Republican candidates too willingly fall in line with party politics and party economic policies, instead of having the moral character and political will to stand up with critical objections to these policies.
We have Republican candidates calling Obama “the food stamp president”, as if the use of food stamps derives from his policies, when it does not.
The increased reliance on food stamps is a direct result of policies over an extended period of time, that has increased the wealth and income gap between the rich and everyone else, leaving everyone else poorer, significantly and pushing more people into poverty. Those policies redistribute wealth to the wealthy, and create an unfair playing field skewed to benefit the wealthy at the expense of most of us. Workers aren’t getting paid for what they do; C-class executives – CEOs, CFO’s etc. are getting overpaid for NOT producing on a similarly increased level when compared to worker productivity, but often even rewarded in compensation for making economic crashing and business destroying mistakes in crucial areas like risk assessment and other management level decisions.
The bars in the graph in orange show where most of us fall by income; for example, 27.3% of the population are in the $20,000 or below range for income. The graph bars in yellow are how much of each Bush tax cut dollar benefits each income group; so for the same $20,000 or below income family, they received $0.02 cents for every tax dollar in the Bush tax cuts, while the upper 1% received just under $0.25 cents of every tax dollar in the Bush tax cuts. That is a very harshly skewed unbalancing of the economic playing field; THAT is what is meant when those who advocate strongly for the Bush tax cuts to lapse mean by the wealthy, who can most afford it, are NOT paying their fair share under the Bush tax cuts. The wealthy disproportionately benefited in a way which shifted the tax burden to the least able to pay, while shifting a tax cut benefit to those who were already wealthy. The result was that those who were already wealthy became dramatically wealthier faster, and those who were not became poorer, dramatically faster by paying unfairly disproportionate taxes.
That deficit that conservatives like to moan and wail and gnash their teeth over? That was exploded by the Bush tax cuts combined with failing to raise taxes to pay for two wars. It continues to do so, and the efforts by the right are to shift even more of the burden for that debt to less affluent people than the 1%, and who are below the ‘middle class’ definition of Romney of $250,000 income per year. That is in fact a definition of middle class that is far too high properly to redefine the middle class.
If you doubt that the benefits are horrifically skewed, this shows more:
But if you look at just one measure of how disproportionately the rich are benefited and the majority are disadvantaged, here is just one more example of many, under Republican tax plans and under Democratic tax plans during recent years (sorry this reproduced so very fuzzily):
We have an explosion in the deficit linked to the policies of Bush, which are the SAME policies of Romney/Ryan, despite their protests about concern for the size of the deficit – through policy measures Ryan supported and for which he voted. The blue shows what Democrats have done with the deficit/national debt, and the red shows what the Republicans have done with the deficit/national debt:
While the right likes to CLAIM they are fiscally conservative, they aren’t and never have been. While they like to CLAIM that Democrats are big tax and big spenders, the reality of the numbers and analysis clearly show otherwise.
Then we have the claims that the right will grow the economy through their cuts in spending and their failure to increase revenue where it is clearly necessary to do so:
The right is selling their candidates in this election on the premise that tax cuts will spur growth; it hasn’t, not under Bush, not under ANYBODY. The right likes to claim that they are putting money in the hands of ‘job creators’, and that this will reduce unemployment. That too is trash talk fit only for the garbage can; the wealthy have more money now than at any previous time other than the ‘Gilded Age’ of the last decade of the 19th century into the early decades of the 20th century; corporations are sitting on huge amounts of capital, but not expanding jobs either. As Paul Krugman noted
, our modern middle class was largely created by the very liberal policies of FDR. Prior to that time, as we have increasingly now, wealth was concentrated in the hands of the very wealthy. We had growth at that tie in spite of it because we had a young economy that was still expanding, geographically, by population – including through immigration, and industrially, to an extent we do not have now in our more mature economy. In other words, there was growth IN SPITE of that concentration of wealth in the Gilded Age where now our economy is driven by consumption and demand, which is being curtailed by the concentration of our national wealth in the hands of the 1% wealthiest individuals.
The growth of the Middle Class, with the increased demand was also part of our then expansion of manufacturing – which we have largely lost through the short-sighted and largely right wing outsourcing of jobs, especially good PAYING jobs.
The Great Compression: The middle-class society I grew up in didn’t evolve gradually or automatically. It was created, in a remarkably short period of time, by FDR and the New Deal. As the chart shows, income inequality declined drastically from the late 1930s to the mid 1940s, with the rich losing ground while working Americans saw unprecedented gains. Economic historians call what happened the Great Compression, and it’s a seminal episode in American history.
Update: This is the actual graph…
It is a fallacy to believe that by either disproportionately enriching corporations or wealthy individuals, we will have either economic growth or a reduction in unemployment. Business expand, creating jobs, for one reason and one reason ONLY. They do not do so because of tax incentives for the most part, they do so because there is a demand for the goods or services they provide. That happens ONLY when a large number of people – the 99%, not the 1% – are able to buy and willing to buy those goods and services. That is not possible when affluence is concentrated in the possession of either the 1% or the capital on which corporations are sitting.
