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Finally the subject of income inequality has "trickled" into the national conversation, and we're hearing some robust pundit talk about it post-President Obama's speech  this week. While this is not the first time he has talked about it, the prominence of his speech coinciding with the WSJ's attack on Elizabeth Warren  may have forced national media to stop ignoring it.

It was addressed on This Week with George Stephanopoulos with the usual panelists and surprisingly all but one agreed that income distribution is a national, if not worldwide, problem.

Michael Eric Dyson  of course spoke out eloquently against income inequality, shooting down Mary Matalin's "argument" that corporations should police themselves. "You can't expect private sector to adjust for its own bias when it has prevented people from flourishing." Thanks Mary, your idea is so shopworn there's even a cliche for that, fox guarding the henhouse.

But less expected may have been Matthew Dowd who spoke strongly against income inequality and said there is no "collective" solution (i.e. not strictly government based or private sector based).

Mary Matalin stared at Dyson quizzically and asked "wait, you're trying to tell me that if rich people get more money, it means poor people get less? How does that even work"? Clueless, indeed, who obviously has not read or heard a word about this very well known phenomenon, and indeed is the first lesson in Econ 101 - the pie is the pie and doesn't get any bigger. Just the distribution of the slices changes. In fact, it's so commonly known there's an aphorism for it, Mary. I mean, I can understand willfully refusing to believe it, but never having heard of it? Maybe you don't belong on a national stage if you're not even familiar with the subject matter.

James Carville mentioned a statistic I have not heard before which released in a study this week.  One third of bank tellers are on public assistance. This report got a one line mention in an Evening Blues diary, unlike constant coverage of fast food worker pay. Bank teller has never been a high paid job, but the person could rely on a decent paycheck.  Skilled employees working in the industry that has vacuumed up all the vast wealth and riches for its CEO's, VP's and directors, but can't pay their lowest employees a living wage.

Big banks eating up taxpayer subsidies isn’t a new story. We heard a lot about the hundreds of billions of dollars doled out to Wall Street in the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).  But a new study finds that we’re also subsidizing their profits by keeping their low-wage workforce out of poverty.

Almost a third of the country’s half-million bank tellers rely on some form of public assistance to get by, according to a report due out Wednesday.

Researchers say taxpayers are doling out nearly $900 million a year to supplement the wages of bank tellers, which amounts to a public subsidy for multibillion-dollar banks. The workers collect $105 million in food stamps, $250 million through the earned income tax credit and $534 million by way of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, according to the University of California at Berkeley’s Labor Center.

I think everyone should be paid a living wage, but given that banks who are largely responsible for the financial devastation caused in 2008 and are still sucking up millions and millions from the government while raking in ungodly profits, makes the sting that much worse.

 Carville proposed that banks who have been deemed too big to fail, get assistance in all forms from the government, should by law be required to pay their employees a living wage. Well yes, that's a start and would certainly get the conversation started. How does this conversation not even get touched in the Carville-Matalin household?

And LOL @ Matalin saying "Elizabeth Warren" is a Liberal, like it's a dirty word and she's made some great discovery.

Finally, the topic is starting to break through.  The conversation starts at 3:00 mark. You can see a bigger video here, http://abcnews.go.com/... , I'm just happy to be able to embed at this point.

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Comment Preferences

  •  See USA, 1975-Now Mary. nt (18+ / 0-)

    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 Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:30:09 PM PST

    •  Thanks, it wasn't up yet when I started (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dartagnan, tgypsy, JVolvo, Shockwave, salmo

      the diary this morning. I still can't embed iframes for some reason and have to replace the code into an 'object' code string and I don't really know what I'm doing, llol

      •  The pie is fixed and it's all a zero sum game? (7+ / 0-)

        I have two degrees in economics from really well regarded universities and I learned the exact opposite. There is nothing about the US economy that requires it to be a zero sum game. Economic growth increases the size of the pie. Growing the pie should drive our public policy decisions.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:56:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Matalin's statement was correct. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Keninoakland, VClib

          The diary was wrong about this:

          Mary Matalin stared at Dyson quizzically and asked "wait, you're trying to tell me that if rich people get more money, it means poor people get less? How does that even work"? Clueless, indeed, who obviously has not read or heard a word about this very well known phenomenon, and indeed is the first lesson in Econ 101 - the pie is the pie and doesn't get any bigger. Just the distribution of the slices changes. In fact, it's so commonly known there's an aphorism for it, Mary. I mean, I can understand willfully refusing to believe it, but never having heard of it? Maybe you don't belong on a national stage if you're not even familiar with the subject matter.
          That point in the diary is wrong, and Matalin's point -- that it's not a zero sum game -- was correct.  The goal is economic growth, and making sure that those at the bottom have a better opportunity to share in that growth.   You can certainly disagree with her preferred strategies for doing that, but she was correct to question the suggestion that it is a zero sum game, with a fixed "pie" that doesn't grow.  
          •  Mary was right AND wrong ... (11+ / 0-)

            ... the correct answer is, "not necessarily, it only happens when the system is rigged, as ours has been for the past 30+ years."

