit spending? I recall that the tax rates were adjusted back up once the Reagan administration realized how it was increasing the debt. The debt and deficit spending are used relentlessly by many supply-side proponents to justify the austerity measures taken after the financial crisis. Also, when Reagan used the “trickle-down” rule of thumb for economic policy, we had not just experienced the record job losses and ultimate financial disaster of 2008. I would be curious to learn of Mr. Hanauer’s view of the Bush-era tax cuts that became a bone of contention in 2010. All in all, I agree with Mr. Hanauer and his view on policies that will boost the spending power by the lower and middle class and increasing the minimum wage is a good way to do that.

    • Don_B1

      You are absolutely correct in recognizing that “trickle-down” policies have never worked. The current depressed economy (the Lesser Depression) is the result of the “popping” of the housing and mortgage bubbles in 2008 which magnified the financial crisis of the big banks over-leveraging their debt holdings with all those new “financial instruments” (derivatives like CDOs, CDSs, etc.) that they were so proud of inventing.

      With the initial crash in the fall of 2008 (Lemann Brothers going bankrupt in September), businesses cut production as the banking system seized up, stopping or reducing the issuing of new loans which grease the flow of goods and services produced by those businesses. Thus housing construction came to a near halt, throwing a lot of workers out of work, cutting spending and thereby cutting the sales of other businesses goods and services and beginning a cascade of growing unemployment and business retrenchment feeding on each other.

      Because so many homeowners found themselves “under water” on their mortgages, they also cut their spending creating more unemployment. With a GDP that is made up of 70% consumer spending, and a lot of consumers not spending until they had paid off a lot of debt, and unemployed workers unable to pay off debt, there has been a real slow recovery in consumer spending, which leads to using the term “balance sheet recession” to characterize this type of recession, which is always harder to recover from than a recession that the Fed creates by raising interest rates to cool inflation, like during the Reagan Recession(s) of 1981-1983. Then every time it looked like the economy might begin to grow a bit more rapidly, the Tea/Republicans in Congress forced reducing government spending, effectively following an austerity policy.

      Fortunately the austerity the Tea/Republicans forced in the U.S. was not as devastating as the austerity that the Europeans have forced on themselves, and which is now on the cusp of putting their economy beyond another recession and into deflation, which will be much harder to recover from than inflation.

      Currently this country’s (and the developed world’s) economy is facing the possibility of “secular stagnation,” where economies stagger along at less than full output and less than full employment. A good tutorial on this can be found at VOX:

      http://www.voxeu.org/article/secular-stagnation-facts-causes-and-cures-new-vox-ebook

      which presents a summary and links to a free e-book on the subject.

      Sorry about not posting this earlier, but travel kept me away with a short time availability.

      • Don_B1

        The current jump in growth reported this week seems to be the realization by business that enough consumers have extracted themselves from the debt burden of the Great Recession that growth in consumer spending is seen for the near future. This graph from Business Insider shows how the economy has inched along until recently:

        http://e.businessinsider.com/537a5501a5cf8e79b17f5d9d1savv.983/U_-UfcPoPbk0BXKbB6f3a

        Note that, from the Corporate Balance Sheets graph, businesses have had plenty of money to pursue “supply side” stimulus to grow their businesses, but it was clearly a “demand side” lack that kept them from doing so.

  • Rick Evans

    Last week the worrisome stats that 36% of Americans and 26% of Americans between 50 and 64 have zero retirement savings were reported.

    With the disappearance of pensions the the future for cheap mobile homes and for mobile park owners looks bright.

    • jimino

      And in the midst of these undeniable facts, the right wingers want to get rid of Social Security.

      • John Cedar

        And push grandma off a cliff in her wheelchair.

        Which s worse, modernizing SS or letting it go bankrupt even faster than it will on its own, by not policing disability fraud?
        http://money.cnn.com/2013/04/11/news/economy/disability-payments/

        • jimino

          Or raise the cap to a level that applies to the same portion of total income that it had applied to before income distribution got so skewed.

        • TFRX

          Ah, “SocSec is Bankrupting!!!!”

          The first refuge of a scoundrel.

          • John Cedar

            It will not be solvent in the foreseeable future.

    • brettearle

      As do tents.

  • dweebus

    HLB writes: “Well meaning = the excuses offered up by the culpable.”

    Sir, you do have the occasional pithy remark that is spot on. But you post, and post, and post, and post, and post, to the point that people blow right past your remarks. Less IS more.

  • optimisto1 .

    Liberals are full of self-guilt. Hey, if you feel like paying more to benefit those less fortunate – do it with your personal check-book, and leave everyone else alone.

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

      You didn’t listen to what was being said today, at all, did you?

      • brettearle

        HE won’t even hear you now–much less hear the actual broadcast.

    • Bob Gerwien

      Conservatives are so damn selfish. Hey you don’t want to pay to be part of a civilized society, go live somewhere else.

      • optimisto1 .

        where did you see a “civilized society”? Is that Ferguson crowd you call a “civilized society”? But for some reason you, the hypocrite, don’t want to live among them either.

    • Blue_To_Shoe

      That’s played out, man…

      The whole self-pity, 1990s reverse-victimology thing is a conscious part of ‘Conservative’ think tank culture and CSPAN conventions.

      Come up with somethin’ new.

      • jefe68

        Be careful, you’re asking this chap to think critically.

    • jmpo’lock

      Man you sure are good at Orwelian turd speak.
      Swap out “Empathy”, or “Civilized” or “Enlightened” for your self-loathing when you choose to speak with truth and honesty.

    • StilllHere

      It’s not so much guilt at having wasted one’s opportunities, but also envy of those who didn’t.

    • optimisto1 .

      It is a hostage-taking situation – pay us more or else we will make unrest, looting and crime.

      • Charles Miller

        Hah. Look how Wall Street Bankers fleeced us all by loosing hundreds of billions by gambling with other people’s money. And they have gotten away from it… still in business, perhaps fined, but that is just passed along to the consumers.

        And to characterize most poor as hostage takers is really off the wall and perhaps even originates from bigotry.

        • optimisto1 .

          then go in Ferguson and see it for yourself.

          • Charles Miller

            You are repeating. And sounding just a tad racist… or are you decrying the military-police-industrial complex???

      • D_from_Tennessee

        Derp

    • D_from_Tennessee

      Does that mean conservatives are full of themselves with no guilt? The non-profits are running on less than ever and you’d be surprised how many liberals and lower to middle income earners donate to food banks, etc. It almost sounds like you’re saying top income earners shouldn’t have to give at all, much less give back for the opportunities that allowed them to increase their wealth in the first place. Or are you OK with an aristocracy society? Maybe you should have a bucket of ice poured over your head to wake you up.

    • jefe68

      Ahh the sour smell of mendacity in the morning with that complete with a baked on crust of ignorance.

  • sgk1212

    You
    choose to drop out of high school or to skip college – and you are apt to have
    a different outcome than someone who gets a diploma and pushes on with
    purposeful education and/or employment.
    Most often in life our destination is determined by the course we
    take. A doctor, for example, makes far
    more than a custodian. There is significant income inequality between the
    two. Their lives display an inequality
    of outcome, but, their lives also display an inequality of effort. While the doctor went to college and then
    devoted his young adulthood to medical school and residency, the custodian went
    to work. The doctor made a choice, the
    custodian made a choice, and their choices led them to different outcomes. One outcome pays a lot better than the
    other. Does that mean the doctor cheated
    and Barack Obama needs to take away his wealth?
    No, it means they are both free men in a free society where free choices
    lead to different outcomes.

    • J__o__h__n

      I’m sure that they had equal opportunities for their choices from birth and throughout their lives.

    • Bob Gerwien

      you way overestimate free will

    • Adam Clements

      Huge fallacy here… the custodian and the doctor didn’t always have the same choices. I had a great public education and access to good colleges so i got to go to med school. My patients who are custodians often went to high schools with graduation rates less than 50%.

      • sgk1212

        And that makes their welfare YOUR responsibility!

        • Adam Clements

          You act as if their bad circumstances and choices aren’t going to burden you in some way. Very shortsighted. Their kids will end up growing up with equally bad choices and these sorts of communities will contribute to increased crime and disease. Helping them out now, (nipping the problem in the bud), and giving equal access to those choices you like to talk about will improve your life as well. Help them out so they and their children become taxpayers and perhaps we can reduce your taxes as well.

          You don’t live in a glass jar effected by only your choices/effort. Don’t act like their well being doesn’t make any difference in your life.

          • sgk1212

            Please, please take care of those people with your big government, high taxes, redistribution and bloated welfare apparatus. We’ll all feel better.

          • Adam Clements

            i cycle to work, yet i pay huge taxes so you can have roads and artificially 50% lower gas prices. Maybe we should remove them so i’m not subsidizing you with my 70 hour work weeks.

          • sgk1212

            Maybe we should raise taxes so we can have a larger welfare system. Just redistribute all the wealth.

          • Adam Clements

            why do you insist on mentioning welfare every comment when few others have? I talked about opportunity and choices. Good schools, low crime. copy and paste one comment where i mentioned giving money to people. Almost nobody is talking about that. If bashing welfare is all you’ve got in your head you obviously don’t listen to this program often.

          • sgk1212

            Because so many tax dollars are wasted on welfare — far more than anything else.

            The founding fathers of
            this country in the mid-to-late 1700’s embraced a liberal philosophy – liberal
            freedoms, liberal economics, liberal education, etc. Beyond everything else, they mandated nominal
            government. Nothing could be further
            from classical liberal thought than the Modern “Liberalism” of
            today. The two are polar opposites. Classical liberalism (with
            a small “L”) addresses the thriving success and prosperity of the person and the community through the free action of individuals. Modern Liberalism (large “L”) is about government deciding what is proper for the individual and imposing its decisions by force. That is
            precisely what Adam Smith, Thomas Payne, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and all the great classical liberals opposed.

            The slogan of Modern Liberalism is “equality”, meaning NOT equality of opportunity but forced equality of result. In practice, that amounts to efforts by government to impede and obstruct the more energetic and industrious contributors to society so that they don’t reap “unjust rewards” that the less productive don’t enjoy. The goal is not to facilitate economic freedom and progress of the
            individual. On the contrary, the goal is
            to bring everyone in line with the severest form of regulation. The
            inevitable result is the triumph of the lazy, the obtuse and the minimally
            attentive. This is in keeping with their
            objective of “trickle up” poverty for everyone.

            A liberal is someone who likes spending other people’s money for goals he deems worthy. This lust for leveling perpetuates a gripping inefficiency that is damaging to our economy and serves to retard our standard of living.
            Diversity is on every liberal’s lips but conformity is in every liberal’s heart – and redistribution is on every liberal’s mind. You just do not get it!

          • Adam Clements

            By that definition GWB was the greatest liberal of all. Spending my tax dollars on unfunded wars and unfunded tax cuts.

            You sound like an angry person at laziness. I understand, i suspect you’ve never been poor so you have zero empathy. Either way i’m sad at your view of humanity and of yourself…. and im sick of responding to you.

          • sgk1212

            As I posted earlier (had you been paying attention), I came from a broken home and grew up in abject poverty. I went to college after spending seven years in the military. After graduate school I began to make an industrious contribution to society. And if you’re sick of responding, then stop!

          • sgk1212

            Screeds & nostrums from someone who just
            doesn’t understand the argument. Underachievers
            must try harder.

          • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

            For a neoliberal apologist, you sure hate the word “liberal” a lot. You do know that a true conservative abhors a free market, and a true liberal advocates for a free market, right? And that the lust for “leveling”, as you call it, is for an imagined utopia in which nothing changes–the very notion which “conservation” entails?

            Or are you replacing the original (British) meaning of the words with (American) neologisms?

            If you’re going to start the fish-slapping dance, don’t be surprised if you get walloped into the canal (apologies to Messrs Palin and Cleese).

          • sgk1212

            I just explained the difference between classical liberalism and the Liberalism of today’s left. Please pay attention. And please stop hating those who work hard and achieve. They owe you nothing.

    • jmpo’lock

      Right. Bill Gates should’ve stayed in school….
      It must be an amazing world you live in with such constant and predictable laws of physics and nature

      • sgk1212

        If you want to pay more in taxes to support the big welfare state, please don’t let me stop you.

        • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

          If you want to give less (or nothing) to your fellow citizens in order to die with the most toys, please proceed (as that’s what you’re already doing)…

          • sgk1212

            Please explain to me, Oh Wise One, just how much I should give you.

  • Blue_To_Shoe

    We act as If these ‘trickle down’ theories are just concepts!
    They are not: They are actually – have been – in place for decades here in the South.
    There are measurable stats to study!

    ‘Trickle down’ is really a scam to make sure that those inhabiting the top of the food chain stay there whether they deserve to be there or not!!
    Also, the Republican ‘austerity’ movement is not really about the deficit – It’s also about ‘trickle down’!

    Here in Georgia, It’s apparently clear that these ‘theories’ have been constructed by the State’s ruling economic elites to basically only benefit themselves!
    Georgia really isn’t a Democracy – It’s a Republican, ‘old money’ Oligarchy in which – like most of the deep South – they have near absolute power.

    These ‘top-down’ Republican theories are already in play, and done nothing but deconstruct the economic wealth of most working class and middle class whites that have gone along with this stuff for the last 50 yrs.

    Here in the deep South, economic growth that actually registers positively is almost nonexistent; unemployment rates are a LOT higher than the national average; and through ideology-driven ‘austerity’, investment in the future is something to be laughed at – because of prejudice – people don’t want a single penny of their money going to the people (‘other’-types of Americans) that they don’t like!!!

    • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

      I dozed off reading your second-to-last paragraph. In the name of all that is just and decent in the world, please edit it to include some exclamation points!

    • Charles Miller

      Yes, the experiment (Reaganonics, Busheconomics, etc) has been done for decades and the results are clearly in. The median income (indicator of middle class) has gone DOWN 40% (in constant dollars), while those at the huge spike at the right of the income histogram are thriving. How much more “job creator” propaganda does the seemingly gullible population need before they see how personally destructive “trickle down” or “job creative” this agenda has been?

  • Dane Wolf

    The hue and cry of “class warfare!” that comes from the camp of the superrich every time somebody brings up the problems relating to economic unfairness indicates, at least to me, that the well-to-do would prefer that regular people not even think or talk about the rules of the game. This taboo comes from the fact that the superrich are themselves actively engaged in class warfare against everybody who is not a part of their privileged club, and decrying “class warriors” of the middle or working classes is one of the tactics by which the superrich defend their ideological ramparts. In short, in an attempt to prevent all change in the status quo, they attempt to prohibit the very thinking and conversation that will lead to such change.

    • dweebus

      If someone cries “class warfare”, chances are they are waging it.

      • Dane Wolf

        This is almost certainly true. What is irritating is that the rich tend to treat the topic of class warfare as taboo. The phrase “class warfare” merely comes out of recognition that politics and economics are, in fact, a power-struggle between the so-called haves and have-nots (or, perhaps more accurately, the “have-a-lots” and the “have-a-littles”). In my view, there are rational ways to address the distribution of power in a society and, of course, there are irrational ways of doing this. To be unwilling to even talk about issues relating to the distribution of power would seem to very strongly suggest an irrational perspective. I think the fact that the rich tend to be unwilling to even broach this subject indicates that their take on the distribution of power (including wealth) in society is highly irrational. This seems to be the reason that there is such a disproportionality in the wealth of the 1% and the 99%. The fact that we even need to employ terms like “1%” and “99%” in relation to our society demonstrates the grave irrationality, indeed the glaring unfairness, of our economic system. It would be very difficult to come up with cogent arguments for a world in which only a small minority of people possess more power than the combined mental and physical power of millions, even billions, of people. It seems to me that 9 out of 10 people on the street could, for example, do Donald Trump’s job as well or better than he does; what tends to separate Donald Trump, for instance, from the average man or woman on the street is that the latter did not inherit a fortune from his family. Of course, it often takes money to make money. Thus using wealth as a measure of an individual’s genuine worth is highly dubious.

      • nj_v2

        We’ve had class warfare since the onset of Reagonomics. The rich have won.

        • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

          You mean “have been winning”, right? Or do you believe in the end of history and all that jazz? ;-)

    • Jill122

      I agree — only here we have a guy in the super-rich class who’s trying to warn his class that it’s time to rethink the way things are going.

      Democracy is as stake. People aren’t going to go back to slavery in order to keep the super wealthy happy.

      • Dane Wolf

        I, too, hope that the people will not willingly go back to slavery. But it is not clear to me that slavery is even something to which people can, per se, “go back”: slavery, so far as I can tell, is far from an institution of the past. If we define slavery as forced labor in which the laborer does not proportionately benefit from the products of his or her labor, then the vast majority of workers around the world — including in the United States — are firmly ensconced on the spectrum of slavery. Most people work long and hard hours, often at multiple jobs, and yet they still cannot seem to get ahead. Why? Increasingly, they live at subsistence wages — namely, they have just enough to pay the rent (or mortgage, if they’re lucky) and buy food, etc. but not enough to save up, invest, and/or take time off, vacation, enjoy life. And what if the worker is not content with this situation? Does he or she have a choice to opt out? I think there are just enough homeless people on the streets to function as a constant reminder to the middle- or working-class person to see what might very well happen to those who try to disengage from the status quo. In short, workers do not really have a choice not to work, and one job tends to be as exploitative of the worker’s labor as another. But where is all the value of the worker’s labor going? It is going, of course, to the owners of the companies, of the capital, of, to use an apt Marxian term, the owners of the “means of production”. The phrase “wage slave” is, on a deeper level, a redundancy.

        Slavery is still with us. The main problem, I think, is that modern slavery is often disguised. Whips and chains are replaced with low wages and the chronic fear of unemployment and homelessness. It is a less explicit form of bondage, but it is bondage nevertheless. The rich and powerful have a long history of being slave-drivers; this tends to be how they got rich and powerful in the first place. They may change the means by which they exploit the labor of others, but that they do exploit others’ labor is hardly open to doubt.

    • Charles Miller

      Meanwhile, there IS class warfare!

      • Dane Wolf

        Precisely. I think everybody who is not a part of the privileged plutocracy needs to carry “class warfare” as a sort of battle cry to every sociopolitical debate. The sooner that the vast majority of people in the 99% can agree that this is, in fact, the central issue, the sooner the middle class can combine its energies to get what it wants, such as higher (fairer) wages, less extortionate college education and health care, more time off, a shorter work week, and so on. As long as the 99% remains divided on the ongoing existence of class warfare, it will remain unable to exert its power over and against the corporations, who presently have disproportionately high influence on the way our laws are made and enforced.

        • Mahatma_Coat

          They would do better by not having credit cards, not taking car loans, and only shopping at companies which support a more balanced wage / employee profit distribution model.

    • Kirk Schlesinger

      Warfare of any sort, including class warfare, is a devastating thing both physically and spiritually. Everyone, not just the rich, should seek ways to avoid it.

      That said, solutions to economic and social problems will never be found simply by maintaining the current status quo, which remains a source of discomfort (or worse) for so many people.

      Nick Hanauer estimated that he belongs to a group representing just 1/100 of a percent of the USA population. That would be hard to register at all on a planetary scale of 7+ billion. That fact alone suggests an enormous imbalance exists, one that is bound to feed the forces of disunity and discord.

      If the “super-rich” represent a portion of what was once termed the “best & brightest” amongst us, then they really need to find ways to fully commit their time, energy and resources to exploring solutions.

      Note that I said “exploring”, not “devising”. It would not be healthy for such a tiny elite to impose its will on the rest of humanity. That alone could generate class warfare.

      Instead, the super-rich need to help all of humanity develop new ways of consulting about and reaching consensus on key problems and challenges. This is not a task even a united bloc of super-rich people can accomplish by themselves

      Fortunately for us all, humanity is at this crucial time receiving spiritual support from On High to achieve such momentous changes. To learn more about this, check out the Baha’i Faith (http://bahai.org)

  • Charles Miller

    The Ultracapitalists on this blog can unfavorably compare European countries against the all-superior ways of the U.S. However, because of the social support systems of many European countries, their citizens are much less stressed out. That is not an insignificant consideration.

    • optimisto1 .

      The immigrants from the 3rd world are the burden on Europe’s safety net. And we simply cannot afford to take that same burden on our safety net, because our health care and lawyers are most expensive in the world, and we still need to spend some money on military.

      • Charles Miller

        But we can somehow, afford the biggest military in the world.

        • optimisto1 .

          We need. Because you enjoy paying $3.50 for a gallon of gas, not $7 like Europeans.

          • J__o__h__n

            I’d rather pay $7 and let Europe pay for their own mid east oil externalities.

          • optimisto1 .

            Maybe you are well-off can afford, but 47% of less fortunate people who need to drive long to work everyday or collect their welfare check are not so. And our public transportation is not as good. So don’t compare apples with oranges.

          • J__o__h__n

            So you complained about the 47% who don’t pay income taxes but are worried about the poor if we no longer subsidize oil?

          • optimisto1 .

            Why do you take everything literally? I ,actually, worry about whole country’s economy if we have to pay $7 per gallon.

          • Charles Miller

            We are subsidizing oil costs by trillion dollar wars and constant — and expensive — meddling in the middle east and our huge military budget.

