BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company…

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Republicans could come screaming out of the gate going forward and say, we're the ones who will fight for the poor. We're the ones who will fight for workers. You might not agree with what we're going-- how we're going to do it, but let me tell you, you will not doubt what's on our hearts.

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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. My guest Arthur C. Brooks says the compassionate conservatism once touted by George W. Bush is making a comeback. Now, if you've been listening to the heated rhetoric on the right toward poor people, government, immigrants, and liberals, that may come as a surprise. But Mr. Brooks is being taken seriously by influential conservatives in government, business, and the media. In “Commentary” magazine he called on conservative leaders to articulate "a positive social-justice agenda." And just last week, in “The New York Times,” under the headline, “Love People, Not Pleasure,” Arthur Brooks wrote that while "money relieves suffering in cases of true material need [...] when money becomes an end in itself, it can bring misery, too."

That message has some people scratching their heads, coming as it does from the president of the American Enterprise Institute, that venerable conservative Washington think tank funded by some 1200 donors, including the likes of Exxon Mobil, the American Petroleum Institute, the Walton Family Foundation – that’s Wal-Mart – the pharmaceutical industry, and the chairman of the Carlyle Group – that’s the global private equity firm with the touch of King Midas. It is not love that gives these powers their clout in Washington – it is money.

So what's this former professor of the French horn (yes, the French horn) up to? And how did he reach the top of the conservative pecking order in Washington? For one thing, by teaching business, government, and economics for years at Syracuse University. For another, by writing ten books -- this is the most recent: “The Road to Freedom: How to Win the Fight for Free Enterprise.” And for yet another, by his own pilgrimage to understand how it is that human beings are more than the sum of their material appetites. Last year, he went to India to meet with one of the great spiritual shepherds of our time – prompting the very materialistic Vanity Fair magazine to ask: “Why Was the Dalai Lama Hanging Out with the Right-Wing American Enterprise Institute?”

A good question, given that this year the Dalai Lama paid his own visit to Arthur Brooks at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Arthur Brooks, welcome.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Thank you, Bill.

BILL MOYERS: Why the Dalai Lama? What were you seeking?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: The Dalai Lama is a representative of human consciousness. He's somebody who transcends a lot of the materialistic pressures. He's also the most respected religious figure today in the world. Whether anybody likes that or not, it's the truth. He's somebody who thinks about the truth, notwithstanding the political realities that are going on around the world. And we wanted to talk to him about many of the controversies that we're seeing today, about how consciousness, free enterprise politics, how it all interacts.

BILL MOYERS: And he called you the spiritual leader of the capitalist people?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Well, one of the guests, I guess, at one of our events said that.

BILL MOYERS: How do you reconcile his socialism with your capitalism?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Well, I asked the Dalai Lama that and-- when we were in Dharamsala. And it was a wonderful visit. I went to see him in his monastery where he's been living in exile since being expelled from Tibet by the Chinese communists in 1959.

And I went and visited with him. I meditated with his monks for the morning and then in the afternoon we were talking. And he said basically, you love free enterprise. I said, that's right, Your Holiness. And he said, I am a Marxist. And I thought, uh-oh. But he continued. He said, but I do not believe in forced sharing by government. I believe in voluntary sharing as the basis of human morality. And there's nothing that describes my point of view about this world better than that.

BILL MOYERS: But here's the enigmatic part of Arthur Brooks. You know, love does not make Washington go around.


BILL MOYERS: It does not bring home the bacon. The tax subsidies. The loopholes. The special privileges. It doesn't grease the revolving door that is the source of so much of the wealth there. To get those things people have-- need money.


BILL MOYERS: And use money. So many of the people listening to us right now are going to be, as I said, scratching their heads and say, how can Arthur Brooks be comfortable in an environment where money is the prime, if not sole, instrument of consolidating the power of the rich and privileged, the corporations, in Washington today? Does that create any tension in him?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Money always creates tension in me and it creates tension in our political system and it creates tension in all people of good will. The fact of the matter is it should create tension with-- we should have an uneasy relationship with material prosperity. An uneasy relationship with power. But we can also use it at the government level to alleviate poverty for our poorest citizens. This is one of the reasons that I recommend that conservatives declare peace on the safety net for the truly poor. But not for others.

BILL MOYERS: What does that mean?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: That means basically we have a concept of the safety net that is either, in comic book form: we're against it because it creates dependency and it's always wrong, on one hand. Or it's a good thing and we should expand it to include everybody. Upper middle class people, crony corporations, people who haven't earned particular benefits or who actually aren't in need. Neither one of those extremes is something that we should embrace.

BILL MOYERS: So help me understand this. Tax laws favor capital over labor, giving capital gains a lower rate than many people who earn ordinary income. Bankruptcy laws allow companies to reorganize but not college students burdened by huge debt. The minimum wage is losing ground, losing value, while CEO pay is, as you know, going through the roof again and again. Is this compassionate conservatism at work?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: There is a lot of lacking compassion in the American economy, and every institution, or, for that matter, in any economy around the world, but you have to take each one of these things-- these are not comparable situations. So I'll give you an example. Minimum wage. Now, the problem with the minimum wage is not that we're worried about the expenses it's going to create for businesses. The problem with the minimum wage is that it hurts the people it's supposed to help. It's a perfect way to give a raise to my teenage children.

It's the worst way to try to wipe out the unemployment scourge that we have in this country. We don't have a low wage problem. We have an unemployment problem in the bottom 50 percent. America has left the bottom behind. And we have a conspiracy. We have a left wing politically that talks about solutions, but has no implementable answers that actually help poor people. And we have a right wing that technically-- that traditionally doesn't even talk about poverty.

When you have that kind of a conspiracy it's the poor who lose out. And if the only thing that we can come up with is a command and control law that tells businesses they have to pay more, as opposed to all the great ideas - an expansion of the earned income tax credit, wage subsidies that make work pay that don't destroy jobs, then--

BILL MOYERS: I'm with--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: --shame on us.

BILL MOYERS: I'm with you on the earned income tax credit.


BILL MOYERS: One of the best means of getting money to people who need it. But is there any better way of creating jobs than putting money into the hands of people who spend it immediately? Middle class, working poor, poor people? And so a raise in the minimum wage has been shown, in some studies, to actually make people better off and stimulate the economy--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Very little. Very little. The best way-- if you want to create jobs you need policies of economic growth. And furthermore, you know, economic growth that reaches all the way to the bottom of the income distribution. The crisis in the American economy today, Bill, is that we have economic growth that's concentrated in the top 10 percent.

The stock market run up that's come about because of loose money that makes interest rates effectively zero, that blows up equity markets. The stock market has increased by 125 percent since Barack Obama took over as president. 81 percent of those gains has gone into the pocket of the top 10 percent of the income distribution. In the meantime, food stamp recipiency is up by 50 percent. From 32 million Americans to 48 million Americans. You remember John Edwards was-- I mean--

BILL MOYERS: I think I do remember John Edwards.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: I know. I know. We go back and--

BILL MOYERS: A meteor in the sky.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: He's usually kind of, you know, the punch line to a right wing joke. But John Edwards had one idea, which was that we were becoming two Americas. He was right. He was just early. He just didn't see the plutocratic tour de force. That's the crisis.

BILL MOYERS: He was also late. Michael Harrington and many others--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Yeah, I know.

BILL MOYERS: --had said, look what's happening.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: It's true. It's true. He’s-- now we see it. And now we see what we need to do. Economic growth that reaches all the way to the bottom. The minimum wage doesn't do it. Free money doesn't do it. Only the free enterprise system that has a bias for the poor is going to get that done.

BILL MOYERS: But our economy is growing faster than Canada's and northern Europe's. And yet more-- less of that is going to everyday workers than it is in Canada and Europe. How do you explain that?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: The reason is because our economic growth is concentrated in the top fifth of the income distribution in this country. So what happens is you have effectively 5 or 6 percent economic growth for guys like you and me. It's party time. But the rest of the economy is somewhere 1 to 2 percent growth and the whole bottom half is zero. That's what's going on in America today. It's concentrated only on favoring those at the very top. And that's because of very bad public policy.

BILL MOYERS: I would suggest that one of the problems is that it is that over 70 percent of the wealth in this country is owned by the top. And they are doing everything they can, both to preserve, perpetuate and increase that wealth without following Arthur Brooks's advice and sharing it downstream.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Man, I wish it were true that that were the real problem. I wish it were, because if it were, we could decide together that we could go to Washington and we could try to increase taxes and have more redistribution and solve the problem. But Bill, it's not.

Look, tax revenues this year are the highest in inflation-adjusted terms in American history. But do you believe that we could do something big like the interstate highway system today in America? You know we couldn't. We couldn't do it. With any amount of time. We can't do it because we have this rabbit warren of expanding government that makes it impossible with any amount of money to actually help citizens. That's the problem. It's not that rich people are getting richer. It's that we can't do things with the money.

BILL MOYERS: With due respect, many businesses today are thriving on desperate workers. It's not just that government is corrupted or is too big. For example, workers at Target, McDonald's, Wal-Mart, need food stamps to survive. Let's just take Wal-Mart.


BILL MOYERS: Made over $17 billion in profits last year, about $12,000 per employee. Yet Wal-Mart pays their employees so little that the average Wal-Mart worker depends on about $4,000 per year in taxpayer assistance. Food stamps, and other programs. You and I and every taxpayer in the country, including the Wal-Mart workers are subsidizing the company for paying its workers so little, to the tune of about $6.2 billion. That's not morally right, is it? And it's not government's fault.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: You know, the idea that these are dead-end jobs is not correct. The truth of the matter is that I started out in a dead-end job, I bet you started out in a dead-end job, and what we have an obligation to do as a society is to not to force an organization like Wal-Mart to change their wage structure, because you know what they'll do.

I mean, in America today, we have a 36 percent African American teenage unemployment rate. We could make it 44 percent by forcing through these market signals. Or we could band together and say, what are we going to do? And that's why you and I agree on the earned income tax credit expansion and other wage subsidies to make work pay.

BILL MOYERS: But I'm speaking here about issues of justice. The four Walton heirs together made nearly $30 billion from their personal investments last year. Not envious, that's just a fact. That doesn't strike me as compassionate conservatism.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Well, what-- wait, wait--

BILL MOYERS: And instead of providing--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Why conservatism?

BILL MOYERS: Well, they're conservatives. But instead of providing a living wage for its workers, the company spent $7.6 billion on stock buyouts in order to further boost the value of the owner's stockholdings. I mean, Wal-Mart even profits from food stamps. They process them. They have 18 percent of the SNAP market, which means they're making money from the food stamps that their workers need and get from you and me in order to--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: But no, we--

BILL MOYERS: --support them.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Well, we're glad they can take food stamps, aren't we?


ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Aren't we glad that people can cash their food stamps--

BILL MOYERS: Absolutely. But, I mean, Wal-Mart--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: You're pointing out the irony, you're not protesting the policy, right--

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, right.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: No, I understand. Now I think we should agree not to be envious of the Waltons. I think Sam Walton did created a great company.

BILL MOYERS: Absolutely.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: And I love it when people go, he came from nothing. He was the American success story. And I don't begrudge his right to actually pass on money to his heirs.


ARTHUR C. BROOKS: As a matter of fact, you know, you could look at the tremendous wealth of the whole 1 percent, and you distribute that among the population, it would be $7,000 per American. It--

BILL MOYERS: It just--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: It wouldn't--

BILL MOYERS: Do it among your workers.


BILL MOYERS: I mean, just distribute more of the profits among the workers who have to depend on you and me for the food stamps they get to survive while working at Wal-Mart.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Well, but do we know the philanthropy of the Walton family? I mean, do we--

BILL MOYERS: Well, there's--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: I mean, that's a wonderful thing. And--


ARTHUR C. BROOKS: That's what we're trying to do.

BILL MOYERS: Are you suggesting, I don't think you're suggesting that we should admire their philanthropy when they're not paying their workers a living wage.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: No. I'm suggesting that the markets in the United States, given the fact that we have not prepared workers for the modern economy, that we have an insufficient education infrastructure that’s leaving the poor behind, at least there are jobs, and I want public policies that make those jobs pay more.

The idea somehow that Wal-Mart can suddenly take the whole-- take the profit margin in a publicly traded corporation and spread the money around in this way, or even worse, if we decide to go to Washington and do it by fiat, can you imagine? Can you imagine the crony capitalists--

BILL MOYERS: Well, no, no, no, no. Just pay your workers. I mean, it would seem to me that compassionate conservatism would take some of those exorbitant profits that come in no small part because they're subsidized by you and me, the taxpayer, because the Waltons won't pay them sufficiently and spend that on paying their workers a better wage.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: So this is not a public policy argument--

BILL MOYERS: No, no, it's not.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: --at all.

BILL MOYERS: It's capitalism.


BILL MOYERS: It's business. You represent a lot of business representatives in there. I mean, if you took the leadership on this, there's no telling what kind of revolution you could spark.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Well, we're talking about-- and not just paying people more, what we actually can do all together--


ARTHUR C. BROOKS: --to be fighting for--

BILL MOYERS: Let-- pay them and let them live as they want to live. Don't try to put--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: So you're a big fan of Hobby Lobby, for example, because they pay-- the minimum that they pay per worker is $15 per hour--

BILL MOYERS: I admire their employment policies.


BILL MOYERS: I disagree with the fact that the owner's religious beliefs should trump the rights of women to what they need in contraception or want in contraception. But that's a different-- I'm talking about capitalism, Arthur. I'm not talking about government. And the fact of the matter is, capitalism has captured government so we can't do the things that you're talking about--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Well, capitalism is capital-- it's the antithesis of capitalism that's captured government.


ARTHUR C. BROOKS: You see, this is the problem. When markets work, you actually don't have a free path for the well-connected to get their favors through the government. Government circumvents competition. Basically, you're one of two kinds of people. Either you believe in winning competition, or you believe in shutting it down. In Washington, in the confluence of corporate interests, and power in the state, we’ve become a country that's dedicated in the seat of power of shutting down competition. And that's the actual problem. So capitalism--

BILL MOYERS: But monopolies are a huge problem.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: I mean it’s-- bring in more capitalism.

BILL MOYERS: Listen, Wal-Mart's not alone. There was a study last year. The National Employment Law Project and the University of California Berkeley reporting that fast food companies cost taxpayers another $7 billion a year in public assistance for underpaid workers with McDonald's accounting for $1.2 billion of that. And over 50 percent of fast food workers rely on one or more public programs. How about that?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Well, the one thing that we could do to deal with that is increase the minimum wage, which would of course throw people out of work who are the most marginalized members of the workforce. And they would be entirely on the public dole at that point. That would be-- I guess you'd probably--

BILL MOYERS: Throw them out because the owners would not want to pay them the higher minimum wage.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Again, if we ask owners either through the government by fiat or through moral suasion to increase the amount that they're paying to workers, artificially, not according to market forces, artificially, what will happen? They will lower the size of their work forces as sure as we're sitting here. Again, the problem in America, I understand that some people don't make enough. I completely understand that. Which is why I want policies--

BILL MOYERS: A lot of people don't make it.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: That's why I want policies that make work pay. But the bigger problem is the employment crisis. We have an employment-- a workforce participation rate that's the same as it was in the bad old days of the Carter Administration. We've gone backwards, Bill. And that's completely concentrated among the poor. You have 17 percent of working-age men who are not institutionalized not working. Not studying. Totally idle. This is a crisis. It's the zero, one, working, not working part that's a problem. That's what we have to deal with first. And if you don't create more jobs with more economic growth, with less regulation, you're not going to solve that. You can basically put more people into government dependence and hurt them or you can find ways to actually use public policies to make work pay.

BILL MOYERS: But name one public policy that you would think-- that you think would help make work profitable.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Make work profitable for-- make work pay?

BILL MOYERS: Make work pay for the worker.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Okay, okay. Right--

BILL MOYERS: One idea.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Okay, one policy. Right now, we've talked about it tangentially a little bit which is the earned income tax credit. It's an expensive policy, it's hard to administer, it costs taxpayer money, it's a great policy.

BILL MOYERS: It is, absolutely--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: It's a great policy. Now, the problem is, it excludes single men. Especially those who have non-custodial parenting relationships with their children. It excludes them. These are the people who are most marginalized in the workforce today. These are the people who are most vulnerable. We need to expand it to include those people. We need to expand it such that people who are working, working honestly. As they say, as politicians like to say, they're working hard and playing by the rules, which they are, they actually can make a living. We can solve this problem, Bill. We don't have to have by fiat telling Wal-Mart to pay $3, and $4, and $5 an hour more. And throw more people into welfare, no, no, no, no. And more people into homelessness when they lose their jobs. We can solve this with the expansion of the EITC or any of the other wage subsidy ideas.

BILL MOYERS: But don't you think the big capitalist, the big owners have a moral and an economic obligation to their workers to help them make a living that is sufficient for their families?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: I think that people should examine exactly what their motives are. And I will and personally I do and so do you, we talk to people in every sphere of life how they should treat their fellow men and women. Now, I also understand economics enough to understand that it either through law or moral suasion, when people start to pay more than the market dictates, the demand for labor will decrease and the people who will be hurt the worst, who are most likely to be thrown out of jobs are the people who are most marginalized to begin with. That's the reason we need other ways of doing this.

BILL MOYERS: Would you concede, or would you agree that democracy in our system is meant to be a brake, B-R-A-K-E, on rampant greed and power?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: No. Our system morally is supposed to use capitalism in a way that's healthy, where people don't cheat each other, where people treat each other with principles of brotherhood. See, this is important for conservatives to remember as well as liberals. But especially conservatives, that the architect of our modern understanding of capitalism is Adam Smith.

Adam Smith understood that it doesn't matter what your political system is. It doesn't matter what your economic system is if people cheat each other. If people are not honest, if people do not believe in global brotherhood, if there's not transparency, if you don't believe in these moral ideals, you could be a socialist, you could be a capitalist, you could live in a fiefdom of some kind, it doesn't matter. People who are impoverished and people who lack power are going to lose out. This is something that we need to remember. We need a moral reformation in this country.

BILL MOYERS: That's one side of the equation. But people also need referees. They need government to prevent those who don't play by the moral--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: --rule--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Absolutely. You need--

BILL MOYERS: --to live up to their obligation.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: You know, somebody-- muggers are bad. And--

BILL MOYERS: Well, you--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: --inside traders are bad.

BILL MOYERS: And you need an SEC--

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Exactly right.

BILL MOYERS: --and an FTC.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Again, Adam Smith said that markets fail. Markets fail because of monopoly, because of externalities like pollution, they fail because of public goods like the need for an army and a police force. They also fail because of what economists call asymmetric information. Which is another one of-- way of saying that I know more than you do and I can exploit you. And I can exploit you because I coerce you with a tip of a gun or I exploit you because I use insider information and I use it to my own gain. Those are market failures. That's why we need the government as well as a well-functioning, reliable safety net for the poor. Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: But how do we get good public policy when Congress is under the thumb of the big donors who contribute to their election or their re-election?

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Well, for one thing, I don't want to make it so stark. It's not true that every member of Congress is under the thumb of businessmen or capitalists or public sector unions or good guys on the right or the left or any place in between. I know a lot of people in Congress who are very serious about their independence, number one.

Number two, it's in the hands of citizens to demand a representative government. Look, we can get this. The problem that we have is that we have a little bit of a conspiracy between right and left now to have people who are really tending to be more part of the machine. What happens when citizens rebel and they say, we're only going to hire politicians who refuse to stay more than three terms in Congress, for example?

What happens when we have people who truly are moral populists? That would be an interesting thing. Now that's the big opportunity for the Republican Party today. That's the big opportunity. Why? Because you had somebody who said he was going to fight for the people, and things didn't, in my estimation, work out so great over the past few years. Republicans could come screaming out of the gate going forward and say, we're the ones who will fight for the poor. We're the ones who will fight for workers. You might not agree with what we're going-- how we're going to do it, but let me tell you, you will not doubt what's on our hearts. That means we need a more-- a new kind of moral climate for the future leaders.

BILL MOYERS: We'll continue this conversation online. Arthur Brooks, thank you very much for being with me.

ARTHUR C. BROOKS: Thank you, Bill. It's been an honor.

BILL MOYERS: At our website,, we want to hear your thoughts about my conversation with Arthur Brooks. So please share them with us.

That’s at I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here, next time.

The Conscience of a Compassionate Conservative

July 25, 2014

Politicians in Washington, DC, seem to have stopped talking — and listening — to their colleagues across the aisle, contributing to our virtually deadlocked Congress. While Washington appears to have stopped their conversations, Bill decided to start a new one.

This week he speaks with the American Enterprise Institute’s president Arthur C. Brooks, whose political views in large measure differ from his own, on how to fight America’s widening inequality.

Brooks says that despite the heated rhetoric of the far right, the compassionate conservatism once touted by George W. Bush isn’t dead. It’s alive and well at the conservative AEI, where Brooks became president in 2009. Residing now at the top of the conservative pecking order in Washington, Brooks advises Republican leaders in Congress and spreads AEI’s message to a wider audience. His specialty, as Newsweek describes it, is “translating ideas from policy speak into soaring moral prose.” One of his key ideas: The endgame of free enterprise is not to preserve wealth but to create opportunity for the poor.

“Republicans could come screaming out of the gate going forward and say, ‘We’re the ones who will fight for the poor. We’re the ones who will fight for workers,'” Brooks tells Bill. “You might not agree with what we’re gonna– how we’re gonna do it, but let me tell you, you will not doubt what’s on our hearts.”

Moyers presses Brooks on why companies like Target, McDonald’s and Wal-Mart don’t pay a living wage to their employees who then have to rely on public programs to support themselves – in Walmart’s case, about $4,000 per worker. Brooks argues the market doesn’t support higher wages and agrees that the country needs public policies that make work profitable for workers.

Producer: Gina Kim. Segment Producer: Lena Shemel. Editor: Sikay Tang.

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  • Stephen Acker

    I can’t help but feel that Mr. Brooks is an apologist and a propagandist for the conservative right and tries to promote the corporate right’s myth of market policies benefiting all workers when in fact it has been the driving force for marginalizing labor. The current market system is unsustainable and I suspect the crisis of 2008 is but the beginning of a systemic collapse.

  • Andy Monthei

    Bill did a pretty good job trying to corral that guy, but he was very slippery.

  • Anonymous

    Brooks is a snake oil salesman.
    Fair wages can easily be paid from excessive corporate profits without job loss.
    We forget that Adam Smith was an 18th century economist and his laissez-faire economics are not suited to the much more complex societies and econmies of the 21st century.
    We live in a corporate welfare state and until they are brought to heel the situation will only get worse. Government must reassert its authority as “referee.”
    American corporations are sitting on a 3.2 trillion dollar nest egg. Their Canadian counterparts are sitting on a .7 trillion dollar nest egg. Three guesses where this money was stolen.

  • Anonymous

    Bill, you should have Paul Craig Roberts on your show.

  • cgmcle

    Starting in just the past few days, I think we’re beginning to see the advent of an orchestrated conservative propaganda campaign heading into the midterm elections. For example, Paul Ryan revealed his budget that shows his “concern” for the poor. Chris Christie is starting to claim that people are people even after they’re born. And now Brooks is trying to resurrect “compassionate conservatism.” Building on another comment, it all tastes like snake oil to me.

  • cgmcle

    Slippery as the serpent in the Garden of Eden, trying to entice us to take a bite of “compassionate conservatism.”

  • Anonymous

    Winning competition or shutting it down?
    I cannot find anything positive to say about this guest.

  • Anonymous

    I would love to hear from the Dalai Lama. What were his opinions of the guest?

  • Anonymous

    Decrease CEO pay and give that to the lowest paying employees.

  • Anonymous

    principles of brotherhood means paying the least to the employees and the most to the CEO? Thank you, Bill, for this program. I hope more people watch, listen, and learn.

  • Pat Engel

    I would like to hear a conversation between Arthur Brooks and Robert Reich.

  • Guy Donno

    Beyond the expanding the EITC and wagging a finger at schools, does Brooks have any suggestions other than let his people go? Based on this interview, anyway, it seems like Brooks’s chief gift is earnestness. I’d like to know if he has ideas that pass the sniff test.

  • Anonymous

    America is going back to the Middle Ages where corporate aristocrats are “farming” the country and the population are the vassals.
    It’s called neo-feudalism.

  • TeleHH

    Talk about “people who are not honest”, wow!

  • 2noame

    Brooks appears to prefer a negative income tax (NIT) over an unconditional basic income (UBI), even though he only discussed the ideas conceptually without even naming them. Either way, he appears to support some form of a basic income guarantee over minimum wages, at least in theory, and I wish he’d have just come out and said it. We need to see this discussion being had.

    However, he also seems to be stuck on the idea that mostly only people with jobs should benefit from assistance, apparently thinking we could reach 100% employment if we just had less government intrusion in the markets? So I’m also curious what he thinks about ongoing technological unemployment, or if he believes there is no such thing, or that education is all that is needed as a solution. A conversation like this needs to be informed by the ongoing automation of human labor to be a more informed conversation in light of ongoing long-term trends. Perhaps this will be covered next week?

  • YellsAtTV

    I mean, when he started to talk about who was envious of the Walton family! What nerve! Why are we supposed to take for granted that their profits are legitimate in the first place? I mean, my great-grandfather wasn’t under the illusion that John D. Rockefeller accumulated his vast fortune fairly. Why do we still have to be accused of being envious when we’re unsatisfied with the crumbs billionaires chose to dole out to us for tax advantages – or maybe because they become compassionate when they realize how much they’ve gotten away with?

  • YellsAtTV

    But thanks, Bill, for taking him on. Your other commenters were right – Brooks is extremely slippery. But we do need to answer him.