            I get a kick every time I hear conservatives talk about the evils of wealth redistribution. Hey, idiots, capitalism is all about redistribution. Every time someone buys or sells a product or service, wealth is redistributed.

            When capitalism is regulated, as it must be, it works. Those who benefit from the labor of others pay taxes, which are used for the "common wealth." Government can also create a situation where workers can collectively bargain for wages and benefits, or pass laws requiring minimum wages, paid vacation time, retirement security, etc.

            Under those circumstances, nearly everyone has enough money to survive with extra to spend, and everyone prospers. Demand and supply are both adequate, and the pie grows.

            But as things stand now - with capitalists operating with very few restraints on excessive profiteering - it's becoming a zero sum game. Productivity is soaring, but those doing all the producing are falling behind. Tax policies are throwing off the normal balance of redistribution, resulting in a massive shift of the nation's wealth to those at the top. How does that even work, Mary? It works when people like you continue pushing the myth that "trickle down" works. We've been trying it for 30 years. It has failed.

            I vote we run Rick Scott out of Florida on a high-speed rail.

            by ObamOcala on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 05:25:38 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think the reasons are more complicated. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Heavy Mettle, VClib
              Productivity is soaring, but those doing all the producing are falling behind. Tax policies are throwing off the normal balance of redistribution, resulting in a massive shift of the nation's wealth to those at the top.
              I think that one of the big, big problems is that unskilled labor is becoming less and less valuable in an economic sense.  That's how productivity comes into play.  Productivity gains are not because people are working harder -- it is because many positions which used to require unskilled labor, or which required only minimal training, are being replaced by capital investments in technology or automation.  Companies that do use unskilled labor to manufacture things are finding it cheaper to send those activities offshore, where labor is cheaper.  

              I think that we're going through an economic upheaval similar to the industrial revolution, this time focused on knowledge and technology -- which are rewarded more and more -- as opposed to labor, which is rewarded less and less, because it's less in demand.  

              •  but you say that (7+ / 0-)

                as if it isn't a policy decision, but some kind of de facto natural reality that doesn't go hand in hand with the top end managing their growing share and the pinch on everyone else.  it is a choice, period, evidenced by that stand still happening for everyone not in the top ten percent, not just the low skilled worker.

                •  No, I say that because it has to do (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib

                  with the economics of running a business (as I'm a part owner of a small business).  

                  Technology to replace workers costs money.  And as a business owner, you have to weigh the cost of the technology against the cost of employees you replace.  When it makes economic sense to replace workers with technology, that's what business will do.  

                  •  What if you say that (4+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Tonedevil, ozsea1, Heavy Mettle, The Idiot

                    as if to obfuscate?

                    To say:

                    as if it isn't a policy decision, but some kind of de facto natural reality
                    has nothing to do with the idea of
                     
                     the economics of running a business
                    in terms of it being a comparison or a demonstration of cause and effect to the situation at hand.

                    And if you run a business, you should be well-aware of the fact that Capitalism is not a natural state of affairs, it is a matter of policy. And whether that policy is set in stone on a local, state or federal level, it absolutely is a choice.

                    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                    by lunachickie on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 07:59:58 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Well, if you are against capitalism (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      VClib

                      as an economic system, there's no further need for discussion.  My comments are premised on the notion that we will operate under a system of regulated capitalism.  If you are not accepting that assumption, then we are never going to find common ground.  

                      •  Of course that's not what I said (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ozsea1, Heavy Mettle, Tonedevil, The Idiot
                        if you are against capitalism
                        I'll have to ask you to please cease obfuscating and ascribing words to people that they did not say in these comments It's rude and it's counter-productive.
                        My comments are premised on the notion that we will operate under a system of regulated capitalism.
                        A system. Just not the system we had in the United States prior to about 1979-1980. Right?

                        Please make yourself clearer.

                        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                        by lunachickie on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:33:05 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

              •  ^^ 'Centrist economics in full view but hey (5+ / 0-)

                thanks for promoting this fail, Ellwood.  

                as opposed to labor, which is rewarded less and less, because it's less in demand.  
                Less demand being that which is engineered by the 1% move away from a regulated unionized economy that benefits all to the one they bought by convincing Congress about the wonders of Globalization -- offshoring jobs and taxable income, buying political influence that benefits the few.... but you knew that.

                We can, and should,  have full employment. Check this out:

                NYTimes

                Jared Bernstein

                December 2, 2013, 12:01 am 32 Comments   
                Paths to Full Employment
                By JARED BERNSTEIN

                Jared Bernstein is a senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington and a former chief economist to Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

                Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

                by divineorder on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:22:26 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Globalization is one reason (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  divineorder, VClib

                  but not the only one.  Globalization is one of the reasons we don't have as many manufacturing jobs.  But there are other unskilled jobs that are being lost to technology -- globalization or no globalization.

