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BILL MOYERS: This week on Moyers & Company, Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman of "The New York Times" on a revolutionary new book about wealth and democracy.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Piketty is telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth.

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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Even in this age of hyperlinks and cyberspace, nearly six centuries after Gutenberg devised his printing press, it’s still possible for a single book to shake the foundations, rattle clichés, upend dogma, unnerve ideologues, and arm everyday people with the knowledge they need to fight back against the predatory powers that have robbed them of their birthright as citizens.

This is such a book: “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” by the French economist Thomas Piketty. The book of the season to many. To others, the book of the decade. Reviewers have called it “a bulldozer of a book,” “magisterial,” “seminal,” “definitive,” “a watershed.”

At 700 pages it’s already a best seller. And there isn’t a single scene of seduction, not one celebrity interview, not one picture -- just graph after graph, fact on fact, drawn from two centuries of data and imbedded in prose that can suddenly explode like a supernova in the brain.

Here’s one of its extraordinary insights: we are heading into a future dominated by inherited wealth as capital concentrates in fewer and fewer hands, giving the very rich ever greater power over politics, government, and society. “Patrimonial capitalism” is the name for it, and it has potentially terrifying consequences for democracy. For those who work for a living, the level of inequality in the US, writes Piketty, is “probably higher than in any other society, at any time in the past, anywhere in the world.” Over three decades, between 1977 and 2007, 60 percent of our national income went to the richest 1 percent of Americans. No wonder this is the one book the 1 percent doesn't want the other 99 percent to read.

Paul Krugman has been writing extensively and generously about Piketty’s book. The Nobel prize-winning economist and “New York Times” columnist calls it “a tour de force…a magnificent sweeping meditation on inequality…that will change both the way we think about society and the way we do economics.”

As scholar, author of many books, and widely read columnist and blogger, Paul Krugman has himself changed a lot of thinking on politics and economics. Welcome back.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Hi.

BILL MOYERS: Inequality's been on the table for a long time. You’ve written extensively, others have, too. I mean, it’s a familiar issue, but what explains that this book has now become a phenomenon?

PAUL KRUGMAN: Actually, a lot of what we know about inequality actually comes from him, because he's been an invisible presence behind a lot. So when you talk about the 1 percent, you're actually to a larger extent reflecting his prior work. But what he's really done now is he said, "Even those of you who talk about the 1 percent, you don't really get what's going on. You're living in the past. You're living in the '80s. You think that Gordon Gekko is the future."

And Gordon Gekko is a bad guy, he's a predator. But he's a self-made predator. And right now, what we're really talking about is we're talking about Gordon Gekko's son or daughter. We're talking about inherited wealth playing an ever-growing role. So he's telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth, “patrimonial capitalism.” And he does it with an enormous amount of documentation and it's a revelation. I mean, even for someone like me, it's a revelation.

BILL MOYERS: I was going to ask, what could-- what has Paul Krugman had to learn from this book?

PAUL KRUGMAN: Even the title, the first word in the title, "capital." We stopped talking about capital. Even people like me stopped talking about capital because we thought it was all about human capital. We thought it was all about earnings. We thought that the wealthy were people who one way or another found a way to make a lot of money.

And we knew that that wasn't always true. We knew that in the Gilded Age or in the Belle Époque in Europe, which he prefers to talk about. That high incomes were mostly a result of having lots and lots of assets. But we sort of said, "Well, that's not the way things work anymore." And he says, "Oh yeah? It turns out that you're wrong." That’s true, that right now, a lot of high incomes in America are people who didn't start out all that rich. But we're rapidly moving towards a state where inherited wealth dominates. I didn't know that. I really was-- I should've known it. I should've thought about it, but I didn't. And so then here comes this book with-- I mean, it's beautiful-- absolutely analytically beautiful, if that makes any sense at all.

BILL MOYERS: As you know, I'm no economist, but I found this book, as I said in the opening, just very readable and suddenly there would be this moment of epiphany.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Yeah, it's a real "eureka" book. You suddenly say, "Oh, this is not-- the world is not the way I saw it." The world in fact has moved on a long way in the last 25 years and not in a direction you're going to like because we are seeing not only great disparities in income and wealth, but we're seeing them get entrenched. We're seeing them become inequalities that will be transferred across generations. We are becoming very much the kind of society we imagine we're nothing like.

BILL MOYERS: Here’s Piketty’s main point: capital tends to produce real returns of 4 to 5 percent, and economic growth is much slower. What's the practical result of that?

PAUL KRUGMAN: What that means is that if you have a large fortune, or a family has a large fortune, they can -- the inheritors of that large fortune -- can live very, very well. They can live an extraordinary standard of living and still put a large fraction of the income from that fortune aside and the fortune will grow faster than the economy.

So the big dynastic fortunes tend to take an ever-growing share of total, national wealth. So once you-- when you have a situation where the returns on capital are pretty high and the growth rate of the economy is not that high, you have a situation in which not only can people live well off inherited wealth, but they can actually pass on to the next generation even more, an even a higher share.

And so it's all, in his terms, "r" the rate of return on capital, and "g” the rate of growth of the economy. And when you have a high r, low g economy, which is what we now have, then you're talking not-- you're talking about a situation in which dynasties come increasingly to increasingly to dominate the top of the economic spectrum and a tiny fraction of the population ends up very dominant.

BILL MOYERS: What's the realistic impact of this on working people?

PAUL KRUGMAN: There's a direct impact, which is that part of income is always going to go to labor, although that seems to be a diminishing fraction. But the part that comes from capital is going to be in the hands of a very few people. The other thing, which I think is critically important, that he talks about more towards the end of the book is political economy.

That when you have -- Teddy Roosevelt could’ve told you and did -- that when you have a few people who are so wealthy that they can effectively buy the political system, the political system is going to tend to serve their interests. And that is going to reinforce this shift of income and wealth towards the top.

BILL MOYERS: Do you agree with him that we are drifting toward oligarchy?

PAUL KRUGMAN: Oh yeah. Oh, I don't think that’s even -- I don't see that there's any question of it. If you look at the-- certainly if you look at what we know already, and we're learning more, but what we know already about the concentration of income, of wealth, you can see that it is growing. You can see that-- and you can actually see-- I've spent a little while just sort of going through the “Forbes 400” list.

And what you find is already there’s an awful lot of inherited wealth in there. It’s no longer a list of self-made men. And of the self-made men, a lot of them are pretty elderly. And their-- those fortunes are going to be passed on to next generations. So the drift towards oligarchy is very visible, both casual observation and in the numbers.

BILL MOYERS: I was taken with something you wrote the other day. You said that in your opinion, the real problem is not capital accumulation per se as much as it is, quote, "remarkably high compensation and incomes." Now how is that different from what you were just saying about wealth that passes to the next generation?

PAUL KRUGMAN: So right now, high incomes are still primarily coming from people who've made a lot of money typically as corporate executives. That has been the story, so the big expansion of inequality in the United States since the 1970s has so far been driven by high salaries, high bonuses and all, so on.

That's where we are now. But our image of the top is really a quarter century old. It is about the way things were when these great fortunes were just getting started, when we were just seeing the explosion of inequality. But we're well along the way towards one in which it is, in fact, an older thing, where people accumulate capital, pass it on to their heirs, and you get this dynastic wealth.

So right now, and this is where Piketty has interesting things to say, but not this compelling vision about why America is so unequal right now. But looking forward, he's telling us that the story is already changing. And it's going to change more. So we are going probably, unless something gets better, we're going to look back nostalgically on the early 21st century when you could still at least have the pretense that the wealthy actually earned their wealth. And, you know, by the year 2030, it'll all be inherited.

BILL MOYERS: And at the same time, we can't even manage to pay workers a minimum wage of $10.10.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Yeah. And what's amazing, I thought actually one of the most depressing things, although enlightening in his book, is he talks about France in the Belle Époque, the years before World War I, which was ideologically as much a society committed to equality in principle as we are today. But in practice, was totally dominated by very wealthy families, where it was impossible to even raise the possibility of seriously taxing great wealth.

Where it was very hard to do anything to improve the conditions of ordinary workers. And it shows you how that can happen. How you can have a society where the-- even though the ideology is democratic, even though we claim that all men are equal, in practice, not a chance.

BILL MOYERS: Isn't that what's happening now in this country?

PAUL KRUGMAN: Exactly, exactly. That's the point. And what's funny is at the time, Americans used to say, "Oh-- we should never allow ourselves to become like old Europe." And in fact, we have.

BILL MOYERS: But we have had the Rockefellers, we've had the Carnegies, we've had the Pews. We've had big dynasties that transferred their wealth from one generation to another.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Yes. Before World War I, we had our dynastic families, but they were not nearly as dominant as they were in Europe. Largely-- not because we didn't have high returns on capital, but because we were growing so fast. We were an immigrant nation, a fast-growing nation.

So they hadn't been able to establish a lock. And then after that, we had a long period of high taxation of large estates, high taxation of capital income. But now we're on our way back. Now we're on our way back towards something that looks much more like that kind of hierarchical society.

BILL MOYERS: Piketty makes the point, that the very size of inherited fortunes today is so great that it practically makes them invisible. Quote "Wealth is so concentrated that a large segment of society is virtually unaware of its existence."

PAUL KRUGMAN: Sure. If you have conversations with people who are not in this business, who are not economists, they have no idea what real wealth means in America. They think that having a million dollars makes you wealthy. They think that-- or having a salary of several hundred thousand dollars makes you wealthy. And while it's certainly true, that's a vastly privileged condition compared with most people, the sheer size of those big fortunes is so far outside our normal experience that it does become invisible. You're never going to meet these people. You're never going to have any sense of what it is that they control. And most people I think have no idea just how far the commanding heights are from you and me.

BILL MOYERS: You remind us often, and you did so just the other day, that the United States has a much more unequal distribution of income than other advanced countries. And that much of this difference comes from government actions, such as?

PAUL KRUGMAN: If you look at, oh, look at European countries, just about all of them. They don't actually necessarily have higher taxes on very high incomes. That's not so much the factor. And they have higher taxes overall, which are used to pay for a lot of programs of aid.

So you have universal healthcare, and we have-- sort of are stumbling our way towards something like that now but they have a lot of income support for people with low incomes. They have lots of support for young parents, they have lots of basically, a lot of redistribution. Which is a dirty word in US politics, but in fact is essential for having a decent society. So that to be the average American is richer than the average person in France.

Although that's mostly because we work longer hours. But to be in the bottom fifth of France is a far, far better thing than to be in the bottom fifth in the United States because of these government policies. It’s not that wages are especially high at the bottom in France. A little bit higher than in the United States, because we have a high minimum wage. But mostly, you have government programs, which make an enormous difference. The level of inequality of market income what people actually make is not that different among advanced countries. The level of inequality of disposable income, once the government has gotten through taxing and spending, is much, much higher in the US than it is in most other advanced countries. And that's because of the government.

BILL MOYERS: Well why is, as you said, redistribution such a noxious word in our political system?

PAUL KRUGMAN: I think mostly it's just because there's a very effective apparatus of TV and print media and think tanks and so on who hammer against any suggestion of redistribution. It's just, they've managed to convince a lot of people that it is somehow un-American.

Which actually, if you look at American history, that's not all true. But they-- it's just been pushed very hard. I think also the United States, look, we have to admit, race is always lurking under almost everything in American life. And redistribution in the minds of a lot of people means taking money from people like me and giving it to people who don't look like me. And I think that is a big difference between us and Europe.

BILL MOYERS: You do know that conservatives are regularly, consistently saying that inequality doesn't matter, that if the very rich were less rich, it wouldn't really make a difference to people out there working for a living.

PAUL KRUGMAN: But of course, what Europeans do, which is to tax the rich and use it to provide benefits to people lower down the scale. That makes a big difference. That can make an enormous difference. Take--

BILL MOYERS: How so?

PAUL KRUGMAN: Take a few percent of national income, take it away from the top 1 percent and direct it towards the bottom 20 percent, that's a tremendous gain in the quality of life for the bottom 20 percent. So just think about it. Actually, we have a health reform. It’s not the health reform we would've wanted, but it's better than no reform.

It's financed in large part with small surtaxes on high incomes. That's, if you actually ask where the money's coming from, a lot of it is coming from an additional tax on investment income, an additional tax on earned income for very high earners. That is going to give basically everybody in America the guarantee of being able to have essential, basic health insurance at an affordable cost.

That's a huge change in people's lives. Which is being financed in large part by taking a little bit from the top. So a little bit of Robin Hoodism does a lot. You can do a lot more with that. And so no one is talking about just-- let's punish the rich for the sake of punishing them. But the question is, can you do redistribution in a way that makes this a better society, and the answer is yes.

BILL MOYERS: Well at the end of his book, Piketty is talking about the global tax on wealth. Do you think that's feasible?

PAUL KRUGMAN: Well, is it feasible politically? You know, if the United States were behind it. Lots of things would become possible. If the United States were to support this, then I think you could pretty much guarantee that the Europeans would-- enough Europeans would be willing to go along.

And while there would be some countries that would, you know, rogue countries that would want to serve as havens for tax evasion, we would have a lot of leverage over them. So really it's not that the international global system makes this impossible, it's really, it's the US political system that makes it look impossible right now. And that can change.

BILL MOYERS: But given the dysfunction of Congress, given the fact that the Supreme Court has in effect decided to enable corporations and their rich to consolidate their hold on our political system, do you have any hope of the kind of change that both Piketty and you would advocate?

PAUL KRUGMAN: I think you don't give up hope on these things. We have-- look at the American political tradition. Look at the-- one of the interesting things that Piketty says is that serious progressive taxation of high incomes and great wealth is an American invention. We invented it, and we invented it in the early 20th century, right at the peak of our Gilded Age.

And somehow we found it in ourselves to turn-- to find political leaders, people like Teddy Roosevelt, who are willing to say, "This is a bad thing, we do not want the society that is emerging here." So I think things can change. What-- if you ask, you know, are we going to get a wealth tax, a global wealth tax before the 2016 election? Well no, we're not. Might we get one by the 2024 election? Possibly.

BILL MOYERS: You wrote something the other day that's hard to forget. You said, "We live in such an ugliness in America right now."

PAUL KRUGMAN: Yeah. This is one of the things that puzzles me actually about my own country, which is it's one thing to have disparities of income and wealth and to have differing views about what we should be doing about it. But there's a level of harshness in our debates mostly coming from the people who are actually doing very well.

So, you know, we've had a parade of billionaires whining about being-- you know, the incredible injustice that people are actually criticizing them. And then comparing anyone who criticizes them to the Nazis. You know, it's almost a tic that they have. This is-- this is very strange. And it's kind of scary because, you know, it's one thing if someone without a lot of power seems to be going off and into a rage for no good reason. But these are people who have a lot of influence because of the amount of money they control.

BILL MOYERS: Given what you just said and given the fact that there's this ugliness, what do you think it's going to take? A mass uprising? Consistent demonstrations? Insurgent politics? How are we going to stem the tide that he says is taking us into oligarchy?

PAUL KRUGMAN: There's a negative and there’s a positive take. Piketty argues-- seems to argue through much of the book that we only escaped the old oligarchy for a while thanks to really disastrous events. Thanks to wars and depressions, which disrupted the system. That's an argument you can make.

On the other hand, if you read histories of the New Deal, you know that it didn't come-- it didn't spring out of nowhere. That we had a progressive movement and a lot of proto New Deal programs building for quite a long time.

There was, in fact, a move in America. There was an increasing political, philosophical readiness to take on inequality of wealth and power long before FDR moved into the White House. And so, I think there are better angels of our nature. That there is this ugliness which can be frightening. But there is also a redemptive streak in-- here and in other places.

And that-- don't give up hope on this. That given consistent argumentation, given events, and perhaps you know, as people become more aware of what is actually going on then there is a chance of changing things. Do we know that? No. But there's nothing in what we know now that says you should give up hope of being able to change this even without a catastrophe.

BILL MOYERS: Paul Krugman, thank you very much for joining me.

PAUL KRUGMAN: Thank you for having me on.

BILL MOYERS: The evidence keeps mounting. Just this past Tuesday, the 15th of April, Tax Day, the AFL-CIO reported that last year the chief executive officers of 350 top American corporations were paid 331 times more money than the average US worker. Those executives made an average of $11.7 million compared to the average worker who earned $35,239.

As that analysis circulated on Tax Day, the economist Robert Reich reminded us that in addition to getting the largest percent of total national income in nearly a century, many in the one percent are paying a lower federal tax rate than a lot of people in the middle-class. You will, no doubt, remember that an obliging Congress, of both parties, allows high rollers of finance the privilege of carried interest, a tax rate below that of their secretaries and clerks. And at state and local levels, while the poorest 20 percent of Americans pay an average tax rate of over 11 percent, the richest one percent of the country pays half that rate. Now, neither nature nor nature’s God drew up our tax codes. That’s the work of legislators, politicians, and it’s one way they have, as Chief Justice John Roberts might put it, of expressing gratitude to their donors. Oh, Mr. Adelson, we so appreciate your generosity that we cut your estate taxes so you can give $8 billion as a tax-free payment to your heirs, even though down the road the public will have to put up $2.8 billion to compensate for the loss in tax revenues.

All of which makes truly repugnant the argument, heard so often from courtiers of the rich, that inequality doesn’t matter. Of course it matters. Inequality is what has turned Washington into a protection racket for the one percent. It buys all those goodies from government: tax breaks, tax havens, allowing corporations and the rich to park their money in a no-tax zone, loopholes, favors like carried interest, and on, and on, and on.

Listen, there’s a big study coming out in the fall from Martin Gilens at Princeton and Benjamin Page at Northwestern, based on data collected between 1981 and 2002. Their conclusion, quote, “… America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened … the preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”

Sad, that it’s come to this. The drift toward oligarchy that Thomas Piketty describes in his formidable book has become a mad dash, and it will overrun us, and overwhelm us, unless we stop it.

At our website BillMoyers.com, you can find out much more about Piketty’s book and the debate it has sparked on both the left and right. That’s at BillMoyers.com. I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here, next time.

Full Show: What the 1% Don’t Want Us to Know

April 18, 2014

The median pay for the top 100 highest-paid CEOs at America’s publicly traded companies was a handsome $13.9 million in 2013. That’s a 9 percent increase from the previous year, according to a new Equilar pay study for The New York Times.

These types of jumps in executive compensation may have more of an effect on our widening income inequality than previously thought. A new book that’s the talk of academia and the media, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old who teaches at the Paris School of Economics, shows that two-thirds of America’s increase in income inequality over the past four decades is the result of steep raises given to the country’s highest earners.

This week, Bill talks with Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, about Piketty’s “magnificent” new book.

“What Piketty’s really done now is he said, ‘Even those of you who talk about the 1 percent, you don’t really get what’s going on.’ He’s telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth.”

Krugman adds: “We’re seeing inequalities that will be transferred across generations. We are becoming very much the kind of society we imagined we’re nothing like.”

Producer: Gina Kim. Segment Producer: Lena Shemel. Editor: Rob Kuhns. Intro Producer: Lena Shemel. Editor: Sikay Tang. Outro Producer: Rob Booth.
Editor: Sikay Tang.

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  • Anonymous

    You should mind YOUR government selling out to them. Because YOU hired your government with YOUR vote.

    The wealthy has the same right as you, to advocate vigorously for their position, with whatever resources they want to use.

    They can only buy your government IF your government sells out.

    Your outrage is seriously misguided.

  • Anonymous

    The extremely high taxation of wealth an inheritances in the US in the first 3/4 of the 20th century were an aberration, a singularity.

    Only possible due to there threat of communism, wars (destruction of competitive powers), and economic collapse.

    Now, it is game over. If you tax capital in the US, capital moves to Hong Kong. If you pass high minimum wages and restrictive union rules, capital moves the labor to Mexico or China. If you demonize CEOs, CEOs will move to Dubai or whatever.

    Wealth and incomes are mobile. There is ZERO threat of communism.

    Good luck trying to go after the 1%.

  • Roberto Pascani

    The problem with your argument is pretty easy to see. “The wealthy has the same right as you, to advocate vigorously for their position, with whatever resources they want to use.” You see, they have far greater resources. And in the governmental environment we have, that means they can buy their position. The biggest problem, is our government. Our constitution promises us a government, “of the people, by the people, for the people.” But for a long time now, our elected officials, have not been the people. Any time a truly good person runs for office, his opponent destroys him in the press. A press which is basically owned by the government. This country is done. We have allowed it to get this far, and have allowed a great country to be destroyed. It’s too late to be able to stop it. And it’s a shame.

  • Anonymous

    Typical libertarian nitwittery. Of course these people can be taxed overseas, and, tariffs can be restored to make sure this hollowing out of the middle class is stopped. Ruinous trade agreements can be repealed. It’s all a matter of political will. You are justifying sociopathy, and this sociopathy cannot be sustained. There will be bloodshed. I am sick of people like you who make excuses for these criminals who have stolen from the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    They don’t have the right to own the politicians. Take your b.s. elsewhere.

  • Anonymous

    And this was called because they talked Americans into believing that America could no longer be isolationists . That we should pass free trade agreements so that the trade deficit could become so high that we are not buried in debt to China.
    China the next world superpower thanks to free trade and most favored nation.

  • Anonymous

    So, according to you, the only way to solve the problem is to make sure that the everyone, the entire population of the nation, has EXACTLY the same resources?

    The liberal-comunist dream!!!!

    Because, according to you, if I have even a little bit more, I have more influence. Therefore I can rig the government a little bit my way, getting a further bump in the resources I have, till eventually, I and my heirs will capture the government.

    Newsflash to you: There will ALWAS be people with more resources than you. If you think more resources buy governments, then, there is no escape.

  • Anonymous

    I mind how they got that way. On the backs of the hardworking men and women . They didn’t just buy our government they bought our resources, our airwaves and now have the nerve to call themselves persons.

  • Anonymous

    More resources do buy the government. ALEC makes the laws and hands them to Congress to pass whatever ALEC wants passed. The big corporations and the wealthy cannot be charged with anything because they make laws that say it is legal.

  • Anonymous

    Sure it can. If the US bombed all other industrial countries into ruin without being bombed itself, and emerged as the only standing industrial power (like in 1945) it could be done.

    Short of that, there is enough industrial/economic capacity in China, South Korea, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, to offer meaningful competition to the US.

    If you squeeze capital too much in ANY country, capital will escape to better shores.

    Here is a mental illustration to help you: Even if the US banned (not just tax, but out right banned) iPhones, cheap jeans, and all other products made in China or Mexico, they would still get into the US and be purchased by Americans.

    How do I know this? Simple.

    We have banned and waged wars on drugs, and they still easily get into the US in massive quantities.

    It is a global market for finance, goods and illegal drugs. Like it or not.

    The only thing the US gvmt can do is make it inconvenient and more costly for Americans to get these products, therefore enriching the drug dealers and Mexican/Chinese producers even more.

  • Anonymous

    No. It was because communism collapsed and South Korea, China, Russia, Mexico, Brazil, etc developed their industrial capacity and Hong Kong, Dubai, etc developed their financial centers, and now….

    The US has to CHASE investments and factories like every other country.

    If I want to build iPhones, I can shop that production around to the nation, state, city that treats me the best.

    Production will continue to move from Michigan to Texas, from Washington State to North Carolina, from New York to Mexico, from California to China until there is an stabilization based on unit production costs, transpiration, regulation, taxation, etc.

    You can scream as much as you want. The US is competing for markets and investments with lots of countries.

    Be very, very careful about chasing away the 1% from the US to say Hong Kong or Dubai. Very afraid. They will NEVER give up their 1% status. They will move.

    Just like when you forced whites to bus their children to schools in Philadelphia, Detroit, etc, they simply picked up and moved to the suburbs.

    The whole world now is one big suburb beaconing for the US 1%.

  • Anonymous

    You do remember how our nation started, right?

    You do know that Washington, Jefferson, all the governors, politicians etc from DAY ONE of our nation were ALL white males who were part of the 0.01%, right?

    So the government was born belonging to the wealthy, the white, the male.

    What is your point?