    By the way, comments couldn’t have started 2 hours ago. Where are the older ones? Do they disappear?

  • YellsAtTV

    I actually posted this comment before my other two – then it seemed to disappear. My apologies if it’s actually there twice.

    Thanks for fighting the good fight, Mr. Moyers, but I thought Brooks got you at a disadvantage when he forced the whole discussion into a framework that accepted the legitimacy of all profits owned at the current time by rich people & corporations – and only discussed how they should use those profits, not whether they have a right to them. Should the government force companies to pay their workers a living wage? Or should someone persuade them to voluntarily use their billions for good?

    That’s the wrong question. For example: the Koch Brothers can write off the millions they spend persuading people to buy Georgia-Pacific products (advertising) so that they can take the profits, call it their money and spend it keeping my voice out of the political process. I can’t write off a dime of the money I spend printing flyers to persuade people NOT to buy Georgia Pacific because the Koch brothers use the profits to take over our democracy. How is that fair? How do business entities feel about giving up advantages like that?

    And there’s the bail-out, of course. You touched on it when you brought up the fact that businesses can discharge debt, but not college students, but pretty soon you were talking about what rich people should be able to do with their large fortunes again. I have to ask – shouldn’t the question be “what really belongs to who?” The largest financial businesses in this country took risks that lost. When they took risks that won, they kept as much of the profits as they could shelter from taxes, but when they lost, they came crying to the taxpayers – the people who have a right to a say in the government – and we paid their debts and didn’t demand the control of the companies that we should have had! Who should own those businesses? The only reason we didn’t demand ownership is that the financial industry has been using the profits they made when their risks paid off to make sure they could tell the government what to do – so they have more say in the government than the people who actually pay their taxes.

    It’s not a question of morals or charity, it’s a question of justice.

  • Anonymous

    Bill, he kept saying that increasing the minimum wage would lead to people losing their jobs. Surely, if that is the case, then they have more employees than is necessary. If every employee is doing meaningful work for the company, then giving them a reasonable wage so that they are not in need of government assistance will lead to their working harder and more enthusiastically. You should have challenged him along those lines.

  • Phillip LeConte

    On TV, in movies and in the fantastical minds of people like Arthur C. Brooks, the poor are always on a quest to squeeze out the rich, to replace them, to get-at wherever it is they got. Mr Brooks, give me a break. You want market forces, try Robespierre.

  • Jim

    Trickle down doesn’t work and never has. The poor as in those on street corners, working sweat shops, mowing lawns, etc, those poor? Brooks knows very well that compassionate conservativism is a fraud and a oxymoron.

  • Mark G

    Find a way to lower rent prices. If you raise minimum wage, the landlords will just raise the rent. Rent is key. I got an $80/mo raise, then my rent went up $100/mo. Why? It’s the same apartment.

  • Anonymous

    “The endgame of free enterprise is not to preserve wealth but to create opportunity for the poor.”

    Why haven’t any of these so called “think tanks” responded to the overwhelming evidence that our “free markets” and political system is broken? The fact that there is just enough free enterprise to give a fleeting semblance of opportunity. Why is it that in the past 20 years we’ve gone from breaking up monopolies to encourage competition, to actually supporting monopolies under the guise of creating opportunities? The Comcast PR campaign is a perfect example, as was the Supreme Court Aereo ruling, as well as Citizens United, the list goes on.

  • Anonymous

    Brooks is a very worried man as the truth is catching up to him and his corporate sponsors. Trickle down is past being a joke.
    Bush II offered “compassionate conservatism” and look what he delivered. The Republican Party is past being real conservatives and totally incapable of anything resembling compassion.

  • Anonymous

    It is really a question of government getting back in the business of real governance which they have been retreating from for the past thirty years, quit being corporate flunkies and work for the people who elected them..

  • onewonders

    This guy is such a BS artist this is painful to watch. He is shameless.

  • onewonders

    Unfortunately the people who elected him are corporate flunkies who sold the populace snake oil.

  • NotARedneck

    “does Brooks have any suggestions other than let his people go?”

    We’ve been letting them go for a third of a century – as close to pure economic libertarian philosophy as we can go without rioting on the streets – and look where it has taken us!

    Basically, the wealthy do not make real, job creating investments any more because speculation, financial shenanigans and outright fraud are so profitable.

  • George Edward Morey

    Yeah raising the minimum wage will negatively impact those earning the minimum wage. I’m 66 and this has been the argument every time raising the minimum wage has been proposed and its; never been the case. It’s good to get a wage increase and it all goes back into the economy. Consumers create jobs!

  • Betty J Rousey

    Plus, that money circulates locally! The studies of locales who have raised it show better economies, not worse.

  • Betty J Rousey

    This guy acts like he’s just been caught stealing the pie, and he’s trying to BS his mama into believing he didn’t…all the while realizing that she definitely KNOWS already…

  • moderator

    Hi Theo,

    Sorry about that Theo. Unfortunately, you will have to re-enter your comment as no record of it exists.


  • Betty J Rousey

    As smart as Bill is, economics is Reich’s sole field. He could beat the mud out of this phagocyte! And he would never have the guts to debate Reich, I figure…

  • Anonymous

    We have that already…..It’s called a progressive tax

  • Steve Irwin

    I am totally surprised this nut job was invited … (except for another point of view) … he is talking about being altruistic and having a moral compass … Does he not know his own party … I haven’t heard him say anything other than talk in CIRCLES …

  • Achenbach

    Seriously Bill… with all due respect, WHY bother talking to these people? This jackass (no disrespect) is a paid lobby for the same corrupt and inhumane players that flood the discussion with circular cheap rhetoric, while cashing in on the confusion and inaction of everybody else. Their plan is to get every single dollar they can now, not caring of the mid or long term consequences. I’m all in favor in listening to all the voices… but when some voices cheat, they must be muted out of the conversation as they become increasingly and willingly unreasonable. The same goes to global warming deniers. These conservatives knowingly ignore basic economics, and choose to play their own interests cheating and corrupting the system, in detriment of everyone and everything else. And then they dangle their meeting with the Dalai Lama (who also faces criticism for becoming a sort of brand), as if that would give them some sort of “goodness” seal of approval. Total BS! Their strategy is the same as with global warming: keep us talking, and talking, and talking… to avoid any concrete actions. So lets face it: you/we will NEVER convince these people to work with us to solve any problem if the solution means giving up anything. It doesn’t matter how long you talk to them, the data you bring to the table, or the dangers ahead: they DON’T want to be convinced. But they need to keep us sitting around, talking, thinking we’re just one interview away from taking action. And time keeps running out, bringing us closer and closer to one step away from disaster, that could be triggered by anything. So, lets change the strategy: lets put time in the clock to make a final appeal to reason, and start planning how and when we’ll start moving WITHOUT them… in spite of them. Otherwise, we’re just participating in a lame talking point reality show. As always, congrats on the show, although this one has been the most frustrating one that I can remember. Cheers!

  • Sandra Kautz

    Costco ‘s leader takes a reasonable high salary..pays people a good, livable full time wage with benefits and everybody wins.

    As Warren Buffet has CEOs trying to get by on $500 million really need our help?

    This guest, Brooks, is barking BS. Claiming a moral deficit by everyone but people just like him: Brooks does not even register the living wage as a discussion point..let alone register on his declared moral line of outrage.

  • Mike Sudalnik

    Ramakrishna, Hindu saint,who held Buddha,Jesus and Mohammed as sacred figures-realized all humanity,everything was part of the eternal,infinite manifestation of Divinity -more than we humans could ever possibly comprehend- but we could recognize our participation;thereby achieving liberation.”See the Divinity in everyone,everything”:”Love God,Love Your Neighbor”. When these revelations are presented against economics-economics comes out sadly lacking! How can”1%ers” be loving their neighbors or honoring their inherent Divinity if they’re cutting off their water or blowing up their neighborhoods with bombs or missiles?
    It is simple- they are not”Loving”-they are selfish,not “Wise selfish” as the Dalai Lama says,but “Foolish selfish”.

  • Pierre Demers

    I don’t know if my previous comment was posted but here goes again.
    The whole issue about unfairness of income always goes to the distribution of wealth. Arthur Brooks leads us in the same direction every one else has in discussing the imbalance of income. We all blame the income imbalance on the rich and forget how income is distributed.Income and wealth are different things. Wealth is ownership and income is what we receive for services contributed or given to us for many reasons. The economy is that exchange of services.It doesn’t matter to the economy that 80% of the wealth is in the hands of only a few people or is evenly divided. Wealth is in the value of what we control and that value is property, investments and/or money. Once we have it, we have it. What we do with that money is what invigorates the economy. The economy is the flow of money which is the exchange of services which is exchanged for an item of value which is money. The very rich collect their investment income from investment performance which comes from people having jobs to contribute the value that is sold to generate revenue for the business which in turn earns a profit and pays dividends. High income also comes from ultra-high salaries, bonuses, and stipends which are paid for contributed services that have very little value for the money paid. These recipients are highly and unfairly overpaid. The result is that it cause a rise in prices for no added value which in turn causes a reduction in demand, which reduces the jobs necessary to make and deliver the product. These people are so overpaid that they can’t spend it all in the normal market place so they deposit the money in banks, buy existing stock thinking that they are investing when in reality they are decreasing the real value of the stock, (P/E ratio’s are increasing)or they are investing overseas. THe banks have so much money that they can’t loan because the market is so bad so they don’t pay us interest on our savings. Ultra-high salaries are not only unfair because the recipients don’t earn the money, these salaries attenuate the flow of money which is the economy; and until this aberration is discontinued, the economy can not recover, We have minimum wage laws, why not maximum wage laws. Of course, maximum wage laws couldn’t be enforced; but the government through radical changes in the income tax code.could redistribute this stolen income and discourage their existence. It isn’t the executives alone that are killing the economy, it is all the prima-donna celebrities, TV personalities, pro-athletes, etc who don’t earn ther salaries..

  • Guy Donno

    Definitely agree, but I do think this guy is a true believer. Assuming for the purpose of discussion that public assistance leads to a greater wealth disparity, does Brooks have a meaningful alternative? I suspect his response would include lots of hand waving and magic thinking about this fabulous thing called “free” enterprise.

  • Anonymous

    Re Brooks: If he’s the best conservatism can provide, we’re doomed. He’s the kind of guy who believes that the Scandinavian countries constitute the worst dystopia on the planet.

  • Anonymous

    I was yelling at the teevee; calmed down a bit now.

    Really, these people (the free enterprisers) live in some parallel universe.

    Mr. Brooks thinks there should be no mandated, minimum wage. He says the “market” will set the rate. So, yeah, let’s just scrap any kind of minimum wage and let the large, multi-national companies getting public subsidies, tax breaks, etc. drop the wages to $3/hour, $1/hour, or whatever the lowest amount they can find some desperate people to work for.

    Mr. Brooks thinks “growth” is the universal solution to all our economic problems. Whatever else we do, we need to get that growth going. Mr. Brooks has apparently not noticed that we live on a finite planet with finite resources. He really needs to fill us all in on how he plans to defy ecology and thermodynamics to “grow” indefinitely.

    And, at the base of it all, is the fact that there is no “free market.” The capitalist god of “Free Enterprise” is as fictitious as any other god.

    Capitalism is a construct, an abstraction. It’s the sum total of a set of rules, laws, regulations, and institutions. The rich, powerful, and well connected will always have more influence to rig and game the system in their favor. Assuming he’s serious and sincere (a dubious assumption), how does he propose to remedy this?

  • Anonymous

    Or Richard Wolf. Or Bill Black.

  • sikanni

    He makes Ahmed Chalabi look like an honest broker! Quite a feat!

  • Walter Kiel

    Couldn’t follow any of his logic no matter how hard I tried. What ARE these supposedly “public policies?” He never said what they could be. He never said anything about How either. It seems compassionate conservatism is no more than an oxymoron like army intelligence. Even naming one this way implies that being conservative in not. No sane person expects Republicans to instantly make a 180 and do the right thing, maybe present company excepted. Saying the right thing will get one elected. Doing the right thing will not get one re-elected. So the task falls on Author C. Brooks to put his money where his mouth is and come up with something public and put it in action that will get all employers to pay employees a livable wage. Good luck.

  • Will Sync

    It’s called inflation

  • Douglas Berg

    Mr. Brooks conscience is probably about a 100 times more troubling to the working poor than it seems to be to him. I don’t see anything compassionate about his outlook or his proposals. He would have people work for slave wages (it’s market directed after all- don’t these poor people get that?!) and have absolutely no limit on the profits made at the top. (That would constitute envy, don’t you see?) After all we should congratulate these shrewd businessmen and women for setting things up so that so very much goes to them and so little to the people that do all the work. It’s Capitalism at it’s finest! No matter that it is artificaly subsidized by taxpayers at all levels- from zero interest rates, to low Capital Gains taxes, to tax subsidites for the wealthiest corporations, to food stamps for the poor workers at the mercy of these masters of the universe. For all his knowledge I don’t think he is very insightful.

  • Sherry Gore Lcsw

    Anyone who believes Mr. Brook’s comments on helping conservatism helping the poor must have been asleep for the past decade. When I was in Social Work School yeah these many years ago (1961-1963) we studies the great depression. The problems then was too much money stored in the treasury. Aid to the Aged and then the Blind were attempts to redistribute it. Today money is stored in corporations which feel need or interest in redistributing wealth. Mr. Brooks solution of using government funds via the earned income tax credit is a degrading solution. Let the corporations pay a decent wage and a fair share of the taxes. That way the great American dream might stand a chance.
    Sherry Gore

  • Lynda Blake

    Here! Here! Well stated.

  • JOEY

    Mr. Brooks should be on Dancing With the Stars!!! He sure did some fancy
    sidestepping around Mr. Moyers poignant assertions. He gave no clear
    solutions or implementations to these massive injustices the middle
    class and poor are facing. He also conveniently refused to administer
    blame to the right wing that has done so much damage since Reagan took
    office. He consistently made sure to proclaim it was “BOTH PARTY’S” who
    inflicted this suffering. I am dismayed that Citizens United got little
    or no mention in this discussion as it is certainly the death knell for
    equality moving forward. And to the Supreme Court that clearly rules
    from the bench on a decidedly right wing platform. GREAT GREAT SHOW

  • gininitaly

    This is the Wingnuts think tank creation of these ‘brand new ‘ talking points for the next election…. it’s finally penetrated the conscientiousness of the financial fascists that ignoring and the forced impoverishment of the majority of American people may not be to their corporate best advantage.

    Not to mention those annoying visions of mass revolt and being bulls eyes might just have forced them to acknowledge our presence.

    It’s just another technique…. a new ‘moral’ climate? Pshaw…. at best they’ve come to realize if people can’t buy because of their incredibly diminished incomes…. the corporations will die too.

  • chigirl1

    Totally frustrated with Mr. Brooks. Could not follow the logic that was supposedly present in his part of the conversation. He does not want government interference with business yet it is fine to have the government and taxpayers subsidize the low wages paid to hourly workers by the obscenely wealthy. Raising the minimum wage would hurt those workers since large corporations (making trillions in profits) would obviously cut their work force even though study after study proves that is not true since a cut in staffing would result in a cut in business and profits.
    His failure to see his lack of logic, his use of talking points right out of the far right handbook, his blatant lies about economic “truths” – well, it just overwhelmingly confounded me. As much as Bill Moyers tried to show him how his arguments made no sense, he tried even harder to ignore real logic and drone on about the purity and sanctity of the market. I just cannot understand these people. They are truly scary people. One of the most frustrating half hours I have ever spent.

  • JOEY

    TO G F H: Do not be sorry that Mr. Moyers gave him that precious time on the air. Remember the axiom : ” SUNLIGHT IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT”. Letting this ” practiced actor” as you so very well put it expose himself in front of our favorite journalist was truly a work of art. Bill performed a “ROPE A DOPE” strategy that even Muhammad Ali would be envious of.

  • NotARedneck

    “Assuming for the purpose of discussion that public assistance leads to a greater wealth disparity”

    Actually, paying people a living wage leads to LESS disparity. In today’s economic paradigm, putting more money in the hands of the 0.1% ONLY leads to asset inflation and more yachts. What is needed is real spending by the bottom 70%. THIS will lead to economic growth and recovery.

  • RP in Oregon

    I felt like Mr. Brooks was talking in circles saying there needs to be better public policy but the government is ineffectual at accomplishing anything. He continually evaded Bill’s questions and would not answer them directly. He seems like a total snake.

  • Elayne pallist

    We heard all the usual talking points we’ve heard a thousand times before from apologists for capitalist exploitation. He never explains how higher wages will result in less jobs: they just will. They never have any real data to back this lie up, because there isn’t any. I loved the “diversion” of him stating how we shouldn’t be jealous of the ultra-rich when Bill pressed him on Walmart’s outrageous treatment of its employees and the idea that this wasn’t a dead end job. The idea that opportunities lie “out there” died with the idea that each generation would automatically be better off financially than their. parents. Did this guy actually listen to the Dalai Lama? He didn’t have any grasp of what ethics or morality actually means in the real world. In fact he didn’t seem to have much grasp of the real world at all, like most conservatives. Yes Mr. Brooks, fraud, theft and greed are immoral. That’s how the uber rich get to be so rich. Too bad Bill didn’t get a chance to mention the success of other cities with raising the minimum wage or that Walmart behaves differently – like dealing with unions – in other countries like China and Brazil because the governments require them. And no economy has collapsed because of it.

    Economists like Mr. Brooks love to talk about the magical free market, something only politicians and professional talking heads refer to as real. The market is free to the financial powers who play above the law, and only when it’s convenient. The rest of us wind up being the suckers Barnum and Bailey talked about.

  • NotARedneck

    I watched the show a few minutes ago. Brooks is a fast talking huckster. I wanted to quote him on one point but he was taking so fast that 3 listens of the segment and I couldn’t digest what he was saying with any accuracy.

    Perhaps Tea Party imbeciles like this stupidity but the FACT is, something worth saying, is worth saying at a pace that it can be understood.

    When he called the Carter era the bad old days, he really lost me. This was the last time that a government was trying to rebuild the US’s REAL investment base. Reagan – the darling of the right wing criminal trash – was only good at helping the speculators while driving the country into debt. No wonder such scum love this simpleton POS.

  • JOEY

    TO G F H ……. Do not feel bad that Mr. Moyers gave Brooks precious air time. Remember the old axiom “SUNLIGHT IS THE BEST DISINFECTANT”? He systematically disassembled Brooks at every question or assertion he posed to him showing him for the fraud he really is. A masterful “ROPE A DOPE” that even Muhammad Ali would be proud of!

  • pininfarina

    “Compassionate conservative” is an oxymoron. Regardless of the economic system it’s operating under, conservatism is simply maximum control over the maximum number of people for the maximum financial benefit of a tiny minority. Under capitalism it’s business elite; under communism it’s party elite. Compassion doesn’t exist under conservatism.

  • Suzanne Cloud

    Bill, you tried. You really tried to show this closed-minded advocate for the very rich the moral road, but he is too blind. Too blind. He needs to be visited by Scrooge’s ghosts.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t believe Mr.Brooks believes the nonsense he’s saying. He contradicts himself,spins the questions…typical.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like to know why my comments do not appear?

  • Anonymous

    Site policy, all comments must be reviewed. My comment is still in the review cue and has yet to be displayed !

  • Benjamin Greco

    The problem with libertarians like Mr. Brooks is that the capitalist world they envision doesn’t exist, never has and never will. A free enterprise system where all actors behave with generosity and brotherhood is as utopian as the Marxist paradise espoused by communists. Governments exist because people most of the time don’t act morally or socially. Capitalist economies always trend toward concentration of wealth and plutocracy when not policed and regulated by government. Mr. Brooks assertion that when markets work capitalists don’t try to influence and control government makes me wonder if this scholar understands the last 200 hundred years of American History. The truth is Mr. Brooks is a con man, a front for the corporations he represents charged with putting a pretty face on a pig. In the entire half hour interview the only concrete proposal Mr. Brooks came out for was the expansion of the earned income tax credit to single individuals, a nice idea but one that still leaves the tax payer subsidizing large corporation’s labor costs. The rest of Mr. Brook’s spiels was happy sounding pap and misdirection.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, thanks. Do they let you know if you violate policy and what you need to do to fix? I don’t think I did, but I did use an historic metaphor for revolution–it’s not like I wrote anything Bill or his guests haven’t said, nor did I incite anyone to meet me in the town square at noon today to get ‘er done. Just wondering–thanks!

  • Anonymous

    I can’t always justify their decisions, this is hardly a Democracy. I am also especially careful not to knowingly offend any one or use bad language but this is the price you pay when unknown and unseen sensors are at work. They have blocked a few of my posts and I have never received an explanation.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, and they still haven’t posted my response !

  • Anonymous

    Your same argument applies to Social Security where, for the most part, recipients are not independently wealthy and spend most if not all of their check right back into the local economy. It’s difficult to find exact Dollar amounts that go to retirees as the system’s resources are divided between retirees, Medicare recipients, and Medicaid recipients. The last time I ran the gauntlet and searched for a Dollar amount on the Social Security website was in 2011 and that year Social Security apparently paid out approximately 52 Billion to retirees, one hell of an annual infusion back into our consumer economy ! Their sure as heck not saving it with a 0% interest rate over the past six years and retirees are not in the position of being foolish enough to gamble it on Wall Street !

  • Anonymous

    I think all we can hope for is that Mr Brooks reads these comments and gets a real clue about what the rest of us think and that we won’t be fooled again.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks. Haven’t posted my first post yet–several hours ago, only my short one a few minutes ago and this reply. I’m glad to know I have company in regards to having difficulty getting posts on this site.

  • moderator

    Hi elioflight,

    Yes ritmit is correct, many comments do end up in the review clue. There are many reasons including links, certain keywords, and those who have not signed up for Disqus. We try to get to all comments as quickly as possible.

    As well, please read our comment policy, which you will find just above the comment section.


  • DoGoOn

    When I hear stuff like this I empathize with anti-intellectual Tea Partying, climate change deniers who reject the thinking of lifelong academics like Brooks. How can someone with a PhD think the philanthropy of Wal-Mart somehow makes up for the fact that they don’t pay their workers a living wage and actively work to deny their workers basic rights?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your input. I see my comment below.

  • Robert L

    Just goes to show you, you can still be a total idiot even though you have a college degree and in this case a doctorate!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, we may grumble some times but we really do appreciate your efforts to minimize those occasional troubling comments and those attacking other poster’s rights to their opinion !

  • JonThomas

    “Brooks explicitly advocates a moral stance to reduce the imbalance, to help the poor. While this sounds commendable, it either betrays his naivete or – more likely – is a ruse to serve an implicit agenda.”


    His words were…

    Our system morally is supposed to use capitalism in a way that’s healthy, where people don’t cheat each other, where people treat each other with principles of brotherhood

    “Supposed to…” ?! Where is ‘supposed to’ enforced? How is it enforced? Who would enforce ‘supposed to…’?

    There are no laws that can enforce ‘supposed to…’ This is the same type of economic ideological fantasy that was pushed with the words… ‘trickle down’!

    It’s all sounds-good, feel-good ear tickling! Anyone who uses this nonsense, in any form, should be automatically deemed irrelevant to any discussion!

    cgmcle… as usual, well said!!

  • joegreen

    Last night they made be King of the USA and I
    Dropped the max on Social Security Payments and doubled Medicare payments. Allowed everyone to buy into medicare, subsidized those that needed it. Threw out the TAX CODE gave in to the opposition and agreed to a flat tax of 25% on “all” income (including corporate) above $75,000 adjusted. Pentagon required to spend 50% of their total budget on securing the infrastructure in the USA. Rebuilding bridges and road. Closed all foreign military bases. Stopped corporate welfare to the military industrial complex, no more weapons sales. Installed free preschool through out the US. Put the money back in the education system including Higher education, required they dropped the high tuition, or suffer lost of Government contracts. When I woke up Mr. Brooks was there, thanking me for “creating opportunities” for the poor!

  • JonThomas

    He has very nice teeth.

  • Anonymous

    Philanthropy has been touted by various members of the main stream media recently with interviews that present those billionaires such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in a very favorable light. One can’t really fault many of them for their contributions to various worthy causes outside of this country but those kind of decisions shouldn’t be limited to a minority of wealthy individuals in what is still referred to as a Democratic society. Considering that a significant portion of their wealth today can be traced back to a diminished taxing responsibility established by thirty years of rule by Right Wing politicos, that money should have been directed to public coffers where it’s use can be determined by the vast majority of the country’s population who would likely demand that it’s use be restricted to solving the many problems we currently have in this country !

  • JonThomas

    Actually… Not. The heaviest use of taxes is the military budget. The dollars are being funneled right back into corporate funds by such military spending. Which in turn, is being used to protect the overseas interests of the 1%.

    Why do you think there are so many cries from the right to bomb this one, air support to that one, get involved here, get involved there… military spending is good for the bottom line.

  • JonThomas

    Sure, if you could pin this guy down to not changing the subject.

  • JonThomas

    Good points.

    His expressions toward unemployment and the policies that would encourage jobs were hollow.

    Before 1865 there was full employment for nearly all southern blacks… men, women, and children. Full employment today, without addressing wage::profit margin ratios, leads to the same conditions.

  • Anonymous

    It’s interesting that Mr. Young mentions Adam Smith. Smith was a moral philosopher. Today’s economists are numerologists who have no concept of moral truth. It’s all about the numbers. Reform the economic and business schools as part of the moral reform Mr. Young speaks about.

  • JonThomas

    He should be considered irrelevant.

