Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

September 2, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

PITCHFORKS AND TORCHES....Brad DeLong says something worth starting a conversation over:

When I read Paul [Krugman's] call for "smart, bold populism," I am reminded of earlier calls a couple of decades ago by Milton Friedman, Marty Feldstein, and their ilk for smart, bold conservatism or smart, bold libertarianism. But they did not get what they ordered: on the economic policy front the policies of Reagan and of Bush II have been a horrible botch. What populist policies that we can think of would be smart? And how can we make our high politicians allergic to populist policies that are stupid?

I would have agreed with this 15 years ago. And I am enough of a temperamental moderate to agree with it still emotionally, anyway.

But one has to respond to reality, no? And given the current political and economic climate in the United States, what are the odds that David Sirota will succeed in leading howling mobs onto the streets with pitchforks and torches? About zero, right?

The reality is that, in a way that's invisible to most Americans, the economy has gotten fantastically out of kilter over the past quarter century. Bill Clinton did a little bit to get it heading back in the right direction, but he didn't do enough and he didn't have much time to do it. Eight years out of the past 26 was too little to make a serious dent.

So what to do? We now have an enormous tide to swim against, and let's face it: sober, incremental, smart rhetoric just isn't going to change things. Incendiary rhetoric, by contrast, might and discomfiting though it may be, it's hardly likely to lead to incendiary policy. We don't live in Weimar Germany. Sure, a few stupid policies are bound to emerge from all the talk, but more likely it will merely succeed in scaring a few people into turning the battleship a few degrees.

None of this means that serious economists like Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong should deliberately advocate stupid policies, or even that they should refrain from criticizing stupid policies. Nonetheless, we desperately need radically more attention paid to full employment policies; to labor organization in service industries; to the distributional inequities of free trade policies; to national healthcare; and to significantly more progressive taxation. It seems unlikely to me that we can get it without a sea change in public opinion, and that won't happen without breaking a few eggs.

I probably won't be one of the egg breakers. Not my style. Maybe Brad and Paul won't be either. But I'm willing to sit back and let other people do it without kibitzing too much.

Unless, of course, someone comes up with a realistic alternative that can still produce serious change. So far, no one has.

Kevin Drum 6:34 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (172)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

As if anything about the economy is nearly as important as killing scary brown people and hating gays!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on September 2, 2006 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

Destroy corporate personhood, and criminalize corporate participation in politics.

Posted by: cld on September 2, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

Not sure what you mean by breaking eggs. Why can't we just keep saying what we want and what our goals are, as you just did, and not pre-censoring ourselves to only ask for what incremental crumbs we think we can get today?

I spent time last fall in Iceland. High taxes, yes, but everyone had education up through college and universal health care, and an amazing number of cultural institutions (3 universities and a world-class orchestra in a population of 300,000). Why can't we have these things? What's so great about settling for so much less?

Posted by: lahke on September 2, 2006 at 6:49 PM | PERMALINK

I like that Kevin, unhinged, reveals what he wants America to look like.

Line by line:

Nonetheless, we desperately need radically more attention paid to full employment policies;

Make work for those too lazy or unskilled to obtain actual employment in the economy.

to labor organization in service industries;

Not enough people are unionizing to suit Kevin Drum. They should be forced, because democrats know what's good for them.

to the distributional inequities of free trade policies;

We should prevent free trade and accept inferior goods, because a factory somewhere in Ohio closed. Note that Kevin's goals work against themselves; if it wasn't for wasteful unions making it impossible to fire bad employees, it would still make sense to buy American goods.

to national healthcare;

Prevent people from seeing a doctor by subjecting them to a massive federal bueracracy.

and to significantly more progressive taxation.

ABOVE ALL ELSE, PUNISH THE MOST PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS.

Disgusting.

Posted by: American Hawk on September 2, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Krugman, himself, recently published a column about how, despite the intense emotional pain it causes him to admit it, one of the causes of increased economic inequality is illegal immigration.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/032706O.shtml

So, cracking down on illegal immigration is an obvious place to start for smart populist policies.

Posted by: Steve Sailer on September 2, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Unless, of course, someone comes up with a realistic alternative that can still produce serious change. So far, no one has.

Sure, someone has. That someone is the business cycle. And the something is a very serious, grinding recession that significantly impacts the middle classes, and not only has them howling for change, but increases social conflict to the point that even the rich people take notice (hopefully because they're frightened). We'd get national healthcare, tax code reform, and perhaps even some kind of wage replacement insurance in a jiffy.

I seriously think only major leave economic trauma is going to get the job done. Just look at healthcare reform for instance. Sure, nearly 50 million Americans lack insurance, but that's only 15% of the population. And surely it's not much better than 10% of the people who actually show up to vote at elections. America is just too damn rich to go in for much in the way of major, populist reform. For that you need widespread and intense angst and insecurity. We're not there yet.

Posted by: Davy Crockett on September 2, 2006 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

It's not *what* you say, it's *who* says it.

The Democrats need a Dan Rostenkowki or Tip O'Neill, ie, an old 'brass knuckles' Democrat. No one would ever think Rosty would cave to terrorists, even with that 'D' next to his name.

Kerry, Edwards, Hillary, etc. don't have that 'cigar and a beer' persona, and we need someone who does.

Bill Richardson is probably the closest we can get to the 'Dem Classic' formula. And people don't care about the corruption charges rumored about Richardson; after 8 years of DeLay, Cunningham, et al Richardson looks like Mother Teresa by comparison.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on September 2, 2006 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

IT'S NOT OUR POLICIES IT'S OUR PERSONALITY.

IT'S NOT OUR POLICIES IT'S OUR PERSONALITY.

IT'S NOT OUR POLICIES IT'S OUR PERSONALITY.

IT'S NOT OUR POLICIES IT'S OUR PERSONALITY.

IT'S NOT OUR POLICIES IT'S OUR PERSONALITY.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on September 2, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

It's not *what* you say, it's *who* says it.

The Democrats need a Dan Rostenkowki or Tip O'Neill, ie, an old 'brass knuckles' Democrat. No one would ever think Rosty would cave to terrorists, even with that 'D' next to his name.

Kerry, Edwards, Hillary, etc. don't have that 'cigar and a beer' persona, and we need someone who does.

Bill Richardson is probably the closest we can get to the 'Dem Classic' formula. And people don't care about the corruption charges rumored about Richardson; after 8 years of DeLay, Cunningham, et al Richardson looks like Mother Teresa by comparison.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on September 2, 2006 at 7:14 PM | PERMALINK

Increase the minimum wage and create an efficient and organizes universal healthcare, free education and retraining when a previous job becomes absolete. Train our own computer people - the reason why so few Americans focus on computer science is because they know that by age 40 they'll have been out of school so long that the employers will consider their skills out of date and hire someone right out of school with an H1B visa to replace them.

Put a priority on employment instead of interest rates. (Both are important - employment is long term, while an interest rate from yesterday is pure history and nothing will assure the interest rate for NEXT WEEK!)

Focus on the family. Not just the kids, but the whole family. This is a social work function. Protect the kinds and help the parents (free or low cost 24 hour health clinics were great while I was in the Army.)

Help to small business, with care taken to make sure that large corporations don't take advantage of the regulations.

Free tutoring for K to 12 children.

Apply anti-Trust to radio and TV conglomerates.

Make some sort of physical exercise facilities and programs available for lifetime. Every German town over 30,000 people has a good, free gymnasium for the town free to everyone, and programs for every age.

Provide a terrier for every family with free veterinarian services. (OK. This may not suit everyone. But it should.) Republicnas could get shelties, who would herd them and make them feel more secure. Pooper-scoopers provided to apartment dwellers at cost.

Is this a good start?

Posted by: Rick B on September 2, 2006 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

If you can appeal to both the intellectuals via policy and the 'law and order' types by appealing to their reptilian brains through pheremones and visceral strength, you will win.

But not until you achieve both.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on September 2, 2006 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

---
if it wasn't for wasteful unions making it impossible to fire bad employees
---

I like your reasoning; obviously W is a union man.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on September 2, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

For populist videos see "Social Security" at (copy & paste:)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tts2uTWt6e8

and "Tax Cuts" at (copy &paste:)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=SA1f2MefsMM

If you have already seen these little financial flow-chart movies, please notify your Democratic Congressional candidate about them! There are just two months left until the election!

YouTube videos are FREE. They can be seen, emailed to others, and embedded to other websites.

Hit every issue! Take back Congress!

Posted by: Lee A. Arnold on September 2, 2006 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

IT'S NOT OUR POLICIES IT'S OUR PERSONALITY.

IT'S NOT OUR POLICIES IT'S OUR PERSONALITY.

IT'S NOT OUR POLICIES IT'S OUR PERSONALITY.

IT'S NOT OUR POLICIES IT'S OUR PERSONALITY.

IT'S NOT OUR POLICIES IT'S OUR PERSONALITY.

It's not *what* you say, it's *who* says it.

The Democrats need a Dan Rostenkowki or Tip O'Neill, ie, an old 'brass knuckles' Democrat. No one would ever think Rosty would cave to terrorists, even with that 'D' next to his name.

Kerry, Edwards, Hillary, etc. don't have that 'cigar and a beer' persona, and we need someone who does.

Bill Richardson is probably the closest we can get to the 'Dem Classic' formula. And people don't care about the corruption charges rumored about Richardson; after 8 years of DeLay, Cunningham, et al Richardson looks like Mother Teresa by comparison.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on September 2, 2006 at 7:31 PM | PERMALINK

Kerry, Edwards, Hillary, etc. don't have that 'cigar and a beer' persona, and we need someone who does.

Rep. Barney Frank fits that order.

Posted by: Keith G on September 2, 2006 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

Did I hear you calling me?

Who is our economy FOR, anyway?

Posted by: Dave Johnson on September 2, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

---
Rep. Barney Frank fits that order.
---

I love Barney; anyone who can tear Ann Coulter on national television is A-OK in my book (he was opposite her on Kudlow).

But he does have one big strike against him, and it's one that the lizard brain won't tolerate.

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on September 2, 2006 at 7:35 PM | PERMALINK

Geez, American Hawk, doesn't the whole knee-jerk "Kevin Drum is evil and must be desroyed" exercise ever get old for you? I'd get a little tired of the constant repetition. <shrug> I dunno--maybe that's just me.

Prevent people from seeing a doctor by subjecting them to a massive federal bueracracy.

Right: instead, just prevent them from seeing a doctor because they can't afford it and have no insurance.

ABOVE ALL ELSE, PUNISH THE MOST PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS.

Above all, when your argument is weak, use all capital letters.

If you'd really like to debate the pros and cons of progressive tax policies, I'm sure you could find an audience here. Since you're more interested in tearing down what you claim other folks are saying (see S-T-R-A-W M-A-N in your friendly neighborhood dictionary; you can even google it if you want), I'll just leave it at this: there are a lot of reasons to consider progressive taxation. Among other things, it can act as a stimulus when economic activity slows down, because poorer folks are forced to spend a higher percentage of their income than wealthier folks; it generally makes for more a more stable economy (demand is more constant because it's not subject to swings in income); and it can lower personal, social, and economic costs that go toward problems caused by having too many people living too close to the financial edge--personal bankruptcy caused by medical crises, for example. There's also a moral argument to be made from the standpoint of fairness: those at the top of the economic ladder typically benefit disproportionately from the social goods provided by taxation. Their businesses depend on transportation infrastructure, on education, on law enforcement, to name a few. Some of these benefits are quantifiable; many or not.

But of course, don't let any actual discussion curb you from torching those straw men--it's a dirty job, no doubt, but someone has to do it.

Posted by: skeptic on September 2, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

To be serious...what eggs will be broken?

Not talking about things such as universal health care or raising and tying the minimum wage to inflation (and real inflation at that)

The most radical change I can see coming will be in IP law. Mainly because it's out of date for todays world, but mostly because that's the most corrupt segment of lawmaking we have today. That'll be the biggest backlash.

But the concept that there's some Red hordes waiting outside the gate (or crashing it down, so to speak), just isn't real. What you have instead, is progressivism not borne upon ideology, but upon results and a percieved need instead of having your desired answers and creating the questions.

I think that's the core difference of why it might be different this time.

Posted by: Karmakin on September 2, 2006 at 7:48 PM | PERMALINK

I like the David Sirota / pitchforks / torches image.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf on September 2, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Is "populist" what they're calling socialist now? Was just getting used to "progressive."

Posted by: hayak on September 2, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

Off Topic:

I found this to be interesting:

"A group that raises money for Democratic Congressional candidates uses a canvassing company that pays some workers submimium wage, in apparent violation of Wisconsin state law, to talk about the need to raise the federal minimum wage, Isthmus newspaper has learned. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), based in Washington, D.C., has hired Grassroots Campaigns, a Boston-based for-profit company with operations in 18 U.S. cities, to conduct canvassing on its behalf. The DCCC's "New Direction for American" agenda, which provides the talkiing points canvassers are taught to use to solicit contributions, includes a call to "Raise the minimum wage."


What's that saying about practicing what you preach?

Posted by: Jay on September 2, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

I'm looking forward to seeing what health care plan John Edwards comes out with, because I think he can drive populism harder than anybody else in America. His biography, the speaking ability, and the media profile are all exactly right.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf on September 2, 2006 at 7:57 PM | PERMALINK

You say you want a revolution
Well you know
we all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know you can count me out-in
Don't you know it's gonna be alright
Alright Alright

Posted by: John Lennon on September 2, 2006 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, I'm on the case Kevin. I'm just doing the artwork for the new "Eat the Rich" t-shirts.

How many do you want?

Posted by: craigie on September 2, 2006 at 8:30 PM | PERMALINK

Damn GOP! Doesn't that make you ashamed of the character assassination Clinton had to endure? And there he is fighting your fight.

Posted by: demisod on September 2, 2006 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Given that you think the income share going to the rich is too high, and that the income share going to the middle class is too low, could you explain how these findings are consistent with your claim that Clinton was a better president than Bush in terms of income distribution?
Posted by: GOP

clinton was smarter, for one thing. probably the best republican president we've had.

Posted by: Nads on September 2, 2006 at 8:33 PM | PERMALINK
Nonetheless, we desperately need radically more attention paid to full employment policies; to labor organization in service industries; to the distributional inequities of free trade policies; to national healthcare; and to significantly more progressive taxation.

