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President Bush can't understand why Americans aren't giving him credit for how well the economy is doing. Paul Krugman explained the other day that GDP growth isn't making its way into the paychecks of many American workers, and Americans don't judge how well the economy is doing by statistics, but by what they see around them with their own lyin' eyes. Bonddad made the same point here yesterday.

But Krugman is a notorious liberal and Bonddad is just a blogger for God's sake. So let me offer another authority for the same proposition: Alan Greenspan.

Greenspan's last appearance before the House Financial Services Committee was on July 20, 2005. I got to ask questions.


Mr. Chairman, last July you testified before this committee that average hourly wages of non-supervisory workers had been subdued in recent months and barely budged in June.

I cannot find any reference in your testimony today to average hourly earnings with non-supervisory workers. Mr. Frank pointed to the information in your report about earnings, or wages, but it does not seem to match that figure.

It does say that the employment cost index for hourly compensation had actually gone down about half a percentage point from what it had been the last couple of years.

So I asked him, what's up with "average hourly earnings of non-supervisory workers"? He began with an explanation of the methodology used in the analysis, apparently based on an incorrect assumption that I was intellectually curious about that. But then he really did answer, at least for those who can decipher Fedspeak:

We have another set of data which essentially endeavors to pick up production workers as distinct from supervisory workers, and that is about 80 percent of the workforce. So we separate the wages and salaries into production workers and into supervisory workers, essentially, the 20 percent, or the skilled management professional.

What we find is the production workers' average hourly earnings are rising very modestly; but because of the distribution of skilled worker supply and demand, we are finding that the increase implicitly in supervisory workers' average hourly earnings is going up very much more rapidly.

So we are getting a bivariate income distribution. And as I have said many times in the past: For a democratic society, this is not healthful, to say the least; and as I have indicated on numerous occasions, I believe this is an education problem, that requires us to get the balance of skills coming out of our schools to match the skills that our physical facilities require.

So there is a reconciliation, and the reconciliation is that we are getting some really divergent trends.

I have served on the House Financial Services Committee for three years now, so I now can understand conversational Fedspeak. "Bivariate income distribution" means that we are living in two Americans, one for the wealthy and privileged, and the other for the rest of us.

So why are Americans not giving President Bush credit for the economy? They are. They're giving him credit for the economy in their America. And for most Americans, the economic news in their America is not good.

Originally posted to Rep Brad Miller on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 07:32 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Boy Alan, Why Don't We Have (4.00)
    the money for the quality education you claim to want?  Could it be that you backed Bush's tax-giveaway to the richest 1%?  Could it be that you've organized an economy where speculators and merger specialists make money and not people who actually MAKE THINGS?

    Thanks Representative Miller!

    Everybody talks about John Edwards' energy, intellect and charisma -- Bill Clinton

    by philgoblue on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 07:38:55 AM PST

    •  and would that be (4.00)
      the Community College education that our President espouses?
      •  you'd think that there would be (4.00)
        more promotion from the president and especially the vice president for more education.  I mean if it wasn't for education, Cheney would never have gotten those five deferments.  He might have actually been forced to serve his country - whew! close one.

        Instead he got to go to Yale, then quit, then come back, then quit, then go to community college, then state college, then wisconsin madison, but just long enough till the end of the war but not his final degree.

        Wow, education is great.

        •  More education... (4.00)
          Is the administration's current panacea for every economic ill.  People can't get jobs?  It's because they aren't educated enough.  No matter that the jobs don't exist, or the company can't afford to hire enough people to do the job right.

          What's your direction? Take the test! Economic Left/Right: -8.00 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.05

          by Jensequitur on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 12:50:54 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks indeed!! (4.00)
      Great post, and very salient.

      I think the best frame I've heard on this bullshit is this one:

      Republicans think that if Bill Gates drives through your town, the average income of the people in your town goes way up.

      Loot and Pollute: The Republican plan for America

      Every [weapon] signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. - Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by racerx on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 11:04:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  best diary (4.00)
    i've ever seen on dkos.  seriously.

    now, i do have a question, why do you avoid the implication?  greenspan said its unhealthy for democracy... why not highlight that?  bivariate income distribution is unhealthy for a democracy why?  that message will hit home.

    it isn't "skill set" variance causing the disparity.  its your parents "skill set" variance.  look it up.  in america, moreso than any country in europe, who your parents are matters more than who you are.

    fifty years ago the opposite was true.

    •  Wasn't Greenspan being disingenuous? (4.00)
      Surely he realized the absurdity of what he was saying if I did.  Skillset. Ridiculous. As if we could all be supervisors??

      Good point you are making here. It is increasingly difficul to move up economically these days. It's hard enough to stay where we are. I've gone way down due to health problems.

      •  no (4.00)
        greenspan seriously believes that everything can be fixed with more education.  call it the delusion of privilege.  or if you prefer, as i call it, "the conceit of the educated".

        what this conceit misses is that the single biggest determinant of where one ends up on the education scale is where one's parents ended up!

        if your parents have phds, you probably will.

        if your parents have a college degree, you probably will.

        if your parents didn't go to college, you probably won't.

        if your parents didn't graduate from high school, you probably won't.

        not exactly american exceptionalism huh?

        •  harder yet (4.00)
          Look at the incredible opportunity the greatest generation had with the GI bill.  Many, many family firsts followed.  Now, with tuition skyrocketing, we are limiting education or creating an entry level work force already saddled with debt.
          •  right (4.00)
            part of that is because there is no effective competition to the four-year college track in america.  and there certainly is no competition to graduate schools in the professional arts.  look at law school for example.  time used to be you could apprentice for awhile and then sit for the bar.  now you have to go into debt that after graduation, the only people who can afford to go into public service are the wealthy... small wonder then the wealthy don't get prosecuted as effectively.

            anyway, my goal here isn't to start a "class warfare" or anything like that, but simply point out that the "american dream" of being able to work hard and play by the rules and therefore reach some sort of financial success is no longer the case here.  we've become european in that sense.  and oddly, they've become us!

            •  True (4.00)
              but let's be realistic.  Not all of it is a money issue.  A lot of people are tired of going to school, and some people are just plain dumb.  Twelve years of primary ed, then a 4-yr college, probably working part- or full-time during school and after that?  More school?  On top of working a full-time job?  I loved school and if I didn't have to work 45 hours a week, not including commute time, I would happily spend my days in grad school.  But it's my responsibility to seek that out and make whatever sacrifices are necessary if that's the road I need to take to get a job.  In my utopia this country is a nation of professional students, but even given that choice, with reduced education costs, a lot of people won't go back to school because they just don't enjoy it.

              Some companies offer tuition reimbursement and I do think that in some industries, or particular companies within their larger field, there is a corporate-induced incentive for people to continue their education, or become licensed in their particular field.  I think the collegiate foundations for bachelor's degrees are pretty pitiful though.  There are so many state universities and smaller colleges in suburban or rural areas of the US with wretched internship programs.  If you live in an educationally competitive area, like the west coast or the northeast, you have to get internship experience to market yourself as a worthy prospective employee.