                  Bank tellers are the perfect example of that.  We don't have fewer bank tellers because people are moving those jobs overseas.  We have fewer bank tellers because technology means people bank in different ways -- ways that don't involve tellers.

                  It will be the same for fast food workers.  Those jobs can't be sent overseas.  Instead, we'll be using touchscreens to order, replacing some of those workers.  (Some fast food outlets in large amusement parks already have this technology in place.)  In fact, what I suspect we'll see soon is an app on your phone for McD's where when you launch it, it uses GPS to find the nearest McD's, it places the order and charges your credit card or account, and you just drive by and pick it up.  That's how my children -- and all of that generation -- want to do these things.  That has little to do with globalization.

                  This is not something that I'm happy -- or not happy -- about.  It's simply a fact of our world.  And our economic policy needs to be based on that reality.  

                  •  What utter bullshit. Reality ? These changes (4+ / 0-)

                    engineered into the economy, did not appear as a natural course of events. Puhlease.

                    Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

                    by divineorder on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 07:18:08 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  LOL! (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    ozsea1, Heavy Mettle, Tonedevil

                    Wow, you really believe that's the only way Capitalism could possibly work, don't you?

                    That's how my children -- and all of that generation -- want to do these things.
                    Not to mention, how is it you think you speak for an entire generation?
                    It's simply a fact of our world.  And our economic policy needs to be based on that reality.  
                    The very text in your posts often strike me as being as automated as the world you wish to have flesh-and-blood people inhabit, coffeetalk. You, as a responsible Business Owner, have to make a choice if you want to live in a country of over 300 million people, where unnatural constructs of incorporation are more important than living, breathing human beings.

                    There's reality and then there's living with a quality of life that is beneficial to as many as humanly possible. If you continue to artificially (and/or neglectfully, or criminally) shift that much wealth upward and fail to re-regulate the self-eating monster our economic policy has become after key regulation was stripped away from it, you are going to see civil unrest.

                    This has been explained to you repeatedly, yet you persist with this idiotic robotic zombie refrain that capitalism is some sort of natural force. Nobody's economic policy needs to reflect that. It's a choice.
                     

                    This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                    by lunachickie on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:16:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You said above that you do not accept (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      VClib

                      capitalism as a premise, and that's the "policy" decision you decry.  

                      My comments are based on the notion that we operate under a system of regulated capitalism.

                      So that's where the gap is.  And that's why any further discussion between us is useless -- because we are not even staring from the same premise.  

                      •  See my comment above (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ozsea1, Heavy Mettle, Tonedevil

                        and this will be the last time you will lie about what I've said in these comments.

                        When you lie about that, you've demonstrated--not once, but twice--you would rather provide yourself an excuse to evade the facts laid out before you than actually have an honest discussion. There is never "discussion" when one persists in deliberately evading that which is pointed out to them repeatedly. Not when it persists in thread after thread after thread of pretzel-like word-o-rama, constantly shifting away from the actual responsibility of owning your non-arguments. Only endless non-argument.

                        That's just not influential on your part. At all.

                        Sorry, just sayin'.

                        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                        by lunachickie on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:44:21 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  You said you spoke for an entire generation. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Heavy Mettle, Tonedevil

                        See how that works?

                        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                        by lunachickie on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:46:23 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  No, she didn't say she doesn't accept (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Tonedevil, lunachickie

                        capitalism - rampant unfettered capitalism, like we have now - maybe

                        •  That's why I asked for clarity (0+ / 0-)

                          on "what kind of capitalism" she was talking about, or what time period. To be more specific as to whether we were talking about the "fettered" or the "unfettered" variety.

                          No response, of course, along with nothing she was actually asked being addressed. Further, she decided on her own that I said something I clearly never said, and used that fantasy as a way to exit the discussion.

                          It's unfortunate what such repetitive behavior indicates about a person. What is it about the nature of the "willfully-obtuse reaction" which suggests such a reaction can never be clearly seen by others when it's so openly on display? Is it mere hubris?

                          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                          by lunachickie on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 10:28:37 PM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                      •  her perspective is perceived as more flexible (3+ / 0-)

                        yours is much more rigid and ideologically driven.

                        I must observe, counselor, this is not a courtroom, and it's not necessary to argue in a superior tone.

                        this is a discussion, and you of all people should understand the difference.

                        sheesh.

                        “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

                        by ozsea1 on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 09:13:48 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  More regulation, please. More fetters. (0+ / 0-)

                        Teacherken posted a diary pointing to this long article by David Simon, about the divide between rich and poor in America and how capitalism has lost sight of its social compact.

                        That's worth exploring: how to remarry capitalism and the social compact. Obviously, the tax code needs change. Some ideas can be found with B corporations,

                        B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

                        Today, there is a growing community of more than 850 Certified B Corps from 28 countries and 60 industries working together toward 1 unifying goal: to redefine success in business.

                        Business can contribute to and work in partnership with education centers to retrain furloughed employees.

                        On income inequality, Switzerland recently voted on a referendum to limit the salaries of CEOs. The referendum failed this time but the idea isn't going to fade away. Personally, I thought the salary limit in the referendum was too severe; perhaps a more generous limit can be approved.