If you're serious about this comment, Kevin, then I think you're going to want to read this:
Make The American People Richer

It addressess everything you're stressing: the need to FIX the unemployment problem, the reason why the progressive income tax is the ideal method of taxation.

See if you don't agree.

Posted by: James Kroeger on September 2, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

seriously ... who defines the middle class as the middle quintile?

Posted by: Nads on September 2, 2006 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

"But they did not get what they ordered: on the economic policy front the policies of Reagan and of Bush II have been a horrible botch. What populist policies that we can think of would be smart?"

You really think you and the Washington Monthly crowd have a better grasp of populism than Reagan, even Bush? As if Wake up and smell the latte. Your idea of a smart policy is fighting John Roberts or Sam Alito because theyre out of touch with the common folks that really want Lani Gaunier on the Court.

"The reality is that, in a way that's invisible to most Americans, the economy has gotten fantastically out of kilter over the past quarter century."

This is what is so infuriating about your position. People do feel that its out of kilter they would love to have an alternative that your party petulantly refuses to offer. You would much rather trash Lieberman for being a patriotic fuddy duddy than try to propose policies that pander to the great unwashed.


"So what to do? We now have an enormous tide to swim against, and let's face it: sober, incremental, smart rhetoric just isn't going to change things. Incendiary rhetoric, by contrast, might and discomfiting though it may be, it's hardly likely to lead to incendiary policy."

Yeah, thats the ticket Im reminded of Otters soliloquy at the end of Animal House this action requires us to respond with a stupid and totally futile gesture

Posted by: minion of rove on September 2, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ohhhh, Kevin that you muchly. I liked this post, and it is an exceptional sentiment from the left center side of the blogosphere. I was honestly scared to express myself at DeLong's, fearing my comment would be deleted, but here I feel I can finally be sincere and open.

GUILLOTINE!! Where are the frigging GUILLOTINES!!

Posted by: bob mcmanus on September 2, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

---
In contrast, the share of income received by the middle quintile (the middle class) has risen under Bush, from 15.7% in Clinton's last year, to 16.4% in 2003.
---

So the Bush administration ended in 2003?

That's too bad, considering he hadn't created a single job up to that point.

And why the fascination with the 'middle quintile'? I guess the numbers for the lower quintiles must not support your position.

And the numbers for 2004-2006 must stink up the joint too, or you'd have included them.

Quick question; do you work for the National Review?

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on September 2, 2006 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

The real questions are more fundamental than just politics and economics. There are two sides to every coin, in this case, public/private, even though you can only see one at a time.
The Soviets spent seventy years finding that a better society doesn't come by destroying the individual and we are finding the opposite.
The fact is that public priorities have simply manifested themselves in unspoken ways. The massive public debt is actually a nationalization of surplus wealth. Consider where this money would have gone, if the government hadn't borrowed it. Would the private sector been able to absorb it, or would it have just inflated asset values? Maybe the derivatives market could have been pumped up by a few trillion more.
But then consider where the private sector would be without all this government spending in the first place? Think of all the military hardware that wouldn't have been built, as well as all the hundreds of billions of other government contracts that wouldn't have been contracted out. The private sector would be a lot smaller. There are two sides of this coin. We need an intelligent discussion to try and understand how it all works, or everyone is going to hurt.

Posted by: brodix on September 2, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Things will have to get really bad before people pull their heads up and out of the sand. The last time this happened in North America was between 1870 and 1910, when the distribution of wealth was almost as unequal as now, and the bottom end of the curve had literally nothing left to lose.

The difference? back then, poor=starving. Now, poor=just barely scraping by, but not desperate enough to lash out.

If the plutocrats are smart, they maintain the inequality right where it is, or even throw a few bones to the bottom dwellers on the economic curve. Then they avoid the riots, sabotage and general strikes that characterized the turn of the century, and eventually gave rise to labour unions, collective bargaining, workplace safety legislation, the New Deal...all the programs that became the social safety net. Here is the problem: They ain't smart, just greedy. They WILL keep impoverishing people, they will continue to sow the seeds of revolution, and when people get desperate enough, they will rise up.

They did it in France, they did it England, they did it once already in America, and within 20-40 years, they will do it again. It's a cycle, a vicious pointless cycle of increasing misery, followed by a radical redistribution of wealth followed by a gradual re-accumulation by the wealthiest, until they too become a new generation of robber barons...Who never seem to learn the lessons of history.

Our problem is not a lack of democracy. In very real terms we never had that. Our problem is that our aristocracy is preselected, by the darwinian mechanisms of capitalism, to be greedy, exploitative, short-sighted, and lacking in any kind of compassion or charity.


My opinion is that, with the 'reform' of the bankruptcy laws, the whirlwind has begun to sprout. When the next big downturn hits, and people are unable to service their debt, they will be unable to declare bankruptcy. The new laws will allow their creditors to take everything they own, and all of their future earnings. Reduced, literally, to serfs, you will see the torches and the pitchforks come out.

I hope it happens while I'm still young enough. Personally, I want to string up Ken Lay, but I realize I will probably have to wait in line. Maybe I can just piss on the corpse?

Some of you may think words like this are to extreme. Read the history of the russian and french revolutions...The conditions in russia in 1910 WILL one day be repeated here, the only question is when, and whether we will be brave enough to do something about it

Posted by: charlie on September 2, 2006 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

American Hack: "ABOVE ALL ELSE, PUNISH THE MOST PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS."

Like that innovative bastion of American enterprise, hotel heiress Paris Hilton, who charges people $200,000 to be seen in attendance at their party.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 2, 2006 at 9:16 PM | PERMALINK

The character assassination of Clinton by the far right was stupid. The character assassination of Bush by the far left is stupid.

Bzzzt! Illegal attempt to equate two completely different things! 15 yards, and no soup for you.

Posted by: craigie on September 2, 2006 at 9:24 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe we should have some more tax cuts for the rich, to bring them back to the income level they were at under your last President.

Do the rich even pay any taxes any more? Haven't they all been eliminated? I think I might be serious about this...

Posted by: craigie on September 2, 2006 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

---
And the numbers for 2004-2006 must stink up the joint too, or you'd have included them.

Wrong again. You really need to stop jumping to conclusions.
---

Link to income growth 2004-2005; I guess 'stinking up the joint' is in the eye of the beholder.

http://tinyurl.com/ldona

Posted by: eightnine2718281828mu5 on September 2, 2006 at 9:41 PM | PERMALINK

If you look at the statistics the right way you can see that there are no poor people anymore. Rising interest rates and adjustible rate mortgages have ensured that they are able to pay other people to be poor for them.

Sure it sounds stupid, but then I think there is a far-left that is out to get President Bush.

Posted by: GOP on September 2, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

You want a head-bashing, old-style Democrat? How about John Murtha?

Or has he been Swift-Boated out of contention?

Posted by: BWR on September 2, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

eightnine2718281828mu5: And the numbers for 2004-2006 must stink up the joint too, or you'd have included them.

Yes, they do stink. And, contrary to some assertions, the data is avaiable (but only through 2005)...

The middle quintile household share of income is at an all-time low of 14.6%, and it's been falling ever since the 1968 peak of 17.6%; the highest quintile's household share of income is at an all-time high of 50.4%.

For 2001-2005: Household income share among the bottom quintiles 1-2 has decreased from 3.5% to 3.4% and 8.7% to 8.6% respectively; quintiles 3-4 are flat at 14.6% and 23.0% respectively; the only gain is in the upper quintile 5, from 50.1% to 50.4%

Posted by: has407 on September 2, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

p.s. The middle quintile's (3) mean household income peaked in 2000 at $47,874, and has been falling ever since; as of 2005 it had fallen to $46,301.

Posted by: has407 on September 2, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Trust me, I know apples and oranges comparisons, that's what all of my statistics are based on. Trying to distract the lot of you idiots from the fact that the Republicans have flattened taxes so that the tax rate is actually highest for those in the middle quintile. All this nonsense about income transfer is, as you can obviously see, more Reaganesque welfare queen talk to convince you morons that it is the poor who are fucking you - not apologists for the overclass like me.

Posted by: GOP on September 2, 2006 at 10:15 PM | PERMALINK

I keep hoping someone will dust off Huey Long's Share the Wealth speeches, update the rhetoric and scare the bejesus out of both parties.

I agree with Kevin. It's unlikely that any policies proposed would be enacted but if presented well, their popularity may at least succeed in putting the brakes on the rightward shift of the past few decades.

Posted by: sawasp on September 2, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

"...I won't break eggs..." Well, why the hell not? This post is pulling them out of the frig. We got one soft-boiled from you yesterday evening when you talked about how the Republicans owe the middle class $20,000 each for their upper-class favoritism over the past thirty years. You called the Republicans guilty of class warfare. At the very least that's a frying pan on the burner.

Posted by: NealB on September 2, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

GOP -- You made claims, you didn't cite anything.

Posted by: has407 on September 2, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK

Brad DeLong (who deletes blog comments) already "deliberately advocate[s] stupid policies". He and 499 other ignorant folk signed the Independent Institute's Open Letter on Immigration.

Which brings us back to the post. Everytime Kevin Drum writes about economic matters, the corrupt oligarchy of Mexico must get excited. I shudder to think what would happen to our economy if we had both the "national healthcare" that Drum supports combined with the loose borders that he supports. We might end up having to sell the U.S. on eBay.

Posted by: TLB on September 2, 2006 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

Cite anything? Why would I do that? If I did that you might remember that Clinton raised taxes at the high end and managed to slow the Reagan-Bush debt machine down so much that by the end of his term in office there was an actual surplus. Not just a fake one where Ronald Reagan's Social Security scam covered the General Fund's debt, but a surplus in the General Fund itself. While intelligent people might note that this was, in reality, a tax cut (less total money required from the populace) and that Bush's "tax cuts" that result in higher total debt plus increased debt service is nothing a real tax increase - I would never go down that road because you might realize that those making less than 300k/yr are chickens voting for Col. Sanders.

Posted by: GOP on September 2, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

---Is "populist" what they're calling socialist now? Was just getting used to "progressive."----

they are three distinct terms, nitwit.

Posted by: secularhuman on September 2, 2006 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

I calculated recently how much each American would "get" if the government seized the wealth of the top 100 richest Americans (leaving each of them a mere $1,000,000,000) and distributed the remainder equally among all other 299,999,900 Americans. It was around $2500 per American, $10,000 for a family of four.

It would add up over time, but it isn't going to provoke class warfare.

Posted by: PTate in MN on September 2, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

That's right trex, using statistical gaming to make Bush's policies appear to shift money to the poor is exactly what we at the GOP want you to believe. Never mind that the numbers of extremely poor people have gone up considerably (the GOP - that's me - helped ensure this with "welfare reform."). Never mind that the use of quintiles (that's 5 blocks of 20% so you can't see the effects on those who are truly wealthy - the to 1% and the hyper-wealthy in the top 0.1%). And never mind the fact that we haven't even accomplished our goal of eliminating the taxation of wealth transfers. No, just look at the experimental calculations and believe that you are better off than your own experience informs you. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?

Posted by: GOP on September 2, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Nonetheless, we desperately need radically more attention paid to full employment policies; to labor organization in service industries; to the distributional inequities of free trade policies; to national healthcare; and to significantly more progressive taxation.

Odd that you didn't mention increasing the national savings rate, enhanced energy supplies, enhanced opportunities for entrepreneurs, or balancing the federal budget.

As for breaking eggs, Lenin demonstrated that you can break the eggs without making an omelette. Leave the eggs alone.

Posted by: republicrat on September 2, 2006 at 10:58 PM | PERMALINK

GOP -- The difference between the experimental measures you cite and the standard census measures are notable, but marginal.

NB: the lowest quintile using those measures shows a lower dispersion than the standard census measures. And that is suppose to show that those measures bias the standard measures of income to upper quintiles exactly how?

Moreover, the trend using those experimental measures and standard census data are virtually identical. One reason why those measures are still experimental.

Posted by: has407 on September 2, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

the distributional inequities of free trade policies You prefer the distributional inequities of tariffs, quotas and other interferences in trade, is that it?

Posted by: republicrat on September 2, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

婚纱摄影 婚纱影楼 非油品 中石化 网页制作 网页设计 网站建设\ 网站制作 网站设计 设计 北京网站设计 网站推广 北京网站推广 北京网站制作 北京网页设计 北京网站建设 网站优化 yahoo竞价 google推广 google排名 google优化 双线空间 PHP空间 ASP空间 网站空间 虚拟主机 域名注册 法语 钟表 塔钟 钟表 家用中央空调 格力中央空调 助听器 助听器 助听器 发电机 发电机组 柴油发电机 发电设备 发电机出租 康明斯 发电机 发电机组 柴油发电机 发电设备 发电机出租 康明斯 法国留学 法语培训 进口轴承 skf轴承 nsk轴承 轴承 进口轴承 skf轴承 fag轴承 轴承\ 轴承 进口轴承 进口轴承 直线轴承 skf轴承 nsk轴承 北京装饰|装修 家装|家庭装饰 办公室装饰|装饰公司 装修公司|工装装潢 装饰装修|北京装饰公司 家居装修|室内装修 房屋装修|家庭装修公司 装修设计|室内装潢 家居装潢|家庭装潢 装潢设计|室内装潢设计 充气床 充气用品 充气游泳池 野营用品 户外用品 充气船 气垫床 钓鱼船 帐篷 户外帐篷 瑞士军刀 intex充气床| 中央吸尘 家用中央吸尘 商业中央吸尘 吸尘器 中央吸尘系统 工业吸尘 风灶清洗 通风清洗 中央空调管道清洗 机器人管道清洗 管道清洗机器人 机器人清洗 检测机器人 吸尘机 别墅吸尘 宾馆吸尘| 网站建设 网站制作 网页设计 网页制作 网络推广 网站优化 网站推广 GOOGLE优化 进口轴承|nsk轴承|skf轴承 充气床|充气用品|充气游泳池|野营用品|户外用品|充气船|气垫床|钓鱼船|帐篷|户外帐篷|瑞士军刀| 北京酒店 上海酒店 广州酒店 长沙酒店 张家界酒店 南京酒店 深圳酒店 天津酒店 重庆酒店 昆明酒店 桂林酒店 井冈山酒店 酒店 西藏酒店 宾馆 宾馆预定 杭州酒店 北京酒店 上海酒店 广州酒店 长沙酒店 张家界酒店 南京酒店 深圳酒店 天津酒店 重庆酒店 昆明酒店 桂林酒店 井冈山酒店 网站制作 网站策划 网页美工设计 网站设计方案 网站建设公司 网站制作公司 网站推广公司 网页设计公司 网站设计公司


Posted by: sdfsd on September 2, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

>> [deLong] And how can we make our high
>> politicians allergic to populist policies that
>> are stupid?