  • David B. Wilder

    I think Baron is right on most every point. I find I’m in agreement with him more than the others who have commented and even Paul Krugman’s remedies. The mid 20th century in the U.S. WAS an anomaly. The reforms that came about for social welfare WERE done under the threat of communism. I also agree with his characterization of WWII and its role in making the U.S. more competitive than the rest of the industrialized world. Krugman never mentions this part of the equation in his praise of the post war boom. It is not possible to shackle capital in its search for ever higher profits. It cannot be reformed to provide for the majority of people. What I don’t agree with is his statement that there is a ZERO threat of communism. There will be a threat of communism as long as there is a working class that is necessarily dispossessed in order for capital to exist. He doesn’t share the illusions of those who have argued against him, even to the extent that he appears to embrace oligarchical power, however, he seems naive as to how important those political illusions are for the maintenance of the capitalist system. Once the political fig leaf of a “commonality of interests” is removed, and the class nature of politics is revealed, the 1% (along with the 10-15% who will always be their minions and lackeys) will face off against the large majority who will sweep them away for good. The dictatorship of capital will end, and the dictatorship of workers will begin–for a time. The administration of people will be replaced by the administration of things.

  • equalizer

    baron95′s is right about the parasitic 1 percent fleeing to other shores shores if we tap him. But some of those shores he cited have an innovative way for for dealing with white-collar criminals. We could learn from them. http://www.businessinsider.com/china-white-collar-criminals-death-sentence-2012-10

  • Cathy

    Mr. Moyers,

    Thank you for all your lifetime contributions, I appreciate your diligent research and objective coverage on current topics.

    Now, you have had other guests like Matt Taibbi who have covered the rampant, uncontrolled criminal behavior of the oligarch elite. These people did not “earn” their fortunes, they criminally stole their fortunes (in most cases), then bribed, in collusion with “elected” officials to escape persecution, including tax evasion, or even the accurate reporting of total income or not having to pay inheritance tax (like the Waltons). Mr. Krugman has actively contributed to this theft by advocating that the government use the force of guns to make the American plebians give all of their money, not limited to, but including taxes, to oligarch criminal monopolies, that are behaving like mafia gangs – money laundering, price rigging, predatory takeovers, off-balance sheet accounting, etc… on and on…. Mr. Krugman makes $25,000 per month talking about “inequality.” I fail to see what significant contribution he makes to society.

    This will not end well. The pension crisis is next – I live in Baltimore County and just looked up Baltimore County’s public school budget online. It was difficult to find, I wonder why? The school pays 41% in debt service – it is borrowing money to pay for what? Almost half the revenue it is taking in is going to banks, not teachers, not students, not buildings. I believe they are using the borrowed money to pay for pensions that were promised that are not going to be kept. Ponzi schemes only work as long as there are more suckers to enter the scam.

    Thank you – have a great day!

    Cathy

  • http://greyenlightenment.com/ (new site) Economics Institute

    Sigh, another ‘us vs. them’ article to incite class warfare. Let’s look at the facts. While some CEOs do make 100x the average worker, these are extreme outliers; the average CEO pay for a small business is only $200-400k, or about 5-10% of the most extreme pay

  • myopic void

    the solution to these problems is to radically change and / or do away with completely lawyer tricks such as the right of a corporation to exist.

  • Anonymous

    @David Actually, I’m not naive at all. In fact, I do believe that the ideologues and class warfare practitioners have scored some points with their 1% narrative, and that some accommodation will need to be made.

    For example higher minimum wage, more disclosure and voting by shareholders for executive pay, etc will all come to pass.

    I also think there is a non-zero chance that in the next 2 decades the Democratic party will capture the presidency and both houses and pass a set of higher taxes and other bills targeting the 1%.

    But it will not change anything. Globalization and technological changes will accelerate. Samsung in South Korea, Lenovo in China, Embraer in Brazil, Gazprom in Russia WILL rise to challenge Apple and HP and Boeing and Exxon.

    The harder the US govmt makes life for those US companies and their executives and investors, the faster the competition will develop.

    Redistribution may be good for the bottom half of the population, but it slows growth.

    And when China and South Korea (to name two) are already goring at 2-3 times the US, can we really afford to further slow growth?

    So yes – there will be more pain for the 1%. My point is that the 99% will not like the result.

    Gvmt will squeeze the 1%. The 1% will sneeze. The 99% will catch a nasty cold.

  • Anonymous

    @myopic_void:disqus

    LOL. Which will mean even more concentration of wealth.

    You don’t get it do you. With corporations, ordinary people can buy stock in them and benefit from their success.

    Every time Apple or Exxon or Goldman Sachs makes money, tens of millions of Americans make money as well as they pay dividends and/or their stocks go up.

    If you outlaws corporations, then these companies will be privately owned partnerships, further concentrating the wealth and the rewards.

    You really didn’t think that one through, did you?

  • David B. Wilder

    Growth. Like China building ghost cities. Yes, capital needs to expand and profit indefinitely. To compete, it produces more than can ever be profitably sold. It also needs to produce useful things, which actually is a problem for it. Lately, it tries to make profits by producing absolutely nothing at all–hence popping bubbles of fictitious value. The future of capitalism really needs a planet other than this one.

  • GregoryC

    Most of those multinational corporations hold billions offshore in the 38+ known tax havens. Those earnings do not get paid in dividends of capital gains until the CEOs and their lobbyists bribe Congress into repatriating those non-taxed profits back to the U.S. under the guise of creating jobs.

  • GregoryC

    Change comes from the bottom and the ruling political/economic elite won’t give up their wealthy & power without mass civil disobedience. Until armchair quarterbacks quit b*tching online and organize protests in Washington and state capitols, I don’t thing the system will change.

  • Anonymous

    That’s right. We should, we must …give up and roll over! Let your children have a degraded way of life, lousy education so they can lead crime-filled, cynical and shorten lives, easily manipulated to fight each other and welcome their ‘masters’ (think Brave New World or The Time Machine). Terrible public infrastructure, polluted undrinkable water and domestic ecological disaster is going to make us more competitive in the long wrong – you have this all wrong! People don’t need to be healthy or have any kind of security. We HAVE to let these 1% geniuses have their way! Or they will go elsewhere. Give them whatever their greed and out of control egos want – with their arcane ideas about being ‘exceptional’ on the Planet, in the universe! , Let them be in denial about climate change (at least on its impact for the majority of us) or the value of a human life – women’s freedom, children’s welfare — whatever and however they SEE IT. Just whatever you do — don’t let these totally entitled, exceptional geniuses/Masters leave our shores!! There is nobody in the 99% of any talent and we truly can’t govern ourselves without their ‘help’ (at helping themselves — it’s stealing and clinging to so much of it, they do. That’s important work.) We’d panic and fall apart — why look what happened when the divine right of Kings ended in Europe! Why, they’ve NEVER recovered! Power and planetary affairs and distribution should work like this! We would be nothing without them!

  • Anonymous

    “look at the facts”? Is this a joke?

    CEO’s of fortune 500 companies make 204 times what the average worker makes. In the 1950′s it was 20 times more. In the 80′s, 42 times more. 60% of the wealth generated in the past 30 years has gone to the top 1%. Productions up 90% over that same time period, but salaries of the middle class are up 8%. Where did all that profit go? The 6 Waltons are worth over $110 Billion, yet pay minimum wage and no benefits to their workers.

    Class warfare has occurred many times in the history of the world. Unless the filthy rich wise up, it will happen in America too in the near future. And not in the figurative way you and your ilk talk about, but in a very real way, where people take to the streets.

  • Anonymous

    The oligarchy is well under way. HSBC ADMITTED to knowing Mexican drug cartels were using their bank to move their money, and not one person served one day in jail. NOT ONE DAY IN JAIL.

    The two Americas have existed for some time now. Financial, educational, judicial, etc.

  • http://1jdadam.wordpress.com/ JD Adam

    I’d like very much for my fellow Americans to realize that those who now own our Gov’t and our lives care nothing at all for us. They mimic humanity to get us off their backs and of course most Americans are happy to forgive what they can’t understand… what to expect out of insanely wealthy, powerful Psychopaths….well, just read history and study Hitler & Goebbels closely… Without action by all Americans, this is the future for our children and the end of the Great Experiment of Self Governing Democracy!

  • http://1jdadam.wordpress.com/ JD Adam

    Indeed, Sir, this IS “Class Warfare”, something we Americans find distasteful in others….therefore in ourselves…..

  • Anonymous

    What country are you living in?

    Compared to 1980 the peak of redistribution that Krugman longs for…..

    The crime rate in America is no longer a problem.

    The average size of homes went up by 25%.

    The average number of cars in peoples garages, average number of TV sets, central air conditioning, etc, every measure of median household is through the roof better.

    The price of everyday items ( from boxer shorts to computers) is much lower.

    We are on an energy boom.

    The average American airport looks like a high end mall, vs a union jobs bank.

    The price (commission to trade stocks) went down by 95%+.

    Interest rates on mortgages and car loans are 75% lower.

    Hard working Americans moved to the suburbs and have access to excellent public schools.

    Life expectancy improved by 4 years.

    There are hundreds of thousands of miles of new highways in the the south and southwest of the US with speed limits ranging to 85MPH.

    Our trauma centers can revive and rehabilitate people with devastating injuries that would die or lose function in the 1980, including saving multiple gunshot wound victims, car accident victims, etc.

    Our air and water are so much cleaner. Lead paint, asbestos, cigarette smoking have basically been eliminated.

    What country are you describing?

    Name ONE objective measure by which a median similar family, say 2 parents, 2 kids is worse off today than in 1980, as far as quality of life and material well being.

    I bet you can’t.

  • Bill Burgess

    Most people do not realize Economics Institute is a Koch Funded Idea from ALEC.

  • Anonymous

    This is why the Democrats attempt to demonize the rich or the 1% will fail.

    Brand new research from Prof Hirchl of Cornnel….

    TWELVE PERCENT (12%) of the population will find themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution for at least one year.

    THIRTY NINE PERCENT (39%) of Americans will spend a year in the top 5 percent of the income distribution.

    FIFTY SIX PERCENT (56%) will find themselves in the top 10 percent.

    A whopping SEVENTY THREE PERCENT (73%) will spend a year in the top quintile (top 20 percent) of the income distribution, normally defined as well off or rich.

    You see, people DO in fact move up and down the lather all the time. That California or NYC resident who will be in the 10% one year and see the massive Federal, state, city income tax taken out of his/her pay, in addition to the phasing out of all deductions and AMT, will remember that for many years, even if they subsequently drop down the income scale.

    Read this!!! Over half the population is in the top 10% of income at some point.!!!!!

    If you demonize the 10% you are demonizing more than half of Americans.

  • myopic void

    oh i’ve thought it through. those privately owned partnerships will also not be shielded from legal liability, which is the whole point. pay attention.

  • Anonymous

    One: They are not fleeing. They are being wined, dined, wowed with a red carpet to invest in the “other shores”.

    Two: There are enough legal ways for the 1% to make money anywhere. Talking about white color crime punishment will be tuned out.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, while Dr. Krugman presents one sided arguments, and I often disagree with him, he does add value to the discussion.

    He is smart, articulate and presents the case for higher taxes and more distribution well. He has a huge megaphone – two columns per week at the New York Times, etc.

    It is encumbered upon those with differing opinions to present them as eloquently.

    That is why we need Americans for prosperity to present the counterpoint.

  • Anonymous

    Oh boy – so you haven’t heard of limited liability partnerships (LLPs) either?

    Wow.

  • Anonymous

    How clueless you are.

    Let me clue you in on how things work.

    Apple has $150B overseas. They want to pay dividends. They BORROW money from banks to pay dividends. They pay the loan off with overseas money.

    No. This is not theoretical. This IS what Apple is doing. They just took out a huge loan in order to pay dividends.

    They also use their overseas money to acquire companies which increase their valuation.

    It also make building a factory overseas 35% cheaper than building the same factory in the US, since they use pre-tax $$$.

    So the pressure builds, until sooner or later, the US will do a tax holiday and get 5% instead of the theoretical 35% that they will never see.

  • Anonymous

    It is not the top 10% that is the problem. You only have to make 100K to be in the top 10 %. It is the top .001% that have more than the bottom 40% that is the problem. The 480 individuals who have more than 3 BILLION people on the planet.

  • AnnaFrieda

    Indeed this is class warfare. The one percenters have declared economic war on the 99 percent and it’s about time we are starting to fight back!!!

  • Anonymous

    Too late. Search Princeton Concludes What Kind of Government America Really Has, and It’s Not a Democracy.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry, I do not believe you. You have to produce a link or research title. The 56% quote seems especially ridiculous and a deliberate distraction somehow, like the fact now they can give so much political money.
    So which of the 3 Hirchl at Cornell wrote the paper?

  • Stuart

    Why do middle class and the poor keep voting for the rich?

  • Anonymous

    Why are they a “problem”?

    Is Bill Gates a problem? Is Warren Buffet a Problem. Is Larry Robinson a Problem? Is Oprah Winfrey a Problem? Is Michael Jordan a Problem? Is Nanci Pelosi a Problem?

    What problem do the above people pose?

    Even the Koch Brothers. They build from scratch a group of companies that employ 60,000 Americans. And they are a problem why? Because they finance an organization that advocates their views on free enterprise?

  • Anonymous

    Read the Sunday New York Times (article on it is on line now) – see links in the answer below once Moyers approves it.

    (I guess they don’t like links in their comments)

  • Anonymous

    The govt has sold out to the wealthy.. Both parties have sold out..Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations warned us about this happening & thus bigger govt & bigger money interests.. the real ruling upper class which includes Hollywood; unions; Pac money.. Let;s face it our govt is for sales every election.. To the victor go the spoils. By the way Krugman is more political than an economist in my view.. It would be fun to have him debate Tom Sowell. P.S. Neither political party has not met a merger of corporations that they haven’t liked… What does that tell us.

  • Anonymous

    Helps that the Communist rulers are worth well over 20X what my representatives in governemt are.

  • Anonymous

    You sound like an ideologue.

  • Anonymous

    Not all you facts are true. The industries moved to the suburbs first, not busing.

  • Anonymous

    What are a troll?

  • Anonymous

    What great innovations have come from socialistic countries… Not to many. The amount of new ideas coming from our Democratic Republic far out way any other country..that is what has made us great … not big govt. big ideas with capital investment to back it up

  • Anonymous

    Your pompousness are getting annoying.

  • Anonymous

    Funny how you like the Chinese communists. I think you do not like democracy. Right.

  • Anonymous

    Foolish statement, You faulk. Bye.

  • NotARedneck

    “TWELVE PERCENT (12%) of the population will find
    themselves in the top 1 percent of the income distribution for at least one
    year.”

    That’s the year that they get the settlement on getting run over by one of the
    1%’s limos. Of course, half goes to their lawyer and the other half to the
    hospital. But….they were temporarily rich and therefore vote RepubliCON
    forever afterwards!

  • http://www.codeplow.com carny666

    It doesn’t matter how many of us know or read books like this. It will NEVER change. This is now the normal. As long as we can ‘go to the mall’… and do. This is how life will be. Get used to it.

  • NotARedneck

    “Why are they a “problem”?”

    Because they will lie, cheat and steal and anything else for that matter to get this money, get more of it, not pay their taxes and keep their often totally unearned position.

    Only morons don’t see this.

  • littlewing

    the same nobel committee must have given obama the peace prize and krugman the economic prize. they missed it like michael bay missed pearl harbor.

  • T Bartholomew Roberts

    “built from scratch” – so, that’s what they call being born in Repub circles?? oh boy… people, don’t feed the troll, just don’t

  • T Bartholomew Roberts

    you sound jealous.

  • nnyl

    Consider the Kansas state senator who said that she works for those who write checks.

  • nnyl

    Publicly funded elections.

  • nnyl

    NPR/MPR did a story recently on the businesses in DC who get people into see their federal representatives. Far easier for donors to get in than the average constituent.

  • msbhavn

    Here’s another comment where you’re totally wrong. For example, read Thomas Jefferson’s letter to James Madison Fontainebleau, Oct. 28, 1785. Here’s a small quote from it:
    “…the consequences of this enormous inequality producing so much misery to the bulk of mankind, legislators cannot invent too many devices for subdividing property, only taking care to let their subdivisions go hand in hand with the natural affections of the human mind. The descent of property of every kind therefore to all the children, or to all the brothers and sisters, or other relations in equal degree, is a politic measure and a practicable one. Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions or property in geometrical progression as they rise.”

  • msbhavn

    Again you’re misrepresenting the facts. People do not move up & down the entire ladder. The large majority only move between adjacent percentiles. Better get your facts straight.

    According to research by the Pew Charitable Trusts, 62% of Americans raised in the top fifth of incomes stay in the top two-fifths, while 65% born in the bottom fifth stay in the bottom two-fifths. We are, in fact, one of the least socially mobile countries of the developed nations.

  • msbhavn

    The crime rate went down because we quit using leaded gas. Incontrovertible evidence presented in “The Crimes of Lead”, in Chemical & Engineering News, February, 2014.

    Also, poverty went down after LBJ began the “War on Poverty,” but under Reagan, poverty again began to rise.

    Your statistics sound suspiciously like those the Heritage Foundation constantly promotes.

  • Matthew Daniel Watkins

    Show source or it didn’t happen.

  • Matthew Daniel Watkins

    They are a problem because the billions of dollars they posses just sits there and is never used for anything. One person cannot actively nor constructively used that much money in their lifetimes and so that money just sits there in a bank, probably overseas in a tax haven where it causes inflation because it is not being used. While if that money was being used through wages to employees then the economy would boom, production would increase, new jobs would be created, more taxes would be created and a positive economic cycle would be created. Instead that money just sits there because one person cannot possibly spend tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in their lifetime constructively. That is why people with that much money are bad for the economy and a tax rate of 100% should be implemented for any amount over a billion dollars. A billion is enough for any one person.

  • Matthew Daniel Watkins

    The very dictionary definition of tyranny is a nation of men not laws.

  • Matthew Daniel Watkins

    Presenting and subverting are two different things. Americans for prosperity are arguing with the motive for hedonism which is not very patriotic nor christian. Arguing for legislative change to the country so that your country men die and suffer so that you can prosper is far from a counterpoint, it’s mutiny.

  • Guest

    Bill we were a country build on the backs of slaves. How can you consider this a new phenomenon?

  • S. Genius

    Bill we were a country built on the backs of slaves. In other words Free Labor. There was no redistribution of wealth following the slave economy. Inequality is not a new phenomenon. In fact inequality is the basis for capitalism.

  • Jen

    This is not just a US phenomenon Stuart, – we do it in the UK too, in fact it happens all over the world. in general, only the wealthy can make their voices heard in the run up to an election.

  • Terence Francis

    We need to up the volume to screeching point, and ever-increasing frequency with this clarion-call. The need is dire.

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    You are right! The wealth of the southern planter was re-invested into the factories of the north where wage-slavery was established after the Civil War during the Industrial Revolution!

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    I know how to change it. Find out who these oligarchs are and go picket their homes!

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    It’s called “public relations” aka mind control.

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    Exactly!

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    The kicker though is the INHERITED wealth that grows faster than the economy as a whole. Did you not watch the video? Or are you just a shill? aka TROLL!

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    Why are you arguing with this person that has thrown a red herring into the conversation?

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    Red herring. Changing the subject of INHERITED WEALTH!

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    Well, you weren’t distracted by the red herring. Good job. Inherited wealth is the subject.

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    Has everyone forgotten the cardinal rule of the 1%? “Never touch the principal.” (They don’t spend their wealth they use it to accumulate more!)

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    No, they don’t have to lie, cheat and steal, they just buy the government to write the rules so that it works for them an not us. That’s the definition of oligarchy. They have effectively killed the estate tax by calling it a “death tax” so now they can create a class of leisure that doesn’t have to work for their living.

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    Yes, oligarchy is tyranny. Great point!

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    Red herring. The issue is INHERITED WEALTH.

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”~ Warren Buffet

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”~ Warren Buffet (it needs to be repeated)

  • Gregory Paul Smith

    Incumbent,

  • Cathy

    baron95:

    You miss the point. You think discussion is relevant. Mr. Krugman is a hypocrite. On the one hand, he is getting paid $25,000 per month or $300,000 +, to “talk” about inequality (not solve it). On the other, he actively advises and promotes income inequality with his perverse monetary theories. He has never held a w-2 job and never pulls his head up out of his complicated mathematical models to see if his theories actually apply to reality – obviously, they don’t or we would not be having this discussion. Exponential growth never lasts in reality – nature always finds a way to decrease exponential growth, usually rapidly. He has no interest, whatsoever, addressing inequality, only masking or justifying the crimes of the power elite. That is what he is getting paid for: to “talk” about the poor, but doesn’t like their smell.

  • Anonymous

    Thomas Picketty’s book is out of stock on Amazon, this is a good sign.

  • Anonymous

    I totally trust what Krugman has to say on this issue because he is among the one percent. Proceed, Professor …

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. As someone who lives in the South and despises the very idea of slavery, it’s refreshing to see that someone understands its hateful reach did not stop in below the Mason-Dixon line.

  • Anonymous

    Hon, you have no idea what the 1% IS. I do, I married into a family of them. They make so goddamned much money they could burn it for one hundred years and never touch the initial investments. Krugman is a person who has to work for a living, my in laws haven’t worked for generations. THAT is the 1%. They look down upon the CEO’s of the world, to be truthful. If you have to work, you’re not doing it right.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry dear, the Koch’s INHERITED their wealth. Neither of them work unless they are PLAYING at politics to keep their wealth and not have to use to to make this country greater.

  • greg scott

    Slaves and murdering the indians so we could steal their land.

  • Common Sense

    Cry me a river. You will always have winners and losers. It’s called life. Instead of wasting your time whining about the 1% why not invent something yourself or learn a new skill? Blaming the rich is just a lame excuse.

  • David William Rutledge

    Do you have a statistic on the % that will spend their entire lives in poverty (in the richest country in the world)? I think that would be more revealing of who we are – or have become.

  • Jack Wiley

    the whole thing is propaganda – if they like redistribution i would suggest they give half their salaries away. jerks.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Can you do redistribution (of wealth) in a way that makes us a better society?

    Christians are ‘required’ to tithe up to 10% of their income to the Church, which then (theoretically) redistributes that wealth to the poor and needy.

    The NFL redistributes TV billions so all teams receive a fair share.

    And, let’s not forget, the main function of our democratically elected Congress is to collect taxes and redistribute that wealth for the common good.

    Er, I mean, redistribution of wealth is EVIL SOCIALISM COMMUNISM FASCISM!!!

  • Anonymous

    other than your ad hominem attack on Krugman, are you able to list one thing you actually consider a flaw? I doubt you have even touched the book they are talking about.

  • Anonymous

    I think they would, if there was a system in place to ensure that every mega-rich person paid their fair sure, and not just them.

  • JonThomas

    When an unsocialized child enters a playground, they can often become bullies, hoarding toys, claiming ‘possession’ as their ‘right’.

    Some children will even fawn themselves before the bully in order to be close to, and receive the benefits from, what they perceive as ‘power’.

    Those secondary children will even fight for the bully, emulating the bully-like, even violent behavior to further ingratiate themselves.

    Unchecked, the bullies will then come up with excuses for continuing the new status quo, and develop systems for meting out favors.

    This system can continue, often with violent outcomes, until a mature adult comes along and corrects the problem.

    The correction? REDISTRIBUTION! The toys belong to the playground, not to the strong. Just because the strong take them, that doesn’t make it the right, or proper manner of conduct in a society.

    The playground does NOT belong to the bullies. The purpose of the playground is for all children to enjoy themselves in the ‘pursuit of happiness.’ They all have the right to be in the playground (right to life.) And, they all have the right to play without fear from others (liberty.)

    Only the immoral defend and practice a violent social system. It is even traitorous to the ideals of this nation.

    To all you defending the system as it is now… will you begin to understand? Or will you admit to yourselves that you are either the bullies, or worse, the suck-ups to the bullies? The bullies and their minions are the violent animals who hide behind false ideals of protection from violence. Because if you defend the bully-system, then you acknowledge and concede that violence is an acceptable method of behavior.

    Therefore, you are in effect asking the teacher to teach you a lesson.

  • Anonymous

    Try reading a little history. And, please, change your name to no-common sense. A little truth in advertising is in order with your “writings”.

  • Anonymous

    You really should consider just sticking with Fox News. You could hurt yourself reading, you know.

  • Anonymous

    Because the wealthy are corrupting the elections, & most of the middle class & poor are ignorant.

  • Anonymous

    Operation American Spring May 16th+ @ OUR white House !!!!

  • Anonymous

    ALL the Congress ! & ALL are corrupt !!!