            When Bush II started his war of convenience, he didn’t have the balls to put a war tax on gasoline.. the very commodity that keeps us interested in middle east conflicts.

  • Radical___Moderate

    The first of Hanuaers solutions (the raising of the minimum wage) it is likely will cause inflation. Prices would then go up as companies look for bigger margins. In other words, in the long run, a say, 20% raise in minimum wage will create a 20% (or more) increase in the profits for the company. The companies will have just charged more. We will have just created larger numbers within the same wealth distribution issue. Additionally, as sad as this is, a raise in the wages at the bottom, can be ultimately what amounts to a pay cut for the middle class as their money will not go as far in purchasing power. This would be unless we raise their pay as well. But then we are back to the old bugger-boo of INFLATION risk.
    Hanauer’s second solution, I believe is more tenable possibly. Greater profit sharing. This could be hard to figure out at the beginning of a fiscal year, especially for small companies so, what might be a good idea is mandating, by law, an end of the year “Business Profit Dividend to Employees” for all employees who have been with the company. This would be an agreed upon percentage of the end of the year profits given back to each worker inn the form of a “bonus check” at the end of the year. (Unless one believes bonuses should only be for CEO’s :))
    I know many companies scream “socialism” or some word and say that could not do it but we all know bonuses are paid to bosses, shareholders etc. There is no reason we could not do this. As Hanauer said, evrything is “redistribution” so why not in fact do this.

    Yes, the problem will be, as it often is historically, that many of the rich would resist through their lobbyists, bought politicians and media hacks.
    Today, however, we must realize that the have a couple of advantages they have not always had historically in their favor. They can ship many jobs overseas. They can invert their corporate citizenships and they can take advantage of highly unorganized American labor force. They also can go too the state which treats them the best and gives them the most concessions. All of those things are issues that likely must be dealt with first for our end of the year “Business Profits Employees Dividend Bill” to become a reality.
    WE THE PEOPLE have at least two advantages on them that we MUST use fully if we have a chance. One is our vote, our demanding of political accountability FAR MORE than we have of our “pseudo-representatives.” Finally, through the mechanism mentioned above, we can dictate whom gets to sell in our ever coveted American domestic markets.
    It will take organization, getting our heads out of our phones and political will. I’m not optimistic that we will do this since most of do not even know our neighbors. It will take all we can muster to resist their screaming of things like “socialism” and “protectionism” etc. (which would be ironic since in many ways the rich have benefited wholesale from various forms of protectionism and socialism!).
    The alternatives are to go on this way. The French Revolution approach took everything from one group and gave nothing to another and thousands of innocent people suffered and died. Violence will NOT work as they have militarized police, drones and technology, and organization and money the people do not have. That would just create a whole new Authoritarian Capitalism like that evolving in China. No winning their.
    We must work with the rich. They are highly intelligent and will always win otherwise. Good luck and God Bless…

  • hennorama

    Updating “the 47%,” a video from the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, titled, Debunking Myths About Who Pays No Federal Income Tax

    (Their estimate for 2013: 43%)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM7orhQIzKM

    • Don_B1

      And those who meet the requirements to not pay Federal Income Tax do pay a lot of other taxes, most notably the payroll tax, or F.I.C.A. for Social Security, and a lot of sales tax as a percentage of their income.

  • wanders123

    I would have liked to hear more of Nick Hanauer’s thoughts about minimum wage laws in this country and their effect on business. I was sorry that Tom, who usually tries to elicit the interviewee’s point of view through targeted questioning, seemed to turn to vigorous and intrusive opposition toward the end of the discussion today. We hear that plenty of places.
    Guess I’ll have to buy the book, or borrow it at the library.

    • J__o__h__n

      I would have lived to have heard more about how much he lived up to these ideals that he is advocating now in the businesses that he created on his way to his wealth.

    • StilllHere

      This isn’t new for Tom, it’s SOP and his way of getting the best of a billionaire. You could just hear that he felt better about himself for having done so.

      • wanders123

        I don’t share your cynicism. I usually find Tom well informed and an equal opportunity provocateur and/or probing questioner, as he should be. That’s why it was disappointing when he started steamrolling the opinions of this guest toward the show’s end.

    • Charles Miller

      I’ll bet 10 cents that if libraries were “invented” in our current ethos, you’d have to charge each user a rental fee (and discourage the poorer from getting access to reading)

      • optimisto1 .

        Charles, I came into this country. And I can observe that large masses of people of color need to be educated in order to improve and in order to compare our “democracy” to Europe. But they are simply UNEDUCATABLE for whatever reason. This is not my bigotry. This is simply a fact. How many engineers have you seen among blacks? I have not seen any.

        • Charles Miller

          In total agreement that significant numbers in the black community need positive self-reform. Sen Daniel Moynihan frequently spoke on this topic, you know, that terrible liberal.

          The culture of violence is clearly an evil that can only be cured from within.

        • JKJ

          As an engineer myself, I’ve worked with several African American engineers.

        • Ray in VT

          Holy hell, man. People of color “are simply UNEDUCATABLE for whatever reason. This is not my bigotry. This is simply a fact.” No, that is bigotry. That is pretty flat out racist.

          • optimisto1 .

            Ray, get out from VT and face the reality, hypocrite.
            The history is racist. The science is racist. The stats are racist. So the true facts are racist.

          • Ray in VT

            I face reality every day, thank you. I am not the one who claims that “people of color” “are simply uneducatable”. That is not science, history, statistics or a true fact. That is disgusting prejudice.

          • optimisto1 .

            Can you prove me wrong? You can’t. You can’t win any argument with me, whether it is on fiscal issues or social issues, history or politics. Because I operate by facts, stats and logic, but you operate by your values whatever or whoever teacher/professor instilled them in you. Also I did not inherit from my parents any political party affiliation.

          • Ray in VT

            You make a lot of assumptions about me, my positions and how I came by them.

            You operate on facts? That’s a good one. I suspect that I cannot win an argument with you for the same reason that I cannot win an argument with certain other individuals, namely that some have decided that what they believe is unassailable, despite all evidence to the contrary.

            Where did you get your “facts” on people of color being uneducatable? The Bell Curve? Perhaps some nice people wearing something that looks like a pointy sheet? The facts are that race doesn’t play a factor in intelligence.

          • Ray in VT

            And exactly how am I a hypocrite, by the way?

          • optimisto1 .

            Because you are staying in 99%-white liberal-socialist state in safe neighborhood and preaching to the rest of us the values of diversity. That is very typical of your ilk.

          • Ray in VT

            Whatever, pal. You don’t know me or my story. Maybe you should take your view that people of color can’t be educated and head on over to Harlem or something and let them know just how inferior you think that they are. I’m not going to apologize for living in a great place with many great traditions, and it’s not because “99% white” (which isn’t true).

          • optimisto1 .

            Yeah, 96%. And people are being killed, boycotted, smeared, fired for speaking up the politically-incorrect truth all the time.

          • Ray in VT

            And that, of course, assumes that all white people are alike, and I assure you that there have been some longstanding conflicts and divisions here between those of English and those of French Canadian origins.

            Oh yes, please tell me about the truth tellers who are so oppressed. Do they also believe that people of color can’t be educated? It must be so tough for people who speak the “politically-incorrect truth” out there in the non-99% white world. How hard they must have it. If they are advancing the sort “truth” that you have given us, then they are doing a fine job of smearing themselves.

          • optimisto1 .

            I am sure many people think like me, but they are just not willing to speak up what’s on their mind because it goes against the broad “public opinion” given the history of this country and extra-sensitivity. But I am somewhat right that lots of liberals like you are hypocrites because they tend to live in all-white safe places while preaching diversity values.

          • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

            You’re missing two indefinite articles… perhaps you skipped English class that day, because the weather was nice. Or the concept of an indefinite article didn’t stick for some reason (you seem to have grasped the concept of the definite article fairly well).

            Even on the internet, where no one can tell you’re a foreigner, proper English helps you make a more persuasive argument (and disguise the fact that English is not your first language).

            By the way, welcome to ‘Murrica (if you’re indeed living in a “red state”). Your intolerance will be most appreciated. ;-)

          • optimisto1 .

            Thank you for your English suggestions. Actually, both the definite and indefinite articles are not used much in chats or SMS messages just like not used on the road signs like “Pedestrial Xing”, not “The Pedestrial Crossing”. And actually, I live in a blue-state which is run by liberal lunatics and unions, and where people voted to keep the sales taxes. What a bunch of idiots.

  • sgk1212

    The
    Liberals have not empowered their followers; they have enslaved them in a
    culture of dependence and entitlement, of victim-hood and anger instead of
    ability and hope. The president’s
    premise – that you reduce income inequality by debasing the successful – seeks
    to deny the successful the consequences of their choices and spare the
    unsuccessful the consequences of their choices.
    The fact is, by and large, income variations in society are the result
    of different choices leading to different consequences. Those who choose wisely and responsibly have
    a far greater likelihood of success, while those who choose foolishly and irresponsibly
    have a far greater likelihood of failure.
    Success and failure usually manifest themselves in personal and family
    income.

    • Charles Miller

      Yeah, right. I’ll just point out that, in today’s right-leaning ethos, Richard Nixon would definitely be in the “liberal” column, as he promoted H.C. reform, reduced national speed limits to 55 mph, and had his various “Phases” of price controls.

      Hell, even Reagan might be now labeled as a RINO, as he dared to work across the aisle. Nowadays, the republican strategy is to simply gum up the works. That favors the rich.

      • sgk1212

        Please catch up! It was Jimmy Carter who lowered the speed limit to 55.

        • Charles Miller

          Please wise up. You are wrong. Jeez, a 30 second Google look up would show that. But you perhaps just have your built in biases against facts?

          • sgk1212

            I stand corrected. Now, please pay more in taxes so we can get that 47% way up there.

        • hennorama

          sgk1212 — here’s a look back at some images from the 1973-1974 Oil Crisis. If you lived through it, you’ll recall “Odd-even Days,” as well as massive lines at fuel stations, etc.

          http://www.businessinsider.com/gas-signs-1970s-2011-8?op=1

          At the time, I was living on a farm, so our family wasn’t terribly impacted, except cost-wise. Farmers had no fuel delivery restrictions, and we had several fuel storage tanks for farm use. Somehow, our personal vehicles never ran dry.

      • optimisto1 .

        Name me one Democrat who dares to work across the aisle.

        • Charles Miller

          Obama. He put forward a Republican health-care reform plan, one outlined by the Heritage Foundation, not just Romney. He didn’t advocate single-payer at all. He went for the wimpiest reform possible.

          And the Republicans yelled “Death Panels” and “Destroying our country” and opposed him on every step of the way.

          I have to do something more productive.

          Bye

          • optimisto1 .

            This Republican health-care plan was never meant to apply for the whole country. It was invented only for tiny Dem-majority state – the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. But Dems made this PR spin on it. This law should never be a Federal law.

          • Charles Miller

            I didn’t know that you were that prescient! Your answer is a rather negative one. What would your plan be? Or do you think our health care system is, as some propagandists say, “the best in the world?”

          • optimisto1 .

            Well, according to the founding fathers of this country Health care was not a human right. It is a privilege you have to earn. See, the US has the most expensive health care in the world, but not the best. The doctors have a green light to charge as much as they wish because they know your insurance will cover most bill. If people did not have an insurance they would not charge that much. Doctors are very lucrative here. There should be a cap on their charges.

          • Charles Miller

            Okay, that is an approach and one that might help. But you realize that it is against the hypercapitalism of our day and reeks of gubmint regulations.

            I prefer a single payer system (get rid of the useless, delaying, confusing, health insurance industry and allow for the wealthier to get side-insurance for boutique procedures.

            Gotta go. have some homework. I think this will be my last post, as I probably should move on.

          • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

            Substitute education for health-care and see how that flies. Should both really be run as businesses? Do the poor have a right to either of them?

        • jefe68

          Name one Republican that would do the same? Or even be seen talking to a Democrat. The last Congress made some history, it was the least productive since the one the year before.

        • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

          Russ Feingold. As did John McCain. That really got them a lot of support, didn’t it?

    • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

      Unless you’re “too big to fail (or jail)”

      P.S. Copy-and
      -paste
      fail.

      :-p

      • sgk1212

        Facts are quite stubborn things, aren’t they? One may not like the facts but the facts remain.

  • Charles Miller

    “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands
    of a few, but we can’t have both.”

    Louis D. Brandeis (Supreme Court Judge)

    • Lector

      As long as we’re onto aphorisms, never forget that the American revolution was started by a bunch of rich, white men who didn’t want to pay taxes.

      • John Cedar

        And lets not forget:
        “all we are is dust in the wind”

        • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

          Apparently some dust isn’t paying its fair share, however… it’s living high on the hog. Question is, is it the management dust or the labor dust shirking its patriotic responsibility to pay its fair share?

      • optimisto1 .

        and who, including Jefferson, owned a bunch of slaves.

      • Don_B1

        It was actually the fact that the East India Company had a tax advantage over them, not so much that they had to pay taxes. But they were equally wary of great wealth and its potential to corrupt the government.

    • John Cedar

      And yet…we have both.

      • Charles Miller

        Well, that is your opinion. With 90% retention of incumbents, the HUGE amount of money needed to run a competitive campaign, and the outsized influence of well-funded lobbyists (many, former legislators)… there are multiple arguments against your statement.

        • Jill122

          Think gerrymandering — not a desire to keep bums in office.

        • John Cedar

          You are picking nits.
          Over 60 million fools voted for the president and he won the most powerful job in our govenrment.

          • Charles Miller

            Gosh, they are rather huge nits.

    • optimisto1 .

      Charles, you cannot have a democracy in this country. The democracy was only in the ancient Greece, but women and slaves still did not vote.

      • Charles Miller

        You are picking nits. Okay, representative democracy. But we are sliding toward an oligarchy at any rate. Guess who DOESN’T get a form letter from their congressperson?

        • optimisto1 .

          It is not an oligarchy. It is a capitalist democracy American-style. $47% of people do not contribute and live off others. This is not even a socialism.

          • Ray in VT

            “47% of people do not contribute”? How so?

          • optimisto1 .

            If they don’t pay income taxes that means they don’t give back anything to society except their employer if it is a paycheck.

          • Ray in VT

            Except for all of the other taxes that they pay.

          • optimisto1 .

            They get lots of free stuff and gifts from the charities.

          • Ray in VT

            So what if some of them do? That does not change the fact that even those who do not pay federal income taxes are subject to plenty of other taxes and fees.

          • optimisto1 .

            It does not negate the fact that 47% of people in this country are dependent on the government handouts/entitlement programs, which according to my math means 53% of people including myself are providing for other 47% via income taxes, that means that 47% are burden on 53%. Is it a good news for taxpayers? No, I don’t think so.

          • hennorama

            optimisto1 . — with no due respect, that’s a bunch of myopic malarkey.

          • optimisto1 .

            hennorama – with no due respect, who cares what you say?

          • hennorama

            optimisto1 . — given that you replied, at least one person does — you.

          • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

            Better put Grandma and 5-year old Joey to work in the fast-food sweatshop, then.

          • optimisto1 .

            Grandmas have savings and children have parents.

          • TFRX

            Grandmas have savings….thanks to SocSec.

          • TFRX

            Wow.

            Sooooo much derp in that post.

          • Ray in VT

            That fact is dated. It is no longer the current number. That “47% of people in this country are dependent on the government handouts/entitlement programs” isn’t really a fact, unless you have some other study that produces that number, unless one is merely arguing that those who don’t pay Federal income taxes are dependent upon the government, in part because the income tax is only one source of Federal revenue, as well as the fact that many who are in that 47% have already spent decades working so that they could some day retire. If you want to get all up on your high horse about perhaps how good the poor have it living off of you, then by all means have at it, but poor people, often at the state level, generally pay higher shares of their incomes in taxes than do higher income workers. They aren’t getting a free ride. Most of them are working hard and paying for society.

          • Charles Miller

            And since when have the top folks not been dependent on corporate welfare. The whole “job creator / moocher” dicotomy is yet another Rove invention that, because of its memorable simplicity, the non-analytical among us buy into.

  • dawoada

    I don’t hear any acknowledgement of the fact that we don’t have one size of economic pie to be divided up. It is not necessary to take from the rich to give to the poor. Both rich and poor can get more. The problem is to figure out how this can be equitably done, i.e. without punishing the rich for being rich.

    • Jill122

      That’s a republican meme. I don ‘t know anyone, ever, who wants to punish the rich. At least not right now. Thirty years for them to figure out that they must be more fair with their employees and the people in society who have been left behind.

      We’re just saying that’s a long time to be patient waiting for social justice.

      • dawoada

        It is not a matter of the rich creating social justice. It is a matter of creating an improving economy and more jobs. This shouldn’t be up to only the rich.

        • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

          But I thought only the rich created jobs. That’s how they got rich, right? ;-)

    • Don_B1

      True, but you miss the point, at least explicitly, in that for the last three decades or so the sharing of the growth has not been equitable between capital and labor, particularly in the three years following the financial crisis of 2008, where 95% of the growth went to those in the top 1% of income/wealth.

      If this continues there will actually be less growth to divide up, until the pie actually does not grow at all, as the consumers, the vast majority of whom are not in the 1%, no longer have any growth in income, which has been near true since the Great Recession began.

      The IMF has studied this and its report is here:

      http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/sdn/2014/sdn1402.pdf

      The bottom line is summarized:

      First, more unequal societies tend to redistribute more. It is thus important in understanding the growth-inequality relationship to distinguish between market and net inequality.

      Second, lower net inequality is robustly correlated with faster and more durable growth, for a given level of redistribution. These results are highly supportive of our earlier work.

      And third, redistribution appears generally benign in terms of its impact on growth; only in extreme cases is there some evidence that it may have direct negative effects on growth. Thus the combined direct and indirect effects of redistribution—including the growth effects of the resulting lower inequality—are on average pro-growth.

  • Jim Carroll

    I would be interested in knowing if Mr Hanauer has ever taken the time to read St. Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical “Rerum Novarum” (On Revolutionary Change) ? Some of the ideas he’s expressing match up quite well with what the Pope was saying almost 125 years ago.

    In addition, he may be interested in what G.K. Chesterton wrote on the subject. He once said something to the effect that the problem with Socialism is that the government owns the banks, and the problem with Capitalism is that the banks own the government. He and a several other radicals proposed “Distributism” as a middle ground between those two extremes.

    • http://realestatecafe.com/blog RealEstateCafe

      Some progressive Catholics and others are talking about “middle ground” strategies right now in Paris, see

      Economy of Communion: A new economy for a fairer world

      http://bit.ly/EoC2014

    • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

      Heresy to the big business/big government revolving door hierarchy! Who will be there to skim off the top and engage in mutual back-scratching? ;-)

  • nowthatithinkofit

    Bumped out of the on-air caller queue but I’ll share here: I applaud Mr Hanauer for taking this risk and speaking the unspeakable among the very wealthy but to the masses. He’s right – if there are no jobs, there are no consumers. No consumers means no sales. My view: we live in a shareholder society – every business leader is a blind and willing slave to the threats made by investors for growth … no one is rewarded for providing stability. We’re watching it happen before our eyes – this shareholder society is aggressively cannibalizing all that was once good about American society for the sake of profit-to get more, more, more.

    Delivering profits to investors trumps all long-view common sense, – and the core issue is – in my POV – the failure of business leaders to ask, and answer, the critical question “How much is enough (personal wealth)?” for the people reaping said profits. If business management could answer to the question “how much is ENOUGH for me?” at the outset of a business plan, there would be benchmarks by which to better define living, equitable wages and benefits, and establish more jobs to do the work. Balance, not bottom line, should be the key.

    I challenge all my friends and colleagues to answer that question “How Much Is Enough (for me)?” when talking about business, jobs, profits, pollution driven by bottom-liners. No one is willing to even debate it but your guest drives home my point – that the greed that grows from capitalism is killing the middle class and…cutting the legs off the underclass, b/c there’s no where to go but continue the race to the bottom.

    • sgk1212

      Limit how much anyone can make. Establish a ceiling on wealth. Let the government decide how much money the corporation and individual can earn. The government should take the excess. Capitalism and the profit motive are destroying society!

      • Charles Miller

        We used to have that system, including 90% marginal tax rates. But from Reagan on, the repubs have whittled that structure away to the point that Warren Buffet pays a smaller percentage of tax than does his secretary. And we are – by all objective measures — creeping toward oligarchy. Gosh, Glenn Beck was right! (but predictably, for the wrong reason!)

        • sgk1212

          Why stop at 90%? Shouldn’t we allow the (very wise) liberals in congress decide how much we get to keep?

          • John Cedar

            If the tax rate was ever REALLY 90% then the Kennedy trust would not still be giving us Kennedys who have so much time to be chemically dependent because they don’t have to worry about ever working..

          • Charles Miller

            Uh, think you need another wake-up call. Democrats are NOT calling the shots in Congress. And Bushes tax cuts increased our deficits (were not offset). Irresponsible.

          • sgk1212

            But the liberals in congress ARE whining about taxes being too low. Let’s vote in more liberals so we can enlarge the welfare apparatus.

          • Charles Miller

            Correction: taxes too low for the ultra rich. Please try to represent your political foes with just a tad of honesty!!