As long as you understand that by "stupid" deLong means "anything closer to the actual center (much less the *gasp* left) than country-club Republicanism".

In a way I feel sorry for deLong and his farther-right counterpart Daniel Drezner. I would like nothing better than to be back in the dorms, arguing economics and politics with the two of them, getting some shots in, perhaps learning something. After which we all go to a movie or something. And of course in the end Drezner is re-appointed to the Treasury Dept in some reality-based Real Republican Administration, and deLong gets his turn under the Moderate Triangulating Democrats.

Except - I don't think that world really exists any more. I suspect the Radicals have broken it for good. While the academics sat around and clucked about the need for "moderation" and "bipartisanship", Norquist and Rove drove a stake right through the heart of rational discourse.

And the sad thing is that neither of them seem to realize that when the Revolution is over the supporting cast mostly gets put up against the wall and shot. Including most especially the academics. The both of them think they are immune from that sort of thing (and from being tossed out into the street penniless), but they aren't.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on September 2, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

PTate in MN : It would add up over time, but it isn't going to provoke class warfare.

that's an interesting mental experiment. when governments actually try redistributing the wealth that way, the the net to the poor is much less than the loss to the rich. the wealth pretty much disappears. you can see that happening in Venezuela, and with farmland in Zimbabwe, and it happened in Cuba after Castro took over.

But I like the way you put it. The people are not going to revolt for a net one-off gain of $2500. It isn't what Kevin Drum is proposing, either, to be fair to him. To be fair to us his readers, he isn't proposing anything.

Posted by: republicrat on September 2, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

to labor organization in service industries

How is that populist? The history of labor organization is that unions raise the costs of products to be bought by the customers. Since few workers are ever unionized in the US (the peak was 25%), this diminishes the purchasing power of the many to enhance the wages of the few, without increasing the total amount of product available.

Henry Ford decreased the cost of cars to make them more affordable to the populace. After unions drove up the cost of cars, non-unionized work forces reduced the price of cars to make them more affordable to the populace. Unionization has distinct and well-definable anti-populist impacts.

Posted by: republicrat on September 2, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Cranky Observer: Including most especially the academics.

that is an odd claim. In the aggregate, academics are considerably to the left of the American center, and they treat rational discourse quite harshly. The followers of Michel Foucoult (sp?) have tried to annihilate it altogether.

Posted by: republicrat on September 2, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Gotta love AH's formulation that the richest fat cats are the most productive citizens, and that taxing them proportionately would be punishment. What door does he stand behind to get his crumbs?

BTW, Kevin, you will have to add to your economic calculations the effects of a quarter-century of environmental depredations, which are going to catch up with a bang, not a whimper.

Posted by: Kenji on September 2, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

No one said that raw monetary income was the best measure, but adding in benefits from the government only demonstrates that the policies implemented by Democrats work. Adding in Medicare at a time of rapidly expanding medical costs merely reflect the increases in medical costs - not an actual cash benefit. But pointing those things out will get me kicked out of the GOP propaganda (redundant) club.

Posted by: GOP on September 2, 2006 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK

N.B.: That trex up there is as fake as the fake GOP. Trex is no apologist for the Bush regime.

republicrat:

That's Michel Foucault -- not that you appear to know any more about his ideas than you know how to spell his name.

The idea that "academics" are somehow allergic to "rational discourse" is truly one of the more amusing memes to come out of the culture wars.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 12:00 AM | PERMALINK

Tenure has dulled deLong's edge. It has allowed him to stagnate. It has kept him from perceiving the true market pressures the rest of us face.

It's really a pity, because he is otherwise one sharp guy.

Posted by: jerry on September 3, 2006 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

GOP: If you think the "money income" figures are a more accurate reflection of people's true incomes than the adjusted figures, then please explain why you think that.

I don't think that, nor did I state it. And in any case, if you want to promote an experimental basis for measuring "true income", then it is you who have to explain it.

What I did state is that the money income figures and the "true income" you reference show, with respect to income dispersion, vritually identical trends. And, as you might note, the census figures show a fall in the upper quintile--as do the experimental figures you cite--for 2002-2003; the standard measures, for which data is available, show a rise in the upper quintile for 2004-2005.

Given the relatively close correlation of the two measures, and in lieu of evidence to the contrary, it is reasonable to assume that the experimental measures you reference will show similar, if not identical, results as compared to data based on the standard measures for 2004-2005, which we have today.

Your assertion that the 2004-2005 data is not available for the experimental measures that purportedly vindicates your position is whining bullshit.

Posted by: has407 on September 3, 2006 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

I read Brad's post on how politicians mess things up and yours wondering how to explain to the middle class that it has been given a very raw deal one after the other, and I thought that there is a populist campaign which could lead to a reasonable policy campaign. I have no hope that the Democratic party will campaign in this, but if I were the Democratic party I would propose a simple simple increase in the progressivity of the tax code.

This is a key issue where policy which I sincerely support would be in the direct personal interests of 99 % of American families. Say give every taxpayer $ 1,000 (technospeak a refundable credit of 1,000 for every individual 1040 and 2,000 for married couples filing jointly) and balance it by increasing taxes on people who make more than $200,000. Can it be done without marginal rates so high as to cause a huge increase in tax avoidance related activities ? Sure.

The political point of this is that by specifically promising a dollar sum, the Democrats will get people's attention. Another is that the hows of rage from pundits who make over $200,000 and denounce "class war" will spread the message for free.

Now I think a better policy would be to balance the budget by giving each $1000 and raising taxes on people who make over $150,000, but that's just me.

The reason I think such a one plank platform helps address Brad's concern is that, in policy, a reform bill brief enough to put on a bumper sticker has no rooms for loopholes, earmarks or special breaks for special interests.

In this case the miserable junk which passes for public debate on policy, by which I mean slogans and campaign commercials is a less aweful policy development process than the almost open bribery which passes for legislative deliberation.

Now this won't happen, since it would require Democrats to agree on one big populist policy reform. I say taxes, some would say universal health care (better policy but not such political dynamite). Checklist liberalism TM (rights belong to Mark Schmitt I think) implies laundry list platforms which are bad policy and bad politices.

Still I think that both the bad policy and the bad campaign problems can, in principle, be solved by making a very simple precise policy proposal which also serves as a campaign slogan. The crudeness of debate to which the public is invited is an advantage, since sophisticated policy development really means favors for concentrated interests in exchange for cash.

Hmmm what do you call this bold new idea that involving ordinary people in the actual development of policy leads to better policy

aaaahhh yes. It's called Democracy.

Posted by: Robert Waldmann on September 3, 2006 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

What does 'populist politics' mean and why would someone think it a bad politic?

Populism is associated with a redistribution of wealth. Providing more income for poor people at the expense of the wealthy, who could be individuals or corporations. Many associate populism with corrupt politicians who tell the people they are helping them but are just pocketing kickbacks and squeezing the rich for support. Huey Long is the archetype of US politics of this type of politics. Populism is also the late Nineteenth Century political movement that tried to change the political system with more voter participation, a freer money supply and more regulation of interstate commerce. The Granger movement is a well known populist political expression. I think the primaries we take for granted as a political institution came about because of the efforts of these types of populists.

It is the corporate regulation and progressive income taxation policies that unite DLC, Republicans and Norquist libertarians in their opposition to populism.

Posted by: Hostile on September 3, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

sanjay: Why do believe raw "money income" is a better indicator of people's true income than the adjusted figures?

Maybe because the adjusted figures don't tell a much different story than the standard figures. Or that the adjusted figures are experimental, and a work-in-progress.

A more complete picture, and progress in our understanding of what constitues income and its dispersion, is good, and we should all support such efforts (such as the experimental measures attempt).

However, the differences between the standard measures and the experimental measures at this point are marginal. Not to mention the data for those experimental measure happen to end at a convenient point in time(2003) that reinforces the claim that the rich aren't taking a bigger slice of the pie, whereas current data (2005) shows otherwise.

Posted by: has407 on September 3, 2006 at 12:27 AM | PERMALINK

TLB:

I shudder to think what would happen to our economy if we had both the "national healthcare" that Drum supports combined with the loose borders that he supports. We might end up having to sell the U.S. on eBay.

The "modest by historical standards" immigration levels currently being absorbed by the US (about .5% net, anually) give a gentle boost to economic growth. This greater growth makes the country wealthier. This greater wealth, in turn, increases the government's ability to pay for entitlement programs. Sharply reducing immigration would reduce economic growth, and would make it more, not less, difficult to provide every American with guaranteed health insurance.

Posted by: 99 on September 3, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Hostile and I agree(!) on the historical definition of populism - for most people it's just a shorthand way of saying rightwing socialism, but that's not fully descriptive. Populism in the late 1800's was a rebellion against the trusts and railroad barons who were confiscating a disproportionate share of the nation's productivity. Today [or at least since Reagan] the focus is/has been on the Beltway Bandits rather than Park Avenue and Wall Street as the culprits. While the folks at this site focus on Halliburton and Abramoff [worthy villians I admit] the "values" voter in Indiana sees transfer programs ruled by poverty pimps, or laws and policies favoring the connected over the chumps "playing by the rules" as why the country is on the wrong track. Clinton was smart enough to feign interest, as a New Democrat concerned with "the forgotten middle class," but this DLC perspective is what the nutroots want most to purge. That's why you've selected the son of an art dealer from Park Avenue, living off his grandfather's trust fund, as your party chairman.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

Robert Waldman:

Forgive me if I'm not interpreting your proposal correctly, but a $1000 tax rebate to every working family in the country would be crushed as demagoguery just as assuredly as was the GOP proposal to give working families a $100 gasoline credit in response to spiking gas prices and the news that oil companies made record profits.

Regardless of the merits of such a proposal, it would look like nothing other than shameless vote-buying. Sad, but dem's da fax.

Hostile:

Your historical posts are always very good, but I do think you're defining populism too narrowly. There's the economic populism of the Grangers, the William Jennings Bryan crowd ("agrarian populism") and the TR Progressives -- but there are also other forms of less savory populism, like the Know-Nothing (anti-immigration) Party and various segregationist political movements. The 30s "radio priest" Father Coughlin was a populist anti-semitic demagogue. You might even call the KKK a populist appeal to wounded Southern pride. And surely the Nazis and various Fascist movements made a deeply populist appeal to dreams of frustrated national/racial greatness. Pat Buchanan is most assuredly no economic redistributionist -- but he preaches a decendant of Know-Nothing populism in his broadsides against globalization and illegal immigration. The anti-globalization movement has made particularly strange bedfellows of extreme right and extreme left, for instance.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

minion:

Will you please stop fucking slandering Howard Dean. Thank you.

He was the son of a Wall Street stockbroker who labored on a plantation in Mexico one summer (his dad's business associate owned it, and Big Howard thought being a common laborer would build his son's character). While doing the Wall Street gig out of college, he found the time to be a candydstriper volunteer at the local hospital in Lower Manhattan and decided to go back to school to become a doctor. His wife is also an MD -- very well-regarded in Vermont. His inherited fortune is something like 4 million dollars -- not all that much compared to either great family fortunes or even, ohh, the odd CEO bonus these days.

Howard's wealthy, but he ain't no mega-millionaire trust fund asshole.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

What I most fear is that someone will ask the single most important question: why. Because there is no way that I can explain why my party believes that there is a social and/or economic benefit to 100 people in this country having $2500 for every man woman and child here and why they should be allowed to create a hereditary aristocracy. Nor can I explain why I want to count government assistance (that I oppose) when discussing the maldistribution of wealth in this nation. And the question of why automation's benefits only acrue to those who own the capital? Not even the vaguest hinting of an answer. But then again, my party predicted that Clintons minor tax cut (far smaller than Reagans Social Security hike) would destroy the economy so we arent any better on economics than we are on national security.

No, instead I will self-righteously try to distract from all of these issues because answering those kind of questions would demonstrate why my party is unfit to hold any elective office.

Posted by: GOP on September 3, 2006 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

Hostile:

Karl Rove has also been quite adept at co-opting the core idea of populism -- class resentment -- and yoking into the service of a political ideology that is the antithesis of its origins. The "coastal elites" is a big part of that, as is painting liberals as effete, overeducated and having more affinity for Europe than they do for the US. Classic redneck populism.

Another form of populist resentment courses through their demonization campaigns against gays, "elitist" civil libertarians and all those women who can't keep their legs closed to keep from getting pregnant at the wrong time.

Any kind of political theme that has a resentment against an imagined outsider group that's currently enjoying things allegedly off-limits to the target audience is using a form of populist discourse.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 1:12 AM | PERMALINK

"What did Clinton ever do for the poor or middle class, anyway? He was useless. He helped the rich get richer through the stock market boom, and everyone else suffered. Bush hasn't been any worse for the middle class than Clinton was. On balance, maybe Bush has been better.
Posted by: jefff on September 2, 2006 at 10:27 PM | PERMALINK"

Sweet, my handle is being impersonated, complete with email. I feel so loved.

Posted by: jefff on September 3, 2006 at 1:17 AM | PERMALINK

Jeff, you can be sure that's Charlie or Don P/GOP. He was annoyed that I was rebutting the odious GOP using the GOP handle and so thought stealing someone else's would make the pain go away. Sorry you are the victim of that unbalanced nitwit.

By the way, Bob, republican's envy of Dean is palpable. But Republicans in general envy those who work hard and make something of themselves. Just as they lick the boots of those who don't work and are handed everything on a platter - so long as they are rich like Bush.

Oh, and republican? Reagan's "populism" was just repackaged envy - "Welfare Queens" were people who did nothing and got free stuff from the government. The only difference between them and Republicans, of course, was that those imaginary welfare queens didn't exist. But Reagan was all about the envy - much like you.

Posted by: GOP on September 3, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

jefff:

I had a feeling; that post didn't sound like you at all. It's been happening to a lot of us lately.

My personal conspiracy theory sez dollars to donuts it's Thomas1 -- who we're *just not responding to enough* when he posts under that handle anymore.

Having figured out, of course, that he's the infamous Charley/Cheney.

I saw the same damned thing happen to enozinho two days ago. And trex only today.