  • JonThomas

    Didn’t you know? All capitalists are good, moral people whose motivation is to help their fellow man. [/sarcasm]

  • Roman Law

    Robert L totally agree with your remarks which reminded me of the acronym for a Phd = Push Here Dummy!

  • Anonymous

    Your talking about the Business Schools that have popped up in almost every major University. These are the 21st century version of temple’s to the gods of capitalism that hand down the divine word to those who will faithfully follow it’s doctrine as they worship it’s many disciples ! Thirty years of devoted graduates implanted in corporate management who will aggressively fight to preserve this system until nothing remains of any real value !

  • JonThomas

    Oh, he’s insightful. He’s at a think tank. Do not, even for a second, think that any word out of his mouth has not been vetted and measured for its appeal!

  • Rev. Dale A. Rollins

    The top Republican leaders are really listening. You can say you are compassionate just like the war criminal George Bush did, but actions speak louder than words!

  • JonThomas

    The reason he (however rightly) blames ‘both parties’ is that he is tapping into the palpable dissatisfaction, discontent, and disillusionment existent on the side of his opponents. In effect, his goal is to sway the Neoliberal vote in the same manner that Mr. Reagan’s supporters did the Reagan Democrats.

  • JonThomas

    And it’s always good to know where people are getting their talking points. An earlier comment pointed to the recent lock-step march by a number of Right wing individuals. Its a media blitz of propaganda. A ‘first salvo’ for the up-coming campaigns. You saw it here first my friends.

  • JonThomas

    He’s really not blind… oh that he were…

    He, and every word out of his mouth, embodies a very carefully crafted message.

  • Roman Law

    It makes sense to people like Brooks who conveniently sell their intellect to the highest bidder to promote the sanctity of Ayn Rand’s doctrine of corporate, dominated plutocracy.

  • Anonymous

    “at best they’ve come to realize if people can’t buy because of their incredibly diminished incomes…. the corporations will die too.”
    I don’t know if I would give them that much credit !

  • JonThomas

    Actually, Ayn Rand had disdain for much of the actions taken by corporate forces. She was very big on personal responsibility. The present corporate climate is anything but…

  • Roman Law

    Yes in that aspect you’re correct. However, conservatives have further distilled her writings to apply it to corporate hegemony.

  • Suzaku

    Got to love Bill! @14:20 he was about to strangle the guy! With corporations holding over $2 trillion in overseas untaxed um…yea I think companies providing a living wage is justified. Free enterprise is good for the poor and the soul the guest claims? Sorry, but what he have now is crony capitalism, tax loopholes, a bought and paid for government, etc. As Elizabeth Warren stated “the game is rigged.”

  • Anonymous

    Looks like the jury is in, Bill.

  • JonThomas

    Yep, such is why they need to be called out.

    Whether one agrees with Ayn Rand, or not, these sycophants are NOT representative of her ideas!

    They are, in effect, the current personifications of her own ideological looters!

    The irony is astounding!

  • Mary Anne Doty

    The arguments that Brooks put forward were so full of fallacies, faulty logic and conservative tropes, I don’t even know where to begin. So it’s fine for Walmart to pay its workers the lowest possible wages, while taxpayers foot the bill for their food stamps, because the Walton’s are philanthropic? And the problem in the U.S. isn’t low wages, but not enough jobs for the bottom 50%? So we need more low-paying jobs so people can work their way up to what? Is he saying that retail jobs and other low-paying jobs have so little value they aren’t worthy of a livable wage? Walmart and McDonald’s wouldn’t exist without their employees. The market can support higher wages – look at Costco. If your business depends on exploiting people, then there’s something wrong with your business model. And I loved the one where he said that the U.S. collected more taxes last year than at any other time. Well, I hope so. I would expect more tax revenue given the size of our economy. His comment is the equivalent of saying people make more money now than they did in 1970. But have wages kept up with the cost of living? The public university I went to in 1970 charged $360 per semester. The public university my son attends charges over $5,000 per semester. While wages have risen by a factor of 7 since 1970, higher education has increased by a factor of 14. A compassionate conservative? It’s an oxymoron.

  • JonThomas

    It should have been more obvious to me, but after watching the Web Extra, I have come to understand perhaps the most egregious of the logical fallacies inherent in Mr. Brooks (et al…) line of thinking…

    He makes the incredibly poor, although purposefully obtuse, assumption that all people should think as himself.

    His entire argument hinges on the belief that all people should believe as he does about the supposed virtue of Capitalism.

    From such a skewed perspective, it then becomes ‘reasonable’ (however irrational) in his eyes that capitalism and entrepreneurial engagement is the cure for economic ills of capitalism.

    It then easily follows that anyone (occupy, progressives, liberals, regulation proponents – among others) who does not believe as he on the fixes for economic woes are advocating wrong solutions.

    The incredible internal mental gymnastics required to contain this outright fallacy of bias, along with the social conditioning – through propaganda and exclusion – necessary to spread this belief system, is an incredibly massive undertaking.

    Just as the American media is innately market driven, we continue to see the tips of this giant iceberg everywhere. But it all begins with that one ethnocentric fallacy!

  • Douglas Berg

    Maybe so Jon. But, in reading through the comments at this website, while I don’t know who he normally shares his wisdom with,he’s certainly not vetting to anyone among the Moyers crowd!

  • Betty J Rousey

    But he doesn’t seem to understand the simplest of facts — it take ALL citizens participating in the market for capitalism to work, for it is actually only as good as those who trust in it to work. Once we all begin to realize just how rigged the game has become in favor of the wealthiest, yet hurts those “barely making it,” it is time for the government to step in with regulations.
    Now, Brooks does not seem to mind govt. intervention to help Walmart’s employees, though he knows full well that Walmart is perfectly capable of paying adequate wages while still making profits, negating the need for govt to subsidize its employees. No wonder he can’t explain it well. He wants no government regulation, though certain intervention is fine. He only wants it for the wealthy, and most certainly not the poor (unless doing so helps the wealthy in some way).
    And he is wrong. It all hinges on a strong middle class, and a much smaller group of poor to keep the distribution chain of capitalism running smoothly. I don’t know that he “believes” in capitalism as much as he believes in the rich who he wants to help make richer by any means possible. Screw the inevitable outcome.,,,
    But it sure makes me understand more clearly the old native-American saying that “the white man speaks with forked tongue.”

  • Benjamin Greco

    For all of his talk about the economy needing more jobs he didn’t really explain what he would do to create them. I’ll bet when and if there is another Republican President, Mr. Brooks will be hauled out to tell us the answer is massive tax cuts for the rich. Does the Right ever advocate any other way to create jobs?

  • Anonymous

    Of course, and unfortunately, you are correct–the thoughts and concerns of others are far from the conservative mind.

    They are the only important /wise people in the world and we should follow and worship and and be amazed by their great leadership and their brilliant ideas and . . . . Babble, babble, babble.

    Such people are obstinate in the face of reality and abhor true learning and facts in any form.

    Please see my longer angrier comment below.

  • cgmcle

    I agree! The Republicans are good at orchestrating their messages and delivering them in near-unison, often with the exact same focus group tested catch phrases. They have Frank Luntz (look him up if you don’t know who he is) on their side, and he’s a formidable force.

  • Anonymous

    What scares me is that after the next election that these people will be in full control. As I’m hearing that voter turnout is expeted to be light on the left. Only after the people have no voice in government, no legal protections. Only after we’ve ruined the country will the right look back and say what happened.

  • cgmcle

    I don’t know your situation (obviously), but to add my plausible explanation to Will’s comment — it’s inflation and most Americans’ income is not keeping up with inflation. That’s largely because the top 1%, and especially the top 1/100 of 1%, have captured almost all of the economic gains of the recovery since 2009.

  • preciousbwallace

    Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail

    ✒✒✒✒✒✒ Jobs7000.Com


  • Walter Kiel

    Mr. Brooks citing Adam Smith exposes how out of date he is. John Nash, for one, recognized for his game theories that question Adam Smith, brings Smith into the modern world. Smith said what a person does to advance himself helps the whole community advance. Nash found it better to say what a person does to advance himself AND the community advances both. It can not be just advancing one’s self. The community comes first now if the individual is ever to contribute properly to himself and others. Capitalism has to be modified, turned away from the short private gain toward the open and long term community gain that is more constant and secure. Following these newer guidelines seems to be a better place to start than through the strange case of Mr. Brooks..

  • cgmcle

    And one more point. (Then I need to leave this alone, it was such an aggravating circus to behold.)

    Brooks said he has no problem with the Walton heirs inheriting their wealth. According to Paul Krugman, 6 of the 10 wealthiest people in the U.S. inherited their wealth (4 Waltons, 2 Koch brothers, one may assume). Very conservative historian Niall Ferguson, citing Credit Suisse, pointed out last year that “just under 30 percent [of American billionaires] were not self-made.”

    To Ferguson’s credit — he titled his essay “The End of the American Dream?” — he considers this a problem. So would the founding fathers. They referred to such people, with their inherited wealth and the disproportionate economic and political power that goes with it, as aristocrats. Our ancestors came to the New World largely to escape the rule of royalty and aristocracy.

    Yet here we are. Let us utter nary a hurtful word toward the wealthy aristocrats, but rather admire them instead. Such philanthropists! Why just three years ago one of the Walton heirs made a donation of nearly $1 billion to the Arkansas art museum she founded. Some would say maybe they could have paid their employees closer to a living wage with that money. Let them eat art!

  • xian

    why didn’t Bill challenge the canard the raising the minimum wage increases unemployment?

  • Alan Rhodes

    “The interest of [businessmen] is always in some respects different from, and even opposite to, that of the public … The proposal of any new law or regulation of commerce which comes from this order … ought never to be adopted, till after having been long and carefully examined … with the most suspicious attention. It comes from an order of men … who have generally an interest to deceive and even oppress the public” –Adam Smith

  • Robert Thomas

    I asked a Republican I know,

    “Why doesn’t the Republican Party mobilize conservative youth to help poor people, disabled people, elderly people, people of color, naturalized citizens and so forth get the proper picture identification required for voter registration in the states where they’ve succeeded in passing stricter voter ID laws? Wouldn’t that disarm critics who speciously claim that ‘voter fraud’ is just a ridiculous pretense for denying their opponents their right to the franchise?”

    He looked at me like I was speaking a language he couldn’t understand. I tried again to explain how such an effort would impart sincerity to actions and assertions for which sincerity was an aspect that is completely vacant. He explained to me again about the scourge of voter fraud. I gave up.

    I usually cluck my tongue at the tedious, impotent anti-corporatism that echoes back and forth between Mr Moyers and his like-minded guests. On occasion, I come here and write some scolding thing that most others disagree with.

    I applaud Mr Moyers for inviting a person with antagonistic ideas to engage on the program.

    However, the notion that Mr Brooks’s positions amount to a “new direction” for conservatives or a revival of “compassionate conservatism” is laughable. It’s as transparently disingenuous as the voter fraud canard. Merely shaving off his mustache, putting away the top hat and adopting a sincere countenance can’t keep Hans Conried’s voice from revealing him to be Snidely Whiplash.

  • Anonymous

    Yes indeed. Where and when we can, with whatever we have, a great many people who practice philanthropy. Even very poor people in many instances do what they can to help people even put out a few cans of food for the Postman to pick up in response to appeal. The problem with philanthropy of course is people have their own pet projects. As you very correctly observe for this and other reasons philanthropy doesn’t fund rural health clinics or keep a clinic open when it is forced to close for example. It certainly doesn’t fix roads and bridges either. Our local food bank can’t keep up with demand, philanthropy alone can’t do the job. But what is more to the point in my view having well paying jobs would obviate the necessity for philanthropy across the board. Philanthropy is no substitute for jobs.

  • Walter Kiel

    One more point of my own then I’m outta here.
    I kept score on who said what in this exchange, Bill supported The People and the mess we’re in is dysfunctional capitalism in the hands of industry destroying government and freedom. Arthur supported The People and the mess we’re in is dysfunctional government destroying capitalism and freedom. It’s a simple problem of different tastes and psyche across a table.
    They’re both correct, so… the real truth is:
    The People’s mess really stems from these two POV’s not able to acknowledge the other. Yet I support Bill’s psyche and believe his understanding is better thought out and ultimately has a better chance of succeeding. His way will bring about Arthur’s goals better than Arthur will. Bill psyche, after all, gave him a place on his show. Bill is concerned about The People directly. Arthur is concerned only providing opportunity. The poor, in his view, is still on their own in true capitalistic fashion. The usury will still be in place under Arthur’s plan because he isn’t putting the poor first. It is his agenda for the poor that he is most concerned about. The compassionate conservative is still a conservative and the poor will always be poor in Arthur’s final outcome of “public policies.”

  • Dan Ceppa

    If raising wages cost jobs, why do CEOs keep getting raises? By their logic, the CEOs should be on the employment line.

  • Anonymous

    Some of the religious groups that I know about help build homes for poor people and build churches thus giving many kids a hands on experience on building and construction plus having a moral conscience . Other religious groups I know about are mostly about just helping themselves and those within their church and the church taking 1/3 of their wages every week.If you leave their church,then you are shunned even by your own family and this is a Christian Church and they send missionaries to other countries as well.
    Not all Christians are alike in how they treat people.
    People do need higher wages at Walmart and other places so they are not stressed out about having enough money to eat and pay other bills.Stress from not having enough money can eventually cause health problems that cost even more from low wage workers .Better to stay ahead than just getting by and having the extra stress of not knowing where the extra money for bills is going to come from.

  • Anonymous

    Both sides are not functional equivalents so to suggest so is simply wrong not as a matter of opinion but based upon historical evidence.

    The meme ‘all Govt. is bad’ is a perfect bit of rhetoric that further entrenches the powered elite and plutocratic interests. Who do you think influences spending at the defense department? Who do you think advocates for less and less bank regulations? Who do you think cares not a whit about monopoly structures? A.) Corporations.

    Weaken Govt. to the point it cannot do anything in response and the conversion from Democracy (republic) to Plutocracy is complete.

  • Carolyn Gray

    I came in in the middle of the interview, and I am no expert on Mr. Brooks’ philosophy or for that matter economics.. But it makes me ill to hear anyone in any way defending our current system of crapitalism. Since the late 1800’s corporations have been gradually gaining as much power as an individual human being. Combine that with a mandate to make as much profit as possible – while having the power and funds to skew the laws in their favor as often as possible.. Now tell me that apologists for this system should be trusted when they suggest they are compassionate conservatives and really have the poor’s best interests in mind. I do agree with Mr. Brooks that it is up to Americans to demand a representative government/policies. Sadly too many Americans can’t be bothered to turn off their electronic toys long enough to organize, to act.

  • Carolyn Gray

    I agree. This is cliché, but I still can’t help wonder if Mr. Brooks’ position would change at all if he accepted a challenge to live off Walmart wages for 3 months. We’ll even throw in a credit card for emergencies with an nice interest rate of 24% – because we are so compassionate.

  • Anonymous

    Not that it matters but I think she personally contributed far less than a billion dollars to the museum “the tax-minimizing Walton Family Foundation put another $1.2 billion into Crystal Bridges” (Clare O’connor writing for Forbes Magazine, 09/16/2013). The foundation did to mitigate taxes.

    What does matter is the absurdity of the average American ‘thinking’ that charitable giving by our Plutocratic overlords is something to applaud. We create conditions, the data is clear, that favour the richest in this country from taxation, to the courts, to the writing of legislation. Are we then to thank these people for being ‘magnanimous’ – I think not. It is disgusting that the Walton you referred to is worth $33,000,000,000.00 while they lobby to break up unions, fight minimum wage increases, and hand out Govt. assistance forms to employees. We subsidize her wealth in every way imaginable….so she can build a museum in the middle of nowhere to suit her whim. What nonsense.

  • Kate105

    I watched with wonder the program featuring Arthur C.
    Brooks. What is this innovative construct/strategy/philosophy/platform of a
    “Compassionate Conservative” with a “Conscience”? Seems to
    me this is what was said:
    Part of the problem of grotesque economic inequity is not billion-dollar companies paying welfare wages (and evading taxes offshore), raising the minimum wage would be of no help to workers and would hurt the economy, most assistance programs should be eliminated (except for the“truly poor”). Unregulated Capitalism is the answer and it will bring full prosperity because it will solve so many major problems if we just let it run free. This is “innovation”? This is the “New” Compassionate
    Conservatism”? No, no, no. A horse of another color is still the same old “Trickle-Down Economics”, and despite the positive, enthusiastic,agreeable, intellectual tone, this guy is proffering the same old flawed approach as his grumpier, less-articulate, less intellectual Conservative cousins. As I later thought over this disturbing discussion, something“clicked” about the whole positioning of Brooks and his “new approach”. How can they shift the extremist, mean-spirited discourse of the Right in the public mind? They can call this vision “Compassionate
    Conservatism (with a Conscience)”, because embracing the miracle of Trickle-Down surely indicates that we want to help those who are struggling. Brooks has the background
    and demeanor of an enlightened intellectual (and cheerful, too), providing an appearance of credibility, and then . . . ah, yes, the Dalai Lama! Brilliant idea: regarding those Liberal
    Progressives, well, the “other” top religious leader of the world, Pope Francis,sanctioned THEIR ideas. That was and
    continues to be an embarrassment to the Right. Let’s find another world-renowned religious leader to embrace our
    approach when we tell him we are compassionate and care about the poor, just like he does. And let’s be sure to have plenty of photo ops and invite him over to our place.

  • Anonymous

    A super relevant point to remember!

  • Anonymous

    The question of the minimum-wage ultimately comes down to pay now or pay later: i.e. pay every worker enough on the front end, or force taxpayers to fill the gap when wages aren’t enough to live on.

    Many of the minimum-wage opponents like the trot out the argument that minimum-wage was never meant to be living-wage but a starting wage: i.e. one
    for kids in the first job. In the ideal world only kids in their first job–who don’t need to support their family but want some spending money–make minimum-wage. If this were true, I might be more amenable to not mandating some kind of living-wage for everyone.

    However, there is the ideal world and then there is the real-world–more than a few adults work minimum-wage jobs and have to support themselves and their
    families somehow, which brings us back to the question of pay now or pay later.

    Any possible negative impact, on the least skilled and educated workers, of raising the minimum wage is irrelevant when they least-skilled workers are already competing against (and losing out to) more
    skilled and educated workers who lost their job and are desperate.

  • Anonymous

    It’s also worth pointing out that when the economy goes into a recession, the least skilled and educated workers end up competing with more skilled and educated workers–be it workers who lost their jobs, or recent college graduates struggling to break-in–who are desperate for any job. The result is that the least skilled and educated workers usually lose out, so any negative impact a minimum-wage hike might have is irrelevant.

  • Anonymous

    The counter:

    Who do you think wages expensive wars
    abroad? Who do you think lowers interest rates, enacts housing subsidy programs, and creates artificial demand for housing that results in a housing crash? Who offers artificially cheap loans for college students that spark tuition hikes?

    The more the federal government
    gets involved into our lives, the larger the unintended consequences. The feds have a role in our society that was
    outlined by our founding fathers. They should be REALLY good at these functions. Outside of that, if we start demanding more from our gov’t, you get crony capitalism (entrenched power
    elite), ineffective regulation, debt, and the consequences of distorted markets.

  • Guy Donno

    I have no quibble with this, either. Does Brooks? I hear him to say that freer enterprise will get us to better pay and benefits. While I don’t believe that — in fact, I’d go so far as to call that fantastic BS — I want to hear his full argument. How do you “push free enterprise down”? How does that lead to less wealth disparity?

    I really think you and I agree in the main. But Brooks gives the appearance of one who will engage with intellectual honesty. I may get one of his books and find out for myself.

  • Kate105

    Couldn’t agree more. All of those companies could not have ever prospered, no matter how brilliant their owner or corporate leaders, if there were no front-line workers behind the counter. Why is it that so many of these multi-billion dollar businesses never seem to acknowledge that once all of their ideas, plans, investments, stores/buildings/products, are in place, they need workers to implement the strategies and activate the cash flow. Like it or not, folks in the top office need the front line workers just as much as the workers need a job, a job that should fairly share in the success of the company they all serve and support. Of course, it won’t happen, but IF all the workers within one or all of these companies were to quit their jobs, the billionaires and their executives alone couldn’t save the business.

  • Anonymous

    Well, that’s not really a counter VegasNed because every single one of your ‘counters’, at the root, is manifest from corporate influence; it’s just a fact.

    Waging expensive wars abroad – a mistake on that we perhaps can agree. But that largely benefitted the Military Industrial Complex who many in Bushs inner-circle were members of prior to Govt. Iraq was a special circumstance in that the American people foolishly rallied in defense of waging a war on false premise…which was known at the time; The M.I.C. were cheerleading the entire time and the American people are little wiser to this day.

    Unregulated derivatives were responsible, by largest measure, for the “housing collapse”. Who do you think advocates for lack of regulation on Wall Street? And still resists regulated derivative markets…

    The ‘artificial demand’ for housing was a result of poor lending largely because of lax lending requirements. And there’s a relationship with inequality here as well.

    Artificially cheap loans for college students…that’s absurd. About as absurd as the Govt. lending to institutional lenders money for educational loans at almost 0% interest and turning around and charging ridiculous fees.

    I agree money should be removed from politics and the revolving door (and lobbyist efforts) should be permanently closed. At this point there is no way that will happen without dramatic and sudden changes in this country and that also will never happen because Republicans and Democrats often argue about trivial and nonsensical differences. Lastly, the “founding fathers” penned an organic document, now over 200 years old, meant to be adjusted.

    If anything, to fix Govt., we need to strengthen it via a.) empowerment and b.) removing the monied interests. Govt., like it or not, is the only mechanism to restore some social equity in this country. As for your veiled suggestion that ‘free markets’ take care of themselves etc. That’s simply gibberish with no foundation barring some fantasy like utopia. It’s as absurd as chasing windmills.

  • Kate105

    Excellent idea. Let’s do the same for a few more folks named Palin, Cruz, Ryan, Bachmann, etc.

  • Anonymous

    How do you propose reversing the trend of single-family households? Perhaps a living wage, less stress about ones future, a chance to climb the SES ladder…in short making life less a struggle..might be a start.
    Many people need to shop at Wal-Mart (or anywhere that’s the cheapest) and cannot afford the luxury of protest with their dollars because they don’t have any.
    Reduce the burden on states by decriminalizing drugs? K. well it might also be wise to consider the ever declining corporate tax rates. Perry, the Texas Gov., recently said he’d love it if corporations paid 0% in taxes in Texas…that’s a brilliant idea! lol.

  • Walter Kiel

    Well, I was only commenting on what went on in this discussion which was a rather clear agreement by both men of what the situation is for the people in the country but polar opposite views about who’s responsible. Beyond this show, I too see the interference of corporations as the problem. As you point out their influence weakens government. Yet Arthur Brooks argued back every time that government is too strong and that’s the problem, which seems to me to be such a conflicted view he comes across as schizophrenic.
    But somewhere in all this our elected officials do need to get up and lead like they were elected to do. Government has become very strong but in all the wrong ways. Their strength is supposed to come from us and the Constitution, so they are now so terribly weak in doing the right things they can’t resist being part of the plutocracy making it as you say complete.

  • JonThomas

    Please buy it used.

  • Kate105

    Oh, yes, but the Walton advocate of the arts said they do arrange to give groups of school children who come for art tours a free lunch! I mean . . . the depth of their compassion and generosity is astounding. But I guess the free lunch thing is an important gesture, because those kids who visit the museum whose parents work at Walmart may return to a home where they often can’t afford to have dinner on the table. At least they got lunch that day.

  • Kate105

    Ahh, yes, if only such “dreams” could come true! A useful list of great ideas!!

  • Anonymous

    Indeed, it’s incredibly discouraging to ponder exactly how any change that is progressive for all Americans will occur. I also feel Brooks arguments simply do not fit with the historical facts as we know them; the things he advocates for are incompatible with our reality and in that sense it seems a bit ‘schizophrenic’.
    I often ponder if we did have someone who spoke truth to power and to the American people not as a partisan but someone who simply said it as it is…how long would they last if they pushed against the established political parties and/or the corporate elite? After seeing how quickly Occupy Wall Street was neutralized and how it was done, with violence, legislation, main stream media, and playing to rt.-wing fears…I have little optimism we’ll prevent our further sliding into the abyss.

  • Guy Donno

    I like your points. Brooks is right when he points out how the sheer size and complexity of government help the wealthy bend it to their needs. But his answer — just cut government way back and the system will self-correct — is magic thinking. Of course, if his cuts stop with the military and other projects favored by conservatives, he may simply be disingenuous.

  • Walter Kiel

    Yes, I became very suspicious of Brooke’s vague advocacy for his “public policies” that would work to turn the system back toward supporting the poor and middle. What were they? He never said. It always sounded like he was pushing for even more government not less.

  • Walter Kiel

    Yes again, his vague and open words about new public policies he was pushing for helping the poor and middle in the discussion were also, to me, magic thinking.

  • Betty J Rousey

    Regarding the Walmart situation, many smaller communities only have one place to go to shop, as all other mom/pop appliance stores, grocery stores, etc. were all put out of business by Walmart. Now they are left only with “the Company store.”

  • colkilgore

    With all due respect Mr. Brooks is preaching the same old non-sense and snake oil President Reagan fooled most of you into believing. “Give the money to the rich so they can help us not be poor.” REALLY?!?!? SERIOUSLY?!?!? How stupid is that??
    Not only did they not help us not be poor, they outsourced 30 million more jobs overseas and laid off millions creating more poor people (their fellow Americans I may add).
    If you have to rely on a rich for a living you are in trouble already and usually materialistic people who believe “you are what you own” are the first and hardest hit. If you don’t have the golden idol in your heart you’re truly free and could care less about material objects.

