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The rich got so goddamn rich, in other words, because the signature policies of the Great Right Turn were designed to make them rich. And, as the world knows, these policies weren’t limited to Republicans; Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama—plus, of course, their resident economists and cabinet members—all more or less endorsed the basic tenets of the free-market faith. They are all implicated.

So inequality, now that we’re having a “conversation” about it, must of course turn out to be massively complicated, something no one could possibly have seen coming — sort of like the 2008 financial crisis, come to think of it. Furthermore, it must be seen as another technical problem, a matter for the experts to solve, like the budget deficit or entitlement spending.

Thomas Frank, “Paul Krugman Won’t Save Us: We Need a New Conversation About Inequality”

I like this piece a lot. It sums up a bit of the annoyance I have with a lot of liberal commentary that I like in general, but which also reframes class struggle as an academic debate over various technocratic policy choices. The rich have been waging class warfare against us since they took over from the aristocracy as the dominant class. We need to look beyond diagnosing a problem and contemplating how to fix it. What we need to look at is how to seize power, real power, ourselves.





Seemingly lost on a GOP desperate to not seem heartless is that income inequality is unrelentingly beautiful, signals increased abundance to be enjoyed by all, and it tautologically signals a great leveling of the lifestyle gap. Republicans were once the Party of up-from-nothing, entrepreneurial achievement, and income inequality signals just that. It’s a sign that enterprise is being rewarded, that investment is reaching the talented over the politically connected, and it also signals that major unmet market needs are being met; hence the rising net worth of successful entrepreneurs.
Some jackass writing at Forbes. I couldn’t even read the whole thing, it was just such fucking inane bullshit. Maybe someone else can give it a try. Seriously, what is up with having a whole section of our media telling the world’s richest people what amazing special snowflakes they are and how the rest of us are ungrateful beneficiaries of their brilliance?


Well, what you see, over and over, is that they find ways to avoid talking about the one percent. They talk about the top quintile, or at most the top 5 percent; this lets them discuss rising incomes at the top as if we were talking about two married lawyers or doctors, not the CEOs and private equity managers who are actually driving the numbers. And this in turn lets them keep the focus on comfortable topics like family structure, and away from uncomfortable topics like runaway finance and the corruption of our politics by great wealth.

Paul Krugman “The Myth of the Deserving Rich

I love when Krugman is obviously responding to the most recent tripe that David Brooks wrote, but can’t actually say so directly because they both write for the New York Times. And it’s far from only David Brooks that makes these arguments about why we shouldn’t do anything about inequality, so it’s a good thing to keep in mind in general. If someone talks about inequality and whether it’s a problem, they need to be discussing the top 1% or the top 0.1%, or they’re probably trying to confuse the issue.



[I]t is actually more expensive to be poor than not poor. If you can’t afford the first month’s rent and security deposit you need in order to rent an apartment, you may get stuck in an overpriced residential motel. If you don’t have a kitchen or even a refrigerator and microwave, you will find yourself falling back on convenience store food, which—in addition to its nutritional deficits—is also alarmingly overpriced. If you need a loan, as most poor people eventually do, you will end up paying an interest rate many times more than what a more affluent borrower would be charged. To be poor—especially with children to support and care for—is a perpetual high-wire act.
15,214 notes

Posted at 5:14pm
Reblogged (Quote reblogged from 518labor)
Tagged inequality poverty

 


Courtesy of Mike Konczal, a quick look at the 1%’s share of national income, based on the newest numbers from Emmanuel Saez. We’re reliving the Coolidge administration years. Next stop, the Gilded Age!

Courtesy of Mike Konczal, a quick look at the 1%’s share of national income, based on the newest numbers from Emmanuel Saez. We’re reliving the Coolidge administration years. Next stop, the Gilded Age!



That red line is income growth for the bottom 90%. Notice how it rather dramatically flattens out in the 1970s and those lines for various subsets of the top 1% start reaching for the top of the chart. I’m sure that’s just the free market in action. Nothing that can be done about it.
Anyways, the chart’s from Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez’s newest data on inequality. Yep, it’s still increasing. And no, my solution (to be honest, I wasn’t the first) of expropriating the capitalist class and putting the means of production in the hands of the proletariat doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to reality. I think the big thing our politicians are concerned with is convincing us to slash retirement benefits so that we can keep taxes on the rich low and not cut defense spending. Full communism is obviously the better idea.