Intelligent longtime readers can see right through it, so no worries, bro.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

Fake GOP:

So who is *this* masked man/woman behind the curtain, eh? :) Sounds for sure like a regular. I'm tempted to stay Stefan, since he vanished after a couple particularly brutal pissing matches with GOP, but the style isn't that similar ...

Hmmm .... *pondering the mystery*

Bo

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

I consider the Grangers practitioners of legitimate politics and the demagogues and racists to be acting undemocratically or appealing to values outside of legitimate political discourse. Illicit intimidation, especially violent, by a faction/group within the political arena is a violation of the political ethic I wish was the clich for American politics. The ability to create a mass for emotional topics will always be exploited in the US system. The NRA, Rush, FOX News, are all examples of institutionalized populists that dominate much of US political discourse. I would prefer a grass roots populism that uses the rules of our democracy to make institutional changes and decide public policy. There is no liberal demagogue in the 'netroots' movement who uses populist rhetoric to mobilize mobs. I know that Kos fellow receives a lot of press, but I think his influence is mistaken for the efforts of the kossaks and other non-related operatives, who are his 'followers' in name and internet application only. So, when I remark fondly about the populism of the Midwest agrarians, it is because of the way they made positive democratic change. I hope today's decentralizing internet can provide a way to bring that kind of democracy back to practice. When I read about criticism of this type of politic, I cannot help but think it is because of the fear of change and loss of dominance. Not criticism from you Bob, but from the churning establishment.

Posted by: Hostile on September 3, 2006 at 1:42 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

Please don't drop the f-bomb on me! I don't dispute Dean is a pretty smart guy and a hard worker. I might have even voted for him if he had reiterated his promise not to abandon the Iraqis during the campaign, but your team thought the feckless gigilo was more "electable" -- i.e., he could bamboozle us boobs out here in the sticks with his 41 days in Viet Nam.
I was responding to Kevin's [and Hostiles'} thoughts on populism and pointing out that Dean's backround is a little dodgy from that perspective. I think this says more about the nutroots that have become the new center of gravity in the Democratic Party than it does of Dean himself - anyone can transcend their backround.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, you make me think about what is the difference between populism and demagoguery. Appealing to workers to unite and join a union for better wages and working conditions is populist and appealing to the same group to rally round the bigotry of an ethnic group, lifestyle or class to blame for the state of the union is also regarded as populism in our vocabulary. I think we need to say one appeals to reason and process, a legitimate way to participate, and the other appeals to emotion and is not a legitimate way to solve political problems.

Posted by: Hidalgo on September 3, 2006 at 2:01 AM | PERMALINK

On the internet no one knows you are a dog.

Posted by: Hostile on September 3, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, thats the ticket Im reminded of Otters soliloquy at the end of Animal House this action requires us to respond with a stupid and totally futile gesture
==
You mean a gesture, to America, like this?
Bush Salute

in case link won't work;
http://www.voccoquan.com/images/bush%2520finger.JPG

Posted by: Trinary Suka on September 3, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

http://colorado.indymedia.org/usermedia/image/11/bush_finger.jpg

The post don't like links so much..

Posted by: Trinary Suka on September 3, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Hostile,

"There is no liberal demagogue in the 'netroots' movement who uses populist rhetoric to mobilize mobs..."

Duh. That might be because populist rhetoric is just not done at Starbucks, it's done at those tacky Walmart places.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, no this is not Stefan. But if it helps I seldom post except to mock those who would canonize Reagan, who are glad to send others to die for their leader's ineptitude, and those - like GOP today - who want to pretend that the dominance of anti-labor forces in the political market over the last 30+ years is a good thing. Those who want to not just paper over the maldistribution of wealth, but to feed the populace bullshit telling us that this is the best of all possible outcomes. I am sickened by those who oppose progressive government using the fruits of that government as proof that it is no longer needed. Rather like a farmer who - seeing the bushels of oranges - cuts down all of his trees because they have obviously served their purpose.

One of the great tragedies of the War on Poverty (stupid name, it allows for ever more stupid "wars") is that Republcian thought won. They crippled the assistance so that there was a disincentive to have a working man in the house - breaking up households and then railing against the broken homes. They took away funding on a dollar for dollar basis so that working a job would merely make your life worse - thereby encouraging dependency that they could then rail against. And in the 80s all of this came to a head in Ronald treasons just another word for conducting foreign policy at odds with the sitting Presidents prior to being elected Reagan campaigned against Welfare Queens.

In the end, I'm just someone old enough to know how poor the Republicans are at governance and that the while Democrats are no great shakes at it (after all, they support the massive corporate welfare that is the MIC), they aren't actively attempting to destroy our nation.

Oh, and minion of evil - you are a fucking moron. Populists don't have to start from nothing. FDR was a populist. That's because he understood the notion that government was about the people - all of the people. Not just the rich and those who falsely imagine they will someday be rich (while envying those whose hard work actually made them that way). Oh, and using nutroots is just as offensive as "F-Bombs."

Posted by: GOP on September 3, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

I probably won't be one of the egg breakers. Not my style.

Oh Kevin, to quote Cool Hand Luke, "You gotta get mad at them eggs!!!!"

Posted by: DonkeyKog on September 3, 2006 at 2:31 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry if I offended by using the word nutroots. If you've read more than one or two of my posts you should be aware that I too believe in a more equitable distribution of income. That's why it bothers me that there are not two parties that share mainstream values in this country. I think the idea of FDR being cast as a populist is a little outside the standard definition of the term, though. Populism, as opposed to traditional progressive/left politics, is essentially a reactionary tendency. I don't say this as a pejorative, Williams Jennings Bryan is one of my heros, but that is the common usage of the term. The best example in modern times was Reagan saying the most dangerous words in the English language were "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you." In today's context McCain could be construed as representing the populist tendency in the Repub Party against the country club/establishment Bush faction. McCain, like Reagan, represents those that value tradition, self reliance, etc., and fundementally distrust big shots that want to run things for them.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

The best example in modern times was Reagan saying the most dangerous words in the English language were "I'm from the government and I'm here to help you."

Sorry, minion of evil - Reagan's quote exemplifies the Republican mindset of claiming the government is evil and getting elected to demonstrate that claim - hence you have Reagan raising taxes on the working class to cover up the massive debt he incurred by cutting taxes on the wealthy. Reagan's "populism" was nothing but ugly, and often racist, demagoguery. McCain is no more a populist than Ronald "Let's arm terrorists in Afghanistan so we don't have to send our own soldiers to fight" Reagan was. Sure, McCain is willing to suck up to the press, but he helps Bush put the warm in warmongering. Sure he sounds moderate, but his voting record is hard to distinguish from that raving lunatic Cheney's when he was in Congress. Sorry, Dean's populism is that of someone who is working for the vast majority of the population. Not the top 10% of the top 1%, plus Halliburton.

Here's a challenge, show McCain is a "populist." Show a policy he would implement that would actually make the lives of Americans better.

Remember, country club Bush ran as a man of the people. It was a lie, but he ran that way. While I realize that Bush's unpopularity is driving Republicans to pretend otherwise, he is more than just the President the Republicans foisted on us, he is the leader of the Republican Party. There is no populist wing of the Republican Party - only the theocrats, the elitists, and the warmongers, with a smattering of racists to push you over the top.

Posted by: GOP on September 3, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK
ABOVE ALL ELSE, PUNISH THE MOST PRODUCTIVE CITIZENS.

Disgusting.

Posted by: American Hawk on September 2, 2006 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

We have very different ideas about who "the most productive citizens" are.

Last time that I looked, there were the same 24 hours in the day for all people, and those who Republicans think are the "most productive" live off the labor of others. The labor of most poor and middle class workers would lay out the dividend-receivers after 3 hours, if they even got that far.

Add to that the labor of women whose days include more hours of labor than their male partners (or ex-partners) making sure that the house is running smoothly, the children have clean clothes and shoes that fit, and everyone is eating healthily.

Explain to me how a fired CEO's labor at a company that manufactures a pair of Nikes that cost 28 cents to produce but cost the consumer $220 is worth a severance of more than $8 million, including two years' salary at $1.4 million a year and a bonus of at least $1.76 million for 2006? [Nike also will buy the former CEO's house for $3.6 million, which covers remodeling and furnishing costs.]

We all know that this is hardly the exception to corporate salaries, perqs and golden parachutes.

This nation (and the rich class) was built on the exploitation of people who performed back-breaking labor because they had no other choice or options, and it continues today. Nobody leaves their family, their friends, their homelands to risk their lives walking hundreds of miles through deserts (or cross oceans in steerage) to pick vegetables or clean somebody else's toilets (or lay rail or brick, or pick cotton) unless they are desperate.

Time knows no class - an hour is an hour to everyone. It's just ducky that you (Republicans) have figured out a way for your lazy asses to do less for more, but you still have to eat (and that food has to be grown, picked, shipped, prepared by somebody), you still have to wear clothing (which has to be made by somebody), you still have to live in shelter (which has to be built by somebody). We're all in this life together, swapping services to survive, but Republicans seem to think that they've achieved everything on their own.


Posted by: Maeven on September 3, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

GOP,

"Here's a challenge, show McCain is a "populist." Show a policy he would implement that would actually make the lives of Americans better."

O.K., First example, in his stump speech a while back McCain pointed out he could get a Patients' Bill of Rights through Congress in 10 minutes if we had lobbying reform - primarily, in this case, to trim the veto power the insurance industry has on the Repub caucus and the trial lawyers have on the Dems.
Now I'd like to return the challenge, when did Reagan raise taxes on working people? Reagan started out as a lefty and never lost his touch with the middle class in this country. The only people that didn't like Reagan were the rent seekers on the government teat and the avant garde that thought he was too square and too pro-American.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

Reagan, along with Greenspan increased the Social Security Taxes - paid only by those who work. This has helped mask the size of his massive overspending. He also signed into law tax increases every year he was in office after 83. The Grand Old Propagandists called them "user fees" or anything else they could invent to continue the myth that Reagan didn't raise taxes. In fact, without Reagan's constant tax increases there would have been a "no new taxes" pledge to plague the elder Bush.

Now, your example might be a good one if it didn't come with a false and gratuitous slam at those whose job it is to provide recourse to the victims of the insurance industry. And, by the way, the insurance industry doesn't go into court without their own "trial lawyers." The difference is, propagandists like you don't call them that.

McCain is a faux populist. His centrism is all talk and voting for the hard right. Which means that an empty promise for a Patient's Bill of Rights means nothing until there are details.

As for suckers at the government teat, they thrived under Reagan. Or have you forgotten his bloated and wasteful military spending? And anti-American? What could be more anti-American than conducting foreign policy behind the back of a sitting President? What could be more anti-American than stealing weapons from our military? What could be more anti-American than arming the Iranians who were holding hostages? What could be more anti-American than arming terrorists in our own backyard to overthrow a democratically elected government? Reagan defined anti-Americanism.

Those who worship Reagan only do so because they are too stupid to look at the facts.

Posted by: GOP on September 3, 2006 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

Mr. GOP guy,

I knew Bush was in trouble, but if you represent the GOP heaven help us.

I don't worship Reagan, any more than you worship Clinton, I just think he's the best representative of modern-day populism, which is what this thread is discussing. As for too much pork in Washington, I wholeheartedly agree. That's why I support McCain's work with the PorkBuster's Project. Go over to Instapundit if you want more information. McCain was also the guy who first exposed Abramoff while chairing hearings on the Indian Affairs Committee, an assignment most prima donnas on Capital Hill would have avoided.
I usually like to find common ground with people I correspond with on this site, but if that's not possible, I still try to be civil. Let me finish by asking you a few questions, and please respond honestly - do you think McCain would be an improvement on Bush? Do you think the trial lawyers are not a special interest group? When is the use of American military power not warmongering? If you can answer that during this insomniafest I'd appreciate it.

Posted by: minion of rove on September 3, 2006 at 4:25 AM | PERMALINK

I am writing Kevin about this, and I am putting pedal to the metal.

If Kevin can't figure out a way to raise revenue from the regular posters here to update his software and hire someone to do the update so this blog can be registered, I am fucking out of here.

I am *so* not playing around.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 4:40 AM | PERMALINK

That GOP guy is really smart and argues really well. He's, like, the only really smart guy on this site. I mean he's really, really really smart.

Oh and I am not GOP. I'm s completely uninterested party. And by that I mean completely.

It's just he's so very, very smart.

Posted by: GOP is GOD on September 3, 2006 at 6:23 AM | PERMALINK

Re; "...we desperately need radically more attention paid to full employment policies; to labor organization in service industries; to the distributional inequities of free trade policies; to national healthcare; and to significantly more progressive taxation.

Has it occurred to anyone else that a "full employment policy" would do exactly the opposite of everything else mentioned?

Posted by: Randy on September 3, 2006 at 6:57 AM | PERMALINK

P.S. And just how long has it been since Krugman and DeLong were considered serious economists?

Posted by: Randy on September 3, 2006 at 6:59 AM | PERMALINK

I probably won't be one of the egg breakers. Not my style. Maybe Brad and Paul won't be either. But I'm willing to sit back and let other people do it without kibitzing too much.

Thanks, Kev, this means a lot to me. By "a lot", I mean about as much as any moderate Republican stance meant to Bush in March '03.

Posted by: Bomb Thrower on September 3, 2006 at 7:06 AM | PERMALINK

One of the reasons the GOP and churches have worked so closely together in the post-Vietnam War years is that the churches so effectively spread the GOP's message.

One of the key GOP messages is that wealth should be distributed across the population by the amount of hard work we are willing to perform, not by decisions of government officials.

To emphasize this message, the GOP has worked with churches on promoting the 10 Commandments, particularly the commandment that says, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods."

The evil of covetessness is a major, underlying theme of the GOP and it aligns well with the agendas of fundamentalists and evangelicals.

The repetition of this theme over and over again in all its various iterations has literally sapped the will of the American people to pursue legitimate issues of economic fairness.

It isn't fair that industry fat cats -- whether it be in the financial, energy, pharmaceutical, food or other major industires -- can hand over checks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians who agree when they return to Washington to do their bidding.

It would be great if we progressives could come up with a measure -- a figure -- that represents all the incredible economic inefficiencies baked into the economy by the elites. By this I mean things like:

1. Free trade that prevents us from buying less expensive Canadian prescription drugs
2. Road construction subsdidies that undermine environmental goals and drive people off mass transit.
3. Corn and other farm price subsidies that flood the Mexican markets with cheap grain that drives Mexican farmers across our borders in search of jobs.
4. Corruption in government contracting -- more than HALF the Katrina reconstruction contracts were awarded with no bid competition. Billions and billions are being wasted, lining the pockets of executives.
5. Corporate corruption generally, in all its forms.