Quoting again from Krugeman
Income Share of Top 1% Excluding Capital Gains
: The great divergence:
Since the late 1970s the America I knew has unraveled. We’re no longer a middle-class society, in which the benefits of economic growth are widely shared: between 1979 and 2005 the real income of the median household rose only 13 percent, but the income of the richest 0.1% of Americans rose 296 percent.
The false and flawed premise of the right is that if you give the rich, either as corporate ‘people’ or individuals, they will generate growth. It is a which came first, the chicken or the egg notion where which you put first has drastically divergent results, otherwise defined as supply side economic theory or demand side or demand driven economic theory. Under supply side, aka trickle-down, it posits that the wealthy will create businesses, either new or expansion of existing, without demand, but that as they hire a few people here and there, those new people will belatedly create demand with their new incomes. The reality is that without demand, there is no such expansion or growth of any kind; instead we have at best stagnation, at worst economic contraction.
With demand driven policies, which put money in the hands of the 99% of people rather than redistributing it to the already wealthy, be it through payroll tax holidays, or tax cuts that disproportionately benefit the middle class, or other policies which economically benefit the middle class and below, there IS increased demand — and that includes food stamps, which additionally prevent our nation from having large numbers of people literally starving like a 3rd world country from Republican policies.
The conservatives would like to create the impression that Obama has created the wealth and income gap; he has not, he has not created a situation where we have increasing numbers of people who are less economically mobile, and who are increasingly becoming poor. That would be the fault of conservative policies.
As my co-blogger at Penigma, Laci, has pointed out, from the perspective of holding a degree in economics from a top world-ranked university, the policies being promoted from the Austrian school are largely unproven theory; whereas the policies developed from the economic theories of John Maynard Keyes have been tested and proven effective.
It has been my experience that the overwhelming majority of right wingers who profess to support the Austrian school of Hayek don’t actually know diddly squat about economics generally or the actual writing of anyone in the Austrian school specifically. If you challenge them on it, they cave, the stutter, they fall away in confusion and incoherency.
So it should be no surprise that there are very few people already on the right challenging Romney and Ryan (who frankly appears in no way that I can see to deserve his attribution of intellect and expertise), because they don’t REALLY know what they are talking about as political partisans.
This has been featured here before, but it deserves a repeat. Heck, it probably deserves a repeat every week, because it is a fundamental message that should be more widely viewed.
And lastly, I will refer readers to my recent post
which also emphasizes the inequalities of our shift in wealth from the most recent Labor Day weekend.
Labor Day Edition – Labor Compared to Management
The planter, the farmer, the mechanic, and the laborer… form the great body of the people of the United States, they are the bone and sinew of the country men who love liberty and desire nothing but equal rights and equal laws.
Capital is reckless of the health or length of life of the laborer, unless under compulsion from society.
When money is controlled by a few it gives that few an undue power and control over labor and the resources of the country. Labor will have its best return when the laborer can control its disposal.
Leland Stanford (legendary U.S. tycoon, and founder of Stanford University
The Laborer is worthy of his hire. 1 Timothy 5:18
I would assert that executives are overpaid. I would contend that underpaying labor is contrary to the words of the Bible. I would argue that the wage and income gap represents a very real failure for labor to have genuine equality of pay for work. This is what the 99% is unhappy about
in the Occupy movement.
They do NOT receive their compensation on merit; they do not receive their compensation packages at the discretion of the real owners of the business they work for – the stockholders. They used to receive far less during earlier periods where they were arguably as important if not more important for fulfilling their roles as executives. Now executives are handing each other excessive pay, bonuses and benefits, even when they make disastrous decisions that ruin companies.
That should be contrary to real, legitimate capitalism.
Any doubts – look at the bonuses paid to the executives at the companies receiving bail outs. It is true even when they do clearly dishonest and risky things – like altering the LIBOR rate or falsifying credit ratings.
U.S. CEO’s pay 231 times higher than that of average workers
May 02, 2012
So much for the new austerity.
The average U.S. chief executive earned more than $11 million last year in salary, stock options and other compensation, according to a new analysis
by the Economic Policy Institute
. That’s about 231 times more, on average, than workers.
That ratio has shrunk a bit since the height of the dot.com bubble, when a ballooning stock market inflated CEO compensation to 411 times that of working stiffs.
And it’s smaller than the pay gap calculated recently by the AFL-CIO
, the umbrella federation of unions representing about 12 million U.S. workers. Their analysis
concluded that the typical CEO of an S&P 500 Index company made 380 times the average wages of U.S. workers in 2011.
Whatever. What’s clear is that the pay gap between U.S. CEOs and rank-and-file workers is higher than anywhere else in the developed world. And it has been accelerating over the last few decades. In 1965, the U.S. CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was roughly 20 to 1.
Republicans are either ignorant, or lying, or a combination of both in their economic claims. Neither kind of economic claims should deserve your vote for their candidates, at any level.