          • sgk1212

            You seem to enjoy wasting other people’s money. If you’re not paying enough in taxes, go ahead and send more of your money to Washington.

        • John Cedar

          The reason Buffet paid such a low percentage is that he gave so much of it to charity for a tax deduction. seems better to redistribute his wealth this way then through uncle sugar’s military.

          • Jill122

            You’re short on facts and high on rhetoric. Of course the tax rate was 90% during Eisenhower for the last dollar earned on one million. Do you even understand the tax system?

            And the hit on the Kennedy’s was what? To show us what an idiot you are? You did that with your understanding of progressive taxes.

          • sgk1212

            Please leave the sacred Kennedy’s alone.

          • Jill122

            Please leave the sacred Rockefellers, the sacred, Fords, the sacred Kennedys alone. Please leave Carnegie alone even though he was able to afford the gifts of all those libraries off the backs of his workers who he paid $1.00 per day.

            No one but you is attacking the wealthy — not yet. Right now we’re attacking the system that is unequal. That includes tax law, justice, and the men and women who work in DC just 6 months out of the year and spend the rest of the time collecting money so they can keep those jobs.

          • Charles Miller

            Troll talk!

          • John Cedar

            The Kennedy trust is just one of countless examples of people who received income of millions of dollars without paying 90% tax on it. Or any tax for that matter.

            Bill Gates never paid tax on the majority of the billions he is worth. It is just in the form of MS stock that he never recognized the gain on because he never sold it.

            Before you tax something at 92% you have to have it count as income and not be offset by some other transaction or loophole.

          • Charles Miller

            Fine. But giving large contributions to anyone is only something the better off can afford. You make 40K in a household, you are just scraping by.

          • JKJ

            No, Buffet paid such a low percentage because the capital gains rate is much lower than most normal income rates.

            Some will argue that that’s fair because capital gains is essentially a double tax since the corporation has already paid taxes on that income. It depends on your perspective I guess.

          • John Cedar

            You are correct.

            But my version sounds better.
            But he did have a huge charitable deduction.

        • pete18

          Correction: From Kennedy on, since he was the first of the post war presidents to advocate for across the board tax cuts, including the cutting of the ridiculous top marginal rate of 90% as a way of stimulating the economy and adding new jobs.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qmHdqWPB_S8

          • Charles Miller

            Okay, fine… but the republicans are hell-bent on reducing any legacy of FDR. So much for so many state and county parks, or bridges, or shortening the Great Depression.

          • jefe68

            Funny how the context of what Kennedy was on about is always missing when the right uses his namesake in economic arguments such as today’s.

          • pete18

            What’s missing?

          • jefe68

            That Kennedy was not a supply sider bay any means. That he would never support the absurd system we have today for staters. Need I go on?

      • John Cedar

        And the drug companies! Don’t forget it is them who is keeping safe harmless fun drug use illegal.

        • Mari McAvenia

          Safe, harmless and fun drugs for WHOM? Sounds like you’d like to consume them all while taking potshots at hardworking people.

      • Lector

        Your ticket to Cuba is waiting…

        • sgk1212

          My point precisely ;-)

      • brettearle

        That’s too radical.

        It puts a damper on incentive and Economic growth.

    • John Cedar

      The more important question is, “how much is enough for the “poor””.

      • francaispourmoi

        as a struggling working lower middle class home owner, my only wish would be not to go to bed worrying when the next financial problem shoe is going to drop and how we’re going to pay for it. we don’t live beyond our means by any stretch of the imagination, but to have just a LITTLE feeling of security would be a breath of fresh air!

        • notafeminista

          People with money like Nick Hanauer’s are not preventing anyone from doing just that.

      • Catdad

        John Cedar, that was about the most offensive thing I’ve ever read. How do you sleep at night?

        • Mari McAvenia

          Strong drugs, probably, the most potent his vast wealth can buy.

        • cuyahogacat

          Because he’s an idiot

        • notafeminista

          You can be offended all day long, but it begs the question.

        • John Cedar

          When you are done feigning offense…try to focus your tiny brain and answer the question.

          • Catdad

            You don’t know me from Adam. You have no idea of the size of my brain, or whether the offense I take is feigned. I don’t know you, either, but I know that what you posted was heartless and cruel. And I know some very poor people who do not have nearly enough to live a decent life. And that’s the answer your question: the poor need enough to live decent lives, just like anyone else.

          • John Cedar

            If you don’t know me then you don’t know if i know you. You can only take a reasonable guess…as I did regarding your brain.

            You didn’t answer the question, you merely danced around it with a vague meaningless sanctimonious answer. There are plenty of people living in abject poverty who would tell you they are living decent lives. Lou Gehrig said of himself, “I am the luckiest man on the face of the earth”. I am sure you would assume because he was well-to-do.

      • jimino

        To the contrary, the real question is “how much is enough for the wealthy?”

        • notafeminista

          Its just the other side of the coin. It’s a safe bet that if one is able to see what is “too much” – then what should be enough? Clearly there is some sort of standard in mind when one says a person has too much money. Assume that is true….when, then does someone have “enough”. In other words when should they stop.

        • John Cedar

          The topic is not about changing the system so that we can redistribute more wealth to the top. It is about changing it to redistribute it to the bottom. The question of how much wealth should the poor have is the relevant question.

          It has been pointed out countless times that the poor in our country are not really poor by any historical or world standards.

          The drama queens will attempt to compare things to the gilded age but the Rockefeller fortune would be worth a couple hundred billion today while 80% of families lived on less than $500 per year.

          So we need to know how may flat screens and how many cars and how many cell phone minutes the poor should be entitled to today.

          • jimino

            “the poor in our country are not really poor by any historical or world standards”

            That standard is $1.25 a day. Is that your standard too?

          • John Cedar

            No.

            But that is a great reference point when having the conversion.

            But can you answer the question or are only willing to deflect the question back at me while using hyperbole?

          • jimino

            No body is entitled to flat screens, cars or cell phone minutes, if that is your question.

            What’s your point? That the poor are better off than any pharaoh was because they have flush toilets and King Tut didn’t?

          • Charles Miller

            What do you mean “entitled to”? Are you just parroting that extremely revealing study promoted by Fox News that claimed that 90% of the poor had a refrigerator? or that 95% had a TV? what a way to minimize their plight. Indeed, it’s a bit of good ol’ class war tactics (“look how great they have it!)

          • John Cedar

            I used the phrase “entitled to” to mean what a “living wage” should buy them.

            Not familiar with that Fox study you reference.

            Call it a class war tactic if it makes you happy but it is your side that is trying to incite a class war here not mine. I merely ask for a description of how much sh#$ you think the poor should have before you will be happy and no one will answer.

            Or I should say the only answers I got were the insults of shallow thinking emotionally charged drama queens, unable to ague their case.

    • hellokitty0580

      Charles Miller is right. Businesses in the United States used to have a sense of responsibility to the community in which they were based. They used to have a sense of responsibility to their employees, but they don’t. Look at Burger King. They just ran away to Canada in order to avoid paying taxes. There is no longer a sense of belonging. It’s shareholders and it’s globalization.

      So what can we do? Well, if money talks we can stop giving our business to these companies. We can shop local. And we can vote. And we can contact our government and pressure our politicians. We can do these things.

      • John Cedar

        So the problem is that Burger Krap doesn’t want to pay the highest corporate taxes on their foreign sales, not that even uber liberal Canada has a lower corporate tax rate than the USA? Gotcha…

        • hellokitty0580

          I don’t know about the Canadian tax system. What I do know is that when we had higher tax rates in this country, wealth grew more equitably and when the tax rate dropped, wealth inequality grew.

          • sgk1212

            Proving that higher taxes are wonderful and makes a country prosperous; therefore the government should actually take it all to be redistributed as it sees fit.

          • StilllHere

            Correlation isn’t causation.

          • hellokitty0580

            No, crap. But tell the much accredited economist Robert Reich he’s wrong.

          • John Cedar

            Surely Reich has been told he was wrong by countless other economist.

          • John Cedar

            “what the honorable member is saying is that she would rather the poor were poorer provided the rich were less rich…”

        • TFRX

          Submitted without comment.

        • StilllHere

          The US is the only economy that uses world-wide accounting; UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Canada …. nope. The US government believes it should tax income outside the US.

          • hennorama

            Stilllhere — that is factually inaccurate.

            Not that that’s ever stopped your blather, of course.

            In addition, the US system is a hybrid, neither strictly territorial nor worldwide.

            Better luck next time.

        • Jerome

          All of the countries with lower corporate rates make up for in with much higher income tax rates. which would be the better option. also you are misconstruing corporate tax rate with effective tax rate. almost no company actually pays the full corporate tax rate.

          • John Cedar

            They don’t pay that rate? You should tell the Burger King and maybe he won’t bother with this move once you point that out.

    • Jill122

      I wish I could agree. They are playing with billions that belong to mutual funds and pension funds. No vote, no say in management. Nothing but a nod from the pension fund administrators on both sides of the equation.

      You may own fossil fuel stock right this minute and never know it. You may own shares in Walgreens or Burger King or any of the companies taking jobs from the US and exporting them to the cheapest market. You not only don’t know, you don’t have a say in it either. But you’re considered a “fool” if you’re not in the game, even though we all know it’s rigged from the top down.

      The management class is running things. Not the board, not the shareholders, but the CEOs. They are very simply managers with stock options and they do what they do in a vacuum because corporations are individuals with free speech, who live forever and have zero community responsibility. When things go wrong they blame China, and keep moving (that’s a different conversation, but who orders all that merchandise from China that winds up hurting people. Who provides the specs?)

  • francaispourmoi

    I’ve been making the parallel between our society and the french revolution for several years with most of my peers looking at me like I have two heads, so I’m glad to find someone else who realizes that those who forget history are doomed to repeat it. When government officials are enriched and the common man becomes less and less a voice to be listened to combined with a lack of integrity and ethics among big business to do what is right rather than what is not illegal, we are headed for pitchforks and even if the wealthy build a moat around what is theirs, they will be no safer than the aristocrats of the late 1700s, no matter how militarized the police are. I don’t begrudge the wealthy their riches, but their monetary influence on our government elections, lobbyists and the tax code really makes my blood boil.

    • John Cedar

      You would find more valid comparisons to us and Germany in the 30′s than you can to THE French Revolution.

      • brettearle

        Enumerate, your reasons, please.

        Because I think the growing Plutocracy could lead, years from now, to Fascism and not any act of storming the Bastille.

        • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

          How’d it end for those fascist exemplars, anyway?

      • jimino

        You mean a seemingly brainwashed, large segment its population worshiping the corporate-controlled state?

  • Ed

    Nick has an excellent Ted talk. Great to watch.

    • Mari McAvenia

      I watched it 2 weeks ago and, yes, he is a very charismatic and articulate speaker .

  • Adrian_from_RI

    In 1966 Ayn Rand wrote a book: “Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal.” It seems that capitalism is a completely unknown ideal to entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Nick Hanauer, as well as Tom Ashbrook. It seems to me that Mr. Hanauer is speaking in defense of Wesley Mouch, the most accomplished looter in the book “Atlas Shrugged.”

    Question for Mr. Hanauer: Why not pass a law to make the minimum wage hundred dollars an hour? After all, Congressional Law can override the Law of Economics. Can it not?

    • jimino

      So you suggest we base all our real-world policies on fiction written by hypocritical authors?

      • jefe68

        Funny how the above libertarian based comments are both hyperbolic as well as ad hominem…

        What was left out is Ayn Rand depended on both Medicare and SS at the end of her life. Oh the irony of it all.

      • Mari McAvenia

        Russian born, alcoholic and hypocritical fiction writers make fabulous role models for the new plutocrats. Talk about not knowing the difference between fantasy and reality…..pour Adrian another cup of Kool Aid with a generous slug of imported vodka added for kicks.

      • HugheyGrant

        Low and easy blow. Man up, go beyond the author and try to actually say something about the ideas brought forth.

        • jimino

          I see zero ideas in the post to which I responded beyond the one I addressed. What are these ideas?

    • Jeff

      That’s the thing that liberals never admit, there is an upper limit to the minimum wage before everyone at a low skill level won’t be able to find a job.

      • brettearle

        Higher wages lead to greater consumer spending power–which, in turn, leads to increased employment.

        • Jeff

          Now explain why a minimum wage of $100/hr doesn’t make sense.

          • Jerome

            Because there are almost no jobs worth paying that much. as in contribute the equivalent economic value given by the work itself. All work however is worth more than the federal min. and in fact you don’t run into even getting close to that threshold at $10.10. even the worst areas of the country would start to only see negative effects above $15 hr

          • Jeff

            Okay, so wouldn’t those negative effects be present at any value of minimum wage?

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

            No.

          • Jeff

            See this is what we’re dealing with, people who live in fantasy land that can’t understand some pretty basic laws of supply and demand.

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

            So, we should go back to having child labor, and 7 day 12-14 hours / day work weeks? That’s what we had before we had government regulation of the workplace.

          • Bill_GKD

            Like those who live in the laissez-faire fantasy land where “pretty basic laws of supply and demand” seem to be the beginning and the end of the rules of economics?

          • nj_v2

            “See this is what we’re dealing with…”

            “Aha! Pronoun trouble!”
            — Daffy Duck

          • TFRX

            Hey, you’re stealing my bit!

            (H/t Krusty.)

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

            My “demand” is that the world not be poisoned and polluted by anyone.

            The “market” totally fails to supply this.

          • Jeff

            Sure, that’s fine, sue if you feel you’re being poisoned…but don’t try to tell me that the air you exhale is a poison because if it is I’d love see you impose an exhale tax on yourself.

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

            Even Hayek realized that pollution had to be regulated.

          • Jeff

            As long as we’re not regulating the air that people exhale and you can prove scientifically that the chemical is directly harmful to plants/animals at the concentration being released. I’m fine with real pollution regulation but CO2 in the concentration in the air is not poison.

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

            You’re conflating things again, Jeff.

            CO₂ that we breath out came from the food we eat – which got it from the air. So, it does not change the level of CO₂ in the air.

            Burning fossil fuels, on the other hand does increase the level of CO₂ in the air, and therefore it is a major pollutant.

            Also, all the other waste from fossil fuels are pollutants. Coal fly ash is a pollutant.

          • Jerome

            No they are not. the negative effects essentially refer to more people being unemployed at the low skill end of the spectrum. that will outweigh the added consumption by low wage individuals only in situation of very high unemployment. So it is conceivable that our minimum wage could hurt us but most historical examples put this rate at around 20-25% unemployment rate. essentially when happens then an underground or secondary economy is created where people do work under this rate (odd jobs).

          • Steve__T

            Who needs to explain.

          • tsam100

            Explain how hyperbolic BS and bad faith arguments advance the discussion.

          • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

            CEO compensation of $100 million for a company losing money doesn’t make sense either, but you seem oblivious to that…

      • jimino

        What’s that limit? What research are you relying on to put forth your claim?

      • Florida Bob

        Trickledown only works when it flows and not
        drips.

        When customers have more money, business have more customers and need more workers.

        If consumers have no money business have no
        customers and our economy collapses. Look what happened when housing collapsed. It was not just carpenters and electricians, it includes truckers, the lumber industry, surveyors, recorders, financial and insurance agents, people who make roofing, paint, fixtures, appliances, carpeting, furniture, landscaping….

        The issue is bigger than one might think, the lack of jobs is effecting household formation, asset accumulation and retirement savings.

        70% of our GDP is consumer spending; where did it go?

        Could it be, that many who have left our workforce were involved in housing?

      • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

        I dunno ’bout that, plenty of low-skill folks seem to be working as CEOs nowadays, and they’re compensated quite well. Socialism for the rich, y’all.

    • HugheyGrant

      Great point. If we set a minimum wage (like we have) it is merely an arbitrary number. After $15 or $10.10 an hour, is our problem fixed? Are we going to be unsatisfied with these minimum wages and increase them again? How far do we go?…this is a poor way to make regulation…A real problem needs to be defined- What is inequality? What causes it? These two questions must be answered over and over because I imagine there are hundreds of different viewpoints as to the answer to these.

      • Jerome

        Setting it to a fixed number is the flaw in the regulation. It should be pegged to economic indicators and reviewed every few years and changed when it comes out of the tolerance point of an indicator. Inflation, cost of living, unemployment rate ,commensurate labor supply etc. etc. are all factors that should be looked at. Your assertion of “why change it if we have to change it again” is silly. that’s like saying why eat if you will just get hungry again.

        • HugheyGrant

          The nature of eating solves the problem of hunger. We know that to be the case. The biology of our bodies requires us to continue eating throughout our lives. We can solve our personal hunger by eating because we fully understand the problem of hunger. Like eating and satisfying hunger, we need to define inequality, what causes it, and determine what is wrong with it so we can give it the food it needs to be satisfied. I think regulation, and time spent by some governing body trying to set a minimum wage is like trying to solve hunger by chewing gum- it may work temporarily but a deeper problem persists that is prolonged and still unresolved.

          • Jerome

            There will always be inequality (not a bad thing). A capitalist system naturally consolidates wealth at the top. Competition ensures it will always seek to pool resources and create the strongest, most efficient, biggest company as this is the best way to insure survival. this is a good thing to a point. We have exceeded that point. regulation needs to only to balance the system again so that competition can continue rather than watch the result of perpetual nonintervention: which is one big company that owns everything and everyone. it pays one person at the top all the money and everyone else get nothing. survival of the fittest and one person “wins”

          • Paul Gerrard

            I believe that Adam Smith said the same thing.

          • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

            Interesting you bring up food. The cost of food–as with many other necessities–has gone up a bit since the minimum wage was first enacted.

            Fear of hunger as a motivational tool seems to be a good idea from the perspective of the plutocrat, but eventually it gets to the point where people are working and still not able to afford food. That’s a breaking point, and any plutocrat who ignores it deserves the consequences that accrue.

            I suppose when even bread becomes too expensive, the “laissez-faire” solution is to “let them eat Hostess (TM) and Lil’ Debbie (R) cake”…

    • Paul Gerrard

      There is a real problem to discuss here. I don’t see any real benefit in absurd ideas (like a $100 minimum wage.) We set a minimum wage in this country by political agreement. Then we ignored it. The adjustments being discussed today are simply bringing that past number up to 2014 in real terms. Why doesn’t that make sense? Prices have gone up. Other supply costs have gone up. Why shouldn’t the minimum wage be adjusted for something as accepted and commonplace as the inflation rate?

    • nj_v2

      “Why not pass a law to make the minimum wage hundred dollars an hour?”

      Reductio ad absurdum. Fail.

    • Ray in VT

      I prefer my juvenile fantasies to have orcs.

  • Radical___Moderate

    When I wrote the slightly lengthy quip below, I had not yet read Nick Hanauer’s article. I have since taken the time to read the article. It is a nice piece of writing. Some historian of the future may cite it one day as he or she writes in the year 2100 or so: “There were indeed those amongst the very wealthy whom had publicly warned that the revolution on 2021 was coming.”
    Though I stand by my idea mentioned below about compelling through legislation an end-of-the -year “Business Profit Dividend to Employees”, because among other things it would increase worker moral and productivity, I am inclined to think that the old demon GREED will lead the events and the powerful to not change. Oh well, it is just earth after all.

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  • claire66

    If we want more small entrepreneurs, we need to make it easier for people to start businesses. That means less regulations, not more. I have a friend who makes amazing tamales and wants to start a business, and there is no way she could pay employees $15 an hour right from the start. If she has friends who want to work for $7.25 an hour and help her get her business off the ground, why shouldn’t she be allowed to do that? The regulations Mr Hanauer proposes make it impossible for people like my friend to start small businesses.

    When serfs revolted in Russia, and when communities revolt in Ferguson it is because they lack FREEDOM, not because of economic inequality. Mr. Ferguson is proposing to limit people’s freedom even further. It is guys like him the people should revolt against.

    • hennorama

      claire66 — there are a number of exemptions that apply to the Federal Minimum Wage (FMW), as well as state-specific exemptions to state MWs.

      See:
      http://www.dol.gov/whd/minwage/q-a.htm

      There may also be ways to structure the business to avoid hiring employees, and to instead rely on contractors.

      • HugheyGrant

        These exemptions are still barriers to entering Claire’s Tamale business…ideally, the entrepreneur could hire the employee for whatever she and the the employee agree upon without having to figure out ways around the regulation. Exemptions wouldn’t be needed if the rules weren’t in place in the first place.

        • hennorama

          HugheyGrant — thank you for your response.

          Yes, and let’s toss out food safety regulations, and child labor laws while we’re at it. A few people sickened by food-borne illnesses, or some kids earning pennies per hour are perfectly acceptable, right?

          In the real world, where I reside, there are actual solutions, not figments of your fairy tale imagination.

          • HugheyGrant

            Let’s. You and I and everyone else has the choice not to eat at such a place…and if we don’t eat there, the business suffers. The crazy thing is, is that we, the consumer, already have many of our own regulations in place that the government doesn’t have to do themselves, but restaurants still adhere to. I, you probably do too, will not go repeatedly to a restaurant that has bad service, poor food (I’ve been served the raw chicken at several places before, did the regulators catch that?), outrageous prices, bad yelp reviews…right? These things keep restaurants in check without needing regulation because if they don’t have quality control over such items, then they lose business and have no business. Is this an argument to do away with food regulation as well? Maybe there is a portion of the population that prefers food this way, are 100% aware of the consequences of food-borne illness, and are willing to take the risk of eating such food…should we limit them from being able to go out to a restaurant and enjoy that type of food?