Republicans espouse goals, couched in religious terms, that they themselves to not practice. I see so much hypocrisy and greed (a deadly sin in itself) in today's GOP I have to think we can respond agressively without fear.

They are giving us plenty of material to work with.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 3, 2006 at 8:26 AM | PERMALINK

kevin,

Didn't raealize how far out there you are. No wonder yoy duffer BDS so severely. The unions are dead. There are two many visible examples of unions killing the business. We are far more likely to have flat taxes than the old welfare state rates of 70% and higher.

It had to kill you to watch Reagan's funeral. In 1981 he started the process of moving the marginal rates from 70% to 28%. Few people under the age of 50 remember those rates or can even conceive of such an abomination as 70% tax rates. There is a reason NO politician speaks of raising tax rates. It is political suicide.

The fact is this same under 50 cohort looks at socialism as a disease. They've seen the economic wreakage of the USSR AND China and see it in Cuba now. Your economics are of a byegone age. Whatever reputation Paul Krugman had as an economist he's destroyed it with whacky, inaccurate rantings he calls a column. We like in a world where Keynes is dead and Supply-Side rules.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

pj,

Re; "It isn't fair that industry fat cats -- whether it be in the financial, energy, pharmaceutical, food or other major industires -- can hand over checks worth hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians who agree when they return to Washington to do their bidding."

And yet I'm certain you think it is entirely fair that these industries hand over hundreds of billions in tax dollars. I don't know about you, but I like to think I have some say in how my tax dollars are spent. Why shouldn't the major industries?

Posted by: Randy on September 3, 2006 at 8:43 AM | PERMALINK

"significantly more progressive taxation"

95% of all income tax is paid by the top 50% of households
More than 70% by the top 10%
More than 30% by the top 1%

How do you make this more progressive?

Posted by: James Kaplan on September 3, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

On rereading the article, I am suddenly struck by the degree to which it reflects acceptance of a sobering reality. The Democrats may actually achieve power, and once in power, will no longer be able to make much headway with their opposition rhetoric. They will suddenly be faced with real problems. Such as;

Higher taxes really are likely to result in higher unemployment.

Globalization and technological change is an economic reality, not a political choice.

Radical Islamists will continue to demonize and attack Americans regardless of the political party of the President. And if the President removes the use of the military from his toolbox, he is simply short one effective tool.

The threat of the use of nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons against a major US city is real - and something which no President can afford to have happen on his watch.

But then again, such realities are precisely the reason that all Presidents become pragmatists. Reality shapes their choices far more than their choices shape reality. The President may have a leading role, but the play is already written.

Posted by: Randy on September 3, 2006 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

情色电影 激情视频下载 明星露点图片 激情写真 阴部图片 乳房图片 全裸美女 淫荡小说 淫乱图片 美女脱衣 裸体女人 女性手淫图片 波霸美女 淫水美女鲍鱼 阴户阴毛图片 美女图库 美女口交 性爱视频 偷拍图片 泳装美女 美女内衣内裤 性爱贴图 性生活图片 作爱图片 性交姿势 做爱电影 性福电影 人体摄影 裸女图片 乱伦图片 强暴电影 轮奸视频 迷奸图片 乳房写真 性爱小说 美眉写真 激情贴图 两性性生活 作爱电影 性交图片 做爱图片 美女人体 美女裸照 全裸女 黄色小说 成人小说 强暴图片 轮奸美女 泳装图片 手机图片 手机铃音 图铃下载 手机游戏 激情电影 联通铃声下载联通手机铃声 中国联通铃声 联通免费铃声 联通用户铃声 联通cdma铃声 联通和弦铃声 联通mp3铃声 联通特效铃声 联通彩铃 联通彩铃下载 中国联通彩铃 联通手机彩铃下载 联通彩铃业务 联通彩铃网站 联通免费彩铃 联通cdma彩铃 联通炫铃 中国联通炫铃 联通炫铃下载 联通炫铃网站 联通炫铃业务 联通cdma炫铃 联通手机图片 联通手机炫铃 免费电影下载 免费在线电影 看免费电影 免费电影网站 韩国电影 两性生活 性教育片 两性知识 性爱图片 免费黄色电影 最新电影 成人性爱电影 免费小电影 免费性电影 免费成人电影 免费电影在线观看 宽带电影 经典电影 恐怖电影 免费影片 免费影院 最新大片 十八电影网 美女写真 人体艺术 美女图片 美女走光 美腿图片 三级片 强奸电影 美女祼体图片 美女自拍 黄色电影下载 免费色情电影 激情图片 激情小电影 性感美女图片 漂亮妹妹图片 做爱图片 美少女图片 日本av女优 情色电影 同志电影 激情视频下载 明星露点图片 写真电影 阴部图片 乳房图片 明星裸照 性爱视频 偷拍图片 美眉图片 泳装美女 美女内衣内裤 舒淇写真 美女脱衣图片 裸体女人图片 人体写真 女性手淫图片 波霸美女 淫水美女鲍鱼 阴户阴道阴毛 美女图库 肛交口交图片 性爱贴图 情趣内衣图片 性生活图片 作爱图片 艳情小说 性交姿势 做爱电影 性福联盟 人体摄影 明星裸照 裸女图片 黄色小说 成人小说 乱伦小说 强暴电影 轮奸视频 性虐待电影 迷奸图片 妓女 汤加丽写真集 全裸美女 淫荡小说 淫乱小说 淫书

Posted by: 联通铃声下载 on September 3, 2006 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

When Al Gore used "The People vs The Powerful Rhetoric" he was 15 points ahead!

Posted by: phastphile on September 3, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Grab a copy of Robert Reich's last book and thumb through the polls in the index. We don't need to change minds, we simply (!) need representative democracy. Social Security, healthcare, balanced spending, public investment, sane trade, labor, environmental policies, on and on--the stong majority support is already there/here.
Populism isn't just Huey Long-style "soak-the-rich"ism--the will is there: the representation, not so much.

Posted by: Cassandro on September 3, 2006 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

Well, you know what Lenin said...

Posted by: DRR on September 3, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Randy,

You nailed it.

Few mainstream democrats really believe in the old leftist socialist rhetoric. Even when there's talk of increasing progressivity it's only fringe candidates talking. It's merely a bone to the old left to keep them satisfied. The socialists are in even worse shape than Europe demographically speaking. The 'soak the rich' libs are old and dying off. The post 1981 generation can't conceive of punishing people for being successful and working hard.

My oldest are 27 and 25. The oldest is a nurse married to a carpenter looking at a comgined income of over $120,000 not counting income from a duplex and his side work. Tell them they 'owe' it to their less successful peers to pay double or triple in taxes and they will poke you in the eye. They are under the impression they're successful because they worked their asses off and they deserve their wages.

They are also under the impression their entire peer group has had the same opportunities as they. And in fact they are correct. Kevin Drum hasn't figured out that his rhetoric will lose thse people permanently but Bill Clinton understands it well.

Clinton was elected talking about middle class tax cuts, ending the marriage penalty and other populist promises but stayed far away from pre-Reagan liberalism. Clinton stayed even further away from Liberals on crime issues. It's one of the interesting ironies of politics that a Democratic President can get more done is certain areas because the Democratic party has to be restrained in their opposition. Clinton effectively put the NRA out of business by allowing for it's success.

Your point is equally well understood by the majority just as it is mis-understood by the liberals of the world. My kids know their pop and both grandparents worked for corporations and did quite well. The old liberal adage "corporations = evil" is as old as 90% tax rates. We are watching the end of a long era. Liberalism as we know it is dying.

Think about it. Before Reagan the debate was over 70% to 80% tax rates. Today it's 35% or 37%. Before Reagan the talk was of parole after 1/3 or 1/2 of the sentence served. Today 3-strikes has won as well as can carry as well as minimum mandatory sentencing and early parole for violent crimes has ended. Rudy made broken windows the standard among all cities not run by liberals and now we have dramatically different crime rates as evidence of the failure of liberalism regarding crime in cities. We are seeing advances in charter schools and the beginning of real voucher programs in many cities an support for more is higher than it's ever been.

If you look at the longer term shifts you can see how liberalism has become increasingly marginalized with the best news being the core beliefs of the under 40 crowd. Their reality is vastly different than the generations preceeding. They are Reagan babies.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

想要获得翻译公司的翻译服务?还是要进入一家上海翻译公司?英语翻译爱好者的最大希望就是能够进入一家英语翻译公司或者是日语翻译公司,不过能够进入德语翻译公司那就更好了。什么?你说法语翻译公司或者是俄语翻译公司?那是不敢想了。特别是英语同声翻译公司担任同声翻译的工作。虽然在不少翻译论坛上询问了译友,他们也没有太好的学习翻译的建议,但是大家都说不要使用机器在线翻译的功能。

Posted by: 上海翻译公司 on September 3, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

We now have an enormous tide to swim against, and let's face it: sober, incremental, smart rhetoric just isn't going to change things. Incendiary rhetoric, by contrast, might and discomfiting though it may be, it's hardly likely to lead to incendiary policy.

Look, and incindiary policy isn't going to do much to stem a tide. Reread your posts, and don't mix your metaphors so soon.

If not sober, smart rhetoric, you prefer intoxicated, stupid rhetoric? Whether you like "incremental" or not, incremental improvement is all that can be accomplished. The industrial revolution and computer revolution were incremental. Non-incremental changes are destructive.

Posted by: republicrat on September 3, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

The coming bankruptcy of the U.S. government, due to fiscal mismanagement by Republicans and the swamping of several coastal cities from increasing global warming will lead in one of two directions: (1) Increasing fascism and represssion of civil rights, and ever increasing militarization and forced conscription, where the U.S. becomes a dark shadow of what it used to be, or (2) the flowering of a new democratic republic with somewhat socialist tendencies, where the government plays a much bigger role, providing universal health care, guaranteed employment, increased regulation of business and more reaching out to the rest of the world.

I think Kevin Drum and his ilk are helping lead us towards (1) with their wishy-washy complacency and cowardly willingness to let others do the heavy lifting. Thomas Jefferson said that, "the tree of liberty must be occasionally refreshed with the blood of tyrants and patriots."

The choice is yours, sheeple.

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger on September 3, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

LA,

Please, please keep it coming. Especially the swamping stuff. You're obvious fools. The choice is ours and it's been made. That's why Kyoto has been destroyed in the USA.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

James Kaplan, it helps if you show ALL the taxes paid - when you do, you discover that the burden of taxation is relatively FLAT. Ignoring Reagan's massive tax increase in Social Security allows you to distort the true picture and ask stupid questions like the one you did. By the way, how does your list compare to the wealth owned by each of those groups?

Posted by: GOP on September 3, 2006 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

The crosspost from three weeks ago is not me, but you all know that already.

rdw, rest assured that I no longer read your posts. You don't really come here to engage ideas, you come here to regurgitate talking points that you've read on other blogs. You say the same things over and over again, and since I used to read your posts and try to engage you -- I already have learned every single thing you could possibly say on this blog.

You've become scroll bait, my friend. Unlike minion of rove and republicrat, you are a completely lost cause.

Now to address some of the things I've read in this thread about populism:

Populism *is* demagoguery. Whether it's FDR inveighing against the "economic royalists" or Tom Tancredo demonizing illegal immigrants, the underlying dynamic is the same. It's really impossible to separate out "good" populism from "mere" demagoguery. Both cases involve the demonization of opponents and the glorification of "us folks."

Populism is not, of course, a political philosophy. It's a rhetorical tool. Populism in the service of progressive politics (e.g. FDR) is of course redeemable in the larger context in a way that, say, race-baiting isn't. But it's important to understand the underlying psychology of scapegoatism and the harnessing of resentment.

Populist rhetoric is an inevitable part of democratic discourse. But it's like tossing a bomb -- you might get the results you desire, but it's likely you'll create some collateral damage along the way.

What the GOP have done is to claim populism for itself while making it as difficult as possible for Democrats to indulge in it. They inveigh against the rhetoric of "class warfare" when the issue is economic, while practicing the most invidious and intense forms of it with their social agenda. In fact, they've become so good at harnessing resentment that they can practice class warfare as part of an argument *against* class warfare -- as, when then trash the "elitist Northeast liberals" (not like us folks) in an argument against the "class warfare" of (e.g.) "redistributionist taxation." The GOP have learned how to win elections by harnessing irrational resentment.

The question in the thread is whether it's appropriate for Democrats to go down this road and start reclaiming their long tradition of populism. One thing that's hard for us is that we've ruled out coded racial or in-group appeals. Unlike the GOP, we're the party of genuine inclusion, not the party of false inclusion by fostering the illusion that everybody can join the in group -- which gets poor people to vote time and time again against their own economic interests. Democrats, unlike Republicans, tend to be genuinely moral in their politics and find some avenues of discontent-stirring beneath civil discourse.

Do we want to get down in that mud pit again? Do we need to start demonizing the "economic royalists" and right-wing cultural extremists? It's a more tricky question than it looks on the surface. But clearly, merely attempting to call out GOP populist demagoguery is not effective by itself.

All other things being equal -- perhaps we *could* do with rolling out the guillotines once again -- provided we don't do it any kind of defensiveness or appear in the least conflicted about the morality of it.

If we're going to fight fire with fire, we had better damn well own up to it first. "'Class resentment?' Hell yah!"

If we do this, we can't pretend any longer that it's somehow beneath us. And that's a troubling notion to many of us -- but it's also essential.

Populism is a sword that cuts both ways.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK
We now have an enormous tide to swim against, and let's face it: sober, incremental, smart rhetoric just isn't going to change things.

Incremental rhetoric, in its substance not merely its political utility, on this issue bears the same relation to "sober" and "smart" as "truthiness" does to "truthfulness".

Substantial change is needed, some because of recent right-wing reorientation of policy, some because of longer term incremental evolution in ways which have produced growing strains.

Fundamental change in the orientation of economic policy is needed to build an ownership society rather than continuing to reward the ownership of society.

We need a new dynamic progressivism focussed on the common needs of the modern working class: not an old-line radicalism focussed principally on those providing physical labor, but likewise not the orientation of much of the modern Democratic "leadership" toward serving capital with the occasional symbolic gesture to the rest of society.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 3, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK
And yet I'm certain you think it is entirely fair that these industries hand over hundreds of billions in tax dollars. I don't know about you, but I like to think I have some say in how my tax dollars are spent. Why shouldn't the major industries?