  • Anonymous

    hilarious considering that Krugman is a card carrying GOP member!!

  • Anonymous

    was there pain in the eyes of Mr. Krugman over the need to visit, once more, the sad landscape of today’s America?

  • Anonymous

    i suggest that those who come down so hard on redistribution would like to redistribute some wealth their way. and of course, it is scandalous that we offer solace to the bottom 20.

  • Ted Browne

    So in other words, I’ll keep my wealth and redistribute yours.

  • Anonymous

    Because the system is rigged. They don’t call them the 1% for nothing. You have a 99% chance of never joining them. And why do you types never have a problem with the redistribution of income UPWARDS to the 1%?

  • Anonymous

    They don’t read. FOX tells them reading and thinking are bad.

  • Anonymous

    How about resurrecting the guillotine?

  • Anonymous

    I don’t because I don’t think enough people are angry.

  • Anonymous

    Yer funny. I’m in the top 4% but that is a very long way from the .01%. As someone said up there, it means you’re not poor. It doesn’t mean you are rich. I am comfortable but I will never make it to the 1%.

  • Anonymous

    As a professional fundraiser, I worked with a large national NFP with donors who were multi-billionaires and a few mere multi-millionaires. In some instances I got to know children, wives and siblings quite well. The Great Person him or herself would host events at one of several palatial residences. So I do get it. One of my two best friends is from extensive wealth. He is the only one of four children who ever worked, and he is quite successful in the airline industry, where his dad had golf buddies.

    My reference to Krugman was a throw-back to Obama in his early presidency, yammering about the one percenters who did not pay their share of taxes. He referenced himself as being among them. I found that comical. He had lumped them all together, all equally despicable – except him, of course. As compared to most Americans, Krugman would be among those Obama would include as able to pay his fair share of taxes. But no, he is not a one percenter at the Gates level – and that of your family, of course. If all of you richies left the country and took your wealth with you, we’d really be in some deep stuffola here.

  • Anonymous

    Oh my god – There billions just “sit there”!!!!1

    Really? Are liberals that clueless about the economy and money?

    Do you think that the Koch brother’s millions are stashed under a mattress somewhere?

    Virtually ALL their money is invested in stock equity (their companies and others), bonds and real estate.

    Stock investments is what gives companies capital to get started and grow and hire people.

    Bond investment is what finances the US Gvmt the largest bond issuer, and every state and municipality in America.

    Real estate is one of the largest and better paid source of jobs for unskilled workers.

    The money of the 1% is always INVESTED. Never ever just “sitting there”.

    OMG – the things we read here.

  • Anonymous

    No, but the same research from Cornell says that 54% (IIRC) of Americans will spend a year below or near poverty.

    So both being poor and being at the top 10% of income for a year is familiar to over half of Americans.

    And that is why class warfare will not work outside fringe groups like Bill Moyers and company.

  • Anonymous

    Nope. That is what we call being smart enough to go to MIT, inventing a new chemical process, starting a company, and seeing your sons taking it from $3B in sales to $120B in sales in 30 years.

  • Anonymous

    Really? So Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey, Michael Jordan, Larry Ellison, Steven Spielberg got to be at the 0.01% by lying, cheating and stealing, not by taking advantage of their unique talents and working hard?

    Amazing.

    So all that a poor person has to do is lie, cheat and steal and they too will be at the 0.01%.

    Problem solved.

  • Anonymous

    You mean like the wealth that was transferred from Washington, Jefferson, and all the other founders (all members of the 0.1%) to their heirs?

    How did that damage the nation?

  • Anonymous

    Welcome to Oligarchydome

  • Anonymous

    When I figure out why you insist on putting government in quotes, I’ll consider taking the time to respond to you as though you were an adult.

  • JonThomas

    Yes, governments have shown the ‘ability and responsibility to handle money fairly.’ In this country alone programs such as medicare are extremely efficient and very fair.

    The fact is that this is not an issue of ‘charity’. That’s not even close to what was discussed.

    It might help you to understand this issue if you could clean up the pronouns and self-identifiers throughout your comment.

    For example…

    In your first sentence you ask… “do we…?” But then you apply the ‘taking to be from the ’1%’. Later you claim to be ‘an average citizen.’

    So, are you an ‘average citizen,’ or do you represent the 1%?

    If you are an average citizen, then you would not be part of any ‘we’ that will be at risk of some sort of, as you phrase it, ‘taking.’

    Secondly, this IS indeed a complicated issue. It actually does ‘take economic experts’ to figure out financial solutions to the problems discussed in this episode. Concepts you expressed, such as ‘taking,’ misconstrue the entire discussion.

    One of the political problems we face is that many pundits and commentators who profit from things staying as they are, have convinced non-experts of some overly simplistic talking points such as those which you expressed…

    Expressions such as: the “”Robin Hood” approach”; ‘giving our “government” is more power over our lives’; ‘more taxes and regulation are NOT the answer’; ‘all that does is kill incentive’; and asking if… ‘”governments” of most countries shown the ability or the responsibility to handle this money fairly?’… are not part of nuanced thinking. Unfortunately they are instead, pacifying strategies meant to hack lazy minds who do not want to deepen their understanding.

  • JonThomas

    Lol… I did take a little time, but I will probably regret it quite soon. I’d like to hope I’m wrong, but it sounds like a paid right wing hack.

  • Barbara B

    Taxes are a necessity in a civilized society. It is how the money is spent that causes the problems. Did you not just watch this program or did you not understand it.
    We currently have a government that spends money on wars, invading and occupying other countries, thereby creating populations that hate us and thereby create more spending on invasions and occupations. It is a no win except for the ones who own the corporations that make money off these endeavors. 37% of our tax dollars go to this insanity (dong the same thing over and over and expecting different results).
    When this finally stops, which it eventually will, we can try to recover a sense of decency and honor. That is, if there is a planet left to live on.

  • Anonymous

    We don’t need less government. We need better government. And that is possible, as some other countries have proven.

  • Lauren Steiner

    In talking about solutions, what he fails to take into account is that the reform movement during FDR’s time was spurred by an active labor union movement and a strong Socialist party and a fear of going Communist, conditions that don’t exist today. Also, people didn’t have the kind of debt they have now. Now most people are debt slaves paying off mortgage loans, credit card loans and/or student loans. These people are not about to rebel.

  • Chuck

    The small government crowd is always yelling about how reckless the government is with peoples money but are usually the biggest donors (and the biggest beneficiaries).

    Yes the super wealthy are sometimes charitable but poor people generally give more as a percentage of their income.

    I don’t care if these people hoard all the wealth in the world…when they have all the money…it’ll become worthless. You can’t sell stuff to people who don’t have currency to buy things.

    Funniest thing of all is that we as human beings have lost the one thing that made us the dominant species on the planet, trust. We don’t trust our fellow man to do the right thing. Don’t trust the government, they are trying to control you through laws and taxation and too much regulation. Don’t trust the rich…they want to control all the wealth and want to make you a wage slave and control you through monopolies on the very industries that prop up civilization. Don’t trust the church, they are using God as a means of social control. Don’t trust atheist, they want anarchy and hedonism to reign…they want to destroy decent society. Don’t trust the police, they are racist’s with guns. Don’t trust minorities, they only want a hand out and they have guns. It’s all bullshit…all these things we fear are just people, we are all scared of other groups of people that are apart of the same society.

    Fear and lack of trust will destroy society way faster than financial collapse. We will never be the Greatest Generation again…we have no trust in one another to do the right thing by society. We can’t agree that making a sick person well is more valuable then the money the process costs. Trying to make sure that every kid’s education is little better than the one his parents got is something that not only benefits the individual it benefits society…smart people have options and violent crime is usually pretty low on the list. Making sure you are a citizen of a country worth fighting for is just as patriotic an act as going to war.

    We have the society and government we deserve…stupid, scared, divided and falling apart.

  • Anonymous

    I see your point, but that just means that Americans need to get moving and organise civil society to apply pressure outside of the party-system, so that hopefully by the next economic downturn, there’s an alternative ready to press their demands.

  • Lauren Steiner

    Yes, I was very active with the Occupy movement. We changed the national conversation about this over two and a half years ago. Problem was the movement resisted the three things necessary to be effective: strategy, coordination and leadership. Now some of us are working on alternatives. In my case, I am working to establish a public bank in LA to wrest control away from the Wall Street banks and get the money circulating in our local economy to fund local people, businesses and services. I don’t think there is going to be a revolution for the reasons I stated above, including the fact that the mass media is totally co-opted as are most other formerly liberal institutions. And I think substantial reforms will be impossible due to the stranglehold that Big Money has on politics. So the answer is building the world we want to see on a local level where change is most possible, IMHO.

  • Anonymous

    im more in the school of thinking that says we are in full on corporate facism

  • Anonymous

    People with your views are usually spoon fed by Roger Ailes. If you are truly a thinker you should read Keynes vs Hayek and then read Age of Greed by Jeff Madrick. So you will understand how Milton Friedman an economist from the Chicago school of economics influenced Ronald Reagan. Madricks explains in his book how our polititians have caved in to a handful of very greedy people who have repealed the laws that were protecting us from that greed. Both republicans and democrats were responsible. Keynes vs Hayek explains the basics of the two economic theories. Keynes theories were proven after the First World War and after the depression. Hayek’s theories were never proven. The Loudest Voice in the Room is about Roger Ailes who has 2 meetings a day with the journalists of FOX in order to give them their talking points on his political agenda.

  • Anonymous

    No one forced white trash America to vote against its economic self interest for much of the past two decades but that is what has happened. They put their religious prejudices ahead of their own economic well being and now they have to live with the consequences. When combined with the racial prejudice in voting patterns that swept the south starting in the late 1960′s, it is not hard to figure out how the 1% have been so successful in capturing the national economic agenda.

    In 2016, we will witness the spectacle of trailer trash Christians in Mississippi voting for a Republican presidential candidate who has been blessed (with campaign contributions) by a billionaire Jewish casino owner and billionaire hedge fund traders. We get the government we deserve.

  • Jim Marmont

    Lauren, I disagree. I believe that these are exactly the conditions that cause open rebellion. When a large enough segment of the population does not, and cannot earn enough to survive, radical changes to the political system can and do happen. Often, violently.

  • Anonymous

    Prejudice. Racial prejudice in the late 1960′s and onward. Religious prejudice in at least the past 20 years. The fight over gay marriage made a terrific wedge issue for Republicans.

  • Lauren Steiner

    I only hope that is the case, minus the violence, of course.

  • Jim Marmont

    While I agree that the methods you outline can certainly cause some discomfort for the rich and powerful, I still disagree with your premise that revolution won’t come because people owe too much money. In spite of the co opted media (yes, no doubt) there are simply too many alternative means to communicate to discount the fact that once people are so indebted that they can no longer repay those debts without giving up necessessties, they strike back. Simply, on a national scale, if all would refuse to repay student loans for instance, don’t you think that would bring about changes? There is no way that they could possibly take action against that many people.

  • Lauren Steiner

    Funny that you made that particular suggestion as that is exactly what I posted in a comment on another article I read almost word for word.

  • Anonymous

    Yes they are a huge problem because they use their wealth to influence buy congress and influence public opinion. The result of this influence is that they accumulate more wealth. Since they are in the oil business they influence public opinion to believe that there is no climate change and that we need to build on unsafe pipeline over a huge aquifier. The real truth that fox does not talk about is that the sooner the Artic ice melts the sooner the Kochs get to extract it and sell it to the people they have brainwashed. Also more extreme weather either too hot or cold the more oil they can sell to is. The keystone pipeline oil will be sold to the high test bidder. It is the dirtiest oil and possible to clean up.

  • Anonymous

    I know that when taxes were more progressive as in the Eisenhower administration corporations and small businesses invested more in their companies instead of paying their CEO and executives ginormous salaries. This was what was better for the economy. And the discrepancy in income is destroying democracy. What is democratic about the super wealthy using their money to influence congress to do their bidding while ignoring those with no money to have any influence.

  • JonThomas

    You may want to actually watch the show before you comment and expose yourself as a pre-judging ideologue You missed the entire point about the 1% and their wealth.

    This is the problem this country is having. When people like yourself toss out dumbed-down talking points, without really listening to the conversation, it becomes obvious that you have no desire to have a dialogue. You just want things to stay as they are so you can benefit while other people suffer. You have lost all credibility. Sad really.

  • Anonymous

    The irony here is that grass roots forces may eventually cut across party lines to reclaim a democracy model that is (in theory) a little bit more like what the majority wants. Or…we’ll all end up like indentured servants that are repurposed as “Soylent Green” after expiration.

  • Anonymous

    game/set/match…

  • Anonymous

    Countries like Denmark or Holland. The ones that take care of their citizens and tie Tea Party morons in knots…

  • http://rvraiment.tumbler.com Richard V Raiment

    In a late night discussion earlier this week on the BBC the assertion was made that Vladimir Putin could not only take Ukraine if he wished to but could roll over the rest of Europe if he chose with little threat of retaliation. The reason? The vested interests of the big companies in the Russian market. Defence against Soviet expansionism will not be determined by democracy but by business.

  • Richard Rockwell

    I guess you conveniently missed the discussion about Inherited wealth

  • Anonymous

    Not only the GOP presidents are complicit. As long as you give corrupt, greedy Dems a pass & only accuse the (admittedly dissolute) GOP pols, you are furthering the problem. In order to reverse this, or even retain any freedom to ever organize again, both parties have to set this as priority #1, set aside other issues. Work together until the country its out of the quicksand.

  • http://www.ccrider27.com/ ccrider27

    Sorry, but Krugman lost it for me when he early on defended Obama’s universal NSA snooping as “just a policy dispute.”

    That to me is a sign that he is totally out of touch and nothing but a Democrat hack.

    Now that he got his Nobel, he just signs up for speaking engagements wherever he can, blathers nonsense and moves on.

    Ex: He just got hired by CUNY to provide unspecified services…not teach…for $225,000 over 2 semesters. So while he blathers on in public about the 1%, and unequal pay distribution, he’ll be making roughly 10 X what tenured CUNY professors – who actually have specific work, like teaching – do.

    I guess that will be “just another policy dispute.”

    Sometimes Bill has great guests, like Margaret Flowers, but other weeks he just skates.

  • jmmgarza

    Obama relates to the 1%. He has helped them while giving us lip service. Well played POTUS.

  • Anonymous

    Or we could end up following something closer to the Third Reich model complete with an American Fuehrer.

  • http://www.hopy1.com hopy

    ‘Even those of you who talk about the 1 percent, you don’t really get what’s going on.’ He’s telling us that we are on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy. A society of inherited wealth.”
    it is always good to society, democratic and civilized but in fact they are not behind the rapid development of meretricious society is a social injustice, but it is blatant oppression much more.

  • Russell Spears

    We build them great houses & wealth. In return, they permit us to take a fraction of that wealth with us so that we might minimally afford the basic necessities to raise and educate the next generation of slavish workers that will continue the American Tradition.

    Most of our crime and pathologies originate from the destruction of our human values and environment through thoughtless competition.

    A New Economy is possible… look into Worker Cooperatives which see cooperative economic decisions as key to regaining all that has been lost.

  • Russell Spears

    “Our Government???” Do you even pay attention to the fact that most every public office is ran by the same CEO’s and Corporate Lawyers that either did, do or will be making the decisions that profit themselves and not the public….

  • Anonymous

    Obama was not elected Czar, King or Emperor. He does not have the ability to force his agenda on an unwilling Congress or on an uncooperative Supreme Court. We have a three branch system of government.
    On the other hand, his wife has been a spendthrift on the taxpayers’ dime. Reportedly, her latest vacation to China cost taxpayers $10 million.

  • Aidan Benelle

    Democracy is quickly becoming an illusion in America and the Supreme Court aided its demise

  • Russell Spears

    We are very quickly moving to a point where a very few will inherit and claim right to all the wealth the working poor created and will create in their distant future.

    How can anyone claim the right to all wealth you create throughout your life and onto your death. What circumstances can we imagine that would place so much debt of the modest lives of the working poor? And yet Americans can’t think of anything better than this?

    Think about Worker Ownership and you can imagine better!

  • Anonymous

    Because by and large they appear to share the same values. The just have different sized bank accounts. If only it were not so. In the old days Gramsci called the condition by which the elite is supported by its subjects “false consciousness”. Today, thanks to self-medication, serotonin-controlling drugs, mood-managing social media and consensus-building corporate media it appears that this condition can be sustained indefinitely. Plus owing to a state of near-permanent indebtedness, true rebellion is for all intents a criminal act, and unthinkable for the bourgeoisie. Besides, most middle class folk I have encountered are merely polite One Percenter wannabes. They will happily vote to snatch away the food from obese people – because of the strain on the national health services, of course – but they will never place a limit on true greed. They just can’t wash away that “wealth creator” nonsense that has been bred in their bones.

  • Anonymous

    “the crude, uneducated, racist boob could get an esteemed position and
    power in society, as long as he paid homage to the wealthy and powerful” — that would be Reagan in the US — “the world’s greatest president” to the under-informed.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Plain — you are woefully under-informed. You have ZERO idea how many of the 99% are double degreed, graduates of prestigious academic institutions, have held middle and senior level management jobs — and now are unable to support their families or themselves — all courtesy of the policy changes of the 1%. The odds are stacked against the 99% today and have been for the past 3 decades. The deterioration began in the late 80′s and accelerated under the braintrust trifecta of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld.

    Personally, I hold 3 masters degrees — and have seen my life unravel over the past 15 years…and I am not a beer drinker.

    So, Plain — please explain.

  • The Watcher

    The Patriot Act got the ball rolling. Don’t forget that before you start playing the partisan role, sir. Both are despicable.

  • Charles Shaver

    Bill, I appreciate and support your work but, again, so much attention on history and statistics and so little on cause and effect and law and order. The United States of America is not just a ‘land’ of opportunity it is (was? [e.g., The Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act; Citizens United]) a legal jurisdiction. Minimally, in 1787 the Founders prescribed our basic national goals (e.g., “…a more perfect Union…”) in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. Is that what we have today? If not, why not?

    Among the seven Articles, the ‘supreme Law of the Land’ is defined, many public officials are ‘bound thereby’ and most are required to swear to support the Constitution. To violate an ‘oath’ is to commit an act of fraud, breach of contract and/or perjury, minimally. And, when it comes to really compromising national security, it becomes ‘treason;’ that which injures or sets precedent to injure the majority will inherently ‘aid and comfort’ our real enemies. Humans are inherently imperfect and mistakes are made. However, in 2014 America is damaged well beyond that which can be attributed to accidental error, to create so much concentrated and inherited wealth.

    Suffice it to conclude for now with reminding all that there is no valid statute-of-limitations on treason yet and, when man-made law fails, those laws of ‘nature or nature’s God’ you mentioned will prevail. First, let us try to elect people this November who will enforce constitutional law and prosecute those who failed to do so in the past. If that fails, then I imagine one of those other laws will apply, perhaps one of ‘supply and demand,’ for oligarchs and traitors.

  • Soraya Sheppard

    What happened to the spirit that brought this country to it’s knees during the Vietnam war? This affects every American why are we not taking our fight to Capital Hill? When will we wake up????

  • http://www.askparris.blogspot.com/ Parris Boyd

    “The United States government is so overwhelmingly corrupt that even the financial regulatory agencies have been corrupted by the money of the private capitalists they are supposed to regulate.” – Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Dr. Paul Craig Roberts.

    What’s going on in the auto industry is a prime example of our sold-out policiticans – Repukes n Demagogues alike, I quit voting years ago. NHTSA lies to protect crooked corporations like GM and Toyota, while Congress and the Justice Departiment produce grand theatrics intended to dupe a gullible public. NASA physicist Henning Leidecker is now speaking out regarding the increased risk of unintended acceleration due to “tin whiskers” growing in the electronic throttle control of ’02-’06 Camrys, comparing it to a game of Russian roulette. Toyota redesigned the pedal sensors in ’07 and ’08 for the express purpose of eliminating the tin whisker risk. Instead of Toyota, the Justice Department, and NHTSA trying to keep the electronics issue quiet, a recall should be issued to update the sensors in the models Dr. Leidecker has noted. I’ve been blogging about the Recall King for quite some time, and many of my posts address the corporate-controlled nature of this government. Search “Beware of Toyota. Their next victim may be YOU…”

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    If you have quit voting, you are no longer part of the dialogue and you have NO right to complain. A lot of people in many wars bled and died so you could vote…do not EVER forget that.

  • http://www.uc2.blogspot.com Parris Boyd

    It’s brainwashed people like you who keep the 1% in power. Dont EVER forget THAT, and while you’re at it, TRY to analyze this totally corrupt “electoral” system. Those who are duped into voting are the ones who have no right to complain.

  • http://www.uc2.blogspot.com Parris Boyd

    Commenting as a four-year Army vet, Vietnam Era, don’t EVER lecture me about Amerika’s imperialistic, undeclared wars. The only folks who vote are the ones who can’t analyze this totally corrupt “electoral” system. It’s designed to keep the 1% in power, and it does a superb job of it, thanks to the gullibility of “the electorate.” THEY are the ones who have no right to complain.

  • Anonymous

    The President of the United States our Supreme Commander Has all the power, for he or she has the will of the people.

    pedro santos

  • Jeff Thompson

    In the interests a Unified Field Theory of Political Realities, INMH we need to combine all possible disciplines, heavily weighted toward psychiatrists, social scientists, natural physical scientists, and teachers. This “natural state” of oligarchy, mirrors the needs and rational of the sociopath. That supposedly small but seemingly now teeming percentage of any human population, will naturally exploit and bully anyone they can to support their life-or-death level ego needs (Don’t miss the brilliant post here by someone using the bully in the playground analogy). Similarly, a certain larger percentage will attach themselves to any “leader” who acts as an authoritative father figure. This feeds the narcissism, boosts the confidence most rational people lack, and with that feedback loop, suddenly they’re a celebrity and political force to further their greatness. Forget mere nobless oblige, they’re a god now. Those shiny confident people who need most that power and adoration, MUST be better than we dull masses, and the process is set in motion. We’ve lost the ability to protect ourselves from these predators. As the pressure builds on the actual workers (who were lulled into believing they were living in an actual “society” where the predators were under control, instead of corrupting and calling all the shots now), they occasionally wake to find a done deal, with them not even mentioned as 3/5s of a person anymore. Neil De Grasse Tyson is beyond right. Why is everything run by lawyers who nearly always work for the 1% who can afford them and who they aspire to become, and whatever part of the lesser percentages they must? Where are the scientists and Mr. Rodger’s “Helpers” of society, rather than just those with the sharpest teeth?

  • http://www.ccrider27.com/ ccrider27

    I find it amusing that Moyer’s guard dogs deleted my comment simply because I pointed out that Krugman called NSA snooping nothing more than “a policy dispute.”

    I also find it amusing that criticism of a Democrat always brings out the trolls who assume that criticism of one automatically implies support for the other.

    Also don’t forget that Obama, as a Senator during the ’08 campaign, voted for “expanded FISA” which gave telecoms retroactive immunity for whatever crimes they may have committed.

    I totally agree with your sentiments. Both major parties totally sXck – I’m trying to be careful here – don’t want to upset the guard dogs.

    Repugs = Dems = No Difference (if you disregard their pretty words and only watch what the DO).

    Hope that clarifies my position a little. Better read it quick before I get the axe.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    Well, I’m a VietNam Vet too and spend every week at the VA dealing with Agent Orange. Now what? Hmmm? Your comments dishonor so many people, I don’t know where to start so I am not going to bother. Your argument is silly and not worth the time and effort. Apparently you do need to be lectured but it won’t be me doing it. I will stand by my first reply to you and say good night. Please remember to vote instead of just whining.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    I think a lot of the problem is how so much of the country is gerrymandered. Politician really have no accountability anymore. We have too elected officials doing what they damn well please regardless of who it hurts. Yet, they show up again and again. It is very discouraging at times but we have to keep working the process. It is the only process we have. Eventually, the demographics are going to change and I think we will have a more responsive and accountable government.

  • http://www.uc2.blogspot.com Parris Boyd

    You’re the epitome of a brainwashed American.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    Do you have a source for that $10M?

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    Actually, I think we get the government we did not vote for. I am so tired of seeing elected officials from Governors down to the local sheriff deciding what part of the law they are going to stand up for. Now they are swearing allegiance to the bible and want a bible state instead of a church/state separated state.

