This ain’t back in the day:
Many Americans can’t remember anything other than an economy with skyrocketing inequality, in which living standards for most Americans are stagnating and the rich are pulling away. It feels inevitable.
But it’s not.
A well-known team of inequality researchers — Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman — has been getting some attention recently for a chart it produced. It shows the change in income between 1980 and 2014 for every point on the distribution, and it neatly summarizes the recent soaring of inequality.
It’s been 40 years since the right wing long game to destroy the middle class and the poor began, and they are winning. Unprecedented propaganda efforts have coal miners slapping “Friends of Coal” bumper stickers on their cars, broken workers are chanting “right to work” as they struggle to crush the unions that would and once did protect them, and the courts have been stocked with corporate friendly judges. In my state, literally. There are things we can do about it (if we band together and chip away at the GOP stranglehold in Washington):
The problem is that wealth and capital income are not distributed evenly. In 2014, the average wealth of the bottom half was $349. For the top one percent, it was over $16 million.
Rich people in our society don’t just have high capital income levels. They also have high capital income shares. That is, a large portion of the income collected at the top of our society comes from capital rather than from labor. In 2014, just 5.1 percent of the bottom half’s income came from capital. For the top one percent, around 58.9 percent of income came from capital.
It is worth emphasizing just how much income at the top of society comes from passive ownership of investments rather than from working. The top 0.01 percent of individuals in society have an average income of $28 million. Three-fourths of that income, or $21 million, came from capital in 2014.
If we want to get serious about creating a fair and egalitarian society, we must confront capital directly. Wage levels are important. Benefit levels are important. But getting those things right will not be enough so long as nearly one-third of the national income flows out passively to a handful of people at the top of society.
Current liberal efforts to tackle wealth inequality are woefully inadequate. Policies aimed at building the assets of low-income families, the typical approach to this issue, rarely succeed on their own terms and, even if they did succeed, would only be an insignificant drop in the bucket. For wealth and capital income to become more fairly distributed throughout society, the ownership of existing assets must be reordered towards that end.
But, as we know, the perfect was the enemy of the good in the last election, and we have this:
Different policies could produce a different outcome. My list would start with a tax code that does less to favor the affluent, a better-functioning education system, more bargaining power for workers and less tolerance for corporate consolidation.
Remarkably, President Trump and the Republican leaders in Congress are trying to go in the other direction. They spent months trying to take away health insurance from millions of middle-class and poor families. Their initial tax-reform plans would reduce taxes for the rich much more than for everyone else. And they want to cut spending on schools, even though education is the single best way to improve middle-class living standards over the long term.
Most Americans would look at these charts and conclude that inequality is out of control. The president, on the other hand, seems to think that inequality isn’t big enough.
I don’t know what it is going to take to unite “the left”- whatever that means anymore. Hell, I don’t even know what to call myself anymore because I support single payer, higher tax rates, higher capital gains, decriminalization, demilitarization, reinstatement of the draft, am pro-choice, etc., ad nauseum, but because I voted for Hillary I’m apparently a neoliberal. At any rate, I thought the election of Trump would unify “the left,” but it has apparently made us more fractious than ever. But we need to get our shit together, because things done changed.
Stuff like this makes it hard to take Glenn Greenwald seriously.
First, Clapper is a liar so Dems shouldn’t quote him about not wiretapping Trump
Shouldn't Democrats get someone more credible than James Clapper to make these denials? Like any randomly chosen person.
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 5, 2017
A few hours later, Clapper is a trusted authority on Trump’s (lack of) ties to Russia and we get a retweet of this.
— McClatchyDC (@McClatchyDC) March 5, 2017
(Obama’s intelligence chief is Clapper.)
I can’t think of anyone on “the left” who uses this phrase constantly, can you?
That angst over what many in the White House call the ‘deep state’ is fermenting daily, fueled by rumors and tidbits picked up by Trump allies within the intelligence community and by unconfirmed allegations that have been made by right-wing commentators. The ‘deep state’ is a phrase popular on the right for describing entrenched networks hostile to Trump.
So apparently we have a new chair of the DNC, Tom Perez, and he is a fine man and will make a good chair. He immediately appointed Ellison his co-chair or whatever. This will not stop the idiot left, because poutrage is so much fun and good for attention. Not to mention, while I personally have no problem with Ellison’s religion because as an obnoxious atheist it seems pointless to differentiate between different flavors of make believe, the fact is a large portion of our country would have a problem so this will make it easier in places where Democrats have had trouble as of late.
That won’t stop the manic progressives who decided to turn this DNC chair election into a proxy Clinton/Sanders primary, so just ignore them, mock them, or tell them to fuck off. If Trump isn’t enough to unite Democrats, these fucking people are worthless and we deserve him. I swear to god these Bernie bots read the Charge of the Light Brigade and learned all the fucking wrong lessons.
In other chair related news, the police in Washington, PA called before I left to pick up chairs and informed us they had ABC’s wallet (with everything in it!), so I went the long way to Pittsburgh, picked that up on the way, got the chairs, did a bunch of other chores, and made it home in one piece. Here are the new chairs, although we are re-doing the cushions (and again, that is a royal we which means I will stand and “help” until she just tells me to grab the dogs and to unass her area of operation).