Yes, by all means, let’s talk about income inequality

posted at 10:01 am on December 8, 2013 by Jazz Shaw

I’m not sure exactly when the phrase “income inequality” crept into the US political lexicon, but it’s clearly here to stay… at least for a while. You’ve been hearing it a lot these days, from Bill de Blasio and Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren and even the Pope. Never being one to miss a chance to talk about anything except Obamacare, even the President has promised to make the issue his next in a long series of pivots.

Weakened by problems with his health-care initiative, President Obama turned back to the economy last week to rebalance his presidency with a speech about income inequality. He said he would devote much of his remaining time in office to the issue, calling it the “defining challenge of our time.” The bigger issue is how much he can or will do about it…

Obama has talked about the issue before. His advisers can draw a direct line from his speech in Osawatomie, Kan., in December 2011 through the 2012 campaign, when he made middle-class concerns the centerpiece of his message against Mitt Romney. Jon Favreau, one of his former speechwriters, said in an e-mail that those same themes were part of his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. But he has rarely been as direct or as pointed about the problem as he was at a community center in Southeast Washington last week.

Yes, Barack Obama is jumping on the income inequality bandwagon. He’s even gone so far as to recently say that it threatens the American dream. So is this a problem? Of course it is. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum it’s impossible to deny that there are far too many people among the working class who aren’t earning enough to enjoy the dream of prosperity which America has typically embodied. The real question – and one of the defining schisms between the two major political parties – is what to do about it. But to really wrap our heads around the question it’s important to understand the widely differing approaches supported by liberals and conservatives and the core cause of the problem.

You don’t have to look far to see the “solutions” being pushed by the progressive arm of American politics, and they are plans which tie directly into their definition of what’s wrong with the system in the first place. The problem, to hear them describe it, is that there are a relative handful of greedy rich people who are keeping everyone else down. Their plans to address this situation fall essentially into two basic categories, each involving the guiding hand of a giant, benevolent government. The first prong of this two tine fork is to have the government force employers give everyone a huge pay raise.

But since that won’t do enough to directly punish those sneering, snarling Fat Cats at the top of the ladder, they also want to do more – a lot more – to take away as much money from the highly successful as possible. If we could only manage that, they say, the gulf between High and Low would be significantly closed. This need to punish those who have risen high is demonstrated in the Washington Post article referenced above in a quote from Democrat pollster Geoff Garin.

“There is certainly a very deep feeling of resentment about the privileges that the people at the very top enjoy and that we have a system that is geared to gilding the lily to people at the top, as opposed to rewarding hard work and effort by middle-class and working-class Americans,” he said. “I think there is a deep desire in the country to unstack the deck economically.”

And how do progressives plan to “fix” this portion of the problem? The answer is as old as politics. We’ll simply keep raising taxes on those who have more until equality is achieved.

Conservatives, however, see the situation in different terms, starting with what’s causing the income level disparity in the fist place. There are less people earning enough money to advance and live the American dream to be sure. But it’s because the economy is staggering under poor management. This is not advanced mathematics, folks. We keep producing more people every generation (the US population hasn’t seen an actual decline since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic), but there are not enough job openings requiring workers to keep up with the supply. Since employers have long lines of people waiting to fill any vacancy, there is no incentive to crank up wages and benefits. It’s simple supply and demand.

If you implement policies which stimulate growth and allow the economy to flourish, demand for workers rises and employers have to compete for the best employees. But if you seek to adjust society yet again by putting the government’s thumb on the scale, you’ll get pretty much more of what we’re seeing today. And that’s because the government is just so darned good at tinkering with the private sector. (See: health care and energy among others.) There is a solution to income inequality, but it’s not in the proposals coming from Obama and company.


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Here’s a solution: Enforce our immigration laws.

myiq2xu on December 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

If you implement policies which stimulate growth and allow the economy to flourish

At least the leftists have specifics: Raise the minimum wage, tax the crap out of the rich.

Why not you, Jazz? How about rolling back regulation to 1983 levels? Passing the Fair Tax. Pass an actual budget in DC. Repeal Øbamacare. Send Mike Lee’s BBA to the states for ratification.

Kafir on December 8, 2013 at 10:12 AM

link

MP SIMON HUGHES: There is no doubt that the Prime Minister, in many ways, has achieved substantial success. There is one statistic, however, that I understand is not challenged, and that is that, during her 11 years as Prime Minister, the gap between the richest 10 per cent. and the poorest 10 per cent. in this country has widened substantially. At the end of her chapter of British politics, how can she say that she can justify the fact that many people in a constituency such as mine are relatively much poorer, much less well housed and much less well provided for than they were in 1979? Surely she accepts that that is not a record that she or any Prime Minister can be proud of.

PRIME MINISTER MARGARET THATCHER: People on all levels of income are better off than they were in 1979. The honorable Gentleman is saying that he would rather that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich. That way one will never create the wealth for better social services, as we have. What a policy!

aunursa on December 8, 2013 at 10:13 AM

My neighbor has a camper trailer and I don’t…

What’s up with that?
/

Electrongod on December 8, 2013 at 10:13 AM

What? The Lily Ledbetter Act doesn’t do what they thought it would?

Shocker.

There is certainly a very deep feeling of resentment about the privileges that the people at the very top enjoy

Its not a privilege if they pay for it. Its not resentment either, by the way. Its called “incentive”.