                        Late night ramblings.

                        “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children” ― Chief Seattle

                        by SoCalSal on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 10:23:25 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                •  Read the article referenced but didn't see (3+ / 0-)

                  solution to the problem of efficiency.  We now use more robots to make cars (just as one example), and thus less need of human workers.  I think what Bernstein referred to as work sharing would be better thought of as a long term solution - i.e., a shorter work week for same or close to same pay.  I think the other necessity is making sure that workers have the necessary skills for whatever jobs there are - which means investing in more effective education - from pre-school on.

          •  No it wasnt (9+ / 0-)

            Because Dyson never said rich people get more money, it means poor people get less?  What he said was the Pie was shrinking for the working poor.
              so if the working poor manage to get 5 % of the economic pie and then it becomes 3.9%, they are getting a smaller portion of that pie.  Now you and Matalin can bring in the argument that more wealth will make that percent 3.9% of the pie for the working poor larger by increasing the pie size but its is still 3.9% of the entire pie.  Yes better to have a bigger pie but it does not solve the unfair portion sizes, And it will not make up for the loss of 1.1% portion of the pie.

            •  Agree. Otherwise you end up with the idiot (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              shopkeeper, Heavy Mettle

              argument that because poor people have refrigerators instead of ice boxes that are really doing so much better and shouldn't complain.  No matter the size of the pie, if you share is smaller, percentage-wise, you are less well off than you would be had your percentage share remained stable.  To argue otherwise would lead to the conclusion that those whose share HAD increased really weren't any better off, and were that the case, then they shouldn't mind being trimmed back to where they were before.

  •  I absolutely do not know (20+ / 0-)

    how those two can stay married to each other.

    I totally could not be married to a person who stands for everything I despise. Just shakin my head and facepalming. Again haha.

    Old Mamasan would certainly be glad to know that Ronnie's gotten past it. I'll tell her the next time I see her. Stephen King, Hearts in Atlantis

    by Rosebuddear on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 02:57:14 PM PST

  •  I hadn't realized that about bank tellers. (16+ / 0-)

    Apparently they have to dress like high paid professionals but  are paid about the same as fast food workers.  At least they don't go home smelling like french fries.  

    I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead

    by fayea on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:01:59 PM PST

  •  Matalan's face and brains have got to be Botoxed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Shockwave

    I mean if she moved her lips an inch more, her face would probably crack. Along with her brains.
    I really don't see how she and Carville can live together without murder.

  •  Portman was disgusting on that show, and Durbin (14+ / 0-)

    didn't even call him out.  And NO ONE mentioned that 40%, that's 40% of Wal-Mart workers are eligible for SNAP and Medicaid.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:10:15 PM PST

  •  Oh dear god, she gets paid to be (22+ / 0-)

    a professional moron! Where do I apply for that gig? I'm willing to try my best to fake it. I can haz be teh moran real good!

    Sure, Mary, the pie does, or at least can, get "bigger", but over the long haul, not day to day. In the short to mid haul, it's basically the same size, so when more of it goes to the rich, by Teh Math everyone else gets less.

    It's like an actual pie, Mary. If you take 7 slices and tell everyone else to split the last slice, how exactly are they to get "more" of the pie? Until the next, hopefully bigger pie arrives, they're stuck with their tiny slice of the last slice.

    Capeesh?!?

    And, if the next pie is indeed bigger, you're just going to take 7 more, now bigger slices, saying that you earned it in the free market of pies. Everyone now gets a slightly larger slice of the remaining slice, but it's still a freaking slice of a slice! So excuse us if we try to get some of the slices you stole.

    My god, people like you are so disgusting.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:10:39 PM PST

  •  I did not learn anything like this in ECON 101. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, Foodle, Sparhawk, SoCalSal
    and indeed is the first lesson in Econ 101 - the pie is the pie and doesn't get any bigger
    .  

    In fact, economic growth -- which is what we all say we want -- IS "growing the pie."

    In fact, the problem is two-fold:  (1) recently, we haven't been growing the pie enough; and (2) when growth has happened, the extra pie has gone disproportionately to those at the top.  

    The best way to narrow the gap is not to stop the expanding of the pie, but to keep it growing AND to provide more opportunity for those at the bottom to get more of the benefit of that growth.  And the problem is determining the best way to provide that opportunity to those at the bottom without slowing or stopping the growth of the pie.  It's on that part -- how to provide that opportunity to those at the bottom without slowing the overall growth of the pie - where economists disagree.  

    •  it was my first lesson in econ 101 macro i think (5+ / 0-)
      •  Then you were poorly taught (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coffeetalk, VClib

        ...because coffeetalk is absolutely correct.  Since you seem so to be so fond of aphorisms as arguments, consider another: A rising tide lifts all boats.

        Now, when a rising tide doesn't lift some boats or a falling tide doesn't drop some other boats, then you've got a real problem.