              I think there's a critical period of American adolescence - and some might argue adulthood, judging by our president - when it's just not cool to be smart.  On the whole, we don't revere really smart people in our culture; we revere the rich successful people.  If Bill Gates hadn't turned his programming work into a multi-billion dollar operating system, nobody would give a fig who Bill Gates is.  

              Greenspan is right - education is key to some sort of middle-class economic stability and job retention/growth but you're obviously right above by saying there are all sorts of factors that limit the positive effects of organized public education.  I doubt you'll hear any politicians talking about real class warfare in the US, no matter how many euphemisms Greenspan uses to talk about two Americas.  It's easy to discuss in the kidglove abstract, wherein poor people are angry that other people are rich and they're not; but the real effects of class warfare can never truly be addressed in a capitalist society - especially when 1/3 of its middle-/lower-class population doesn't even bother to vote.

              If I had a nickel for every president who lied the country into war.... Oh, wait....

              by deep6 on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 10:06:02 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The problem is that it is not one cause and effect (none)
                We as a society have not decided that quality of life is the true measuring stick. We are stuck on short term bottom line thinking.

                 The real barriers IMHO are access to capital. Most small business fail because of under capitalization. Something like 85% fail in the first year part of this problem is that we do not teach as part of our curiculum enough basic finace. Senator Corzine wanted to push this approach as one solution to some of the problems we face.  

                Look at Foreign aid as an example giving food aid is great but micro loans are a better option in many cases. The old meme of give a fish or teach to fish.

                The other thing is we tend to live to work and not work to live. Now this is a simplification of sorts.

                Educated people tend to educate there children in the value of it. This is part of the reason that they corrilate. The other reason is that as a society we have progressed to a point were we are educating more people than ever. As an investment education is one of the most sound over your life time. Also If you look at IQ scores the mean is 100 that means half the population is under it and very few people in that half have the skills to deal with college level work. Also many skill sets that take different paths such as Vocational schools etc are in such demand that they pay better than many college level jobs.

                Education is part of the problem and other barriers of entry into school and the business world are problems that need to be lowered.

                I think it is more complexed but part of the problem is that many do not want to raise the level of competition because that effects their own level of comfort. Still I think we are moving to a different work enviroment in some ways. Other countries have more time off and work less hours and are very productive per hour of work. Also we are seeing creative destruction of technology and this will continue for the for seeable future. We need to question what that changing dynamic will cause. With robotics and more computing power leading to less people being employed. Still I also think that we will see other changes when we move threw the population bubble heading our way. It might lead to more pressure on labor cost increases domestically. Less people more jobs still with flat growth in short term with growth in outsourcing we will much of the production down in other markets were labor is very cheap.

                As sterling has pointed it is more vision and attacking entrenched power consolidation of the moneyed class. Class warfare is what happens to the underclass everyday. I tend to not lump all business people into one boat. The market place in some cases demands that they do things to compete that they would not choice if they could.

                The long and short is that we need to look at a vision that takes in many aspects and moves us toward the goals we deem as moral, just and a society we want to live in.

                Sorry if I ranted a bit I was trying to just get my thoughts out.. :)

      •  The most evil person on the planet (4.00)
        Greenspan is the most evil person on the planet. (Saddam Hussein is the third most evil.) Education levels in India and China exceed ours in some ways, but these people are given a course in applied studies, not cutting edge research, like you might get at a top notch American University. Soon there will be eight billion of us, and we can't all be CEO's, and at the current rate of automated production there won't be jobs for us either. The net result of the education boom in Asia has been to export deflation, but it also tears at our spirit. Recall England in the 50's when John Osborne wrote Look Back In Anger, about some highly educated young Brits who couldn't find decent jobs, and lived in a dinky flat. In our current situation the student assumes a large debt to acquire his useless education, moves back in with his parents, and opens a candy shop, where he works seven days a week, and is eventually driven out by cheap imports. Now with corporate profits near record highs, Corporate America wants to cut back on pensions. American workers are like fruit pickers in a Steinbeck novel, they don't realize it yet. The finance centers, which benefit from the Greenspan policies, are moving offshore, to the Bahamas, where they pay no US taxes. American will have its revolution, and then we will create the country our founding fathers imagined.

        "Republicans hate the French Revolution, and everything it stands for; Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, but they love the Guillotine.

        by agent double o soul on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 10:14:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bush more evil than Greenslime (4.00)
          Otherwise I totally agree with you, Green-span has spanned several rich crony type presidents.  He started the theft from the middle class in 1983 with his massive increase in the payroll taxes, then completed the scam with Bush II when he endorsed the tax cuts for the rich. Now suddenly Green-slime notices the deficits?  What a jerk.

          We (the middle class) are getting screwed by the ruch cabal of the Bushite scum.  Yes, there are several DINO dems like Lieberman who are complicit in this rip-off, but Bush and his Bushite scum supporters are the leaders.

          Naturally the poor people are suffering the most, they always get the short end of the stick, but in the past, the middle class used their electoral power to get some benefits away from the ultra-rich cabal who seek to have it all- greedy types.

          •  I dis agree (none)
            Greenspan is the reason we were saddled with 4 more years of Bush. Do you think georgie would have been re-elected if the annual percentage rate had gone up in 2004 instead of down? The only thing keeping piss on the downtrodden "trickle down" economics working is a unsustainable interest rate.

            "I ain't no physicist, but I knows what matters"-Popeye

            by keefer55 on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 08:14:51 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Federalist X, you made a very good point.. (4.00)
      I've been wondering for some time now about the graduating classes throughout America at the college level.

      We all are aware that the kids enlisting in the military aren't the kids going to college.

      My questions are these: How many kids that graduate from college find immediate employment in their field?

      What is the percentage of kids that come from wealthy backgrounds versus the kids from poor/middle class backgrounds that secure employment?

      You state and I agree with, "who your parents are matters more than who you are."

      How does that thinking equate to employment after graduating from college?

      Where does it all end?

      Does it end?

      If all things are equal, college education, sports, etc., what, if any, are the percentages between the haves and have nots?

      How about income? Any comparisons between the haves/havenots even though both graduated?

      •  hmm (none)
        i can't answer all these.  all i know is i saw a study a little while ago (maybe a year or two) that showed a graph of education levels, spread out over socio-economic status.

        in europe, the dispersion looks like a straight, slightly upward line towards the right.  for simplicity's sake, think of it as education of subject (y) over education of subject's parents (x).

        in america, the dispersion looks like a hyperbola, starting out as a slow increase, then astronomically accelerating as you move across the x axis.

        the beauty of this graph was that it then dispersed socio-economic levels along those lines, but you can probably intuit the results of that.

        i haven't looked at the specific subgroups you ask about.  and frankly, i don't think those subgroups really matter that much.  what matters is the overall trend that in america, its now more important who your parents are than who you are.

        thats a point worth making in the upcoming election.  it didn't all happen on bush's watch, but it sure did get a lot worse.

  •  Greenspan the political hack (4.00)
    Greenspan has a lot of responsibility for this putrid economy.  He's done nothing but give aid and comfort to the GOP agenda.

    Is his conscience bothering him now?  Good.  It damned well should.  But he's a day late, and many billions of dollars short.