  • 10commandments

    your nuttyness is sucking up to the corporate pig. None of you trust an independent to do the work for the same price. This is where you lack true Catholic. God has no respect of persons here. You will be sent to hell for what you do. The declaration of indpendence is what all of you lack obedience too. Without that, you will never please the true Catholic Church, or, God. And, it is and was mandatory to run those rules first in the conscience mind, before any obedience to the true US Constitution. So go ahead, lean towards the 666 pushers, and see where that will get you. No penance, No Democracy, and right now, the gas man is leading the way to hell. Along with a fake Francis in Rome.

  • Jerry W. Kelley

    There’s nothing compassionate or conservative about these people. I know, I’ve worked for them for most of my life. It’s all a lie!

  • Anonymous

    What Democrats, Republicans and the middle class fail to grasp is that not everyone can work, due to health or circumstances, and there simply aren’t jobs for all who need one. The US shipped out a huge number of working class jobs since the 1980s, then ended welfare aid in the 1990s. Low wage workers are always a single job loss from losing everything, with no way back up. You can’t get a job once you no longer have a home address, phone, bus fare. Workers who become seriously ill/disabled can apply for disability benefits, but understand that it normally takes at least a full year from the day you submit an application until you receive the first benefit check — and a huge percentage of applicants are rejected. If you don’t have an income during this time, we no longer have welfare aid to fall back on. Good luck.

  • Anonymous

    “Brooks argues the market doesn’t support higher wages….”

    Well, Mr. Brooks has decided that the homeless, and hungry will wait until and if the market is good enough to support them. And, by and by, that day will come, in the fullness of time when God’s chosen, conservative Republicans come charging forth brandishing their shields of righteousness, astride great white steeds, crying “Hosanna, the free-market is nigh!”

  • Anonymous

    Min. wage workers are paid too little to owe taxes. Each year, they can file for a tax refund to get back money taken out of their checks through the year. Oddly this generation seems to have a hard time understanding why people don’t pay taxes on incomes or property that they don’t have.

  • Paul in Fullerton

    It is absurd that McDonald’s would fire half their employees if forced to pay $15/hr–
    Would the food eating public demand any less McDonald?

    Could they face that demand with 50% less help

    Would the franchisee close the store early because of all the money paid to sapping employees?

    The argument for job loss is lame.

    The answer is labor unions.

  • colkilgore

    The argument for job loss is not only lame, it’s has already occurred by 30 million times!

  • Anonymous

    You do know, don’t you, that the last welfare check was issued in 1996? We do have food stamps for the elderly, disabled and working poor — all people who have paid into the system, as have their families. Food stamps aren’t an entitlement; one might or might not be able to get any, regardless of circumstances. Benefit levels can be highly erratic and disconnected from actual economic conditions. By now, most of those working at or slightly above the minimum wage are adults, and most are women. Overall, upward mobility ended some years ago. This generation did simply dump our “surplus population,” those who aren’t of current use to employers.

  • Anonymous

    There’s always workfare labor, which can be used for less than minimum wage/no workers’ benefits. We have a surplus of people who are absolutely desperate for any job at any wage. There is nothing to fall back on.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Brooks works (shills) for AEI. That is really all that needs to be said. Paul Ryan of “safety hammock” fame, is an AEI guy. His latest plan to deprive those who are living the “good life” on food stamps was delivered from their stage.

  • george the sceptical

    Brooks is wrong.
    Especially concerning the minimum wage.
    When people have money to spend, demand increases.
    When demand increases, employment increases.
    It really is that simple.

  • Anonymous

    Their job is to maximize corporate profits. Period. Any corporation that has expanded internationally no longer relies on US consumers. Americans have grown poorer since the “Reagan Revolution,” falling well behind many other nations, and businesses rely on consumers.

  • Anonymous

    To not require corporations to pay a living wage is not a zero sum game, it is a subsidy to the corporation. Franklin Roosevelt invented the “minimum wage”, and from the beginning it was stipulated that it would be a living wage.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, we did end assistance to the truly poor. The last welfare check was issued in 1996.(TANF is a marginally subsidized temp job program for those with minor children.) Food stamps are only for the elderly, disabled and working poor. The last I heard, there are 7 jobs available for every 10 people who need one — and there is nothing to fall back on. In large part, we are living with the consequences of Reagan’s deregulation frenzy, which was strongly supported by the middle class. As a result of years of massive upward redistribution of wealth, the overall quality of life in the US has fallen from #1 (when Reagan was first elected) down to around #43.

  • Anonymous

    An ideology that has to manufacture a term such as “compassionate conservative” to justify itself, tells you all you need to know about that ideology. Mr. Brooks is a propagandist and a bare-faced liar.

  • george the sceptical

    In business, it’s screw your competition any way you can.
    Spy on him, undermine him, and do whatever it takes to hurt his profit margin and destroy him. Do whatever it takes to enhance your profit margin or your share of the market. Isn’t that how it’s done in business?
    And you know that the right is in business and in business ethics is for losers.

    As far as the right is concerned, government is just an arm of business… isn’t it?

  • Anonymous

    It’s how conservative “think tanks” think.

  • Anonymous

    Schizophrenic is the only possible way Mr. Brooks could respond to Bill’s questions, and still maintain the charade.

  • Anonymous

    Iraq was a corporate play from the get-go. Thoroughly and ferociously documented are the facts of oily fingerprints all over it.

  • talos

    so frustrating, but I think you nailed it with this observation. brook’s remarks kept going back to a script, and felt mechanical and calculated. I was just reminded how democrats love the threat of anti-abortion because of fundraising potential. Rep’s love the blowback from the left regarding the hobby lobby for the same reasons: both sides win for fund-raising. Too often we all get wrapped up in the meaningful debate of ideas, and forget that politicians are in the business of getting elected. How can we get/find/elect honest representation in such a broken system?

  • DGT

    That is a point I make all the time. Labor is cheap right now, and yet, you don’t see businesses hiring extra employees. They’re still operating at bare-bones levels.

    Economists like Brooks claim that the supply/demand curve shows that as price of labor goes down, demand goes up. This is true for consumer products. To use an economist’s example, if the price of apples goes down, I will buy more apples, and when they get more expensive, I buy fewer.

    The reason this doesn’t work for the labor market is because businesses always minimize their labor cost. They don’t spend a dime more than absolutely necessary, particularly on the low-paid front-end employees. Thus, if the price of employees goes down, profits increase; if it goes up, profits decrease.

    Minimum-wage employees are a bargain right now, with the inflation-adjusted cost at historic lows. And yet, businesses like Wal-Mart, Target or McDonald’s keep employee hours at a minimum, sending people home when it’s slow, cutting hours, keeping them on-call, etc. If Brooks’ thesis was correct, we should be seeing a hiring boom.

    Brooks is a very smart man, but he is just demonstrably wrong on this topic. Businesses will hire just enough minimum-wage employees to run the business and give them just enough work hours for the level of activity, no matter the price. Anyone who has ever worked in a fast food/retail environment– or even paid attention as a customer — knows this to be true.

  • DGT

    And college is too difficult to attend because of Brooks’ ideological brethren. Starting in the Reagan era, universities have ceased to be a public good and been transformed into a private good.

    As a result, higher ed is no longer subsidized, and the cost has been shifted to students and their parents. And by “operating like a business”, higher ed is now overrun by high-paid administrators and fund-raisers, as the number of actual faculty have dwindled, replaced by adjuncts … not to mention the student-loan industry generates billions in profits.

  • DGT

    Philanthropy also leaves the distribution of the money to the whims of billionaires. For example, Mark Zuckerberg gave some huge sum to the struggling schools in New Jersey. Almost all of that went to “consultants”, and virtually none of it reached the level of the classroom. It was a boondoggle to the big corporate education companies.

    Perhaps worse, though, is that it plays into the Randian framework of benevolent plutocrat vs. parasitic worker. Sure, the Waltons make hundreds of billions on the backs of workers who make sub-living wages, but they sometimes give back billions (billions, I tell you!) in charity out of the goodness of their virtuous hearts.

    Bill tried to make the point that it would be more philanthropic to make lower profits and pay living wages, but Brooks wasn’t going to hear it.

  • KennethKrieger

    Dear Bill

    My theme is Walmart and my jobs plan.

    Your guest said that all of the wealth from the rich would only be $7000 per person. Taking all there wealth would not change anything.

    You where in a aggressive non listening mode.

    You act like the defender of Democrats. Why during the first 2 years when Obama had both houses of Congress, didn.t they raise the minimum wage, pass gay marriage and give illegal Mexicans citizenship? Democrats are not liberals, but they lie for political power. Most Republicans aren’t much better.

    If the socialist cities allowed WALMART in their cities they would create jobs and prices would drop because of competition.The average wage for full time employees at WALMART is over $12 an hour, or a joint family income of about $40,000 a year or the average family income in the United States.

    2 young 18 year olds working at WALMART earning a combined $15 an hour or a little over $30,000 a year can make the
    American dream come true and enjoy life. Rent $700 a month or $8400 a year, utilities $300 a month or $3600 a year, food $100 a week or $5200 a year . There is about $13000 left over for a used car or other goodies. The largest retailer makes other so called high class retailers lower their prices. I thought that I
    might want a COSTCO card but I toured the store and the prices are higher. Why are the up scale folks willing to waste their money? Good hard shopping leaves money for other goods.Looks to me like the WALMART shopper is smarter than the
    COSTCO shopper. Why earn more money if you waste it? Walmart provides jobs and keeps other retailer’s prices low. Please do not refer to WALMART shoppers as low income because one of the reasons I have a comfortable retirement is because when I earned enough to shop at COSTCO I saved money by shopping at WALMART.

    We must create jobs first to solve our problems.


    The rule of 72 crutch allows anyone to understand the budget. 72 divided by 6 (6%) takes 12 years to double, or 72 divided by 12 (12%) takes 6 years to double.A 16 trillion dollar economy that has deficit of one trillion every year is going into debt at about 6% every year to double the deficit every 12 years, or a 32 trillion dollar deficit.

    We have about 160 million working. Increase the work force by 10 million gives us a 6% increase in workers and almost a 6% increase in GDP. Add to that 6% the present growth of about 2% and an 1% extra growth from that new activity and we have a 9% growth rate and the economy will double every 8 years. 72
    divided by 9% doubles in 8 years to be a 32 trillion dollar economy.

    I would use 300 billion of corporate taxes without any loss of tax revenue by giving a $30,000 direct bottom line tax credit for each new employee hired.
    The tax revenue would be 45 billion in payroll taxes, ( Social Security and Medicare), income tax at the local state and Federal level, student loans are paid back, housing is being paid again, less unemployment paid out, people stop retiring early because of job loss, and many other taxes.

    Obama would spend an extra trillion a year to cause more job loss and put us into debt twice as fast. My way the recession would be over tomorrow and our economy would grow..
    The Chinese are growing at 9% to double every eight years to be a 256 trillion dollar economy in 32 years that can buy everything in the world. If we do not grow we need to learn to speak Chinese. Our economy is a national security issue.
    They say we take out 3 times more Social Security than we put in. Not by my math. If they had bought bonds at 4% our Social Security fund would be 2 times bigger in 18 years and 4 times bigger in 36 years. They should treat our Social Security as a trust fund not as a slush fund to buy votes.
    This is a quick addition. Please compare my plan to Obama’s latest $300 billion infrastructure spending plan that will create almost no jobs and add to the deficit.
    Kenneth Krieger
    Cape Coral, Florida 33993

  • Anonymous

    Amen, you are correct; it is that simple: well-paid/employed workers = monied consumers = LONG-TERM profits for business = thriving economy = strong country

  • Anonymous

    That’s essentially what I meant, all the money was left to the Whims of these guys. Projects like school privatization is largely driven by this group because, despite what they claim, they all have this perverse view of things that only sees the potential private profit for them. I get a little tired of the Walton bashing that goes on constantly, I met Sam Walton several years ago and found him to be pretty much the typical Class A personality that you would expect. He was also an Arkansas country boy that was driven to better his position in life through hard work ! He was a loyal American who at the time said that he would never export American jobs to foreign countries for personal gain. I suspect that was a policy adopted by his greedy children not too long after his death. I’m not surprised that some of them are feeling a little guilty about receiving over a million Dollars a day in financial gains just because they were lucky enough to be born into the right family !

  • ZenderTranscender

    This is the USA economy you’re talking about?
    How do you get simple out of that? If you’ve owned your own business, or have been an executive in any organization, you would recognize that this is a simple issue only for simple people. (Sorry).

  • ZenderTranscender

    What do you think of the point that many of these workers are unskilled and uneducated, or under-educated for our workplace of today? Doesn’t this mean these people can only get so far? If they lose a job, they won’t even have transferable skills. What other solutions are there – education and training, maybe?

  • Anonymous

    CEO’s are hired for only one purpose — to maximize short term earnings, irrespective of the needs of their workers. Such a policy ends up with Walmart workers skipping lunch. Not acceptable. And earned income credits are not fair unless Walmart pays for them, in which case they might as well pay their workers more in the first place.

    Government has two purposes — to provide for The Public Commons and to regulate Capitalism. Loosening those regulations has always resulted in economic crisis.

    We are witnessing the reduction in labor by computer-based automation which started four decades ago and continues. Yet the wages of labor are the fuel that runs are entire economic system. Unless we come up with a scheme for government to regulate Capitalism in order to sustain national payrolls, we will see our economy and democracy unravel before our eyes. The goal should be to stop the wage bleeding and then slowly raise payrolls gradually ba

  • Anonymous

    My thoughts exactly ! I think that philanthropy is largely driven by a perverse game of One-upsmanship in competition with their Billionaire brothers. I also suspect that at some basic level their is a psychological need to pay homage to a culture, or an institution within that culture, that provided the incentive for them to succeed ! Any of us who have experienced even a small measure of success in our lives can point to someone or something in our past that provided the catalyst for our success !

  • Anonymous

    Despite the claims that Karl Marx was a dyed in the wool devoted Socialist, in reality he often spoke and wrote in favor of Capitalism though he saw no way for the system to succeed over the long run without some level of meaningful regulation by the prevailing social authority !

  • Shirley0401

    This guy is so incredibly disingenuous it’s almost impressive. He’s spewing the same vile sociopathic market worship that got us to where we are, and we’re supposed to respect him simply because he’s willing to publicly recognize some poor people are victims of something other than their own moral failings?
    He mentioned the “bad old days of the Carter administration,” which I imagine would look pretty good to a lot of those at the bottom. He was asked a dozen different ways to respond to Wal-Mart’s paying such a low wage that their employees rely on public assistance, but never really did.
    I honestly didn’t hear one recommendation that’s substantially different from all the other hacks claiming that the real problem is markets that just aren’t free enough. And using the same debunked, or at least unsettled “facts” (such as “raising the minimum wage will always hurt poor people”) to support himself.
    He has no ideas or solutions, just a slightly less bellicose tone and an inability to figure out how to actually connect his supposed compassion for any of the recommendations he has.

  • Adam Bray

    What was this guy suppose to be an expert on? Bill put Brooks to task on the the fact that our largest corporations are basically using the government to subsidize their profits, and Brooks never actually answered the question. All he could say was that if wages are increased jobs will decline. This republican talking point has been taken apart many times by numerous studies. Not to say there isn’t some evidence that some jobs could be lost, but Brooks makes it seems like job losses will greatly overwhelm the benefits of such policies, which has been very well vetted as false. Compassionate Conservatism is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing and nothing but a punch line for late night comedians. This guy may have some influence in Washington, but only because he tells the business leaders exactly what they want to hear. You could tell that right below the surface, Brooks was just waiting to spew all of the conservative talking points.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed with everything but the ‘smart man’ part. Smart people use facts.

  • Adam Bray

    I thought that was one of the most profound things he said. “We won’t like how and what they do, but we will all know their hearts are in the right place”. What type of narcissistic person says something like that. People don’t like what you are doing because it is hurting them and making things worse for them.

  • Yespat

    What a great idea, 2 separate minimum wages! I had not thought of that before. Exactly right. But until we get 100% taxpayer funded elections, I don’t see anything changing for the good. People will have to rise up for that to happen and they’re so beaten down now by having to work multiple meaningless jobs just to feed their families, I can’t see when an uprising could take place.

    And Arthur Brooks is the new fake face that the republicans will use to further convince people to vote against their own self interest. Bill did us a service having him on so we could get a good look at it. Brooks is very slick but he’s disingenuous to the core.

  • Jim Young

    I’m saving it, and not letting Wall St. gamble with it.

    Seems a lot of others are also not contributing as much as they used to, to making the traders as rich off commissions and fees as they once were exacerbating the “differential accumulation” of wealth by those who take so much more in return on “investments” that do not provide anywhere near the real growth they used to.

  • Flowed

    Watch this video in 10 years. Mr. Brooks will undoubtedly be found wrong. He sounds smart but is spinning BS with an ultimate goal of excusing greed and corruption.

  • Jim Young

    At least it sparks interest in reviewing Clinton’s “Third Way”, trying to walk the line as if both sides had equally valid philosophy, matched by anything near actual results in line with their beliefs.

    The results have been very lopsided, I’d say as lopsided as what Herbert Hoover found, when he finally came to think an unexpectedly large percentage of what he called “anarchical capitalists” spoiled the results he expected from what he assumed would be more egalitarian “capitalists.”

    After starting Picketty’s book, to see what a comprehensive study of actual outcomes can show, it has sparked an interest in also going back to examine works like “Middlemarch” to see some of what the privileged people of those times thought.

  • Jim Young

    Trickle down didn’t work for Herbert Hoover, either. He blamed the failure on an unexpectedly high percentage of what he came to call “anarchical capitalists.”

    Though I know a large number of true believer “Libertarians,” I believe too many of them are as naive as Herbert Hoover. I’d suggest they examine what Picketty and his research peers/partners find from a much larger and more comprehensive data set.

  • Jim Young

    I left the Republican party after 5 generations because of the implementation of the Newt Gingrich/Frank Luntz 1996 GoPac Memo, “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control.”

    It seemed the implementation of a Cato Institute suggestion to use “Leninist” propaganda (and soft sabotage).

  • OnePatriot

    We always hear the same thing from conservatives (Republicans). They tell us if the wages are increased that employers will lay off some of their workforce. This is historically not true, and not a probability now as they have already trimmed to the barest essential force they need. Do you think McDonalds will eliminate workers when they already have customers backed up at the counters? They will raise prices no doubt, but many of us don’t mind paying a few cents more for a hamburger if it means it will help people make a livable wage.
    Regarding the push for using the earned income tax credit to help people out of poverty, that will not work nearly as well as putting them back to work via a jobs training program, because the earned income tax credit won’t contribute income tax revenue or social security tax money either. Obviously, your guest doesn’t care about that either.

  • JonThomas

    But it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside when they say it…

    “I love you baby, you are the best. Now bend over,”

  • Cathryn

    I am a socialist and a Canadian by birth, American by parentage, and no great fan of how capitalism is practiced in the world, at the moment — and yet Mr. Brooks made sense to me. Somehow in my heart, I know what he is saying is true. There does have to be a fundamental shift in how both Democrats and Republicans view the poor and disenfranchised in the country — a moral revolution, I think he called it. And, unemployment IS the problem — I often wonder how, at the most basic level, economies can continue or be healthy when technology has destroyed traditional jobs and greed has sent the factory work that America was based on overseas. But, greed is based on fear and fear seems to be the state of the world right now — feel it, the fear, but don’t let it control what we know is right and good about people.

  • DPepp

    Summarizing some of what has been said below; businesses will hire as many workers as they need to get the job done. Period. Any business, large or small, that cannot afford to pay their workers a living wage and otherwise treat them with respect needs to rethink their business model!

  • JonThomas

    Yep, and it’s a huge mistake to assume, as was done above, that ‘the purpose of government is to regulate Capitalism.’

    One might say that A purpose of government is to ensure a stable and healthy economy, but anything further is fallacy.

  • Mike Hillman

    I listened carefully to Mr. Brooks. His solution is for the middle class to fund even more corporate welfare through increases in the EITC. I suspect that most companies do not carry more workers than they need so increasing the minimum wage would not result in layoffs. However, I would prefer a more systemic economic fix by bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US. This combined with a PR campaign to buy American could do a lot to develop local manufacturing economies.

  • Jim Young

    Thank you for the useful term “financial fascists.”

  • JonThomas

    Fair enough – a moral revolution…

    Now, how do you get there? By reducing the role that regulation plays in commerce? By reducing the size and funds of the government whose role it is to monitor business activities? By removing the obstacles to act immorally?

    By enforcing morality? How many of the people who broke the existing laws against financial impropriety have gone to jail? Which group of people are most obstructive to new regulations such as the Dodd-Frank legislation?

    Words without actions are empty promises. Do not let ‘fear’ and deceit cloud your judgement.

  • Anonymous

    Such mush. Where is the empirical evidence that raising the minimum wage hurts those that it is supposed to help. Following that logic to its conclusion means there should be no minimum wage. How then would money trickle down to these workers if not in the form of wages? It doesn’t and that is the nub of the problem and why the likes of Arthur Brooks just don’t get it and instead they just spread the big lie. It is like the Laffer curve where not even Laffer can tell you where the country is at in any given point in time on his curve. Theory doesn’t put food on the table, a livable wage does.

  • JC

    I have one quote for Mr. Brooks: “It ain’t what ya don’t know that’ll hurt ya…it’s what ya think ya know for sure…that ain’t necessarily so.” (Mark Twain)
    His version of fixing the U.S. economy will put more money in the corporate coffers and make the 1%ers even richer. What a crock.

  • Paul Sellnow

    Over and over Brooks gets away with the unfounded assertion that any increase in the minimum wage would significantly increase unemployment, despite the fact the the minimum wage has been increased many times in many localities without this happening. Seems like he is getting away with (economic) murder because he spent a little time with the Dalai Lama, so now we have to consider him to be “spiritual” as he peddles the standard libertarian clap-trap about the magic of unfettered capitalism.

  • jim davis

    His comment about the minimum wage was not true. Since 1950 it has been raised 20 times. Between 1950 and 2000 seventeen times unemployment went down and GDP growth went up. One of those times was during the Arab oil embargo. The last 3 increases were to small and to late to do any good as most peopel earned more.
    Don’t take my word for it. Lots of charts available for ur and GDP growth rates. Pull some up and note the dates of the increase and see for your self.

  • jim davis

    Please take the time to see my comment about the min wage. It exposes this “misinformed” man.

  • JonThomas

    And the worker asking for a dollar raise is also an enemy.

    When it comes to the question of who gets that dollar, CompassionLESS Conservatives are most often exactly those who fight the worker seeking the basic necessities of life (who, by the way, makes exponential profit possible,) over the excesses of personal prosperity.

  • Anonymous

    But to ensure a stable and healthy economy government must establish reasonable standards of operation that favor a majority of the population. When minimal standards of operation do not exist, confidence in the system is lost and everybody loses. This is especially true when the technical complexity of the system can be used to easily conceal attempts to gain economic advantage by a few who have full control and understanding of that system !

  • JonThomas

    It is literally inhumane to calculate labor as a commodity.

    The real term for these people is CompassionLESS Conservatives!

  • jim davis

    Beware of false knowledge (Mr. Brooks) it’s more dangerous than ignorance. George Bernard Shaw

  • JonThomas

    Yes, very well said, but I’m not arguing that point. I was just adding that it’s a huge mistake to pigeonhole government to Capitalism as if such were a straightforward assumption. :-)

  • jim davis

    In 1968 my employee paid benefits would equal $28,900 in 2014 dollars. That was 3That is about what 30% of Americas households earn today.

  • JonThomas

    Good analysis Jim!

  • jim davis

    Compassionate conservatism is evil, wicked, and causes great harm!

  • Anonymous

    Your absolutely correct, in 1968 a major national newspaper published a story on the economy and the author correctly stated that, “there are endless employment opportunities for all with good wages and benefits and the only possible explanation for anyone being unemployed is that they simply do not want to work !”. This was the Guns and Butter Vietnam Era that the Nixon Administration soon brought to an end in the early seventies !

  • jim davis

    In 68 25% earned between $70,000 and $101,000, 12% between $101,000 and $167,000 in 2014 dollars.
    Worker productivity was 50% of what it is today.
    Most households had one wage earner!

  • jim davis

    Please see my comments above regarding the min wage and take my challenge to see for yourself.

  • jim davis

    Total household income in 2012 was 77 trillion dollars.
    77 trillion divided by 316 million people = $43,240 each.
    Perhaps we need (strong) unions to force corporations to stop robbing others of their labor so they can participate in the free enterprise system.

  • Anonymous
  • MEL

    Mr. Brooks is a fast talker, like a traveling salesman, and he is not living in this world of low wages and part time employment. Walmart, fast food businesses, and many other large businesses avoid paying people for full-time work because by using part-timers they save on benefits and having to meet expectations for increased wages as rewards for good work. I am an elderly woman living in my home with my son, his wife and his family of three children. One child is in school, one is working but not paying any expenses and another is incapable of doing other than part-time laborer work. They are the working poor and I am living on SS and a small pension. We have modest conveniences and don’t mind buying second hand clothes, cheap food and used vehicles. Over and over when Bill asked about the compassion expected from the 1% and their lack of responding to the injustice of greedy gain, Brooks raved on again about Compassionate Conservatism as being the only answer. What a farce!

  • Anonymous

    The usual talking points with a dash of the Dalai Lama, a holy man who by profession suffers fools gladly.
    Arthur… Meditate more. Talk less. The world will be a better place.