"Major industries" are convenient analytical fictions. The people in them have a say in how tax money is spent on the same basis as everyone else. That's rather the point of representative government.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 3, 2006 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

We need a new dynamic progressivism focussed on the common needs of the modern working class:

You are not going to get it. If you demand it and refuse to compromise then you'll get nothing.

Incrementalism does not always work, but it is the only strategy that works.

Posted by: republicrat on September 3, 2006 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: The question in the thread is whether it's appropriate for Democrats to go down this road and start reclaiming their long tradition of populism. One thing that's hard for us is that we've ruled out coded racial or in-group appeals.

You need to pay more attention to the whole of Democratic rhetoric: there are plenty of coded racial or in-group appeals. When Democrats call for increased funding for education, the plan usually entails an increase in the memberships in teachers' unions, who are major contributors to Democratic candidates. In most places, increases in funding for education entail a transfer of more tax revenue to the Democratic party. That may be good, but it is certainly a "coded racial or in-group appeal".

Posted by: republicrat on September 3, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK
Incrementalism does not always work, but it is the only strategy that works.

No, its not. In fact, rhetorical demands for radical change are usually the most successful at acheiving moderate change which is why the radical-driven Republicans since the mid-1990s, opposed by the incrementalism of the incrementalist, compromise-oriented Democrats, have had quite a bit of success. Clinton was able to have some success at slowing the Republicans, and occasional successes over them, but that was a result of charisma and institutional positions and the advantages that came with it; from the opposition, that's not something that the Democrats have any more. And there's certainly been nothing incrementalist driving the policies that have been implemented since 2001.

Posted by: cmdicely on September 3, 2006 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

And there's certainly been nothing incrementalist driving the policies that have been implemented since 2001

the tort reform, energy bill, bankruptcy reform, and highway construction bill were certainly incrementalist. Most of the federal spending increases of recent times are a consequence of the federal COLAs, and they are certainly incrementalist.

a more accurate statement would be that only the Iraq War and the tax cuts might not have been incrementalist. The war was a result of 12 years of debates and UNSC resolutiions and the economic sanctions. The tax cuts reduced the federal tax take by a few percent and increased the total accumulated federal deficit by a few percent of GDP (a larger percent of the accumulated debt up to that time.)

Posted by: republicrat on September 3, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Lahke,
I'm with you.

Lahke: "I spent time last fall in Iceland. High taxes, yes, but everyone had education up through college and universal health care, and an amazing number of cultural institutions (3 universities and a world-class orchestra in a population of 300,000). Why can't we have these things? What's so great about settling for so much less?"

Posted by: kevin_r on September 3, 2006 at 4:03 PM | PERMALINK

99 says: The "modest by historical standards" immigration levels currently being absorbed by the US (about .5% net, anually) give a gentle boost to economic growth.

That sounds so healthy, a "gentle boost". Almost like a TV commercial. However, it also doesn't factor in that most of those coming here are doing so from one country. And, that's just the current levels. If the Dems/Senate/Bush/Fox get their way, we'd get 60 million over the next twenty years, plus untold millions of new illegal aliens.

This greater growth makes the country wealthier.

Is there a study showing a large, overall economic boost from all those unskilled laborers who come here? Or, isn't that "wealth" simply concentrating in fewer and fewer hands? Does Kevin Drum agree that we're in great financial shape now?

Posted by: TLB on September 3, 2006 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat:

Well, that's a perfect example of how the GOP has jiggered the rhetoric, so that class resentment looks like its opposite.

Teachers' unions have been long-demonized by the GOP. They were the new blacks, and now they're the old gays. While in the course of politics they might well be a Democratic in-group (just like any number of other interest groups on both sides of the aisle), in the campaign discourse, they're seen as the quintessential out-group: Those unionized featherbedders having an unjustified cushy salary at the expense of our tax dollars and children. When little Johnny fails, who are parents most inclined to blame: their children or themselves -- or the teachers?

Teachers are all-too-often the victims of the inclination to scapegoat. Thank the *gods* they're unionized.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 5:11 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: Teachers' unions have been long-demonized by the GOP. ... Thank the *gods* they're unionized.

I: When Democrats call for increased funding for education, the plan usually entails an increase in the memberships in teachers' unions, who are major contributors to Democratic candidates. In most places, increases in funding for education entail a transfer of more tax revenue to the Democratic party. That may be good, but it is certainly a "coded racial or in-group appeal".

As I wrote, "that may be good", and you assert that it is good. My point was that it was, in your words, "coded racial or in-group appeal". Maybe you just prefer some coded in-group appeals to other coded in-group appeals. I have no problem with that, it's normal political rhetoric.

Posted by: republicrat on September 3, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

GOP: You're hilarious. Yesterday, you were insisting that a 2 percentage point decline in share over thirty years is "significant," and yet today, you assert that a 5.7% percentage point difference in share between these two measures is "marginal." I guess this is another example of the kind of "truth" you exhibited in your proposed anti-Bush message that I fisked.

You're comical, but unfortunately not entertaining. As I stated, the trend using those experimental measures and standard census data are virtually identical; obviously you didn't read that far.

While both standard and experimental measures show notable absolute differences, the trends show marginal differences. E.g., over last 20 years:

  • First-order using both standard and experimental measures shows only the top quintile gaining share, with all other qunitiles declining. Other than a constant offset between standard and experimental measures, the trends are identical. Those offsets are approximately (1=lowest quintile): [1] 1%; [2] 1.5%; [3] 1%; [4] 0%; [5] 4%.

  • Second-order using standard measures show: [1] continuing decline; [2] continuing decline; [3] continuing decline; [4] decline with recent flattening; [5] continuing increase. Experimental measures show: [1] continuing decline; [2] low point in the mid-90's with a very slight increase since; [3] same as [2]; [4] same as [2]; [5] a peak in the late 90's, and a slight decline since.
But hey, why bother to do any analysis when you can just pick a couple data points?

Posted by: has407 on September 3, 2006 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Correction to previous post: "Second-order using standard measures... [5] continuing increase" should be "[5] continuing increase with slight flattening since the mid-90's"

Posted by: has407 on September 3, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

republicrat:

No, it's more like "coded in-group appeals" was a poor choice of words on my part. Support for education isn't necessarily dependent on populist rhetoric -- though a notable exception was after Sputnik and various education proposals were made as a way to catch us up to the Soviets in the space race. If support for education translates into money for teachers' unions, that isn't any different than saying that support for a strong military translates into money for defense contractors. Teachers perform the work of education; defense contractors perform the work of building the military.

What I meant is a more pernicious rhetoric that makes appeals to the in-group while implicitly attacking an implied out-group. Case in point: The Defense of Marriage Act. It's an appeal to marriage as a central institution, but it wouldn't be necessary at all if there wasn't an out-group of gays banging on that door demanding to be let in.

Kind of like George Allen telling that Indian videographer he called a "macaca" "Welcome to the real America." It's an appeal to "real Americans" which is defined by the existence of "non-real Americans."

And many, many other examples like it. Defense of "Christian values" implies an attack from without from "non-Christian values," etc.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Bush and team have bungled so badly we are starting to fear a backlash too far to the left. A sort of campaign slogan: "We Republicans are so bad that the angry Democrats are likely to be much worse"

Which, if you think about it, is the Republicans campaign theme.

Posted by: Matt on September 3, 2006 at 7:13 PM | PERMALINK

Randy:

Following my comment about industry fat cats handing over hundred thousand dollar checks to candidates, you state: And yet I'm certain you think it is entirely fair that these industries hand over hundreds of billions in tax dollars. I don't know about you, but I like to think I have some say in how my tax dollars are spent. Why shouldn't the major industries?

Publicly funded campaigns would guarantee that everyone's say was guaranteed, as we all desire. It would also guarantee a citizen's say was offered to politicians at comparable levels to industry leaders. This strikes me as eminently fair.

I'm sure you don't mean to suggest that industry leaders deserve more access to policy makers than the rest of Americans.

My broader point is, we can be advocates for economic fairness without being covetous, as we are so quickly accused of being by all manner of conservatives.

You couldn't pay me to live in one of those ostentatious McMansions going up all over jesusland. I would never drive a Republican Hummer -- my next car will be a hybrid. My kids all go to public school and they appear to be getting a fine education -- better, it appears, than some local private schools based on the latest private and magnet school test scores.

Maybe covetousness is another one of those straw man issues invented by the GOP in an attempt to mask the institutionalized greed that has become American democratic capitalism.

And FYI, before WWII, corporations were responsible for 50 percent of all the taxes government collected. Now corporations pay only 20 percent of the taxes. Under George Bush fat cats have received the vast bulk of the tax breaks. Not surprisingly, their income has gone up the most.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 3, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

Here is one very long article about taxation, about 2/3 of the way down is a chart titled: Effective Total Tax Rate by Group - 2004 (Federal + State + Local)
http://www.rationalrevolution.net/articles/american_income_taxation.htm
Basically the bottom quintile pays 20%, and everyone from the fourth quintile up pays a smidge over 30%. There is a pretty linear looking change between there.

This will vary significantly by state, a couple figures above is a map showing rates on the bottom 20%. As you can see, my state of washington is leading the nation in screwing the poor. Our state and local taxation actually ranges from almost 20% for the bottom quintile to 4% for the top few percent (you can eyeball the total taxation chart and see how that makes total taxation in washington almost perfectly flat). I am a bit suprised by how randomly scattered the rates appear to be, I don't really see any geographic patterns at all. I suppose this means that local tax structures have been pretty much determined by random quirk of history.

It is actually somewhat hard to find charts like this because they are swamped by all the articles talking only about federal income taxes, and occasionally about total federal taxes, but using phrases like "total taxation" either sloppily or disengenuously.

Posted by: jefff on September 3, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

when then trash the "elitist Northeast liberals" (not like us folks) in an argument against the "class warfare" of (e.g.) "redistributionist taxation." The GOP have learned how to win elections by harnessing irrational resentment.

You've got it Bob. The rubes are too stupid to know the GOP is raising irrational fears. They need the elitists to educate them. Keep on thinking your party has it exactly right and only loses elections because the public is irrational. Don't change a thing.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

It is actually somewhat hard to find charts like this because they are swamped by all the articles talking only about federal income taxes,

That would be because Federal Income Taxes are totally different from all other taxes. Federal Inocme taxes have nothing to do with social security taxes or with state and local taxes. The only possible purpose to combine them together would be to confuse people and everyone knows it. That's why it never works. The data is had to find because it's useless.

We have 50 states each with different ideas of what the State should provide. The folks in CA want to establish Kyoto and do stem cell research and they're willing to pay for it. God Bless them but Ed Rendell in PA would never consider it. Thus comparing the total taxes for someone living in CA with those living in most of the rest of the country isn't just pointless it's stupid.

Even worse is putting SS into the mix. That's a combination forced savings plan and generational wealth transfer plan whereby those participating get theor 'investment' back if they live long enough to collect it.

No doubt libs will continue to try to blur the discussion but we're well past the time that's possible. We're well into the ownership society and the younger one is the more likely to reject such simple-minded populist rhetoric. It's this younger crowd most opposed to higher tax rates and especially toward increased progressivity. In fact they are more likely to prefer flat rates.

This is the post-Reagan generation. Socialism has never held their appeal. Freaks like Castro have always been just that. A Barbara Walters or a Steven Speilberg will cream in their pants in his presence. Tell someone under 45 this clown has been giving 6 hour speeches his entire life and they understand immediately he's a psychopath. They know socialism as an abomination. Thus when they hear tax rates were 70% before Reagan lowered them to 28% they understand how dangerous liberalism can be.


Sorry Jeff but your form of liberalism is dead. If you want a Democrat in the WH they have to do a Clinton and totally deny they're liberal. They can't promise to raise taxes they have to be very tough on crime and they will have to promise not to cut defense spending to show they're tough.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Every single coherent sentence that has ever crawled off your fingers here is intent on fostering class resentment.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 9:19 PM | PERMALINK

Jason,

No, I meant Barbara Wawa. I used her and Speilberg for a reason. Some 20-yrs ago WaWa used her perch at ABC to get an exclusive with Fidel and was absolutely pathetic. She literally swooned. She was gushing like a teenager at his charisma and opened with some goofy statement like, "if literacy rates were money the cubans would be the richest people on the planet."

Yes Barb, Cubans have it so good. Why else would so many risk death to escape?

She was hardly alone among the MSM in her shameless effort and history will not be kind to the MSM.

Speilberg did a tour of Cuba a few years back and after a private 'interview' with Fidel was was supposed to be 15 minutes and stretched into a very extended period Steven was quoted as saying, "Those were the most important 7 hours of my life". Steven was immediately ridiculed by the conservative press and more than a little stunned not to be defended in the MSM. The problem for Steven was that Castro had just completed a crackdown which included the death sentence for some political prisoners, some very long prison sentences for several journalists and some nasty treratment of Homosexuals.

Steven immediately backed off his statements and has kept a low profile regarding political statements. He's still very active as a fund raiser and contributer but he's learned he's out of his league as a pundit.

Never in my life could I understand the allure of Fidel. After 1980 I didn't think anyone really believed in socialism anymore and by 1989 I was certain. Even by then we knew Cuba was a basket case and Fidel certifiably nuts. The man has a long history of giving 6-hr speeches. That's a sure sign of meglo-mania. That alone qualifies him as a repulsive figure.

Fidel is one of those guys who will forever serve as a thorn in the side of all socialist / marxists. Cuba, like the USSR, like China was/is a massive failure. Besides the economic devastation there's the incredible butchery.

It's to the shame of all older liberals they supported that turd of a human being and younger generations know it.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

Every single coherent sentence that has ever crawled off your fingers here is intent on fostering class resentment.


Not even a little bit. I just love to shine a light on elistists. You've yet to write a post that didn't drip of condescention. Those who disagree with you are always irrational or rubes or whatever. You can't accept they might see the same world you do and simply disagree with you.

I consider you and your ilk God's gift to the GOP. There's a reason your guys effort in the last primaries was so abysmal. It's because he repulses many more people than he attacks. The man was trashed in BLUE STATE DEMOCRATIC PRIMARIES. Few liberals could stomach him. He had money coming out of his ears and the best he could do was a distant 3rd.