  •  My Shameless Plug for John (4.00)
    Seriously, Edwards has done a lot of work on this issue and is pretty much our #1 spokesperson on poverty, social justice, the struggling middle-class, etc.

    See his: "Restoring the American Dream -- Combating Poverty and Building One America"

    The Skinny:

    "Working Society"

    1.  "Work Bonds" to Help Families Save.
    2.  "A New Savings Plan" to Help Families Buy and Keep a Home.
    3.  Home-to-School Vouchers for the Working
    4.  Make Work Pay.
       Edwards proposed raising it to at least $7.50 an hour. He also called for strengthening labor laws to give workers a real opportunity to organize and ensuring Americans can enter the workforce and change jobs without losing their health insurance.
    5.  College for Everyone.
       Edwards proposed a College for Everyone initiative that would offer a new deal to young people: finish high school and stay out of trouble, agree to work or do community service in your first year of college, and you will pay no tuition and fees for your first year at a public university or community college. 6.  Strengthen Families and Finish Welfare Reform. Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit to address the up to $3,000 marriage penalty that hits poor families. Second, to bring more men into the workforce,

    The "New America Initiative" to Renew the Gulf

    1.  Make High-Skill, High Wage Jobs a Priority. Tax breaks for businesses alone will never attract high-wage, high-skill jobs. We need a different approach that unites businesses, community colleges, nonprofits, and unions in new cooperation.

    2.  Help People Build Assets.
    3.  Create a "Built to Last" Infrastructure for the 21st Century.
    4.  Build Housing that Will Bring New Opportunities, not Pockets of Poverty.

    Everybody talks about John Edwards' energy, intellect and charisma -- Bill Clinton

    by philgoblue on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 07:49:47 AM PST

    •  A few more ways to help working families (4.00)
      Nationalize health care.  Get rid of the monthly premiums families (and employers) have to pay and create a single-payer system like many European nations have.  Canada seems to be on the right track too.

      I work in an office so I'm lucky to NOT be one of the 46 million Americans without health insurance.  Our coverage costs us $350 (soon to be $375) a month not including co-pays for us & our two pre-school age children.  My firm offers dental coverage but only covers part of my premiums - we'd have to pay 100% of the coverage for my husband & kids, so that means another $100 a month from my paycheck... which we can't afford.  So - no dental coverage for us.

      ANother way to help working families - get rid of the nanny tax.  Reliable, affordable and convenient day care centers are nearly impossible to find in our area (we live in a DC suburb).  If you do find something there's usually a waiting list.  We have two pre-schoolers and no family in the area.  In home daycare isn't much more when you total everything up.  This would be a huge help because my son has developmental delays and has to see several therapists each week.  If our kids went to a center I'd have to take time off work twice a week to get my son to and from the therapy appointments and that's not possible - I'd lose my job.

      So an in-home sitter is our only option.

      Problem is, the nanny taxes add another $5,000 to what we pay the sitter.  You find a way to comply with the law, or you hope and pray the authorities never find out you're not in compliance.  We spend over $20,000 a year on daycare for our two children - something many young families can't afford.

      Get rid of that tax and you'll create more jobs for loving, dedicated child-care (and elder-care) providers.  And working families would have more options where the care of their young children is concerned.

      by Alegre on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 09:30:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'd rather see this solution (4.00)
        Real Democratic Solutions: Public Pre-Kindergarten
        See my diary:

        In short:
        We ought to run on making kindergarten for 5 year olds all day and making pre-kindergarten for 4 year olds free and part of the public school system.  Essentially, we'd be making Head Start available to all American kids.
        Modeled on Oklahoma with BS college grad teachers.

        Everybody talks about John Edwards' energy, intellect and charisma -- Bill Clinton

        by philgoblue on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 09:59:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Remember Your Diary (none)
          You did a good job and I agree, making pre-school available for all 4 year olds is a great idea.  It'd save families a lot of $$ too - we spend $168 a month for our 4 year old to attend pre-school 3 mornings a week.

          That really adds up when you're already shelling out tens of thousands for daycare, health insurance, food, the mortgage... (sigh).

          No wonder we're always broke!

          If even one of these bills were lifted off our shoulders, we might actually be able to afford a night out at the movies, or dinner even!

          Hey - wouldn't that help the economy if we spent our $ on things like that?

          by Alegre on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 10:07:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hell (none)
            We might even be able to start saving for retirement again - or adding $ to our kids' college funds!


            by Alegre on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 10:08:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Us too (none)
            We're spending over $300 on 2 kids.

            Educationally it's smart AND it would get young couples with kids to vote Democratic.  We're all in a time in our life where money is real tight.  The republicans offer tax cuts.  If we offer nothing, people will fall for BushCo's tax-cut bait-and-switch.

            Everybody talks about John Edwards' energy, intellect and charisma -- Bill Clinton

            by philgoblue on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 10:17:37 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Tax cuts (none)
              I think we should be calling tax cuts when we have deficits what they are...Tax increases on our children and grandchildren.  

              Does the devil wear a suit and tie, Or does he work at the Dairy Queen- Martin Sexton

              by strengthof10kmen on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 11:14:58 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Call them something (none)
                When Bush is finally overthrown, the Dems will have no choice but to raise taxes and hence continue the lable of "tax and ???" Dems.  (Can't really say "spend" anymore.  Repubs have hopefully cornered the market there - and we should point it out - CONSTANTLY.

                Any hope they'll raise taxes on the rich before Bush is gone?

    •  'splain this for me please: (4.00)
      What has troubled me about John Edwards and some other Democrats is how can they be so damned good at understanding what people in this country need to be lifted up with health care and education and opportunity so they have a chance to live a decent life but at the same time could have been so damn cavalier about using military force on people who are not so different from us and putting our brave soldiers into harm's way?  Here's what Jim McDermott said about preemptive war:
      Here's what Senator Kennedy said about preemptive war:

      General Eisenhower said this about a "preventive" not "preemptive" war:

      All of us have heard this term 'preventative war' since the earliest days of Hitler. I recall that is about the first time I heard it. In this day and time... I don't believe there is such a thing; and, frankly, I wouldn't even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.
      Variant: A preventive war, to my mind, is an impossibility. I don't believe there is such a thing, and frankly I wouldn?'t even listen to anyone seriously that came in and talked about such a thing.
      Press conference (1953)

      But bottom line, how can John Edwards be so concerned about the lives of average people and just not have had a clue about how the unnecessary war he voted for would devastate our soldiers and the Iraqi people who would become its casualties?

      We need leaders who don't compartmentalize their progressive policy positions at home to separate them from an indifferent, perhaps sociopathic, foreign policy whose main function is to serve Halliburton or some other large corporation at the expense of American taxpayers and at the expense of what this country stands for.

      I know John Edwards has had the courage to say he was wrong or mislead, but I worry that he didn't lead on warning the country about this. And I think we should look long and hard at people who would run for president to see if they're strong enough and courageous enough to stand up to private interests in this country who want American taxpayers to pay for the use of force to benefit them at the expense of our soldiers and indigenous third world people who live in energy rich countries.  