  • susanpub

    good luck with that, though.

  • susanpub

    Haven’t seen the program yet – so Bill doesn’t challenge him at all?

  • Anonymous

    Ahhhh! It just goes right over his head! We should admire the Walmart owners !!!! This guy doesn’t get i!. And, clearly shows that his idea of “compassionate conservatism” is just a joke. Do not trust this fast-talking flim-flam man! He very obviously is in the 1% and has no idea about us “little people” We are just too too far beneath him.

  • Anonymous

    He wishes. He works for and at the pleasure of the 1%. He is no doubt very well paid.

  • Eric Beutler

    do you understand how economies work? what drives unemployment? wage growth? or do you believe in the old feudal systems where the king dictates everything? that’s what it sounds like.

  • gininitaly

    You’re welcome, please feel free to use it anywhere you like.

  • Paul Sellnow

    Bill challenged him on a few points, but not this one. And Brooks made this one point more frequently than any other. I love Bill, but he was entirely too genteel with Brooks and let himself get politely steamrolled.

  • jim davis

    I need some luck. The other day I found the most beautiful 50 cent piece you ever saw on the sidewalk. By the time I scrounged up 2 quarters she was gone!

  • Anonymous

    Mr brooks repeatedly refers to opportunity as the key to help for the poor but his only example I believe involved a man and a lawnmower. His solution: that everyone ask themselves, “Did what I do today help those poorer than myself? is a bone thrown to the religious of his base but totally lacking juridical teeth. Polished to the point of slick, it is no surprise that he has slithered to the top of a heap of vipers.

  • jim davis

    Anyone who thinks supply and the willingness to produce goods and services is the key to prosperity and consumerism and demand is of secondary consequence is a compassionate conservative!

  • Questioner

    As indicated by the guest, an assumption of republicans is that if anyone works hard they can make it economically. After all, the guest made it, financially. Nevertheless, take IQ for an example. 50 percent of the population has less than 100 IQ. Guess who is in the bottom half economically. There are people with an IQ of 9. They cannot even get up out of bed by themselves. Mitt Romney did not even know that there are mentally retarded people. Those people who made it big economically may have started low economically, but they did NOT start from NOTHING. They were in an environment that could be exploited by someone who had the economic ability to do so. They also by accident had the genetically endowed intellectual ability. Republicans are totally ignorant of the real human condition. The reason we have higher unemployment than we want is because tax breaks are given to corporations to ship the jobs of the bottom 50 percent of workers out of the country. We do not need to grow the economy. We basically just need to keep the economy that we have HERE. If you are pro-U.S.A., then you would give tax breaks to corporations that keep jobs HERE.

  • Eric Beutler

    whats your solution? let the king mandate rule??

  • jim davis

    I would give anything to have a nice friendly chat with him in public.
    Someone see that he gets this message.
    If he accepts, which he wont, I will provide him with waterproof garb to keep tears from ruining his clothes!

  • JonThomas

    Sterile laboratory conditions do not exist in the real world.

    It’s time to expose the falsehoods.

    Business schools today are doing a great job of pumping out morally vacant business graduates. What these graduates are not being taught well enough, is that labor is not a classic commodity.

    Although it is considered to be the case, labor does not cleanly adhere to macroeconomic supply and demand graphs!

    Does iron have to be trained? Does fuel have children to feed? Does electricity have to meet debt payments? Do resources have to make rent? Does your building have to pay its own rent? Do your mops have to pay transportation costs?

    To treat labor as a material commodity is literally INHUMANE!

    Let’s flip the mirror, shall we?

    From a labor perspective… Are employers plentiful? Do well paying, worker concerned employers abound?

    When fair employers abound, then workers have lots of choices with whom to find to satisfying work.

    When the number of fair employers (employers who have learned that their human labor does not operate under the same rules of cleanly drawn supply and demand graphs,) or any employment is low, then willing workers are forced to take what is available and accept whatever conditions are imposed.

    Imposed! Not negotiated as with living human beings, but imposed as with inanimate resources!

    Here’s the deal, you can treat your material supplies however callously you wish, but labor has feelings. Labor has on-going, exponential needs. Labor isalive!

    Laborers are human beings! As many of us who are, and who become aware to the treatment afforded workers in this increasingly non-union environment will continue to send you back to your graphs!

    When business denies workers living wages, in favor of lavish profit margins, then you better start redesigning your graphs!

    You have the cart before the horse. The enemies of workers are business interests who fund the campaigns of those corrupt politicians and their parties. The only options available are Twiddly Dee, and Twiddly Dumber.

    Government is what is necessary to a secure community; individual businesses are not!

    We know that corrupt politicians are enemies of workers! We also know that the garbage you are spouting comes from another faction of those same enemy forces!

    There is no true argument of business or Government as the enemy! Both are working against the interests of sentient, living human beings!

    When business schools teach their students that classic supply and demand economic theory applies to human labor, they are teaching inhumanity, and are destroying the very fabric of our COMMUNITIES!

    This show featured a CompassionLESS Conservative!

  • jim davis

    Restore the basic law of capitalism. When customers have more money, conservative ideologues have more customers!

  • Eric Beutler

    principles, such as those of supply and demand, and derived from observation, not some theoretical cogitation. you are arguing against observed phenomenon. its called science, not fine arts.

  • Eric Beutler

    how do you propose to provide more money other than robin hood tactics?

  • jim davis

    Unfortunately Bill fails to use statistics that prove Mr. Brooks wrong.
    Bottom line, Brooks has not one statistic that proves the raw deal is better than the new deal. Not one!!!

  • jim davis

    1. By raising awareness of a few laws that worked for the good of all rich and poor alike!
    2. Then pass a few more laws that benefit rich and poor alike.

    3. These are the ones that don’t require billions of dollars year after either.

  • Eric Beutler

    could you please raise my awareness as to what specific laws have worked and how’d that all work out?

  • JonThomas

    Principles are fixed. They cannot be manipulated. Supply and Demand is constantly manipulated!

    How is supply and demand manipulated? By humans who do not fit into fixed observational parameters!

    Economics is not a ‘pure science’! It is, at best, a Social Science. It is a Social Study which by definition is a field studied under Arts and Humanities.

    As such, OBSERVE… it’s time us living, thinking, animate humans – labor to impose our own sentient existence to those previously inanimate supply and demand graphs!

  • jim davis

    Here is one.The Glass Steagall Act. of 1933. It limited (basically) banking activity to accepting deposits and lending money to consumers and conservative ideologues who buy from big business conservative ideologues.
    Along comes slick willy and amends Glass Steagall and once again banksters diverted these funds to same risky activities that caused the 1929 crash. Small and big business suffered.
    Glass Steagall authorized FDIC too. It restored confidence in the banking system in 1933 and led to a 57% gain in industrial production in 4 months..
    It prevented bank runs in 2008.
    The government had to hire a few cops to regulate it. Didnt cost that much.
    Really I should have said raise awareness about laws that favor the poor!

  • Eric Beutler

    Yes, you are correct. Stupid actions by governments indeed do influence the supply of unemployed and underemployed workers in an economy.. My concern is that most of the social science in Washington is occurring at cocktail parties with lobbyists concocting how to exchange campaign monies for political favors. Picking winners in Washington while the rest of us out here in the real world get up each day and work hard to make a living.

    All graphs do is represent data.

  • Eric Beutler

    Thanks Jim, that was relevant.

  • jim davis

    Thank’s for not calling me a socialist, commie, pinko, big government tax and spend liberal cry baby Eric!
    I will not use the term conservative idealogues any more !

  • jim davis

    A few more laws.
    1`. Put every lobbying meeting on live stream.
    2. Take every red cent out of politics and let candidates fight it out in organized debates.

  • Eric Beutler

    i like where this is going . . .

  • jim davis

    Trust me laws like this will make the 47% who pay no taxes pay taxes. But I must go for a few hours.

  • JonThomas

    Well, I too will thank you for not reacting too strongly, as I/we are used to trolling ideologues.

    It was good that you brought out an example of government manipulation, but please, in your desire to make your point, do not forget business manipulations such as hoarding and effective monopolistic practices.

    No one is forcing ALEC to write their own model legislation. No one is forcing the Kochs to fund political spending groups. No political incentive in the world is forcing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to lobby and promote business friendly politicians!

    Is Mr. Brooks’ think tank… The AEI… working to remove the incentives which walk hand in hand with corporate campaign financing?

    Yes, political corruption is egregious, but average citizens, with little to no power or influence, are not the ones who are doing the corrupting!

    Politicians themselves are humans, and thus open to temptation. When a person comes out of business school, they quickly learn how the real world operates. It is business interests who pay the lobbyists which you and I seem to share disdain.

    I need only refer to the classic scene from “Back to School” where Rodney Dangerfield’s character ‘schools’ the economics professor.

    I should probably apologize for the tone I have taken in this exchange, as you are reacting better than most, but I admittedly cannot pretend that real people are not the ones who are suffering from the ideology spread by these CompassionLESS Conservatives.

    It’s time to update the graphs and the faulty theories which treat human beings as if they were inanimate resources!

    Business models which rely on profit margins that treat humans as inanimate resources are inhumane!

  • Mat Bastian

    The guest stated that higher wages reduces employment. I would argue that employment is dictated by need. I know of very few employers (none) who employ people because they have extra money laying around. They employ people because the employee serves a function in the company. A higher wage paid to the employee does not reduce the companies need for the employee. The guest could argue that higher wages will lead to increased prices, but to argue that it would lead to reduced employment separate from demand for products produced is fallacy. If people are buying at a price that companies are selling and the company needs to bring on more people to meet demand or to improve efficiency, then companies will hire. When demand is met with excess supply, companies will fire. The guest is trying to spin it a different way and his spin crap.

  • Eric Beutler

    Its cool man. Look I hold to conservative views mostly. I appreciated hearing Bills points of view and I understood him better. I own a small business. I am not fan of big businesses who use uneven playing fields to their advantage. I can see the frustration on the other side with big business and big money influence. I get it and I definitely do not agree with it. I do find it a little not genuine though when the other side fails to recognize the George Soros’ or the Googles and other WallStreet firms that are just as guilty as those you cited supporting Republicans. That the rub. My sense is that there is so much team loyalty out there and name calling and labeling that is muddies the waters where we can actually find common ground between us.

  • Eric Beutler

    Jim, I am willing to concede that I gained some value in understanding Bills point of view and I don’t do not demean these. Being a conservative myself, I gained a sense of respect for his apparent passion for fairness. I agree with this idea. I don’t believe in unfairness. I find myself looking for solutions however that are free market based. I believe that regulation is necessary because not all businesses are virtuous. I also keep in mind that the federal government is THE largest big business in the world and that the corruption and lack of virtue is rampant there as well. I would hope that some of my friends on the “not conservative” side of thinking could also agree with that. We are both getting screwed. Just became reacquainted with Orwells “Animal Farm”. Really powerful metaphor from my point of view. I don’t expect others to necessarily embrace my point of view but I would hope that I could be respected. I am open to good dialogue with others who do not share my POV. I really value mutual respect and openness.

  • JonThomas

    Yes, the partisan politics of divide and conquer does often set otherwise well-meaning people with shared similar interests at odds.

    It’s in forums such as this that we can expose the true enemies setting us up to clash.

    Especially when passions run high do we forget to breathe.

  • Patrick Joyce

    So Pollyanna is the president of the American Enterprise Institute?

  • Eric Beutler

    so your response is to make fun of the guest? is that how you strongly argue support for your point of view, make fun of the guy that opposes it?

  • Jolly D’Bugger

    ok ok…i think i can stop laughing/crying
    I so wish that I could attend a party where Mr Brooks and Mr Talleb were meet. One would skewer the other.
    As commenter correctly points out, anyone who run actually run a business hires for a purposes other than “ivory tower” economic theory.
    But then its the AEI, the same people in charge during the 8 years of little george’s reign leading up to 2008.

  • Anonymous

    My question is how is public policy such as tax income credit much different than food stamps when it comes to subsidizing low incomes paid by Wal-Mart and others? It is still public funds that is making up the income difference for the low paid workers.

  • Bob B.

    Mr. Brooks is simply promoting the same old conservative Republican agenda by hinting at cutting government agencies and and using terms like “increasing capitalism” which really means letting corporations have a free-run and to be unregulated to allow the rich top 10% to reap huge returns on dividends and stock prices the way they have in records amounts lately. He wants them to get even more. He says this will create more jobs for the poor? How is his message any different than any other conservative?? He is playing the ugly game of “acting” like he has the poor and middle class’ interest at heart….like he is their friend, but it’s clearly all about rewarding the people he works for. Does he think that we don’t see through his ruse????? Really???

  • Bob B.


  • Ken

    Compassionate conservative. I believe that is the definition of Mr. Brooks, et al. Think about it. Compassion (=sympathetic pity and concern for the misfortunes of others.) Now contrast that with empathy, an ability to understand and share in the feelings of others. Indeed, the compassionate conservative position sympathizes with the poor, the worker, etc. but alas, cannot empathize. And true action comes from people only when they empathize. So, do not deride Mr. Brooks too much, he is only giving what comes from his heart.

  • Anonymous

    how quickly we forget. the 2008 recession has taught u nothing. free rein in banking nearly brought america to its knees but instead of jailing the perpetrators they took our tax money to bail them out and they kept their multi-million dollar paychecks to boot. dodd franks was supposed to protect the public from predatory behavior but republicans gutted it. tax loopholes abound for the few with the batteries of lawyers to take advantage of them. 2/3 of the largest companies in wisconsin pay minimal if any state income tax leaving the burden on the already over-burdened middle class…or whats left of it!

  • Thomas Hatcher

    My wife and I just finished watching this trying to understand what Brooks is preaching and it is the same thing George W Bush used to ruin the economy. The biggest sin is he just changes the subject. Good try, Bill, to bring him back to your question but he was much more interested in spreading his message. Lies, lies, lies!

  • Anonymous

    Walmart pays market wages; actually a bit better. That’s why they had 38 job applicants for every job when their new DC store opened last year. I’ve see similar responses in their store openings, even in the expensive bay area. The problem is surplus labor. Employers pay what they must to get the employees they need. If people can say no, then employers have to increase compensation in order to attract employees they need. Tight labor market change the distribution of economic output in the favor of labor. But we have a continuous surplus of low-skilled workers in due to the immigration agenda of the elites on both the left and the right. Unions now promote illegal immigration, forcing down the wages of the majority of workers that have their economic fates determined by market forces from which unions seek to exempt their members. Unions are most prevalent in areas exempt from market forces, especially in monopolies, like government.

    Low minimum wages wouldn’t be such a problem if we had a tight labor market so that they only applied to a small segment of the labor market, those with very marginal work value. But we have too many people who are paid insufficient wages due to surplus labor. I think that we should raise minimum wages while curbing immigration and ending the employment of illegal immigrants, as was promised almost three decade ago, to reduce the impacts on legal residents that might come from any dis-employment effects of higher employee costs. We should aim to make minimum wage adequate to cover the living expenses of single people, while applying government subsidies to make the incomes of families adequate.

    But I also wouldn’t reject the Brook’s idea to have government subsidize the wages of everyone to a place where they are adequate, as long as it’s paid for by raising taxes and not shifting the cost of such subsidies onto the future. I’d expect as long as you are taking the money from people now to make up for inadequate compensation, there would be some political pressure from those paying to have employers cover more of those costs instead. The most important thing is to establish the norm of working people having sufficient income to be able to lead decent lives. Let the fight over who should pay for that ensue but don’t let it keep millions of citizens from having a better life now.

  • Mickey Laskin

    Bill, Arthur Brooks is a polite man – as are you. However, he was talking pure B.S. I was particularly irritated that he kept telling the Big Lie that raising the minimum wage will kill jobs. I really wanted you to bring in factual data to counter that tired old line. And the only idea he seemed to have to alleviate poverty is the Earned Income Tax credit. That’s not enough;after all, the poorest people make so little that they don’t make enough to pay taxes. So how will the EIC help them? I also noticed how he wouldn’t accept the morality of the Walton’s paying higher wages. He’s too rich to care that some of his taxes go to subsidize Walmart’s workforce. I wish you had not honored him by inviting him on your program.

  • MikeD

    As I listened to Bill vainly try to penetrate through Arthur Brooks’ talking points, I was reminded of Thomas Jefferson and Mitt Romney. Romney, because he seemed to be living in a complete bubble of his own CEO reality.

    This is the fundamental problem with capitalism – the tendency towards centralized power and hierarchy. The structure of the corporation is very much that of a King/Queen on top, sycophantic courtiers and disposable pages. Jefferson had warned from the outset that government could be overwhelmed by the big banks
    & moneyed corporations and become surrogates and imitators of the Court.

  • Barney Fife

    We have one of the “most capitalist” economies and what it has produced is nothing like what AEI promotes.

    Our free markets have not delivered better products, at lower cost and more freedom for workers because there aren’t thousands of producers, none of which controls markets.

    Our monopolist capitalism has allowed a very small number of people to exert near total control over the markets that supposedly spread the wealth and improve everyone’s lives.

  • Questioner

    Walmart is a good example of a CORPORATE WELFARE QUEEN. Everyone that is capable of supporting themselves is supposed to, but Walmart doesn’t.

  • Anonymous

    A waste of my time! Pure fiction. BS!

  • Paul in Fullerton

    Brooks qualifies his argument against minimum wage by implying that Wal-Mart jobs are ” Dead End ” jobs.

    Wal-Mart is the largest employer in the nation.

    In 1950 General Motors was the largest employer in the nation:


  • Paul in Fullerton

    So Goes Wal Mart, So Goes the Nation

  • Anonymous

    I can get behind the hard work of Sam Walton. However, his heirs are nothing but inheritance babies. They did not build that business from the ground up. They were lucky enough to be born into wealth that they did not earn. I guess that’s wealthy welfare. No, not envious, just calling it like it is. It’s seems ok for the wealthy to take something not earned, but doesn’t apply for the rest of us.

  • Rev David R Froemming

    The premise of moralism by Arthur Brooks is not solid for addressing the economic inequity in the USA. What is required is an identity with the poor rooted in social justice. Brooks reminds me of the rich young man who approached Jesus and cannot identify in the end with the poor. At least Brooks is honest enough to admit that monopolies do not work in Adam Smith’s model of capitalism. I think Moyer’s did a good job of questioning Brook’s naivete’ when it comes to thinking he can ask these monopolies to “be good” to the poor, when they are, as many of the responders have already noted, taking from the worker and the government, as Walmart’s workers need approximately $4,400 in government subsidies in order to live. Missing from the conversation, but entirely related, is the reality of all the unjust immigration wages and working conditions, and the unwillingness of the very people Brooks thinks will be moral, to do anything about immigration and an apartheid system that is undermining the American work place. Moralism is no replacement for social justice rooted in solidarity with the working poor.

  • Lee Jankowski

    I felt Mr. Brooks insinuated that wealthy business owners hired the working class people simply to benefit them. So, it would follow, if the working class people wanted a larger minimum wage… the wealthy business owner would no longer feel respected for their kindness and they would then be forced to deny the working class the gift of jobs. The old idea of paying the working class more money and in return the working class spending the extra income to increase their living standard… with increased sales… there is the need for increased production… with increased sales and production… there is a need to increase employees in sales and production. A Adam Smith win – win situation. Is it a more sound business model to try and beg the wealthy business owners to visit the Dali Lama and hope they learn compassionate giving to those they cannot hire or pay a living wage to those they can hire?

  • Paul in Fullerton

    Thank you Bill, you are a true American.

  • nonpartay

    Me, too. I haven’t shopped there for years. I try to shop at places where I know they pay their people a good wage, like Costco. I can’t buy all their products as some of it is just in too great a quantity, but what I can buy saves us a lot of money and is excellent quality.

  • nonpartay

    I’m not sure that’s actually true, but if it is, does that mean our nation is at a dead end? Walmart jobs aren’t supposed to be dead-end jobs, according to their commercials, not that I believe them, but that’s what they claim. Nevertheless, we certainly have heard from a whole lot of people who have worked there for years and are still making crappy wages I could never live on. It’s nuts, and it’s immoral when you consider just how much the Walton family makes off their cheap and exploited labor.

  • nonpartay

    Parenthetically, reintroducing wolves into Yellowstone meant beavers came back as well since they now had saplings of the right size to build their dams. Wolves culled elk herds, making them healthier in the process, so they didn’t eat all the young tree saplings before they had a chance to grow, and now the trees are coming back along with the fish in the beaver ponds. Wolf kills provide food for all kinds of other creatures. Nature’s balance really does work well. Similarly, we need a balance between the public and the private sectors of our economy and recognize they’re both important and need to work well and together for the good of the country.

  • Anonymous

    A snake-oil salesman is good with the presentation. The sales pitch is intended to make you believe that what he is trying to sell you is good for you, when in reality, it is good for him. Government stepped in eventually, because people were being harmed, and passed laws requiring proof proof of safety and effectiveness.

    Likewise, Mr Brooks is peddling concepts which he wants you to believe is good for you…but it is actually good for someone else.
    He provides no supporting evidence for his major positions. I would say it was unusually generous of him to support enhance ‘earned income credit’ policies, even though it expands government contrary to his belief system, but he clearly leaves out of the discussion who will pay for that expansion….obviously, the lower and middle income groups (who can afford to support more corporate welfare). I believe that expanding the earned income credit for working individuals would be acceptable provided each employer who has workers on their payroll who receive government assistance be billed for these expenses. Employers would quickly recognize that paying a living wage would be in their best interests. I am sure that MR Brooks would oppose employers footing the bill. Corporate welfare needs to end, Mr Brooks.

    Mr Brooks claims that if the minimum wage was raised to $15 that it would cause the loss of jobs. I have read a study that suggests otherwise. The study’s conclusion was that, yes, some jobs would be lost initially, however, the increased wages would case increased spending which would increase business which would increase the creation of more jobs. Ultimately being job neutral.

    The earned income concept, IMHO, would not promote self-esteem enhancement as would raising wages. People will usually feel better about themselves if what money they receive is

    earned, rather than in the form of a handout. Mr Brooks is against policies that promote dependency and discourage initiative. Would not the earned income credit mechanism do this?

    Mr Brooks is against the growth of government and yet he is advocating for it in this case because of who it truly benefits, big business. Simply increasing the minimum wage will not cause additional growth of government.

    Am I against capitalism? I am against pure capitalism. I am for socio-capitalism (capitalism with a social conscience). This form of capitalism accepts the general concept of capitalism but requires active involvement of at least one other major player….the government. Socio-capitalism is intelligently regulated capitalism. A third major player may be desirable…and that would be a collective bargaining mechanism (be it labor unions or other….as long as they are managed with integrity and have strict oversight).

    Mr Brooks commented about the huge increase in the numbers of people of food stamps….yet assumes no responsibility from his unregulated capitalistic policies for that problem. It is like he thinks he can recreate the history (since 2008 when the inadequately regulated financial system brought our economy to its knees and caused so many people to lose their jobs and homes) and convince us that what we all observed, did not really happen. These people did not quit their jobs and lose their homes by choice. It isn’t because they have developed a sense of dependency. Their lives have been crushed and in their efforts to recover their lives, you, Mr Brooks, say they should be happy with jobs that pay $9 or $10 per hour. Mr Brooks, you can’t recover anything with those wages.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget anti-trust laws which need to be expanded to block regional trusts. When Comcast and Humana are your only suppliers of cable and healthcare insurance, you can be sure you will be gouged. Even where we don’t have monopolies, we have collusion. In Israel, for example where they have truly competitive cell phone companies, the monthly charge for service on an unlocked phone with unlimited everything is $15 a month.

  • Anonymous

    By Brook’s standard that hanging out with the Dali Lama ones immediately becomes the moral epitome of Humanity, shaking hands with a Catholic makes one the Pope. All Brook’s regurgitated for 20 plus minutes is that the working taxpayers themselves cover their costs of being underpaid by leisurely billionaires who should pay less of their little to no taxes. Buying off the Dali Lama was definitely a coup de ta, but trinkle down reagoonomic is still just that. All Brook’s is saying is that Republicans should put on a happy face while their kicking the downtrodden. It’ll at least make them not look like the heartless mean old pricks that they are.

  • David Knight

    There is an important principle in propaganda that states if you tell a lie often enough it will become accepted as truth. Mr. Brooks certainly makes a valiant effort.

  • colkilgore

    Reliance on the rich for a living is to enslave yourself. The only way to beat their system is to become self-reliant and sufficient. No longer can the poor, uneducated and misfortunate make a living like their fathers and grandfathers did. They were able in most cases to acquire the American dream with unskilled jobs.
    Today economic boycott is the only way of hitting back at the uncompassionate rich and powerful and the only language they understand. It’s not easy but the best way is living under the radar avoiding their materialistic traps and temptations. Downsizing and streamlining your living expenses to a minimum, buying second hand anything of need from thrift stores and working under the table and bartering for goods and services are sure methods. Living on a cash basis, without bank accounts and credit cards, the idea is to fall off the face of their earth by becoming a non-conformist to their predetermined social order. Then you will discover true freedom, accomplishment in your own abilities and hopfully make them realize how expensive and stupid it is to keep us in poverty.

  • Anonymous

    While I can appreciate the feelings behind the concept of a boycott, I believe it would have minimal impact on those you are seeking to impact. The super-wealthy are too buffered. A boycott would cause the loss of a lot of jobs on the low end of the economic pyramid but not the top end. We don’t want to hurt those people. We need to gain back our democracy by voting intelligently and push for an Article V convention. We need to remove the influence of money from elections and place term-limits on elected officials.