That red line is income growth for the bottom 90%. Notice how it rather dramatically flattens out in the 1970s and those lines for various subsets of the top 1% start reaching for the top of the chart. I’m sure that’s just the free market in action. Nothing that can be done about it.

Anyways, the chart’s from Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez’s newest data on inequality. Yep, it’s still increasing. And no, my solution (to be honest, I wasn’t the first) of expropriating the capitalist class and putting the means of production in the hands of the proletariat doesn’t seem to be getting any closer to reality. I think the big thing our politicians are concerned with is convincing us to slash retirement benefits so that we can keep taxes on the rich low and not cut defense spending. Full communism is obviously the better idea.



amprog:

It’s a fact. As union membership declines, income inequality increases. Check out this graph from the Economic Policy Institute showing just that.  
(Source: epi.org)

amprog:

It’s a fact. As union membership declines, income inequality increases. Check out this graph from the Economic Policy Institute showing just that.  

(Source: epi.org)



stfuconservatives:

motherjones:

Hey you guys! Slate’s Farhad Manjoo says MoJo should have won a Pulitzer for our charts. If they gave Pulitzers for that kind of thing. #humblebrag

MoJo’s humblebrag aside, look at those charts. Look at who’s getting richer exponentially and who’s slowly getting poorer. Surprised? I didn’t think so.

(They are pretty great charts.)

-Jess

It’s true. MoJo does have the best charts.



 


This graph shows corporate profits and the payouts to stockholders for nonfinancial firms. We all know that the capitalist class has managed to divert an increasing portion of our nation’s wealth into their own pockets over the last thirty years. Our corporate controlled media and politicians don’t want to dig into how it’s happened. This starts to point us in that direction:

In the pre-neoliberal era, up until 1980 or so, nonfinancial businesses paid out about 40 percent of their profits to shareholders. But in most of the years since 1980, they’ve paid out more than all of them. In 2006, for example, nonfinancial corporations had after-tax earnings of $800 billion, and paid out $365 billion in dividends and $565 in net stock repurchases. In 2007, earnings were $750 billion, dividends were $480 billion, and net stock repurchases were $790 billion. (Yes, net stock repurchases exceeded after-tax profits.) In 2008 it was $600, $470, and $340 billion. And so on.

Putting this up because I want to discuss this stuff further, because it’s really quite relevant.

This graph shows corporate profits and the payouts to stockholders for nonfinancial firms. We all know that the capitalist class has managed to divert an increasing portion of our nation’s wealth into their own pockets over the last thirty years. Our corporate controlled media and politicians don’t want to dig into how it’s happened. This starts to point us in that direction:

In the pre-neoliberal era, up until 1980 or so, nonfinancial businesses paid out about 40 percent of their profits to shareholders. But in most of the years since 1980, they’ve paid out more than all of them. In 2006, for example, nonfinancial corporations had after-tax earnings of $800 billion, and paid out $365 billion in dividends and $565 in net stock repurchases. In 2007, earnings were $750 billion, dividends were $480 billion, and net stock repurchases were $790 billion. (Yes, net stock repurchases exceeded after-tax profits.) In 2008 it was $600, $470, and $340 billion. And so on.

Putting this up because I want to discuss this stuff further, because it’s really quite relevant.



Lee says Wall Street purposely aimed to strip minorities of wealth

fiftyplusone:

The Hill reports tough words from Oakland Rep. Barbara Lee Wednesday in Washington.

Lee pointed her finger deep into the chests of corporations and banks she argues unduly targeted blacks and minorities with fraudulent financial schemes. 

She said these statistics showed that people on Wall Street focused their efforts on stripping communities of color of the little wealth that they have managed to accumulate over the last few decades.

The facts speak for themselves: Wall Street targeted minority homeowners and minority communities, and we must respond accordingly, she said.

I’m going to call this one “Least Surprising Headline of the Day.”

 


anticapitalist:

underthemountainbunker:

…
Romney’s money: how long would it take him to make what you earn in one year?
Here’s a fun game from Slate — enter YOUR annual income to see how long it would take Mitt to sit back and wait for that amount of money to appear in his many bank accounts around the world…

I put my income as 100,000. Guess what this said:
“In 2010, Mitt Romney made $100000 in 1 days 16 hours 26 minutes and 26 seconds.
It would take you 216 years 7 months 10 days 23 hours 44 minutes and 3 seconds to make what Mitt made in 2010.”