  • Anonymous

    So with the New York Times, the Washington post, the President of the US, the BBC, the EU, the UN, everybody trying to convince Americans to give up fossil fuels, you are worried that Fox News and Koch brothers present an alternative view point?

    Really?

    Wow.

    The idea of global warming must be really shaky, if the mere fact of one or two differing viewpoints in a see of orthodoxy terrifies you.

    Wow.

    It is incredible how liberals want to shut down conservative speech, even when, like in the case of global warming, the liberal position is blasted 100 times more intensely than the conservative position.

    I guess you must know it can’t stand even a little bit of dissenting speech.

    Wow.

  • Andy

    I sent you a copy of a book published in 2013 that offered more comprehensive solutions than this book of the Century offers, It did not take 700 pages. The book title: The New Era: Returning the U.S. to Democracy and Prosperity. I have not seen so far a book that offers solutions to the existing political or economic problems better than this book.

  • Anonymous

    OK, then – WHO should we vote for? The Republicans who have instituted policies to protect the 1% or the Democrats who have also instituted policies to protect the 1%? Neither party is responsible any more to the voters but to the oligarchs who finance all the political campaigns for their own benefit.

    We no longer have choices and nothing we do as a voter influences public policy – so tell me again – WHO do we vote for? Exactly what does our vote matter?

    I no longer will vote for either major party – and I am eagerly seeking a third party that is responsible to voters – what do you think are the chances that I will find that party?

    Quips like “If you have quit voting, you are no longer part of the dialogue” are just meaningless soporifics for small minds……

  • Anonymous

    Try “This is PBS”

  • Roberto Pascani

    And that is the problem we now face. The people with the resources, have bought the government. The answer is not for everyone to have the same thing. The answer is what started this country in the first place. Honest people in the government, who put the nation ahead of themselves. Instead of the morally corrupt idiots we have now. The problem is, that ship may have already sailed. Because the people in power own the press, no honest people ever get elected.

  • Anonymous

    What started this country?

    Do you have any clue of how this country was started?

    The US was founded and governed for a century ENTIRELY by white men who were property owners and members of the 0.1% – many were slave owners.

    I have no problem going back to “what started this country”. A small, limited government. No income taxes at all for the first 150 years for example.

    Are you sure you want to go there?

  • James

    CORPORATE COMMUNISM

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    Thanks for your service and Welcome Home. You can figure out the rest.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    I am 67 years old and also ponder the farce of voting at this time. It only seems to validate their deception of Democracy or make us part of their deceptions. Bill Moyers & Company has reported that the people’s preferences have little or no significance at this time. Even he asks what will it take to get the politician’s attention?. Others have stated that mere words won’t resolve this matter when only money has power. Lofgren and Pierson & Hacker have noted religion’s part in this political failure.

  • Anonymous

    Are you suggesting that PBS does not pay it’s interviewees? I’m not aware of their policies; is that the case?

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    But, what we have to ponder is how 95% of the people let 5 % of the people betray Democracy. Industrial organizational psychologists have known for a long time that these people don’t belong in leadership positions. I believe that the electoral college was supposed to keep the types of people that you refer to out of office. However, nearly 535 people have been bought or naively enabled them! Bernie Sanders speaks out. What is the matter with 99 other Senators?

  • moderator

    We absolutely do NOT pay our guest.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • http://lindagalindo.com/ Linda Galindo

    “Self-made men are now elderly.” I thought this would solve the problem as they died off. Now…not so much. Crap, these are the good old days. By the year 2030 the wealth will all be inherited. The U.S. dominated by the very wealthy who didn’t work for it. Get the picture? If the uber-rich were just rich…seems simple enough…global tax on wealth. Women can get behind this “redemptive streak.” Inequality matters.

  • http://lindagalindo.com/ Linda Galindo

    Definitely think the third party needs to be the Accountability Party.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Pierson & Hacker and Mike Lofgren have made the connection of religion supporting Republican candidates without regard to economic matters. Their implication is that religion has degraded politics and government. There is something to that point of view. Pat Robertson notes that “the elites” are running the country without commenting on how Democracy has been betrayed.

  • Anonymous

    I read it in one of the tabloids.

  • Anonymous

    You don’t know much about how the US government works.

  • Anonymous

    The people who voted for George Bush in 2000 knew that he was a religious conservative who was planning to cut taxes. If they had any doubts in 2000, these doubts were certainly dispelled by 2004 when he got even a higher percentage of the popular vote as well as of the electoral college vote.

  • Frank Lockwood

    This is all fine and well, and definitely worth reading, but increasing a little tax for the rich only will allow them to keep the present unfair system intact. I think we do need the taxes at the higher end, but more than that we need to get the corporate money out of politics. Unless we do that, it is only a matter, it is only a relative thing. We can charge a very small tax at the top and fix a lot of bad things, but that still preserves the power structure in all it’s evil glory. Well, that’s my take, what’s yours?

  • Frank Lockwood

    It’s really irrelevant. Just blowing smoke to change the topic.

  • Frank Lockwood

    From what I have been reading, the Kochs and others like them have been spending millions to try to establish legal barriers to voting, for one simple reason: They know that if enough of us vote, they lose. However, money does talk. They sell political ideas the same way they sell shoe polish, remember?

  • Frank Lockwood

    Proressivenot… has a point. A lot of Dems (maybe most of them) are in cahoots with the Kochs and other Republicans. What to do?

  • Frank Lockwood

    I am told that third-parties tend to hurt the more liberal causes far more than they hurt the conservatives, and it is almost impossible for them to put together a majority.

  • Frank Lockwood

    Yeah, that’s kind of scary. Does not portend well.

  • Frank Lockwood

    We will definitely be at the polls. See you there.

  • Anonymous

    I think that one part of the problem is that in the Vietnam era protests, you could get arrested at a demonstration, get out of jail, and still have hope to be employed in the future. Now, you get arrested and your job prospects are nil, as if it wasn’t already bad enough. It also takes resources to go to Washington and stay there long enough to have and impact. Most students are generally broke all the time.
    Also, we are being subjected to a divide and conquer strategy, pitting many of the victims and soon-to-be victims(tea party members and libertarians, blue-collar right-wingers) against liberals, who are defined rather loosely as anyone not on the right, generally educated democrats. In a strange way, I think that having a black man as president has helped fuel this division, because of the racism that exists, white men and women offended by the thought of a black person controlling any aspect of their lives.
    I also believe that a downward pressure on education is also on-going via budget cuts and student loan debt loads, and this definitely works in the favor of the new ruling class. Uneducated people generally do not make good decisions even if they are voting.
    Most of all, in order to bring about meaningful change we need to all be voting on the side of stopping the social and economic destruction this wealth/income disparity is causing. This left vs right division is stopping us from having the influence we could have if we all voted the bums out.
    And then there’s the Supreme Court problem…
    We are facing a number of barriers out there.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    So don’t vote. And don’t whine and complain when you don’t like what has been elected. You have said you are not going to vote but you neglected to say anything constructive. You are looking to be told what part to vote for. Wrong answer.

    With all the close elections we have had lately, how you seriously ask what difference does one vote make?

  • Anonymous

    Not disagreeing with you, but using derogatory labels just inflames the division that needs to disappear so we can act before all the wealth of the country is stolen. It makes it so easy to divide and conquer when we are doing the dividing ourselves.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    And, what are you basing that on, Frank? What is your source? What is “a lot”? 10, 20, 50′, 83?

  • Anonymous

    I agree. Every vote that goes to a 3rd party is one that doesn’t go to the only party that has a chance to bring about change, even if it too has bad actors in its midst. Those are the easiest ones to get rid of anyway, once we right the ship.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    I think the way to make these idiots accountable is to hold them accountable. They should be paid by the state that elects them via a referendum or something similar. They should lay out just what they plan to do in the coming year and then spell out what it is they did over that year. I am retired now but when I was working, I had to do this; why shouldn’t they? Why should I pay Ted Cruz’s salary when he lives in another state and I did not vote for him? This is what will make them accountable. That and working more than 93 days a year. Cut their salaries in half. Make them read the bill they vote on and what the lobbyists write.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    I sure agree. Look at what Nader did.

  • Anonymous

    One thing we need to be aware of is the importance of state and local politics too.
    I understand that the Koch brothers and other PACs are pouring money into those races in order take advantage of the left/right split and basically take the country over with or without Washington. It’s not enough to just vote in the presidential elections.

  • Anonymous

    You haven’t been paying attention to reality, I’m afraid.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    There are very few vets in the Congress. And the one best known — McCain — betrayed us with his cuts. It did not affect me directly but I see what it does to other vets who haveNOTHING every time I walk the halls at the VA. It is disgraceful and it will get worse if Medicare and Social Security are cut the way some of these idiots are talking about.

  • Anonymous

    True, but without the control of both houses and the presidency, we are going to have a rough go of it. Recent decisions of the Supreme Court show the importance of having the ability to nominate and confirm new members who have some sympathy for anyone other than the top tier of wealth and power.

  • Anonymous

    Reagan, the Prince of Economic Darkness.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    You are absolutely right. The disturbing thing to me is how they seem to forget that have a constituency at home. They seem to think that after one term they are qualified to be president, they think they are qualified to speak for America on the national and international stage. It just seems like they become pawns of their party or some lobby.

    If we lose our democracy, and it is beginning to look like we might have, we will have no to to blame but ourselves.

  • Anonymous

    And Iceland seems to have an effective way to deal with excessive bankers. And for Barbara above, what you are saying is exactly what the top wealth/income tier wants us to believe. Look at the pre-Reagan years, taxation and regulation didn’t stop us from becoming the most powerful and wealthy country in the world. All these uber-wealthy families and corporations are giving a fraction of their wealth to charities, and if they weren’t getting tax breaks for doing so, I doubt many would still be as charitable. We need more than tax code changes to turn things around.

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Redistribution of wealth is not a problem to the 1% as long as it is redistributed upward to them from the lower classes. A hedge fund manager reported this April that the Fed spent nearly $3 trillion in 2 years to prop up “the free markets.” That also accomplished the largest transfer of wealth from the poor and middle class to the 1%!

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    They are a problem because others have reported that the Fed has spent nearly $4 trillion “stimulating the economy” since 2011. The CBO reported that 95% of the went into the pockets of the 15 (those that own stocks). How does the 1% think that the lower 99% are going to pay off that debt? Have you not noticed? While the 1% have become enriched by dictating public policy, the National debt has risen from 32% of GDP to over 100% of GDP?

  • Anonymous

    Musolinni called it “corporatism” and “facism”

  • Anonymous

    Think “collateral consequences”….look it up if you don’t know what it means….

  • Anonymous

    Big words, there! Just HOW are you “going to hold them accountable”? The fact is, we no longer can!!

  • Anonymous

    Your logic only holds if you think “voting” is the same as going “rah, rah, rah for our team”. Didn’t you hear what Krugman said. Haven’t you been paying attention to what else has been happening in political news? Neither party has the voter’s interests at heart. I am a progressive liberal. Tell me why I should vote for a Democrat when that Democrat will not do a thing to solve income inequality – the biggest problem this country now faces?

    Sorry, you can flaunt your penants and pom-poms and get out there and support whomever you want – because it really makes no difference in changing the trajectory of this country, any more than if the Detroit Lions beat the Seattle Seahawks.

    Me, I’m going to look for something different. And you can call me all the names you want – but really – do you think I care about what a cheerleader thinks?

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    Read the rest of my post. It is just a suggestion. What do you suggest or are you just going to throw in the towel, give up and complain? If you believe we can’t do something, then we never will.

  • Anonymous

    No, unlike you, I am looking for actual solutions. Frankly, to me, it sounds like YOU have thrown in the towel…..you will follow your party down the rabbit hole, even if it means the destruction of your country.

  • MikeD

    Oligarchies and dynasties, not just economic but political, are symptoms that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark.

    As Krugman points out they fly in the face of the very founding principles of the U.S. – no Kings or King-makers, economic or otherwise. Instead, a spirit of enterprise, resilience and independence.

    Many of our problems seem intractable but this is a massive moral hole that can be easily fixed: reset the Estate tax to what it was in more rational times.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    OK, if you say so.

  • jmmgarza

    Yes, he is a “corporate” team player.

  • Kevin Lenaghan

    I think you are your own collateral damage. So far, the only one I see calling anyone names is you. Have a good day, anyway; I think you need one.

  • Anonymous

    The problem with climate change deniers and also other radical conservatives is that they refuse to read. They refuse to buy a newspaper if it does not conform to the ideas pounded into their heads by Roget Ailes. If they were actually physically confronted by the truth they would physically put their fingers in their ears and him. They wear magical glasses that filter out the truth and if that is not enough they would put on blinders. Their personalities crave antagonistic entertainment instead of news. And the media is owned by 5 or 6 corporations do unless one reads books one is clueless.

  • Anonymous

    What do you mean by corporate communism? The way I see it we have socialism for the corporations and capitalism for the rest of us. I guess you just took it a step further.

  • Anonymous

    Yes fascism is the merger of corporate and state

  • Robert Baillie

    This simple measure would go a long way to prevent a permanent aristocracy of inherited wealth: a 100% tax on the amount of any estate over $1 million.

  • Anonymous

    The only thing that matters is that they keep their job. Look at Lindsey Graham. He knows better but to keep his job he must pander to the many ignorant people that populate SC. They would rather get drunk and shoot each other in a bar or restaurant or physically drown from the rising sea than vote for anyone with any common sense let alone informed. Look at Al Gore he stood up against the gun lobby, lost his state and what did the right say? “He couldn’t even win his own state”.

  • The Watcher

    This country has been in disgusting shape for a while now and only getting worse with each succeeding head of state.

  • The Watcher

    And comment-deleting happy admins are hilarious – it’s a classic case of “YOU KIDS STAY OFF MY GRASS.” CNN’s are the worst.

  • Anonymous

    Right. Because anyone who does not agree with liberals is by definition clueless.

    The same liberals who were convinced of the population bomb and peak oil production and the disaster of genetically modified organisms, just to be proven wrong and becoming laughing stocks.

    Let me break the news gently to you.

    1 – Globally, humans will continue to use fossil fuel and release CO2 into the air.

    2 – CO2 concentrations will continu to increase.

    3 – Humans will deal with it, just like they dealt with the ice age, and the plague and WWII and the dust bowl and the cold war.

    With late 21st century technology, dealing with 2C raise in temperatures will be a high-school level challenge.

  • Anonymous

    In the Viet Nam era, the draft was the driving issue. There is no single driving issue these days. I don’t know a single veteran who served in the War on Terror (Iraq, Afghanistan). Most Americans haven’t a clue as to how much the War on Terror will end up costing the country. But many know they don’t like a black man serving in the White House and think it is an abomination for gay men to marry each other.

  • Anonymous

    You really have no clue how estate planning work, do you? Estate planning virtually insures that no estate taxes are ever paid.

  • moderator

    baron95 and dn7904,

    You both will have to agree to disagree. Please move on without further comment.

    Thanks,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    dn7904 and baron95

    You both will have to agree to disagree. Please move on without further comment.

    Thanks,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • Roberto Pascani

    Yes, I would absolutely go there. I own property, and I don’t depend on the government for anything. A smaller government would be fine with me. You do realize however, that all the minorities in this country, would be stealing, raping and killing, within the first month. (exactly what goes on in Africa, every day) We would have another civil war, if we took all the free government money away. But I was a U.S. Marine, I have no problem pulling a trigger. Do you?

  • Frank Lockwood

    Kevin, I did not go out and do a formal survey, if that’s what you are looking for. I am basing my statement on the fact that pro business/anti-working man legislation gets passed on a regular basis. To do so it needs to pass bi-lateral approval and multiple checks and balances. So whatever the balance is, whatever the number is, does not really matter. What matters is that enough Dems are going along to make it possible for the Republicans to pass this legislation, and to not pass this other legislation. Legislation that allows Corporations, for example, to pass as individuals and have the same tax rights and benefits extended to them. Legislation that allows them to donate $ millions to buy the government they want. Unfortunately, this preservation of the economic and political status-quo is a bipartisan policy.

  • Frank Lockwood

    Let’s please keep the conversation civil.

  • Frank Lockwood

    The last paragraph sounds desperate: Weakness, resorts to name calling … Thrashing at the wind. We can be stronger than that, but only if we can take over the Democratic party and convince enough Americans to go along with us.

  • Frank Lockwood

    The fact that they allow us to vote, may just be an indication that they are not sufficiently afraid of us yet. They are, however, working hard to prevent the “lower class” from voting, based upon what I understand from progressive web sites, Senator Sanders and others.

  • Frank Lockwood

    Kevin, that would be nice in an ideal world, but the fact is that situations arise on a daily basis, that require re-ordering of priorities. Nobody can really predict a policy that will address all possible permutations.

  • Frank Lockwood

    Kevin, for me that was a disappointing response. What I was looking for was some kind of hint or clue as to how to move Congress and the House off dead center, other than vote for the same bunch of people, or even for a different bunch who are controlled by the same deep-pocketed interests.

  • Frank Lockwood

    Yes, I think you are right. What we need is some real creativity that will move us forward. That’s why I read posts like yours. I am hoping someone will say something that gives real hope. Eventually, perhaps they will, if we keep picking each others’ brains.

  • Frank Lockwood

    Well, I agree, sevbendisq, but it’s been too long coming. We need, first of all, to change the conversation in America. Too long that has been dictated by the businessmen (and a few women too) who have hoodwinked the religious right into equating their economics and politics with godliness. We need to change that perception.

    I don’t think we can do this with just those we have on board at this time: We need to move the awareness of America toward the left.

    Schools and public education, for example, have meant that the younger set were far more liberal than their elders. But even that may be changing: The public school system has been under systematic attack for thirty years.

    Could the thrashing of the school system be the reaction of the right wing to the fact that they were not sufficiently promoting the right wing propaganda? I for one think that is a possibility.

    The elite want/prefer religious education and private education to well-funded public ed.

    Hmm.

  • Jerold Adam Davis

    Frank and Steve, I’ve joined a group called Wolf PAC, where we’re fighting to call an Article V Convention to create a Constitutional Amendment to get that money out of our elections. The website it wolf-pac.com, I would suggest you check us out.

  • http://www.ccrider27.com/ ccrider27

    Yep, it’s getting close to campaign season.

    Gotta keep everyone on message.

  • Diane

    An interesting premise, but in California, $1 million is far too low. My 90 year old parents house which is 50 years old and I’ll inherit is worth over a million and is by no mean luxurious. While your cut off might be appropriate in some areas of the country In the West coast or North East its not!

  • http://plus.google.com/+OleOlson novenator

    *America is turning into a caste society*

    When 95% of the income gains during the “recovery” have gone to the richest 1%, when corporate profits are at an all time high, when Wall Street is at record levels, it’s time the real wealth creators in America, the workers are able to reap some of the rewards of their labor.

  • David

    Why do you keep saying 1% when it’s the 0.1%? 1% is a household with an income over $250k.. that’s two parents working. These families probably don’t have a lot of money to contribute to politics if they still want to afford college for their kids and private school.

  • Brent Stuart

    Right.

    Affluence and Influence:
    Economic Inequality and Political Power in America
    by Martin Gilens

    Winner of the 2013 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award, American Political Science Association

  • Anonymous

    Well, it may not be a conspiracy, but it plays right into the right-wing agenda for certain. Privatizing everything is the ultimate goal as far as I can tell. So as a component of that movement, it is a conspiracy.
    Now we have private prisons, and collections agencies(private) going after offenders who can’t pay their fines because they can’t get jobs because of background checks, and then they have another ding on their credit score which makes them even more unemployable. There is a huge segment of the population who can’t even open a bank account due to this. What does the right-wing expect people to do when they cannot find employment? Of course they turn to criminal acts. Vicious, vicious cycle.

  • Jim Rock

    Yes, pretty interesting. It’s been awhile since we entered the twilight zone but we’re firmly in its midst. It’s surprising how successful the moneyed interests are at hiding the ball. In the early 20th century they busted the trusts to prevent abuse of the blue collar workers etc. The laws they created (Sherman, Clayton) were really drafted to address a point in time and do a terrible job at addressing the issue (wealth concentration) 100 years later, Sherman and Clayton don’t work (they’re far too definition dependent – it would be like using a typewriter manual to fix a computer). The higher taxes of the new deal helped for a time, but with Reagan, etc., and the trickle down debacle with just added fuel to the fire. Now the capital class with their carried interest are taxed at a lower rate than the service workers, and the service workers face the same dilemma that the blue collar workers faced 100 years ago. The idea of self determination and advancement through competition has become a fiction. There is no service worker no matter how skilled that can compete with someone who has more money than God. The rule of 72 runs rampant, and the concentration of wealth just accelerates to a bizarre level, with the vast majority of wealth and consequent power and decision-making in the hands of a few. Not very American; at least not until the revolution:)!

  • Dude

    Spot on David – especially if you live in the Northeast. The fact is that the 9/10th of the 1 pct are payng a HUGE amount of America’s taxes. The people getting away with paying artifically low taxes is the top 1/10 of the “1 pct”.

  • Dude

    That is called theft. There are plenty of people that have worked and saved their whole lives to put money away for their families. One million dollars is not a lot of money to retire on if if you live in high cost areas like CT, NY, MA, NJ etc.

  • Anonymous

    Correct me if I am wrong. Did Reagan water down the Sherman antitrust act? What I seem to remember during the 80′s and 90′s and probably continuing are mergers and acquisitions. Bigger is better was the mantra. Well I heard sad tales of people with wonderful careers in their 50s getting laid off. All the while Ichan and T Boon Pickens were green mailing and becoming billionaires. I remember at one point hearing about CEOs making $400,000 which was ridiculous but since then it just skyrocketed out of sight. Well my daughter played by all the rules. Tennis scholarship for college, made some money got her MNA from Darden. She secured high paying jobs in the beginning. But every time there was a hostile takeover good jobs were lost. My daughter is very smart got into UVA and is hard working and extremely agreeable. She has lost three jobs do to mergers and is now 50 and cannot get a job. She has one child in her first year of college and two more . I blame the mergers and I don’t know what to blame except the ruination of the Sherman Antitrust act. Maybe you can enlighten me. Also deregulation has created monopolies instead of competition. This deregulation fever is worldwide. I believe the European Union and or euro was created to deregulate Europe. Maybe you could shed some light on these subjects.

  • Anonymous

    Yes many in this category thought it was smart to vote for the Conservative party. They thought they would save taxes but this group is being picked off now just as the blue collar workers were picked off. That is the irony no one is safe from the vulture capitalists.

  • Anonymous

    I am new at this blog and I thought I responded but maybe I did not. It is extremely unusual that anyone on the right even knows anything that the left has to say about climate change. I commend you for having the awareness that most scientists are in agreement on this subject. Unfortunately the majority of our conservative population only listen to FOX news and is therefore brainwashed to believe that it is truly a fare and balanced station when in reality FOX only spews what Roger Ailes tells them to spew. Most of the misinformation is simply by omission.

  • Anonymous

    If we can someday elect Elizabeth Warren for President we might have a chance. Hillary is probably in on the game but if she picks Warren for her running mate maybe the United States can reverse the damage just as FDR did. I don’t see any other hope on the horizon. The statistics regarding the US that I heard on Fareed ZAkaria on Sunday are dismal and embarrassing definitely not exceptional.

  • Anonymous

    YEAH! BOOKS! BLOGGERS!

  • Anonymous

    What I have been witness to is that my children and my friends children have played by all the rules. They worked hard, sacrificed to earn post graduate degrees but still fell through the cracks. If they did not have one or two safety nets like wealthy parents or spouses with jobs to guarantee health insurance premiums they would be homeless.

  • Anonymous

    I think we the 99% should make passing a financial transactions tax on Wall Street our number one political priority..

  • Anonymous

    Yes they have plenty of money to invest and they have plenty of lobbyists that give money to congress to do their bidding and on top of that they have plenty of money to form action groups( with names that are contrary to truth) for the purpose of creating more wealth. They are abominable. It is a shame that so many people are taken in by their machinations.

  • Anonymous

    Yes they are smart I will give them that. But it does not mean they are right or morally superior. People that pollute and thereby export their cleanup costs to the rest of us are corrupt. They have enough money ( maybe) to protect their grandchildren by moving away from the polluted US. Maybe Laura Bush will invite them to her 100 acres in Paraguay over a huge unpolluted aquifer. Or maybe they will be the first to be able to board a spaceship to a new I polluted planet or space station.