        •  so (5+ / 0-)

          it looks like we've had a real problem for the last three or four decades, huh?  

          or could it be that maybe economics is not quite the science its practitioners would like to believe it is, "externalities" being the most prime example of some of that black magic.  like a good republican, can't economists just dismiss whatever doesn't fit with their model as an externality?  so when we think of endless growth lifting us all into paradise, can you give me an example of anything else that grows without end?  something tells me that that essential economic model is in dire need of some updating before we've depleted our finite resources with our endless cancer like growth and killed the host and all those rising boats will just be toast.  

      •  Um, maybe find a cite to that? I've seen (3+ / 1-)
        Recommended by:
        Sparhawk, Old Left Good Left, VClib
        Hidden by:
        bluezen

        nothing.  And, in fact, if you google "economics" and "grow the pie" you will find A LOT about economic growth.

        You aren't going to address the issue of the income of those at the bottom by taking money from "the rich" and just giving it to them, for two reasons: (1) as a practical matter, there aren't enough "rich."  If you enact the Buffet Rule, for example, on incomes over $1 million a year, you only generate $3 or $4 billion a year.  That's a rounding error in the federal budget.  (2) As a philosophical matter, our country would not accept it.  Sure, there's a sentiment for taking money from people who just sit back and earn millions from investments -- that's the Buffet Rule.  But, like I said, it raises relatively peanuts.  If you start taking money from people who are actually getting up and going to work every day to earn money to give it to people who don't, this country is going to have a big, big problem with that.  This country has a very strong sentiment that, if you are able to work, you ought to be required to work to support yourself and people shouldn't be giving you money, unless it's as a temporary matter to get you past a particular crisis (like a job loss).

        The key to lessening economic inequality is to (1) continue to grow the pie, and (2) to give those at the bottom the opportunity to be in a position to get more of those gains as the economy grows.  

        •  hr'd for (another) rw talking point: (7+ / 0-)

          "if you start taking money from people who are actually getting up and going to work every day to earn money to give it to people who don't, this country is going to have a big, big problem with that."

          and, as you are so fond of demanding that anyone who disagrees with you cite references to back up their allegations, where are yours for your asshat claim?

          •  I don't think advocating for more and better jobs (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            is a right wing talking point.  Because that's what I am for.  

            I do not think there is a sentiment for just giving people money for not working, if they are capable of supporting themselves -- unless it's to get them through a temporary crisis.  I remember President Clinton's welfare reform and "ending welfare as we know it."  See here for support.

            It's also the reason the Earned Income Tax Credit is popular -- it provides funds to people who work for a living.

            There certainly is a strong sentiment in this country that people who can should have to work for a living.  See here (yes, it's Rasmussen, the first thing that came up when I googled and one of the only recent national polls on the issue).  And the right plays on that -- see the traction they got with the "surfer on food stamps" that made the rounds this fall.  That kind of story rubs most people -- even those who support the government safety net -- the wrong way.

            For some non-scientific type polling, see the poll here and here

            Do you have ANYTHING to counter these polls?  

            Yes, people believe there is too big of an income inequality gap.  And yes, they will say that they want to take from "the rich" (the Buffet Rule).  But I see no sentiment whatsoever for taking from those who work for a living, but make a good income (say, household income of $250,000, which is typically working professional couples or small business owners) to give to people who don't work.  

            The solution for income inequality is going to have to be through making work for the lower end of the economic spectrum pay more, and provide more opportunity for those at the lower end of the economic spectrum to move into jobs that pay more -- in other words, more and better jobs.  

            •  Earned Income Tax Credit should increase by 2,500. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Heavy Mettle, bluezen

              ..per worker, for all workers earning less than 100k a year.  And index it to inflation.

              Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

              by PatriciaVa on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:01:22 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Polls? (4+ / 0-)

              How about reality.

              When the nation was growing, you could give someone 40 acres a mule. Now, big agriculture runs the entire agriculture system. You can't make a living by being a modest family farmer anymore.

              Retail? When I grew up, there were millions of small stores. WalMart killed them.

              Manufacturing? Reagan killing the unions pretty much killed that as a way of life.

              So as we as a society 'advance' (and I use the term loosely) to where massive systems take over day to day jobs, just what jobs do you think are out there?

              Building a house? That goes to undocumented workers because builders refuse to pay living wages to even put together houses. It would hurt their profit margin.

              Maybe if our crappy news paid more attention to how large corporations are destroying the Middle Class, the polls might be different. But as long as we have faux-dems talking magical economics, Republicans saying outright lies, and a corporate media that is more concerned about making sure ADM pays commercial time, 'polls' will continue to show that people 'need to stop being lazy and just work'.

              •  As I said above, I think (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                SoCalSal, VClib

                we are going through an economic transition like the industrial revolution.  Because of technology, unskilled labor is becoming less valuable.  And, because of globalization, it's cheaper for many companies to do manufacturing in countries where labor is cheapest.  That's not going to change in the immediate future.  