“In 2010, Mitt Romney made $XXXXX in 9 hours 1 minutes and 56 seconds.
It would take you 969 years 10 months 1 days 21 hours 41 minutes and 32 seconds to make what Mitt made in 2010.”

anticapitalist:

underthemountainbunker:

Romney’s money: how long would it take him to make what you earn in one year?

Here’s a fun game from Slate — enter YOUR annual income to see how long it would take Mitt to sit back and wait for that amount of money to appear in his many bank accounts around the world…

I put my income as 100,000. Guess what this said:

“In 2010, Mitt Romney made $100000 in 1 days 16 hours 26 minutes and 26 seconds.

It would take you 216 years 7 months 10 days 23 hours 44 minutes and 3 seconds to make what Mitt made in 2010.”

“In 2010, Mitt Romney made $XXXXX in 9 hours 1 minutes and 56 seconds.

It would take you 969 years 10 months 1 days 21 hours 41 minutes and 32 seconds to make what Mitt made in 2010.”



anticapitalist:

The ‘Great Gatsby’ Curve

Alan Krueger, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers — who is not only a colleague of mine at Princeton, but gets a lot of my mail and vice versa — gave a very informative speech on inequality last week that should have received more press than it did. 
Above is what he dubs the Great Gatsby Curve. On the horizontal axis is the Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality. On the vertical axis is the intergenerational elasticity of income — how much a 1 percent rise in your father’s income affects your expected income; the higher this number, the lower is social mobility.
As he shows, America is both especially unequal and has especially low mobility. But he also argues that because we are even more unequal now than we were a generation ago, we should expect even less social mobility going forward.
Very illuminating — and disturbing.


I’ve been meaning to blog this. It’s actually a pretty interesting finding. Reality-based economists have known for a while that the idea that America is actually not actually doing well at social mobility. I blogged a while ago about the fact that social mobility has been decreasing in the US. But I think showing that inequality and social mobility are negatively correlated to this extent is pretty new. Of course, if you’re all for creating a permanent underclass, we’re going about that quite well.

anticapitalist:

The ‘Great Gatsby’ Curve

Alan Krueger, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers — who is not only a colleague of mine at Princeton, but gets a lot of my mail and vice versa — gave a very informative speech on inequality last week that should have received more press than it did. 

Above is what he dubs the Great Gatsby Curve. On the horizontal axis is the Gini coefficient, a measure of inequality. On the vertical axis is the intergenerational elasticity of income — how much a 1 percent rise in your father’s income affects your expected income; the higher this number, the lower is social mobility.

As he shows, America is both especially unequal and has especially low mobility. But he also argues that because we are even more unequal now than we were a generation ago, we should expect even less social mobility going forward.

Very illuminating — and disturbing.

I’ve been meaning to blog this. It’s actually a pretty interesting finding. Reality-based economists have known for a while that the idea that America is actually not actually doing well at social mobility. I blogged a while ago about the fact that social mobility has been decreasing in the US. But I think showing that inequality and social mobility are negatively correlated to this extent is pretty new. Of course, if you’re all for creating a permanent underclass, we’re going about that quite well.

 


bradicalmang:

Mr. Block doesn’t know his true interests as a worker. 


The more things change, the more they stay the same. Here’s Kevin D. Williamson in The New Criterion explaining how a family with two minimum wage earners can have over $1.5 million saved for retirement:

The welfare state isn’t a very good buy. The average Social Security benefit runs just over $1,100 a month—peanuts, hardly enough to keep you in cut-rate butter once your median rent of more than $800 has been paid. For that, you’re taxed 12 percent of your take-home pay. Compare that to this: A married couple, each earning the minimum wage, investing only 10 percent of their earnings at a modest 7 percent return, retires with an annual income of more than $100,000 a year—even if they never touch the $1.5 million principle they’ll leave to their children. President George W. Bush was mocked for calling his proposal to cultivate such minimum-wage millionaires the “Ownership Society,” but it was the most important initiative of his presidency.

Because that’s something that’s actually ever happened, I’m sure. (hat tip: Naked Capitalism)

(Source: remuslumpen)