    We need to make changes that will nullify recent ultraconservative Supreme Court rulings that appear to be defying the rule of common sense law. Once again, everyone vote intelligently!

  • jim davis

    Small government, lower taxes, is what can happen if people become aware of laws that favor the individual, or poor. They end up working for the good of all rich and poor alike. Glass Steagall was one. I think I made my case on that one.

    One more now then several more tomorrow and the next few weeks will be forthcoming.
    Stay with me on this one. The Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) It was a new deal law that provided immediate relief to the unemployed and poor by providing jobs.
    One million men were hired from 1933 to 1940. They were employed for one year and made $30 per month of which $25 had to be sent home.
    They planted 3 billion trees, built 800 parks, upgraded most state parks, did erosion control projects, fish stocking, constructed 125,000 miles of roads, built 47,000 bridges, 63,000 buildings (most in state and national parks) hung 89,000 miles of telephone lines, and laid 5,000 miles of water lines.
    The roads that make our national parks assessable were CCC projects. Many of the county roads and bridges you travel on were CCC projects. They enabled commerce in rural areas and still do to this day..Many poor people became prosperous middle class citizens as a result.
    Right now a group of conservative and liberal business people are discussing their dreams of starting a business close to one of our national parks.
    The CCC cost 3 billion dollars, which is 44 billion today. This meets the definition of recovery because of the continuing benefits.
    This new deal was one hell of a good deal.
    It worked for the good of all rich and poor alike. It will continue to do so long after we are gone.
    Keep in mind it provided relief, money to feed and house them. This kept grocers in business, fewer crops were left to rot in the fields. Fewer people died fighting over rotten garbage can scraps, etc. When the program ended so did the required funding.

    On the other hand programs that provide only relief require big agencies and billions of dollars year after year. These don’t meet my defination of good legislation and a huge oublic backlash has gone on for the oast 50 years.
    It would be good if I knew when anyone was going to be online tomorrow so I could post and exchange comments.
    Post in the reply if interested

  • Anonymous

    When is big business going to realize that a program like “Medicare for all” and providing a living wage is good for business? Healthcare provided to all citizens through a nationwide government program takes the problem of administering or providing this service out of private business’ hands. In addition paying your employees a fair and living wage means they have more money to spend and that creates demand. Demand stimulates the economy. Profits would soar. Hello!

  • ZenderTranscender

    Your recommendations will not go over well with most of the crowd here. You sound a bit preachy, but your are correct. We are a nation suffering from many ills that stunt our opportunities, including rich envy. The poorest have in common: no high school diploma, which is free via public education; children they can’t afford, often out-of-wedlock;no training for the types of technology-related jobs that could advance them; deep anger about what society has failed to do for them; and a dependence on the government, which can actually do little for them.

  • ZenderTranscender

    What is a true American?

  • ZenderTranscender

    You won’t like this, but in the USA, there are hundreds of thousands of people who own their own businesses. Many are small, others are mid-sized to large. Hobby Lobby is among these. People who have not had this experience don’t understand the personal and financial sacrifices owners must make, and they don’t see the opportunities, either.

    As for unions, they became their own worst enemies in the 70s and 80s. When we became and information society driven by technology, unions workers were often left in the cold. They had earned big salaries and benefits but had little education and training if their jobs went away.

  • ZenderTranscender

    To paraphrase H.L. Mencken, anyone who believes there is a simple solution to a complex problem would be wrong. When we’re discussing poverty, much of it generational, we are talking about a situation that will require years to even improve. I don’t believe there has been a time in history that there were not poor people – and not likely to be. So there is no “fix.”

    I do believe the minimum wage should be raised. Along with that, I would be willing to pay a few more taxes to see our government train poor people for jobs that could help them advance. Being able to support themselves would bring them more self-respect and self-confidence.

  • ZenderTranscender

    Have you ever owned your own business? Or do you know well anyone who has?

  • Anonymous

    I admire your calmness during this interview with another ‘compassionate conservative.’ It was all I could do to listen to him talk about the same nonsense that GOP has mumbled for the past 40 years. The EITC is simply giving people a tax break instead of giving them ore money in their paycheck. It’s really no different than food stamps or other support, it still comes form the taxpayer and it is corporate welfare. Corporations don’t have to pay a living wage if government is there to support those 1% corporate policies.

    He truly has NOTHING new to offer. It’s like bringing out the clowns prior to the lions at the circus. Get the audience relaxed before the danger begins, You never hear these types talk about compassionate conservatism AFTER an election.

    It’s more spin than earnest attempts to bridge the gap. It’s wordplay and nothing more.

    From the DOL:

    ‘Myth: Increasing the minimum wage will cause people to lose their jobs.

    Not true: A review of 64 studies on minimum wage increases found no discernable effect on employment. Additionally, more than 600 economists, seven of them Nobel Prize winners in economics, have signed onto a letter in support of raising the minimum wage to $10.10 by 2016.

    Myth: Small business owners can’t afford to pay their workers more, and therefore don’t support an increase in the minimum wage.

    Not true: A June 2014 survey found that more than 3 out of 5 small business owners support increasing the minimum wage to $10.10. Small business owners believe that a higher minimum wage would benefit business in important ways: 58% say raising the minimum wage would increase consumer purchasing power. 56% say raising the minimum wage would help the economy. In addition, 53% agree that with a higher minimum wage, businesses would benefit from lower employee turnover, increased productivity and customer satisfaction.’

    So reality is different form compassionate conservatism, as it usually is. It’s hard ot listen to this nonsense, but I appreciate the fact that you gave this uncompassionate argument an airing.

  • listening2grasshoppers

    zender I don’t think you have any idea what the ‘crowd’ here thinks. You’ve shared and it’s all stereotyping. Rich envy? LOL. Darlin? People just want a job that pays well and is satisfying.

    I think Colk had some very basic concepts that are 100% true: Live w/in your means, search inside for what is truly need vs.want and lastly? Shopping at 2nd hand stores, co-ops are a few very reasonable suggestions.

    Envy? You think too highly of what having money means…………you seem to think it’s identity and many people just want enough to provide.

  • listening2grasshoppers

    This is the first time that I wanted Bill to get angry. I admire him for having this slick oil spill on the show. Nothing new was stated and in fact a lot of my frustration w/listening to him was the fact that he continually dodged Bill’s questions. Never a direct answer

  • listening2grasshoppers

    you are a shill.

  • cgmcle

    Watch starting at 13:20 of the web-only segment. His words and tone approach anger, his body language gushes it.

  • Thomas Hatcher

    Opened and managed a retail store and owned a business with my wife. Made a profit in both. Now working for a large corporation due to the Texas and Arizona Republicans destruction of the economy throughout the 90s and 00s.

  • Aidan Benelle

    Well said and true

  • cgmcle

    The Walton heirs, having inherited their billions, are aristocrats. Their children will be aristocrats. European history shows clearly the problems of aristocracy.

  • Aidan Benelle

    The middle class has been gutted during the past 30 years and these bold faced corporatists sit there and spoon out more of the same and try to justify the mentality of Walmart and others making huge profits off the working poor while they exist in insecurity and financial misery.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you, I totally agree

  • cgmcle

    Fortunately, we don’t need “he says she says” to settle this issue. There is ample research showing no discernible effect of raising the minimum wage on unemployment.

  • Santiago Alemedia

    I really enjoyed the conversation. It was so refreshing to listen to a passionate debate that didn’t include name calling, threats, insults.

    Brooks made some good points if people would listen, but his proposals do not generally hold up well in real-life experience. Krugman recently showed how California raised taxes and the minimum wage and is thriving with a growth rate second only to Texas. Kansas, he points out, gave every possible generous tax break to wealthy residents, didn’t raise state’s minimum wage and now has a busted budget, loads of debt, and high unemployment.

    Now with the current influx of illegal aliens and more to come, we can be sure to see more need, more job applicants, lower wages for average workers. Dark days ahead for sure unless min wage is raised, taxes on wealthy, too.

  • jim davis

    Min wage remark exposed him as a true conservative compassionate.
    Between 1950 and 2000 Ur rates go down and GDP growth goes up 14 out of 17 times.
    The last one was to small to make any difference so both indicators went the “right” conservative way.
    Look at historical line charts mark at the date of the increase and see for your self.

  • jim davis

    If you look at performance charts you will see lower unemployment and greater GDP growth rates the vast majority of times after implementation.

  • jim davis

    I wonder how difficult it would be for an unknown person who has enough good data from official government sources to debate Mr. Brooks.
    The facts and statistics are on my side!


    If there is no value at the bottom, raising the bottom only raises the no value point. Raising the no value point to some new higher level just fuels the fires of inflation. The Idea is to make the bottom worth more by lowering the top. As an example, a mountain is only as tall as the base supporting it. This can be demonstrated in a childs sand box or on any beach. How high can you pile the sand, only so high as the base will support. You can add water to the sand and build the mountain of sand higher with the wet sand, but as the sand dries out it begins to widen the base until there is an equilibrium which is just a matter of physics. The physics of economy is the same. Wealth is the same thing. It cannot be created or destroyed it can only be altered to another state. The wealth of this place we call Earth is finite and limited. It is neither created nor can it be destroyed. it exists in two forms the haves and the have nots. That is the reason the pyrimid is on the dollar, indicating the haves and the have nots. Currently that mountain is built wih watered sand and is higher than it is able to support.

  • Anonymous

    That’s what bothers me most. The GOP are nothing more than catchphrases, rhetoric, hyperbole and fear, while facts are discarded and avoided.

  • Anonymous

    He did seem genuinely perturbed when repeatedly trying to get a straight answer about why corporate welfare is promoted but people welfare is scorned upon. Bill did keep his cool, but good thing it was only a short interview and not one of his hour long shows, since it may have turned into a verbal slugfest…

  • colkilgore

    How wrong you are…I’ve been living this economic boycott for 10 years. Working on my own terms and playing golf most of the time. I have a job I just don’t have a boss. I live for myself and not for what I own. Try it please you’ll discover true freedom.

  • Anonymous

    A point-of-view can be deemed an ‘opinion’ yet Brooks is offering far more than that. He is arguing we should accept his world view ‘opinion’ as fact and yet there is not a shred of historical evidence to support his position and a plethora of data that indicates it’s flat out wrong. e.g. Trickle-down economics, austerity measures, regulation is bad, Govt. is bad, raising min. wage will destroy the economy and on and on.

    This becomes a philosophical, almost theocratic desire, to guide the economics of the country; I’d prefer the country was run based upon data and not nonsensical belief systems. My position has nothing to do with demagoguery and, ironically, Brooks position appeals to people who embrace the fear, prejudice, and ignorance that fuels our new ‘conservative’ right.

  • Anonymous

    Your interpretation of ‘supply n demand’ in the context of jobs and wages is incomplete. While supply of jobs was roughly static CEO ‘wages’ ballooned and this was also true during ’employment’ down turns. And, it is naive, at best, to think that “today’s Government” is the problem. It’s certainly completely broken but one might ask what/who/it broke Government….the answer is corporate influence, the powered elite, and those who inject money via lobbying efforts. Governments not the problem, rather it is our allowances provided the market place under this nonsensical belief in ‘free markets trumping all’ that has degraded our society and fueled inequality. It’s a nice meme to exclaim “all govt. is the problem” and nothing more.

  • Anonymous

    One can value you without finding your POV containing any merit barring opinion and belief.

    That said, when you desire to inflict your POV upon others, say for example, regarding “free markets’ that becomes another story altogether because you’re attempting to impose a belief system upon people that is simply not supported by evidence nor history….hence a system of belief.

  • Cathryn

    Term limits is a good start — but, you’re right, the moral revolution might have to wait for the bloody revolution to be over — and, the bloody revolution is fueled by those who can’t even IMAGINE anything other than the use of force to accomplish these goals.

  • jim davis

    You are right Eric, but that has not been the case for me.

    I have been called far worse names than the one mentioned.

    When that happens one can keep his polite mouth shut or use sarcasm to make a point.

    When the name calling starts I see it as a game.becomes a game.

    I let the other side make the rules and if they are nice I’m nice.

    Having said that I must admit that I have become so used to replies, like the above, I violate the assume rule.

    You mentioned my article was very informative.

    Yours was very informative too.
    Thanks, Jim

  • Anonymous

    I was disappointed with Bill for not challenging the assertion that jobs are lost when the minimum wage is raised. There is much evidence to the contrary. This assertion, constantly trotted out by conservatives, is based on the idea that employees add no value, they’re only on the payroll because the employer has X dollars to spend on labor and if labor costs more, they’ll cut back on the labor force. The reality is that employers don’t hire people out of charity. They hire them because they need their work, and if a company is successful, the employees should share in the benefits.

  • Bonnie Primm

    Dear Bill, how do you DO it! Compassionate Conservative is an oxymoron if you will. I have never seen an interview where the dialogue was completely talked over by what I can only believe is an arrogant and robotic implant by the celestial heavens to make sure you receive your wings toot sweet. My reactions as a viewer were so bombastic my cat practically flew from the room. At least I had some passion attached to my feelings.

  • JonThomas

    Thank you for your reply.

    Yes, imagination is often limited, and when urgency and desperation are perceived, imagination becomes a second thought to action.

    Not to jump ahead too much, but it can be tough for people to imagine acting morally when they perceive themselves in competition with those who have no such inclination. Instead they mistakenly feel they must keep their options open. It’s difficult to let go…

    People without ethics or moral guide posts do have more choices. However, morality has it’s own tangible, and intangible rewards… many of which are not understood, or reaped until much later. It’s like passing over into another realm. And trying to explain comes across like describing how the color blue feels against one’s skin.

    Mostly I was commenting based upon this particular guest’s call for a so-called ‘moral revolution.’

    I personally love the idea, but Mr. Brooks weaves a tale of a smaller government to be replaced with the promise of business to act ‘more’ moral.

    Yeah right!

    I really am all for a ‘moral revolution.’ But what does that have to do with any kind of policy or political platform?

    Does a moral revolution begin with blackmail?…

    “If you promise to get government off our backs, we’ll promise to never do wrong again…”

    What the…??!!

    I have always tried to be an ethical person, but I really did not subscribe to a universal view of morality until I was about 30 (almost 20 years ago.)

    I didn’t need laws or government policy to learn and practice moral behavior. There is no law against acting morally. In fact, morality includes obeying the law. If a law does intrude on otherwise moral behavior, then, if a person desires, there are moral ways to affect those laws.

    As I said, and I think you and I agree, a moral ‘revolution’ would be fine. But, morality even precludes ‘revolution’. Morality favors evolution!

    Morality is a result of maturation. Maturation is the evolution of an individual or a society (hopefully both.)

    And.. evolution requires no politician holding it over the head of the very institution whose specific role is to provide security from immoral actions and actors.

    Cathryn, I could be wrong, but I think you and I agree on the desire to live in a world surrounded by people doing their moral best, and my tone was not meant against you…. I just don’t stomach disingenuous ideologues taking advantage of naivete to work against the interests of relative innocents. This man Brooks is the political equivalent of a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

    I believe that you and I both know that the ‘moral’ thing to do would be to:

    Ensure, that from what we pay them in exchange for their time, energies, diligence, and honesty, anyone working for us would be able to feed, cloth, and house themselves. They rely on us, we rely on them… a symbiotic relationship. Raising wages does NOT need a law to enforce. It is a moral action.

    Mr. Brooks spoke directly against that action with long-proven falsehoods and obfuscations. Morality? Hah!

    I’m not entirely sure about term limits… I have considered it, but I have come to no conclusion. I’ll leave that one to you to make the case. :-)

    Again, thank you.

  • jim davis

    An infamous letter contains the following.

    “A bold plan for big business to take over key elements of society in a manor the public wouldn’t notice”

    “Constant monitoring of TV, newsprint, textbook and a purge of left wing elements”

    The man who sent that letter to the Chamber of Commerce was sworn in as a US Supreme court justice 5 months later. Justice Lois J. Powell.

    Web search Powell Memo.

  • shannonkringen

    i do believe our current system needs to change to benefit the low income. share the wealth. how can this be done? i would say raise wages for low income, DECREASE wages for those who make tons of money AND increase taxes for corporations.

  • judy blair

    My Congressman, a Republican thanks to gerrymandering, feeds me these same talking points whenever I ask him to support anything that might help the working poor. That Arthur Brooks spouts them with more passion and zeal doesn’t make them true. His contempt for people who remain in box-store retail or fast food rather than using such jobs as a stepping stone to work that pays a living wage suggests that he was off reading Adam Smith when outsourcing, and the economic crisis eliminated many middle-class jobs and people who used to make a living wage were forced to take this work because it was all that was available. His contempt for the able-bodied unemployed is obvious–I guess he doesn’t know any college graduates who are living in their parents’ basement or crashing with friends because despite higher education, they can’t find a job. He certainly doesn’t know anyone who has been incarcerated who can’t even get a minimum-wage job and if he or she can find work at all, it’s under the table for less than minimum wage, If he actually knew any poor people, he would know that they don’t enjoy the everyday struggle to keep a roof over their head and food in their and their family’s stomach and would prefer work that paid better.
    Bill, I am always glad that you interview with calm reason because I think you reach some people who are put off by anger and passion by asking the right questions simply and reasonably. But talking to Arthur Brooks was like talking to a wall, so it must have been frustrating. For people like Brooks, their economic model is their religion and reality doesn’t apply.

  • jim davis

    A letter delivered to the Chamber Of Commerce on Aug 22,1971 contained these two sentences:
    1. “A bold plan for big business to take over key elements of society in a manor the public wouldn’t notice”
    2. “Constant monitoring of television, newsprint, textbook content and a purge of left wing elements”

    On Jan 17,1972 its author Louis J. Powell Jr. was sworn in as a US Supreme Court Justice,

  • ZenderTranscender

    Not sure what I expressed that makes you respond the way you have, but, LOL, sweetcheeks, why don’t you explain? Yes, most people do want jobs that are satisfying and pay well, so why would anyone think that someone working at most jobs at WalMart would have these kinds of aspirations you describe? The majority of those jobs are for people who lack education, training or experience.

  • ZenderTranscender

    By the way, I can’t respond “in place” to your comment about my being a shrill because it appears it was deleted. But I am assuming you’re down to name-calling because you don’t have the capacity to respond in any other way. If you think I am that, I guess it’s because I have a different perspective than you on issues and don’t respect party-line memes – conservative or liberal. People are an embodiment of their life experiences. Mine include family business ownership as well as executive management with corporations that require my understanding business. That includes where the money comes from and where it goes.

  • ZenderTranscender

    Then I have more respect for your response. Not everyone can have those experiences, and I am thankful I have. They provide a unique perspective about money – where it comes from and where it goes.

    I have never been to Texas – just the Dallas airport – but Arizona is amazing. I spent time there in the 90s and was there on vacation a couple of years ago. Maybe I missed the destroyed economy due to those nasty Republicans. I thought Clinton pulled the economy out of the hole in the 90s with the technology boom he and Gore created. Ah, didn’t last though, did it?

  • BKM

    There is only one way to ensure just income distribution: Legislate a percentage of revenues that must be paid to employees. It cannot be based on net income, or even gross income for that matter, because of the games that could be played. This will require a lot of analysis to make sure it is fair, but tax policies and entitlement programs are certainly not working acceptably.

  • Invasive Evasion

    The goal of the corporate faction of the republican party is to increase the percentage of the nation’s wealth which a tiny minority of aristocrats controls. If you honestly state this goal, you obviously alienate the majority of voters. In order to sell an argument which is not in the best interest of the overwhelming majority of people, you must disguise it inside factual lies and logically invalid arguments. Right wing economic arguments already do this. The problem is that many of the republican arguments are so blatantly false and so obviously motivated by contempt for the poor, that they have lost their effectiveness. Too many people have realized that these arguments are false.

    Arthur Brooks also realizes this, and is attempting to upgrade the old tools of deception and manipulation in the political toolbox. He is not arguing for different policies, but for a different presentation of the same policies. Instead of openly hating poor people, it’s better to pretend to feel compassion for them. Instead of openly fighting obvious moral economic positions, embrace these positions and then recycle the same old shameful sociopathic arguments inside this fuzzy new wrapper. Brooks is a professional propagandist who is attempting to get the republican establishment to be slightly more subtle and sophisticated in how they deceive the public and manipulate people into harming their own interests. In his own words, “Republicans could come screaming out of the gate going forward, and say we’re the ones who will fight for the poor.” He wants republicans to SAY this, while simultaneously fighting to do the exact opposite. (That Newsweek calls disingenuous political propaganda “soaring moral prose” shows how incompetent and useless corporate media is in serving the public interest.)

    Regarding Brooks’ response to specific questions asked by Bill Moyers, he used a combination of bald faced lies, straw man arguments, red herrings, and non sequiturs to defend the standard right wing trickle down policies and wealth concentrating agenda.

    Among the lies he either implied or directly stated are:

    A minimum wage hurts workers. (Being able to pay rent and buy food is the opposite of harmful.)
    A minimum wage would decrease jobs. (Jobs are demand driven. When people get the rewards of their own labor, they can buy from each other and stimulate more jobs.)
    Corporate subsidies are necessary in order to allow corporations to afford employing people. (Elimination of subsidies could be offset by distributing more of the profits earned by workers back to workers rather than executives and shareholders.)
    A minimum wage applies to teenaged children. (Many, if not most, minimum wage workers are adults.)
    We don’t have a low wage problem. (At the very least, the purpose of work is to allow the survival of the worker. If work does not allow a person to survive, then it fails to serve its function and that is a problem.)
    Only a free enterprise system can help the poor. (A free enterprise system rewards people based on authority rather than contribution, and deprives people of the benefits of their own labor. Free enterprise created this problem.)
    Wealth concentration is not a problem for wages, or a problem at all. (The national pie is finite. If a tiny minority takes most of it, then everyone else is left with crumbs.)
    The failure of the government to provide infrastructure is because it is too big. (Republicans refuse to spend any money on infrastructure.)
    Regulations are bad. (Regulations protect people from the harm caused by sociopaths.)
    Workers are not educated enough for the modern economy. (Walmart is the modern economy. An advanced degree is not helpful when stocking shelves is the only job available. The large segment of the population which isn’t able to get higher degrees should also have a decent quality of life.)

  • Tony D.

    I expected facts and information from Arthur Brooks to support his thesis. Instead we got talking points and generalities. What a bunch of nonsense from him. Again, he starts with the right wing trope that the job creators need less regulation in order to create more jobs. He claims that minimum wage jobs should not be considered dead end jobs because he started in a job like that and he became successful. Another fantasy that the American dream can become a reality for everyone. People work in minimum wage jobs because the economy is still struggling and there are no better paying jobs available for them. Raising the minimum wage would lift hundreds of thousands above the poverty level. Yet Brooks is adamant that this is not a sound policy. Instead Brooks rattles off the same old tired talking points that raising the minimum wage would throw people out of work and make them homeless. When asked why shouldn’t Walmart raise what they pay workers, Brooks misdirects by talking about the philanthropy of the family and then about how the family built a successful business and we shouldn’t be jealous of that. He never does provide a satisfactory explanation of why taxpayers should be subsidizing the big corporations that pay workers so little. Finally, Brooks makes the claim that not all politicians are beholden to big donors (corporate or otherwise) and lobbyists. I laughed out loud at this absurdity. He showed that he is not a credible person nor is he facing the realities of life for the 99% in our great country.
    Is Brooks part of the conservatives like Paul Ryan who believe that people are poor because they make bad choices?

  • Steve Hula

    Excellent show! Great to see just how the other side looks at the cause of economic decline and how to solve the issues. Really an eye opener! Makes one realize that many, on the other side, want to solve these issues also, just not in a way that makes sense to me. Please have more conservative guests from the far side, so we can learn how they think and how to evaluate why they feel the way they do about the issues.

  • Anonymous

    ..and I’ll believe it when I see it. They’ll talk the talk until 2016, voters will get pulled in, then pow!#%!&*(

  • Gas Head

    From his lofty perch near the top of the financial pyramid, Mr. Brooks bases his opposition to a higher minimum wage almost entirely on employers’ (Walmart, e.g.) costs of paying it. You let him ignore the aspect of what added earnings will do for millions of people. Which is better: (1) A thousand shoppers at your store, each with a thousand dollars in their pocket, or (2) one shopper with a million dollars? How many books will Mr. Brooks sell given each scenario?

  • Bruce Dickson

    So the Waltons’ philanthropy should be seen as an offset to their company’s salary policies, huh? Well, then, it merits closer inspection, doesn’t it? Let’s see where that gets us, shall we?

    “The central finding of this report (i.e., ‘Making Change at Walmart’) is simple: Our analysis of 23 years’ worth of the Walton Family Foundation’s tax returns shows that Rob, Jim, Alice and Christy Walton—the second generation Walmart heirs—have contributed almost none of their personal fortune to the foundation which bears their family name.”

    (And from Forbes online) “One of the Foundation’s major recipients has been Alice Walton’s stunning Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, funded to the tune of $1.2 billion.”

    (More from Forbes) “The combined lifetime contributions of the second generation Walmart heirs and their family holding company to the Walton Family Foundation come to $58.49 million, or:

    ■■ About .04% of the Waltons’ networth of $139.9 billion;

    ■■ About .34% of the estimated $17.1 Billion in Walmart dividends that Rob, Jim, Alice and Christy received during the years we analyzed;

    ■■ Less than one week’s worth of the Walmart dividends the Waltons will receive this year;

    ■■ Less than the estimated value of Rob Walton’s collection of vintage sports cars”

    With apologies to George Takei, “Oh, my!”