      •  Clark Would Have Done the Same (none)
        Clark 'Probably' Would Have Backed War Resolution
        Wesley Clark
        WashPost: "Retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark said today that he 'probably' would have voted for the congressional resolution last fall authorizing war... Clark said his views on the war resemble those of Democratic Sens. Joseph Lieberman and John Kerry, both of whom voted for the war but now question Bush's stewardship of the Iraqi occupation. 'That having been said, I was against the war as it emerged because there was no reason to start it when we did. We could have waited'... Clark said that if he were in Congress, he would vote against Bush's request for $87 billion for operations and reconstruction in Iraq unless the president details a specific strategy to eventually withdraw U.S. troops. Clark said he wants more troops in Iraq, but was unsure who best can provide them - the United States, Iraqis or other countries....

        Everybody talks about John Edwards' energy, intellect and charisma -- Bill Clinton

        by philgoblue on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 09:52:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I saw that piece by the Post (none)
          But I believe from other articles I have read that Clark would have only voted for a resolution that required Bush to come back to the Senate for War authority and then he would have been required to use war as a last, last, last resort after U.N. inspections were complete and all other diplomatic alternatives were exhausted and if he had a broad multinational consensus.

          If you wish please check out this diary with links to Wes Clark testimony

      •  Blah Blah (none)
        Edwards wasn't stading up to "private interests"?

        Are you for real?

        Edwards voted for the IWR because he believed what Clinton and Tenet had said -- that Saddam Hussein had WMD and was a dangerous man.  Hussein was clearly violating UN resolutions on inspections.
        And as has been stated here hundreds of times, the IWR demanded that the constitutional POTUS get a UN Security Council resolution, form an international coalition, and allow inspectors to do there job.  One cannot blame Edwards for Bush's violation of these promises and his war.

        Everybody talks about John Edwards' energy, intellect and charisma -- Bill Clinton

        by philgoblue on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 09:56:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  and the manufactured/manipulated (none)
          intel that painted a grave picture in the raw days after 9/11.  To be fair, and frank, I didn't really buy the rah rah run-up at the time myself, though I was concerned, and as I didn't have a security clearance, not in the know.  Apparently, neither was congress.  I also didn't have constituents heaving a 90% approval rating the president's way.
        •  Tenet only said that after he had capitulated (none)
          In congressional pre-war testimony, I heard George Tenet on CSPAN say that he did not know whether Saddam Hussein had WMDs or not but even if Saddam Hussein had them he was "well contained" and in his (Tenet's) opinion would only use any weapons he might have IF he were  invaded and then he's use them against American soldiers.
          I don't get why the MSM ignores that testimony and instead thinks Tenet's "slam dunk" comment meant he was sure of the WMDs. Al Franken says the "slam dunk" comment meant that it would be easy to convince (fool?) the public that Saddam Hussein was a threat.
          As I've said here before when I told my Bush/clone congressman pre-war about what Tenet said pre-war he told me that it didn't matter what I said "we're going to war". I think it was clear in Washington to anyone who had a clue that Bush was playing political games with the Congress and the U.N. but was hell bent on war regardless of whether WMDs existed ot not. They were just the excuse.
        •  wow (none)
          Edwards voted for the IWR because he believed what Clinton and Tenet had said

          Either you are very wrong or Edwards is very dull, indeed.

          Listen to yourself! He believed this snake oil salesman? That's an excuse?

          not the least advantage to "flyover" country is that y'all continue to do that

          by le sequoit on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 10:18:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is indeed (4.00)
    a very good diary.  Who knew that congressfolks could ask good questions and pay attention to the answers?

    If only Democrats could then translate that into legislation...but that's coming.

    Choose Our President 2008

  •  Miller for Senate. (4.00)
    Will the Congressman challenge Dole in 2008?
  •  my goodness where have I been? (4.00)
    A house representative knows Bonddad? This is stunning!

    Recommended. And thanks, Rep. Miller, for the eXtreme clarity.

  •  A bifurcated society is what (4.00)
    it's called, right?

    Thank you for posting this Rep. Miller! It's excellent to read something Greenspan said that makes sense to me and which explains in official terms what we see going on in real America.

    Besides the wage issue is that of rising prices. I've been seeing a large rise in food prices which are not reflected in the inflation statistics. Why is this? I can't find an explanation but I know it is true. Prices on some goods are skyrocketing and others have more than a ten percent rise. I did read that Kraft Foods is raising prices almost four percent. That may not seem like much but a four to ten percent rise on food bills per month means that people like myself on fixed incomes are really hurting when added to increased prices for gas and utilities.

    Thank you for working for Americans who are not the rich ones! you are a welcome anomaly.

    •  What it is is Class Warfare, pure and simple. (4.00)
      The upper income, gilded corporatist class against the remaining 96% or so of Americans.
      Unfortunately, at least half of the everybody else class is absolutely oblivious to their own best economic interests.
    •  Yes (none)
      "Bivariate" means a statistical analysis with two variables.

      I would expect the economist Greenspan to know the difference.  But I guess he's caught a bit of the Bush bug.

      •  I think he meant exactly what he said (none)
        and it makes sense.

        If there are two variables, and you only like the results of one, you ignore the other.

        Exactly what Greenspan does. There ARE two sets of data - the haves and the have nots. The analysis using the data for the HAVES is good. The other, not so much.

        •  not to get technical, (none)
          but that still wouldn't be accurate, since a bivariate model only has one independent variable.

          Leaving my unnecessary nerdiness aside, though, you're right -- that's exactly what he does.  He's such a perfect fit for the administration, you'd think that Bush appointed him.

    •  I have also noticed (none)
      food price increases. I thought it may have been attributed to that spike in oil prices we saw befure and after Katrina.

      This is the problem with the Peak Oil situation as well.  Petroleum affects every aspect of our society, especially transport of food, so it makes sense that increased energy prices are reflected back to the consumer in every sector.

      But the economists should correct me if I'm wrong here. :)

  •  Not simply "an education problem"... (4.00) that makes for an easy answer for the residents of Planet Starboard. (Break unions, cut average pay, vouchers, religious schools - that is what is really meant by them).

      Plus, it should be pointed out:

    • Not everyone is college material
    • We can't all be supervisors
    • Even in industries that can't be off-shored, this phenomena is taking place.

      And finally, "education" is not going to help those over age 50, as industry will not want to pay for workers likely to retire.

    "We should pay attention to that man behind the curtain"

    by Ed Tracey on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 08:15:24 AM PST

  •  And this issue is going (4.00)
    to continue to "dog" us, until such point that spending is almost nothing. There was a time, not long ago, when people worked at "regular" jobs, made enough money to buy a modest home, made enough money to save a bit, had medical benefits with their job, had pensions, had some job security (which allowed them to "plan").  Now? We have almost none of these things.

    For example, I live near a grocery store called "Nob Hill."  It has been there for over 20 years, part of a large, local chain.  The employees are union, and most have been with the company their entire working life.  Many bought homes in our area on their salaries, all have medical and some pension/retirement.  The new employees can't hope to own a home in our area, and given the salary, even with benefits their income does not allow for much extra spending, spending that drives our economy.