                We are more and more rewarding knowledge and specialized skills -- especially technological skills -- over unskilled labor.  Look at the unemployment rates by education, for example.

                 So, I agree that it is becoming less and less the case that you can turn 18 with no specific skills, and simply work hard, and get into the middle class.  More and more, you need a marketable skill PLUS hard work.  

                Any economic change is not pretty, and we need to mitigate for the people who are being most by the transition. But we also need to be planning for the economy we will have, rather than the one we had 30 or 50 years ago.

                •  Sorry to be snide... (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Heavy Mettle, bcat, bluezen

                  But I can think of no way to respond to this without being so.

                  Humans can't change. Try as some of my kinfolk might, they ain't never gonna be in that 'knowledge/skilled base workforce'.

                  Our society actually had a method of taking care of them in years past. They worked their asses off fixing cars, sewing, being nurses aides, etc. They did not want to live in a giant house and drive a Mercedes. They just wanted to live.

                  Today, thanks to thinking like yours, our society has nothing for them. And our political leaders dismiss them because their campaign contributors want a cheap labor force. (Well, they don't really dismiss them, we have the likes of Reagan that started the whole meme of lazy blacks taking the money from hard working whites. Despite the fact that more whites are on welfare than blacks.)

                  If ADM takes over agriculture, why shouldn't they pay the percentage of farm workers for lost wages? You seem to think that this is normal and OK for a corporation to kill the employment of an entire sector of our economy. I think it is destructive to our nation. And the food they put out is killing our nation, but that is beside the point.

                  Our government and our economy should be about making sure our people live happy lives. Not about an economic model.

                  •  I agree, that in the economic (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    SoCalSal, VClib

                    transition, government needs to play a role in mitigating things for the people who are going to be hurt - -and like any transition, there are people who are going to be hurt.  The safety net is just for that.  

                    What I am saying is that we can't pretend that we are going to "fix" things by going back to an economy that isn't going to exist any more.  We need to plan to train our workforce for the economy that will exist 10 years from now, not the one that existed 30 years ago.  And 10 years from now, there simply isn't going to be as much demand, or as many jobs in this country, for what economists call unskilled labor.  We have to be forward thinking and plan for how to address that when we formulate economic policy.  

                  •  ^^^^This lays it all out there perfectly ^^^^ (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bluezen

                    Very well stated, thank you.

                    Do we want to have a healthy society or is raking in the cash all we should strive to be about?

                    “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela

                    by bcat on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 12:58:12 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  you realize, don't you, that we know when (0+ / 0-)

              you're trying to avoid a subject by changing it. that tactic might work for the few here on dkos who have long learning curves and/or aren't familiar with your history, but not for those of us who have interacted with you on numerous occasions & know you for the disingenuous tool you are.

              you know very well that the rw talking point you repeated was the exact same one (almost verbatim) rand paul used on yesterday's faux newz's sunday gasbag show -- that unemployment benefits encourage a culture of dependency -- & invoking bill clinton's name in a pathetic attempt to link/defend it is laughable in its absurdity. is that really the best you can come up with?

              you claim there is strong sentiment in the country for people to work for a living -- & there is equally strong sentiment (76%, according to msnbc) in favor of extending unemployment benefits, too.

              as for "taking from the rich" (boo-fucking-hoo) -- another favorite rw talking point -- the democratic proposal is to raise taxes on incomes over $250K 2.5%, whereas whiners like you & the maria bartelomo's of the world complain that teachers making $30K a yr are ripping off taxpayers -- !! -- wow. how fucked up is that logic! but then, that's what you seem to specialize in.

              you ask for proof to counter your claims about unemployment benefits . . .

              http://useconomy.about.com/...

              enjoy.

          •  What? You have no sense of history! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Heavy Mettle, divineorder, bluezen

            President Bush "Made the Pie Higher" and everyone benefited!

            Well, except for the decline in average wages for everyone.

            Decrease in job security.

            Decrease in pensions.

            Rapid rising cost of healthcare.

          •  Didn't HR but that's exactly what it was. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Heavy Mettle, bluezen

            Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

            by divineorder on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:29:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  There is a palpable sense of impending crisis (7+ / 0-)

    in society. We are in many ways the 19th Century with cell phones. Massive inequality, workers at subsistence levels and worse, overwhelming upper class propaganda and manipulation, a remarkable resurgence of hierarchy and intensifying workplace rules, such that even wealthy individuals have started to think that we are facing some kind of revolution. Things that cannot go on, don't. I have no idea what kind of events will trigger the cataclysm, but I have a sense of foreboding. Perhaps we will elect a transformative President like FDR who will save capitalism from itself. That would be the happiest scenario. FDR had a huge Congressional majority to help him though. Oy veh.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:32:54 PM PST

  •  And Matalin is a "moderate" Repug (4+ / 0-)

    She doesn't get it. The poor and low income and anyone else other than Tea Baggers and the 1% do get it.  