  • Anonymous

    And if they convince the US to run the XL pipeline thru the US they will be twice as wealthy.

  • Jim Rock

    Reagan’s antitrust policy was determinedly deregulatory. One of the first courses of action of the Reagan team was to announce that they would no longer pursue action against companies merely for having concentrated marketshare. The idea was that the concentrated marketshare would allow them to produce products or services more cheaply and that would benefit the consumer. This was just one aspect of the trickle down economic theory that has been disastrous.

  • Anonymous

    Paul Krugman is trying to talk some sense into the heads of the public. Ever since Milton Friedman preached his philosophy to Reagan which goes way back to the teachings of Friedrich Von Hayek the US economy has been in a death spiral. These are unproven theories at best and dangerous at worst. John Maynard Keynes theories were proven after WWI and after the Great Depression. His theories were designed to SAVE Capitalism. The path we are on will destroy Capitalism. We are in the first stages where it destroys the middleclass (the goose that lays the golden egg). And this goose will be worldwide. Yes flat broke in the free market.

  • pa1958

    Two phenomena seem relevant: a) oligarchy where big money facilitates laws that reinforce the inequality
    (e.g. trust funds being taxed at lower rates) and b) theft, where businesses are
    favored with government contracts as a reward for political funding. How much
    do these two phenomena contribute to the inequality and why don’t they attract
    more attention?

  • Anonymous

    Don’t you mean the dictatorship of things will be replaced by the dictatorship of people.

  • Anonymous

    There is so much corporate welfare and so many exemptions that most corporations don’t pay any taxes. Maybe we should lower taxes as other countries have ,but do away with all the deductions etc. The oil and gas corporations are like sovereign countries considering the power they posess. They have always had subsidies and deductions but they were called something else namely oil depletion allowances.

  • http://lindagalindo.com/ Linda Galindo

    Yes, “we are told” that third parties tend to hurt … but I think there is enough pain that such an idea whose time has come has a shot. Watching for a clear, accountable platform. Anyone know where to look?

  • Anonymous

    And they being twice as wealthy is bad why?

    Because you are envious?

    If Bill Gates is twice as wealthy or if Oprah Winfrey is twice as wealthy, how is that bad for you?

  • Jim Marmont

    Lauren, I’m clearly with you in not wanting violence.

  • Anonymous

    In my opinion Reagan was the beginning of the downfall of our economy. Did he not loosen the FCC regulations so that the media is now owed by 5 to 6 corporations? Of course Clinton did put the nail in it with the repeal if Glass Steagal and the passage of othe abominable legislation. Maybe you can explain what the deal is about trade policies. Why is Obams pushing the TPP? And why doesn’t the US realize that our economy keeps going downhill ever since we started getting involved in trade policies? Isn’t it strange that so many of the movers and shakers in the Reagan administration are writing negative books like Bartlett and ?? the one who suggested the tax cuts and now ? Who wrote The Deep State? Oh and now a fellow came out and admitted that there was a vast right wing conspiracy against Clinton and he was part of it. But FOX sins by omission.

  • Jim Marmont

    Frank, we, as a nation clearly need to get the money out of politics. I don’t think anyone can make a legitimate case for allowing it (the money stream) to continue. I do think that it’s very important though to REALLY close the corporate loopholes that allow very profitable corporations to avoid paying federal taxes.We need to disallow them from creating “foreign subsidiaries)”, ie: Caterpillar parts corporation) where the largest parts of their profits are either not taxed in the US or only partially taxed. (for example, Caterpillar Parts Corp is based in Switzerland. It generates 60% of the profits of Caterpillar Corporation but pays 0 taxes to the US government in spite of the fact that all of the parts are US made, the parts are all shipped from the USA and the company is managed from Caterpillar’s US headquarters.) Obviously corporatate American has figured out having to pay their fair share. This is what must change.

  • Jim Marmont

    You mean just like the Koch brothers who inherited their wealth from dear old Dad. Who, by the way, was a founding member of the John Birch Society. Now we know where the brothers get their ideas from.

  • Jim Marmont

    Clearly it’s time to create a new progressive party, or re institute the Dem’s as progressives. I do agree that the current choice is limiting.

  • Anonymous

    That comment is an easy cheap shot. As far as I know Oprah, Gates, Warren Buffet and many other wealthy people are not trying to screw the middleclass like the Koch Brothers.

  • Jim Marmont

    I agree.

  • Jim Marmont

    I’m holding my stomach at the thought of having to vote for Hillary to keep the Republican out. This is exactly what is meant by the lesser of two evils.

  • Jim Marmont

    Frank, that gets right back to getting the money out of these elections.If the Koch and corporate money is no longer in play, those entities will lose a lot of the power they have to influence elections.
    power.

  • http://lindagalindo.com/ Linda Galindo

    Shudder. Anyone know of a good documentary on the Koch brothers and what they are all about?

  • Anonymous

    Let’s hope that Hillary is smarter than Bill. Either Bill was in on the game or was hoodwinked by Greenspan, Summers, Rubin and others. Too bad he did not listen to Brooksley Bourne. SP ? Doesn’t it seem like Obama is in on the game ( what with TPP) Although with the ACA he was up against extremely powerful interests. The insurance companies and big pharma wrote the bill. Even Carly Fiorina admitted it on TV and she said it was to preserve the monopolies. I just hope they don’t double cross everyone. But if Elizabeth Warren was her running mate what would you think?

  • Anonymous

    So Koch Industries, run by the Koch Brothers, employes 60,000 (mostly middle class) Americans.

    How many do you employ?

    How are they screwing the middle class more than you are?

  • Anonymous

    The treatment of Koch industry employees is not a subject that I have studied therefore I am unable to comment. There are many examples of US and Worldwide citizens without any power that must accept poor employment in order to feed their families. Walmart is one example of a company that pays it’s employees less than I pay a student to pull weeds. These companies( and I believe Kochi industries is on record against affordable health coverage and probably against a higher minimum wage) export their costs of doing business to the taxpayers in the form of food stamps etc. this is oppression and my guess is that you would have been all for serfdom as long as you were not the serf. Our ancestors left that world with hopes that the new world would offer them a level playing field. Most people are so busy working they have no time to fight the injustice. Other well off people are so busy enjoying themselves they have no time to comment. Just because I do not employ 60,000 does not cancel my freedom to comment on injustice. The Koch brothers will also export the costs of cleaning up the filthy tar sand oil for the simple objective of increasing their wealth. The tax payers will have to foot the bill for the cleanup on land and water. The filthy air will be inherited by the next generation.

  • Anonymous

    If we could only get the money out of politics it would go a long way to saving our democracy. If there would be consequences for the irresponsible behavior by corporations, banks and all other vulture capitalists it would be a huge help. Major jail terms not just fines. Funny I hear Madoff is a big shot among prisoners. Go figure.

  • David Lambert

    Here’s what we do, we vote out all the bums in the legislature until they listen us

  • David

    You say that like Obama really did a lot to punish any of the wall street bankers that fucked up the american economy.

  • Anonymous

    Again, Walmart employs 2,200,000 workers.

    How many do you employ?

    You can argue that Walmart could pay them more. I as an investor could argue that Walmart should automate more, employ less people and pay even less to maximize their competitive advantage.

    But the fact of the matter is that they are the largest private employer in the country, providing more jobs to more people than any other company – from cashier to managers to executives to CEO.

    They are also the largest property tax payer in the US.

    They are also the largest sales tax payer in the US.

    So indirectly they are supporting millions of government workers, schools, you name it.

    Are you really sure that Walmart and Koch are the villains?

    Or your just assume they are villains simply because they are successful and make money doing it?

    So, in your book, all profitable companies are undesirable? You only like the money losing ones?

  • Anonymous

    Yes the high frequency traders have certainly pulled a fast one. O yes I know it has brought the transaction fee down but at what cost to investors especially the danger of a major economic screwup.

  • Anonymous

    Yes the financial manipulators who contribute nothing to the economy. For example GE used to make good products but they got into the shell game to make more money and also had to be bailed out. Just like the banks they ” danced while the music was playing.”" The economic hit men ” -EHMs started with the LDCs aka less developed countries then moved on to Europe and now to our own country. And the vulture capitalists got in on the game as well. I am convinced that the European Union was designed to deregulate Europe. What do they call it? “creative destruction”.

  • Anonymous

    Yes Bendix did the same thing in Mecico and Brazil before it merged with Allied Signal and then fired 1/3 of its middle aged executives.

  • Anonymous

    It is very difficult to understand how greedy immoral people very often become the leaders. It is even more difficult to understand why people will follow without question even when they are outed for their lies. Now we know why Hitler and other tyrants gain a foothold. Can’t believe it is happening before our eyes. You really have to hand it to Murdoch, Ailes, Koch brothers are others ad nauseum.

  • Anonymous

    I am hoping that Hillery will have Warren as her running mate. Also that Hillery is either smarter than Bill and can undo some of the damage he caused to our economy. She is a hawk unfortunately.

  • Ed Carter

    Krugman does what so many others do when talking about the 1 percent – they talk about the super rich just to blow the sails and get the boat started and then switch to make their main point which is pumping up the safety net for only the very poor. What’s wrong with this? The middle class always gets slammed by people like this because they are the only ones that are taxable, for all practical puposes. So in the end the rich get ignored and the politician gets another feather in their cap…..their own path for getting themselves to the 1 percent level. And the super rich love the gigantic safety net issue because it pits the poor against the middle class, enabling them to sneak out the back door.

  • Anonymous

    Yes the Republicans are using every immoral trick on the book to disenfranchise the voters and they are totally brazen about it. Only the people on the left know about this because FOX conveniently chooses to not include anything negative about the right. My republican friends know nothing about Glass Steagal or Citizens vs United or Mcutchen Supreme Court decisions.

  • Anonymous

    Interesting. Heard we are sending troops to Poland, Litheuania and Estonia. But Crimea and maybe the Ukraine May not be salvageable. The Ukraine owes Russia so much money if the US and Europe inject capital it will go straight to Russia.

  • Anonymous

    I guess you heard about the Max Baucus, McConnell, Hatch back room deal about Amgen Biotech Corporation. The Dems were blackmailed by these corrupt politicians in order to get past one of the many made up hurdles to the evonomy. So many I can’t remember. If you don’t know perhaps you should look it up. It was a New York Times investigative report which showed exactly how “in bed these 3 ” are with Amgen. Talk about taking money out of Medicare this cost Medicare $500.000 million. You won’t hear that on FOX or strangely enough even MSNBC. Hmmm.

  • Anonymous

    Yes I read Deer Hunting with Jesus. It tried to explain this phenomena. However hard working people do not have the luxury of the time required to become informed.

  • Anonymous

    I have noticed over the past 50 or so years Washington has not seen a merger that they haven’t liked no matter who was office..Our regulatory agencies have failed us. Power thru mergers in many industries are in the hands of just a few..

  • Anonymous

    I would say the vultures are alive & well in Washington as last year they got the biggest amount of revenue the govt has ever collected but it still was not enough..The deficeit is still 5-600 billions.

  • Anonymous

    It is hard to believe how Reagan is treated like a God. He spent so much money on the military industrial complex that he did not have money to run the government so Greenspan said take it out of SS. This is after he had raised the payroll tax to cover the baby boomers SS. Dave Stockard wrote several books refuting his advice to Reagan to lower taxes on the rich. Even Bruce Bartlet wrote a book or two denouncing Reagan’s economic policies. Also a book called The Deep State has been written by someone on the Reagan era finance committee. It is about how dismayed he was to see so much money going to the military industrial complex. Regarding “tear down this wall” Gorbachov ( hope I got the right dude) had much more to do with that than Reagan but humbly let Reagan take ALL the credit. Eisenhower should be turning over in his grave the way things have turned out.

  • Anonymous

    It was also spurred by FDR telling the fat cats that if they did not reign in their greed they would by destroying the goldin goose namely capitalism which is what Keynes theories were all about saving Capitalism.

  • Anonymous

    They have done allot of charitable giving for illness & medical faciliies but we don’t hear about that.. only that they are rich.. What charitable deeds has say George Soros done..other than to attack world currencies & run hedge funds. The Koch bros employ 60,000 folks who raise families & pay taxes.. Soros not many employees..paper business other that media matter; moveon. org & giant Tide Foundation with all it fingers

  • Anonymous

    Like Bill Moyers stated at Take Back America speech years ago about the Bush admin.. “it is Right wing wrecking crew” who were deliberately about ruining the country. As citizen I see the wrecking crew in action in Washington this day.. A divided country based on gender, race & class with no one interested in uniting the folks.. Politics has never been dirtier.. governing comes in a poor second.

  • Anonymous

    Both Medicare & SS are in trouble ..The ACA has cuts in Medicare already & SS is projected to last till ’37. No one in Washington has any courage to fix them only raid them.

  • Anonymous

    In the past 5 yrs to top .01 % grew their wealth big time with all the money the Fed has printed & lent at virtually 0% interest. The folks who were promised to be helped have really been hurt. The middle class is getting hit big time. The govt has never had so much revenue but it still isn’t enough.. No matter where it comes from they will spend & spend.. Don’t worry about corporate financial power.. but be concerned for Big Gov Power.. How do reign that in.. Corporate power can be controlled if you really want to..but how to you limit control by govt. ????

  • Anonymous

    Yes regulation has just led to monopolies. They carve up the country like a pie and we get screwed.

  • Anonymous

    Well if Congress will allow job growth policies instead of taking down the economy to spite Obama and also send a “message” perhaps people will find employment and be able to pay taxes again.

  • Anonymous

    They will extort money where ever they can..If you are operating a big business in this country & you do not contribute..guess.what .. the regulatory agencies come calling or maybe the IRS..Most companies give to both parties to call off their dogs.. Extortion ??Naught!!

  • Anonymous

    With all of the liberal media investigating that election as well as numerous other investigations there was only one conclusion that the Florida Supreme court & Sec of State were wrong the count was for Bush.

  • Anonymous

    You are really asking to explain the lose of jobs caused by the housing bubble. Its a long story but it started by in the Carter admin when it was thought it would be nice if we had more folks owning their own houses. It ended with mismanagement of Fanny & Freddie,; repeal of Glass- Seagal Act; failure of credit rating agencies; Wall St banks & most of all the govt. There was allot to go to around..Both parties & Wall St were complicit.. But govt failed us & politicans (both sides) do not have decency to admit it.;

  • Anonymous

    The media does not tell everything. Read The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. It will come out if Jeb runs. Were they going to put the Governor Bush in jail.?how could they prove things about the voting machines. Remember what happened to Rather and he was telling the truth. His head is still spinning. The Bush family is extremely powerful.

  • Anonymous

    The medicare program which employees & employers have been paying into for 50 yrs has been so mismanaged it is broke in a few years. Total cost last yr was approx 550 Billion dollars.. Estimated waste & fraud govt estimates 60-80 Billion. I wish I had been run better & the ACA takes 500 billion out of it so cuts are coming to us who paid in all these many years. I do not share your confidence in our govt managing things. Politicans can not keep their hands off our money.. We need to substitute “taxpayer” for govt in all our sentences because indeed that is the case.

  • Anonymous

    Well the 3 main street media get their talking points from the WH. CBS head has a brother on Obama staff … the other two networks are tied tight.. NBC is really tight.. It might be that we get better facts from Ailes without the Obama spin. Keynes is indorsed by the liberal because they intripet it to be all about govt spending which it is not.. It is Called ( Keyseian Theory of Full Employment) which I studied..Where is that full employment Krugman should be pushing. Friedman, like Sowell, wants more free markets but to be properly regulated..Walter Heller was a tax economist & had Kennedy lower taxes to stimulate the economy..Keynes was popular but overrated & misapplied by the big spending politicians. WWII got us out of the depression.. not Maynard Keynes.

  • Mike Ballard

    Where does wealth come from? Two sources: natural resources and labour. Where does wealth end up? Two classes: the capitalists and the landlords, classes which do not produce wealth and see nature as a price, an empty abstraction filled with money, a symbol representing wealth.

  • Anonymous

    Your point about the wealthy buy congressional influence. I thought we elected supposedly honest representatives..Money would not buy influence if members of congress wouldn’t put up for sale or extort it from the wealthy..Blame rich people all you want but give equal time to corrupt, lying politicians.

  • Anonymous

    The major networks get their talking points from the 3 msm tv which get their daily spin.. CBS head has a brother in the WH staff. NBC is joined at the hip etc. Maybe just maybe it is nice to see another opinion & observe debate between liberal & conservatives. The trust in the media is a joke point.

  • Anonymous

    Not mentioning all the charitable givings they have done.. oh by the way they employ 60,000 people who pay taxes as well..No these are truly bad folks. Not like Soros & Buffet…Obama put a stop to the Keystone pipeline ..just might be because Buffet owns the rallroads 150 tanker car trains of which 8 pass thru Minnesota each day & meeting are being held because of so spill & potential serious accidents .. The Kochs are not involved in this to my knowledge.

  • Anonymous

    What is democratic about politician accepting bribes & extorting money from the various industries.. We do have the most costly politician money can buy.

  • Anonymous

    It may not happen as long as Warren Buffet owns the railroad..But I probably know the outcome.. It will go to the highest bidder.. We are in the cat bird seat to watch our corrupt politician extort money from all players. What a country.

  • Mary Carman-Bukhari

    I don’t know your background, however, I suggest you go to ZoomInfo, or other websites to see how many businesses are registered, as well as look up the respective business registration in the state of business. You will see that businesses often times have numerous registrations, and if you go further to investigate where the money goes…you will figure out how they offset tax liabilities by funneling money and moving it around. It is naïve too, to think that corporate/business lawyers don’t take advantage of loopholes in taxes. Another thing to consider are the number of jobs a business creates, and how local government won’t assist them. As we live in a Capitalist country, our GNP, stock market, and BIG money all come into play, and government — both Democrats and Republicans are changing laws to ‘enable’ the 1%, which has caused the inequality.

  • Anonymous

    Are you familiar with the Oil industry & their employee benefit package??They are one of the best in the nation..If Koch is not paying their people they will go over to one that is. Oil industry is responsible for their invironmental issues. How do you export the cost of cleaning up filthy tar sand oil if they are indeed involved with these crude with the EPA laws. The govt has the hammer on this. Maybe we should continue to support the muslims in middle east …but then way have such a great relationship with them at present… or Venzewalia a fine dictatership which treats its folks really well.

  • Anonymous

    No the 1% has not declared war…Buffet, Gates; Oprah, the sports heroes, the Hollywood crowded have not. Only the politicians have declared class warfare; next will be gender warfare & last but not lease racial warfare.. Do you feel victimized yet?? They want us all to be victims. We do have a right of property in this country which many men have fought & dead for.. Be thankfull

  • Anonymous

    You got the railroads & the folks in DC in your corner Warren.. that’s is why you are winning.

  • JonThomas

    Fraud is a poor measure of administration unless the administers are responsible for the fraud.

    Fraud is found just as often in private insurance companies and claims.

    The fraud involved in medicare is found at the user level (patient and caregiver) not administration.

    In fact, the cost overhead for medicare is an EXTREMELY efficient 2%. That is an unheard of figure compared to figures of up to 25% for private insurance.

    Any enterprise of the size and diversity of medicare is going to cost a lot. Just using large dollar amounts makes it sound costly, but without efficiency percentages (among other comparisons) those numbers are truly meaningless.

    As far as politicians and their allotment fingers in the pie, much of that is due to influence peddling (lobbying and favors) by those with power… the very people to whom these programs would be outsourced. There are no white hats when billions of dollars are at stake… there are however, lots and lots of sharks swimming in those well chummed waters.

    Governments around the world show as much corruption and as much integrity as in every sector of life. The issue is designing as protected and fair system as possible.

    As far as government, I would trust a civil servant to do what is right before I trust a capitalist who is wanting to profit.

    Besides, what’s the alternative? Anarchy?

    It’s all the rage to blame government for the country’s ills.

    Government is an amorphous enemy. It’s easy to castigate and get face time denouncing ‘government’, it’s become tiresome and passe.

  • Anonymous

    John Maynard Keynes theory of full employment has never been proven to be successful..It is bought lot stock & barrel by the liberals because they define Keynes as being for big govt so they can spend. It never saved capitalism by itself.. normally the private sector had a big factor after WWII..Lot of new homes for the veterans; building interstate system & power damns,, some govt projects..Keynes has been over rated.

  • Anonymous

    How do you get capital formation for investment if you do away with that type of structure? Many Americans own part of our corporate structure which is great. We like return on our person investments or pension funds

  • Anonymous

    Corporations have liability responsibility ..Many have been sued.. GM is up for a big class action suite right now.

  • Anonymous

    I was brought up in the 30′s & the folks today do not know what real poverty is all about.. We wish we would have been this poor. Maybe we as a society has lost its fiber.. Having lived thru WWII & serve in Korean War we survived & complaining was not well received.. There was always someone worse off than us..Get up.. help yourself..get a job; make yourself useful.. that we were taught.

  • Anonymous

    The House has put bills in front of Reid & he tables them.. The Keystone Pipeline is a ridiiculous classic of an employment & energy action long waiting to happen

  • Anonymous

    Yes all will come out I’m sure. I remember the tactics of the Sec Of State in Fla.. She was also a canidiate for jail. If Rather was telling the truth knowing CBS power & political leaning they would not have caved into Bush it was the truth..Rather’s boss also was dismissed over the matter & some forged document were used etc.

  • Anonymous

    Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations seen this weakness in our free capitalistic system where govt & big industry (the elites) rule. He did not think politicians could survive the temptation of bribes.. Now its just wholesale..both parties

  • Anonymous

    You feel govt waste & fraud of medicare of 12 -14% should be acceptable for govt work. Humana & United Health make 3.5-5% on revenue as report in the WSJ. If Medicare is so well run why is it going broke in a few years??.. I believe you are confusing civil servant with politicians.. It is a given that profit goal oriented business are greedy. One assumes that to be true..I worked in the private business sector and we budgeted to make $$$$ each year & were rewarded accordingly. Do you trust a politician??? Who takes to bribes or extorts the money??? Our elected (trusted) politicians. That is not part of their job description to take bribes..They have the public trust. I blame govt when they waste our hard earned tax dollars & treat us like servants. We should apologize for our existence.. send in you taxes & go away. I look to the govt for as little as possible. Yes our govt is a tiresome bunch of union protected employees.

  • Mary Carman-Bukhari

    EXCELLENT reference (Adam Smith’s book, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations). It illustrates ‘well,’ the probability and history of corruption throughout history.

  • JonThomas

    So many miss-agreements, so little desire to continue these back-and-forths.

    First… EVERY EMPLOYEE SHOULD BE UNION PROTECTED!! Every bleeping one of us!

    Secondly… you miss-characterize my comment. I do not ‘feel’ any waste or fraud should be acceptable anywhere!

    I said that fraud is found in both government and private sectors, so it is a very poor measure of efficiency.

    Next, you confused ‘revenue’ with overhead. Administrative costs are NOT revenue.

    Here is an article from “BloombergBusinessweek” that describes the situation extremely well…

    http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-04-10/the-reason-health-care-is-so-expensive-insurance-companies

    Medicare is not ‘going broke in a few years.’ Practically speaking, it’s a proverbially 3rd wheel. No politician will allow medicare to go broke. That’s a guarantee! Ever hear of AARP? They are one of the most influential groups in Washington. AARP wouldn’t allow such an outcome unless something better takes it’s place.

    Now that we’ve dispensed with some of the usual conservative fear mongering, misleading stats, and miscues… I did not confuse politicians with civil servants.

    Civil servants are average worker drones who do most of the heavy lifting in government. They are never in the spotlight (unless of course they party their butts off in Vegas and charge it to the dept. expense acct.) The only real time I worry about the average civil servant’s integrity (of course they are all human, and prone to do good and/or bad) is when they are headhunted by a private company and make decisions based on their ability to walk through Washington’s ‘revolving door.’

    Now, as far as trusting politicians (keep in mind though, it is not politicians who actually run medicare, or any other agency,) every one of them is judged on his/her own merits and weaknesses.

    What I trust less than any random politician are the lobbyists and influence peddlers. They have agendas! Agendas that may, or may not be in my, or the country’s, best interest.

    To clear up another potential confusion… there is a difference between ‘trust’, and ‘agree with’ or ‘like’. In other words… I may vehemently disagree with every word, action, and especially – every iota of ideology – that a politician holds, but that does not mean I don’t trust them.