    What we are creating is a two layered society, one in which working hard for someone or a corporation isn't going to get you very far, a society that has no value for those who do the jobs we all depend on, a society that turns a blind eye to all of this.  Worse, many "conservatives" feel that jobs like working in a grocery store should NOT pay high wages, as anyone who does that for a living must NOT have any type of drive to succeed.

    Many conservatives also feel that opportunity is there for everyone, irregardless of the actual reality.  For example, going to college, according to conservatives, is doable if you want to do it.  These conservatives say look at all the people who do it, yet they ignore the fact that many of those people are funded by their families or have incomes at their disposal that allow them to attend school.

    If we continue to "punish" those who do the jobs we depend on we all will suffer.  America, the place where one could work and at least have some small rewards, is vanishing and it is being replaced with a country that rewards investors who  make profits off of the sweat and hard work of others.

    "September 11, 2001, already a day of immeasurable tragedy, cannot be the day liberty perished in this country." Judge Gerald Tjoflat

    by SanJoseLady on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 08:16:03 AM PST

    •  Idealists (none)
      When I was working in D.C. one of the main lessons I brought back with me was that if there is a party of starry-eyed idealists out there, it's the Republicans.

      They REALLY DO believe this whole "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" anything is possible, no matter who you are or where and under what circumstances you're born thing.  It's startling, amazing, and dangerous.  They go out onto the Senate floor, trot out some example, an exception that proves their insane rule about how easy success is even under extreme adversity with just a little hard work --- then they proceed to justify welfare cuts, maintaining minimum wage, or otherwise kicking the nation's working poor in the teeth.

      I also went to a very scary hearing about the subject of this diary -- back in 1999, pre-43, so this has been going on a long time, mind you ---- that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer.  Anyone who doesn't see that this is not good for the health of the nation ~couBUSHgh~ has got their head in the sand.

      War is NOT a preventative measure.

      by demandcaring on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 01:45:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great job Brad. (4.00)
    We over here in Chapel Hill LOVE what you're doing and are ready, willing and able to support you in any way.

    And I must confess. I'd love to see you tak on either of our completely undistinguished senators.


  •  Rep Miller (4.00)
    I am flattered and honored to be referrenced in your diary.

    This is a very serious issue -- perhaps one of the most we face as a country.  The latest Flow of Funds report indicates the only economic sector saving money is corporations.  According to trickle down economic theory, they should be distributing that money to employees in the form of higher wages.  But they're not.  My guess (although I can't prove it with any evidence) is the low tax rate on capital gains and dividend distributions makes it more attractive to dispurse that money to shareholders.  My guess is when the new FOF report is issued later today, that trend will continue.

    "You think you can intimidate me? Screw you. Choose your Weapon." Eliot Spitzer

    by bonddad on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 08:33:56 AM PST

    •  Questions. (4.00)
      With regard to "the only economic sector saving money is corporations."
      How much of this money is offshore? Or deposited in "Caribbean Banking Centers"? Can this even be disclosed?

      I find this a little bit spooky:

      To give you a comparison of how really gigantic the Cayman Banks as a group are, the banking deposits in all of California's Commercial banks stand at right around $220 billion. The banking deposits in the Bahamas reached @ $300 billion. According to the Offshore Financial Review (London), the $415 billion on deposit in the Cayman banks towers over the combines assets of all European offshore centers.


      The Cayman Islands are now the fifth largest financial center in the world, trailing New York, Tokyo and London.


      There are no personal income taxes, no corporate income taxes, no capital gains taxes, no withholding taxes, no estate, gift or inheritance taxes, no sales taxes, no employment taxes, no death duties, and no probate fees in the Cayman Islands. Guarantees against future taxes are available to exempted companies and trusts. Exempted companies can receive a guarantee from the government for a period not exceeding 30 years. Exempted trusts can receive a guarantee for 100 years. The Caymans have no tax treaties with any nation.


      Has the US corporate sphere become decoupled from any obligations of citizenship? Have the American people become like the children of the divorced and absent father who's found a way not to ever pay child support again?

      -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

      by pat bunny on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 09:01:09 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm flattered that you're flattered. (4.00)
      How about if you move to North Carolina and run for the Senate in 2008, and I get promoted to the front page?
  •  Thanks for this post (none)
    It's good to know that there are at least 2  members of the NC delegation (yourself, Mel Watt) that I don't have to be ashamed of.  Well, make that 2.5 - I claim Walter Jones when he's speaking about Iraq now too.

    Please pray for the safe release of the Christian Peacemaker Team and an end to violence in Iraq.

    by Sharon Jumper on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 08:34:57 AM PST

  •  damn straight.. (none)
    ...thanks for your diaries.  as one of your former constituents, i am glad to have voted for you back when i was in your district... bout to move to durham/ chapel hill area where liberals are in abundance...
  •  By 'bivariate', Greenspan means 'bimodal' ... (none)
    ... i.e., Bactrian (versus the more common Dromedary statistical curve).

    None Dare Call It Stupid!

    by RonK Seattle on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 08:35:59 AM PST

  •  Credit for the WHOLE economy (none)

    The point isn't that some people haven't benefited from the great growth under Bush.
    The point is that under bush's entire term in office, growth has been rotten.

    Even the present figures, which look good after the last four years, wouldn't have caused comment under Clinton. The anual rate of growth for July through September was 4.3%. That led to a celebratory speech by Bush in the Rose Garden. The average rate of growth during Clinton's last four years was 4.2%.

    And Clinton didn't have to run a deficit to get that.

    •  yes.. (none)
      but these people don't live in the real world.
      "Our economic policies have done the trick," said Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio). "We are in the middle of one of the strongest economies this country has ever seen."
      •  Ohio the promised land (none)
        I'm sure what Deborah Pryce means is "We're in the middle of some of the most corrupt economies this country has ever seen."

        "Ohio: economically depressed and corrupt." Try running on that Ms. Pryce.

      •  Guess she forgot the late 1990's.... (none)

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

        by bewert on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 09:55:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Education is the key to good paying jobs... (none)
    I've made this point before about how hard it has been for us to find senior level developers at the company I work for. Greenspan said

    I believe this is an education problem, that requires us to get the balance of skills coming out of our schools to match the skills that our physical facilities require.

    You need to improve the education for all Americans. The 'No child left behind' seems to teach kids to pass the tests and not how to learn. In the high tech industry you can't rely on what you know today. You have to continue to improve your skills. We have had open head count since November 2004. We still haven't found people to fill the all of the positions. Our company gives out finders fees if you get someone hired into one of these positions. I know many people who could fill the position but they are already employed. I get headhunters calling me for other positions. Jobs are out there but you can't get them if you don't have the skills.

    You can get the skills by going to school and getting a degree. You can get experience by working on open source projects or volunteering to do work for non-profit organizations. I have seen kids (16-18 year olds) come into the high tech world without the college degrees but they are 'educated' and have good skill sets.

    If the education system is not improved and kids only learn to pass the tests then we have not done what is right for America.