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 03:36:04 PM PST

  •  I was a bank teller 25 yrs ago... (14+ / 0-)

    (Wow, am I really that old!), I was only part-time, but they made me, believe it or not, take health insurance even though I was insured through my Father still as a college student. The full timers I worked w/had incredible benefits, pensions, 401k, etc and were well paid. When I quit to get married, I was making around $10 an hr(remember, 22yrs ago), two weeks paid vacation, time and a half pay for Saturdays! (Closing time Saturday was 12:30)
    Six years ago I decided to re-enter the work force & applied to many banks(in fact, including same one I left). I had many offers, none would give full-time, top offer was $9/hr, regular pay for Saturday(Closing time of 3:00) of course & one bank actually had a branch in a grocery store they wanted me to work at on SUNDAY!  Ummmm, no thanks. And as another commentor mentioned, you have to dress up, wear hose, etc on this limited salary.  
    My point is bank teller used to be a high paying, prestigious job they have now turned into poverty wages like so many others. AND you are handling LOTS of money, lots of responsibility for now crappy wages and crappy hours.

    •  Wow! the actual unadjusted pay has gone down! (0+ / 0-)

      Over 2 decades. The problem in a nutshell.

    •  Bank tellers are one of those jobs that are (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, VClib

      going away.  Few people actually do much banking in person any more, and that trend is only going to increase.  

      It's not a very good example, because it's a job being replaced more and more with automation and the internet.  So it's becoming less and less economically valuable to a bank (the employer).  

      •  I've physically walked into a bank... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib

        ...twice in the last two years: both times were to draw a money order for wedding gifts because I don't keep a checkbook (consider it outdated).

        Bank teller is an entry level job. It's a good job to have while you develop some technical expertise to eventually get another job.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 04:57:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  It actually illustrates the problem perfectly (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mickT

        of why jobs are 'going away' and wages have not kept up. There couldn't be a better one

        •  But you can't remedy that with something (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib, nextstep

          like a minimum wage increase.  If you make bank tellers more expensive, you will only see fewer of them, as it will make more and more economic sense for the banks to invest in more and more technology to replace them.  

          •  yes, you can (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Heavy Mettle, mickT, bcat

            first, by just upward pressure on all wages, but then with more policy that rewards actually creating and maintaining living wage jobs and punishing job elimination or off shoring.  all of these are policy choices, just like the other side of endlessly rewarding corporations and the wealthy for doing nothing other than working for themselves.

            •  None of that will save bank teller jobs. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              They are being lost to technology and other forms of banking beside walking into a bank.  

              And the more expensive you make them, the fewer you will have, because economically, it makes sense to invest in more technology if tellers get more and more expensive.  

              That's why I said it's not a good example.

              •  i get what you're saying (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Heavy Mettle

                but i also believe that making keeping jobs, and particularly better paying jobs, a policy objective through tax incentives and the like, instead of allowing them to be replaced by technologies, is absolutely doable.  you might be right that teller jobs might be the bad example, but maybe not, since these are choices that need to be made.  either we decide that jobs are important or we don't and somewhere we need to actually make that choice and incentivize it or we're going to ultimately choose to replace nearly all jobs with technology ultimately.

                •  You can't replace all jobs with technology (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  VClib

                  Of course, people need to create and monitor the technology.  The situation creates demand for different skills -- more knowledge, for example, and less labor.

                  And some jobs -- especially service jobs -- are not going to be replaced with technology in the foreseeable future.  

                  You can't get technology to give you a haircut, for example.

                  But I think it's foolish to believe that you can somehow stop the trend to replace some jobs with technology.  I think the jobs in fast food restaurants for example, will be dwindling.  You'll still need some workers (at least in the foreseeable future) but I expect that in five years a lot of outlets will replace workers with touchscreen ordering.  And I'm not sure how any government policy is going to prevent that.  It's basic economics for businesses.  As workers become more expensive, and technology becomes less expensive, it makes economic sense to replace one with the other.  Same with jobs like bank tellers.  

                  How do you think government can stop that kind of thing from happening?  It can help in some areas, and it can mitigate some, but government is not going to be able to stop businesses from replacing unskilled workers with technology where it makes economic sense for them to do that.

                  Government needs to make economic policy with that reality in mind..  

                  •  hard to see how tecnhology can be less (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Tonedevil

                    expensive than a minimum wage worker with no benefits. I'm sure the depreciation etc structured into the tax code helps though

                    •  Depreciation only allows a business to deduct (0+ / 0-)

                      the actual cost of an investment over its useful life. On a cash basis the investment, say in new technology, is made in year one, so the cash has been spent. All depreciation allows is for the actual cost to be deducted from revenue for tax purposes over a period of time. From time to time Congress allows the depreciation to be taken faster, but it doesn't change the underlying fact that all it ever does is allow a business to deduct the actual cost of an investment in a building, equipment, or technology. Wages paid to an employee are also one other category of business expense and deductible from revenues to determine taxable income.

                      "let's talk about that"

                      by VClib on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 11:05:45 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  HM - it all depends on how expensive is the labor (0+ / 0-)

                      and this is where higher minimum wages play into the equation, and how inexpensive is the technology? Touch screen ordering will soon be economical for fast food and will become universal with any significant increase in the minimum wage.