          • hennorama

            HugheyGrant — TYFYR.

            I strongly urge you to gather some like-minded individuals, and form your very own Fairy Tale Nation, where you can indulge your fantasies, and play Restaurant Roulette, free to consume food made and served by poorly-paid children and other employees, with no regulations whatsoever.

            If you’re the first to die, no doubt your comrades will continue to play out your fantasies, in honor of your memory.

          • HugheyGrant

            What are the food industry regulations supposed to achieve? Clean cooking environment, disease-free food? Are these not items that both the restaurant owners and the consumer can mutually agree are necessary? As mentioned before, we the consumer, you and I, come across a large mix of restaurants daily. Each choice we make is a decision to eat somewhere AND a decision not to eat somewhere else. Why didn’t we go to the other restaurants? Most of the time, its “I’m not in the mood for that type of food right now”, this is in regards to restaurants on our list of good restaurants…but what happened to the other restaurants that didn’t make your list of “go to” restaurants? These restaurants probably had poor service, bad food, poor eating/cooking environments, etc. These types of businesses get bad yelp reviews by your peers, become labeled as “the dirty restaurant” and go out of business. No regulation needed for this process to occur.

          • jefe68

            I invite you to go to China where they have little regulations in this regard.
            China is a nightmare for food safety issues and bad food, food that is past it’s sell buy date, is the least of it. Try toxic chemicals in your moo shoo pork. Then you can report back, if you’re well enough.

          • Paul Gerrard

            Yes, of course, we all make choices based on service, taste, etc… But there must be a common denominator of food safety that we can all rely on (or hope to rely on.) The problem with food safety totally unregulated is that someone has to die before you get to make your choice to avoid that place. Somebody dying of food poisoning is NOT the kind of market signal I want to take into consideration when I make a choice of where to eat.

          • HugheyGrant

            Let’s look at this from a restaurant owner’s perspective. The last thing a normal restaurant owner would want is for someone to die from eating their food. Given this, how can they achieve purchasing and serving quality foods to avoid someone’s death? They can keep their facilities clean, make sure employees wash hands, wear hairnets, etc. The owner can also purchase foods from quality vendors and taste the food him or herself. These are all things a good restaurant probably already does and/or has built a network to achieve such quality. If the restaurant owner does not do these things and serves bad food, the business will go under. Owners already have the incentives to make disease free non-people killing food. No reason to assume they don’t and pretend to force them. Also, regulation does not prevent 100% of food borne illnesses. Google “food borne illnesses in the US” and see what you find. There is inherent risk in the food industry that no amount of regulation or lack there of can prevent.

          • jefe68

            You are aware that the reason food born illnesses are on the rise is due to lack of inspections, not more. Which is due to a shortage of inspectors due to congressional budgets cuts.

            Pretty obtuse outlook you have there.

          • HugheyGrant

            First and foremost, this chain started because of the idea that higher labor costs would prohibit someone from starting a restaurant. Regulation in that regard should not be present if both employer and employee agree on the given wage. Second, I do not believe food regulation is necessary. Based on the responses here, clearly there is a market for it, so I think if regulation were lifted, the private market would easily find a solution. One idea being restaurants pay into having their food inspected by some reputable company to come in, examine all food and equipment, then give a stamp of approval. Restaurant’s would pay for this approval because their customers would prefer eating at restaurants that have been examined by x-label. If the govn’t didn’t do this themselves, an entire market could be available for new private food inspection companies to take hold of their niche, provide quality work, and create more jobs.

          • jefe68

            Private food inspection companies….
            Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

          • TFRX

            “Nice clean kitchen you gots here. Shame if any rat feces happened to it.”

          • TFRX

            Don’t forget the effect of “productivity” aka “butching up and coming to work when you’re sick” on food-borne illnesses.

            But it is all part of the same culture: Better restaurants pay better and have better sick leave bennies, so when I’m getting food at a cheap place I’m more likely to have it sneezed into.

            Ah, freedom.

            (And I’ve been in jobs where I’ve had to touch others’ keyboards every day. That’ll turn you into a germophobe.)

          • hennorama

            Paul Gerrard — No one hungers for (pardon the pun) such a signal.

            Without some assurance that a new food product provider, such as [claire66]‘s tamale-making friend, is cooking under minimally safe conditions, no one but her friends are likely to become customers.

          • hennorama

            HugheyGrant — TYFYR.

            Again, I urge you to find some like-minded individuals, and indulge your taste for Restaurant Roulette, in Fairy Tale Nation, where no one knows if any restaurant meets minimum food safety standards.

            Perhaps you can invite [claire66]‘s friend, and be the first to try the purportedly “amazing tamales.”

          • TFRX

            Submitted without comment.

          • jimino

            Boy oh boy! The personal injury lawyers would just love the world you describe. Or maybe you don’t think “regulations” should require one pay for the damage they negligently or intentionally cause.

          • TFRX

            Given the “tortreformwillfixeverything”.

            mantra, won’t that projected future also include a law to limit lawsuits for personal injurty to say, a $25 McD’s gift card?

          • jefe68

            So you think there should be no regulations regarding food service?
            Are you nuts?

          • nj_v2

            So many businesses are also having trouble because they have to adhere to those pesky environmental regulations, too.

            Damn, they should just be able to dump their industrial waste into rivers and lakes like the good old days. That would really save them some money and rev up the economy.

            Thanks, HugheyGrant for helping me see the light!

          • harverdphd

            You’re a cliche.

    • jefe68

      I have to say what’s missing from your comment is a business plan. When on is starting a business they need capital and that means figuring out how much they will need to see them through the first two to three years.
      What they pay an hour, which is not $15 in the majority of states, has to be included. Most small businesses require a lot of personal time of the entrepreneur. If they can’t find or do not have enough capital to see them through the first two years they should forget it. They wont make it.

  • Sy2502

    Instead of looking at how much others are making, I concentrate on what I am making and how I can better myself and the quality of MY life. I find it a lot more productive than whining because others have more than me. If there’s one thing I have learned by now is that life isn’t fair, nor is it supposed to be.

    • Susan

      The discussion here is about the inequality on the entire society, not your personal life. If the system goes on only favorite to a small group, I don’t see you can enjoy your quality of life. It’s a simple math question,if jobs and pays continues dropping, who has money to spend. I’ve figure it out long time ago when I saw the jobs gone overseas.

      • HugheyGrant

        If we do not talk about the individual and understand what the individual feels, how can we talk about society as a whole? Agreed, if the system favors one group of people, then that’s bad. Who does the system favor and how does it favor them? Are jobs and wages dropping? Where do you find that? What are the raw employment numbers (not unemployment) and income numbers over the years?

        • Susan

          Obviously, many cannot see it and they do have short-sighted.

      • Sy2502

        What is society made of? Oh right.. individuals…

        • Susan

          Are we, as individuals, who make the policies, or who have ponderous fortune to lobby the policies make them richer?

          • Sy2502

            Irrelevant to the discussion, which was, as I remember, “who cares what you single individual think, we are talking about society”. Are you still of the same opinion, now that you have been reminded that a society is nothing more than a collection of individuals?

    • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

      Don’t worry, the reward is in the afterlife.

      • Sy2502

        Sorry, I am atheist. Which is why I concentrate on my current life instead of the afterlife. But you are free to believe that if you wish.

  • Ducan MichL

    Up to now the next revolution has been delayed by the US PRISON-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX and the militarized police state but eventually when the US prison gulag completely overflows the country will be flooded with hardened criminals who have no hope and no fears of anything! One could also argue that the “class war” has already begun by internet scammers, hackers and ID theft rings who’re attacking the financial internet.

    • John Cedar

      Hardened criminals? No…our prisons are full of rambunctious teens who were locked up for smoking a blunt while black.

      • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

        And poor. Don’t forget, the rich (of any cultural background) can afford to buy justice.

  • Ducan MichL

    I hope Mr. Hanauer is one of the NEW Franklin Roosevelt’s who will help reestablish economic democracy in the USA but I fear he may be just about too late to fix the damage done.

    • Antisthenes

      Listening to him is like the French listening to Marie Antoinette, and ironical with Robes Pierre (Ashbrook) giving the interview.

  • Ted Heilman

    Mr. Hanauer is light on solutions, and that’s where the depressing part comes in. What’s needed is to reform the tax code and executive compensation and to start enforcing the anti-trust laws again. Sadly, that’s impossible due to our deeply corrupted political system, which is funded by political contributions from the very people who benefit from the distortions in the system. Mr. Hanauer needs to tackle political campaign contribution reform before he has a prayer of changing anything else.

    • Mike

      Well said. I was thinking the same thing. Stop writing books — do something concrete. He has the time.

  • marygrav

    As Americans we have always been told that the Russian Revolution occurred because the Communist were evil and the freudal Czar was good. The Russian Revolutlion occurred because the people got fed up with a system that offered them and their children nothing but poverty.

    Like now the Russian people had pleanty of religion, but as Moa stated “Religion is the Opiate of the People,” so the Middle Class rose up taking the peasants with them and overthrew an oppressive system of things.

    Revolution is a Middle Class occupation. The poor never revolt on their own because they are too busy scratching a living. But the Middle Class feels an entitlement to life, liberty, and a full lifestyle. They are willing to sacrifice and do what it takes to achieve these things and will bring the poor/Working class along with them. Lenin; Stalin; Castro; Moa; Che; the Revolutionary of the American 1960s, and Martin Luther King were all Middle Class.

    The American Revution was prevented in the First Great Depressions (1920s and 30s) by FDR’s New Deal; 1960s War on Poverty; 1970s by the subterfuge of the Neoconservative Movement which killed the Great Society; and now by the Militerization of the Police Forces in every city. Furguson Nick Hanauer expresses is only the first shot of Revolution.

    As Houston Baker wrote on Betrayal, “Revolution II” was betrayed by those we thought were our friends, but no more, I say. Because Furguson seems only to involve African Americans, their actions can be attributed to “lawlessness,” not economics. But White America must realize that Blacks are the canary in the mine of economics. And as the called said, “the paramid” of capitalism rests on the base of the Middle Class and the Working/Under Classes.

    Then too in order to make the Middle Class feel more comfortable with making 1980s wages and no benefits, the neoconservative social scientist did away with the Working Class by reclassifying it as the Middle Class. Middle Class is a nebulus condition that is only a memory of itself from the 1950s when the Unions were in full power.

    Listen carfully to Mr. Nick Hanauer as he tells you how America has now become 18th Century England where only two classes exist. England ruled the world, but London contained the largest slum in the Westernized world. Look and the 1% Mitt Romneys who theory of eonomics rules the world. Listen to the Paul Ryans who sees the economics of Ayn Rand as gospel. And see how a small group of determined people did away with Eric Cantor. So that there is hope.

    Henry Ford was the greatest American economist that ever existed. He could not read or write, but he understood that if your workers cannot afford your product, you product will not sell. Now we have all these educated people peopling the AEI and the US Chamber of Commerce, and the T-Party/GOP filled with educated people who do not understand that the US economy depends 70% on Americas abiltilty to spend. If we are afraid to spend then the economy shrinks–we cannot afford to spend.

    Americans criticize China, but even China is beginning to realized the importance of domestic spending. They will have to revamp their social structure to include FDR New Deal applications such as Social Security and 2014 Obamacare in order to make the Chinese peoples feel safe to spend. Like Jaques predicts, “China will rule the world.” The Chinese government knows the possiblity of violent revolution and they are taking lessons from their own history.

    I beg to differ with Tom. The Ryan family all but owned that little town he comes from. Read about his so-called “rise to power.” Ryan is one of those brueacrats that Hannah Adrant writes about in Eichmann in Jersalem: The Banality of Evil. Ryan is not evil; just a efficient breacrat.

    Ryan and Boehner are not evil, one is just stupid; and the other is a coward.

  • BMiller600

    It’s true that more and more of us are beyond sick and tired of all the shortsighted, greed-based decisions being made by corporations and the politicians they are buying, undermining “of the people, by the people, for the people”. But it’s not just further damage to the economy and the wrath of the people that are coming.

    By far, the most dangerous consequence of the greed and short-sightedness is our not doing enough in time to prevent the more serious effects of climate change. Because of the decades-long lull between emissions and effects–because the largest rise in our still-rising global emissions started around 1970–the worst effects are just beginning, accelerating, and will get more severe. Unless we are wise enough to stop doing what the science keeps warning is causing this, the effects will eventually be catastrophic for all classes and most species.

    If that happens, I wonder how the offspring of those who now stand in the way–who only think of how they can achieve or maintain that wonderful wealthy life the author mentioned–will feel as they look out from their gated biospheres and can only read about how life once was on the planet. How will they feel, realizing the greed and injustice to them in our lack of sufficient action, even when decades of warnings were coming true, as now. How will it be for them to know that for many, many generations, their offspring will have the job of surviving harsh conditions to possibly make it to better ones–if runaway warming doesn’t make that impossible.

    The plutocrats might be able to insulate themselves and their offspring from the economic and climate effects of business-as-usual better or longer than the rest of us, but probably not from the wrath and uprising of the majority the author rightly expects. The social and inter-generational injustice of this perversion of “The American Dream” by those who are content in such extreme inequality–who are willing to exploit and abuse the people and the planet to maintain it–has gone too far.

  • Salome A

    What’s in it for Mr Hanauer?

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

      The same thing that is “in it” for all of us: a more stable and more prosperous society.

    • Mike

      You’re a beauty.

    • RobertLongView

      You’re not a well-rounded entrepreneur until you get a book on the NY Times bestseller list.

    • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

      Rescuing capitalism from its own contradictions, natch. Just like the last time the country was tearing apart economically. Have to keep the world safe for plutocracy. ;-)

  • marygrav

    Any American Corporation that decides to move its headquarters overseas as a tax dodge should be boycotted. American Corporations want to demand the protection of the US Military, while not wanting to pay their fair share. The behave like the Jesse Jackson anology of the “Chicken and Eggs” theory where the chicken gives its egg, while the pig gives his leg, his all. So these greedy corporations want American soldiers to give their lives, while they don’t want them to give him/her a decent wage; a living wage.
    The T-Party/GOP declares that we need smaller government, but without a large government who will watch them and their cohorts of the 1%. Redistribution is putting money in the hand of those who will spend it. The Super-rich spend at a lower rate that the Middle Class/Working Class.
    The main thesis of DAVOS was income inequality and the danger it posed to capitalism: THEM!
    If you want a berger, where should you go?

    • harverdphd

      France or Germany

  • Shmuel Berdichever

    I listened to Nick Hanauer this morning: On Point WBUR. He
    seems articulate and intelligent. I will put myself in his shoes. Now I am as rich as he is. What will I do? Number One: I will establish a brain research institute at Harvard with a $1.5 billion endowment to study function of brain to improve human cognition and cure of nervous diseases. No. 2 I will work with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to establish or augment agencies which provide housing for the homeless. No. 3: I will give large donations to Rosie’s Place Boston for women and the Pine Street Inn for Men. I will donate lots of money to Harvard and MIT to further research on cures for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. I will promote programs to get elementary school children in Massachusetts into music, art and chess programs, in school and after school, to foster intellectual and spiritual development. If I were a rich man, I would have one home to live in not several (sell the others and donate to the needy. Do I need a yacht? Maybe sell that too. Rent a yacht if I need to experience sailing. I would also give a sizable donation to NPR. I was hoping that Nick would agree with me and at least give money to worthy causes to help the poor in his own neighborhood. Yes? Thank you and God Bless.

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

      That is all great.

      But as a society, we should not wait for a good soul to be rich enough and wise enough to give money to a worthy cause. We need to do the best we can for all the things in our society that will make things better for all of us.

      This is why we choose to live in this country, and it is why we have to pay taxes.

      • optimisto1 .

        No, 1st, we have to teach poor and less fortunate to assume personal responsibility – to get f-ing job and stop waiting for rich sugar-daddy to take care of them.

        • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

          Assume responsibility. Hmm. Just like GM, Chrysler, AIG, then?

          • optimisto1 .

            What? How GM, Chrysler, AIG has to do with the issue of people being poor? Is it a typical Democrat response to the issue? Are you OK?

          • Pintrip

            Capitalism requires that there be haves and have nots. It is hierarchical in nature, all the money flows to the top, and those at the top employ everyone else to work for them who in turn spend their money on goods and services provided by those at the top. The system always works this way, funneling money to the few, from there spreading it to the many, who in turn return it to the few. The rich are like the heart of the society, all blood (i.e., money) travels through them, spreads to everyone else, and then returns to them. The particulars of WHO happens to be at the top and WHO happens to be at the bottom might be attributable to all sorts of factors — mostly inherited wealth, but also who is willing to work hardest as you suggest — but the particulars of “who” are irrelevant because the system of capitalism WILL ALWAYS result in the concentration of wealth in the hands of the few, and the masses being middle or class or poor. That is, SOMEONE will be rich and SOMEONE will be poor. You can’t have a capitalist system where everyone is wealthy, it doesn’t work that way. So blaming the economic situation on poor people for being lazy fails to see that in capitalist systems there will ALWAYS be poor people, and those people will always be accused of being lazy. The system creates the poverty, therefore blaming the poor for the state of the system is backward.

          • optimisto1 .

            I see. Of course, it’s a liberal lunacy to make everyone rich. So the question is do you accept a capitalist system or do you reject it? And if some Joe is poor and homeless, why you and me should take responsibility to pay for his well-being via taxes? At which point it became my obligation?

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

          Why do you blame the poor for their poverty? Don’t you think they have every motivation?

          They do.

          It is just when the system is stacked against them, that some resign themselves.

          Go ask some people about personal responsibility. We are ALL beneficiaries of the society we live in – and those who have benefited the most i.e. the rich should take responsibility for their dependency on society.

          The rich people are totally dependent on society for their means of success, and like you seems to want all the credit and none of the responsibility.

          • optimisto1 .

            The rich people are dependent on consumers spending appetites.

  • StryderLee

    Nick is right on target and he finds that one overlooked root of the problem is widespread misunderstanding about the economy and strong ‘buy-in’ to the mythical metaphors of laissez-faire capitalism: ‘level playing field’ or ‘trickle down’ or ‘rising tide lifting all boats’ which has all been deliberately bred by plutocratic propaganda. The saddest thing is how many of the most rabid ‘true believers’ are among the lower socioeconomic range.

    Pro-plutocrats like to distract us by using the word ‘envy’ but it’s not about envy, its about fairness and creating a country where everyone can live in comfortable, humane conditions.

    If Nick’s fellow plutocrats dismiss or reject his wisdom, they and their children will face a future of costly self-imprisonment to protect themselves against the increasing hosts of people whom their greed has dispossessed.

    It’s like that Nadine Gordimer story with the apartheid-era white couple
    barricading their house to protect themselves from the majority poor black population and their own child ends up getting caught in the barbed wire…

    • pete18

      The misunderstanding is not a delusion of plutocrats, it actually derives from people confusing the acquisition of wealth by some as being a factor in others being poor. This is not true. Wealth and income is not a pie that is divided by some unfair process, it is something that is generated by the free exchange of goods, labor and ideas, which can grow or contract based on many factors. Ideas, activity and products that are valued by people, bring money to those that produce them.The classic example is the wealth generated by Steve Jobs or Bill Gates because of their ideas. This led to a massive increase of jobs, wealth, new businesses and new revenue for the government. It did not contribute to the lessening of opportunity or wealth for other groups of people.
      Obviously, not every business is an Apple or Microsoft but this principle still applies in most cases.

      It is right for people of all quintiles to be concerned with the things that prevent people from fairly participating in an economy that will reward their time and efforts. It is the fairness of opportunity, not results that we have some influence over. The one shared area of society is the quality and accessibility of education, the other is having a tax system that promotes growth, provides enough revenue to run the government and doesn’t make the starting and running of businesses overly difficult and cumbersome. The last area, which is harder for a government or society to influence, is helping more people to finish high school, and wait until their married to have children. This is one of the biggest predictors in whether someone remains poor or joins the middle class.

      • HugheyGrant

        Regarding the first paragraph.

        It is interesting isn’t it, how the categories of haves and have-nots, poor and rich, have been brought up. People just assume those that are making minimum wage are unhappy because of an income number they don’t have, or the yachts and homes they don’t have. Nick’s statements seem like they have a bit of condescending undertones that and are trying to evoke jealousy- “Look at everything I and my zillionaire peers have and what others don’t. Others should want and have what I have. Let’s make changes in corporate and economic policy so others, too, can enjoy the things I have.”

      • brettearle

        Pete,

        I responded to your Sowell comment.

        Thanks….