    •  what type of development? (none)
      Although I have a CS degree, I chose not to work in the industry when I graduated 2 years ago. I do still follow the industry and frequently see posts like yours, but also posts from what appear to be skilled people who cannot find positions. I'm trying to make some sense of the disconnect.. maybe it's because many senior-level people have already settled and don't want to relocate?
      •  Good question (none)
        I've been looking around for some part-time or even full-time (if the opportunity was good enough) programming or web development work.

        With 25 years of experience, including that of taking several projects from idea to the store shelf, the ability to design and develop in half a dozen different languages from assembler to C++ to PHP/MySQL, and several software patents issued to me individually, I've never even gotten a call back yet.

        Pretty frustrating...

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

        by bewert on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 09:59:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I used to do software (none)
          but now all I do is talk about it in trying to troubleshoot.  The Europeans and Indians do all of our software and we get to do the red-tape-shuffle to get it fixed, with our customers screaming at our front line people.

          You have done Project Management it sounds like - that is good, have you tried structuring your resume or a different resume around the fixing side of things, or has your experience only been in development ?

          •  Not yet, but I should (none)
            Plus, I have been in entreprenuerial situations for the most part. Founded my first company and exhibited at my first COMDEX way back in 1985. But I don't think that translates well to someone who has always worked in bigger organizations.

            I recently applied for a position supporting clients of a web site creation firm. I have been working with the skill set they were looking for since about 1998 (basically the LAMP platform) and did not receive even an e-mail back.

            So I just keep writing code and putting my own products up on websites, and trying to partner with people that could use my products. It keeps the rent paid and food on the table, barely at times, but the upside is if something ever really takes off, the payoff is potentially much larger. Plus, I like doing it.

            Lately I've been playing around with Ruby on Rails and AJAX (like what powers Google Maps), and it would be fun to put together a big interactive connect-the-dots type thing showing all the connections between the various players in the various scandals now emerging. AJAX would be a good tool for that.

            "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

            by bewert on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 12:55:23 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Those are cool technologies... (none)
              Ruby on Rails is pretty exciting development environment. I haven't had much time to investigate it but I have seen enough to peak my interests. I just haven't had the time. It seems like a great way to go for rapid implementation for some projects. My day job is developing web-based hosted service for large/medium/small companies. The large ones have enterprise and international requirements that Ruby on Rails can't support.

              AJAX on the other hand is something I am actively pursuing. I hate the screen 'flashing' as the browser has to hit the backend server and refresh the page. AJAX makes that so much more seamless. So I'm spending some time to see how to use that with my personal projects.

          •  Some of our development work is done... (none)
            via outsourcing. Most of the testing is done in India but we still have in-house testing but it only is less than half of the total headcount in QA.

            We tried to have a major portion of a project done totally in India but it didn't work out and we had to bring much of the work back in-house. We do have a few developers in India but they are considered to be junior level developers. This requires us to have two senior level developers oversee all that they do. We have to have very through processes in place in order to have them checkin code to the CVS repository branch. They mainly do bug fixing and we have to triage the bugs and only give them the ones that are not the most complex problems.

            The outsourcing has been mixed results. Testing it is great. We check in code and go to sleep. The next day we get back the testing results. This has been good experience and one we are leveraging more and more. The development has proven to be disappointing. The bug fixing has been okay but there has to be lots of 'hand-holding' to make it work.

            •  Interesting - (none)
              my natural progression to testing happened because I was no longer doing software.  I worked with the software people in India (they did much better then our own people in Switzerland).  We use Clear Case, btw.  But I got tired of being a test monkey, all our testing is manual, based on the industry I am in.  But I actually enjoyed writing test specifications.  

              Since then I have moved on to a troubleshooter position on my companies' own proprietary equipment, but spend most of my time supporting our competitor's equipment (where I used to work).  It pays well and I do like it, and don't miss the software too much, but my software skills are out of date.  It is a pretty secure position at this time as our industry's equipment becomes increasingly complicated.

              I guess it comes down to "picking your own poison."

      •  Skilled people is a vague description... (none)
        I work at a company that provides a host web based service (think but I'm not at that one). The skills I need to do my job included the ability to work in the various layers of a web based service. At the presentation layer (think browsers) I have to know HTML, XML, javascript/vbscript, JSP, Velocity, SOAP, etc. These are the 'tools' I have to use in order to display content from the backend. I also need to know the impact of the differences between IE, Mozilla/Firefox and Safari because we need to support these browsers.

        At the business layer I need to understand how to navigate through the application. This is done via a framework like Struts, Turbine, Spring or .NET. In order to do this I need to know how to write in java or C#. All this needs to be implemented using design patterns that have been worked with and improved on over the years. The basic web design pattern is MVC (model, view, controller) but there are many more out there.

        At the persistence layer I need to know SQL for MS SQL Server, Oracle and MySQL. I need to understand what a normalized database is and how to maintain referential integrity. I need to be able to write stored procedures and make sure that performance is maximized.

        On top of all this I need to understand security issues and how to minimize the web application to various security threats. I need to understand internet protocols like HTTP/HTTPS and FTP and the various encryption techniques to insure that personal information isn't stolen during packet transfer.

        Then all of this needs to be build using tools like ant and Maven. It needs to be unit tested using tools like JUnit or NUnit. I need to know how to install application servers like Tomcat, WebLogic, WebSphere, JBoss.

        Finally I need to know how to troubleshoot all of the tools, servers, databases, code, etc. in order to fix problems that come up. When I have problems a call to helpdesk is a waste of my time.

        I have talked to a lot of individuals that say they are developers but once I start asking some questions about even the simplest concepts they have no answers. However, I do have a number of friends who have similar skill sets to me and none of them find it hard to get a job. My last interview was in 1993 and when the interviewer asked me a question about some topic I could 'drill down' farther then the interviewer on the topic. I have changed companies twice since then without even going through the interview process because of my networking with peers. I get headhunters calling me to apply for other jobs but I have never bothered to follow up because when I want to  move to a new position I ask one of my peers.

        I have taught myself all that I know by reading books, surfing the internet and writing application on my own that apply what I read. I never stop learning and rarely watch TV. I do have outside activities some I'm not just sitting in front of computers all day and night. But it is a lot of continuous work to maintain and increase my skill sets.

        •  I work in network/system administration (none)
          I know of three very bright people with quite excellent "skill sets" who were also "always learning" who were laid off due to budget problems (jobs eliminated)

          One of them we tried to hire on here, but unfortunately the job we had was about 15 less than he had been making, and he had just bought a house and could not take the pay cut without losing the house.

          All these people were employed in State funded positions. My states budget is squeezed terribly. As far as I know all states are suffering due to bushco unfunded mandates, and bad economy.

          Dont play "blame the victim". I laud your achievement. But you gotta face the music. The US is outsourcing computer-related jobs bigtime. There are no incentives for companies to keep those jobs here.

          •  Yes jobs are being outsourced... (4.00)
            When I first graduated from the CompSci program at the University of Washington in 1990 (I was 44 at the time) I got a job in the Redmond area but not at MS (that came later). At that time I was basically competing against other developers in the Seattle area. By the mid 1990's I was competing against the developers in Silicon Valley and the high tech corridors of Boston. After the dot-com bubble burst a lot of high tech people lost jobs so the competition was greater. However, many of those developers were not and never did work at improving their skills.

