Occupy Wall Street, whatever its future, will always merit praise for placing inequality at the center of our politics. The biggest sign of the Occupiers’ success: Conservatives once stubbornly insisted that inequality wasn’t a problem because the United States was the land of opportunity and upward mobility. Now they are facing the fact that we are by no means the most socially mobile country in the world.But as Dionne himself makes clear in the rest of his column they aren't facing their foundational role in making inequality the catastrophe that it has become.
Paul Krugman reminds us who started it:
So like it or not, we have an election in which one candidate is proposing a redistribution from the top—which is currently paying lower taxes than it has in 80 years—downward, mainly to lower-income workers, while the other is proposing a large redistribution from the poor and the middle class to the top.Robert Reich:
So the next time someone tut-tuts about “class warfare”, remember that the class war is already happening, in real policy—with the top .01 percent on offense.
I’m not letting Democrats off the hook. Democratic candidates are still too dependent on Wall Street casino moguls and real casino magnates (Steve Wynn has been a major contributor to Harry Reid, for example). George Soros and a few others have poured big bucks into Democratic coffers. So have a handful of trade unions.Oliver Burkeman:
But make no mistake. Compared to what the GOP is doing this year, Democrats are conducting a high-school bake sale. The mega-selling of American democracy is a Republican invention, and Romney and the GOP are its major beneficiaries.
And the losers aren’t just Democrats. They’re the American people.
When I ran," Obama [said], "everybody asked 'Well, he can give a good speech, but can he actually manage the job? And in my first two years, I think the notion was, he's been juggling and managing a lot of stuff, but where's the story that tells us where he's going? I think that was a legitimate criticism."Dave Weigel:
Occasionally, a politician's answer is such a perfect case of a Politician's Answer that one has little option but to stand an applaud. The president's biggest error in office? He was just so busy being effective—and not making errors—that he forgot to tell people about it.
It's worth pointing out that this may actually be true: Obama has indeed achieved many things, and many commentators have noted his problems in communicating them properly. [...]
Even so, as a matter of tactics, he probably shouldn't have said it. The truth that politics is about storytelling is taboo, not least because it permits responses like the one Team Romney spewed out within hours: "Being president is not about telling stories. Being president is about leading, and President Obama has failed to lead."
Still, let's pay respect where it's due to a splendid new addition—the best in recent years—to the annals of political humblebragging, the basic rule of which is: when asked to engage in self-criticism, find a way to answer that makes you look pretty darn fantastic
What confounds me about the Bain Capital/Romney story's current iteration is that there's such a long, uncontested record describing Romney's ties to the company through 2002. In the Boston Globe's investigative biography The Real Romney, we get about half a page describing how the company's founder exited in 1999. The Olympics job came through. Bain Capital was worried that a Mitt-less company would fall apart. A hasty deal was struck to keep him on top of the firm's paperwork while he was on leave.Sady Doyle says the traditional media take on an anti-sexist activism to get Seventeen magazine to stop Photoshopping its models distorts the real message of the effort by presenting it as the outcome of one young woman's success instead of a team effort.
So who gave people the idea that Romney had completely severed ties with Bain in February 1999? The Romney campaign!
In 1964, the American people enacted the 24th Amendment, to prevent the exclusion of the poor from the ballot box. In his speech last week at the NAACP convention, U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. wasn't indulging in election-year rhetoric when he condemned Texas' 2011 voter photo identification law as a poll tax that could do just that. He was speaking the hard legal truth.Jeff Madrick:
There are certain periods in our history in which one can only sit back and wonder what the limits of astonishment really are. A couple of years since Dodd-Frank was first passed, we have come through a period of such disrepute for business that one wonders why the working class has not risen as one—except, of course, it is exhausted because efforts at reform seem so futile. We have uncovered many disreputable and perhaps fraudulent business activities, but they essentially represent a failure of government. [...]Peggy Noonan describes what she says is a lack of voter enthusiasm for what she calls this year's "crisis election like 1932 or 1980." And theorizes why. zzzzzzzz
And now we find out LIBOR is incontrovertibly rigged. Some may not realize that Barclays, which agreed to pay a $450 million fine, signed a Statement of Facts that admitted its traders rigged this key rate to make profits on positions, and collaborated with bankers/traders at other banks.
Now we find out that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, while president of the New York Fed, was worried and even wrote British regulators about this. That’s nice. But why didn't government -- and Tim Geithner himself -- actually do something about it? Are government regulators that feckless?