  • Shmuel Berdichever

    Shmuel responding to Neil: “from your mouth to God’s ears”. Yet we have a Congress which is doing nothing. The GOP says no programs–even if they help the poor and the children to eat and to learn– which increase federal budget. Dems are busy getting re-elected and losing the Senate and the House in the process. They we will have no programs to cure disease or educate our children because the GOP says: “we should do this privately”. And we are going around in circles, putting the responsibility on first the “community”, the “rich” the local governments which are bankrupt because the Federal programs are being cut to decrease the budget and we are back to Nick. If not Nick, who? In the meantime, the poor and the homeless remain lonely and alone. What ever happened to “quality of life” even for a homeless person: does s/he have no dignity? What kind of a nation are we to allow this disgrace while we go around the world spending $ billions on containing terrorists? Just a little dignity. Share the wealth with those in need, where ever the source of funding, public or private, but let’s just do it, now, now talk about it too long.

    • StilllHere

      Our government’s budget contradicts you.

      • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

        Circa 1980, perhaps. is that where you’ve chosen to bury your head?

  • Mike

    I’m a little disappointed that he literally said that his lifestyle is “awesome”. I’m 48, and I can’t seriously use such a trite, overused, clichéd word that has been totally stripped of its original implied intensity.

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

      I think we can take him literally.

      You’re rich when you know you have enough.

      • RobertLongView

        Amen, it’s a poor man that always wants more.

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

          Um no. It’s a greedy rich person who thinks they need another million bucks …

  • Antisthenes

    Nick Hanauer should stick to his expertise, the internet. What a lame and pointless conversation among the clueless. Yes, there is an economic divide, no, we are not inciting class war, yes, the is a way to progress forward with the magic and goodness of us enlightened technologists. Just follow us into this Nirvana, Om. Hanauer, Om Bill Gates, Om Zuckerburg.

  • jipengipe

    Ah Nick Hanauer, the guy who doesn’t pay his own workers the minimum wage he supports.

  • StilllHere

    But they didn’t have cable and tinder.

    • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

      Better. Cake and sans-culottes.

  • tsam100

    Nick Hanauer forgets who has the voice with elected officials. Hint: It’s not those of us being squeezed into poverty by flat wages and shrinking benefits.
    By way of example, remember Sheldon Adelson singlehandedly keeping Newt Gingrich, a disgraced, incompetent former Speaker who was driven out of office by his own party after numerous ethics violations, in the primary race for president.
    Those billionaires have billions of keys to the capitol and White House. If they’re serious about reducing income inequality, that’s where they need to focus their efforts, not on preaching to the choir.

  • nj_v2

    The rich can just buy what they need. At least for a while longer.

    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/08/california-drought-lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-parched-110305.html#.U_z5MSiFHfV

    Lifestyles of the Rich and Parched
    How the Golden State’s 1 percenters are avoiding the drought.By ANN LOUISE BARDACH
    August 24, 2014

    Many mornings, just before 7 a.m., a large tanker truck pulls up to the grand gates of Oprah Winfrey’s 40-acre estate in Montecito, California. Inside is neither merchandise nor produce – just water.

    A year ago, Oprah’s annual bill from the Montecito Water District was just shy of $125,000. This year, it is less than half. Like many in this wealthy enclave, Oprah has cut back on her consumption of district water. That said, her property has its own wells and a small lake and, according to neighbors, there are the trucks.

    These days, tankers can be seen barreling down Montecito’s narrow country roads day and night, ferrying up to 5,000 gallons of H20 to some of the world’s richest and thirstiest folks.

    As California trudges into its third year of a statewide drought—currently at an alarming Stage 4 level, denoting what the federal government calls “exceptional drought” conditions—few towns have been as hard hit as Montecito.

    But the plight of this unincorporated community offers ironies—and political lessons—that are as rich as many of its 13,500 residents. The wealthiest ‘burb of Santa Barbara county, and indeed one of the wealthiest enclaves in the United States, Montecito is home to Google’s Eric Schmidt, Warren Buffett’s partner Charlie Munger, entertainment mogul Tom Freston, director Ivan Reitman, and stars Ellen DeGeneres, Dennis Miller, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Rob Lowe with George Lucas and Kevin Costner owning adjacent beachfront homes. Or, as one local realtor puts it, “just about everyone in the industry.”…

    …According to public documents, the biggest residential user for 2012-13 was Pat Nesbitt—CEO of Windsor Capital, majority owner of Embassy Suites—who has long sought to convince local officials that his polo field, which is part of his 20 acre estate, is entitled to a discounted agricultural water rate. And he’s sued the Montecito Water District—twice, according to the water district’s attorney—to make his case.…

    • harverdphd

      The 1% is a myth…you need a new straw man

      • nj_v2

        The clown-train caboose rolls by.

        • pete18

          Yawn, you need some new material for your non-responses.

          • StilllHere

            He’s just not trying anymore, sad.

        • TFRX

          “Caboose” suggests a finish.

          If that only that were the case.

      • daws

        How can it possibly be myth, someone has to be in the top 1% that’s just basic numerical logic. Does no one win in the Olympics either?

        • Radical___Moderate

          Because the 1% are not the enemies or the boogie men and women. They are just people with a lot of money. Quit the insane jealousy. As Hemingway said they just have more money. They are still just people like anyone else. In fact, in many ways their money is a curse at times.

          • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

            Radical_Moderate, Where is your head, dude? “Just people with a lot of money.” Are you on the 1%er payroll? Why the devil would an honest man like Hanauer attempt to evangelize his fellow 1%ers that something is fundamentally wrong with the system, if it were just a matter of “people with a lot of money?’ I repeat ……Where is your head?

          • Radical___Moderate

            Truly good sir, what do the rich actually do to you that hurts you? What would you do if you were blessed with that kind of money? What should they do? Do you think anyone would really be better off if we took all of their money and just gave it everyone? Jealousy and envy are so off-putting. I am not at all a “1%er” but I do not care that anyone else is. Hanauer has some good points butt so do others of his circle whom say that they do plenty of good and that the incentive to wealth inspires great things.

          • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

            Radical_Moderate, Your are not serious about your queries, are you? Over the past thirty years, 1%ers and their patsies in government have reduced the middle class to non-existent. They have over-seased, outsourced, down-sized jobs. They pay no taxes. The 1%ers have hedge funds to make money when they cause markets to go up or cause markets to go down. What a wonderful system to ensure that only the wealthy remain and become more wealthy. We make nothing in this country. There is no upward mobility nor does opportunity for upward mobility exist. We are an economy that is based on services. There is no future for the young people, unless they are the young of wealthy. Thus the dismal circumstances of Ferguson Missouri manifest themselves. How does wealth for the masses ensue from that economic paradigm? Answer – it does not! Why ask me an insipid question about what I would do with my wealth? I am not jealous nor envious and I greatly resent your comment about “off-putting.” (By the way, get help with your grammar – the word “butt” as used in the context of your reply is correctly spelled “but” – and does not refer to one’s posterior anatomy (;~) ! )

            Take their money away – absolutely – as a group they are guilty of heinous crimes. “To those whom much is given, much is expected in return.” 1% er funds can be utilized to: 1) upgrade our decaying infrastructure; 2) pay for the conversion from an antiquated imperial measurement system to a metric system (This lazy and stupid nation of ours is only one of three countries in the entire world that are NOT ON THE METRIC SYSTEM! Refer to http://cdn.zmescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/metric-system.png You will be quite surprised at what you see. But maybe our Imperial religious right has superior knowledge that our current measurement system is what God wants for us!!!) 3) implement many of the systems, processes advocated by John C. Bogle in his book “FIGHT FOR THE SOUL OF CAPITALISM” (I strongly suggest you acquire one – one that is printed in CHINA, no less – and READ what this 1%er says needs to be done to save our economy, our country, our future. (Warning, Radical_Moderate, it is a very tough read. So if you are not the kind who can absorb difficult concepts, ignore my counsel!!!!) Yes I have plenty of “good” things to do with the 1%ers money that does not imply or result in “handouts for all”.

            Lastly, truly good sir, kindly give me a few, just a few, examples of how the 1%ers are using their money, wealth, power and position for “good” things – other than buy the LA Clippers from another biased, decrepit 1%er for billions and billions?

            As they say, “I’m all ears”

          • Radical___Moderate

            I am deeply serious. Sorry for any typos as I do not proof read these quips.
            There will always be the super rich. They will always rule societies wherever they are. Our country produces great wealth and not all will find it fair. That is capitalism unfortunately but it is also socialism and every kind of “ism”. Point is that I am completely serious that only the realization of the message of compassion in Jesus’ gospels liberates anyone. No worldly system can or will.
            I do not believe you. You are seething of anger and jealousy and envy for the rich. You should not because as you quoted, “to whom much is given…” God will account of them as the parable states. But He may also account of you and I if we spend our time in greedy and self-serving envy of them. They have plenty of their own problems.
            Don’t you notice how socialism never can really take root here in the USA?? The American people really as a whole do not seem to want it when push comes to shove because they want to be wealthier than you or I too. Take almost any 99%er and make him or her a 1%er and their politics will change overnight.
            As for your reading suggestions thank you. I probably won’t read it as I have read so many books these last 40 years I am taking my time now only to read what I like and think worthwhile.

            Bottom line, and please take this like a man, in the new Globalist world of this century, capital has won because it has no borders and no place it cannot find governments to do its bidding. You need to quit the whiny college like bitching. If I see this kind of sophomoric vitriol in any of my students this semester I will fail their asses!!

            I know I can seem harsh but truly care about everyone in our world. It is just that I have seen enough in my years and experiences to know that nothing and this earth really matters except loving God and loving your neighbors. No matter what. That means not trying to tell them what to do. Let them decide. The rich can be quite kind too.

            After all, we “are not of this world, we are just in it.”
            Get it… maybe not.

            I’ll leave you with this…see who runs this country in 25 years…. You know the answer!

          • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

            Radical_Moderate,

            You are absolutely wrong. I am not envious of the 1%ers. I am disgusted that their acts of greed have taken this great nation, that you and I believe in, to the point that even one of the 1%ers, Mr. Hanauer, has stated what he has – WATCH OUT – PITCHFORKS ARE COMING YOUR WAY! And in doing so, got us into this heated debate. I personally have a life-style that is better than the vast majority of our fellow citizens. It is THEIR concern that is MY concern. They are pawns in this great game of GREED. The short, short life that GOD has deigned to give each of us is getting more and more miserable, except for the 99%ers, – each day. Ferguson Missouri – a prime illustration. Do you not see and experience this decline, Radical_Moderate?

            You can rationalize your viewpoint with religion and faith all day and all night. That methodology will do no good, because a) God will not come down off a cloud and intercede; and b) we don’t know when the second coming of Christ will happen. ( And what about the people who believe in Allah, not Jesus Christ? – where is your “inclusion”?) You can further rationalize with “there always was and there always will be super-rich” – even twenty-five years from now. But there have been incidents in time, when the super-rich were overthrown – that’s what Mr. Hanauer is stating to those that have ears.

            Your “sophomoric vitriol” and “fail their asses” comments give me great pause. Obviously you have been entrusted with the education of our youth. I am now very scared, in addition to “seething with anger.”

            I am glad you admit that you are close-minded and won’t bother yourself with reading Bogle’s book. You might learn something very germane AND “worthwhile” to the matter at hand. I beseech you, re-consider.

            So, here we are.

            As a “man”, what are YOUR great ideas that can be implemented to remedy this state of affairs in our economy, in our government, in our nation, in our future? Please, please, please, throw me some crumbs so that we can stop arguing and get on with a better future – together!

            Please don’t tell us all “Pray!”

            Thank you.

          • Radical___Moderate

            I do sincerely appreciate your lengthy thoughts. You are one of the very few I’ve encountered on this forum who takes the time to think and reply thoughtfully. Truly kudos to you on that.
            I should have made it clear that I was kidding about “failing” the youngsters. I really would not do that to college kids so long as they do all of their work.
            However, you are right and I do not disagree with you about the awful effects of greed. The Jesus of the gospels (not the “Jesus” of religion was right with you largely on that). But I agree with His idea that only a change of heart (metanoia) essentially what “conversion” really means, would help change things.
            Let me explain why. I do remember the excitement and idealism of the 1960s. They were going to change the “system.” Now they are the “system.” If you read deeply about the Roman Empire you will see these same “class” themes. In spite of the occasional “uprisings”, “revolutions”, etc., the rich always end up back on top and the bloodshed and suffering of the innocent was disgusting.
            Today, many of us 99%ers have supported the politicians, purchasing habits, and policies that have allowed this, i.e. shopping at Walmart etc.
            As Will Rogers once said: “Americans get the politicians we deserve.”
            You are right though, I do not doubt the awful evils created by our economic system, but we ourselves have the economic system that we as a society have continued to allow and create! The 99% is NOT without blame and culpability.

            As for an idea. I offered one somewhere else in this forum that got little attention. I suggested something like a law where we have an “End-of-the-Year Business Profit Employee Dividend Act.”
            Meaning, each employee receive a bonus check (we give them to CEOs at the end of the year!) at the end of the year based on the companies after tax profits! This amounts to a performance incentive for workers and gives back to the 99%ers some of the very wealth they help create that currently gets dumped off at the top too much. Have a great day.

  • harverdphd

    This discussion is silly and pointless. Sleep well.

  • Ray in VT

    It was nice to see the ole “47% don’t pay anything/any taxes” line get another go-round.

    • brettearle

      Unfortunately, that Line, this time around, may not prevent Romney from finally becoming President….if he runs.

      • Ray in VT

        Who knows. Maybe he can finally discover who let the dogs out.

      • pete18

        We can only hope.

      • Radical___Moderate

        This country needs a strong Republican president right now like Romney. I say this even though I am NOT a Republican. The Dems are trashing and mismanaging so very much.

        • brettearle

          I believe that any President’s power to change the Economy is at an all-time low.

          I also believe, these days, that any decision in Foreign Policy–by any President, for any reason–could easily be, or become, the wrong decision.

        • TFRX

          Strong Republican?

          I thought he wimped out and therefore lost. It’s a well-known fact that any Republican who wins is magically more conservative, and one which loses is simply too wishy-washy in strident poses and / or right-wing reactionary policy.

          I guess I missed the rehab of his reputation. Where did the time go?

          • Radical___Moderate

            With all respect, I am not a Romney supporter. I think there are much better conservatives as I think there are much better Democrats than Obama of H. Clinton. Regardless, however, I am an independent believe me or not, and I am saying that in the relatively predictable “pendulum” of American federal politics, the country will likely swing back to a Republican government and will do so for good reason, This president is a failure overall. That contention is not a right wing one alone. Please read what Cornel West, and educated black male liberal has to say about Mr. Obama.
            My own contention is that neither Republicans or Democrats will really effectively lead this country because of the general corruption and crony-ism of the system.

    • Radical___Moderate

      Well of course 47% don’t pay income tax— they don’t make enough. The rich guys cannot complain about paying as much as they do because they have most of the money. Therefore, of course you are going to pay more if you have the lion;s share of the cash.

      • Ray in VT

        That number has come down a bit since the peak a few years ago, but yeah, it’s mostly people who don’t make much money.

  • Walt Oicle

    Rather than niggle about the minimum wage, let’s consider maximum income. Does anyone really need more than a couple of million a year? If the rich didn’t have so much extra income, they wouldn’t be so ready to buy elections and everything else. Let’s limit income with more progressive taxes, which can be put to use for the betterment of all. Until about thirty years ago we had a more progressive income tax system, with a top rate of 92%. At that time, higher education in California was tuition-free to state residents and the national infrastructure was maintained better. Those who most benefited from society and could most afford to do so paid more taxes, which evened the playing field a little, so there were not such outrageous disparities between rich and poor. Warren Buffet admitted a few years ago that his tax rate was lower than his secretary’s, and that he thought that was wrong. Although we are told that the rich continue to pay more taxes than the rest of us, the extreme range of incomes allows those with more money to pay any price for whatever they like, effectively bidding up the cost of goods and services, causing inflation and making virtually everything less affordable to the rest of us. Wages may eventually trickle upward, but generally lag greatly, locking in ever-growing inequities. Simply raising the minimum wage is not enough. Like Willie Sutton, let’s go where the money is. Tax the rich!

    • daws

      I’ve thought exactly that for years myself.

      • Radical___Moderate

        Your kidding yourselves. In today’s global world economy, you will just chase the “rich” out or you will force them to “invert.” You will never beat them at this game because they are too smart and have too many options today overseas everywhere!
        Accept and put you heart and attention on other things. The only things that matter, faith, family, and loving all people! Yes even the “big bad

        rich”. :))

        • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

          Radical_Moderate, How much “FAITH” can buy a loaf of bread for your family and “loved ones”? Come on. Yes, we can beat them. If we adopt your attitude, we’re all dead – throw in the towel. I don’t think that is what Mr. Hanauer is advocating.

    • brettearle

      The, “How many swimming pools [or was it Jaguars] are too much for you?”, syndrome is the EXACT reason for your recommendation.

      However, if the uber rich give away their money to charity
      –where the Tax benefits are not the exact or primary motivation, then allowances could be made for these philanthropists. .

      • TFRX

        I think the new measurement is “car elevators”.

    • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

      ‘Murrica! Best gub’mint money can buy. :-/

    • NWSD

      Just because you’re ‘good with a couple of million a year’ doesn’t mean everyone else is. Don’t get me wrong, I would be. But what makes you the authoritative figure on what is good for everyone else. You have no right telling a successful person what’s good for them. If they’re not breaking any laws it’s NONE of your business. Question?….think about how much money you make….then go find someone on the streets who is homeless and ask them what’s good enough for you. What? don’t like the scenario on that one? And don’t get me started on the Buffet thing….talk percentages all you want but how much more money did Buffet give to the IRS than his secretary? And if the ‘concerned’ Buffet wanted to give more to the IRS he could…it’s all just a show.

      • Kirk Schlesinger

        The key issue now is that there is no “authoritative figure”. In our present civilisation the only effective authority is perceived to be the individual (I do whatever I want), a dictator (I do as I’m told), or some form of representation (I try to influence/lobby someone who has some limited input into decision making).

        We need to have a new form of authority derived from consultation guided by spiritually and practically sound principles. This is what the Baha’i Faith (http://bahai.org) supports.

        One of the key guiding principles will be the Village Storehouse (see my earlier comment in this comment stream or read about it in “Cooperation” online at http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/c/FWU/fwu-10.html)

        Our Sacred Writings tell us that the entire process of transformation to planetary unity and justice will happen within 1000 years of the founding of the Baha’i Faith, which means no later than the Gregorian calendar year 2844 AD or CE. It could come much sooner if we progress more quickly toward the goal of a unified world where we are all “citizens of one country” guided by shared spiritual principles.

  • Ray in VT

    Now where did that comment go that we are closer to 1930s Germany than to 1790 France? Well, that may be true. We are plagued by a sizable element of nationalistic, at times militaristic and xenophobic, Caucasian right wingers, just as Germany was.

    • brettearle

      No question, I agree.

      Had 9/11 not have happened, however, there might be a relaxation in the belief that a Fascist Revolution is coming, here in about 25 years.

      • StilllHere

        Hold your breath.

    • pete18

      Goodwin goose steps.

      • Ray in VT

        I believe that it is Godwin, and my post is merely a response to the goosestepping allusion made by another.

        • pete18

          Typo noted. I fail to see any references to the party of the little wall paper hanger preceding your comment.

          • Ray in VT

            I saw some reference to 1930s Germany earlier today, but perhaps that comment was removed.

  • Rhianna Blumberg

    Hallelujah! Finally! Mr. Hanauer is 100% correct and I just wish more people would comprehend his point! The solution to this economic crisis could and should be solved by investing in infrastructure repair and education. People want to work and there is so much work to do! So frustrating that the people in power don’t get this…

    • optimisto1 .

      How many billions of dollars were already spent on education? And why people are still not educated comparing to countries which spent fraction of our spending? Something does not make sense on this point.

      • Ray in VT

        Maybe they just have less uneducatable people of color.

        • hennorama

          Ray in VT — you might want to indicate that you are quoting the entity [optimisto1 .]

        • optimisto1 .

          Actually, Cuba has the best education in Latin America. Hmm, how can it be explained according to our panacea with spending on education?

          • Ray in VT

            Maybe it’s communism.

          • optimisto1 .

            Maybe. Anyways, it still proves throwing more money into a problem – is not the answer.

  • HonestDebate1

    When the rubber hits the road Mr. Hanauer’s solutions distill to punishing achievement while rewarding failure. No thanks.

    • Ray in VT

      That seems to be a Teapublican view of it.

      • Radical___Moderate

        Not Tea Party in the slightest. I am truly an independent. The Tea Party was long ago commandeered by other interests. Nonetheless, I believe in market solutions within all reason.

        • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

          Radical_Moderate, You DO NOT BELIEVE in MARKET SOLUTIONS. You believe that FAITH will cure all ills. I say to you….”WHERE’S THE BEEF.” Come on, get with the program!

          • Radical___Moderate

            It will. You are sadly where I was at one point. You will one day see that there really is nothing to “fix.” “Markets” are a broad term indeed. But I do believe in free actors doing what they will with there God-given free-will. That is faith and trust in “Markets” and most of all, trust in God. Like it or not.

        • Ray in VT

          I think that the market can do a lot, but I don’t think that it offers solutions, or at the very least ones that are good for vast numbers of people, in some areas.

          • Radical___Moderate

            I agree. Markets do need some regulation. Even Mitt Romney admitted that. But, no system of economics can really work, I believe, without the conversion (metanoia) change of our hearts toward real compassion for others. Would you agree??