            Now I compete against developers from all over the world thanks to the internet. My goal has always been to be 'better than most'. I've been in the high tech industry professionally since 1990. I started playing with computers while I was a fireman in the early 80's. Even though I've got a CompSci degree all of my skills are self-taught. I do feel sorry for people like your friends who have lost their jobs. But I also have a lot of contacts in the high tech industry here and know that anyone you displays 'talent' is working. I even seen two 16 year olds come into this industry and make it.

            It really all falls back to education. Either formal like my CompSci degree or informal and self-learned. All the jobs aren't going to be outsourced but in order to get the jobs that are still here you need to have a highly evolved skill set.

            What concerns me is this. Right now America has most of the best colleges in the world. From these colleges much of the innovation in the high tech industry is derived. As our educational system erodes with the 'No child left behind' initiative we will begin to lose that innovative edge. This will take a while and I'll probably be dead (or out of the job market) by then but my grandkids won't be. Couple that with the deficit spending that the current administration is doing and you may see America become more like a 3rd country. This makes me sad.

            •  I would add that the great minds (none)
              from other parts of the world are forgoing our great colleges, or they come here to learn and just leave us with a "brain drain."

              We can thank Bush's policies of reinforcing xenophobia on that one, too.

    •  And pray tell (none)
      what do I live on while I'm doing this open source and volunteer work to learn what I either should have learned in college or on the job?

      16-18 yr olds aren't supporting a family, they have lots of time. A single parent trying to raise kids and work can barely manage to get ANY extra schooling, let alone spend time doing UNPAID work.

      Yet that same person would be loyal to whatever company was willing to invest in them, to give them the time to get up to speed on a project, to mentor them and let them grow.

      But who will? Certainly not your company, they want people who already know what you need.

      And, as you've said, you can't find them. I wonder why.

  •  No one would argue that there is not (4.00)
    tons of money in the United States which is what BushCo is essentially saying and trying to pretend that the tons of cash is benefitting Americans.  In reality though, the cash in this country is being concentrated into a very small population or people and companies.  

    Representative Miller,

    I concluded at some point over the summer that the destruction of the Middle Class and further fall of the Working Class is the Bush Economic Plan.  If you look at it from their corporate perspective, having millions of American workers' standard of living fall to a point where they don't have to be paid so much would look like a great economic plan in their eyes.  

    It is my feeling that BushCo is actively working to create a super-wealthy class and to strip away as much as possible from the classes below so as to be able to lower wages.  In essence, it is a plan to create an economy similar to India of the 1960's.  

    Unless we are clear that protecting the Middle and Working Classes' standard of living is not a priority for BushCo, we can't be prepared to effectively combat them.  We need to accept the fact that the BushCo economic plan is not a "mistake" it is a bona fide plan and it is going pretty well if you look at it in those terms.

    •  And don't think the general public doesn't know it (4.00)
      I've heard this comment, that the Bushites are trying to destroy the middle class, from people I would NEVER in a million years imagined. Totally non-political people, very conservative. And even THEY could see it.

      And they don't believe the economy is doing well, either.

  •  If Education is the Answer-- (4.00)
    and the people don't have it for "the" jobs that require it--

    shouldn't those industries be collapsing from lack of workers?

    I'm 50 and have been flushed out of my computer career. What education will get me hired back into the upper middle class Mr. Miller?

    Can you say "none?"

    I have 40 more years of time to kill in this bad joke of a society but not even radical Democrats are proposing anything that would restore opportunity in the second half century of life.

    That means that when I go into the voting booth, I may be looking for something more substantial than firing Republicans.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 08:58:52 AM PST

  •  Thank you (none)
    for your well-written explanation sir.

    Any one of us could have put up this diary - you took the words right out of our mouths.

    This has been the reality of many of us ever since Clinton left office.  If Americans would only vote according to how their bank accounts are doing, the Dems would sweep both houses and the White House in 2006 and 2008.

    Let's hope the voters wise up in time to get rid of the crooks.

    by Alegre on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 09:05:27 AM PST

  •  Will someone ask Greenspan (3.50)
    Why he is tripling the money supply?
    When he says his "#1 concern is battling inflation"?
    Is this also lying under oath?
  •  The Devil Is in the Details (none)
    The original posting seriously confuses several data streams.

    There are 3 sets of people of interest here:

    • - good procucing non-supervisory workers
    • - goods pruducing plus government and service producing non-supervisory workers
    • - everyone who works.

    The wages of goods producing employees have been flat lately. In fact, these wages been relatively flat since 1960. Wages for these folks have gone up 20% (in terms of real dollars) in 45 years. In short, flat real wages for goods producing workers are hardly "something new."

    For all public and private sector non-supervisory employees, not merely folks in manufacturing, the picture is less bleak. In inflation-adjusted dollars, income from work has increased from $2.26/hour to $3.43/hour (in 1960 dollars), a 52 percent increase.

    This second set is the "80% of the work force." It would seem that the original poster confused the difference between the two data sets.

    The bifurcation between goods production and service producing is what has widened.

    There are further details which need to be considered. What has happened in the past 15 years, or so, is that Employee Compensation is going up (because of the higher cost of medical benefits and, to some extent, pension expense) but the employee does not see that money. What is consequent is a "no one is happy" situation. The employer spends the money and the employee does not receive it.

  •  I hate to complain, but (none)
    putting a link to the NYT Select page only works for folks who have paid for it or know of a username/password combination to use.  

    This link is to the same article at truthout for those of us who arent so lucky to pay for or receive NYT Select subscriptions.  

  •  Dare we ask... (3.60)
    Dare we ask how Rep. Miller voted on yesterday's tax-cut give-aways (which Bonddad points out passed with only 4 dissenting votes).

    Better yet, dare we ask how he intends to vote on extending the capital gains tax cuts today -- which cuts serve as rocket fuel for that "bivariation"?

  •  Excellent diary, and a suggestion (3.50)
    Wow, Rep. Miller, thanks, both for the diary and for the question to Bubbles Greenspan.

    So we are getting a bivariate income distribution. And as I have said many times in the past: For a democratic society, this is not healthful, to say the least

    The title says it all. Two Americas. You heard it from the Fed Chairman, first among hypocrites.

    Americans don't judge how well the economy is doing by statistics, but by what they see around them with their own lyin' eyes.

    Right on. Things don't look so good for most.

    Suggestion: I seriously think we ought to protest the use of "average" in federal economic reports, political speeches, etc. We ought to shame the president, Congress and the press into giving us the median.

    The average is only informative for normal (Gaussian) distributions. The president often claims that "the average family of four"... Well, when Bill Gates walks into a bar, the average income skyrockets, but the median income barely budges. Mr. President, how much would a MEDIAN family receive in tax cuts? Oh, $10, wonderful.

  •  Mr. Miller (3.50)
    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for this diary entry.  First of all, you made your points very clearly.  Second, you didn't talk down to us, or patronize or flatter or anything else.  Just plain speaking is a marvel when you see it.  Thank you.

    "When you starve the beast, you starve the people. And the bathtub was a reference to New Orleans." -- bink

    by bink on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 11:04:15 AM PST

  •  At first I thought the title meant (none)
    "provides political cover for", then i realized it was, "plays a song written by". I think big Al talks out of both sides of his mouth because he says that "bivariate" (sic?) income distribution is bad, but he was a guy who covered (read: provided political camouflage for) Bush's attack on Poor America.

    Let's go back to E Pluribus Unum

    by hazzcon on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 11:20:22 AM PST

  •  Spot On Rep Miller ... (3.50)
    "So why are Americans not giving President Bush credit for the economy? They are. They're giving him credit for the economy in their America. And for most Americans, the economic news in their America is not good."

    This is absolutely right ... spot on!!

    9/11/05, Day 1469, A count worth keeping? Or, Osama Bin Forgotten?

    by besieged by bush on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 11:55:15 AM PST

  •  How we define success is the problem (none)
    We should honor work like we used to.  Television has made us envious and unhappy with who we are and what we do.  Not everybody should have to go to college or technical school, but it should be free for all.  From what I've read and my Irish client, free college has now helped Ireland go from last place economically in Europe to first.  We need a new GI Bill.  
    But we should honor those who work with their hands whether it's a rancher like my husband or  my smartest friend in this small town who is a welder or a guy on the Ford Motor Line like my grandfather.    We need to bring back good union jobs and not be basically importing cheap Chinese laborers.  Only John Edwards talks about the Two Americas.  I was sad that someone so smart was "fooled" by older Senators and the Clintons, but the only way to restore our democracy is through bringing back the middle class.  And Edwards is the only real champion of the dogs of globalization.  I know that if he were President he would be coming up with plans to end the root causes of hatred of Americans by Islamists.  He talked about getting rid of the Madrassahs with Musharaf, putting American money into education and not armaments.  

    "Loyalty to your country always. Loyalty to your government when they deserve it." Mark Twain

    by MontanaMaven on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 12:14:06 PM PST

  •  Great Diary Congressman! (none)
    Thank you for using their own words to focus the light on how awful Bushonomics has been for ordinary Americans.

    Does anyone know how many times in the last 50 years that the salaries of non-supervisory workers' income actually fell? What party held power during those times?

    I'd be very surprised if Democrats controlled the finanancial reigns during these times even once, very surprised.


    -4.25, -6.87: Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 12:15:18 PM PST

  •  Education my ass! (4.00)
    Some of us did what we were supposed to. We got good grades and went to college, I even took computer science--which was supposed to be a really hot field. And I loved my work.

    I missed the hype years, preferring to do work I felt was more valuable in the long run. Well, it turns out in the long run education is a hell of a lot cheaper in India, as are most things. And code is easily portable.

    So I now make less than I did ten years ago, despite greater education and experience. And I still fear most days, knowing my job could be gone once again in a moment, as it has twice before.

    AND I FOLLOWED THE RULES! I'm not some stupid slacker. What are you going to re-educate me in, now that I'm over 40? I don't see any real opportunities.

    •  You and my husband (3.66)
      He has a degree and 20 years in IT. Because of healthcare costs he has basically gone 5 years without a raise, although according to the numbers, his salary has increased. He hopes to get a raise in March which will, yet again, off-set the increase in our insurance premiums. I am now looking for a part time job after the 1st of the year so we can pay our utility bill and not dip into savings. We haven't been on a real vacation in 4 years other than staying friends or relatives.
  •  Money Talk-Shows (4.00)
    The money talk shows like Bloomberg, CNBC, etc.. continue to parrot the BushCo talking points on how robust the economy is, and how cutting taxes is going to result in jobs.  But  this never happens.  The jobs are going overseas, companies are downsizing, and working class wages are not keeping up with increasing costs of health care, higher education, and energy.  People who have played by the rules, contributed into pension plans all their lives are now facing reductions and even losses in retirement benefits.  (My mother in law was fired three months prior to qualifying for full retirement benefits).  And now our seniors who don't have prescription drug coverage are faced with this illogical, confusing, immoral Medicare Prescription Plan.  They can't afford the high costs of life saving medication, yet they won't be able to afford medicine from this $800 billion dollar Rethuglican insurance/drug company enrichment program.  

    The comments in this thread are all spot on as well as Rep. Miller's.  Greenspan is just another right wing shill concerned only with making sure he appeases the corporatists and upper classes.

    A general comment to those who continue to berate Democratic lawmakers for voting "for" the war in Iraq.  Yes, it is infuriating that they were not smart enough to recognize Bush's lies or didn't have the courage to oppose.  IMHO we need to focus on the PERPETRATORS of the lies, not those who fell for them.

  •  You Rep. Brad Miller (3.00)
    and so many other Washington venturers jump rapidly from  one side to the other side of the center in your effort to stay centered.  How dare you use the term "notorious liberal" to describe Paul Krugman and any other thinking person not tied to the depraved right wing of George Bush & Co.(which includes a lot of Demo Reps and Senators).

    You are helping Geoge Bush's Right in their framing of Americans who are liberal thinkers and act accordingly,rather than sell their party out like most of the Demo presidential hopefuls.  I am a longtime previously active Democrat in California, and the term liberal is being trashed out of the deparate fear on the part of the right to throw the poor souls in the south and bible belt who are not well educated into frenzy.

    You are not a patriotic American when you pander to this deception.

  •  Greenspan still full of crap (3.50)
    So we are getting a bivariate income distribution. And as I have said many times in the past: For a democratic society, this is not healthful, to say the least; and as I have indicated on numerous occasions, I believe this is an education problem, that requires us to get the balance of skills coming out of our schools to match the skills that our physical facilities require.

    He has in no way demonstrated that there is an imbalance in the 20% / 80% equilibrium between producers and supervisors.  The problem is the "bivariate income distribution," itself, not with the demographic distribution of skills.  The risk vs reward balance in corporate america is skewed:  laborers take all the risk of volatility in employment markets, risk of injury, and skills which become outdates while supervisors reap the rewards through an overgenerous compensation package rife with inflated salaries and bonus structures.

    The problem is not the skill sets we have available, but with the privledged applying their power to keep more of the wealth in their own hands.

    "How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!" -- Samuel Clemens

    by nepolon on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 05:50:29 PM PST

  •  Rep Brad Miller (none)
    I hope you'll become a regular around here.  This diary is informative & a damn good read.  You have Talent!  I'm ROFL!

    Thanks.  Keep it coming.  Get thee to the TV!  We need you taking on the bastards on the airwaves!  Get on one or more of those pundit panels! Get on the radio too.  AAR for starters. But I really want to see you doing the face to face smackdown on the liars.  Get a PR agent. Just get face time!

    America needs you.  Your kind of snark will be a big hit with the public!  Go public, dude.

    The future ain't what it used to be. Yogi Berra

    by x on Thu Dec 08, 2005 at 08:04:53 PM PST

  •  You are a god, sir! (none)
    Thanks!  I stand ready to work for you.  I'm with you wholeheartedly.

    "We, the people..." [shall] "establish justice!"

    by trupatriot on Fri Dec 09, 2005 at 05:23:36 AM PST

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