    I see all this seemingly opposition to Mr. Moyers guest Authur C. Brooks,but I have one question to ask of everyone that has entered a comment. How many of you have shopped at “Walmart” in the past 10 years. If you can say you have not shopped at Walmart in the past 10 years then you qualify to post a message in good conscience but if you have shopped at “Walmart” you have no business entering a comment. please feel free to rebut my opinion. I invite your comments.

  • Cam Payne

    Brooks confidently oils his way around the standard conservative talking points but is summarily unpersuasive. By his reasoning, the best we could do for minimum wage workers is pay them less.

  • Jim Bullard

    The money generated by the activity of a corporation is the result of the efforts of all its employees and each employee has a legitimate claim to a fair portion of that the gross income of the company. The problem is one of power. Those who have the power to decide what constitutes a fair portion resides in the people at the top and their tendency is reward themselves handsomely at the expense of those below them because they attribute the company’s success to their leadership. At the same time they tend to denigrate the contribution of the employees, especially those at the bottom of the organizational chart.

    Aside from government stepping in and requiring employers to pay a fair wage the only alternative is for the employees to offset the employer’s power via a union which I suspect Mr. Brooks, like most conservatives, is opposed to.

    His argument that employers would lay off masses of workers in response to a raise in the minimum wage is fallacious. In states and localities where the minimum wage is raised there have been no large increases in unemployment and the opposite has often happened. Why? Because they need to workers to run the business and workers who are paid more spend more which raises economic activity benefiting all the businesses.

    The current situation of a labor surplus which holds down wages was engineered by corporate lobbyists and their lackies in congress have no incentive to change public policy. Unless and until the majority of corporations ‘get religion’ (don’t hold your breath) or the government somehow steps in due to public outrage, there will be no change in policy to benefit the poor.

  • Dave

    So Arthur C. Brooks wrote ten books on how Capitalism is really good for us but somehow we’re not doing it right. What a colossal waste of paper. So, how much money should billionaires be allowed to pass onto their children? Answer – zero, zilch and not a brass farthing. These kids that have the best education that money can buy, that will be the best connected people on earth and that will already have fat bank accounts. If these kids with gigantic spoons in their mouths cannot make it when they are shoved down the garbage chute of life – well tough! Maybe they might actually have to work for a living. Arthur Brooks tells you that he cares more about people having jobs than earning an above poverty wage. No point in going on here, you will never appeal to his morality. The moral compass of a compassionate conservative is like the compass of the Pequod after a storm, it is pointed in the wrong direction and not a thousand Ahabs could set it straight. The wealthy have been waging a class war for years now. Well, in the words of Rambo, it might be time for the common man to wage a war they won’t believe. Anyway, you are a good man Charlie Brown, keep up the good work…

  • Anonymous

    …back to the 50% of GDP which served us in good stead from 1945 to 1972.

  • Anonymous

    Your comment assumes that the economic well being of individuals is a zero-sum game. If so, then how did the wealthy as well as workers experience unprecedented income growth during 1945-1972 when payrolls were 50% of GDP.

    Of course the super-rich should pay taxes at effective rates higher than the middle class. But taking it all away reeks of class warfare.

  • Anonymous

    The financial behemoths that feed on the assets and future income (i.e. credit) of workers were created to keep our economy afloat despite sagging wages. It was lax government regulation, especially the drastic lowering of capital requirements, that put our entire economic system at risk in 2007.

    If we had implemented a scheme to stop the bleeding off of wages, we never would have needed to create the cheap money and leverage to fill the growing wage gap.

  • Anonymous

    The Dali lama has been used as a human shield by Mr. Brooks to give credence to his inhuman remarks. He more than met his match in Mr. Moyers’s fiery defense of the poor and working classes. Thanks, Mr. Moyers.

  • Carla Stixs

    Excellent point.

  • Carla Stixs

    Walmart is the biggest welfare queen in the United States. Because of the everyday low wages that the retail giant pays its employers, our government has to step in and provide public assistance to Walmart employees just so they can survive, which is why the Walmart workforce represents the largest recipient of federal aid in the nation. Insane!

  • HnLA

    Brooks is the lipstick on the pig of AEI, as a seemingly ethical and thoughtful person, who is able to spout the tired polemics of unregulated capitalism in modern, Dali Lama-friendly language.
    I would like to ask him his thoughts on the change from 55% to 45% for the estate tax and how that fits into his world view of compassion. I would like to ask him, why if the minimum wage was been falling for decades in real terms are we faced with the employment crises he admits to-according to his logic we should be having full employment. I would like to ask him if he thinks his donors (political contributions) have had anything to do with the crony capitalism and corporate welfare state he disparages. I would like to ask him if he really thinks that the only reason employers trim payroll is that wages are higher, and whether he things employers move to low cost locations mostly to pad the bottom line and perform for investors.
    I am sure he would not answer the questions, as he did on the show. This was painful to watch.

  • JCoenen

    Wasn’t going to comment but can’t resist!

    I actually laughed out loud at Mr. Brook’s plea for a collective examination of conscience:

    “then we have on the conservative side, an examination of conscience, where every night before we go to sleep we say, ‘did all of my work go to the benefit of people with less power than me?’.”


    This is indeed a truly radical demand, but one so far removed from reality as to make Mr. Brooks seem positively naive, much less a scholar of macroeconomics!

    The same can be said for his oversimplification of getting to equality of opportunity – i.e., that: a) we simply have to demand this; and b) if we practice “true” capitalism, this equal opportunity would be the inevitable result.

    As if millions of non-white, female, poor, ex-incarcerated, Native American, non-native English speaking, aged, LBGT etc etc people have not been demanding equal access to opportunity since day one.

    It’s a little hard to stomach hearing from (yet another) white, male, highly educated, healthy, wealthy individual how at least the left/right; poor/rich can agree on being outraged that the system is rigged.

    Feel free to be outraged, Mr. Brooks, but I’m afraid talk is cheap from one whose hands are on those same levers of power that
    are doing the rigging.

    I wish Mr. Brook’s version of reality were true – it’s not, and to pretend otherwise is again, naïve at best, and manipulative at worst.

  • Craig

    Between 1945-1972 what was the top marginal tax rate? Over the last 30+ years (after those bad old Carter years) we’ve engorged the rich with huge tax breaks and deregulation while saddling ourselves with a mountain of debt. Globalization has allowed capital & production to move freely around the world but without proper safeguards. So now we have new forms of slavery producing for us and an environment that’s rapidly changing and not for the better.

  • Craig

    There is nothing compassionate about his philosophy. It truly is lipstick on a pig. I thought Brooks was going to cry when he waxed about the philanthropy of the Walton family but the reality is those heirs to the fortune give almost none of their income to the foundation.
    His assertion that raising the minimum wage would increase unemployment is not backed up by the data. Since the minimum wage has been flat for so long and not kept up with inflation we should be at full employment by now, no?
    His only solution was the earned income tax credit and some sort of cosmic shift to the moral compass of corporations and the wealthy.
    I did a spit take when he said “the bad old Carter years”. He’s just another shill for the conservatives who completely lack compassion.
    The whole Dali Lama link was nauseating as well.

  • Craig

    I totally agree with you but the Walton plutocrats are making billions not just millions.

  • jetgirl212

    You’re right of course, but I was referring to all large corporations that pay poverty wages (not just Walmart).

    I just don’t get the mind-set — how these people justify their actions to themselves or to whatever entity they pray to. The only explanation I can figure is that they are completely lacking a conscience. There are dollar signs taking up the space where their souls used to be.

  • Melwoolf

    No one, believe me, will take it all away. The wealthy have it all their way and, depressingly, will continue to do so – until the masses get really very angry and do something.Unfortunately, the Religious Right, Tea Party etc plus no real progressive Democrats in power will dominate and the rest will simply never get a look in. Yes, class warfare it may be but since the upper classes have had it their way for so long – it’s time for some bitterness. Never thought I would see my country so lacking in decency and compassion, not to mention fairness. There is NO equality of opportunity anymore and the way higher education is going it will rarely help the majority. Obviously if you are descended from wealth – no problem!

  • Anonymous

    Love the sarcasm.

  • Anonymous

    I have not – nor will I shop at Walmart.

  • Anonymous

    I agree – and their “low everyday prices” aren’t that low – except for the loss-leaders. I shop at WINCO and when I hear about the “low” prices at Walmart and compare equal products…I find I get the best prices almost everytime.

  • Anonymous

    First of all, I am glad you had him on the show even though I disagreed with 90% of what he had to say. We need to hear diverse opinions. I think he

    Also, I think you did a pretty good job challenging him.

    But there were two things he kept coming back to that should ahve been challenged further. First, he repeatedly said things like increasing the minimum wage would “of course throw people out of work”. In a simplistic economic theory this would be true but in practice it has been found not to true. Most economists either reject what he asserts is “of course” true or think that, despite that, it is still a good idea. Even the IGM survey by the U of Chicago shows that.

    Second, he pushed the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) on the grounds that a minimum wage helps the wrong people (such as Brooks’ children). Bill even endorsed the EITC. But, the EITC goes even more to the wrong people. It makes it easier for McDonalds to pay low wages. So, it works as a subsidy to McD and Walmart.

    The minimum wage isn’t perfect. But nothing is. it is a good idea that is long past due..

  • Chris H.

    You gotta use the sarcasm tags. [sarcasm]YOUR SARCASM HERE[/sarcasm]. LOL

  • Anonymous

    We must fight against creeps like Brooks, they are toxic. You give no quarter to the enemy. Period.

  • jim davis

    You and I ask the same questions and get no answers.
    I would love a chance to debate Anthony because I would bring efidence with me to show that he is wrong about his ideas.
    The historical facts are overwhealmingly on my side.
    1. 1945 to 1981
    4.79% avg unemployment rate.
    3.79 GDP growtg rate
    2. 1982 to 2014
    6.06 avg unemployment rate
    2.75 GDP growth rate

    Time to go back to what works for the good of all rich and poor alike

  • Cheryl W.

    Every time he said that corporations would have to let go people if their employees were paid a living wage, I wanted to say, listen. If a corporation pays their employees a living wage and the corporation goes bankrupt, you have an argument. But if he means that the corporation will make 199 billion rather than 200 billion (eg), then all he’s defending is greed, and his argument is double-talk.

  • JonThomas

    Yes, I must admit that it’s nice that there is someone mouthing the words of a stepped-up moral atmosphere, many of us have literally been preaching it for a very long time.

    But until people like Mr. Brooks understands that removing the laws against murder will not decrease the incidence of murder, then he will not understand that removing the statutes and regulations overseeing the too little morality we now demand from business practices will not make for a more moral business community.

    Like I said, there are no laws against acting morally. There is no political platform necessary. I cannot recall any politician advocating for immorality. They all call for morality, even when they are not practicing what they preach.

    Mr. Brooks is now ‘on board’ for a moral paradigm shift? Ok, then let’s see him prove it… let’s see him demand that every donor to his ‘think tank’ practice moral behavior as a requisite for his association.

    For example… Out of compassion, and economic self-interest, plenty of businesses have already began raising wages on their own, without the need for a legislative hike in the Federal Minimum Wage.

    Let’s see the AEI start to demand this and other changes for the businesses with which they consult.

    If he is earnest, and this is not just another smooth-talking political sales tactic, then let his actions speak louder than words and let him demand that those business start setting hat they see as what constitutes morality before the public is asked to trust them.

    Consider it a test drive under the auspices of a ‘lemon law’… because after they steal everything we have left, there will be no getting our money back.

    Read his lips, he is not a crook, it will all trickle down. He did not have sex, and was not in bed with those businesses, when you spend your rebate check, don’t use this tax rebate check to pay down debt – use it to stimulate the economy by putting profits in my business friends’ pockets. And later we’ll have a nice moral war to sell you.

    Thank you for the continued conversation Cathryn, let us both hope that everyone who talks morality is earnest.

    I really hope that my distrust for Mr. Brooks’ assertions are proved wrong. :-)

  • Cathryn

    Yes, thanks Jon, have enjoyed the exchange as well. I wish Mr. Brooks would take up your challenge to have only the proven moral businesses contribute to his think tank as clients — we might get a wholly different clientele contributing, smaller, less-tainted amounts and more representative ….wait a minute, isn’t that what our electorate is supposed to do? Have fun, be well, and thanks again.

  • Anonymous

    Brooks pulled a bait-and-switch by asserting that “government revenues are at their highest ever, in inflation-adjusted terms.” The implied suggestion is that the Federal government has plenty of money for infrastructure investment, etc. The reality is that viewing tax revenues, without having the yardstick of the nation’s GDP, is meaningless. In those terms, tax revenue as a fraction of GDP has recently been as low as when Eisenhower was president, which was a low point for the post WWII era. He gets to suggest there’s no need to raise taxes, when in fact there is EVERY NEED to raise taxes, and not just on the 1%.

  • Jack Jones

    Seriously?? You surely don’t believe anyone would ever agree with your moronic criteria that shopping ~ or not ~ at Walmart is an intelligent qualifier as whether someone has any “business” commenting on Mr. Brooks total failure to make a rational, real world analysis of today’s economic disaster. He, and apparently you would love to live in the “good old days” of our Founders, who by the way, were “good” only for the wealthy/powerful few ~ sort of reminds one of our current, egregious situation.
    (By the way, The “Good Old Founders” just happened to be slave owners.), and had no commonality with anyone other than themselves. No, his is a pretend world view filled with fantastical imaginary facts with absolutely zero relevance to anything that actually exists today. Bill’s frustration was evident as he tried to bring the “conversation” back to reality.

  • Anonymous

    I understand that those qualifying for the earned income tax credit would no longer qualify for need food stamps. However they are still being subsidized with public funds through the income tax credit.

  • Drew Fister

    I have not set foot in a Walmart for more than 10 years – on purpose. And I don’t buy anything Arthur Brooks has said in this interview. I am a small business owner and I pay all my employees double the federal minimum wage.

  • Anonymous

    Have not, will not shop Walmart. EVER.

  • Angharad Llewellyn

    Mr. Brooks kept insisting that raising the minimum wage would discourage employers from hiring thus contributing to higher unemployment.

    This seems to me to be rubbish. When I lost my low-paying job of 7 years, I had been working 60+ hours a week and my salary was only $1,800/month (take home was approximately 1,200/month after taxes Medicare and Social Security)

    I attempted to find other work in my field (adult foster care for people with mental illness) There was very little out there except part-time work for senior care at $9.50/hour part time, on call, and I would have to pay for transportation to work sites. That was in the fall of 2012.

    I’m currently 72, and am back in school learning how to run my own business. I love school, but Financial Aid is a struggle.

    I feel that many people like me, choose to avoid even looking for work when the wages are so low that is impossible

  • Big Mark

    Bill, we are about the same age, and I suspect that too much
    of Arthur Brooks is not good for our health.
    I saw your red face. Brooks,
    Paul Ryan, and some other mainstream Republicans realize that their party has
    serious problems with the vast majority of Americans below the 1%. They are right and I’m surprised they have so
    little to offer. Economic growth cannot
    solve the problem of poverty or unemployment because for the last couple of
    decades the great majority of economic growth has gone to the wealthiest
    Americans. Trickle down hasn’t worked to
    date, but Brooks thinks it might if we teach good morals to the haves. The core problem is that the American brand
    of capitalism starts with the notion that jobs can and should be created only by
    the wealthy. We need to turn this upside
    down and build an economy whose main mission is to create stable jobs which pay
    living wages. Contrary to Mr. Brooks,
    government can do this and see that it is done, but it won’t as long as money
    controls the political process. This is
    not about morality. It’s about
    power. The 99% don’t have living wages
    and stable jobs because they don’t have the power to demand them. They
    will not have that power until they again empower themselves through labor
    unions and other collective organizations.
    It is no coincidence that the shrinkage of the labor movement tracks the concentration of wealth at the top

  • Jay

    That’s not true at all, you have to have paid in something like $4,000 to be eligible.

  • Jay

    What utter BS…just wow..

  • Jed Grover

    I witness compassionate conservatism on a daily basis. I witness neighbors struggle daily to get from day to day. Many have lost jobs and lost homes. I watched this interview and cringed and reviewed much of the interesting, thought-provoking feedback. My instinct was screaming that Mr. Brooks had no clue … another ploy. COMPASSIONATE CAPITALISM” would be a notable goal to strive for and then I think of John Lennon’s song “Imagine”. K Street needs
    a major SPANKING!

  • Anonymous

    After the Bush debacle with Iraq and his 8 year tenure of taking the country into a downward spiral I would think the conservatives would distance themselves as far as possible from the term “compassionate conservative” which is not only an oxymoran but is an embarrassing display of just how underhanded, inept and out of touch the Republican party is. But there is a sucker born everyday as the saying goes….

  • Ima Peasmaeker

    thanks for doing the homework!

  • jim davis

    They have no way to make their case if they tell the truth.
    “Shame of Life” is the song that fits the best. It’s harsh, powerful, evil and wicked.
    u-tube it pick the lyricks version

  • jim davis

    I wish I could upload unemployment and GDP growth rate charts that have the dates of wage increases marked. The vast majority of times each one improves after a raise.

  • jim davis

    Bottom line, it’s all about taxes!

  • jim davis

    It’s all about low taxes for the rich

  • jim davis

    Seems like you know what is was like in the early 20th. century!

  • jim davis

    While your at u-tube play a song called The Shame Of Life. Click on the lyricks version. It’s an awsome evil wicked song.

  • jim davis

    I recommend going to u-tube and play the lyricks version of “Shame of Life”

  • G. Man

    At the end of this show you asked us to tell you what we think. Since you asked, I think you got steamrollered. There is not enough space to list all the ways in which you allowed unsubstantiated opinions to pass as facts. Here are a few.
    1. There is no observational evidence that increases in the minimum wage reduce employment. Furthermore, it makes no sense unless the increase in wage puts an employer at a competitive disadvantage, but if one’s competitors face the same increase there is no such disadvantage. One would need to assume that employers keep excess staff about simply because they pay them so little, but employers who pay little are attempting to maximimize profits and they make a profit on every employee or they wouldn’t keep them on. Making a smaller profit for each employee and then reducing staff would doubly lower profits. It won’t happen.
    2. The Earned Income Tax Credit is every bit as much a subsidy as are food stamps. In both cases, tax payers increase employers’ profits by subsidizing their payrolls. The notion that expanding this credit will decrease unemployment requires us to see unwillingness to take jobs as a major cause of unemployment. This is nonsense except in times of high employment.
    3. Tax revenues may be at their highest levels in some absolute unadjusted dollar sense, but as a fraction of the total economy they are not anywhere close to the highest.
    And on and on.

  • jim davis

    Right on plus give unions enough power and they will again br able to lobby effectiely and get NSAFTA and the WTO trade agreement changed so we won’t keep losiong 1.1 million dollars each minute.

  • jim davis

    Free enterprise is a flawed system without safeguards in place. With no safeguards, one person ends up with everything. Without enough about 20,000 end up with just about everything.

  • Jed Grover

    The comment “Brooks argues the market doesn’t support higher wages and agrees that the country needs public policies that make work profitable for workers.” Please explain how the market supports the enormous executive salaries? Only through the collusive efforts of the Board of Directors is how they were manipulated and elevated. These corporate tyrants will not change voluntarily! Exploitation and profits is their focus with no regard to human integrity. Read the article about the “Grieving parents hit with $200,000 bill for
    27-year-old daughter’s student loans after she died suddenly”, that will make your day. Tuition is so out of control and once again changed the laws in their favor and they are exploiting. It’s a pork fest at the trough.

  • Dan Baright

    It seems to me a huge factor might also be if we could find means of forcing corporations to be accountable for all environmental and resource externalities. How does it make any sense that we in southern Missouri can purchase greenhouse tomatoes from Canada cheaper than we can purchase from a local farmers’ market?

  • jim davis

    When unions were powerful they contributed 50% of all pac money. They effectively lobbyed against so called free trade agreements from the end of WW II to 1973. That’s when foreign steel and Japinese cars began taking big shares out of the market and the race to the bottom for the US economy began.
    That was after the first business round table meeting that was held to set priorities.

    The WTO trade agreement has a provision against using environmental provisions* as disguised protectionism. Similar language for labor rights, etc*. It’s a huge unfair advantage that hinders low wage nations and they objected.
    *Source is the WTO web site

  • jim davis

    If the exploters went into a pig pen the pigs would leave

  • jim davis

    If people get laid off it takes money out of the economy and the result is excess productive capacity.
    If wages don’t keep up with gains in productivity the result is excess productive capacity.
    It takes demand for a strong economy that works for the good of all including Mr. Brooks who believes supply and the willingness to produce goods and services is the key to prosperity!

  • kamau mweru

    Close but no cigar.
    Arthur Brooks may appear to have a heart but he completely misses the point as to the root problem we are facing in America. Further he does not provide where he gets his information on economic indicators. Plus, being president of an institution that applauds money in politics and this country being hijacked by the super rich does not help his case at all.

  • SPGriverrat

    Have you read Piketty’s Capital?

  • k l m

    So did Brooks arrive at the interview astride a pretty silver Unicorn?

  • John Johnson

    “Republicans can come screaming out of the gate going forward and say we’re the ones who will fight workers…we’re the ones who will fight for the poor…you may not agree with how we’re going to do it, but you will not doubt our hearts” What a load of complete and utter non sense. As for his critique of the last few years he has his compassionate conservative congress to thank for sitting idle only rousing to thwart and obstruct Obama while the country lists from side to.

  • Dean Wood

    Great point, Janet! I’d add, what is the difference between the EITC and the myriad tax incentives which Corporations like WalMart enjoy as well? Would Mr. Brooks concur? Is he able to say, “yes, our Corporations rely upon subsidies & tax loopholes to drive profits down to zero?

    Why would he embrace policies that benefit Millionaire & Billionaire “welfare recipients”, but not the 40 Million PEOPLE who are living below the poverty line?

  • Dean Wood

    If you consider that the minimum wage has barely budged in twenty years, I’d say that’s precisely what they already do. In 1980’s dollars, today’s $7.25/hr is equivalent to $5/hr.

  • Dean Wood

    It’s also worth noting, a recent research study concluded that if all the employees of Walmart had their wages raised to $12/hr., and WalMart felt compelled to pass the entire cost onto their customers, the net increase on the bill for each shopper would average 49 cents per visit.

    By the way, such a move would actually INCREASE WalMart’s revenues immediately, as their OWN EMPLOYEES would once again be able to afford to shop where they work. AND, they would ease the burden on numerous Federal Assistance programs It truly would be a win-win-win…

    (My true feeling is that is exactly why they WON’T do it …at least not while a Dem. is in the Presidency. It’s all about ‘perception,’ and the LAST thing Cons want do do, is see the economy improve under a Democrat)

  • jim davis

    I can prove that supply is secondary to demand for growth and prosperity.
    We have had more supply than demand for years.
    Demand gives companies a choice, expand and hire workers or lose business.

  • jim davis

    One has to wonder why why why reporters, commentators, politicians, etc fail to use evidence that would debunk their false misleading claims.
    Demand side 47 to 81 avg gdp 3.74%, urate 4.76%
    Supply side 82 to present avggdp 2.74% urate 6.07%
    If real income from the late 60’s early 70’s was adjusted for inflation and broadcast we would probably have a riot!

  • jim davis

    So were aproximately 1 million high tech jobs that union lobbying prevented free trade treaties that ended up sending these jobs overseas.
    Bottom line; no unions, no middle class and America fails!

  • jim davis

    Here are two examples of bad laws!
    NAFTA and the WTO trade agreement.
    Since 01/01/2000 we have averaged over 1.1 million dollar a minute trade deficit.
    Source US Census Bureau trade data.

  • Linda Miller-Roseman RN

    I was rather stunned by the bland persistence Mr. Brooks showed on the subject of raising the minimum wage- he maintained it will cost jobs, many jobs and merely serve to hurt the low wage workers it is supposed to help. Bill kept referring to the fact that the taxpayers are subsidizing companies that pay low wages because the working poor need food stamps to survive. This clearly cut no ice with Mr. Brooks. My conclusion: Mr. Brooks’ compassion is tepid at best and I fear he is merely a well-spoken bearer of the same old pro corporate/business message- ” don’t trespass on our profits, don’t resent success”. Really, really tiresome position.

  • Anonymous

    Raising the minimum wage will create as many jobs as are lost because no employer has more employees than are necessary to do the work.

  • ZenderTranscender

    Last time I looked, the U.S.A. is still standing. For those who prepared for the enormous changes in the economy, it’s still a place of opportunity. There’s not a lot of drama and angst to this, but it is a reality for a lot of people.
    Uncontrolled immigration through three administrations and Americans failing to educate or train themselves for jobs in the workplace have made a bleak outlook for the middle class. I can’t argue that.

  • ZenderTranscender

    You’ve never worked for a government agency, I assume. Sequestration made some difference but mostly in lower level jobs that were phased out, mostly furloughed. Government agencies are infamous for having more people than needed to do a job, and those extras are usually someone’s nephew or mistress.

  • Staci Newsom

    I see so much of this conversation around the idea that trickle down and boot strapping can move a person up the economic ladder as pure tripe. First of all trickle down has had 30 plus years to prove itself out and it has been an utter failure. There is too much information out there that bears this out.

    Second, as to the idea of boot strapping or picking yourself up and working hard; this idea assumes that everyone has a fair bite at the apple, or more succinctly has equal access to the chance to make good their life. Everyone that lives in homelessness and extreme poverty knows that the playing field is not equal and under the current system can never be equal.

    I know this more than anyone since I am a woman who has had to crawl because the glass ceiling was so low, and I also now this because my womanhood is through a trans gender lens. As soon as I allowed myself to live as my full self that world said you are now so unimportant that we will never give you a chance.