    Finally… yes the system in this country is in trouble, but it is not an up-building, or worthwhile pursuit to use language that indiscriminately blames ‘government’.

    Phrases like ‘big government’ are way too ambiguous for debate or discussion. I’m tired of empty talking points, propaganda, hype, and evangelistic punditry. If people want to be specific, fine… but overly simplistic talking points are wasting our time!

    You and I actually agree more than we disagree in some subjects, but I think this one brings out our disagreements.

    I’ll try to stop here. :-)

  • pa1958

    Money-in-politics is here to stay. The best we can hope for is for it to be better regulated. And yes, the behavior of several financial institutions (agencies rating junk bonds, AAA) was not just irresponsible. It was intentional and must be prosecuted as criminal behavior

  • Anonymous

    It seems they always find a loophole. They must break up the banks and stop the high frequency trading and stop the revolving door and conflicts of interest in congress.

  • Anonymous

    If you have read my comments you can tell that I am not a yella dog democrat. And I never comment on a subject that I have not researched. Maybe Rather may not have dotted all the I’s and crossed all the t’s but the truth about W’s stint in the air reserve was the truth but the truth was even worse than he reported. The Bush family is much more secretive and powerful than you know.

  • Anonymous

    The jobs that it would create would be temporary. This is the dirtiest stuff. It would sink to the bottom of any body of water and can never be cleaned up. It is cheap and that is why the Koch brother want it so they can double their wealth. Water is our most precious commodity. As you know Laura Bush bought 100 acres in Paraguay over a huge aquifer. I guess they won’t be fracking there.

  • Anonymous

    John Maynard Keynes warned the allies after WWI not to punish Germany by inflicting harsh reparations. They did not listen and it led to WWII. After that mistake the practice of nation building came into practice. The theories of Milton Friedman namely trickle down economics which even Bush I called voodoo economics has failed miserably. I also see that you have bought into the tax and spend sound bite. You should check and compare the spending habits of our democratic vs republican administrations. It will surprise you. Gingrich was one operative that thought up the idea to spend like crazy so that the democrats would have to raise taxes because the deficit would be so high. Remember what Cheney said ? Also Friedman’s theories were not always popular Nixon said at one point “we are all Kenysians now”. One more thing Europe is still operating on the Austrian theories and is taking longer to recover.

  • Anonymous

    I have not read where the Koch Bros are involved with the tar sands crude..Please reference the article.. Thank You. The cheapest & safest way to handle crude is via pipeline which this country has been doing for years. I did not know L. Bush had 100 acres of land in Paraguay. Looks like it might prove to be a good investment.

  • Anonymous

    Milton Friedman did not call his theory “trickle down economics” nor was it intended the be that. Keynes was called Theory of full employment” which in my life time has never been accomplished using his theory. Economics is not an exact science & folks who feel it is are only fooling themselves..& I feel that is where Krugman is at. Monetary & fiscal policy has a huge influence on the economy. By the way Keynesian theory has a big flaw… as you approach full employment one experiences spiral wage inflation..so it is really misnamed. No what did Cheney say? How could Gingrich spend so much money.Clinton was in the WH. & of course liberals have no problem spending taxpayer money… & blame the right for it. WOW.

  • Anonymous

    Yes I have friends who only watch MSNBC and friends that watch FOX from am to pm and think they are really getting the news. During W’s administration I started reading books. I was amazed at what we are not being told. The corporations only tell us what they want us to know. The only truthful programs to watch ( so far) are Moyers and Frontline. C span book tv on Comcast is excellent. I have read many books on the Iraq war, finance, economics, climate change and other subjects to understand how the world really works. If you want to really have an eye opening read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins. Small book .

  • Anonymous

    The revolving door with DC & Wall St is a serious issue & both parties practice it. Jack Lew is a good present day example & Hank Paulson another. We now have bigger banks to fail.. A Glass-Seagal type of law needs to be strictly enforced..No one ever goes to jail..ie. Jon Corzine.. why did he not face our court system. One might question the fact that he bundled over 800,000 dollars for Obama’s reelection that there was a get out of jail card issued.. One might wonder.

  • Anonymous

    The 1% sure know and they know we know, but knowing in itself doesn’t seem to make any real difference. That’s the other emerging reality, whatever this is, this isn’t a democracy, not even a democratic representative Republic. (Who voted for the corporate security state? The end of anti-trust law? The fracking of the heartland?) Or is it? A Republican Senate candidate recently riled up a tea party crowd by declaring “Democracy is Socialism!”. What if it is? Is that so terrible? FDR’s New Deal was socialism and the result was the greatest free enterprise system, most prosperous middle class and highest standard of living the world has ever seen. How did that happen and how was that dismantled? By who and why?

  • Anonymous

    Search for the truth is very frustrating to say the least. I find C span helpfull.. Bill Moyer is excellent except when it comes to political questions he seems to favor guest of liberal view points..I do not remember a conservative being on his show. Some Fox programs which have both sides represented..MSNBC does not have allot of balance but it shows the left viewpoint. Frontline is good. Getting both sides on issues is most important. I do read allot of finance & economic writings. Charlie Rose has some great guest on but falls short on conservative viewpoints I do read posts on Moyers programs because I find some folks well informed with references vs say Potitico or Media matters .. Not much to glean from there. It bothers me that the WH has so many ties to the 3 major networks that journalism seems to be a lost art. . I

  • Anonymous

    Don’t have the hang of this keep losing my replies. Cheney said “deficits don’t matter.” Gingrich and Jude Winisky were operatives during Reagan their theory was to cut taxes to be popular. The democrats were popular for SS and Medicare. I am stopping now don’t want to lose my reply 3 times

  • Anonymous

    Hugely unfounded Medicare Part D and Homeland Part D are the biggest government programs ever. Cheney thru Paul Oneil under the bus because he told them that they could not afford to privatize SS because they had spent too much money on tax cuts and wars.

  • Anonymous

    Keynes theories were always in flux but Friedman and Hayeks theories have been proven to have failed. By the way Medicare Part D was a huge gift to big pharma because bargaining for prices is NOT allowed. Also the Advantage plans are a gift to insurance companies. These programs were designed to gut Medicare. Then they can claim it failed.

  • Anonymous

    Sorry meant homeland security. You should read Top Secret America. The US is spending money hand over foot and it will NEVER stop because of politics. New book called The Deep State.

  • Anonymous

    Read the Loudest Voice in the Room. Roger Ailes has Two meetings a day to tell the journalists what to say. Also interesting comments on Hanity who started his career as a frequent caller to a serious hate radio show. Did you know he is a hemopheliac?

  • Anonymous

    If you get a chance look for an old program on Frontline called The Warning. It was about Brooksley Bourne during the Clinton administration.

  • Anonymous

    It makes one cynical because it seems that they all all “in on the game”. Did you read my comment on the Amgen Biotech deal. I either lose my comments or post them twice.

  • Anonymous

    Hi moderator can you explain how discuss works. When I reply I often lose my comment or have to do a two part sign in. Then I might repeat myself because I don’t know what went through.

  • Anonymous

    One of the most important Frontline programs was called the warning. It was about Brooksley Borne’ warning during the Clinton administration regarding derivatives. If only.

  • Anonymous

    Talking with you is worthwhile because you are a reasonable person and have critical thinking. I just have to get the hang of this discuss program because I lose replies and have to sign in multiple times and then probably repeat myself. It might be the touchy I phone.

  • Anonymous

    I would say the Keynesian theory failed in this recession.. What did we get for all the spending.. . fewer people employed. No political party that I know would gut Medicare intentionally.. that is not a vote getter. I agree Part D was a gift for big Pharma just like the ACA.. Their profits put most other industries to shame. Big Pharma = big lobyist.

  • Anonymous

    In do not listen to Hannady nor Ed Schultz or Al Sharpon. Maybe Ailes spins the news for Fox but the major networks get their spin from the WH. As I posted before they all have very close ties WH with relatives or members serving Obama’s WH. Again as you discussed where do you get factual news. Journalism is a lost profession.. The last one was Tim Russett.

  • Anonymous

    I probably watched it as I am familiar with the way Greenspan, Dodd, Frank, Robert Rubin, & Larry Summer stripped her of her authority to regulate derivitives & hedge funds. Greenspan stated the market would regulate itself..we now know how that worked out. Greenspan kept interest so low so long that cheap credit in home mortgages added fuel to housing bubble. Brooksley Bourne is one of my heroes & when as a member of the committee looking what caused the collapse she had a chance to question Greenspan.. He seemed quite nervous.. rightfully so but with Andrea Mitchell of NBC news being his wife we never heard anything from msm about this.

  • Anonymous

    Fox is filling a vaccum caused by lack of objective reporting by the msm. They have some good debates but one has to watch with a critical view.. MSNBC seem to exist as a reaction to Fox.. CNN has no idea what they want to do.. Both have very few viewers. If Fox was equally bias their viewership would shrink.. Their evening programs are too biased for me.. Again Fox would not exist if the mss not failed the viewers.

  • Rick Murie

    If it truly ever existed, what happened to “…of the people, by the people, for the people?”

  • http://thetaxguardian.com Walter F. Picca

    Thomas Piketty is correct, saying: modern Capitalism has put the world “on the road not just to a highly unequal society, but to a society of an oligarchy—a society of inherited wealth.”
    But, capitalism, per se, is not to blame: it is the increase share of capital flowing into the hands of the top 1%, 0.10%, and 0.01%: that is bad.
    The main culprit: the flattening of the graduating income tax,
    reducing the capital gains and dividend taxes, two main sources of income of the wealthy, and lowering of the estate tax rate and increasing the exemption, and corporate tax breaks: the deferment of foreign earnings, the transferring of profits to tax havens, etc. ; mainly, by President Reagan and George W. Bush —and the Republican controlled Congress.
    These tax-breaks on the wealthy and corporations made it possible for the wealthy— to keep more of their unearned
    income from investments and pay less taxes—and increase their investments and increase their income and wealth every
    year at a much faster rate than the bottom 99 percent—or speed past the working and middle class.
    And, the board of directors of corporations took advantage of these tax breaks by switching executive compensation from
    salary to stock options and awards, because, capital gains were taxed lower than wages, and then, begin paying an increase in dividends; thereby, increasing their share of profits from capitalism.
    And since, there is no cap on executive compensation: it went out of control–rising from 42 times average worker pay in 1980 to 200, 300, 400 and in some cases, over a thousand times – today. We have a minimum wage –to prevent slave wages—but, there is no maximum wage to prevent excessive executive compensation,
    which we are now witnessing and have no power to control. All attempts in Congress have failed.
    From 1992 to 2007—the income of the top 400 increased 392 percent and their average tax rate decreased by 37 percent. Back in 1955—they paid 51.2% on income of $12.7 million. That is not a fair tax code—or form of capitalism. In 2007, their average household income: $345 million and paid an effective tax rate of 16.6 percent.
    Unlimited higher corporate executive compensation—and the rigging of the tax code to favor the wealthy, by the US Congress– as pay back for funding their political campaigns are the main reasons for increasing income and wealth—inequality in America.
    And, these tax cuts on the wealthy and corporations are, mainly, responsible for the skyrocketing national debt. They benefited from the nation’s natural resource exploitation, the educated and trained labor force, the nation’s infrastructure, homeland security, national defense, the nations laws and services; but, did not pay the cost.
    The National Debt is the unpaid cost of those services, benefits, and protections. Their tax breaks, deductions and loopholes, allowed the top 1 percent to become extremely wealthy at the
    expense of Uncle Sam.
    As, the National Debt goes up, the estate tax rates should go up and the exemption should go down to collect back unpaid back taxes from under taxation—but, the U.S. Congress did just the opposite: lowered the estate tax rates and increased the exemption, which allow the wealthy to avoid paying back unpaid taxes, the national debt, they created during their life time and keep their unearned and exorbitant income and profits—pass it to their heirs—and pass their public debt to the next generation, who did not create it.
    And, Paul Krugman is correct, when he said to Bill Moyers: “When you have a few people who are so wealthy that they can effectively buy the political system, the political system is going to tend to serve their interests,” That is what has happened in America.
    And, the recent Supreme Court’s rulings: that lets unlimited soft and dark money to flow into political campaigns: helps the rule of the rich—even more.

  • Anonymous

    My brain begins to glaze over upon reading as a foundational statement “But, capitalism, per se, is not to blame:” Yet you then go on to list a host of ailments that are direct manifestations of capitalism. Capitalism does not occur in a test-tube devoid of human implementation and, as such, it is inherently flawed without regulation and management via taxation. While I don’t disagree with some of your points (the national debt discussion is not really overarching) I find it untenable to agree with the majority of them, expressed as symptoms, and then conclude capitalism, per se, is fine.

  • Anonymous

    Outrage should manifest via the simplicity of your assertion. The suggestion that Government functions autonomously is simply absurd in practical application. And, if you believe that Government should be puritanical in nature – that’s fine as a thought experiment but does very little to address the problems of the wealthy having more influence, power, and sway across huge swaths of life from health care to education to the courts to legislation etceteras.

  • Anonymous

    News flash – liberalism is not communism. It’s just a fact – feel free to check wikipedia. And the rest of your, what seems to be outrage, manifest from talking points. What would you do to address oligarchy? inequality? A few concrete thoughts.

  • Anonymous

    How silly. The false equivalency argument yet again. And Krugman often writes with the weight of history and knowledge of economics and not with an initial presentation motivated by ideology. A good example is ‘austerity’ which is simply a settled argument with regard to its futility during certain economic down turns. Suggesting ‘Americans for Prosperity’ has arguments that are functionally sound is ridiculous.
    About as absurd as Americans for Prosperity and their approach on Global Warming which is a joke but a perfect examplar of how their argument is simply not equivalent with that of 99+% of the scientific research. They’re on the wrong side of history with regard to global warming AND economic positions. One has to begin to question why one would listen to any of the ideologically driven organizations positions on ANY topic.

  • Anonymous

    Are you arguing that Democrats spend more than Republicans while occupying the Presidency? That’s laughable. You can quickly research the data since reagan and correct your error.

  • Anonymous

    In regard to spending, many argue that enough was not infused into the economy. So to suggest that what was done yet realized less than ideal effects refutes Keynesian thought is a precarious position to adopt.

  • Anonymous

    LOL so what. You think they employee any of those people out of the goodness of their hearts? That is laughably ridiculous.

    As for charitable giving – it’s a canard & is meaningless as the measure to judge a person. And, even if it were, with great wealth comes great responsibility – or so it used to. The ability to purchase political systems and subvert democracy to reach ones business goals is quite an important point to not overlook nor to forgive because of some smattering of charitable giving.

  • Anonymous

    Redistribution of wealth, income, and earnings has been steadily trending upward for decades…via the efforts of the richest and most powerful Americans who sell the lie of american exceptionalism and ‘free market’ nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    No .. they both are addicted to spending.. go laugh if you must.. be happy…

  • Anonymous

    Krugman has made that point many times & I for one do not agree with him.. Private sector investment & employment is a proven better way to get GNP growth back to levels we would like.

  • Anonymous

    That might be a reasonable argument if say, one did not wash the hand of the other. Corporate power is the problem and it’s intellectually dishonest to suggest otherwise. As far as “govt. has never had so much revenue” this is, as a percentage of GDP, largely unchanged. Although the pattern is in an upward trend it is insignificant next to the redistribution of monies via tax breaks, estate tax breaks, hedge fund earnings treated as

  • Anonymous

    You are a laughable type person.. stay happy. A company goes into the market & buy people that fit the skills needed.. It is an investment as we are a capitalist society. Yes the wealthy should be more charitable like the Carnegie Foundation who sponsors Bill Moyers.. Carnegie built many libraries & was a big time capitalist who has a colorful history. If a political system is to purchased someone has to put it up for sale.. Might they be complicit as well?

  • Anonymous

    I was referring to the actual revenue received by the US Treasury.. Who has gave the corporations all this power.. our govt by allowing mergers .i.e the 6 giant banks etc. It might be intellectually questionable no to fear big govt with all its power.. .i.e. IRS, EPA; OSHA; etc. Many Americans do. The tax codes are so flawed with special priviledges granted by both parties.. yes they are way over due for a big house cleaning.

  • Anonymous

    She brought him before congress twice. The first time she did it to stop the derivatives but he won the argument. She said it would threaten every household in the United States. But Greenspan argued that he trusted the marketplace. The second time was after the collapse. And this time Greenspan just said “I was wrong.”

  • Anonymous

    Did you read Gretchen Morgensons book Reckless Endangerment? It is all about Fannie Mae and especially Jim Johnson.

  • Anonymous

    I think I may have said this before. Frontline. Moyers and books that I see on Cspan book channel or talk shows

  • Anonymous

    You are so naive. Krugman has an agenda. Robert Reich has an agenda. Bill Moyers has an agenda. Jesus Christ had an agenda. The IPCC has an agenda.

    Everyone has an agenda.

    Even a murderer is accorded the right to a strong advocate for his position.

    The best way to be informed is to hear, read, evaluate many differing ideas, and making up ones mind.

    Only the weak or the proponents of indefensible ideas fear dissenting opinions.

    None of the things you mentioned are settled – least of which Austerity. The austerians in Europe – Germany, Austria, Finland – have low debt, low unemployment, perfect credit ratings and a prosperous economy. The big spenders France, Italy, Greece, etc are on the ropes. If it is settled is that austerity is good for a country.

  • Anonymous

    Obama took the easy way out and let these two powerful groups write the law namely insurance and pharma. Even Carly Fiorina said it on a talk show. These two groups did not want their monopolies disturbed or so she said. Regarding Medicare Part D why would motivate Bush to push it through when he is so against big government and even tried to privatize SS. I thought they hated entitlements.

  • Anonymous

    This recession was huge as you are well aware. The stimulus was not big enough. And congress would not cooperate with any jobs programs.

  • Anonymous

    I’d strive to become an oligarch and enjoy life, instead of being bitter that someone else got there before me.

    If I couldn’t become one, I’d create products and services that oligarchs love, and sell it to them.

    If I couldn’t do that, I’d try to marry an oligarch.

    If I couldn’t do that, I’d try to work for a one, and become a valuable employee.

    If I couldn’t do that, I’d try to work for someone who works for an oligarch.

    If I couldn’t do that…..you get the gist.

    The one thing I wouldn’t do is be envious, bitter or try to take anything from them, just because they have more than I do.

  • Anonymous

    And do you really believe that FOX would tell its watchers when Medicare goes bankrupt that Medicare Part D and the advantage plans hastened its demise? I don’t think so. Do you realize how cheap the advantage plans are? Like $25 per month for health and drugs. Also Medicare is subsidizing pharma for all those expensive drugs when they could have simply bargained for them. And paying the insurance companies for the advantage plans. This is not for poor people. It is for anybody. Just remember this conversation when it happens. And then a private plan will emerge with lobbyists and highly paid CEOs.

  • Anonymous

    The second meeting Greenspan did not say he was wrong… He said to Brooksley “We disagree”

  • Anonymous

    No but thanks for the lead..I’d heard of it. Michael Lewis wrote some interesting accounts as well..one comes to mind of the 2 I read: The big Short

  • Anonymous

    I get my drugs from the VA with $9.00 copay for which I’m very grateful.. The VA buys drugs the way Part D should be .. i.e. Liptor costs the VA approx 25 % of the part D costs.

  • Anonymous

    You must watch that program the warning on Frontline. This was before Congress and he was not speaking to Brooksley. He was speaking to Congress. Now he says he was wrong 30 PC of the time.

  • Anonymous

    Guess you have seen Flash Boys. If you really want to have a life altering experience read Confessions of an Economic Hit Man. It is a very small book easy reading. Nothing will ever be the same again.

  • singforpeace

    Krugman uses the word “hope” a lot keep us from completely despairing about our situation. Perhaps we should learn from what the word “hope” got us with our current president — nothing.

  • singforpeace

    The loopholes are purposely put into the laws. It’s rigged from the very beginning.

  • Andy Rathgeber

    That’s it! And a primary way to equal the playing field would be to tax the resource but not the labor. By allowing those who perform the labor to keep all they earn, while taxing the resource as a common good, you can prevent the accumulation of wealth in few hands without resorting to the politics of class envy to do it…but that’s no fun….

  • Mike Ballard

    In future, please e-mail me at the following address:

    mbbtraven5@gmail.com

    Cheers!
    Mike B)

  • Edward98

    That is gone, at least I don’t see it. It more reflects, of the rich, by the rich, for the rich.

  • Edward98

    Yes the 1% knows we know, so “Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth.”— Lucy Parsons

  • pa1958

    And let’s not forget tax havens – they don’t exist without the connivance of countries whose oligarchs use them to launder their ill-gotten loot. International laws, treaties and agreements have been passed, and nations coerced to comply with them. If there’s the will, money that belongs to tax payers can be brought back

  • Anonymous

    How about the US bank that laundered Mexican drug money. If you like to read and want an excellent history lesson about how a handful of greedy people persisted in getting laws changed which led to the present state read Age of Greed by Jeff Madrick. One example is Robery Rubin another one is Sandy Weil, Phil Gramm. Excellent book .

  • Anonymous

    I can’t remember where I read or heard the information connecting the Kochs and XL. I did a search and it is all over the internet. The Kochs do refine oil in the gulf and they do not want to buy higher priced oil from Venezuela. One problem with FOX is that they omit information. Rachel Madow is very progressive but she is very smart and is honest. She has been on a rant about Christie which I don’t care about since it will work itself out anyway. Never asked whether you believe in climate change. We are both off topic but I guess it is ok as long as we are gleaning information from each other .

  • Anonymous

    Regarding pipelines there is a pipeline under the Great Lakes that is worrisome since it is aged. These pipelines are not maintained. They can be if they put in pigs and actually monitor them. It is all about the bottom dollar and casualties are just collateral damage. The Halliburton cement that failed on the gulf happened in Azerbijan some months prior and was never reported. It was because they used nitrogen to hurry the drying of the concrete why? Guess to save time and therefore millions. They knew if failed before and did it anyway.

  • Anonymous

    The ACA and the CFPA provide substantially improved protections for the middle and poor classes which will become a part of the Obama administration’s legacy. These were achieved against great odds and other desperately needed improvements may be much more difficult to achieve with many of the Senatorial heavyweights dying or retiring.

    The current crop of senators contains at least a few who have demonstrated an ability to make a difference — Elizabeth Warren, Mark Warner and Bernie Sanders. To quote Warren, we need the people to rise up and give them a “fighting chance”.

  • Anonymous

    Capitalism is not to blame but improperly regulated capitalism is. The problem we face is that we have let capitalism run amuck so long that it now controls those who would re-regulate it.

    So the rights of corporations will continue to grow at the expense of human rights until the masses become so fed up that they will demand change. Most, however, will be resistant to forcing major change until they understand the direction and reasoning behind it. This will take a leader who can explain it to the masses — like Teddy Roosevelt, Harry Truman or Lizzy Warren.

  • Rick Murie

    Indeed. Oh, and don’t forget: of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations. Because corporations are (rich) people, too. So says the Supreme Court.

  • Anonymous

    Mind control by media like Fox News who use 14 propaganda technique to brainwash Americans per Alternet.

  • Anonymous

    Businesses who can cause major environmental problems need to be motivated to behave but installing major major fines plus cleanup costs.. Just the adverse PR i.e. BP should be motivation enough.

  • Anonymous

    Oil and gas companies and wall street never go to jail. The fines and deaths are collateral damage and the fines are just a cost of doing business .

  • Anonymous

    There are so many examples of oil, gas, toxic chemical spills, coal ash etc. that I don’t know where we will get clean water for drinking and watering crops. It is our most precious commodity.

  • Anonymous

    Medicare and all the part d ers are subsidizing the VA, longshoremen, Canadians and all other groups that bargain. Last year my bill was 65 pet month this year much more.

  • wane

    remember this, everyone does better, when everyone does better when do we return to the America that we worked for? the America we had so much pride for, when we where treated with dignity and respect? forget the answers and find the solution.

  • AmyGoodman (admirer of)

    Bill, why don’t you and Paul Krugman call out the dynasties of corporate media?! That would be one way — To confront Rupert Murdoch, Jim his son, and their upcoming owners of all those news channels. That’d help but no one does it! Are they afraid? Are you? We love you; Don’t use private airplanes, none of our heroes should!