    • Radical___Moderate

      Agreed. But we sure did not mind rewarding the big failures of the banks. We should have let them fall and used whatever govt assistance we were determined to in facilitating the smaller healthier banks eat up their scraps.
      Market solution denied to save cronies.
      But…it does not matter.

      • HonestDebate1

        That’s a fair point but I gotta tell you I was ambivalent on TARP. I think it was implemented awfully and I think politics decided the winners and losers (Lehmen). I was also sympathetic to the “let it crash and burn” theory and debated it heavily at the time. In the end I thought it was too high a price to pay but I don’t claim to be smart enough to know for sure. I do think it worked and staved disaster. I do think government at least enabled, if not encouraged, the problems so I hold them responsible for fixing them.

        Having said all that, six years later I can say I wish we had gone ahead an burned.

        • Bob Gerwien

          I wish the gov’t bailed them out by taking over the banks and eliminating the existing management

        • Radical___Moderate

          You may, if you wish to check out a tome, read David Stockman’s “The Great Defromation.” The 30 page intro will give you the gist. He argues quite well as an insider, that the bail-out just saved the very wealthiest. Just a thought.

    • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

      HonestDebate1, Why don’t you go on-line and listen once again, very carefully, to what Mr. Hanauer said. At no time did this very intelligent man make any kind of statement that his concerns amount to punishment for achievement and rewarding failure. When exactly did he state that? Please cite chapter and verse! I don’t think you can. If you provide me with specifics, I will immediately apologize.

      • HonestDebate1

        I framed it the way I did purposefully. I did not claim he said it, I claimed that’s what it distilled to. Raising taxes on the rich or putting more regulations on successful businesses, punishes them. It just does. Mr. Hanauer also advocated raising the minimum wage even though nobody works for it. Those are entry level jobs that require no skills. If someone is still stuck in a minimum wage job as an adult trying to raise a family then they are a loser. Rewarding them with higher wages that punishes their employer with higher labor costs is counter-productive.

    • The poster formerly known as t

      Consequently, your worldview, has a philosophy where you try to make those who are not wealthy as miserable as possible. You over-reward achievement and punish failure by extracting even more from those not fortunate enough to win the rat race.

      • HonestDebate1

        When you see a fat man standing next to a skinny man do you assume the fat gut took the other’s food?

  • Radical___Moderate

    Though there are some good comments below and some good ideas. We have all myself included, fallen into the trap of viewing all of this wealth distribution stuff in such grossly worldly terms. The truth of it all, whether any of us like it or not, is that it really does not matter all that much whom has what and whom does not. After our basic “Maslow” needs are met of a decent and safe food and water. Adequate clothing and access to decent healthcare, the rest is not such a matter.
    There is a lot of jealousy and envy in this thread today and a lot of greedy and denying “rich people.”
    If you read Jacques Ellul, or Albert Nolan’s works, you will see that this world will ALWAYS, inevitably leave you unfulfilled, unsatisfied and searching. Nothing will fulfill your egos.
    The root of it all, is “faithlessness.” The only TRUE Freedom and wealth and well=being in this temporary life is to be found in a God centered life and focus on the Jesus Christ of the gospels and what He called us too do.
    Some of you will bristle at this as I truly and fully once did in twenty’s. However, the world is really not at all the post-enlightenment playground of “relativism” we have been weaned at the knee of our pathetic parlor pinko neo-Marxist 3rd rate college professors may want you to believe it is. They stand for nothing.
    There is moral and absolute truth and reality. My own experiencing of the “paranormal”, super-natural, and providential convinced of this long ago and forced me to rethink my childish, ignorant and atheistic views.
    I DO NOT CARE ONE BIT HOW MONEY THE RICH HAVE OR THAT THEY DON’T PAY TAXES. It does not matter. And the more you think it does the more you will be chained to unhappiness. See this now or be very saddened and disillusioned in the last hours of your “mayfly” life!

    • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

      Jesus Christ, come on, Radical_Moderate. Please don’t bring God into the picture. This unquestioning delusional emphasis on God and organized religion is why much of the world is so screwed up. And here in the U.S. we have our Tea Party and Republican (minions of the 1%ers) idiots (Sarah Palin, Todd Akin, Rand Paul, Mitch McConnell, Michelle Bachmann) invoking Christian fundamentalism as the only way to financial, political and social salvation. Give me a break!

      • TFRX

        The road to cancelling the F-35 does have to go through the right wing. (Just saying what you already know.)

        However, I think searching for real right-wingers who provide more-than lipservice to a non-denominational government is quite a task.

        (Yes, RM is a right-winger. Don’t let the moniker fool you.)

        • Radical___Moderate

          My dear friend. I do have both right and left wing sympathies. That is what makes me moderate in aggregate. I would not fit any litmus category for left or right. Your typical, it would seem, of the intellectually lazy pigeon-holers who want to classify people as this or that. It is juvenile. I almost never vote party line on anything. But you can continue to judge though you really do not know.

      • Radical___Moderate

        No my friend. Lack of faith and belief in Jesus’ profound but simple message of true compassion is why the “rich” steal and the “poor” are choked with and all-consuming envy and jealousy. It is the lack of faith (you should not confuse this necessary with institutionalized religion) which is at the heart of our problems. Poll show most Americans feel this way too my friend.

    • nj_v2

      It’s after-hours fantasy time.

      • Radical___Moderate

        My dear one, you may be more air-headed and empty than your “Wilson” alter-ego.

    • The poster formerly known as t

      “There is a lot of jealousy and envy in this thread today and a lot of greedy and denying “rich people.”

      There is a lot of jealousy. OK. So what?

      “Adequate clothing and access to decent healthcare, the rest is not such a matter.” Those things are not even being met. Furthermore, mental health matters, which is why people in prison aren’t happy. It’s not the wealth, that people want, it’s what that wealthy allows people to acquire; to set and accomplish goals, access to higher quality clothing and healthcare, sexual partners in the case of heterosexual men, etc.

      “If you read Jacques Ellul, or Albert Nolan’s works, you will see that this world will ALWAYS, inevitably leave you unfulfilled, unsatisfied and searching. Nothing will fulfill your egos”.So your solution is delayed gratification? Turn the other cheek when you are approached by someone who is abusive? That passive behavior is what emboldens the truly bad actors among the wealthy. I’m sure you wouldn’t apply this logic of apathy towards a black skinned teenager or illegal immigrant in your neighborhood, Mr./Mrs. I-don’t-care-about-the-wealth-because-I-Found-Jesus.

      • Radical___Moderate

        Well friend, I truly do hear and think I understand the frustration in your voice. I agree fully that we need to do much more as regards healthcare, the homeless, the hungry and all of the marginalized. I believe that greatly as, to be honest, I and my wife have given generous portions of our incomes to charities we believe in. However, wealthy people give greatly and without them there is even far greater poverty. As for mates and wealth, I find that just weird honestly. A good man or woman is going to love you for who you are. But again, most of all, how is taking so much from the rich going to fix your problems? In a matter of a couple of years, they will be rich again and those who Robin Hooded them will be just as malcontent and angry as before. Choice matter. I can assure you I have great compassion and am called to even more by my Lord.
        In sum, find your happiness within by doing what you love and loving people. No amount of worldly stuff will help you untiil you realize this.

        • The poster formerly known as t

          “However, wealthy people give greatly and without them there is even far greater poverty.” You’re not very bright, are you?

          They’re giving back what they didn’t need, anyway. It’s easy to give back when you have way, way, way much more than you need.

          Wealth is often never accumulated through honest labor. Historically, it was through violent coercion and enslavement.

          ” In a matter of a couple of years, they will be rich again”
          If this were true, most wealthy people would not be against
          wealth redistribution. Nice try.

          Most people are only capable of loving people who are very similar to themselves. I doubt that you are, again, to repeat my point, extending your “compassion” to people who aren’t like you.

          Doing what one loves is a luxury on this planet. We all don’t enjoy the same things or have the ability to choose whatever we would like to obtain the essentials for life.

  • Edwin Knouse

    I have gave this a little thought and here’s the way I see it. As a American I am 1 part of 300 million, as a global worker I’m 1 part of 7 billion. So maybe my worth has gone down in the new world.
    I read an article back in the early eighty’s in a tank tank quarterly about the globalization of workers. The article was about how they could equalize wages, lower American wages so that they could compete world wide.
    But all that isn’t the real problem with getting the haves to share with the workers. The acceleration of automation is the problem for most blue collar people, the displacement of human labor by machines has reduced our value by so very much.
    But wait there’s two more thing I would like you to consider. {bet your last dollar the elite have worked this into there equation} 3-d printing and Watson{AI’s} {see developments this week at NASA} How much will this reduce my worth and the worth of people all over this world. AI’s will wipe out all or at the very least most of middle management, clerical jobs, 3-d printing with be a sea change for manufacturing. {did you see the cake they printed, good bye Mr. baker}
    I’m sorry if I haven’t expressed this very well, I worry about the future the kids will have to face.
    There is one more point I would like to make. If the middle class wages are 70% of the economy and they have reduced the real wages for like the last forty years. Would that mean that all of our economic realities today are orchestrated, made to happen. Were would we be on paying all the entitlements if the real wages had been increased a modest 3% per year and the government had been able to collect the taxes on those wages?

  • Edwin Knouse

    Sorrry forgot to mention that wages are .67 % of corp. revenue. Saw that on Bloomberg news this week. LOL we’re eating them alive it’s killing them to pay workers.

  • davecm

    Unless I was mistaken big time, I believe I heard Mr Hanauer state a couple of times that billionaires do not create jobs. In fact I think I heard him state that those who believe they do have believed a lie.
    If Mr.Hanauer has started 30 companies, my question is: does any of these companies have employees ??????
    If they do, then he contradicts himself by the fact that he a billionaire has created jobs by starting 30 companies.
    Consider Henry Ford, wealthy man who started the Ford Motor Company.
    How many jobs have been created over the years by this one man’s idea?
    Bill Gates, has he ever created a company that employed any workers?
    Steve Jobs, did his millions ever create a job?
    Many rich people started off poor but because they had an idea that would sell, they created jobs to make that product for the market.

    • hennorama

      davecm — indeed, you are “mistaken big time.”

      I’d suggest you listen again, this time with both ears, but most likely any such suggestion will fall on blind eyes.

      • TFRX

        You can’t deny that Bill Gates created the “permatemp”, that special class of employees that sued Microsoft and won for labor violations in the ’90s.

    • TFRX

      The bar of “employed anyone” isn’t the trump card you wish it to be. See below.

    • Don_B1

      You certainly did hear Mr. Hanauer say that billionaires do not “create jobs,” but if you really listen, you will hear him say that the jobs are “created” by the demand of other people to buy the goods and services those jobs produce, not the people who organize the company to produce them.

      The billionaires would not create the company if there was no demand for what it was going to sell.

      When Mr. Hanauer made his investments to help start those 30 or so companies, he made those decisions based on the entrepreneur’s business plan, which provided evidence of how the company’s product would be desired (demanded) by customers at the price that they could profitably sell it.

  • http://live.xbox.com/en-US/MyXbox/Profile?gamerTag=FinderKeeper FinderKeeper

    I’d like to buy a vowel, Pat (and an American-made television).

  • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

    davecm, bill gates, steve jobs and many others have moved high-paying technological jobs over seas. YEAH they sure did create jobs – but jobs not for the United States economy. I’d say both of these BILLIONAIRES are criminals of the worst kind. Their assets should be seized and placed in the U.S. Treasury, these people need to be confined for the rest of their natural lives in concentration camps, their families made homeless. We need to do the same with all 1% ers, all Presidents, Vice Presidents, all members of the Supreme Court, all members of the Federal Senate and House of Representatives, since 1970 – the onset of the ERA OF THE GREEDY – whether these individuals are alive or dead. This will clean our nation of the greedy and their minions whom we have elected as our representatives. As Mr. Hanauer has stated, it is up to us the 99% to deal with what we have allowed to happen. Let’s start now. Eliminate the GREEDY!

    • Kevin Burber

      Completely agree, but I would add one difference between people like Bill Gates (not necessarily Steve Jobs) and the banking sector. At least they were innovators. Particularly in the case of Bill Gates – he changed the face of…well, everything.

      The financial sector has bred a class of people who are not innovators (although they would argue that they are….innovators of essentially schemes) but yet feel entitled to an entirely disproportionate share of the economic pie.

      • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

        Kevin, I’ll give you that Gates “changed everything”. But I believe there is an old adage “To whom much is given, much is expected in return.” Sure he and his dear lady are giving their wealth to charity. But they should make certain that their charity starts at home; and stays at home.

        • The poster formerly known as t

          It’s disturbing how much like a fascist you sound at this point. Concentration camps? Really? I think you’re restraining yourself. If you tried to implement your ideas in the real world, you probably wouldn’t stop at making the wealthy homeless or housing them in concentration camps…you’d end up killing them and their offspring. If implemented, your ideas, would end up being a form of genetic cleansing, where you’d eliminate people with any personality traits that COULD lead to wealth accumulation. While I’m not a capitalist, per say, I do think this a case of a cure being worse than the disease…

          • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

            The poster formerly known as t, I am not a facist. I resent your comment. I do not believe in Death Camps. I do not believe in genetic cleansing. You state “…I’m NOT A CAPITALIST…” I would hope that you certainly are a CAPITALIST. I am a CAPITALIST. I just want justice to be paid by people who have for so long practiced GREEDY CAPITALISM and made it legal while ruining the economic backbone of our nation and its people the 99% ers. I recommend you acquire John C. Bogle’s “Battle for the Soul of Capitalism” and read and comprehend what he, as a 1%er, is saying. If he can’t convince his fellow 1%ers to change, well then, we need to take it into our hands.

            What is YOUR recommended “CURE”, if you find mine to be so offensive? Please come forward. Stand up and speak. Please give us your insight. We need dialog and the exchange of “GOOD” IDEAS. The future depends upon it. Unless you are perfectly happy with the declining status-quo that Mr. Hanauer says is in utter peril.

          • Kirk Schlesinger

            Disgusted writes: “I would hope that you certainly are a CAPITALIST. I am a CAPITALIST.”

            This language reminds me of religious discussions I have heard or been involved in. They often sound like this: “I’m a Christian, and I certainly pray you are one or will be one soon! And what’s more, I’m a GOOD Christian, not a greedy hypocritical one.”

            I very much appreciate the need Disgusted and so many others express about sharing common beliefs and values. They are right to believe that without such a shared foundation, little of lasting value can be accomplished in this world.

            The major thing that stands in the way of religion serving this purpose is the disunity and frequent hostility that exists amongst and even within all the major world religions. (The exception to this pattern is the newest world religion, the Baha’i Faith, to which I belong. Baha’is explicitly accept the validity of all major religions; and maintain internal unity as a commandment of God, which effectively precludes the formation of sects or denominations within its own ranks).

            It is understandable that with all the religious rancor and recent bad behaviour by some in the name of religion (e.g. terrorism, military violence, ethnic cleansing), people would look elsewhere to seek a shared spiritual experience.

            The currently favourite alternative destination is economics, specifically the rapidly emerging global model of capitalism. The “invisible hand” of classical (neo-liberal) capitalism has strong similarities with faith-based religious doctrines. Little wonder then that it should be so important that humans right across the world become capitalists. If we do, then we will all be in essential agreement and can work effectively together at least on buying and selling, getting and spending. Some semblance of unity would then be established.

            The problem with this approach is that capitalism is inherently without morals or values, save the maximisation of material wealth. This is not really a criticism, but it is an essential observation.

            The urge to unite needs more than capitalism to succeed. Humanity must find a way to refresh and purify religious practice so that it can properly take on the burden of belief that has been inappropriately shifted onto capitalism.

            This is one of the declared purposes of the Baha’i Faith (http://bahai.org).

        • The poster formerly known as t

          The wealthy will no longer do charity in the U.S. because most of their current wealth comes from developing countries and undeveloped countries. In the U.S., they only really hire the cream-of-the-crop high-IQ people or people who can barely count to perform non-essential “services”. While [coal] energy is realtively cheap in the U.S., labor, other resources, and new customers are increasingly found in developing countries and undeveloped countries.

    • HonestDebate1

      Companies are supposed to be greedy, otherwise they fail. Expecting a business to put profits on the back burner in the name of altruism is stupid.

      • jimino

        Expecting a (successful, peaceful and long-lasting) country to put the best interests of its citizens on the back burner in the name of private economic interests is stupid.

        • HonestDebate1

          They are not mutually exclusive.

          • jimino

            Yes, I know. I have been around since the 50′s, so I have seen how they can co-exist.

      • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

        HonestDebate1, Just look at what has happened to our economy, our nation, our ethics, our morals because of unrestrained “GREED”. Your axiom “Companies are supposed to be greedy, otherwise they fail” is based on Neanderthal logic – and the Neanderthals became extinct. Nothing I have stated advocates altruism as you have suggested. Capitalism by its nature is not altruistic. But the current system of capitalism as practiced in this nation is flawed, wrong and will lead to peril, upheaval and revolution. HonestDebate1, I’d suggest you acquire (by the way it is printed in China because the US outsourced all printed material manufacturing), read and digest the book “Battle for the Soul of Capitalism” by John C. Bogle. I warn you in advance that it is a tough read. So if you are not one who can easily digest and comprehend difficult concepts and logic, you may want to disregard my counsel. And, by the way I am not calling you “STUPID” as you have done me, kind sir!

        • HonestDebate1

          I didn’t call you stupid, I don’t roll that way. I called that expectation stupid. Did you call me an Neanderthal? I don’t know about that but I’m certainly an idiot. I’ll check out the book as long as it has lots of pictures.

          I disagree with your premise and would restate it thusly: Just look at all the prosperity capitalism has given us. My grocer doesn’t give a damn if I go hungry, he wants my money. I am willing to trade my earnings for his products. It’s beautiful.

        • Don_B1

          The problem that [Dis]HonestDebate1 cannot face is that capitalism is amoral, and thus cannot be expected to be “altruistic.” That is why it has to be properly regulated, which sets a playing field where everyone has a fair shot at success which is where the current economy has gone way off track.

          By the way, I do think [Dis]HonestDebate1 is plenty smart enough to read John Bogle’s book, but he will use his intelligence to try to come up with strawman arguments and will cherry-pick data and comments which he can use to make distorting comments here and elsewhere to try to confuse the innumerate among the readers of his posts. It is what he does.

          • Kirk Schlesinger

            I’ll join in at this point, leaving aside the name-calling of this sub-conversation.

            Don_B1 raises a good point about the need for proper regulation of a capitalist economy, which by definition has no moral outlook.

            My question is: How to decide what is “proper”? The answer is not currently obvious. A fairly large percentage of people (sometimes a majority, it seems) favour little or no regulation at all.

            What is so often overlooked in social and economic debates of the sort on this discussion thread is the need to develop a process for consulting about what exactly is meant by “proper”, and then making sure that the fruits of such consultations are carried out and the results used to guide regulatory policy.

            At some stage, hopefully as early as possible, the issue of what is proper needs to include spiritually guided understanding that can guide and when necessary transcend purely practical calculations.

  • DISGUSTED WITH F-35 WASTE

    Get [preferably not from AMAZON.COM] and read John C. Bogle’s “Battle for the Soul of Capitalism” It is very prescriptive about what must be done. He, like the most honorable Mr. Hanauer is a 1%er who says the whole thing has gone way wrong – we the 99%ers let it happen. We need to clean government and change the way business is conducted – eliminate the greed. Here is Bogle’s web site. http://www.johncbogle.com Enjoy and spread the word of Bogle!!!!

  • Zack Smith

    Nick Hannauer is pulling a Warren Buffet – guilty because of his wealth and attempting to score points with the plebes by calling for more redistribution. In fact it’s the Keyensian neo-liberal economic system and big government he slavishly supports (especially the Federal Reserve and central banking) that is primarily responsible for shifting wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.

    For those that do not understand this, please spend 10 minutes reading this simple comic – How an Economy Grows and Why it Doesn’t – http://hegawid.imgur.com/how_an_economy_grows_and_why_it_doesnt

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

      I think that Mr. Hannauer, like Buffet and Gates – have a moral conscience, that’s all.

      Hayek knew that we need government regulation – because the free market is anything but free; if it is left to it’s own devices.

      • John Cedar

        Interesting that a pure as the driven snow guy like Gates would be sued by the justice department so many times and for so many years.

        Buffet continues to combine companies into oligopolies, when he is not fleecing the tax payers with insider banking deals.

        Buffet is the man who says it is better to have a friend with a yacht than to buy one himself. At least Gates had the decency to rent the yacht he used this summer, instead of mooching off friends.

        Both these men simply got their billions using any ruthless tactic they could and now want to make sure no one else can ever become a billionaire. They don’t want an honest fair playing capitalist who would not play their predatory pricing antitrust games, to have a shot at it.

      • downtown21

        No, that’s not all.

        They’re also aware of history.

    • The poster formerly known as t

      neo-liberal economic systems and the big governments go hand-in-hand and are responses to growing complexity in civilization. They seem largely responses to human problems, mainly human population growth; We can either all starve to death or deal with incrementally more wealth concentration as we delegate control to specialists, particularly the managerial specialists.