You want a 50′ Prevost motor home and an elevator in your garage but the head french fry position at McDonalds doesn’t pay well enough to support that dream?

Don’t worry….Obama will take care of that.

BobMbx on December 8, 2013 at 10:14 AM

The obozo’s lavish vacations and parties belie any concerns that the obozo’s have about inequality or anyone other than themselves. They are pure scum.

Flange on December 8, 2013 at 10:16 AM

There is a solution to income inequality

–Jazz

Nope. In a free economy, the bottom is zero and there is no top. A healthy and growing economy has ever richer people at the top. And a lot of people will always gather at zero.

There is certainly a very deep feeling of resentment about the privileges that the people at the very top enjoy

–Not Jazz

The answer is to stop being envious. Envy, the vice, the character flaw, the sin. Also, what people are enjoying at the top are not “privileges” they are things they have every right to enjoy. Calling it a privilege is calling it something suffered or allowed.

Axe on December 8, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Conservatives, however, see the situation in different terms, starting with what’s causing the income level disparity in the fist place. There are less people earning enough money to advance and live the American dream to be sure. But it’s because the economy is staggering under poor management. This is not advanced mathematics, folks. We keep producing more people every generation (the US population hasn’t seen an actual decline since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic), but there are not enough job openings requiring workers to keep up with the supply. Since employers have long lines of people waiting to fill any vacancy, there is no incentive to crank up wages and benefits. It’s simple supply and demand.

If you implement policies which stimulate growth and allow the economy to flourish, demand for workers rises and employers have to compete for the best employees. But if you seek to adjust society yet again by putting the government’s thumb on the scale, you’ll get pretty much more of what we’re seeing today. And that’s because the government is just so darned good at tinkering with the private sector. (See: health care and energy among others.) There is a solution to income inequality, but it’s not in the proposals coming from Obama and company.

A good part of the problem is that there are a lot of people in this county who cannot provide value to their employers commensurate with a wage (or a raise). In the case of many “working class” or Middle class jobs, the key is that the employee needs to provide work that is valuable enough to make the employer want to keep that employee. People in middle class positions have to compete globally, against hungry people who are willing to work harder and longer than the “9-5″ traditional American office style. The internet allows employers to reach out and tap these off short labor resources more and more.

What we’re seeing is a rebalancing of the American economy — we rode high on the hog for a very long time as a result of our victory in WWII (and the fact that all of our competition was destroyed). After the industrialized world rebuilt, we started to run into economic problems and stagnation. Now, we are affirmatively competing with other nations trying to industrialize.

But, we’ve had it so good for so long, that we have multiple generations who are affected by normalcy bias. They expect a certain standard of living because their family had it. The idea that you need to compete against the twenty-something year old in India, who would gladly do your job for 50 cents an hour (and work 18 hours a day as well) is not something that has been internalized by the middle class. Far easier to blame the “rich”.

Revenant on December 8, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Oh, one more thing.

He’s pretty much at the top regarding “privilege”. Granted, a lot of it comes with the office and is required for reasons of security and sovereignty.

But the only folks who golf more than him get paid to do it.

Just sayin’.

BobMbx on December 8, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Jazz, I don’t think the president is talking about the middle class when he talks about income equality but rather he has the unskilled/low skilled poor, mostly black and Hispanic poor in mind. The president is a racist who views US society and Western culture as unjust, unfair, and successful only because they’ve raped the resources of the rest of the world.

So it isn’t just the evil rich who must be taxed to level incomes, it’s also the mostly white middle class. He is under the impression that he can tax people’s incomes without a corresponding reduction in the activity required to earn enough income to be taxed. People will work less as taxes go up to confiscatory levels.

The biggest cause of income inequality is a lack of skills. Unfortunately that us a permanent condition as not all men are created equal in terms of skills, talent, intelligence, motivation, and the sheer will required to get ahead. Income inequality is part of the human condition and only havoc can result from government retrying to “solve” this problem.

I think the problem will only get worse as more manual tasks are automated further reducing job opportunities.

The federal government is not a social services organization and income inequality is not a problem they should be trying to solve outside simply improving the conditions required for our economy to thrive.

Charlemagne on December 8, 2013 at 10:19 AM

Minimum income = Zero,

Maximum Income = ever increasing.

Therefore income inequality is ever increasing.

Dasher on December 8, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Coming form the guy who has always spent OTHER PEOPLES MONEY.

spit.

RealMc on December 8, 2013 at 10:23 AM

If Axe eats a pb&j then I get one for me.

/alfalfa commie sprouts

SparkPlug on December 8, 2013 at 10:23 AM

To be fair this isn’t anything new. Remember the 1 percent?

The most glaring fix to income problems is education-and no I am not saying spend more money. In fact, I think we can spend less money.

Do note that we guarantee everyone an education through high school and just about everyone except the rich can obtain federal assistance or loans for education after high school. You cannot expect to make a decent buck without a skill or a quality degree.(Well except for some educational related jobs.)

For most that are having issues with income they simply need to look in the mirror. You were given the opportunity and what did you do with it?

CWchangedhisNicagain on December 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Some extra reading:
Income inequality has increased more under Obama than under Bush.

Obama has actually redistributed wealth from the middle class to the very richest more than Bush.