  • fedupwithpoliticians

    Mike and Andy,

    You got it. See Theodore Roosevelt’s speech on New Nationalism in 1910. In that speech he uses a quote from Lincoln that ponders the issue of “labor and capital”. Lincoln decided that labor must “come first”. That mans that labor must be protected from the abuses of the wealthy. That is what the progressive tax code that produced “shared prosperity” was for. Republicans have dismantled all of that.

  • Anonymous

    Well the thing is – there was this movement called Occupy Wall Street. It was a peaceful movement and it spread to every city in the US. They came for them with riot police, batons, bean bang & rubber bullets, pepper spray, tear gas and finally tanks and real guns. Occupy tried to stop the slide into oligarchy and was put down by no less than the President who praised them on television and then coordinated with the Department of Homeland Security to have them labeled domestic terrorists. Just remember – we tried to stop them- and paid a pretty steep price. The next time, we’ll be lucky if it’s as peaceful as Occupy tried to be.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, yes, that & a thousand other issues GOP politicians have pulled. But the opposition is just as bad. Glass Stegall was removed under Clinton. Obama regularly capitulates to the oil industry. Sweet little deal Dodd had with the recording industry for a decade or more. Have Dems ended any wars? no. Halliburton wouldn’t like it. Did we get real banking reform whenDems had a chance to change it?. No. Theyare not white knights. Don’t even compare well to evil politicians on the right. But, I can say that I can think of maybe 2 Dems that I think actually do care about the people. Can’t say that about any GOP pols.

  • George Orwell

    BILL AND PAUL
    Listen up.

    GO FOR THE SOUND BYTE

    You are preaching to the choir.

    TURN AROUND. Dumb it down. Get it in sentences of 5 words. Or less.

    Dont say “SOAK THE RICH”

    Say, “RICH – GIVE A BIT”

  • Terri

    Sometimes rich CEO’s behave like domestic terrorists. Sometimes they behave like parasites. They’ll steal credit for their employees hard work, they’ll lie about their employees, and treat their employees like they’re subhuman. Some are wolves in sheeps clothing. They’ll steal your soul if you let them. I’m convinced that some of them got their job through a contest to determine who can plunge the knife in their employees back the deepest.

  • Cool Hand Luke

    I have been commenting on Yahoo for a number of years, and have commented more than once over that time that the U.S. is becoming an oligarchy. I don’t expect anyone to respond to my comments, but I do feel somewhat vindicated listening to this…

    I agree with George Orwell’s comment, you are preaching to the choir on PBS. The question is whether the average middle class conservatives actually have the mental clarity to understand their own predicament.

    They somehow see themselves as being in some other boat from the American liberals, as if the rich will come out to save them from what looks like a very French future.

    The middle class doesn’t have a voice, and that’s a shame. They really need a unifying platform from which to speak. Perhaps I can suggest a middle class political action committee. Call the MCPAC if you will. We the people need lobbyists, and we need to out dollar corporate America.

    Somehow, middle class Americans need to see themselves, not as Democrats or Republicans, and not as Liberals or Conservatives; they need to see themselves as cannon fodder for the wealthy.

  • Anonymous

    Looks as if even the 50th anniversary March on Washington last summer wasn’t nearly enough. And this time around it isn’t strictly a racial issue as it was half a century ago, although racial disparity certainly still exists. And, do you see Wall Street as eventually becoming the modern-day Bastille?

  • Anonymous

    While the concept of so many mind games such as those you describe occur in workplaces, the axis of power is tilted so heavily in their favor that the worker who could be the victim has no legal means to fight back unless race, gender or age discrimination can be proved without the benefit of doubt.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, unless someone comes along who has the charisma of non-violence the way Martin Luther King did, all-out revolution may be the only thing that will turn things around. And who knows, Occupy may be only on temporary hiatus, still waiting for their savior.

  • Anonymous

    Do you really feel that even they have what it takes to lead us toward a post-corporate world?

  • Anonymous

    Was Pogo right? Have we really met the enemy, and is it truly us? Seems so.

  • Anonymous

    Middle class conservatives think they’re part of the 51% that Romney was referring into that in unfortunate (or fortunate, as the case may be) video that was publicized. The 51% was anyone making over $250k a year. If you’re living hand to mouth, even if you aren’t utilizing public services, you’re part of the 49% he didn’t think he could reach. Most people in this country are a paycheck away from homelessness and still think it doesn’t apply to them.

  • Anonymous

    Capitalism is necessary for technological societies. The question at hand is how to best regulate it to serve both worker and owner. This is the key to a stable future free of economic collapse and war.

  • Anonymous

    Of course our political system is complicit. I, unlike you, addressed your question. You simply responded with more nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    Very bizarre. I love my country enough to desire people have opportunities via the sweat of their brow and/or intellect and not their SES or the influence of an oligarch trying to pull strings as if a citizen were a puppet controlled by a puppet-master.Lastly, I had to chuckle, so I am ‘bitter’ and quite possibly ‘envious’ in your mind. How tragic that advocacy for greater equality for all is seen as envy by you…not an unexpected response from someone who conflates liberalism with communism (that’s simply a factual untruth btw). Why are you so afraid to acknowledge things could be better here? It seems the height of cowardice to think your country cannot tolerate becoming better irrespective of ideological leaning.

  • Anonymous

    But, you did not say ‘both’ you went out of your way to say ‘liberals’ and that, on its own, as I pointed out. laughable.

  • Anonymous

    Did you have a question???

  • Anonymous

    Oddly, it was denoted with a question mark. Although, the answer was so obvious you probably assumed it was rhetorical.

  • Anonymous

    I just gave you a very concrete list of actions I’d take to “address” oligarchy.

    Why don’t you give us what you would do – specifically. Then we can judge your solutions.

  • Anonymous

    So, oligarchy is the problem? Your actions, in all candor, are not designed to address anything and it’s intellectually dishonest to suggest as much. Maintaining the status quo, by definition, is not ‘action’. As for the ‘we’…that’s amusing.

  • Anonymous

    Nice way to duck answering the question.

    My answers were about what I (and others) can do to raise the bottom.

    I’m pretty sure all of your suggestions (if you were honest) will be about TAKING from the top.

    And no, oligarchy is not a problem. I could care less that the Walton hairs are billionaires – I care that Walmart employs 2.2M people – and that is good.

    I could care less how much money the Bill Ford III inherited – I care that Ford employs 180,000.

    In fact, I think Oligarchs provide a benefit to society. They are a counter to the cult of politicians.

    For example, when Warren Buffet spoke during the financial crisis, he provided as much a calming effect as the pronouncements of Paulson, Geithner, Bush, Obama.

  • Anonymous

    Duck? Oh please I articulated why your position you assert is one of ‘action’ is not. it’s deference to the status quo..or at least it was…perhaps you can edit that part out of your comment.

    Taking from the top is short-sighted but certainly that is part of what needs done. Although, it’s less about ‘taking’ given the ‘taking’ (your loaded descriptor) is occurring via the top. That’s clear. You might review a host books on the subject. Capital in the 21st Century is a current place to start (although, i’ve not finished it yet) by Thomas Piketty if you think oligarchy is not a problem. But there are others who articulate the ‘why’ of that problem. Frankly, to maintain a position that oligarchy is not a problem is more philosophically based than based in economics barring some absurd fringe.

    Your continual desire to cling to ‘oligarchy’ fails to encapsulate what is occurring in regard to inequality in the United States. it is simplistic – at best. You might wikipedia ‘Plutocracy’. While there you might also be interested, or not, in Sheldon Wolin and his writings on Inverted Totalitarianism’.

    That wal-mart heirs are billionaires is not the problem so you again engage in mischaracterizations by stating as much. I am beginning to think your ideological position prohibits identifying problems with the levels of inequality we see. I’d echo that with your ‘I could care less how much bill ford III inherited’ blah blah.

    Oligarchs, to use your imprecise depiction, they are a counter to the ‘cult of politician’. Is simply a generalization that is meaningless.

  • Anonymous

    I get it. You don’t like my very specific action plan.

    Please tell us what your solutions to fix the “problem” are.

    Don’t duck the question.

    You think income inequality and oligarchy is a huge problem. What specifically would you do to fix it.

  • Melwoolf

    Too true. I was shopping with my Republican sister in TJ Maxx and mentioned that I had seen Donald Trump on some morning show discussing his then new book about the richest tiny percent and the vast masses of Americans who would never be wealthy. Forgot what point he made other than “I can give you tips on being just like me” or something similar cause the rest of you will stay poor. My sister’s response: “What? He thinks we are poor?” I said, sister, where are we shopping?” Denial is everywhere in the States – no one wants to disbelieve particularly the lovely Republican and sadly Democratic parties who pretend they have the answers for us, the masses. However, should someone like Elizabeth Warren actually get into office, there might be change. But then again, I thought that with you-know-who!

  • John Constantine

    “you-know-who”? Are you referring to Ron Paul or Gary Johnson or Bernie Sanders?

  • Cool Hand Luke

    Peaceful change can only come about by bi-partisan consensus in the legislature. We are actually moving further away from that. I’m not advocating for anyone to do something rash, but for any substantive change to take place, we need to decorate the trees in Washington D.C. with lobbyists, and rid ourselves of extreme ideologies on both sides. In fact, if given a choice, I’m not sure which I hate more, extreme conservatives or extreme liberals.

  • John Constantine

    I like Paul Krugman, but the problem is that increases in company profits are not shared among workers. These increases in profits are dispursed only to high level executives. So over time, the working class has gotten poorer while the elite class has absorbed all of the growth.

    The problem is not solely in taxes to better support the bottom 20%. That leaves out the middle class entirely, so the problem remains unaddressed.

  • Melwoolf

    Agree. But then again extreme “religion” (i.e. political leanings) of any persuasion is horrible because there is never “discussion” only “It must be”. My parents’ generation from Depression and WWII wanted the whole country to benefit and our leaders in government knew it was the right way: to make government work for the masses and enable small business, unions and large companies to work. At the time in the 60′s that my dad worked for LTV the salary differential was so small. I believe top management was maybe 10x the worker on the assembly line (unsure exactly). What has sadly transpired is that Americans have become less aware due to poor media information (now we have the internet which preaches to the converted on any site) and poor overall education in schools. You are right that we, the public, need to get involved and stay involved.

  • Melwoolf

    President Obama

  • GFavier

    Additionally, the mainstream “media” did all it could to portray Occupy Wall St in a poor light. Many of the individuals they interviewed on camera left much to be desired. The result was a splintered movement that was unsure of their grievances, uninformed and mentally incompetent or downright unstable. I think mainstream media deliberately sort out individuals who would reflect a poor impression. I did see a scant few interviews on public TV that reflected the Wall St Movement in a much more favorable light. However, too few and certainly not widely viewed. It is a sad day in our history that we are not afforded the opportunity to be honestly portrayed in the media.

  • Steve 53233

    One of the reasons given for denying social programs to help those in need is that we cannot afford it. This, of course, refers to our national debt.

    Should the national debt be a consideration in this debate?

  • christopherschaefer

    Search ‘Rosa DeLauro Exposed” to see how corrupt politicians have become the new 1 percent.

  • Anonymous

    Elizabeth Warren isn’t going to be the great savior, just ask Barack Obama. If you think the Right hates Obama, they hate her way, way more. The president is very limited on what he/she can do without a cooperative Congress. We have had 4 years of nothing getting done since the Republicans took over the House in 2010. If Warren were to get elected, we would have 8 more years of nothing getting done unless the Dems win across the board, then they may take it too far. We need a president who can lead, build relationships with Congress and get things done. My personal belief is that Hillary Clinton will be able to do a good job with that because she has a secret weapon, Bill Clinton, who can shmooze people in Congress and help get things done!

  • deserthackberry

    The one I’ve heard most often from Republicans, especially ex-Army, is “Democracy is mobocracy”. That’s why our military scares the crap out of me.

  • Mary Carman-Bukhari

    I AGREE with you. BOTH parties are guilty. People must understand the implications of Mergers & Acquisitions that started in the 1980s to present, and the IPOs to fully understand how the 1% got their power. M&A & IPOs enabled them to control prices, make gains in their networks, etc. which influenced our economy, Add to the mix older money which is so well hidden, the Nouveau Riche (can’t help but think of Molly Brown), and how current technology (computerization-Desk Set Movie) and streamlining for profits to get investors has changes the job market, and enabled companies to advance at such a FAST pace, while we were all busy with computer games, movies/TV (where we are spammed with subliminal advertising controlling how we think in commercials and content), the plethora of information being thrown at us via the Internet, etc., etc…. While they took advantage of us with their savvy, people followed. It is all Pavlovian (think how when you do an Internet search for almost anything today…all of a sudden you get bombarded with ads, links to other sites, etc. They’ve streamlined Market Research to KNOW what to give us more of so they get better control). SURE Politicians are being bought…as Corps/Cos/Rich are the economy, which is WHY they feels they should control the Government.

  • Mary Carman-Bukhari

    I AGREE with you. BOTH Dems/Reps & now Tea Party are ALL guilty! See my comment to 34Nelson with HOW the 1% control the economy and the outcome.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a red herring. There’s plenty of money to deal with the deficit if we stop cutting taxes, and renew the taxes Bush 43 cut on the wealthy. This has been shown by several economists that the same forces that create budget deficits–cutting taxes on the top incomes and stagnating middle-class incomes–are also fueling inequality.

  • Anonymous

    One problem is that we have been trained by corporate America to idolize the rich and feel like we have more than we deserve–attacking anyone as a lazy freeloader if they want equality. All you have to do is work? Wrong. The harder you work, the richer the 1% gets because your increased productivity is not paid for. Capitalism run amok.

  • tst

    We need campaign finance reform to get anything done. Otherwise its the same players year after year…. The rich. They create the policies that make them richer.

  • Anonymous

    Let them eat cake! but there is no cake to be had. Our economic conditions have been caused by too many wars and terrible Presidents and liars who push their own agendas. We may have a revolution and it will not be pretty. People must eat, live in decent facilities, and be treated with respect when it comes to labor wages and hours.

    Elizabeth Warren is treated know better as Obama. We don’t need a Dame/Knight with a white horse. We need real change. Chop off their heads. The elite have money because we the working class made them rich destroying the Earth for the almighty dollar and for the people who think they are privileged to think and act this way. We value our Hollywood actors and the stupid awards they rack up and the money they make, when we should be absolutely in coharts to our people that are making a difference for the better of humankind! We are the people, we must make a difference. I am reading an article from an astrophysicist who writes that we must find other places to inhabit because we have destroyed our Earth What a messy world we will leave for generations to come.

  • Anonymous

    Why is the USA broke(n)? For the answer you’d have to
    go all the way back to the (roaring) 1920’s.

    The Great Depression was arguably caused by wealth consolidation at the top, while declining income for the workforce resulted in reduced demand for production and the ensuing snowball effect of unemployment, further demand reduction, and
    the domino effect of curtailed capital investments, the withdrawal of capital when stock prices fell, and finally the bank runs, and the crash of ’29.

    Coming out of the Great Depression, with its lessons fresh on the minds of our nation and its elected officials, policies were enacted to bolster the middle class. To kick start a recovery, Roosevelt enacted New Deal work programs for the displaced workers like the CCC, CWA, and PWA. Then policies like The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, The Wagner Act, otherwise known as The National Labor Relations Act, and later, the Employment Act of 1946, were measures enacted to fortify the middle class. The Glass-Steagall Act separated the investment banks from
    commercial banks, and marginal tax rates were set at 90%. These measures, it was agreed, were necessary to fortify the middle class (create and sustain a dynamic consumer market), stabilize the financial sector, and practically assure the investment of capital back into the USA.

    These measures were met with bitter opposition and cries of protest from the business sector and their friends and profit protectors in Congress who claimed they were “unconstitutional,” an “infringement on freedoms,” “socialism,” etc. … Sound familiar?

    But look at the results! For the remainder of most of the 20th century, the USA cultivated the world’s premier, most prosperous consumer economy. The cumulative effect of employing millions of high wage workers resulted not only in the clearing of retail shelves (demand), and the uptick in production, but in the filling of
    local, state, and federal treasuries. To get a tax break, our wealthy INVESTED their vast wealth in the USA.

    Together, we were able to achieve the largest expansion in US history, create a “social safety net” (Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and unemployment compensation), develop the world’s most powerful military, rebuild post WWII Europe and Japan (The Marshall Plan), win the Race to the Moon, AND win the Cold War against the competing Communist system.

    During those years of unparalleled Historic USA expansion and investment, we even had a few years when there were budget surpluses (1951, 56, and 57). We also had steady trade surpluses up until around 1975; by then the offshoring of manufacturing jobs (shoe, garment, textile, toys, and electronics) to 3rd world countries to by-pass the high wage US worker began to take its toll. Then, by the end of the millennium, GATT and NAFTA, but in 2001, when China (Avg. wage- $1.36/hr., some work for 30 cents/hr) joined the WTO (with MFN status), even our jobs in Mexico left for China, and it’s been a steep downhill plunge ever since. (Incidentally, our burgeoning trade deficits exceeded over Half a Trillion $$$/yr. by 2004 and have not diminished!)

    In my view, our middle class got fat and happy and left the fight for their slice of the American Pie to “someone else,” but in the business sector, their eye never wanders from the bottom line. They continued to probe the fences for weaknesses so they could reclaim their “losses” to US labor.

    FTAs Incentivized the jobs exodus to offshore sweatshops and introduced the “global economy” where “multinationals” and “transnationals” continue to monopolize world commerce. The Gramm, Leach, Bliley Act, initiated the deregulation fever that created the lucrative bonus systems on Wall Street and witnessed the “smartest men in the room” behaving badly, then Citizens United, Super PACs, in our “pay-to-play” legislature we have today. Marginal taxes on our top earners were continuously reduced since the 50s and 60s until today where marginal rates are around 35% (they were dropped to 28% throughout the 80s) and capital gains (where most of the earnings of the wealthy reside, have been reduced to somewhere around 15% about half the rate the middle class pays… All of these bills advanced the interests of BIG $$$, and the by-pass of the spoiled, fat and complacent US middle class (aka: we the people). And now, after 30 years of favor for our “job creators” (how disingenuous), and the decimation of the middle class, the USA has her tit in a ringer!

    Ironically, no sooner had the USA won the Cold War, proving to the world that capitalism, combined with a prosperous middle class was a system that really worked, than capitalists went about proving Karl Marx right about how unchecked capitalism works.

    And now, in just 30 years of legislative favor, we’re back to pre-Great Depression conditions where corporatists have managed to garner all of the gains to themselves that they were once required to share. Our Utopian (sophisticated and expensive) society is going broke, and guesses who is making record gains again?

    We’ve forgotten the lessons of the past.

  • Anonymous

    Dude, you say it well! One of the issues that was skirted in this interview is the massive exodus of our magnificent manufacturing sector, shipped off-shore to the four winds (China= avg. wage $1.36/hr., some work for 30 cents/hr., Vietnam= 75 cents/hr. avg. wage) to garner a larger profit margin when they market those cheap goods in our first rate consumer market.

    NAFTA, GATT, WTO, and the secretive, pending TPP) have pitted the USA worker against sweatshops abroad. Some call it being entered in a “race to the bottom.” I call it being entered in a pissing match with a pole cat!

  • Joel Gardberg

    Matforce: thanks for a simple overview, you make perfect sense.

  • Joel Gardberg

    I suggest a tariff on imported goods to level the field.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed! But a protectionist approach will evoke the nay-sayers with tales of Smoot-Hawley excesses that backfired at the time.

    However, if the WTO, IMF, and World Bank has a remaining element of humanity left in them, instead of fleecing the mighty USA for all she’s worth, they would support international trade practices that do just as you suggest.

    Free trade with Europe? Yes. Free Trade with Canada? Yes. Free Trade with Japan? Yes. But free trade with nations that exploit their populous, and empire build on the backs of their sweatshop labor conditions and wage scales, scorched earth environmental policies, no human rights let alone workers’ rights, regulatory measures that differ wildly from those of the USA, etc. should be tariffed stiffly if they wish to gain access to our ports and consumer market.

    Consider Germany, a nation in the Euro that is managing to hold its own. They level a 19% tariff on imports as well as a VAT in proportion to how much of a product was manufactured outside of Germany (E.g.: China tried to dump cheap bicycles into Germany. They imposed a 90% tariff in response… We wouldn’t dare do that here… It’s beginning to show!

  • Anonymous

    You are welcome to use the material as you wish. Thanks for the acknowledgement. Your insights offer detail to what an old man once told me years ago, when I became interested in world events, “Follow the money.” I will be visiting your blog soon.

  • jim davis

    You sir hit the nail right on the head. The new deal was much better than the raw deal that followed.

  • jim davis

    A much better idea would be to get out of so called free trade agreements and stay out of the TPP.

  • Guest

    Where can I send a copy of a book I wrote to Bill Moyers?

  • Anonymous

    Roosevelt’s policies aren’t what ended the depression. A UCLA study confirmed that his policies actually prolonged it with anticompetitive practices and artificially high wage guarantees that prolonged it for 7 years. The war is what bailed us out, not the New Deal.

    No one credible is in favor of unchecked capitalism but when you start quoting Karl Marx, it’s pretty clear where you’re headed.

  • rabbit_ears

    Don’t forget the effect the wars had on the family economy. Women were left to work in factories, and probably for the first time, have control of the family wealth. There was one or more less mouths to feed at home (sometimes permanently due to war deaths). That would translate to extra income per family which could be saved for the future.

  • Don Herbst

    Piketty got it right. It all comes down to progressive taxation. Progressive taxes insure the middle class income distribution. Gut progressive taxes and you gut the middle class and the prosperity that goes with it.

  • JD

    You are so right. People do not know the tax rate on someone making over $200,000 was 90% Yes, NINTY PERCENT in 1960. (look it up if you don’t believe it) This is what made the system work. The person who was fortunate enough to be in this situation would do almost anything to not pay such a high tax rate, so they invested the money in the people (middle class) that made them the money. They spent the money on investments in the future. This money allowed the middle class to buy many things which made the economy boom. The taxes collected paid for the infrastructure. If we don’t fix the problem now, the problem will eventually fix itself, in which case we all will loose a great deal….

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry but NAFTA does not sit well in your ideas. How many sweatshops in Canada ? Also we should be doing a lot more to help Mexico.A stronger Mexico would means less people running at the boarder saving trillions of dollars. Having N.America being able to compete against China and India with their billion plus people !

  • http://awschade.com/ AW Schade

    I’m amazed! Everytime the 1% is mentioned it’s CEOs. 2013 IBM CEO = $13M employees 400K. Tiger Woods 78M employs his caddy!!

  • http://sandyrussel.wix.com/silver-moon-tones Sandra M. Russel

    AGREE TOTALLY.

  • http://sandyrussel.wix.com/silver-moon-tones Sandra M. Russel

    This is the difference between “stakeholder” capitalism (the kind I grew up with in the 1960′s & 70′s) and what we have today: “shareholder” capitalism. You can thank Ronald Reagan and his ilk for the morphing of the capitalism that made this country great after WWII into what it is today: strictly for the owners and the rest of you; managers, employees, customers… are on your own.

  • Cynthia Davis

    unfortunately unchecked greed and self-interest combined with a lack of compassion and sharing has ALWAYS led to the destruction of whatever society or what it was called. Virtually all religions have tenets that warn against this but human nature being what it is may extoll virtue but soon forgets to practice it.

  • Carl Schumacher

    Just raise the minimum wage. Other wages will move up accordingly. Government subsidization of rent, utility and food expense is appropriate but without pay increases, which by the way are surrepticiously and collusively denied, self-sufficient working people are kept from advancing and gaining improved quality of life from their direct and sustained efforts.

    Reference:
    surreptitious

    adj

    1. done, acquired, etc, in secret or by improper means

    2. operating by stealth

    3. characterized by fraud or misrepresentation of the truth

  • wishiknew

    If you actually study Marx, outside of the propaganda that labeled him a communist (which served the capitalists), then you would understand that he was simply a vocal critic of capitalism. And he was absolutely correct.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    And prices will rise right along with it thus raising the cost of living even higher requiring – again – higher wages. The fact is, this is still the land of opportunity. Those with the genuine ability and willpower can improve their situation by their own effort unlike a serf system where your place is set for life. How much the super-wealthy make is irrelevant. Either increase your value in the marketplace by your own hand or accept what others give you from their own rightfully-owned pocket.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    Unless you work for yourself, you work for someone else. The question is this, should the person who creates the job and hires you to do that job they created be punished for doing so, or ought they be rewarded for doing so?