    • TyroneJ

      If you were one of my students, you’d get a big FAIL for not being able to see the forest from the trees in Hanauer’s argument. Hanauer’s point is entirely about societal & economic stability.

      • John Cedar

        If you were doing your student teaching in my classroom, we would have a conversation about the chip on your shoulder and if you had what it took to be a good teacher. Are you sure you wouldn’t rather be a cop?

        • TyroneJ

          Not very observant, are you?

          • jefe68

            You think?

      • Don_B1

        Not to mention Mr. Smith’s attributing central banking and the Federal Reserve as being primarily responsible for shifting wealth from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.

        It is true that the big investment banks set up new financial instruments (derivatives: CDOs, CDSs, etc.) which by slicing up subprime mortgages that were sold to unknowing homeowners by slimy brokers did extract money from the poor and middle class. But they were only able to do that because of Senator Phil Gramm’s 2000 Commodity Futures Modernization Act that prevented regulation of derivatives.

        The Federal Reserve has had to resort to unconventional monetary policy because the crash of the housing and mortgage bubble along with the financial crisis left a balance sheet recession that was as potentially disastrous as the Great Depression and Congress refused, after the Democrats were barely able to pass the ARRA (stimulus) bill of 2009, which a broad consensus of economists agree helped the economy greatly in stopping the near free-fall of the economy and provided some basis for a return to growth, went on an austerity kick which halted hint of a return to a growing economy each time it seemed it was getting started.

      • Zack Smith

        I’m not in the 1% club, but as long as my standard of living is rising I don’t care that their standard of living is increasing faster. The problem is when standard of living is in decline for the middle class and poor due to the well-intentioned but destructive policies advocated by Nick Hannauer.

        I hope you aren’t teaching economics.

    • downtown21

      Spare us your pseudo-populist gibberish, you’re not fooling anybody.

    • TJPhoto40

      Oh, come on, stop reading into Hanauer’s good sense your own tired and cliched analysis. He doesn’t sound guilty or like he’s trying to score points with “plebes”, which I guess is your arrogant way of saying you feel vastly superior to both Hanauer and those who are not wealthy. Using the Larry David analysis, you advocate for rich pricks over poor schmucks. And you’re just foolish enough to think you have a superior understanding of economics when you’re just buying a line that Hanauer argues is false and offers good reasons to undermine.

      • Zack Smith

        I do have a superior understanding of economics based on Nick’s asinine statements such as Henry Ford paying his workers high wages so that they could afford to buy Model T’s. In fact Ford paid his workers more to reduce turnover and increase productivity.

        • TJPhoto40

          Ah, it must be heady to be so wise while failing to listen to the program closely. If you bother to listen, Hanauer says no such thing about Henry Ford; he replies to a caller who makes those claims. And like any good capitalist, Ford sounds like he operated on enlightened self-interest, which would suggest to him that it makes sense to keep workers happy and maybe even allow them to buy his products. If you object to that approach, you’re unenlightened while being so very wise.

          • Zack Smith

            I have heard Hannauer all over the media making this claim that Ford’s goal was to enable his workers to buy the Model T. I absorb more media than just NPR; you should try embracing some diversity too.

            “When Ford famously introduced the $5 day, which was twice the prevailing wage at the time, he didn’t just increase the productivity of his factories, he converted exploited autoworkers who were poor into a thriving middle class who could now afford to buy the products that they made. Ford intuited what we now know is true, that an economy is best understood as an ecosystem and characterized by the same kinds of feedback loops you find in a natural ecosystem, a feedback loop between customers and businesses.Raising wages increases demand, which increases hiring, which in turn increases wages and demand and profits, and that virtuous cycle of increasing prosperity is precisely what is missing from today’s economic recovery.”

            https://www.ted.com/talks/nick_hanauer_beware_fellow_plutocrats_the_pitchforks_are_coming/transcript

            “Hanauer suggests Henry Ford as a model. Ford realized that his autoworkers were consumers, too. By raising their pay, the Ford workers were able to buy Ford’s Model T’s.

            http://www.emporiagazette.com/opinion/editorials/article_aa99e864-4a12-55c1-95e2-511caa5a2c43.html

          • TJPhoto40

            Oh, a media snob. Actually, I manage to keep up with those that
            matter. If you’ve done that much to familiarize yourself with Hanauer’s
            views, something must have grabbed you besides just a starting point
            for contrarian rants. You seize upon one point as evidence that Hanauer is a
            fool, but you haven’t managed to debunk his main points at all. As for
            Henry Ford, I don’t know the background but have heard that claim before Hanauer brought it up, so I wonder what is your unassailable
            source for the original motivations of Ford in raising wages and so on? If Hanauer has it wrong, why don’t you just email him directly to advise him he’s mistaken, so he won’t keep saying silly things that upset neurotic capitalists. Beyond that, I embrace Hanauer’s key concepts and don’t feel the least
            bit dissuaded from that based on this Ford example either way. If Ford didn’t think of the workers as potential customers, he wasn’t as wise as you suggest and certainly not as wise as you.

          • Zack Smith

            Nearly everything about Hanauer’s analysis and proposal is wrong. This article does a good job of refuting more of it – http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2014/06/30/nick-hanauers-latest-near-insane-economic-plan/

            Provide Hanauer’s email address and I’d love to drop him a line. I didn’t see it posted online.

  • Lector

    Your sentiments are lovely but naive. If you believe what you’re proposing, then do it. Do not, however, demand or suggest that others who own or run businesses spend their money the way you think is right. If you want to put your capital at risk to start a business that pays employees artificially-high wages and/or distributes its profits to causes you deem worthy, you are welcome to do so.

    I hear in your comments echoes of Obama’s, “you didn’t build that.” Those who have not put their capital and their well-being at risk to start and run a business have no idea of the pressures, the responsibilities, and the negligible chances of success. Don’t believe it? Try it, and see. People who have been employees all their lives think that there’s something automatic or guaranteed about a company generating revenue or making a profit. It kills me when people rail against “corporate greed” or “heartless corporations” and then go to collect their paychecks from Verizon or Kroger or Exxon or GE.

    • pete18

      Well put.

  • http://users.rcn.com/eatwild/bio.htm Russ Cohen

    I was not able to listen to the entire show, nor read through all the comments, but just in case Tom or no commenters brought this up – I wish Tom Ashbook had asked Mr. Hanauer a pointed question about Amazon.com, esp. the poor way it treats its workforce at its distribution centers. The latest edition of the Hightower Lowdown contains an excellent article on this subject. Here’s the link: http://www.hightowerlowdown.org/node/3724#.U_3KHqN8lwU

  • clodene

    Scrap the Cap
    One way to start this change would be to eliminate the cap on the income eligible for Social Security tax. Not only would it make the system solvent but the money would go back into the economy. It wouldn’t solve the major issue but it would be a start. The retirees would have a breather and their children as well.

    • Grumpy_98

      If I get to keep my money that would otherwise go to SS by raising the cap I will either spend it or save it. If I spend it it will get into the economy faster that it would have by being washed through DC. If I save it it will be available for someone to borrow and invest in (possibly) a new business. That new business might just hire some people.

      • downtown21

        Right, because there’s a shortage of capital to invest right now. Who do you think you’re fooling?

        • Grumpy_98

          Well I sure have a shortage of capital.

      • The poster formerly known as t

        From what I heard, the problem for small businesses isn’t capital, but a lack of customers.

        There isn’t an infinite amount of jobs, and so ,therefore, there cannot be an infinite amount of customers. If there is a shortage of jobs, then there has to be a shortage of customers.

  • miles

    I think something like Germany’s co-determination law would be a good middle way for the US. I don’t think anyone wants to give up everything we’ve built in this country, we all just want a bit more say/control over our lives i.e our jobs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Co-determination

    • The poster formerly known as t

      Yeah, but that lack of control is what drives a lot of profits in a globalized economy that can no longer depend on manufacturing and agriculture to provide revenue growth. The most capitalized company in the world, Apple, does everything to restrict what its users can do with its products.

  • Stacy48918

    Arthur S. Demoulas – Listen up!

    Bring back Artie T!

  • Ron

    It’s amazing to me that a successful entrepreneur like Nick Hanauer could be so illiterate about basic economics. He advocates redistributing wealth in a massive way as if wealth creation and distribution were a static, zero-sum game, where incentives have no impact on outcomes. For instance, when arguing for raising the minimum wage “in a big way”, Hanauer conveniently ignores that the demand for workers would decline as businesses substitute capital for labor and the supply of workers would increase as more workers would be content remaining in entry level jobs rather than investing to upgrade their skills. At the macro level, this would mean greater unemployment and an overall lower-skilled workforce. Great recipe for economic prosperity, Nick!

    • The poster formerly known as t

      “He advocates redistributing wealth in a massive way as if wealth creation and distribution were a static, zero-sum game” Competition means nothing if there isn’t a lose-win situation. All wealth comes from natural resources and natural resources are finite–which is why the “little people” complain about clean water and inflation.

      “in entry level jobs rather than investing to upgrade their skills.” There’s a little thing called “learning on the job” and the Real World seems to value what someone can actually do than a purchased credential.

      ” Hanauer conveniently ignores that the demand for workers would decline as businesses substitute capital for labor” What does that claptrap even mean?
      Capital cannot substitute labor because capital performs NO labor. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but most economics is bulls—. It’s not a science. It’s a set of unproven and untested theories.

      • pete18

        ” I hate to be the one to break this to you, but most economics is bulls—”

        One see how this attitude informs your thinking.

      • Ron

        I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you need to take a course in economics. If all wealth came from natural resources, Africa would be rich and Japan would be poor. Human beings create wealth by transforming natural resources into products that are useful to you and by performing services that are valuable to you. Without labor, you would be living in a cave and hunting deer.
        You are quite right that people build skills by learning on the job, but there is a reason that educated people earn more than uneducated people. For instance, they learn how to write coherently, a skill you have yet to master.
        Finally, capital can substitute for labor. Have you ever heard of automation? The UAW certainly understands this, even if you don’t. And guess what, your labor can substitute for paid labor. Have you noticed that you dispense you own drinks now at fast foot restaurants?

        • TJPhoto40

          You’re just repeating nonsense in order to hold onto your questionable concepts of economics, believing you have the superior wisdom despite the fact that our most knowledgeable economists continue to debate from opposite sides when they supposedly know the field equally well. One concept alone will demonstrate the limits of your argument: You claim humans create wealth by transforming natural resources” and so on, when many of the wealthiest folks do nothing of the sort as they play the financial markets like a video game for their money. And let us know when the restaurant with the sugar water dispenser can dispense with all its employees and those who deliver the goods to the location, etc. Then we’ll be truly free of need for labor and all will be capital, which is to say empty value.

          • Ron

            TJ – You are right that economists debate a lot of things, but none is so idiotic as to say that all wealth comes from natural resources or that capital has no value. Nor do any claim that wealth creation related to labor comes from only physical activities. Try raising capital to start a business without financial markets and perhaps then you will then understand that wealth creation comes from a broader range of activities then just manfuacturing. And to your “sugar water” dispenser comment, I’m dieing to see you start any business at all without capital. Even lawn mowing requires equipment! (That’s what I mean by capital, if case you haven’t yet looked in up in the dictionary.) Look, I am not naive. There are bad guys on Wall Street just like there are bad guys at non-profits like Planned Parenthood. That’s why we have police, courts, and jails. But until someone invents a better system then capitalism for creating wealth and well being, I’m not going buy into all the liberal blather you spout.

          • TJPhoto40

            Ron, I know what capital means, so there’s no need for continued
            condescension. I said very little about that, and you obviously aren’t
            bothering to pay attention to my main points here, which can’t be
            dismissed simply as liberal blather. Labels won’t help much in this
            discussion. I question whether you listened to the entire show before
            starting your aggressive counter arguments. Otherwise, you’d understand
            that Hanauer is entirely advocating for good capitalism, or what he
            calls managed capitalism. He wants it to work effectively both for
            economic benefits and the health of our society more broadly. Nothing
            wrong with that, right? And despite your claims somewhere in this blog
            that you are a writer with some skill, you continue to show a wealth of
            typos, misspellings or improper word choice. (The word you want in that last sentence
            is “than” and not “then,” for example.) Try not to boast about skills
            you don’t possess, which may not be capital but can be extremely useful
            in communication.

          • Ron

            TJ – I did listen to Hanauer’s entire interview. However, he lost credibility when he made the rediculous argument that everyone including Walmart would be better off if Walmart dedicated $10B of its $27B in annual pretax profits to paying each of its workers $10,000 more per year because they could then afford to buy more products from Walmart. For that math to work, Walmart workers would need to spend every additional dollar they own at Walmart and Walmart would need to have 100% profit margins on all of the products they sell. And even then, Walmart would only break even! Even more to the point, Hanauer failed to explain why Walmart’s investors would feel OK with having $100B of market value raked out of their portfolios.
            I’ll concede that Hanuaer isn’t that stupid – that he was probably trying to make the point that the economy as a whole would be better off if we put more money in the pockets of low wage earners since they spend a higher percentage of their salaries than higher wage earners, who tend to be heavier savers. However, this argument assumes the benefits of higher consumption outweigh the detriments of lower investment, which I struggle to understand.
            To be clear, I am not arguing against helping out the less fortunate in society. However, there are good and bad means and degrees of doing this. Hanauer’s methods of heavy- handed intervention into the market economy creates all sorts of inefficiecies and unintended consequences that he fails to acknowlege.

          • The poster formerly known as t

            ” But until someone invents a better system then capitalism for creating wealth and well being, ”
            Capitalism creates wealth for capitalists. If you don’t make a living off of your business investments, you are not a capitalist.

            You’re conflating a small business owner, who has thin profit margins, with a capitalist who has wider profit margins. Anyone in the United States can start a small business–IF they can get people WITH MONEY to invest into their business. Anyone in the United States can keep a business running–if they can attract and retain paying customers.

            I’m really confused as why you’re equating wealth accumulation to well-being. Wealth, by itself, does little to guarantee “well-being.”

          • Ron

            You are right that wealth doesn’t always equate to well being, which is why I differentiated the two. I believe capitalism is the best system for creating both.
            I dispute your assertion that small business owners have inherently thin profit margins while large businesses have wider profit margins. There are plenty of examples to the contrary. Software development companies have among the highest margins but starting one requires a single person, a computer, and almost no capital. On the other hand, global retailers, automotive companies, and airlines are among the largest retailers but require huge capital investments and carry razor-thin margins.
            In the U.S., at least, there are plenty of opportunities for entreprenuers to raise capital – provided they have a good idea and a credible business plan.

        • The poster formerly known as t

          “I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you need to take a course in economics. ”

          Why would I, as a rational person, want to do that? It’s not a science. It’s a set of unproven and untested theories. It’s a set of religious beliefs at its core. Anything that is based on “confidence”,at this point, is all smoke and mirrors to me.

          “If all wealth came from natural resources, Africa would be rich and Japan would be poor. Human beings create wealth by transforming natural resources into products that are useful to you and by performing services that are valuable to you.”

          The concepts and wealth and poverty are subjective, so I’m going to reply by examining which countries have become reliant on imports.
          Japan has few natural resources and,so, developed a strategy of developing technology, AND, then, attacking other countries for their resources and economically enslaving the people in the countries with the resources they wanted (there’s your labor, right there.) The same can be same of many European countries during the time of Christopher Columbus, and with the rise of fascism in Germany, in the 20th century. Sure, Japan or Germany or Europe are not openly coercing any countries into directing their resources toward themselves but now, they’re all in trouble because they are facing economic problems relating to, really, the need to import products at a higher cost to support their standard of living a.k.a, consumption habits. It’s very true that human prosperity depends on the ability of humans to turn natural resources into good and services, but that prosperity is often short-lived, as people place exponential demands on the natural world, which is finite in resources. Pretty soon, there will be no more countries to turn to for untapped sources of arable land, minerals, and fossil fuels.
          White Europeans have been indoctrinating the general public to look condescendingly on the cultures of Africa because they did not “invent the wheel” and did not all universally peruse paths of social complexity that would give rise to unsustainable economic and political arrangements…until the Europeans showed up and told Africans to ratchet up their consumption of natural resources–which has turned out to be a really bad idea since the geography, and ecosystems of most regions of Africa are not ideal for this.

          “You are quite right that people build skills by learning on the job, but there is a reason that educated people earn more than uneducated people.”

          Modern economics says that resources are infinite and that the only limit to prosperity, is that “education level” of the average person (I barely wrote that load of garbage with a straight face). The reality is that education only rewards those who are highly intelligent and fortunate enough to be near areas of wealth where they themselves can exploit that cognitive advantage correctly. Educated people , meaning people from highly selective schools or programs,”earn more” because they are quick learners with a high level mathematical aptitude, and because they come from wealthier families, who can “hook them up” with a good job.
          “Educated”, as I’ve defined them are a minority. They can never make up the majority of workers in any economy as they are the cream-of-the-crop. They are the elite.

          ” Hanauer conveniently ignores that the demand for workers would decline as businesses substitute capital for labor”
          That is TECHNOLOGY, not CAPITAL substituting for labor. Automation has been occurring since the dawn of industrialization and it’s something that business owners prefer when the costs of automation are lower than the labor it is meant to replace. Society at large, has been told to see automation as a form of progress, since it is only suppose to eliminate tedious or dangerous work and would allow people to find new areas to work in. Economists have told us to embrace this as “Creative Destruction”. Are you sure that you took a course on economics ?

          ” Without labor, you would be living in a cave and hunting deer.”
          Living in a cave and hunting deer is sustainable with smaller human populations in several areas. Human have lived off of nature, without significantly changing it for millions of years. In contrast, the vast majority of what has been achieved since the Industrial Revolution is unsustainable, including those free trade agreements that have brought billions of people into one global economy.

          • Ron

            I’m not even sure where to start in rebutting your various assertions. It’s a target-rich environment, as the military is found of saying. However, I will make the general point that when arguing about the danger of depleting finite natural resources, you need to remember the old adage, “the Stone Age didn’t end because we ran out of stones.” In any event, since you seem to believe the industrial revolution was to the detriment of civilized society, I assume you’ll be reliquishing your computer and I’ll need to visit you in your new cave to continue the debate…..

    • downtown21

      He doesn’t “conveniently ignore” it at all. He rejects your ideological dogma that the economy can only function with those on the bottom being paid as little as possible. He didn’t ignore that point, he says it’s rubbish.

      • Ron

        I didn’t say that’s the only way an economy can function. Obviously, there are all manner of economic models, some which operate a lot better than others. I just said that Hanaeur’s way would hurt the people he is trying to help. Progressives tend to consider only the first-order effects of social welfare policies (e.g., I give a person a dollar and that makes him better off) and ignore the second and third order effects, which are often more consequential (e.g., if I give a person a dollar, he has less incentive to go out and earn a dollar, as does the person from whom I took the dollar). Call this conservative dogma if you want, but while you at it, please explain why the war on poverty has been such as huge failure despite the trillions of dollars we have spent and the thousands of well-meaning social programs we have implemented.

        • downtown21

          He’s not talking about social welfare policies, and I’m not interested in having that argument with you in this forum because your obsession with it makes it clear to me that you are an ideologue who would never question what you believe to be true. Good bye.

          • Ron

            I get it. Because you apparently have different views that me, I am an obsessed idealogue who is not worth arguing with. More likely, you just don’t have any good arguments. Good bye to you too, “Downtown”.

          • downtown21

            No you didn’t get it. But thanks for confirming that I was right not to let you drag me into the off-topic argument you wanted to have.

          • Ron

            Sorry, but it wasn’t “off topic” at all. Minimum wages are just one more form of wealth redistribution. You can’t have a intelligent conversation about the minimum wage without debating this broader issue. Moreover, if you listened to the Hanaeur interview, it was one long (and not particularly cogent) rant about the supposed merits of wealth redistribution.

          • TJPhoto40

            Ron, you’re obviously obsessive, alright, in your fear of this notion you call redistribution which apparently applies to everything you don’t like in economic management. Hanauer effectively debunks most of your simplistic thinking about one view only of capitalism, but you aren’t listening or are too gripped by your outmoded views to let go. If you think capitalism is entirely “free” or efficient now, you’re delusional. And Hanauer is not ranting; he’s trying to point out a sensible approach to prosperity that benefits from social stability and customers who can afford to buy what sustains a consumer economy. Stop fixating on your fears and listen for once.

          • downtown21

            “Minimum wages are just one more form of wealth redistribution.”

            For God’s sake will you LISTEN TO YOURSELF?

          • Ron

            Are you always this smarmy and patronizing or did I just hit a raw nerve? You have done nothing but hurl ad hominems. At least your liberal brethren on this site make an attempt at substantive arguments.

          • downtown21

            Maybe it’s you.

            I mean, I can see how you respond to substantive arguments. You demonstrate quite clearly that you’re unable to change your mind because you reject out of hand any facts that contradict your ideological dogma. So maybe my unwillingness to give you the argument you want says more about you than it does about me.

            Are we finished?

          • Ron

            If you read back through my posts, I think you will find that I acknowledged numerous valid points that people have made. However, I am not going to disregard what I have learned through years of education and decades of practical business experience based on a few rebuttals on this website. If that makes me an idealogue in your book, then so be it. However, you might want to look up the definition and read back through your own posts before you use that label again.
            Yes, we are done.