————
Obama Prosecuting Fewer Financial Crimes Than Under Reagan or Either Bush

albill on December 8, 2013 at 10:26 AM

Soooo, wait, if these rich people are greedy, what would stop them from firing people from their businesses and personal staffs when the progressives raise their cost of doing business in the form of higher taxes? Or higher minimum wage, for that matter.

What world do they live in???

I have an acquaintance who owns 4 McDonald’s franchises. When the People’s Republic of California forced him to raise wages, he didn’t have to fire anyone (but would have when it dented his bottom line). Since employee turnover is high in a business like McD’s, when a couple of kids quit, he just didn’t hire anyone to take their place and makes his employees do more with less people. What is odd, especially in light of the move to unionize fast food workers is that no one works harder than he does in any of his franchises.

Sven Pook on December 8, 2013 at 10:28 AM

How come all these people who talk about income inequality, such as Obama, manage to keep and hold on to and grow their income with such alacrity? Think if they were really “concerned” they’d hire people, or give away their own cash. Why is it they have to take from others in order to solve the problem? I loathe them.

coldwarrior on December 8, 2013 at 10:29 AM

He is under the impression that he can tax people’s incomes without a corresponding reduction in the activity required to earn enough income to be taxed. People will work less as taxes go up to confiscatory levels.

Charlemagne on December 8, 2013 at 10:19 AM

The left knows the more people are hurting the more they are needed.

CWchangedhisNicagain on December 8, 2013 at 10:29 AM

I should have said “needed” .

CWchangedhisNicagain on December 8, 2013 at 10:29 AM

no one works harder than he does in any of his franchises.

Sven Pook on December 8, 2013 at 10:28 AM

That is typical…

but hey he has enough money./

CWchangedhisNicagain on December 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Being on an equal “standard-of-living” with all of those persons around you IS NOT A ‘RIGHT’.

listens2glenn on December 8, 2013 at 10:35 AM

“There is certainly a very deep feeling of resentment about the privileges that the people at the very top enjoy…”

Back before the secularists banned superstitious beliefs I seem to recall there was an ancient religious manual with a list of suggestions or guidelines that included something about not “coveting” your neighbor’s house or anything else belonging to him.

Probably not even in print these days.

Drained Brain on December 8, 2013 at 10:35 AM

no one works harder than he does in any of his franchises.

Sven Pook on December 8, 2013 at 10:28 AM

That is typical…

but hey he has enough money./

CWchangedhisNicagain on December 8, 2013 at 10:30 AM

If you want it easy, disposable money and disposable time, under no circumstances work for yourself. :)

Axe on December 8, 2013 at 10:36 AM

The lefts solution is to make everyone poorer. The rights solution is to make everyone wealthier. The lefts solution fails because I take my money elsewhere which only makes the poor more poor. The theft, I mean, redistribution game simply does not work. So the left calls me greedy. Sticks and stones or something.

Ellis on December 8, 2013 at 10:37 AM

If Axe eats a pb&j then I get one for me.

/alfalfa commie sprouts

SparkPlug on December 8, 2013 at 10:23 AM

Here’s two, in zip-locks. You know who get’s the second. Also this tangelo. She loves those.

Now I have to go back to work to pay for this. Tangelos don’t just grow on trees, you know.

Axe on December 8, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Calling income inequality “the defining challenge of our time” is mindless drivel that sounds right only to left wing morons. The real defining challenge of Americans at least is to live free and without hindrance to opportunity by an incompetent & non-transparent government headed by a pathological say-anything-to-get-it-passed liar.

Chessplayer on December 8, 2013 at 10:42 AM

As much as progressives try they will never change the laws of economics.

Ellis on December 8, 2013 at 10:42 AM

I’m not sure exactly when the phrase “income inequality” crept into the US political lexicon, but it’s clearly here to stay… at least for a while.

Why call it income equality? Because “loot the rich and reward the parasites of society” is too wordy even if more accurate.

Happy Nomad on December 8, 2013 at 10:45 AM

Here’s a solution: Enforce our immigration laws.

myiq2xu on December 8, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Exactly! It is the craziest typical of the left that they want to whine about there being too many poor people and at the same time demand that we invite even more poor people into America.

My answer to this entire issue is just to state that I support income diversity. I’ve been having much fun with that phrase with my leftard Facebook friends.

thuja on December 8, 2013 at 10:46 AM

He could start with the government, you know.

Yes…I’d fully support the POTUS and the orange hair lady at DMV making the same salary and having the same privileges.

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough 747s available. Since Obama doesn’t have enough for everyone, he has to give up his.

Equality and all that.

BobMbx on December 8, 2013 at 10:46 AM

“income inequality”

Bullshit by any other name is still bullshit.

Along with “economic justice” and “educational justice”.

Translation: “We’ll take money from you and buy the votes of others, all in the name of ‘fairness’.”

GarandFan on December 8, 2013 at 10:47 AM

I agree wholeheartedly! Let’s lower the typical government employee’s income – including medical, retirement, vacation, cars, and other perks – to the same level as a typical non-government employee at the same level.

When can we start?

Wino on December 8, 2013 at 10:47 AM

It’s SOP for the progressives to promote and advance divisions in society for their own political gains. They, in effect, will astroturf issues in order to use them to promote their agenda and gain political support.

