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Welcome to Income Inequality Kos.

Join us Thursdays, at 9:00 p.m. eastern. We discuss income inequality, concentration of wealth, and related issues.

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Jesse Ventura was at my local coffee shop today, and he was holding court. I didn't listen too closely to what he was saying, but something about the Constitution.

There is, of course, a deep anger in the air about politics and government, and a deep wrongheadedness. The combination of the anger and the wrongheadedness is dangerous.

This election was about jobs and the economy. Democrats are better for jobs and the economy. Because of the wrongheadedness, Democrats were unelected.

These are graphs of liberal/conservative scores in the House of Representatives. The thick bars show the party mean, plus and minus one standard deviation. The thin bars show the wing of the party.

Democrats have been steady in their liberalism since the election of Ronald Reagan:

1981 liberal party mean: −0.29liberal wing member: −0.69 (-0.29)
1983 liberal party mean: −0.29liberal wing member: −0.69 (-0.29)
1985 liberal party mean: −0.31liberal wing member: −0.68 (-0.31)
1987 liberal party mean: −0.31liberal wing member: −0.69 (-0.31)
1989 liberal party mean: −0.31liberal wing member: −0.76 (-0.31)
1991 liberal party mean: −0.32liberal wing member: −0.76 (-0.32)
1993 liberal party mean: −0.33liberal wing member: −0.76 (-0.33)
1995 liberal party mean: −0.36liberal wing member: −0.69 (-0.36)
1997 liberal party mean: −0.37liberal wing member: −0.72 (-0.37)
1999 liberal party mean: −0.37liberal wing member: −0.71 (-0.37)
2001 liberal party mean: −0.37liberal wing member: −0.70 (-0.37)
2003 liberal party mean: −0.37liberal wing member: −0.70 (-0.37)
2005 liberal party mean: −0.38liberal wing member: −0.72 (-0.38)
2007 liberal party mean: −0.36liberal wing member: −0.74 (-0.36)
2009 liberal party mean: −0.35liberal wing member: −0.76 (-0.35)

Republicans in the House have been marching steadily to the right:
1981 conservative party mean: 0.25conservative wing member: 0.73 (0.25)
1983 conservative party mean: 0.28conservative wing member: 0.76 (0.28)
1985 conservative party mean: 0.30conservative wing member: 0.73 (0.30)
1987 conservative party mean: 0.31conservative wing member: 0.74 (0.31)
1989 conservative party mean: 0.32conservative wing member: 0.79 (0.32)
1991 conservative party mean: 0.34conservative wing member: 0.79 (0.34)
1993 conservative party mean: 0.39conservative wing member: 0.84 (0.39)
1995 conservative party mean: 0.44conservative wing member: 0.97 (0.44)
1997 conservative party mean: 0.47conservative wing member: 0.91 (0.47)
1999 conservative party mean: 0.49conservative wing member: 0.93 (0.49)
2001 conservative party mean: 0.52conservative wing member: 1.01 (0.52)
2003 conservative party mean: 0.55conservative wing member: 1.10 (0.55)
2005 conservative party mean: 0.57conservative wing member: 1.18 (0.57)
2007 conservative party mean: 0.60conservative wing member: 1.26 (0.60)
2009 conservative party mean: 0.63conservative wing member: 1.35 (0.63)

This is the steady rightward march of the national anger about politics and government. It is the steady national march to further wrongheadedness about economics.

Further anger, further rightward march, further national wrongheadedness about economics are to be expected. Economic inequality and political divisiveness are very highly correlated:

Economic inequality fuels the anger and resentment about government. Anger and resentment about government elects Republicans. Electing Republicans fuels economic inequality. It is a self-driving system.

Until Democrats address economic inequality in a strong way, this self-driving system will just continue. Professional wrestlers will be holding court in coffee shops, explaining how government should be fixed. And to the backwards wrongheadedness of the opinion, people will somehow listen.

Originally posted to Garrett on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 06:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  We need technology to fix the issue. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Garrett, David54

    Technology such as cheap solar can seriously help communities dig themselves out of poverty.

    Why? Because of ripple effects not only does reducing or stopping power bills in these communities give people more spending power to claw out. But it allows other things like cheap LED lighting helping to deter crime Small greenhouses that allow people to grow more food and have again more money to go to school and claw out.

    The issue is the current ways of reducing economic inequality are viewed by many as neededless handouts for lazy bums. And it does not help that many people outright abuse these systems.

    However it is alot harder to abuse technology and a HELL of alot harder to convince people that providing that technology is a bad thing.

    •  zach - cheap solar is great (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      historys mysteries, drewfromct

      How do you get it? I have been an investor in solar going back to the initial investment that launched Solar Power (now one of the major players) twenty years ago. Solar is still very expensive. How do you deliver cheap solar?

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 06:39:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My pushing forward as many technologies (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        At the same time right now the market is rich homes and utilities rarely home use. The push needs to be.

        "I need to power this home with this amount of average current over this period of time with solar for 5 thousand USD or less"

        In my opinion that means technology like Holographic solar will be pushed to the forefront because half silicon cost means huge savings right then and there and then the tech allows for nonperfect or even reverse solar angles that means no need for solar tracking if you can accept a small drop in average output. Dramatically reducing cost and allowing panels to be secured in high crime neighborhoods.