  • Anonymous

    “The fact is, this is still the land of opportunity.” There is ample statistical evidence that this is not true and that, in fact, some European countries—more social democratic than the U.S.—have more social and economic mobility.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a common delusion to believe that the “market” is an omnipresent, benevolent entity that evenhandedly rewards those who simply make the effort to work hard. The fact is, opportunities have been shrinking for the majority of Americans for the past 30 years. How much the uber-wealthy (including corporations) are able to hoard is totally relevant to the ongoing state of our economic doldrums. The bootstrap mentality may have been relevant in the mid 20th century, but when you have dysfunctional financial, health care, education, transportation, and government systems – stating that all you need to get ahead is ability and willpower sounds as ludicrous as progressive taxation probably sounds to you.

  • Anonymous

    Why should any person on earth have over $13 billion when evolution says the earth is 4.54 billion years old and the universe 13.77 billion years old? Just trying to keep it real.

  • Bruce Budy

    Let’s be clear..are you saying here that taxes are a “punishment” for doing well? And taken further, “job creators” should be “rewarded” with a lower tax burden? In other words, workers should pay the greater taxes because they contribute so little to society, and their employers should pay progressively less, because they created the jobs? Beyond having the respect of the community, a larger house, or houses, more cars, more of everything that money can buy, do you really think they should be “rewarded” with lower tax rates? Is paying the bill to maintain a just society so onerous that we should all be working toward that day when we will have no farther need to support anyone but our selves?

  • JNWesner

    Re-establish a graduated inheritance tax, with portions of estates over, say, half a billion being taxed above 90%. That, with the minimum wage and graduated income tax and tax on corporate profits would stabilize the country and boost the economy.

  • Anonymous

    That was the public policy reason for the old 1950′s era 91% marginal tax rate income over $1,000,000 per year (after numerous exemptions and deductions). It served as a soft-cap on income, yes people could earn an AGI of more than $1,000,000 (today that would be more than $10,000,000 a year) but for any employer to pay that or employee to demand that would be counter-productive considering any incremental increase in pay beyond a certain amount would mostly go straight to the government. The key is to make the highest level of progressivity so high that it does not inhibit free market incentives. Today considering state, local, property, sales, FICA, and Medicare taxes having a top Federal rate of around 60% and then removing the cap on Social Security Income would serve essentially the same purpose, a soft-cap on income. Limiting salaries also allows for more money to be paid shareholders in the form of dividends as a reward for putting their money at risk, allows for higher R&D expenditures, and even leaves more money available to pay higher wages to other employees. There’s more to the progressive income tax than just gathering revenue. There are important public policy reasons for high tax rates on mega income earners (and for estate taxes as well)

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    You make a good point, but it’s the one I was making with you – why should the so-called “middle class” get the tax advantage over those who actually provide the jobs in the first place? The labor is worthless unless there’s someone willing to pay for it. Job creators lead the way – labor follows. Nevertheless, the solution would be a flat tax that neither punishes nor rewards anyone needlessly, and there should be a GDP percentage cap that the government cannot go beyond in its expenditures. This prevents government from simply taking as much as it wants when it wants it … as is the present case.

  • Anonymous

    Well said my friend. If you don’t mind I am going to paste this to my facebook page. You spoke my thoughts clearly and concisely. Thank you.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    But it is only in a free market that the employee and employer are free to bargain over how much will be paid for the labor, knowledge, talent, skill and experience being offered. A mandated minimum wage takes the power both from the employee and the employer and puts it in the hands of government. In other words, neither the employee nor the employer are sole owners of their own life – they become property of the government via its audacity to lord over both rather than serve as protector of each’s personal liberty. Essentially, the government is dictating prices – not the market where supply and demand is the guiding light. Doesn’t that seem anti-liberty and unjust to you? I don’t wish to live my life as someone’s property – do you?

    A free market lifts everyone according to their ability and will. You receive precisely what you’ve earned – no more, no less. A planned economy makes serfs of all but those with government-sanctioned power to control that economy. In such a system, you receive only what the government decides to give you – no more and, in practice, often much less.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    So it should be “to each according to his need” rather than “to each according to what he has earned”? You are aware of how disaster that became, yes? If you receive the same no matter how much effort you give, why give any at all? If there is no real punishment or lack of reward for little effort AND there’s no real reward for superior effort, knowledge, experience, talent and skill, where’s the motivation? We’re talking about people here, not machines. Sadly, the socialists had to learn the hard way.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    And I see ample actual evidence every day that individuals are willing to adapt and improvise and create their own opportunities. Individuals, partners and groups seem only more willing and more able than ever before and it’s the internet that’s primarily making that possible. The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well and the opportunities to educate yourself, to innovate and create are increasingly abundant. Where did you get the statistical data you mention?

  • Anonymous

    The only choices for our society’s viability: REFORM OR ACCEPT DESTRUCTION….The system is set to self destruct if not reformed……

  • Beau O’Connell

    Ohhhhh…..you’re one of those inflexible thinkers who cannot see the possibility of balance, and believes that ANY solution which threatens the current situation can only be socialism/communism/Marxism. You believe that social Darwinism is the healthy development, and that America is the most successful nation on Earth, despite all evidence to the contrary. This nation has achieved an enormous amount of power and wealth in a relatively short amount of time, and so it MUST be the best way. Right? Forgetting the FACT that this nation is the youngest of the developed countries, and the experiment is far from over.
    People like you are firmly convinced that the only reason everyone isn’t wealthy is lack of will to succeed, that the poor are simply lazy and don’t really want any more than the poverty they wallow in. That delusion is what helps you sleep at night. “Just be entrepreneurial” “Just CHOOSE to be a winner” “Work hard and save and you too can become wealthy” ” This is the land of opportunity, so if you fail, it’s YOUR fault”. I know….it’s far easier to stay locked in your one sided belief system than to work with others to develop a fair environment where all can have equal OPPORTUNITY. But if every one succeeds, how will we tell the wealthy from the rest? If more people win, there will be far less trillions of dollars to hoard. Nope, this system is the best, and there couldn’t possibly be any other way for ‘murika!

  • Beau O’Connell

    You have it backwards. Before capital, there was labor. People have always labored for food and shelter before money was even imagined.

    “Labor is prior to, and independent of,
    capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have
    existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of
    capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” Abraham Lincoln addressing congress 1861

  • carol

    There is a historical record showing that the country understood this problem and worked to make it more equal. Things we must do. Income caps for the super rich, laws that say CEO’s who bankrupt companies can’t get huge golden parachutes, laws that say if you do the majority of your business here you pay taxes. Laws on campaign finance that level the playing field.

  • Bruce Budy

    You’re sticking with the argument that “job creators lead the way”?.If so, why don’t you go out and create some jobs?? What would you need to do first? I suspect at some point you would spend some time with your accountants and lenders and even your wife, trying to convince them that you could sell whatever ever you had in mind to “create jobs”. If they could see no market in it, they would not lend you start-up money, your wife would say you were crazy, and you might even have second thought about creating all those jobs, no matter how that might hurt your ego. However, if you had a rich uncle, or in-law, you might create a few hundred jobs, at the lowest salary you could negotiate, “just in case”, and open your doors. If, and it does happen, nobody shows up eager to buy your mouse trap, do you continue to pay all those in the jobs you created?? My guess is you would send them home without more than a quick apology. The up side is that would leave you more time to complain about welfare and unemploymenet checks going to the undeserving poor….

  • Bruce Budy

    Do you really need statistical data to show you not every entrepreneur is successful? Lots of creative individuals educate themselves, innovate and …. lose money. Your fantasy is one we all share at one time or another. But, finally, it depends on people buying your idea, financing it, researching it, marketing it, and then not stealing your idea and telling you to take a hike. Your naivete is touching, but you need to check the data and see the percentage of business failures. Certainly there is no better way, but it is a risk for all concerned, and winners cannot be held up as the only examples. Meanwhile, the pool of workers hopes that someone will succeed and pay them enough to allow them to buy things. Until they get a decent job, paying a decent salary, the creative guys are never going to sell their ideas to them.

  • Mark Vanderpool

    Dynastic wealth isn’t earned, it’s inherited. Paris Hilton isn’t rewarded for superior effort, knowledge, experience, talent, or skill… she’s rewarded merely for being Conrad Hilton’s granddaughter. And the system is currently rigged toward HER children having significantly more than even she does, while the grandchildren of the poor face an increasingly slanted and difficult society to gain any sort of equity in, regardless of hard work.

  • Ricka Smith

    And at what point will our schools begin to teach deference, humility, know your place and respect for your betters to our children? Oh wait, they’re already doing that aren’t they …

  • Bruce Budy

    Your conclusion that it must be one or the other.. “to each according to his need” rather than “to each according to what he has earned”… has a few weak spots. If we define “need” as mere subsistence, it is overlooking the fact that what society truly needs is a healthy, educated workforce with sufficient income to create demand and experience some upward mobility. You should tell us how we determine “what he has earned”. I suppose you can justify paying pennies to those who have no skills, no education, if they show up on the shop floor every day. But, can you really argue that a CEO has “earned” $259 million in a year by closing down one corporation and its retirement fund so its replacement is now able to show a better bottom line? So, if you have handy definitions of “need” and “earned”, the world awaits…at least a few of us do. The world will no doubt go on paying workers no more than workers can demand. (or not), and the rich will sleep soundly, secure in the belief they have earned every dollar and every tax break…

  • Bruce Budy

    Everyone who is paid by someone else has sold himself to that employer. The employer “buys” workers, admittedly an big step above the old days of simply enslaving them, but he counts his expense for labor, as, well, an expense. The worker hauls himself out of bed each morning know he will not be bought at the end of the week iif he does not show up at the desk..shovel,, keyboard..The government is crucial in this, trying to ensure some safety and reliability and security in the workplace. Otherwise, the worker has no recourse if the employer decides to no longer buy his labor..or if the worker decides to embezzle, or steal from the buyer..etc…and they all need roads and security and stability that only a government can provide…or am I missing something?

  • Bill Glaser

    Spoken like someone that was inspired by Ayn Rand.

  • paul savage

    Two very wealthy people (probably in the 1%) saying how bad wealthy people are. From Forbes 2013, “273 members of the list are self-made billionaires; 71 inherited their wealth, and 56 inherited at least a portion but are still growing it.” I think this country will figure out a solution and it will not come from ‘progressives’ who have given us the majority of a $15 Trillion debt. How are the European countries doing as far as economic growth goes…..not too good

  • Anonymous

    This speaks to my theory:

    The Meek will inherit the Earth, only after the Wealthy have laid waste to it!

    This shines light on Their obsession with Space Exploration; look at the two billionaires fighting over launching pad rights.

    The wealthy are circling their wagons in America and the World. To protect their insatiable appetite for the luxuries of The World, they have to thin the herd/world population: No to jobs, No to higher wages, No to welfare, No to healthcare, No to daycare, No to school lunch, No to prenatal care, Sterilization, etc…

    The wealthy control the land and the water sources making it even more difficult for those willing to live humbly. Now regulations on solar use, catching water, next it will be air. How? We may already be paying for air hidden surcharges for indoor venues.

    The wealthy know that if everyone were to be able to live their opulent life style, that no one would have anything.

    Disbelief, this is exactly what THEY need and want for most to be convinced that it isn’t so, while they spend Trillions on their space programs, while children are dying of hunger and feeding millions with harmful genetic altered food.

  • Anonymous

    Great show Bill. I truly hope we WILL stop it. I know we CAN, but do we have the will? I think it’ll have to get much worse before it gets better to wake people up, like climate change.

  • John Jackson

    Wrong. The wealthy need everyone else, because it’s everyone else who creates all that wealth. If everyone else was gone there’d be no one for the wealthy to pay any amount of dollars to, to feed them, cloth them, keep roofs over their heads, doctor them, build and power their luxury good and lifestyles, wait on them, etc. They could eat all those dollars for food though, I guess. And you shouldn’t be so frightened of space. Sooner or later we’re going to need to spread out beyond this one rock we’re all living on. That’s a process that still looks like it will take generations to reach. What you should want is for us all to be careful that we don’t dedicate so much of our effort and output to this future oriented goal that we starve and die out in the present, you know? It’s all about balance.

  • Anonymous

    I believe what you are referring to is the difference between corporatism which places the goal of increasing profits above all else and has no concern for economic sustainability and capitalism which strives to produce a healthy economy by balancing the needs of workers and corporations. After all, it is wage-based demand for goods and services that fuels our economic system. That purchasing power can be impacted by squeezing wages as well as overcharging monopolies.

  • Meggie

    Nobody is talking about the results of first the fall of the stock market and how those who could no longer bear risk had to sell and their stocks were bought up at fire-sale prices by , yes, those who could afford risk, and the prices tripled from the low point. . And then how the theft of all but a tiny sliver of interest on savers’ money has robbed them of the ability to maintain their property unless they steal from the pittances they had hoped to leave to their children. And soon nothing will be left of savings because people are having to spend down the balances. Most people don’t realize how little interest savers get these days 1/12 of 1%. If somebody had a hundred thousand in savings in 1971–the high water mark in interest rates , he would have received over 20,000 dollars in interest. At current rates, he would be getting only about $125 for the same amount of savings over the same amount of time. The covenant of lenders paying people for use of their money has been broken and will probably never come back. Of course, lenders can still charge a lot to borrowers…that part of the covenant is still in place. . And, unlike big corporations, savers are still taxed on the sliver they still get…can’t declare as a loss the work they put in to try to salvage something out of the fruits of scrimping their whole damn working lives… It’s as though the banker-dominated FED said, who has anything at all, but no political power, and can we get away with stealing it? And the Obama administration appointed people who said, “go ahead, take it from old people who scrimped so they could be independent and have some peace of mind in their old age. We can say we need it to create full employment.” . The result is that the middle class, in a few years, will have neither money nor real estate to leave to their own kids…that money will go to the trust-fund brats. Bernanke “explained” it by saying that “some of the savers have other sources of income.” As though bankers DON’T. And this is the excuse we are going to hear SOON (no matter which party wins the upcoming election) when they take away Medicare and Social Security…”SOME of the recipients have other sources of income.” They got away with it once, what’s going to stop them now. Certainly, not the federal government that is basically owned by Robert Rubin and Citibank.

  • DavidD

    This book and other studies say you are living in a fantasy .Of all the industrial countries you are most likely to die in the class you are born in here than any where else in the industrial world.
    Tax their wealth and influence away and put people back to work cleaning up the mess they made.

  • DavidD

    Your personal expierances are not credible evidence .It’s about as credible as saying the bible tells you so.
    The source is this book.Are you being blindly dense,too lazy to read or are you trying to be a wit?

  • DavidD

    Thank you,I love that quote.It should be taught more often in our schools after we get them back from the rich.

  • DavidD

    Who paid for the UCLA study?You left that out and then went right to red baiting trying to bully people away.

  • DavidD

    Marx put his pants one leg at a time and made some major errors but you are dead on correct about his critique of capitalism.He nailed that.

  • Anonymous

    I am a socialist, and I watch the concentration of wealth in ever-fewer hands with calm and the realization that this cannot go on forever. At some point the poverty of the Working Class Proletariat will increase to the point that they will finally rise up to take power for themselves.
    W.

  • Eric Dover

    I just read the reviews of this book ,and its causing some searing discussions. As far as “uhmurrica” is concerned somethings going to give , it has to . Its not going to be pretty. theres way more of us than them.

  • Denise

    yet middle and working class whites see brown and black people as the problem. divide and conquer works everytime.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    And your awkward point is what exactly?

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    And what precisely is labor doing if not tasks assigned to them by they who originated the product? They who created the process, provided the facilities, the tools, etc? It just so happens I have created jobs in the past and am able to do so now. My business came first, the jobs came first – labor followed later to fill those jobs. I created the first value in my business. Granted, future value will be created in partnership with my employees, but it was my creativity, my labor that made the jobs they will occupy. Again, I don’t claim I should receive all of the tax advantages, but neither should they simply because they’re the middle class or less. Neither I nor they should be disadvantaged in any way for simply being who we are. A flat tax seems fair.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    Yes indeed. Do you genuinely and fully understand her thinking, or are you one of the many who only think they understand?

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    Well, the book can say that, but that doesn’t make it necessarily true.

    And who are you or anyone to simply decide to take what another has earned through taxation based on your view they have more than you want them to have? By what argument do you subordinate them to your wishes? By what argument do you treat them as your personal property, your tool to accomplish your goals?

    In any event, like any other sector of the population, there are good guys and bad guys among the wealthy. Some have made a mess, some have advantaged many by what they’ve accomplished. It is as wrong to punish the innocent as it is to simply let the guilty get away with their behavior. Think before acting. Please.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    Oh the irony. So, my personal experiences are bunk, but the personal experiences of the author of this book are gospel? And you know this how exactly?

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    Suffice to say, I do not share your cynicism and my personal experiences speak quite differently to the issues at hand.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    Your words, not mine.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    If I have a fortune earned by my own hand, it is my right to gift that fortune to anyone I choose. My property – my decision. That fortune becomes the rightful property of the person I give it to. You have no more right to strip them of it than you would have to strip me of it. Would you argue I have a right to take from you what you inherited from your parents or someone else simply because others have need of it more than you do? Is that the kind of barbarism you want as the foundation of a culture?

    And if you take from me to give to another or others, what’s to keep another or others from doing the same thing to those to whom you gifted my formerly-held fortune? If they who have more than another can be robbed simply on that basis, where does the thievery end?

    Your system makes it okay for human to prey upon human. My way bans all such behavior. What you rightfully earn, what you rightfully own remains with you and cannot be touched by another. Period. You success or failure then rests solely with you. No human being can legally rob you thus putting you back at square one, and neither can you rob another.

  • Bruce Budy

    “Tasks assigned to them”? Really? How about, “Labor I have to pay for in order to complete my goals”? You might “assign jobs” to slaves or volunteers, but most of us will not accept “assigned tasks” unless we are rewarded in some tangible way, other than just contributing to the success of your ambition. And why do you persist in seeing taxation as “being disadvantaged” in some way, “for simply being who we are”? If taxation were no more than a penalty, you would see a lot more objection to it. More of us see it as the cost of supporting a non-profit organization, a government, that does all of those things a society determines it wants. or needs, as determined, in our case, by a democratically elected government of our peers. In fact, as we grow closer to a society in which we are led by profit makers and not an elected government, we fear that day much more than the next tax notice,,,

  • Bruce Budy

    Can we at least agree that our personal experiences speak differently to the issues at hand? I do not know how mine become “cynicism”, while yours become, what? “Wisdom”? My personal experience has led me to become skeptical of broad generalizations, and hopeful that the majority will continue to be nice to each other and that we can all learn from each other’s personal experience. if we but listen to them.

  • DavidD

    The arguement that your premise and worldview are false,greedy and pernicious .
    No one exist in a vacumn and no one all by themselves creates value .You can’t grab all the marbles .It doesn’t all belong to you.
    It is not my private property .Do not confuse your values with mine.
    What I propose is no more radical than what Teddy Roosevelt pushed..
    Capital is like manure.Toxic in large amounts but benificial if spread around.

  • DavidD

    The book presents data and facts.You produce personal expierances.Data and facts can be checked to see if they are objective.
    Your proof is subjective and cannot be checked for credibility.
    You misrepresent the charecter of the book through either ignorance or because only through conflation with real data can your subjectivity be considered valid.

  • moderator

    Naumadd and DavidD,

    It is time to agree to disagree and move on. Please do so without further comment.

    Thanks,
    Moderator

  • moderator

    DavidD and Naumadd,

    It is time to agree to disagree and move on. Please do so without further comment.

    Thanks,

    Moderator

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    I will not waver in the belief that what I rightly earn rightly belongs to me and no one else. If you believe you can take it from by force simply because you don’t have it, you make the argument for me that I can simply forcefully take it back and you make the argument for the next person that they can simply forcefully take from you what you forcefully took from another. Your world is nightmare.

  • https://www.facebook.com/naumadd Naumadd

    Thank you.

  • Teri Jordan Towse

    Corporations should be chartered and serve at the pleasure of the people and the communities in which they reside or be dismantled. Mom and Pop build this country. Not the Walton’s. Past time to take it back.

  • Anonymous

    The Founders did not want a democracy. Some wanted a plutocracy, with religious limitations (see the state constitutions), others wanted an aristocracy (Jefferson), others wanted an elective monarchy (Hamilton; see the powers of the President). Even the limited democracy that we have was hard to achieve.

    These tensions have always been present within the US.

  • Anonymous

    In other words, you are simply a sociopath who thinks that they have no responsibility to society at all.

  • Anonymous

    What we decided in the early part of the 20th century is that certain conditions were simply not acceptable. For example, child labor in dangerous conditions, the conditions that caused the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, not giving people enough money to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. The decision was made that they type of “free market” was not acceptable.

    The very existence of those decisions, gives the lie to the notion that employers and employees are on equal footing negotiating salaries in a “free market” that has no rules or regulations. Unless there are laws on the books that prevent abuse, the “free market” almost always favors the wealthy over the worker.

  • Mark Vanderpool

    Respectfully, your thinking appears to be absolutist and a-historical. Property rights have never been absolute in any actual society. And wealth has never been gained unequivocally through pure meritocracy. Would you define all forms of taxation as theft? If so, then how would your ideal society fund fire and police departments and public roads and schools? What about a military that keeps your treasure safe from foreign powers and invasion?

    I would say that if it’s morally acceptable for even the very poor to pay sales tax on most every purchase, then why shouldn’t it be morally acceptable for the Federal Estate Tax to apply specifically when the offspring of the very wealthy inherit in excess of $5 Million Dollars? It’s not that *all* of their wealth (or even all above that point) is going to be “legally robbed… putting them back to square one,” (although James Madison — the father of the Constitution — so despised the prospects of a permanent landed gentry that he actually advocated for a 100% estate tax; but no, he didn’t get his way and no one’s even proposing taxation on the rich should be that extreme in our own age… certainly not me.)

    But rather, It’s that progressive taxation recognizes that the ultra wealthy have more money than they could ever possibly invest, lend, or give away, even if they wanted to… and also that the infrastructure of a whole society has contributed to their windfall success. No one accumulates billions of dollars under personal effort and talent alone. It takes cooperation, organization, infrastructure, and the talents and labors of many who work only for a wage and to survive.

    Finally, and even more significantly, that economies stagnate when a dispropotionate amount of all available wealth essentially goes out of circulation by resting in the hands of an elite few who have no real incentive to feed a substantial portion of it back into the society through purchase or investments.

    Reagan-Era “Trickle-Down Economics” mainfestly does not work, because it’s a vigorous middle class of small business owners and start-up entrepreneurs — not the ultra-wealthy who offshore their funds and live on a beach somewhere — but the MIddle Class who still belong to the fray of everyday American life, these are the actual jobs creators.

    Increasing oligarchy does far more violence to the middle class than any safety net program which supports the very poor ever could. As a matter of fact, the safety net of social programs reinforces the middle class. For example, a poor person’s child can’t afford schooling in a world without tax supported public schools, and so fails to gain the education that could have made that person a productive employee to a middle class boss.

    Make no mistake that the middle class has been shrinking in this country for more than 30 years — but especially when laissez-faire Libertarian and Republican ideals prevail. We now have what appears to be a permanent underclass that can’t afford the very goodies that a consumer-based economy depends upon selling. Without tax supported public education and other reasonable measures to lift up the very poor, we all fail, as a society.

    The political Right never seems to understand that we’re all in this boat together. Initiative and personal effort and talent should be rewarded and the fruits of genius shouldn’t be taxed into oblivion, of course. No one on the Left is arguing that perfect equality is desreable or attainable. But a just society makes efforts toward a reasonable equality and toward the elimination of certain extremes, including structural barriers to class mobility that hold people down.

    Responsible social and economic policies favor a robust middle class and reasonable opportunity for poor people of talent and drive to enter into and remain in that middle class.

    While policies that favor the protectionism and absolute privilege of an ultra-wealthy elite invaribly do violence to a society’s greater good.

  • Anonymous

    More than just supporting people in the margins, “redistribution” also says “Your government does care about you.” I think sadly the message that many people receive –directly or indirectly — from various US governments is “We really are only interested in advancing robust capitalism.”