    For the younger milleniials it is getting better but women like me, a baby boomer” have to fight everyday just to survive and live our truth that it is making it easier for our kids.

    Everyone who lives on the fringes knows what I am talking about.

  • Joseph Bernard, Ph.D.

    I watched with an open mind but as others have commented this is the same old story. In this case spoken by the rationalizing ego-mind. There is no heart. It is all empty words.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps but federal employees are not typically minimum wage workers. My wife worked for the US Department of Agriculture Conservation and Stabilization in California keeping track of cotton and wheat support and keeping the farmers informed and she was not underworked nor were any of their hourly paid employees.

  • Cam Payne

    Well said, Dr. Bloom. But perhaps there’s some value in letting “verbal shapeshifters” show their hand.

  • jim davis

    Historical facts:
    1. On Jan. 25,1950 the min wage was raised from 40 cents to 75 cents per hour. By the time the Korean war broke out on June 25 GDP went from -1.6% to +10.4%, and the UR went from 6.2% to 4%.
    2. That was an increase of 1.875 (almost double)
    3. 75 cents had the same buying power as $7.41 does today.
    4. Raising the min wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour amounts to a 1.40% increase.
    5. Raising it 1.875 would equal $14.06.

    Conclusion: Lowering the min wage down to 40 cents per hour is the only way to stop this vicious assault on free enterprise isn’t it Mr. Brooks

  • jim davis

    This might be opportunity time for Dr. Joy.
    Surely thousands of additional psychologists will be needed to change conservative idealogues servatude mentality.

  • jim davis

    I prefer to call their hand every time because they have losing hands. They can’t link any statistics to prove their case. Not one economic indicator is on their side!

  • jim davis

    Robert, I ask again, what if charts were used! Too confrontive?

  • jim davis

    He could have destroyed Mr. Brooks by using historical data

  • Mr.Murder

    That is the job of Charlie Rose at this time.

  • Mr.Murder

    The only time it did not was the 1980 oil shock paired with Carter trying to balance the budget. Even then it was better than indicators would show because the net GDP loss was lower than it would have been otherwise. The best example would be in comparing to the Fiscal Crisis whose numbers as a share of productivity mirrored the Great Depression. The graph curves exactly matched, until market correctors in the form of social programs(SNAP, UI,etc.) bottomed out the loss and provided some measure of stability to floor a long slow paced recovery.

    Compare also Britain’s lagging economic recovery during the austerity boom of Europe, which is part of a lackluster Bond rating abroad.

    Keynes was right, in bad times the gov’t must spend to ride out rough markets. Stimulus and quantitative expansion/easing are tools to be used in tough times. See also, Krugman.

  • jim davis

    Are trying to tell me supply is the key to prosperity and consumerism and demand is of secondary consequence???????

    No wonder the economy sucks!

  • jim davis

    Question; do you think free enterprise has shortcomings?
    I certainly do because history has proven one person ends up with everything with no cops enforcing laws.

  • jim davis

    My charts note the Arab Oil Crises, plus the it’s the economy stupid time period. The min wage was increased to $3.80 but $3.80 didn’t have as much buying power as the $3.35 increase 10 years earlier. The raise to $4.25 a year later worked as usual.

    Also the last 2 of 3 rounds went the wrong way.

    What I want to know is why don’t people use these things to prove the truth.
    Are they afraid of losing their jobs?*

    *I reference Mr. Powell in his letter to the Chamber of Commerce in 1971.
    “Constant monotoring of TV, mewsprint, textbook, and a purge of left wing elements”.

    Who bought and runs the media?
    PBS didn’t escape either. Nova sponsored by David Koch.
    I’m sure Wallamrts Tavis Smiley wishes I would quit bugging him.

    Time to occupy the media “where the people on the street put their mettle to the test” and teach those powerful “locomotive individuals” a lesson. Shame of Life (u know the song)

  • colkilgore

    Thank you Batlan for your input, I agree with almost all that you propose. The only thing I believe should be re-thought is the term limits. I have found that despite what is commonly believed we do need professional politicians who with time become seasoned with experience and can get the job done through compromise. The trouble with them now is they have become polarized and refuse to even deal or compromise the smallest of legislation. Like Mr. Smith Goes to Washington the Jim Taylors rule and they’re not satisfied with more money they want to rule the world!
    As far as myself I am 60 years old and have resided to the idea of becoming a
    non-conformist, a natural man void of their social order and materialist
    mentality. I don’t need their banks and mortgages and I don’t need cards to
    tell me who I am, I already now. I like being under the radar and I don’t worry
    about anything especially tomorrow and only get what I absolutely need, mostly nothing.

  • Tony Giametta

    In the program I learned Mr Brooks has neither compassion or a conscience

  • Gregory Muir

    Oh my god, that was VILE!

    Look, I understand why the man does what he does. If Col. Sanders needed the consent of the chickens to stay in business, he’d have to employ chicken propagandists to explain the virtues of deep-frying for a golden, healthy skin. If the man is in the business of frying chickens, there’s no way he’s going to be able to do it without frying chickens. That’s the business model. It ain’t changing.

    The oligarchy is in the business of enriching itself at the expense of everyone else. There’s a school of thought that says this is being accelerated by our reaching the natural limits of growth. After WWII, the economy was expanding so quickly that the rich were gorging themselves to the point of nausea on the choicest cuts. There was so much left on the table, even the poors were feasting well on the leftovers. With real growth ending, we’re seeing financialized growth that has little to do with real productivity. Speculating on derivatives might generate money that is exchanged for real goods and services but you’re not producing anything of value. It’s junk investing. It’s like eating a diet of straight rabbit meat: you’re full but you’re not getting sufficient nutrition. You will eventually starve.

    In the particular case here, since the real economy is no longer growing, the rich need to find their growth from somewhere else. since their slice isn’t growing along with the size of the pie, they have to take more from somewhere else. That somewhere else is the rest of us. That is why everyone is feeling the squeeze.

    Because screwing over the rest of us and taking of wealth is the business model, there’s no way they’re going to change that. The most they can do is continue to baffle and BS us and try to obscure that fact. We’d be damned fools to listen to them.

    The thing that really scares me is that the institutions in this country are losing legitimacy. The democrats are corrupt and the republicans insane. The justice system is two-tiered, one set of rules for the rich and another for everyone else. We are losing faith in society. It’s like losing your immune system. When it’s healthy, you can fend off just about anything. When it’s weakened, even a minor cold can kill you. A weak and tottering state apparatus allowed revolution to fester in Imperial Russia. The impossibly incompetent Weimar government and the weak official parties that made it up disillusioned the people to the point that they were willing to listen to what that funny little ex-corporal had to say.

    When it hits the fan, people like this will be the first on TV explaining why nobody could have seen this coming and those who were in charge should be the last ones blamed.

  • Mr.Murder

    The wage increase of that time did not cover the difference in oil pricing, but the traditional downturn of the economy from such a price inflating indicator was far less due to the accompanied wage increase. It serves as evidence that wage increase at the bottom of an economy creates jobs in bad times or good.

  • jim davis

    The min wage amount(buying power) was the $1.60 increase in 68 = $10.64 in 2014. The second lowest was 2006.
    I would give anything for you and me to set on a panel debating these issues with people like Brooks.
    Why do you think evidence like this is never used?

  • Jed Grover

    Eric Cantor wants to resign from self service OOOOPs I mean from his public service office to accept a lobby job down the street. The “REVOLVING DOOR” continues to beef-up the Outside Influence in our world of dysfunctional public service. You should be proud Mr. Cantor with your pay raise.

  • jim davis

    All lobbying meetings should be on livestream, ect.

  • Jim Young

    I seemed to run into many, who had successful businesses before their customers couldn’t afford their services or products. The ones I paid the most attention to had been successful when rational credit for their customers, and business loans required only 20% equity stake (instead of 100%). They had their homes, and often business real estate and equipment paid for. When their customers couldn’t pay,they simply backed down, or sold off the business assets they would not waste money on if there were too few customers.

    They can live comfortably on their savings, investments, and minimal housing expenses (in their paid off homes), as I can, but they quit doing the things that contributed useful goods and services to the economy, and no longer provide the tax revenues that came from those activities.

    It’s almost as if the big business favored tax breaks, are killing off the many small productive businesses. Both they and the country lose customers that can afford their services, contributing to a Velocity of Money more dismal than even during the worst part of the Great Depression.

    To me, no recovery is truly possible without raising the Velocity of Money, and only healthy customers can do that.

  • R.S.Hradilek

    I skimmed it. Yes, the concentrations of wealth are in the developed countries, which BTW are the ones where economic policy is driven by central banks. If Pikkety blames the “free market” and “capitalism” for this inequality, he deserves a Big Fat F in economics for failing to understand cause and effect. We do not have a capitalist system. We have a Keynesian one, and the inequality will continue to worsen until we have an economic crisis that is finally credited to the theories of John Maynard Keynes.
    Progressives should examine the Fed’s policy of “Quantitive Easing”. It is injecting billions into the financial system by buying the toxic mortgage backed securities from the big banks at their face value (the banks won’t have to write-off their losses, because they have shifted to taxpayers). Are the banks investing these funds in the real economy? NO! They are basically margin deposits on TRILLIONS worth of derivatives trades. A handful of banks now have an exposure equal to 7 times the entire world’s GDP, just in currency and interest rate (bond) derivatives. Equity markerts have also been goosed, and are at all times highs. With interest rates artificially set near zero, leverage is cheap.
    Every period of growth turns out to be a bubble. 40 percent of corporate profits are now in the (non-producing) financial sector, as manufacturing declines toward single digits. Main street is left behind during the boom times (rising costs exceed wage increases) and is crushed during the bust (job losses). Some of the financial elites even know when to sell short and profit from the crisis.
    You won’t find that in Pikkety.

  • Chris Martin

    If you force Wal Mart pay their employees a fair wage they would simply raise their prices by small percentage to compensate.
    If we live in a system where the government has to subsidize families that work full time, I think that is proof that the system isn’t working.

  • Jed Grover

    Fitzgerald gets snookered by the “Clinton Moment” in Ohio and Eric Cantor pulls off a “Sarah Palin”, resigns only to except a lobby job and hefty pay raise. This is what I posted regarding Fitzgerald! “The difference between sending someone to prison without a trial and airing this story did absent of all the facts is NOT one damn thing! Snookered by the “Clinton Moment”! I suppose we can count on the continued, nauseating status quo, capitalistic appeasing politics. Apparently, the corporate culture has not changed and Comcast when’s again! Sayonara WHIO to two viewers. We prefer our news to be objective and unfiltered. The party crap in this country has got to stop. Both parties have much to offer if they could somehow just except that simple fact but I do not see that happening in the near future.” The little people will continue to suffer the consequence of dysfunction in Politics.

  • Linda Hardwick

    Couldn’t agree more. I watched his eyes throughout the interview and they never moved from Moyers’s face. It was like watching a snake charmer, although I don’t know who was the snake and who was the charmer. My feeling is that Brooks was doing double duty as both! His body language, coiled and alert for the strike, combined with the unwavering gaze said it all. This guy is a high-level charlatan if there ever was one. Sadly, many will be poisoned.

  • a man

    what is written; is “scripted-“-sifted- for red flags! but- no blog;- does exceed; a book that all read and must live in the eternities!

  • Sherry Bigalow

    Bizarre that the ONE option, that Wal-mart pay their workers livable wages with some of their billions, is not acceptable to this guy. He is not a free market capitalist with compassion, he is a rapacious corporate welfare mooch who wraps his disgusting rationalizations with fake “compassion” for the people he wants to continue to exploit at tax-payer expense. With compassionate people like him, who needs enemies.

  • Angharad Llewellyn

    Thank you for your comment. I know that when there is a balance between pay and effort the whole world is a better place within which to live. A wage that supports the needs of a person and allows that person to profit, inspires responsibility, and I would be amazed if “statistics” didn’t prove this. LOL

  • Anonymous

    What’s that quip about it being difficult to get a man to understand something when his livelihood depends on his not understanding it? Bill tried valiantly to get Brooks to acknowledge the problem of large, wealthy corporations depending on public subsidies, such as food stamps, to their low-wage employees because those workers are not paid enough to manage otherwise. But to expect the president of the American Enterprise Institute to recognize that as unethical? That isn’t what he gets paid to do!

  • Jay Kavanaugh

    I could not watch. The faulty assumptions that were being stated as fact and not being challenged had me yelling at the TV. There is absolutely no objective evidence that raising the minimum wage will result in the long term loss of jobs. The evidence in the places that have higher minimum wages shows that the opposite is true.

  • judith Rechter

    The conservative seemed a bit on the right to me. I feel he’s got life all wrong; once he mentioned compassion and dolling out the rewards of people who don’t need to pay their workers a fair wage, he lost me in the fog of his ideas.

  • jim davis

    They do prove it, but, who uses statistics and line charts? Why don’t they is what I want to know!

  • jim davis

    I have to give credit to the censors for allowing this rather intimidating comment but why not use stats to prove people like Brooks wrong?

  • jim davis

    The Leadership Institute teaches this stuff!

  • colkilgore

    There was a time they were content with the biggest piece of the pie and flicking us the crumbs. Now they audaciously want the whole pie and the crumbs too and could careless what we think.

  • jim davis

    The unwritten fiscal policy klnown as starve the beast will overshadow Brooks’s so called compassionate conservatism and he knows it. The beast refers to the federal government and the social programs including soc sec and mediacre. It leaves out the military, courts and basic government operations.Do the math Mr. Brooks at a 28% top bracket and no borrowing nothing is left for soc sec mediacre and the rest of the programs 50 million people depend on.
    Former Reagan domestic advisor Bruce Bartlett called starve the breast the most pernicious (evil, wicked, capable of causing great harm) fiscal doctrine in history.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, but Arthur Brooks reminds me a lot of David Brooks. They’re both full of what makes the grass grow green. Master Arthur seems to be saying “let them eat cake”. I’ll go with Thomas Piketty’s analysis of our capitalistic “free enterprise” system.

  • Anonymous

    Lol. Reminds me of the joke about the Kansas tea party guy, the Koch brother and the Union rep. They were meeting at a cafe to try to find common ground. The waitress set a plate with a dozen, warm choclate chip cookies on the table. The Koch brother ate eleven of them, pointed to the last one and said to the tea bagger, “Look, that union guy is trying to steal your cookie!”

  • Anonymous

    You’re right. It reminded me of the “please proceed, Governor Romney” in the presidental debate.
    Brooks hung himself with his own words.

  • Anonymous

    I recommend Fox news to you. They all say exactly the same thing and there’s no real debate. It seems as if it would be right up your alley.

  • Anonymous

    Compassionate Carnivores

  • Michael Caplan

    It’s deeply refreshing to come to this Comments section and find that everyone has seen through this prick’s schtick! No, however decent he may be in private life, he’s not a “good person” by the most important criteria. (I hope the Dalai Lama is well aware of that fact and chooses for strategic reasons to ignore it.) Like a self-deluding Party member dismissing Stalinist attrocity, this
    guy’s eyes glaze over with the Official Answers whenever he’s challenged
    on his actual beliefs. Or rather, he goes into the trance of the “Official Answering
    Method”, which shunts off the question and seizes any opportunity for
    sloganeering, for a chance at more propagandizing (because that’s the only way propoganda works).

    Infinitely worse, of course, he’s a religious zealot with huge public power. His religion does indeed have some great virtues – markets can be intoxicating places, and I worship there, often enough! But The Market (endless strife be upon it) sure isn’t the answer to IT ALL. That would be corporate sharia. And this guy is a capitalist fundamentalist in what is increasingly a global theocracy.

  • jim davis

    The union guy told his dog “You know what to do” His dog drank the koch suckers dogs milk ate his dog cookies and went over and laid down!

  • SPGriverrat

    I actually did find some of that in Pikkety: Keynesian economics not workable without adjustment, the failure of the banks and companies to invest in workers, and the failure of the capitalist system … there will never be any “pure” system in our complicated world. Pikkety’s prediction of a continued concentration of wealth in the 1% certainly seems to be coming true. Deregulation has been a disaster. Regulated capitalism is the best bet our world has.

  • jim davis

    Whoever chose the photo of Brooks definately understands a picture is worth 1000 words! Great job!

  • Victor

    I agree whole heartedly.and loved seeing Bill make every effort to corner and confront this guy without being rude. If that was me interviewing Brooks I would not have been able to restrain myself. I also agree that nothing will change until enough people have had enough. and also ‘surprisingly we’re not there yet’

  • Dan Baright

    Why is slavery now considered to be an evil even if the slaves were seemingly well provided for by their masters?

    A lot of the discussions concerning basic economics entails, or ought to entail, society’s fundamental real world valuations. For example, in the real economy, what valuations would you place on, say, a taxpayer funded Federal Reserve system and personnel that authorized multi-
    billion dollar wire transfers during a recession to save banks and other financial institutions as compared to, say, unorganized farm hands out in the country producing real food that bankers eat? Why would taxpayers, investors, or any rational person want to pay the inflated salaries of those associated with former?

    Why would taxpayers and others want to pay the salaries of those on Wall Street, the Chicago commodities exchange, the real estate industry, and others involved with the financial industries that gave us The Great Recession of 2008 and are yet to take responsibility regards causations?

    By whom are the money changers needed? It may be reasoned that the real economy would be better off if many in the unreal economy, the financial sectors, were less incentivised and thus less enabled to freely draw from actual producers of useful goods and services. Let them rather take up art or music and thus produce something of true value to society.

    While there may always be a need for a so-called safety net, one of the problems with food stamps is that the program tends to distort real world values and incentives. Why would anyone here in southwest Missouri, for example, want to grow tomatoes when consumers can have fresh vine-ripe hot house tomatoes transported in from Canada at a lower retail price? Obviously, production incentives and environmental and energy incentives have been severely distorted. As a consumer, why am I forced to buy retail when I might prefer to buy wholesale and make and can my own tomato sauce?

    An appropriately administered tax credit could incentivize local production, potentially greatly reduce real world costs, and provide better value to consumers. Such would facilitate farm workers as being a crucial part of the real economy as they would automatically be enrolled
    in the Social Security and Income Tax systems. The real economy would be better diversified and stabilized over time. In my view, such a credit could be appropriately financed by fees on environmental and energy externalities associated with freight transportation that are currently unaccounted for. (If needed, further funding would come from greatly increased inheritance taxes.) Ideally, local producers would discover ways to minimize their own externalities.

    (It might also be argued that any long-term economic policy, at any income level, can lead to stagnation. Thus, at all income levels, policy changes can have the potential of being stimulating
    and productive merely because they are a break from the routine and entrenched habits of the past.)

    In addition to externalites, in an attempt to make the financial economy more reflective of the
    real economy, incremental costs need to also be better accounted for. Why, for example, are rural folks and suburbanites receiving mail at the same price (i.e., free) as city folks? The same analysis can be applied to all utilities — cable, phone, internet, etc. — and the appropriate inducements
    instituted so as to force monopoly companies to better account for such differential costs to consumers. Why should the workers and residents of “Downton Abbey” pay individually for services consumed in common?

  • Rebecca Lowe

    It is embarrassing that Mr Brooks both hails from my hometown of Seattle and is a former classical musician! He must have been miserable, as playing in a symphony orchestra is a collective effort. I have rarely met a classical musician in my nearly 40-year career who is Libertarian in outlook. When I have, they seem like very angry, unhappy people! No doubt Mr Brooks is much more satisfied raking in the big bucks at AEI.

  • Fay Brewer

    I do not doubt that the Dalai Llama met Mr Brooks with the hope of opening up his mind a bit, but he (Brooks) is still trotting out the same stale conservative ideas. I wish people like Mr Books would drop the conservative/liberal labels and just think for themselves.

  • Anonymous

    Smooth talker wants us to believe the rhetoric, since well he knows that Americans are growing wise to snake oil salesmen like him. Capitalists may change their tone, but by now we can recognize the legacy of Edward Bernays at work. “Compassionate Conservative?”Ya, right. Go smoke your “Torches of Freedom” somewhere else.

  • R.S.Hradilek

    Our system of government is almost totally controlled by commercial interests who use the machinery of government to leverage their own wealth and minimize the risk of loss. In a “capitalist system”, they would be on their own. The right to profit is directly related to the obligation to assume all entrepreneural risk. A capitalist system also has a stable monetary base, such as a gold standard or (better yet) BitCoin – something banks can’t simply print and give to themselves.
    To ignore this distinction and label our (Keynesian) system “capitalist”, and hence a “failure” is intellectually dishonest. And any 700 page book attacking capitalism without even a hint of how the laws of supply and demand might be failing us cannot be anything but gobbledygook. It’s like writing a book attacking Marxism without addressing anything written in “Kapital”.
    You could destroy capitalism by reading just one book and proving it wrong: “Human Action”, by von Mises. I would challenge Picketty to do that.

  • Al Pesant

    It was I good idea to have this creep on the show. He confirms my worst suspicions about the conservatives. They’re nothing but charlatans and hypocrites.

  • ErnestineBass

    A perfectly good half hour, wasted.

  • Anonymous

    Do workers really care how wealthy the top 0.01% are as long as they receive wages sufficient to live the American dream? We had this up until 1973 when payrolls were 50% of GDP.

  • Melwoolf

    You have just confirmed what I think. The greatest prosperity in the world was that period. But then something happened: the Republicans fed the line that government is bad and taxes (you mentioned how the wealthy paid high taxes) were bad so…. Also, lobbying for corporate welfare and the wealthy buying votes made life more and more difficult – not to mention American business moving their work overseas so those left had less and less power and less money in the pocket. No brainer.

    However the U.S. has never felt any overall responsibility for people when they hit hard times (exception of Medicaid for very poorest). All the other so-called safety nets as well as no “national health insurance” so people can live without fear of insurance companies saying no (those pre-existing conditions) and long term illnesses which cause people to sell homes and go homeless. What a lovely world. Something has gone very wrong. At least in “socialized” Europe they made it a requirement that “civilized” countries owed it to EACH AND EVERY citizen to have the essentials of healthcare.
    No class war, eh? Yes, time to change when the people at the top refuse to change and help.

  • jim davis

    A poor attempt at sarcasm

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Brooks kept repeating the claim that a higher minimum wage would cause job losses. Well, many sates did raise the minimum wage back in January. If what Mr. Brooks was saying was true those states should see poor job numbers as opposed to other states. THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN. Instead we saw higher job growth in those states that raised the minimum wage.

    Can I expect Mr. Brooks will acknowledge he was wrong?

  • n2sobr

    In my 74 years on this Earth, I’ve observed that the only real action that makes an economy grow, is customers. Period. The issue is how to improve methods of getting purchasing power into their hands. “Trickle Down” has not worked, let us try “Trickle Up” for a while. A new $15 minimum wage is a great way to start. If that section of wage earners has more money, history has shown that they will spend very near all of it. The more spent; the more product needed; the more product needed, the more production needed; the more that production is needed, – well you can figure it out. I know it is a simplistic model, but at least it is worth a try at this point.

  • Stuart MacGregor II

    If Arthur Brooks had been following the weekly economic updates of Richard Wolff, he would have known that the U.K. just raised its minimum wage to equal more than $11 an hour, that in Germany the minimum wage is equal to $11.25, in Denmark it is $20.30 and Switzerland recently considered $25 an hour by ballot, though the measure was barely defeated.

    In addition, the Russell Sage Foundation summarized in its recent report the research findings of Pfeffer, Danziger and Schoeni published in November of 2013 in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, showing the median net worth of US citizens in 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2013, as follows:

    2003 $88,000 * 2007 $98,000 * 2009 $70,000 * 2013 $56,000

    Does it look like Republican beneficence is at work in america?

    As to Brooks’ contention that regulations are
    unnecessary, even the present chairwoman of the Federal Reserve disagrees: “Monetary
    policy faces significant limitations as a tool to promote financial stability,” Yellen said July 2 at the International Monetary Fund in
    Washington. “A macroprudential approach to supervision and regulation needs to
    play the primary role.”

    We are at war again in Iraq, which O’bomba will use as an excuse to bomb Syria, while we continue the decade old war in Afghanistan and support the criminal military regimes of Egypt and Israel, as well as other dictatorships. In 2012 the
    nation spent $1.2 trillion on the Pentagon and related military and law enforcement agencies, including the CIA, NSA, the State Department, Home Alone Security, while Republicans continue today to undermine food stamps, welfare, education, medicare, social security, the USPS, as well as the urgent need for
    infrastructure repair and replacement, not to exculpate the Democrats, who are just as corrupt as the Republicans.

    Get real people!

  • jim davis

    Supply side economics explained: Supply and the willingness to produce goods and services is the key to economic prosperity. Consumption and demand is of secondary consequence! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

  • jim davis

    It’s simpler than that. UR rates go down and GDP goes up in the vast majority of cases after a raise!

  • jim davis

    When customers have money, businesses have customers.

  • jim davis

    Yea, sure, “right”

  • jim davis

    Let me interview Mr. Brooks and see what happens! Bloodbath?

  • jim davis

    20 min wage increases since 1950. 17 had lower UR and higher GDP growth.

  • ZenderTranscender

    I respect your comments and, for the most part, agree with them. Our world has changed, and it’s all about survival – especially for business, big or small. We continue to send people to Washington to represent us who exhibit greed, power and self-absorption. This environment supports the same in the corporate world – even in the military. Think Wall Street and its donor kings to politicians and people like Petraeus, McChrystal and so on, who have become TV pundits, best-selling authors and lecturers and employees of Wall Street hierarchy. They’ve bought the media, too – both sides.

    You may not be a fan of TV, but a decent investment is “Breaking Bad.” On a lower life rung, those characters must survive, but come to think of it, they’re not really lower than the D.C. crowd.