                      "let's talk about that"

                      by VClib on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 11:25:10 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  I believe Germany is an example of this approach (0+ / 0-)

              Their economy is at or near the top and they enjoy a very good standard of living

              “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Nelson Mandela

              by bcat on Mon Dec 09, 2013 at 01:09:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Wow! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Heavy Mettle, SoCalSal

      I'm paid eight an hour for a combination of computer-based QA, parcel packing, and hard labor. Ten an hour is more than the full-time W2 employees make (I'm technically a temp though I've worked for the company full-time for almost 2 years and consistently get remarks on my reliability).

      "But there's one thing that gives every Marine the willies, and anyone saying otherwise is a liar. Drop pods. That shit is terrifying, son."

      by Shaviv on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 08:55:29 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The people who make our drugs and need (0+ / 0-)

        to have all kinds of licensing and pass tests (pharmacy workers) and know nearly as much as pharmacists, make $10/hr

        •  To become a licensed pharmacist (0+ / 0-)

          requires obtaining a PharmD degree which is a four year post graduate course of training, which in most cases requires eight years of college or university education. It would be hard to imagine that pharmacy technicians have the same level of medical training as PharmDs. Pharmacy technicians make about $30K a year, or nearly $15/hr, while pharmacy assistants, which require much less technical training and aren't certified, make about $10/hr.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 11:17:58 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  HM - only pharmacists can "make" drugs (0+ / 0-)

          Pharmacy technicians and pharmacy assistants are an important part of the retail pharmacy business, but only a licensed pharmacist can actually "make" a drug. There is a fair amount of custom drug production that is done, and it varies a great deal by pharmacy, but only a licensed pharmacists can do it by law.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 11:29:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm not surprised... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heavy Mettle, PatriciaVa, Bluefin

    Mary Matalin lives in a rightwing hot-house; she's unaccustomed to vigorous debate over issues of inequality. She spends all her time with republicans or corporatist hacks like her hubby(and his patrons, the Clintons).

    Given her surroundings, her stupidity makes sense.
    It's hard to hear the cries of the poor over the clinking of champagne flutes.

    •  Given median wage growth over the past seven.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dclawyer06, Heavy Mettle, Bluefin

      ...years, I can't see the Dems nominating someone so closely associated with the Old Guard, the reactionary, intransigent wing of the Democratic Party.

      The more we discuss income and wealth inequality, the more likelihood that we nominate someone like Mayor Castro.

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

      by PatriciaVa on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:04:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like the Castro brothers(from TX)... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Heavy Mettle, PatriciaVa

        but I hear the one in Congress is an austerian. They are young, and shouldn't be conflated, but I hope they get right on pocketbook issues.

        I want to support them.

      •  Patricia - has anyone ever been nominated (0+ / 0-)

        for president from the post of mayor? Rudy tried and failed and he was the 911 mayor of the biggest city in the US. I think the Castro brothers both have great futures in Democratic politics, but I wonder how far they can leap frog the historical progression of American politics?

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 11:20:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Good post but got the size of pie a bit.. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annominous, Heavy Mettle, divineorder, Val

    ..wrong.

    In fact that non-variable pie size (ignores growth) is exactly what the "conservatives" argue especially; the Norquists types..

    Clueless, indeed, who obviously has not read or heard a word about this very well known phenomenon, and indeed is the first lesson in Econ 101 - the pie is the pie and doesn't get any bigger. Just the distribution of the slices changes
    ..and one of the fear bases distortions in their "redistribution of wealth bullshit narrative -

    "There's a limited amount of wealth and the poor want to steal our wealth" - by making the top income earners pay their fair share of taxes (or any at all some conservatives claim - e.g. taxes are for the "little people")

    What would be a better approach - imo - is to point to the primary distribution of wealth as explained by Jarod Bernstein @ CBPP; the skimming off the top dome by the 1%ers that ensures they take the lions share of production.

    Robert Reich exposes some 1%er tax tricks:

    Just a quick tutorial on how to skim (or shovel) profits at taxpayers expense while the American worker involuntarily take the risk that a real entrepreneur would be taking on.

  •  And an energy tax would make the poor, poorer (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heavy Mettle, VClib

    One uphsot from this debate is that a CarbonTax / CapAndTrade are off the table.

    No Dem pol who wants to keep his job would dare propose a policy that will exacerbate income inequality.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 05:58:54 PM PST

  •  I say the wealthy (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heavy Mettle

    have a big spoon and are eating out of the middle of the pie and the poor are nibbling at the crust.

    one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right. MLK

    by Klick2con10ue on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:34:53 PM PST

  •  I'm pretty sure that it works (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heavy Mettle

    the way it does when the Wealthy RIG the System
    for their own Benefit.

    We have the Best Government that Money can BUY.

    Unfortunately, WE Don't OWN It.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Sun Dec 08, 2013 at 06:51:28 PM PST

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