‘Income inequality’ is the latest astroturfed / self-created class, race, gender, and now income efforts to divide the country and promote their intellectually, ethically, fiscally, and morally bankrupt agenda.

Throughout history, as similar partisans attempted to promote income inequality as a meme, what their policies have done is not bring the ‘poor’ up to the middle class – but drive all but the very rich, and in particular the middle class into poverty (the lowest common denominator). This has the added value of placing more and more in a key point of dependence on the government as its benefactor and savior.

Barack Obama remains fixated on his efforts of ‘fundamental change’ – to fix what he still sees is an unfair, unjust system embodied within an unfair, unjust country. This is just the latest pivot – and appeal to his hard left base.

Athos on December 8, 2013 at 10:48 AM

income inequality

Code words. Dog whistle.

Mimzey on December 8, 2013 at 10:48 AM

Let’s talk about the income inequality between those who work in government, and its derivatives such as the public schools, and the rest of us, who also are held accountable for our responsibilities. That’s one income inequality that the Dems are loathe to touch on.

paul1149 on December 8, 2013 at 10:49 AM

The average federal employee is compensated in the top 5% of all American households.

The D.C. suburbs make up 10 of the top 15 richest counties in America. Including spots 1,2 & 3. In 2000, they only had 3.

The DC area has greatest income gaps of the entire US.

It’s striking to see the top 5% agitating the lower classes to give them more power so they can take wealth, and keep, wealth from the top 1%.

p0s3r on December 8, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Equal outcomes, not equal opportunity. Obama’s in deep kimchee, and he’s trotting out the community organizer act to rally his underachieving, low-information supporter base. Barry, your socialist economic policies are keeping them down.

Funny how we don’t hear this nonsense when the job market is good and the labor participation rate is high.

Philly on December 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM

You’ve been hearing it a lot these days, from Bill de Blasio and Hillary Clinton to Elizabeth Warren and even the Pope.

Maybe the Pope should read his own catechism:

Envy is a capital sin. It refers to the sadness at the sight of another’s goods and the immoderate desire to acquire them for oneself

St. Augustine saw envy as “the diabolical sin.” “From envy are born hatred, detraction, calumny, joy caused by the misfortune of a neighbor, and displeasure caused by his prosperity.”

kcewa on December 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM

“There is certainly a very deep feeling of resentment about the privileges that the people at the very top enjoy and that we have a system that is geared to gilding the lily to people at the top, as opposed to rewarding hard work and effort by middle-class and working-class Americans,” he said. “I think there is a deep desire in the country to unstack the deck economically.”

Talk to your boss and his DC elites and union thugs, first, before you pontificate. How does taking away my hard earned pay and giving it to someone make both of us feel better? If anything it creates more resentment, which is what Obama wants,after he is a community agitator.

jaywemm on December 8, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Income disparity is the biggest nothingburger in political history. Now, how the poor live and are treated…that has meaning. But the difference between the rich and the poor is simply whipping up envy and resentment.

Income disparity is at near historical lows. Know how I know that? Because you and I don’t have servants.

Even when I was a kid in the Sixties, we had maids. And we were middle middle class.

S. Weasel on December 8, 2013 at 10:51 AM

As much as progressives try they will never change the laws of economics.

Ellis on December 8, 2013 at 10:42 AM

KIRK: We’ve got to solve this income inequality problem.

SCOTTY: I can’t change the laws of economics.

MCCOY: I’m a doctor, Jim. Not an economist.

aunursa on December 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM

ok, mr obama, how about the $1.7 billion you spent for your vacations. does that count? seems pretty unequal to me.

jlw on December 8, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Worker bees and ants don’t envy or resent the queen.

BobMbx on December 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM

Maybe I missed it but there was no mention in this post about QE 111. Wall Street has benefited greatly from the infusion of(85 Billion dollars a month) money from the Federal Reserve.The interest rates are kept low so middle class people who have savings accounts are actually losing money if all they have are savings accounts.Wall Street has done quite well.

celtic warrior on December 8, 2013 at 10:54 AM

“There is certainly a very deep feeling of resentment about the privileges that the people at the very top enjoy and that we have a system that is geared to gilding the lily to people at the top, as opposed to rewarding hard work and effort by middle-class and working-class Americans,” he said. “I think there is a deep desire in the country to unstack the deck economically.”

…so what will the people in the House and Senate do?………….go home?

KOOLAID2 on December 8, 2013 at 10:55 AM

We could follow Cuba’s example.

A must read:

http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/once-great-city-havana

CWchangedhisNicagain on December 8, 2013 at 10:56 AM

MCCOY: I’m a doctor, Jim. Not an economist.

aunursa on December 8, 2013 at 10:52 AM

I grade this as “below average”.

You forgot “damn it Jim,….”

I sentence you to 2 hours of X-Factor and 4 recitations of the Prime Directive.

BobMbx on December 8, 2013 at 10:56 AM

It’s a toss up whether ObysmalCare or Affirmative Action have been more destructive of the middle class.

Pumping phony money via “quantative easing” has certainly lined the pockets of the “fat cats,” but look who is creating the bubble that will collapse and destroy the middle class and lower even further.

onlineanalyst on December 8, 2013 at 11:00 AM

“has been more destructive”
I swear that Obysmal is having a negative effect on my S-V usage.