    • Kirk Schlesinger

      The conflict between Ron an downtown21 that follows below is unfortunately very typical of the disunity that prevents humanity from making effective progress in these critical times.

      Perhaps there might be a way of looking at the issue that respects both of their concerns? Let me give it a go.

      Ron focusses on second-order effects of minimum wage increases that would adversely affect low-income workers. Downtown21 focusses on the way employers strive to minimise wages in a capitalist economy.

      What if the solution is not to tinker directly with business economic practices at the beginning of the whole process, but instead achieve a solution at the end of the process by facilitating income transfers between families at the local level.

      Businesses would be free to make decisions without the distortions Ron is concerned about, and low-income people would be directly assisted in ways that downtown21 is interested in achieving.

      Perhaps that would end the bitter argument and permit them to work together in harmony.

  • Mike

    What a pathetic discussion of the issue. The wealthy guy is only interested in himself, of course, not other people or the country. And the solution is only to raise the minimum wage?
    Not mentioned were the deliberate tax and fiscal policies that shifted wealth to the wealthy and facilitated job loss, starting in earnest about 35 years ago: 1) the top personal tax rate is the lowest in modern history (was 91% in the 1950s, 70% in the 1960s, 50% in the 1970s); 2) the effective corporate tax rate, after loopholes and deductions is around 12% and the share of total taxes paid by corporations was 1/3 but is now around 9% (and more property, school, and sales taxes have been shifted to everyone else); 3) so-called free trade agreements, negotiated with little transparency, have facilitated the loss of millions of middle class jobs over the last 20 years.
    Next time, have an informed guest to discuss this.

    • Ron

      Mike – I agree that the Nick Hanaeur was a terrible guest, but for different reasons than you. I am having a hard time following your logic. The top 1% of wage earners pay 37% of income taxes, while the top 5% pay close to 2/3 of income taxes, while the bottom 50% pay almost nothing. You are right that marginal tax rates have fallen significantly since the 1950s, but what makes you think taking 91 cents, or even 70 cents, out of incremental dollar a person earns is an efficient or even ethical means of taxation. High marginal tax rates discourage productive activity – like investing in companies that provide infrastructure and health care – and encourage unproductive acitivity, like lobbying lawmakers for economically distorive tax deductions and exemptions. And as importantly, by encouraging real economic growth, we will also regenerate those middle class jobs that were lost and increase government tax receipts. Don’t believe me? Look at the results of the social experiment Europe has been running for the past few decades.

      • Mike

        My point is a matter of balance, which has been skewed toward the rich and big corporations. There were still plenty of rich and entrepreneurial people when the balance wasn’t so skewed. I’m not in favor of excessive or punitive taxation (I have a business myself). Unfortunately, most political rhetoric is over the extremes.
        Anyway, where are the middle classs jobs you refer to now that the stock market is at record levels and businesses have record levels of cash? And where is the infrastructure investment you refer to, while it is well acknowledged that infrastructure investment is seriously lacking? Sorry, the rationalizations are simply masking short-term greed.

        • Ron

          Mike – You’ll get no disagreement from me that infrastructure investment and middle-class job creation are insufficient. However, we might disagree on the causes. We could have a spirited debate whether “greed” (or, as I prefer, “the profit motive”) is good or bad. However, greed has existed since man first walked this earth, so I don’t see how that explains recent changes in
          our economy. Employers hire employees
          because those employees help them make more money, not out of the goodness of their hearts. The causes of our persistently high unemployment are many and complex, but the gap between the skills job seekers possess and those employers demand is a big part of the problem. This traces back to issues like the failure of our educational system and existence of a large and permanent underclass of citizens in this country who don’t value education and who are conditioned to live off the largess of our social welfare system. To your point about infrastructure, most of the underinvestment issue lies in public investment, such as our roads and air traffic control, rather than in private investment, such as buidings. No one could reasonably argue that we have starved our governement of the funds needed to make that investment. Rather, it is a problem with how our governement has chosen to spend the trillions at their disposal.

    • TJPhoto40

      Another listener who wasn’t listening or at least didn’t hear the points the guest was making. I thought his take was refreshingly honest and free of pretension. It’s true he was long on diagnosing the inequality problem and short on solutions, but he made it clear more than once that the only way this will change is if great numbers of people demand change through policy. As for taxes, I’m all for the wealthy paying a much greater share, but I recognize this probably won’t generate the huge amount of revenue some like to believe. But as a matter of principle, it’s ridiculous that the wealthy often pay a lower percentage than their hired help. And for the authoritative ignorant Ron comment re taxes the rich pay and the poor don’t, we’ve heard this refrain before. Almost everyone pays tax in some form, it’s just that the poor tend to pay more payroll and Social Security and sales taxes, but folks like Ron who supposedly know so much conveniently fail to mention that little burden.

      Check a source like Forbes for the gist of that: http://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2013/09/12/most-americans-do-indeed-pay-federal-taxes-including-the-poor/

      • Kirk Schlesinger

        TJ Photo40 says: “The only way this will change is if great numbers of people demand change through policy.”

        Perhaps this is not the only way, or at least not the only way to begin making the needed change.

        How about people in a neighbourhood getting together and deciding that everyone in their location will live comfortably and well. They could start by doing some redistributions of income, sharing material goods, and so forth amongst themselves. (Check out the Baha’i Faith’s talk on “Cooperation”, http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/c/FWU/fwu-10.html)

        Of course the results would be imperfect, since so many places in the world are heavily segregated by class, ethnicity and income. Even so, it would mark a step in the right direction.

        It could conceivably inspire a positive groundswell of imitation and creative development that could eventually provide a very strong foundation for a wider policy change.

        Instead of demanding things like children sometimes do, we could speak and act far more persuasively and maturely, based upon personal experience and acquired wisdom.

  • ranndino

    Most people in the middle class already can’t afford to buy much of anything. This fact is masked by credit cards. If the credit cards were suddenly taken away the demand for all kinds of goods would plummet and we’d see the true state of affairs in America.

    • London Local

      What the hell are you talking about? I’m in the middle class. I buy all sorts of things. I live a great lifestyle and put nearly a 1/3 of monthly income into savings/investing.

      What you meant to say is middles class people who had children, and then bought a bigger house, and then two cars, and then vacations, can’t NOW afford to buy anything.

      • ranndino

        Let me guess. You’re a young IT pro. I’m too, but I’m smart enough to realize that our experience isn’t typical. Try to get outside your bubble & see how most middle class people live these days.

        Also, since when are 2 kids, a bigger house to accommodate them, 2 cars and vacations a luxury?

        • London Local

          No. I”m not a young IT pro.

          • ranndino

            Whatever you are remember that your experience isn’t typical. Most people don’t have 1/3 of their monthly income to invest. In fact, most Americans don’t make enough to cover their monthly expenses & are in deep debt. Yes, part of it is total inability to manage their finances, but part of it is that the salaries haven’t kept up with inflation.

      • Sting17

        And watch Wall St. “cheat” again and collapse the stock market. See what happens to your savings/investing. The GAME is rigged. They all kept their money. Nobody went to jail. I could never afford a house, but I had an IRA. Never thinking the housing bubble would affect my retirement money. I lost half of my money. The banks/brokerages got bailed out. They pay off ALL the politicians to “change” the rules. Someone “slipped” CARRIED INTEREST into a bill to give millionaires/billionaires a tax break–only paying 15%. Do you only pay 15% ? Mitt Romney only paid 13.9% because he gave to his Mormon charities. Senator Schumer (D) keeps blocking the legislation to repeal “carried interest”. They’re all the same.

    • Sting17

      Your right ! Credit cards charge astronomical rates. WHY ? Because some financial corporation paid off a politician in South Dakota to change the law and raise the interest rates sky high (supposedly so as to bring more jobs to the state), but it was really to RAKE IN a WINDFALL. People are caught in a perpetual treadmill of trying to pay off their bill, which would take 50 years. The people with the money make the rules. They convince people that these rules are FAIR. If we had the old rules where “usury” was against the law-people wouldn’t be stuck in a financial “spider web”.

      • ranndino

        Well, this particular problem can be solved by managing your finances correctly and not buying things you can’t afford to buy with cash just because you have a credit card. For example, I’ve never paid a dime in interest so the rates are irrelevant to me. I use credit cards only for convenience and don’t buy anything that I wouldn’t otherwise be able to buy with cash.

        • Sting17

          You’re right. I live by those principles too.
          It was because my father got sick with Muscular Dystrophy & his business went into bankruptcy. I was only a baby, but we were poverty stricken living in a cold water flat. My mother tried to make a Merry Christmas for the older 3 siblings & used the dept. store credit card which turned out to be a disaster. I learned by watching & living in poverty. When I was a teen I tried to rent a car, but couldn’t because you needed a credit card. Recently a friend here in Boston went home to Detroit to visit his family. I asked him what airline he flew ? He said he took the train. The train? He said you can’t buy an airplane ticket w/o a credit card. I know people w/o a bank and/or checking account because the “basic costs” are too high. When I was a kid they gave toasters & gifts to open an account for free. If I wanted to go to the nearest AT&T Cell store or Citibank to pay my bills–instead of mailing it in–they want $10-$15 fee . There is SOMETHING wrong ? The banks are getting their money from the Gov’t (at OUR expense) for ZERO %. If I don’t pay my credit card bill in full, the rate can go up to 29.99%! And I have a credit score of 819. Talk about “crony capitalism”. The “rules” have all been changed to favor the businesses. Our politicians don’t represent the People anymore. They represent the highest bidder. I say bring out the pitchforks.

          • ranndino

            The fact that your family ended up in poverty due to illness is very sad and shouldn’t happen in one of the richest countries in the world.

  • Thinkfreeer

    The title of the article implies that there should be wealth equality. That’s preposterous!

    • downtown21

      No it doesn’t.

    • TJPhoto40

      Your moniker would suggest you are a free thinker. Your comments demonstrate that’s preposterous!

    • Kirk Schlesinger

      Wealth equality is indeed impossible, but thanks be to God it is also unnecessary. Largely voluntary readjustments guided and managed by locally elected Houses of Justice established across the planet can achieve this result.

      All that is really required is to seek the following outcome: “No one will remain in need or in want. All will live in the utmost comfort and welfare. Yet no schism [i.e. factions] will assail the general order of the body politic.”
      (from a Baha’i talk on “Cooperation” http://reference.bahai.org/en/t/c/FWU/fwu-10.html)

      Once humanity achieves this result through spiritually guided consultation, far greater peace, harmony and enjoyment of life will result.

  • downtown21

    What the heck are you talking about?

  • TJPhoto40

    I think Hanauer makes so much sense that only those who are tied up in cliched thinking or are too fearful of change will fail to grasp the logic. A quick scan of the postings here will tell you a lot of people weren’t listening or won’t let go of the entrenched thinking that he effectively demolishes here. He has some articulate ways of saying the basic elements of his argument, but I’m not thrilled with calling capitalism a “social technology” when in fact it’s an economic system or approach for monetizing goods and services for those who need it rather than technology as most people would define it. I think it’s great if this program leads to healthy debate, but from what I see in many comments here, it’s more about snarling dogs and owners trying to get them to let go of the old bone.

  • Carol

    I appreciate the points that Hanauer made in this On Point program.
    However, not addressed were his own business practices. I am curious to
    know if he puts his principles into effect in his own businesses. Does
    he pay a fair living wage? Does he prioritize full time work with
    benefits for his workers?
    Does anyone know his record?

  • Sting17

    He was wrong when he said there was no unrest during the Great Depression. There was a bomb that went off on Wall St. and they never discovered who planted it. If you watch the movie “The Petrified Forest” Leslie Howard, Bette Davis & Bogart–written by Robert Sherwood, people were in turmoil. Another thing–Lucille Ball’s Grandfather appeased him by joining the Communist Party, which came back to bite her in the 1950′s. People WERE looking for CHANGE.

  • Sting17

    During other periods there were turmoil. The documentary about the Men Who Built America (i.e. The Robber Barons)-A worker made it to Andrew Carnegie’s “right-hand-man” Frick’s office and tried to kill him. Another documentary about John D. Rockefeller showed him hiring the “Pinkerton’s as body guards. None of us will be safe walking down the streets when there are too many “have-nots”.

  • Sting17

    Just during my lifetime, I’ve seen when people see “things” WAVED in their faces thru the media (Movies, TV) and they can’t afford them–they end up finding ways to get them. Look at the kids that had their “Leather jackets” stolen. Then it was the expensive sneakers. Now people on the subway have their iPhones snatched. Thieves run out of the door just before the train doors close.

    • The poster formerly known as t

      Not only that, but there’s a social stigma against people who didn’t have the leather jackets, the expensive sneakers, and now, the smartphones. In the elementary school system, if a student doesn’t have the latest and greatest, they’re considered less of a human being.

  • Sting17

    Certain people/professions keep wanting more money. It’s unsustainable. Look at my home team, the Boston Red Sox. They just signed a player from Cuba for $72 million ! This is for hitting a “ball” with a “stick” ! Former player Manny Ramirez was in the outfield picking dandelions because he said the Sox didn’t respect him. He faked illness and wouldn’t play. He wanted MORE MONEY even though he signed the contract for $30 million. They are no more a TEAM than I am. They are INDIVIDUAL players that make too much money ON a team. If they don’t like it, they’ll asked to be traded. A local newscaster said he just went to a game. He said he needed to take out a “second mortgage” to pay for the tickets. I could afford as a kid to go to a game and get “bleacher” seats. No more. I really don’t watch sports anymore, but I am FORCED to subsidize these overpaid athletes. How ? My cable bill. They say the biggest part of the bill is the sports. And of course ESPN is owned by Disney/ABC/Washington Post. We are FORCED to take a package instead of “a la carte” pick our own channels thanks to the Media Industry lobbyists in Washington. We are a “captive audience”–forced to pay “tribute” like the conquered peoples of the Roman Empire.
    Major League Baseball is a “protected” monopoly. The other sports like football, hockey, etc. might as well be considered monopolies.
    They make as much in selling “over-priced” merchandise as they make just from baseball. The players “charge” the kids for their “signatures”. Where does it end ? You know–I listened to Jim Bouton (“Ball Four”) on “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell” radio show. He said his average salary from 1962-70 was $19,000. I put that figure into an online inflation calculator. If he were still playing in 2014, he would be making $116,714.36. I put my salary into the inflation calculator. I went nowhere from 1977-2007 and I supposedly had a good job !

    • The poster formerly known as t

      Sports teams don’t make their money from the average person, anymore. Just like with the movie industry, they have focused on affluent consumers.

      Heck, you could say the entire U.S. economy is focused on serving affluent customers, with a few exceptions.

      Resources (cheap oil) are drying up and I guess businesses are focusing on a smaller group of people who can afford the higher prices.

      “Certain people/professions keep wanting more money. ” Some of that is a result of interest on loans. As you might know, the world economy has become financialized since, well, Reagan held the Presidential office which basically means, all economic activity is based on lending. Some of the price increases you may encounter may be due to a company or individual needing to meet the interest payments on its loans.

      • Sting17

        In the 1930′s, the Movie Studios were a vertical Monopoly/oligopoly. They owned production, distribution & the theaters to display the films. The Independent Theater Owners were getting “screwed” ! They were “forced” to take 7 “dogs” (bad movies) to get 3 “good” (money making) films.

        They DIDN’T like it. They published THEIR list of “Box Office Poison” as a response of this injustice. Pictures that cost them a fortune to rent (Garbo, Dietrich, Hepburn, etc.) didn’t make them money. They said that these STARS were overpaid and made too much for their limited audience. They weren’t popular and resulted in a loss for the theaters owners. This was during the Great Depression when MGM head Louis B. Mayer was the highest paid citizen in the country !

        I believe the Independent Theater Owners were the ones that went to the Supreme Court on anti-trust grounds. I think finally in 1946 the Supreme Court agreed with the Independent Theater Owners and ordered the movie companies be broken up. They had their choice of what to keep and they chose the studios.

  • Sting17

    CEO’s of corporations are out of control. They weren’t doing their jobs before. Now their bonuses are based on performance. The mantra Is “shareholder value”, which really should be “how can I fix the numbers to get my big bonus.” If he had to fire 100 people to make his marks, he would. But would those 100 people have helped the company in the long term to make more money. The naysayers say, “The CEO won’t be doing his best if we don’t give him a performance bonus.” If I wasn’t doing MY JOB, I’d be fired. And they think they’re SPORTS STARS too. “I should be compensated as much as the other CEO.” And Ken Feinberg runs a compensation law firm to determine how much (more) a CEO should get. And just to show you it’s not on the up & up, Angelo Mozilo from Countrywide Mortgage–one of the firms that caused the Financial Crisis in 2008, didn’t like what a compensation firm recommended he be paid. He went and got another estimate, then another until he liked it. People say, “It’s his company, he founded it.” Nay, nay. It was a PUBLICLY traded company with stockholders. It was no longer HIS company. That means MY mutual funds, my IRA, peoples pensions–holding JUNK. But he made sure he got his 3 country club memberships paid for by the shareholders. And while he was touting the stock & buying back shares with shareholder money, he was selling HIS shares. Did he go to jail ? No, he paid a fine and agreed to be banned from running any companies.

  • Sting17

    Another one is former CEO of GE, Jack Welch. Neutron Jack he was called for getting rid of 125,000 jobs during his tenure. He had more perks than GOD. He is getting $9,000,000 a year in pension. Free health care and life insurance. But the problems came when he wanted to divorce wife #2 and offered her $20 Million to go away while he was cheating.

    She declined because she knew he was worth $500 to $900 Million and GE was paying for ALL of his living expenses, around $2Million per month ! The shareholders were paying for this, but they didn’t know about it because it was kept out of the annual report (I don’t think anyone went to jail over this ?) . He was getting 4 country club memberships (including Augusta National), the use of the GE jet, a limo, chauffeur, body guards, cook, housekeeper, wait staff, lodging at the GE luxury apt. at Trump Towers, box seats for the Yankees, Red Sox, NY Knicks, Wimbledon, US Open, French Open, Olympics. And fresh flowers, meals, dry cleaning, laundry, magazines, etc., etc. To top it off a financial planner to manage his vast wealth and $1500 per month Social Security.

    Wait a minute, he doesn’t work there anymore. He’s getting $9,000,000 per year pension. He’s worth $500-$900 Million dollars. He also has a “consulting” gig with GE for more money. Why is GE paying for ALL his bills ? Who made him KING ! When the pension perks came out in the media, he had the nerve to defend it saying that he had earned it ! Talk about GREED and “licking the plate clean”. He is the type that would lay you off and put you and your family into poverty for a few pennies profit.

  • http://jesusandamerica.wordpress.com Jerry

    Yes! The pitchforks are coming (Made in China) and Wal-Mart is planning a special sale on them. :-)

  • Sting17

    In response to “formerly t”. In the 1930′s, the Movie Studios were a vertical Monopoly/oligopoly. They owned production, distribution & the theaters to display the films. The Independent Theater Owners were getting “screwed” ! They were “forced” to take 7 “dogs” (bad movies) to get 3 “good” (money making) films.
    They DIDN’T like it. They published THEIR list of “Box Office Poison” as a response of this injustice. Pictures that cost them a fortune to rent (Garbo, Dietrich, Hepburn, etc.) didn’t make them money. They said that these STARS were overpaid and made too much for their limited audience. They weren’t popular and resulted in a loss for the theaters owners. This was during the Great Depression when MGM head Louis B. Mayer was the highest paid citizen in the country !
    I believe the Independent Theater Owners were the ones that went to the Supreme Court on anti-trust grounds. I think finally in 1946 the Supreme Court agreed with the Independent Theater Owners and ordered the movie companies be broken up. They had their choice of what to keep and they chose the studios.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 15, 2014
In this Thursday, Sep. 11, 2014 photo, Middle Eastern leaders stand together during a family photo with of the Gulf Cooperation Council and regional partners at King Abdulaziz International Airport’s Royal Terminal in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia. (AP/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

President Obama says he will build a coalition of partners in the Middle East to combat ISIS. We’ll do a reality check on who’s really stepping up for what.

Sep 15, 2014
This Monday, Sept. 27, 2010 file photo shows hikers on the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon National Park, Ariz. (AP/Carson Walker)

Uproar over development plans for the Grand Canyon. We go to the Navajo Nation and the Canyon floor to see what’s at stake.

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 12, 2014
In this May 23, 2014, file photo, Janay Rice, left, looks on as her husband, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, speaks to the media during a news conference in Owings Mills, Md. (AP/Patrick Semansky)

#WhyIStayed. We’re looking at women in and out of relationships of domestic violence.

 
Sep 12, 2014
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)

The President’s ISIS strategy. The Ray Rice video. Congress is back. Apple’s new watch. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: September 12, 2014
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

In which you had varied reactions to the prospect of a robotic spouse.

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Beverly Gooden on #WhyIStayed
Friday, Sep 12, 2014

Beverly Gooden — who originated the #WhyIStayed hashtag that has taken off across Twitter — joined us today for our discussion on domestic violence.

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Tierney Sutton Plays LIVE For On Point
Friday, Sep 5, 2014

We break out Tierney Sutton’s three beautiful live tracks from our broadcast today for your listening pleasure.

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