Howard Dean would have to jump to reach pathetic. That's how far out of the Democratic mainstream you are. You probably haven't picked a winning primary candidate in your entire life.

Liberals are only about class. There's nothing else there. Progressive tax rates are designed to start class resentments with you on the side of the majority. You only want to tax the rich because they're a very small minority. It's an obvious Robin hood complex designed to buy off a majority of voters. You know as well as I do it's all a sham. The people you profess to tax more are merely going to high tax lawyers to make sure they never pay it. You know this.

So does everyone else.

Posted by: rdw on September 3, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Hey, GOP:

In the table you reference, take a look at the average pre-tax income figures for 2000. Income in the lowest three quintiles goes down between 1999-2000. Income in the highest two quintiles goes up, probably because of profits reaped during the internet bubble.

Are you suggesting that we completely restructure the tax system and base it on population, not on income? If so, what share of the population do you think should pay the most taxes?

Should people who earn the least pay the most taxes, because there are more of them?

Should people who live in California pay the most taxes, because collectively they use the most energy, drive the most miles and in general use the most of everything?

Should people who live in free standing houses pay the most taxes because they use up so many resources living in and maintaining their homes?

Or should people who earn the most pay the most taxes because they benefit the greatest from America's "ownership society?" After all, they get to decide where businesses will locate, who gets hired and fired, what salaries will be, how resources will be allocated within the company, how profits will be distributed, what interest rates will be.

These kinds of prerogatives are priveleges, not entitlements, in a free society. That's where modern-day conservatism has lost its way -- the rich have forgotten that we, collectively as a society, afford one another the life styles we enjoy. Tax dollars, after all, built the road system, cured disease, constructed the genome, defeated the Nazis.

"To whom much is given, much is expected." That's been good, mainstream Protestant teaching for hundreds of years. Until recently.

Your extreme capitalistic notion that if everyone acts as greedily as possible everything will come out right in the end is not working. Actually, it never has.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 3, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

rdw--

"The people you profess to tax more, bla, bla, bla...."

What sort of nonsense is this? Do you really think the US of A is incapable of enforcing its own tax laws? Do you think we have actually really TRIED to do such a thing in the past couple of decades? Do you know what percentage of wealthy Americans are actually audited every year? Do you know how deeply the IRS budget has been cut in the last 10 or so years, on the utterly laughable premise that cutting the only gov't arm that makes money will "save money"? They're still running freaking Sperry Univacs at the IRS, and you're thinking this is the best we can do?

Oh, yeah, and those car thieves are so sneaky, too. You guys know most of them will just end up getting away with it. So why even bother, right?

Who the hell do you think pays for all these tax dodges? It ain't like the government's getting any smaller, someone's picking up the bill. How is this bullshit not already an undeclared "class war"? What else do Republicans have other than "class"? Please enlighten me. It's all class.

Perhaps Democrats do prey on peoples' envy to some extent. But Republicans prey on something even more troubling: pure suckerdom, people going nowhere who think they are on the way up.

Of course, there's always a lot of suckers in any town, so I don't doubt you'll be in power for a long time to come. Just keep telling those nice bed-time stories that make everyone feel so nice about themselves. You're absolutely right. It's a brilliant strategy. No one can resist a flatterer. You guys got it down pat. Anyone (i.e. liberals) say word one about something bad that Americans might be doing, and you jump right on it. Who is someone going to vote for: the mean man telling them they might just possibly doing something bad every now and again, or the nice man with the cookies and the bed-time story about how everything they do is so wonderful?

Christ, it's a miracle you guys ever lost any elections.

Posted by: kokblok on September 3, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

rdw:

Don't you ever get tired of trying to needle about Howard Dean? Because I tell you, it's kind of old at this point. The same old regurgitated talking points, post after post. Nyah, nyah, nyah, trying to get my goat, like the mean kid in the schoolyard. Which is kind of what your politics reduce to. "You're smarter than me, so I'll beat you up!"

Bottom line rdw, the country was a lot healthier in the mid-50s when the New Deal was gospel (Eisenhower didn't touch it and in fact expanded it with the federal highway system), industral unions were strong and the ratio of CEO-to-worker compensation was 40:1, not 700:1.

Yeah, the American Dream still wasn't for everyone. We had yet to bust up segregation. But our social fabric was healthy, Mom (she wasn't emanciplated yet) stayed at home and raised the kids on Dad's salary at the plant. Immigrants were moving out to the suburbs in droves.

I'm not romanticizing the era. A lot of issues had yet to come out of the woodwork. I *am* saying that our political discourse was a little healthier (even ruled by all those "objective journalists"), voting participation was a little higher (though still lower than in most democracies), social alienation was confined to the fringes.

Our middle class was strong and growing. We had a whopping unacknowledged poverty problem, especially in the South, but the income gap between corporate executives and workers on the shop floor was manageable. Corporations also felt a duty to do for the communities they operated in, and a tremendous loyalty to our country. This was prior to the age of globalization.

Are we, on the whole, better off today with all our gadgets and increased life expectancy and Viagra and 24/7 porno?

Honestly, I think it's a more open question than many care to credit.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 3, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

N.B.: That trex up there is as fake as the fake GOP. Trex is no apologist for the Bush regime.

Thanks for point that out Bob, I appreciate it.

A tyrannosauroid therapod gets back from two days of vacation only to find out that somebody's been stealing his handle to defend the odious and indefensible Bush regime???

And that that somebody is probably the odious and indefensible Charlie/Cheney/Thomas/et al?

I'd ask what I've done to deserve this but there's no question I've been pretty relentless in exposing the crazy Dominionist's fake handles and real agenda -- although I've never stolen his or anybody else's handle, that's just low. I mean, who's gonna be fooled into answering any of his posts once they find out he loathes them as traitors? That he wants to outlaw homosexuality and divorce and impose the death penalty for doctors and mother who terminate any pregnancy for any reason from the moment of fertilization on?

My knowledge of economics and my mathematical ability just adds up to beans, though (undersized saurian brain) so the sock puppetry isn't credible. You'll never see me mention the Earned Income Tax Credit. Peh! It's like ashes in my enormous toothy mouth just saying it.

My large olfactory nerves compensate for what I lack upstairs, however, and allow me to sniff out deceptive mammals with deadly accuracy.

Which is why Charlie can't hide no matter how many handles he steals or fake personas he adopts.

Posted by: trex on September 4, 2006 at 12:21 AM | PERMALINK

trex:

At least you were warring with him, so he has something like an excuse. What amazed me was to see this happen to enozinho. Enozinho is like the mellowest guy on here.

Heh, my guess is that The Entity(tm) did this because enozinho is a Muslim.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on September 4, 2006 at 12:31 AM | PERMALINK

Ok, one more correction/clarification to my 6:05PM post (if anyone cares :)... I stated "Those offsets are approximately (1=lowest quintile): [1] 1%; [2] 1.5%; [3] 1%; [4] 0%; [5] 4%." The correct and more precise offsets are: [1] -1.4%; [2] -1.9%; [3] -1.0%; [4] +0.1%; [5] +4.2%.

I should have also added that there are a few periods when the top quintile's share declined and other quintile's have increased (by either standard or experimental measures). However, those are short-term variations, not the norm. In short, the long-term trend is increasing income inequality, with the top qunitile gaining at the expense of all other quintiles. (NB GOP: that holds true regardless of which income measure you use.)

Posted by: has407 on September 4, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

has407,

Re; In short, the long-term trend is increasing income inequality, with the top qunitile gaining at the expense of all other quintiles."

Good data, invalid conclusion. You provide evidence that the top quintile is gaining, not that their gain is at the expense of the lower quintiles. Indeed, there is considerable evidence that their gain is because of benefits to the lower quintiles. By way of example, the Microsoft owner's gain is due to providing quality software to the masses, and the Walmart owner's gain is due to providing basic goods to the masses at low prices. Can you show me a single transaction by which the wealth was obtained that was not "value for value" and "freely entered into"?

Posted by: Randy on September 4, 2006 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

Randy,

You state: Can you show me a single transaction by which the wealth was obtained that was not "value for value" and "freely entered into"?

Answer: Employees' cancelled retirement benefits(United Airways, US Airways, Bethlehem Steel, dozens of others). In many of these instances, executives (largely Republicans) make sure their own retirements are legally guaranteed while they axe those of their employees.

Corporate bankruptcy filings have become just another form of welfare for the already rich.

You want more? Bring it on, simpleton.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 4, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Not bad, pj.

But first, the transactions that caused the loss of wealth were primarily transactions that did not occur. Due to world events, many customers stopped flying, and the price of fuel went through the roof. And those who did continue to fly were unwilling to pay the higher prices that would have been necessary to compensate for the losses. Neither the owners nor the employees made money on the bankruptcies - though the bankruptcies have allowed most to survive (for now at least). And yes, CEOs who were specialists in such situations were paid well by the owners to manage the process. They earned what they were paid by doing what they were paid to do.

Second, though both the owners and employees lost, many have chosen so far to stay. They have chosen freely to continue the transaction. Why? Because it is still of value to them to do so, and presumably of higher value than their next best available option. That is, both parties to the transaction are still benefitting, though certainly not to that extent that they had benefitted prior to the unfortunate occurance of events outside of their control.

Posted by: Randy on September 4, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

P.S. I really don't see much point in insults, but I can handle them if such is your preferred style. Better to be insulted then ignored :)

Posted by: Randy on September 4, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

Bottom line rdw, the country was a lot healthier in the mid-50s when the New Deal was gospel (Eisenhower didn't touch it and in fact expanded it with the federal highway system), industral unions were strong and the ratio of CEO-to-worker compensation was 40:1, not 700:1

No it wasn't and it's not even close. Living standards are dramatically higher as are all social measures of wealth and health. Our kids can't conceive of the depression virtually every parent of the 50's lived through before becoming an adult nor that nasty little war in the 40's and again in the 50's. It was a dramatically more dangerous and harder world.

Ike's highway expansion has zero to do with the New Deal. It was primarily designed for national defense and secondarily to jumpstart commerce. It succeeded brilliantly and is one reason why Ike is a top 10 President.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Don't you ever get tired of trying to needle about Howard Dean?

The point isn't to needle but to display your extremism and poor judgement. You seem to consider yourself a mainstream democrat and you are not close. Howard Dean represents the very whacky left and his record proves the very limited support he's able to generate. You make the mistake of confusing his ability to generate headlines with his ability to attract support. Dean is the master of bombast. He's got a phd in putting his foot in his mouth. He is the quintessential North East liberal.

Don't get me wrong. I am just as thrilled as most conservatives he's highly visible. I love a group like Dan Rather that tries to destroy GWB because they don't think he made all of his meetings while at the same time Dean was prancing up and down the ski slopes in Colorado on Daddy's Dime.

It's a clear example of derangement. The fact is Bob you are as far from mainstream as it gets and have zero forecasting ablity. You are Charley Brown, life is Lucy and the football.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not romanticizing the era. A lot of issues had yet to come out of the woodwork. I *am* saying that our political discourse was a little healthier (even ruled by all those "objective journalists"), voting participation was a little higher (though still lower than in most democracies), social alienation was confined to the fringes.


I'm not sure I understand your point. You are saying the Era of Joe McCarthy and the House invetigations of communists in Hollywood and the govt was much healthier in terms of political discourse?

Hmmmm! I'm going to bet your fellow libs are not in agreement on that one.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Are we, on the whole, better off today with all our gadgets and increased life expectancy and Viagra and 24/7 porno?

Honestly, I think it's a more open question than many care to credit.

No, it's an idiotic question. There's no comparison between the ages. Cancer, Luekemia, and a number of other childhood diseases were a death sentence. Children born with Downs Syndrome were institutionalized. Children with learning disabilities were failed often after gerring smacked around. Most people didn't get vacations and if they did they didn't go anywhere. Every single consumer item is far superior today, much cheaper and there are many more of them.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

What sort of nonsense is this? Do you really think the US of A is incapable of enforcing its own tax laws?

Now let's not be stupid. Rich people dont't hire tax lawyers to defraud the govt of their legal receipts. You can go to jail for that. Rich People hire tax lawyers to sue the law to minimize their tax bills LEGALLY. They didn't get rich by being stupid.

Posted by: rdw on September 4, 2006 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

GOP,

It is true that the retirement plans did not turn out to be as good a deal as the unions imagined them to be. Their assessment that the future value of retirement benefits exceeded the present value of wages in hand failed to correctly assess the risk of business failure. One would hope that they will not make the same mistake again.

Posted by: Randy on September 4, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

P.S. GOP,

You say that the CEOs were specialists at arranging "theft". I don't see anyone being charged with a crime. They were specialists at doing what they were hired to do. And yes, that included taking maximum advantage of existing law. I'm sure the unions hired such specialists as well. Its just that the law wasn't on their side. Bankruptcy is unfortunate. But the alternative is worse. That is why bankruptcy laws exist. Turning over pensions to the PBGC is unfortunate. But the alternative is worse. And that is why the PBGC exists.

Posted by: Randy on September 4, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Randy: Good data, invalid conclusion. You provide evidence that the top quintile is gaining, not that their gain is at the expense of the lower quintiles.

The sum of the shares for all quintiles is by definition 100%, so a gain in one quintile means others lose (and vice-versa). The long term trend is that the upper quintile's share continues to increase and the share of the lower 4 qunitiles continues to decline.

Posted by: has407 on September 4, 2006 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

has407,

It is true that the percentage must add to 100 if all items are accounted for, but your statement was that the gain in the upper quintile was at the expense of the lower quintiles. This would only be necessarily true if the total value was static from point a in time to point b - which it is not. The growth at the top could easily have happened at the top.

But further, even if your assumption is correct that some amount of wealth was indeed transferred from one class to another, what evidence do you have that this was from illegal activity? Or even from unethical activity?

As I doubt that you can provide evidence of illegal activity, I'll repeat my question which goes directly to the question of ethics. Can you show me a single transaction by which the wealth was obtained that was not "value for value" and "freely entered into"? The point being that in a value for value transaction which is freely entered into, the only perspective that matters is that of the parties involved. If either party believes the transaction to be unfair, he or she is free to pass it by in favor of their next best opportunity. Perhaps you're thinking that not all parties come to the transaction with the same bargaining power. Perhaps you're thinking that they should. And perhaps manna should fall from heaven. Inequality is irrelevant to the issue of fairness. In the real world, fair is what you agree to.