Merry Christmas, baby!
For all of you crooners out there, this tune never fails to crack me up.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddVZOK_9UUI

onlineanalyst on December 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM

The obozo’s lavish vacations and parties belie any concerns that the obozo’s have about inequality or anyone other than themselves. They are pure scum.

Flange on December 8, 2013 at 10:16 AM

They aren’t pure anything, They are toxic scum.

nico on December 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM

Income inequality…say, like paying $600 million for a failed website that any community college computer class could do for the price of a few PS4′s? Or maybe inequality such as paying $1 million for some nutjob to stack up a bunch of granite blocks and pass it off as art? No? Maybe inequality means paying literally, HUNDREDS of MILLIONS of dollars so that one whackjob and his family can go on fabulous vacations everydamn time the calender flips over another month since he took a job that he is not qualified for.

Are these the type of inequalities that should be addressed?

Renee on December 8, 2013 at 11:05 AM

Seems that all the lovely government programs to ‘help the poor’ come at the expense of the middle class.

Making them poorer.

Thus exacerbating income inequality.

And yet the poor will always be with us.

ajacksonian on December 8, 2013 at 11:06 AM

There is certainly a very deep feeling of resentment about the privileges that the people at the very top enjoy and that we have a system that is geared to gilding the lily to people at the top, as opposed to rewarding hard work and effort by middle-class and working-class Americans,” he said. “I think there is a deep desire in the country to unstack the deck economically.”

Congress.

Key West Reader on December 8, 2013 at 11:08 AM

Obozo won’t be happy until the entire nation collapses into destitution.

Key West Reader on December 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM

They aren’t pure anything, They are toxic scum.

nico on December 8, 2013 at 11:03 AM

If scum is defined as a low, vile, or worthless person, then I think pure scum is apt. I don’t think pure scum and toxic scum are mutually exclusive in this situation. Sort of like how obozo both sucks and blows at the same time.

Flange on December 8, 2013 at 11:11 AM

pResident Evil
Redistribution

LegendHasIt on December 8, 2013 at 11:12 AM

I was in a highly competitive business. Margins between competitors were virtually identical. When the last minimum wage hike went on it took six weeks for margins to rise exactly to cover the cost. No one could afford to eat it.

The consumer will pay for it in the end. Zero sum gain in their pocket book.

CW20 on December 8, 2013 at 11:15 AM

And now the half black/half white president will do his best to make people green with envy. Shame on him. Come on America … we are so much better than this… ignore this DIVISIVE FOOL!

redwhiteblue on December 8, 2013 at 11:20 AM

The answer is to stop being envious.

Axe on December 8, 2013 at 10:17 AM

True. At the same time, people who “have” need to be taught from the age of zero the importance of voluntary compassion and generosity.

Shy Guy on December 8, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Some wise words from a wise and knowledgeable man.

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

Winston Churchill

jukin3 on December 8, 2013 at 11:28 AM

it’s impossible to deny that there are far too many people among the working class who aren’t earning enough to enjoy the dream of prosperity which America has typically embodied

Wait….what? People who are considered poor because they “only” have a single 32 inch flatscreen in the house.

Tell you what, visit Olangapo, P.I. and see the people living in tar-paper shacks on the edge of a sluggish stream of sewage known as Shiite River, the American Dream takes on a whole new meaning when you see how those people exist.

Bishop on December 8, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Progressives – never happy until everyone (but them) is equally destitute.

Midas on December 8, 2013 at 11:31 AM

The problem, to hear them describe it, is that there are a relative handful of greedy rich people who are keeping everyone else down.

Yes. We call them politicians and government employees. Why is the solution to government caused problems always more government? Zero is going full blown communist now. No surprises there of course, but it’s interesting that he is becoming so much more forward about it now.

SteveThomas on December 8, 2013 at 11:32 AM

As others have stated in different ways, there’s not much “income inequality” in areas without income.

I’m more interested in “outcome inequality.” Why do so many produce so little? That’s an actual problem that needs to be addressed.

happytobehere on December 8, 2013 at 11:36 AM

Illegal immigration and technology. We will always have “income inequality” and why not? There is no American dream if your wealth is confiscated.

Those in power,not just liberals, need to push this notion knowing it can never be resolved if the peasants are always expecting hand outs.

Vince on December 8, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Zero is going full blown communist now.
SteveThomas on December 8, 2013 at 11:32 AM

No he’s not. That’s the brilliance of it. He’s merely the transition. Afaik, communism disallows for private property. We’ll get there soon enough.

happytobehere on December 8, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Despite all of the bleatings from the WH, the sycophants in the lapdog media, and the progressive ‘true-believers’ – this still is the weakest economic ‘recovery’ of modern (post WW2) times….by far. Only the FDR ‘recovery’ from the Great Depression rivals this one in terms of being weak and anemic.

It’s the policies of Barack Obama that are directly contributing to this stagnation. These policies are fighting and inhibiting the natural efforts of economy to recover and resume a robust growth. Obama’s team promised that if we spent $850B in 2009 in an unprecedented stimulus package – we would be seeing today 4.5% or more economic growth and a real unemployment rate in the 5% range.

We’ve spent that same amount every year since 2009 – and even with cooked / rigged books, we’re looking at or near 35 year lows in labor participation (12 million fewer workers in the marketplace than were there in 2009), real growth of ~2%, and real unemployment in the 11-13% range. Wages are DOWN in the last 5 years.

As for the canard of income inequality, in the 30 years between 1977 and 2007, if you include Social Security benefits, the earned-income tax credit, employer fringe benefits (such as health plans), Medicare, Medicaid and the net reductions in marginal tax rates, the poorest fifth saw after-tax income grow by 32%. After-tax income also grew by about a third for the middle quintile.

Since 2007 – and in particular since the 2008 recession and the June 2009 ‘recovery’ – after-tax income for the poorest fifth (and the middle quintile) has dropped – largely because of the failed economic policies of Barack Obama.

This ‘argument’ by Barack Obama is about a situation that his own policies has exacerbated and made worse – and his solution is to treble down on those failed policies in an effort to restore his plummeting approval numbers.

There are solutions that do work – that do ‘fix’ the economy and drive a real recovery. Those were the policies of the 1980′s that reversed the failures of the Nixon and Carter Administrations when it came to meddling with the free markets.

Athos on December 8, 2013 at 11:40 AM

One of my goals (not ‘officially’, but personally) at work is to strive to create for my employer several times the value that they pay me, every year.

If I say so myself, I do that, every year – and they not only pay me more every year, they are generous enough to actually pay me some very nice bonuses as well.

Friendly note to fast food workers and ‘poor’ in general – work your asses off and stop adopting the “somebody owes me something” attitude. Work your job like *you* own the business. Work hard, stretch yourself, learn more, and be the best whatever-you-do your employer has even ever *heard* of. And if the situation lends itself, dress a little better than you have to – *look* like you belong at the next level (or two) up.

Now, who gets the promotion – the slacker with the expanders in his earlobes and droopy bloodshot eyes who cusses the boss under his breath and has to be reminded how to work the fry cooker, doing just enough to not get fired (today) or…

Midas on December 8, 2013 at 11:44 AM

SteveThomas on December 8, 2013 at 11:32 AM

No, it’s not communism. It’s progressive fascism that he’s advocating and working on enacting. Not state ownership – but expanding the powers and controls of the state over the people, businesses, and marketplaces.

His mission is to establish and enforce his definition of ‘fairness’ and ensure ‘social justice’ in order to ‘fix the mistakes and wrongs’ (ie free market system) of this country. It’s to his advantage to promote and create as many aggrieved groups as possible – to promote divisions and differences – in order to create the framework for his ‘solutions’. Create as many victims as possible so that only the government is big enough to deliver justice to them – justice received from the ‘majority’ via the government arbitrator.

Athos on December 8, 2013 at 11:47 AM

So he realizes that he sucks as a president and has decided to return to community organizing.
Interesting in that he has time for golf in either capacity.

Rio Linda Refugee on December 8, 2013 at 11:53 AM

“I think there is a deep desire in the country to unstack the deck economically.”

Scary stuff.

They want the dealer (Obamao) to flat out cheat for them.

Hard working? Hardly.

reaganaut on December 8, 2013 at 11:53 AM

These are biiiiiig obamasquirrels, in addition to his inanities.

Either he’s obfuscating in plain sight or he’s not ashamed to admit to the world that he is a Big Dummy.

Schadenfreude on December 8, 2013 at 11:55 AM

obama is the biggest 1%r, who hates the middle/lower classes.

Period

Schadenfreude on December 8, 2013 at 11:56 AM

Fluke the Looters, in bad ways.

Fluke the moochers, who allow the looters to fool them, for votes only. Pitchfork your looters, sheepleton, politically of course. They subjugate and keep you in the squaller.

Fluke the idiots who don’t understand this and spew Utopian or other b/s.

Mostly, fluke the media until they scream when I pour acid on them afterwards. Fools, what you consume is obamachit, not Beluga caviar.

Schadenfreude on December 8, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Why on the good Earth does anyone want to be equal to anyone else?

Only sheepleton, gnats and plankton think like this.

Schadenfreude on December 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Barry’s “weak dollar” monetary policies make him the king of income inequality. Quantitative Easing involves the printing of 85 billion dollars per month by the Fed. A huge chunk of this money is used to prop up Wall Street and the stock market with the purchase of Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities. At the same time, this unprecedented printing of money is driving down the value of the dollar, which hits the middle class right in the wallet.

TarheelBen on December 8, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Only sheepleton, gnats and plankton think like this.
Schadenfreude on December 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM

And the majority of the electorate.

USA! USA!

happytobehere on December 8, 2013 at 12:05 PM

In order to address income inequality, it’s also important for us to realize the circumstances that America previously had, and how policy and culture has changed since then.

Back in the golden age of American prosperity, shortly after World War II, it was commonplace for a family to have 2 to 3 children, with a stay-at-home mom, and a father who earned enough to provide for the entire family. To think that they would be homeowners and would earn enough to be able to afford both college and 1 to 2 cars without going into massive debt was eminently reasonable.

Since then, we have witnessed profound changes in America, many for the worse. Let us enumerate them:

1.) The emergence of the Trade Deficit – the U.S. used to actually have a trade surplus, where we would export more than we would import. That changed around the 1970s, and we became a “consumer-oriented” society, in which the wealth of our country leaves us as many of the items we purchase are perishable.