        No need for storage except to run again things like greenhouses and LED lights at night to help deter crime. But running a good LED light is maybe 5W at most which means the equivalent of a laptop battery can run a set of LED lights all night! Microinverters are all the rage right now and tech keeps marching forward. How about throwing money at nourishing this tech which benefits biz and people? Because anything else to stop the issue of poverty will just empower the Tea Party like elements even further.

        Solar can help these communities dig themselves out of poverty for the ones that most importantly CHOOSE to do so. Right now many well meaning people are forced to live next for those who view food stamps as the ticket to choice cut meats, massive amounts of soda, and seafood every start of unit of time instead of securing good healthy food to empower the family over the month.

        However with technology people can dig themselves out. They wont have to turn all the lights out because they cant afford safe and reliable LED based systems. Something as simple as leaving security lights on can dramatically change the quality of life for so many people. Yet it does not end there. Greenhouse technology and cheap hydroponics can mean locally grown food that allows communities to attract people to their communities to eat at their healthy food businesses instead of police showing up to deal with the next fight. Cheap weatherproofing technology so communities spend less on heating oil or gas.

        I REALLY believe it can happen. And when it does it will be difficult to stop funding to programs that have REAL impacts on REAL communities. For a FRACTION of the cost welfare programs consume.

  •  And now I'd like to introduce you to (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Newt Gingrich, 'The Man on Horseback"™

    Their real God is money-- Jesus just drives the armored car, and his hat is made in China. © 2009 All Rights Reserved

    by oblomov on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 06:24:51 PM PDT

  •  OT: Lots and lots of dots (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    truong son traveler, drewfromct

    I was at the coffee shop working on a Google Maps of the Iraq Wikileaks. Getting 300,000 icons to work in a goggle map is interesting.

    This graph is color coded by the military's region designation.

  •  I don't understand (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drewfromct, phonegery, Knarfc, Azazello

    What is a "liberal/conservative score", and how is it calculated? By whom?

    Same for "Polarization index" and "Gini index".

    And what is the "wing" in "the thin bars show the wing of the party."? If it's simply the members who lie beyond 1 St Dev of the mean, I'd expect to see some on both sides of the thick bar, no?

    It looks like there's some great info here...I'm just not sure it's explained as well as it could be

  •  I still say, (4+ / 0-)

    90% of these G.D. Tea Baggers are suffering from Income Inequality. We should be channeling the populist anger, not the Koch brothers.

  •  they won't (4+ / 0-)

    The Dems will mutter platitudes about "helping the middle class," but all the while their policies serve the corporations which write their checks.  Catfood Commission, anyone?

    Real action to help the middle class will require a huge shift in attitudes in this country, from demonizing government and blaming the poor for their problems to realizing we are a shared society and when we lift the least among us, everyone benefits.  

    Of course, the teabaggers will scream "socialism" and the Dems will cower before the powerful rhetoric of Michele Bachmann and the mendacious Tweets and Face-bookings of Sarah Palin, and the Gini Coefficient will continue its inexorable upward creep until we either accept our roles as peasants or revolt.

    There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

    by puzzled on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 06:46:45 PM PDT

    •  The terms have been skewed. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Garrett, drewfromct, phonegery, puzzled

      The "middle-class", doctors, lawyers, small business owners etc. are doing OK. It's the working-class that needs help. In the consumer/television culture, "working-class" has become a pejorative, unions the enemy. It's kinda' like the Stockholm Syndrome, everybody wants to identify with the upper class, like we all have a chance to be rich someday.  

      •  we are deluding ourselves (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        truong son traveler, Azazello

        into thinking anyone can become rich in America.  We tell our kids if they study, get a good education and work hard they can become rich.  But clapping louder only gets you so far.

        Even as American society has become more unequal and social mobility has declined, the myth of mobility maintains its strength. A recent survey in the New York Times showed that 80 percent of Americans polled believe it is possible for anyone to move from poverty to great wealth. The same question posed in 1983 produced an affirmative answer from less than 60 percent.

        There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast.

        by puzzled on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 07:18:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  With a few exceptions... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    most of the Democrats who were rejected were not helpful for jobs and the economy.  Of course, they were replaced by folks who have no idea what an economy is and were looking for a job.

    50 states, 210 media market, 435 Congressional Districts, 3080 counties, 192,480 precincts

    by TarheelDem on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 07:00:32 PM PDT

  •  What did Jesse have to say that was relevent? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    by McGirk on Thu Nov 04, 2010 at 07:14:23 PM PDT

  •  Not sure I understand this diary. (0+ / 0-)

    I'd kinda like to know what Ventura was saying, why you and he happened to be in the same coffee shop, and how that relates to the rest of this diary.

    As for

    This election was about jobs and the economy. Democrats are better for jobs and the economy. Because of the wrongheadedness, Democrats were unelected.

    while I agree with much of this, 2010 was a off-year, mid-term election, and typically Democrats, and in addition the party holding the office of the president, lose voters and therefore lose seats in Congress in such years. So what happened, while terribly disappointing (particularly as the state of the economy remains nearDepression) the result is hardly surprising.

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