Posted by: Randy on September 4, 2006 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

Randy: It is true that the percentage must add to 100 if all items are accounted for, but your statement was that the gain in the upper quintile was at the expense of the lower quintiles.

You continue to confuse absolute income with income distribution. E.g., the aggregate income is distributed into 5 buckets (quintiles); the percentage of the aggregate income for each of those buckets represents the income distribution.

By definition the percentages for all buckets add up to 100%. That says nothing about absolution aggregate income (e.g., GDP, NDI, or whatever figure you want to use), or the income for each quintile (e.g., median income by qunitile), nor is it meant to. It represents income distribution among the quintiles, which reflects income equality/inequality.

As I doubt that you can provide evidence of illegal activity, I'll repeat my question which goes directly to the question of ethics. Can you show me a single transaction by which the wealth was obtained that was not "value for value" and "freely entered into"?

WTF does that have to do with anything I said or with the income distribution trends I cited? The top quintile contiues to increase its share of aggregate income at the expense of the lower quintiles.

That means relatively the lower quintiles are poorer--they take home a decreasing share of the country's aggregate income--even though absolutely they may have a higher income. If you happen to be in the top quintile, that might be good news; for anyone else it means they're getting a smaller slice of the pie. That is not a good trend.

Posted by: has407 on September 4, 2006 at 7:21 PM | PERMALINK

Randy,

Your Von Hayek-addled brain blithely assumes that if an economic transaction is conducted it is "freely entered into." This, of course, assumes both parties to a transaction have equal access to information in order to make a rational choice.

Do you think if an Enron job applicant knew that Ken Lay and the boys were busy looting the company that they would have signed an employee agreement, or that the employees already there would have stayed and risked seeing their retirement plans evaporate before their eyes?

This of course is the same Key Lay who lent his plane so generously to George Bush in the 2000 election and who probably sat on Dick Cheney's energy committee. Did you know that Enron was the largest corporate contributor to the Bush campaign in 2000?

While we're on the subject of Enron, what about the manipulation of California's electric prices in 2000 and 2001? According to the official findings of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, ""...many trading strategies employed by Enron and other companies violated the anti-gaming provisions..."

Uh oh. You mean Enron not only lied to their employees, they lied to the citizens of California? And not just Enron, but Williams and Reliant and the rest. Did the citizens of California freely enter into agreements with a bunch of out-of-state cheats in order to quadruple their electric costs?

According to you, Enron's $1.5 billion fine last year was just a cost of doing business in a free market.

The failures of the current US economy and the failures of this administration lie closely together. And here you are, on Labor Day no less, shilling for them.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 4, 2006 at 8:38 PM | PERMALINK

All of this is old hat by now.

For the last century, economic growth has occurred faster under Democratic Presidents than it has under Republicans.

It's that simple.

Republicans rape and loot the country, and the Democrats have to come in and put the pieces back together.

The only way Republicans get elected is by controling the media and flaunting red herring and strawman issues like gay marriage and terrorism (while they underman the anti-terrorist wars and sell our ports management to middleastern monarchs and loot the treasury).

The Republcan party is simply treason-in-motion.

The only thing separating this nation from looking like Brazil is Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S Truman.

They won't be satisified till they have raped and looted this nation to third world social contract. If a few American's have to die fighting faux wars along the way, well then so be it. Long live the Banana Republic.

Posted by: Bubbles on September 4, 2006 at 9:02 PM | PERMALINK

has407,

Re; "That means relatively the lower quintiles are poorer..."

By what standard is anyone entitled to a given share of the nations aggregate income? Its not in any contract between employer and employee that I am aware of. Its certainly not in the law. So your post boils down to stating a belief that such a standard should exist.

First, I don't believe that such a standard is even possible. Perhaps you can site any place or time where a group larger than 150 people has ever successfully applied such a standard. Second, if it were possible I would oppose it, because previous attempts to do so have ended in disaster.

Posted by: Randy on September 5, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK


Randy: You provide evidence that the top quintile is gaining, not that their gain is at the expense of the lower quintiles.

According to the latest installation of a survey(pdf) that the Federal Reserve has conducted every three years since 1989, the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans accounted for 33.4 percent of total net worth in 2004, compared to 30.1
percent in 1989.

Over the same period, the other Americans in the top 10 percent saw their share of the nations net worth basically stagnate, at about 36 percent, while the bottom 50 percent accounted for just 2.5 percent of the wealth in 2004, compared to 3.0 percent in 1989.


randy....are the top-1 percent just victims?

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 5, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

pj,

Re; "...assumes that if an economic transaction is conducted it is "freely entered into." This, of course, assumes both parties to a transaction have equal access to information in order to make a rational choice."

Now we're getting somewhere.

I do assume that economic transactions are freely entered into without evidence to the contrary. And no, I do not believe that the fact of asymmetrical information rules out the possibility that the transaction is freely entered into.

Show me any two people who are equal. You can't, of course, because inequality is a fact. Therefore we must have a standard of freedom that incorporates inequality. That standard is "agreement". When a person signs on the dotted line, and in the absence of evidence to the contrary, we simply assume that they know what they are signing. We assume that the agreement is valid. Does this standard satisfy everyone? No, of course not. Nearly everyone knows the feeling of buyers remorse. But the standard of agreement is workable, and no other standard is.

If the standard is to be other than agreement, who will set it? Who will monitor it? Who will determine what is fair for each and every one of the several billion transactions that occur on a daily basis? You see? Its simply unworkable.

Re; "According to you, Enron's $1.5 billion fine last year was just a cost of doing business in a free market."

No, according to me, what Enron did was to commit the crime of fraud. Its one thing to accept that no transaction will happen on a precisely level playing field, but another to accept that one party will deliberately mislead the other. Doing so is illegal.

But do you really suppose that Enron, or even Enron like activity, accounts for a significant part of the growth in the top tier? Never mind, I know that's exactly what you think. Its a shame that you are actually increasing the amount of asymmetrical information. You will convince many that a political party is the cause of their troubles, and that another political party is the solution. And so many will buy it. So many will act (or fail to act) on the basis of the information. But because the changes in our economy run much deeper than the actions of a few guys in Washinton, only the political party will benefit. Its a shame...

Posted by: Randy on September 5, 2006 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

ThisSpace...

My point is that relative share is irrelevant to anything but politics. If the absolute wealth of the lower quintiles has not declined, there is no basis for the implication that the relative increase in the upper quintiles was at the expense of the lower quintiles. Further, even if the total pie has gotten smaller, the fact that the upper quintiles now have a larger share is not evidence of wrong doing. A slow down in economic activity will almost always result in the wealthy seeking safe investments. But doing so is just common sense, not fraud. If you really want the middle class to get a larger share of the economy, increase the incentives for the wealthy to seek riskier investments.

Posted by: Randy on September 5, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

randy: A slow down in economic activity will almost always result in the wealthy seeking safe investments.

hard to overlook that, according to the fed...

the top-1% were the only ones to gain since 1989...


top-1% are alot like the president

both are just...victims of circumstance

look...a pony!

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 5, 2006 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

randy: If you really want the middle class to get a larger share of the economy, increase the incentives for the wealthy to seek riskier investments.


as craigie once wrote:


Conservatives believe that in order to motivate the POOR, you have to pay them less.

Conservatives believe that in order to motivate the RICH, you have to pay them more.

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on September 5, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

You know, If you all want to cling to the belief that political activity will somehow yield equality, there's nothing I can say that's going to change your minds. As for me, I teach my kids that study and hard work are the best bet for achieving success. Not a guarantee, just the best bet. That's my understanding of how the system really works, and it has also been my experience. But if your experiences have shown you that political activity is the road to success, then who am I to argue.

Posted by: Randy on September 5, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK


randy: As for me, I teach my kids that study and hard work are the best bet for achieving success. Not a guarantee, just the best bet.

good for you...

now....the best bet for the top-1 percent is to get people like you to cut them some slack...

gwb....was born on 3rd base and he thinks he hit a triple...

- ann richards...

Posted by: thisspaeavailable on September 5, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK


We offer cheap auto insurance, home insurance, travel insurance, life insurance, personal loans,free car donation, breakdown cover and much more! Cheap travel insurance for holiday travel for UK and International travellers. Single trip, Annual, Ski and Longstay travel insurance for backpackers and holidays. Travel policies available online.So if you are searching for the policy to suit you, look no further than here.house insurance,for more life insurance,plz checking the new website for cheap car insurance

Posted by: zg315 on September 5, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Randy,

You've really swallowed the free enterprise Kool Aid.

1. You state, "But because the changes in our economy run much deeper than the actions of a few guys in Washinton . . ."

Hold on there. The increasing share of incomes accounted for by the richest 1% of Americans in the last 6 years is a DIRECT RESULT of President Bush's tax cuts and his simultaneous refusal to approve an increase the minimum wage (without tying it to an even bigger estate tax cut).

Republicans are fond of saying it's the Democrats' tax and spend policies that keep the rich from investing more and growing the economy. Recently, they also attributed the GDP's growth to Bush's policies. So you are using opposite arguments to marginalize my position in order to make your point. There's a word for this -- hypocrisy.

2. At its core, this Administration is fundamentally based upon using government offices to create and exploit assymetries of economic information that benefit the richest Americans. This is not wild-eyed radicalism -- this is simple fact that you see everywhere, at all levels of today's federal government.

Where should I begin? WMD's in Iraq? The phony actuarial charts showing the "benefits" of privatizing Social Security?? Estate tax cuts that promise to erase the budget deficit? Farm subsidies that flood world markets with cheap American corn and cotton, driving poor farmers off their land (and over our borders)?

Your parlor room discussion of natural inequalities of information has little bearing on how today's economy works to the detriment of the poorest people in our country. At some level your theories have to be able to explain why the poor are not getting wealthier, or else you need new theories.

Currently, all you do is explain why the rich get richer, or why the rich aren't as rich as they could be if Democrats and working people didn't get in the way.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 5, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Thisspace,

The rich are useful to me. How is resenting them going to make them more useful? Let's face it, if you and I are competing for a job, all else being equal, you call the owner a capitalist pig while I tell him thanks for the opportunity, I'm gonna get the job. But hey, you do whatever you think is best.

Posted by: Randy on September 5, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

pj,

Re; "At some level your theories have to be able to explain why the poor are not getting wealthier, or else you need new theories."

Good point. Here goes;

The rich are getting richer primarily because they are leveraging technical knowledge. The lower classes are not getting richer because they do not have the ability to leverage such knowledge, and in some cases they are getting poorer because the new technical knowledge replaced the need for the labor skills they were once able to sell.

Solution is in two parts; One, society is going to have to invest in them. We're not talking equality here, but investment. Two, they are going to have to invest in themselves. Without a correct understanding of their situation, and appropriate actions and attitudes on their part, nothing will be gained.

Posted by: Randy on September 5, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

Randy,

You state: The lower classes are not getting richer because they do not have the ability to leverage such knowledge, and in some cases they are getting poorer because the new technical knowledge replaced the need for the labor skills they were once able to sell.

Get real, man.

What you are basically saying is that American corporations sent wage earners' jobs overseas and didn't retrain their workers. Instead, they have outsourced the information technology jobs as well.

This is precisely what Democrats have been saying is wrong with Republican tax and budget cut polcies for the last six years.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on September 5, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

pj,

You're right. Much of it is about sending jobs overseas. But understand that it is technology that allows this to happen. Information technology to communicate worldwide instantly and with minimal error. Transportation technology to deliver goods from the other side of the planet with little risk. Logistics technology to allow the operation of superstores with inventory accuracy that far exceeds that of most mom and pop operations. Financial technology that allows transactions of huge sums and multiple currencies to be carried out without error - and investment capital to flow worldwide with minimal risk. The rich are leveraging all of these - and the lower classes almost none.

But perhaps even more important is to understand that no political process will stop it. Whether you consider the new reality a Golden Age or a Pandora's Box, the truth is that it is creating a tremendous amount of wealth worldwide. There's a great book called "The Shield of Achilles" by Philip Bobbitt (sp?) which discusses (among other things) the idea that governments are being driven by this reality, rather than the other way around.

But the open question is still what to do about those who are displaced. And I repeat; the answer is investment - public and personal.

Posted by: Randy on September 5, 2006 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: No, it's more like "coded in-group appeals" was a poor choice of words on my part.

OK. But even with your subsequent clarificatiion I could come up with Democratic examples. But the thread is nearly dead.

Posted by: republicrat on September 5, 2006 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Ticketwood, a Real Time Price Comparison Ticket Site, Finds You the Lowest Ticket Prices on the Web for Concerts, Sports, Theater, NBA, MLB, NFL and More.

Concert tickets Concert tickets
Event tickets tickets
sports tickets tickets
theatre tickets tickets

baseball tickets BASEBALL tickets
MLB tickets MLB tickets
NBA tickets NBA tickets
basketball tickets BASKEBALL tickets
NFL tickets NFL tickets
football tickets NFL tickets
NHL tickets NHL tickets
hockey tickets NHL tickets
concert tickets concerts
sports tickets sports
theater tickets theatre
nascar tickets NASCAR
rodeo tickets RODEO
ncaa tickets NCAA
tennis tickets tennis
wwe tickets WWE
tickets Tickets
ticketwood tickets
ticketwood.com ticketwood.com tickets
ticketwood tickets ticketwood tickets
concert ticket concerts
concert concert
concert tour concert
concert live concert
theater tickets theatre
theatre tickets theatre
theater theatre
theatre theatre
ncaa ncaa
college football tickets college football
college basketball tickets college basketball
college tickets college tickets
nascar NASCAR
racing tickets NASCAR
racing NASCAR
rodeo RODEO
tennis tennis
wwe WWE
baseball BASEBALL tickets
MLB MLB tickets
NBA NBA tickets
basketball BASKEBALL tickets
NFL NFL tickets
football NFL tickets
NHL NHL tickets
hockey NHL tickets


Lakers tickets LAkers tickets
Heat tickets Heat tickets
Raiders tickets raiders tickets
Patriots tickets Patriots tickets

Dodgers tickets Dodgers tickets
Red sox tickets Red Sox tickets
Yankees tickets Yankees tickets
Kings tickets Patriots tickets

Bruins tickets Bruins tickets
Los Angeles tickets Los Angeles tickets
Las Vegas tickets Las Vegas tickets
New York tickets New York tickets

Miami tickets Miami tickets
San Francisco tickets San Francisco tickets
Boston tickets Boston tickets


Posted by: Tickets on September 5, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly