Rich to the Poor: Things Will Get Worse If You Change Anything

David Brooks in the NYT

Current GOP rhetoric would have us believe, "Every small new government program puts us on the slippery slope toward a smothering nanny state."

"The fact is, the American story is not just the story of limited government; it is the story of limited but energetic governments that used aggressive federal power to promote growth and social mobility." Then, he gives examples from George Washington, the Whig Party, Abraham Lincoln, and FDR where they used an energized government to do things leading to modern America's prosperity.

"Conservatism is supposed to be nonideological and context-driven. If all government action is automatically dismissed as quasi socialist, then there is no need to think. A pall of dogmatism will settle over the right."

Dan's 2 cents

Why is the Republican party so dogmatic and ideological these days? I don't have an answer for that yet but I believe our government is something in between a corporate entity and a real person that is necessary to keep us civilized and drive progress when things get stuck.

Bob Herbert in the NYT

He quotes from Robert Reich's book, "Aftershock," "we did not learn the larger lesson of the 1930's: that when the distribution of income gets too far out of whack, the economy needs to be reorganized so the broad middle class has enough buying power to rejuvenate the economy over the longer term."

Income at the top

Robert Reich points out: There has been growth, but it has been increasingly disproportional. In the 1970's the top 1% of earners earned between 8 and 9 percent of total income. In the 1980's, the share of the top 1% rose to between 10 and 14 percent. In the late 1990's, it was between 15 and 19 percent. In 2005, it topped 21 percent. The last year this information was reported, the top 1% of wage earners earned more than 23% of all income. The richest 1/10 of 1%, representing just 13,000 households, took in more than 11 percent of total income in 2007.

Income in the middle

Bob points out, "A male worker earning the median wage in 2007 earned less than the median wage, adjusted for inflation, of a male working 30 years earlier."

Dan's 2 cents

I bet most of these people in the top 1% are not entrepreneurs, but rather, corporate executives and bankers who were handed someone else's achievements. I don't believe they earned their income through values and hard work. Many are simply pirates plundering the personal achievements of others for their private consumption. These are the people who oppose estate taxes while our country is in debt. They have the ability to spend money on political advertising getting us to oppose  "death taxes" and we are stupid enough to go along with it. It's clear there are a lot of things that are good for the top 1% that are not good for the middle class or America. America is all of us.

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