2.) The emergence of “Free Trade” agreements – exacerbating point 1 was the emergence of free trade agreements, in which we said that we would openly and freely trade with other countries, not imposing quotas or tariffs, and often times without reciprocal treatment as other countries subsidized their industries, putting us at further disadvantage. This opening of American markets, particularly to the third world, led to point 3.

3.) The Outsourcing Revolution – with no barriers to trade anymore, American labor was put in direct competition with the third world. Well, when you have an American worker earning enough to be able to provide for all of the above mentioned in the initial set of circumstances, put against someone in China who is earning 25 cents an hour, those companies which are unscrupulous and put profits ahead of patriotism aren’t going to care who they’re employing, they’re only going to care about the bottom line. That means they’re going to send the jobs of American workers overseas, and that leads to point 4.

4.) The death of American manufacturing – as jobs are sent overseas, the people who then used to come to assembly lines, particularly in what is now called the Rust Belt, no longer showed up for work without a paycheck to support them. This has led to the dilapidation of much of northern America, from upstate New York, to Ohio, Pennsylania, and Michigan, and even parts of Indiana.

5.) The deregulation of the banking sector – previously the Glass-Steagall act provided for keeping banks relatively small, local, and focused on serving particular clients, meaning that banks engaged in risky behavior tended to result in more isolated crises rather than be nationwide. Point 6 is analogous with respect to the size of businesses.

6.) The abandonment of the FTC’s role as competition overseer – the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is the Federal agency in charge of trust-busting: stopping anti-competitive practices and the growth of businesses whose market power made them nearly monopolistic. As the FTC got away from rigorous enforcement of these laws and became more permissive over time, we began to witness the increased emergence of multinational corporations who wield tremendous power, and are able to successively lower wages since they’re the only game in town.

But all of that only covers the policy-oriented economic aspects. It’s also crucial to realize that America’s decline has been driven by cultural changes, brought about predominantly by the Baby Boomers. These include:

1.) The Rise of the “Me Culture” – no generation has been as immature or as selfish as the baby boomers, be it before their time or afterwards. They believed that society’s laws should be oriented away from the predominant ethic at the time: the achievement of excellence and perfection of virtue. Instead they believed it ought to primarily be oriented towards hedonism and the pursuit of pleasure. This led to point 2.

2.) Marital Infidelity, Spousal & Child Abandonment – a me-first culture of course puts the self at the center of everything, and makes the self the top priority. Consequently, things like marriage, meant to provide for a stable bedrock for the creation and upbringing of the next generation has been largely discarded as people abandon their vows and indulge their own desires, creating a culture of promiscuity, which policymakers foolishly indulged and strengthened by allowing for no-fault divorce that the media and Hollywood assuaged Americans would be okay. Since marriage, including the raising of children created, bring with them responsibility, those have also been shunted to the wayside, dismissed as barriers to the achievement of pleasure, ultimately culminating in a society that is so devoid of compassion or care for the rights of others that it has given rise to the atrocity of abortion. Those fortunate enough to survive such cruelty are then still stricken with the circumstances of parents who do not genuinely treasure them, and are often left requiring welfare assistance because no one else will care for them.

3.) The Rise of Anti-Patriotism – a society that becomes focused on only oneself as the ultimate good cannot establish a love of one’s neighbor or country. In fact, the 1960s gave rise to the emergence of a movement which was decidedly anti-American, decrying American soldiers as butchers, and patriotism as merely a form of control. One is hardly prone to reverse a “me culture” when one is completely alienated from the rest of society.

4.) Rise of the Drug Culture – again, as part of the “me culture,” indulgence in drug use rose as a means of pursuing pleasure. With this came a loss of self-control, including the ability to be accountable for one’s own actions. The consequences to others from this use was completely disregarded, and the frequent lie of drugs being “mind-expanding” spread like wildfire. A work ethic and striving for greatness gives way to settling for sloth and indolence that aspires to nothing.

5.) The Decline in Religious Affiliation – if you have a selfish society where everything is focused on self-gratification, you’re not likely to have people who are thankful to a creator for what they have, much less one another for how they respond. This leads to poorer manners, increased social isolation, increased distrust, and less benevolence and willingness to lend a helping hand, including among those in the business community when it comes to giving raises or compensating people for their work.

5.) The Embedding of Racism in Policy – if not all of this was bad enough, we have also allowed racism to be embedded in public policy, ironically as a response to countering racism. This means that people no longer receive compensation with respect to merit, but with respect to a pre-determined set of grievances that must be fixed as founded in affirmative action. People become increasingly resentful and isolated as they see that their efforts get them nowhere, as nepotism and connections for the well-off keep the rich wealthy, while people who do not have those connections but have a politically-preferred pigmentation are allowed to surpass them with less effort and results.

If you want to address income inequality, you’re going to have to reverse almost all major landmark American policy changes of the past 50 years.

Stoic Patriot on December 8, 2013 at 12:05 PM

So infuriating and insulting to hear talk like this, as a member of the actual working class.

My father grew up poor, the son of Irish immigrants. Shared not only a room with his brother, but a bed! Worked his ass off, joined the military, went to college – and today is near retiring from his own accounting firm.

I partied a bit much in college and had my funding cut off, ended up back home and worked while going to community college and after a semester of that I was “encouraged” to find an apartment at age 20 and had a rough couple years until I, too found myself in the Army and have since worked my ass off in several jobs since the military and I don’t have any resentment towards those who make double my salary.

Things don’t always work as planned, and nothing comes easy.

My previous job went to Mexico and I found myself taking a step back, working nights, sweating like Cool Hand Luke and nursing sore shoulders and a sore back. Everything I have I worked for and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

reaganaut on December 8, 2013 at 12:10 PM

We do have an income inequality problem in this country …

too much of the national income is being sent to Washington DC.

PackerBronco on December 8, 2013 at 12:14 PM

The Obamas are 1%-er millionaires, as are the Clintons.

Let’s “equalize” their wealth first.

Let these pious plutocrats lead by example.

Divest their excess fortunes to the poor.

profitsbeard on December 8, 2013 at 12:31 PM

If you have ever given a job interview lately, you know that the problem is directly related to the interview process itself. When I was in school they actually taught you things that you could use like how to comport yourself in a job interview. How can you possibly even think about career advancement if you can’t even get through the interview process?
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I see these applicants. Half the applications go right in the trash because they weren’t filled out properly. Half of the next batch go right in the trash because they are not legible. Half of the ones that are left follow the first two because they couldn’t decide whether to use cursive or print so they used both. So out of fifty applicants you have maybe five that you want to interview. Out of those five you are lucky if you get two who actually dresses like they care about the job. It’s a pretty sad state of affairs when you have trouble finding one person out of a hundred applicants to fill a position.
Just a tip for people who are having trouble with the interview process. DON’T tell the employer how desperately you need the job. While I may feel for your situation, this is not the Salvation Army. My job is to find the best person for the job. You cannot guilt me in to giving you a job so don’t even try.

bandutski on December 8, 2013 at 12:34 PM

The “old” Soviet Union didn’t have a problem with income inequality. Wealth inequality, maybe, between the ruling class and everybody else, but everybody else pretty much were equally screwed when it came to income. Is this what Obama wants for us?

HiJack on December 8, 2013 at 12:37 PM

Flukeing result of sex among Lenin/Mussolini

Schadenfreude on December 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

No more lobsters for Michelle, first.

Schadenfreude on December 8, 2013 at 12:39 PM

“If Congress refuses to act, it won’t just hurt families already struggling – it will actually harm our economy,” the president said. “Unemployment insurance is one of the most effective ways there is to boost our economy.”

Imagine, this ‘genius’ is president of the once good land.

Shame on all the thugs/fools who brung/kept this moron. I hope he destroys all of you and yours, so that you NEVER recover. I hope you all suffocate from eating his chit, with NO exceptions.

Schadenfreude on December 8, 2013 at 12:41 PM

PRIME MINISTER MARGARET THATCHER: People on all levels of income are better off than they were in 1979. The honorable Gentleman is saying that he would rather that the poor were poorer, provided that the rich were less rich. That way one will never create the wealth for better social services, as we have. What a policy!

aunursa on December 8, 2013 at 10:13 AM

The self-made rich people I know worked their butts off for at least 10 years. That’s 100 hours a week, or 50,000 hours of work. That’s how they made their millions. They created something that others could share in.

If you take away the fruits of the labors of those people, then what’s the incentive to work those 100 hours weeks for 10 years?

I’d like to see a graph of income and net worth on the one hand, to time and effort spent on the other. Wealth doesn’t just fall out of the sky for people to catch, unless you live in Washington DC.

“Income inequality”? How about effort inequality, hours worked inequality, good ideas inequality, intelligence inequality.

Paul-Cincy on December 8, 2013 at 12:47 PM

if you don’t make ____ a year you can not be a happy and content person. ________ elitism always reveals itself.
 
libfreeordie on December 4, 2013 at 12:50 PM

rogerb on December 8, 2013 at 12:48 PM

So Jazz, are you on the side of making illegal aliens legal? You know, that whole supply and demand thing we all know about?

Nothing like importing millions of third world people to drive the cost of labor into the dirt and increase the profit margins of the fat cats, right?
By the way, I do not think successful people are fat cats. Only those that use immoral ways to pad their bottom lines get that title. Companies that use illegal alien labor either directly or as a way to drive down salaries for legal residents and citizens gain definitely fall into the immoral side of things.

astonerii on December 8, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Why on the good Earth does anyone want to be equal to anyone else?

Only sheepleton, gnats and plankton think like this.

Schadenfreude on December 8, 2013 at 12:00 PM

There’s a new public service announcement on TV about bullying. One child wants to be a singer, another an organizer (?), another a media mogul. The next child is crying, and says he wants to be anything but the one who doesn’t fit in.

And I’m thinking … who wants to fit in? How about, be different, be the one that DOESN’T fit in.

Paul-Cincy on December 8, 2013 at 12:55 PM

First of all until all the BHLs earning megabucks in entertainment, sports, industry, etc start voluntarily donating a big portion of their money to run the govt they can STFU about the rest of us.

katiejane on December 8, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Nothing cures the ails of “income inequality” like stealing untold billions and handing them out to your political donors.

This social justice stuff is just soooo awesome!

Murphy9 on December 8, 2013 at 12:57 PM

I thought “climate change” was defining challenge of our time. Now it’s “income inequality”?

tpitman on December 8, 2013 at 12:59 PM

“Tax the rich.
Feed the poor.
‘Til there are
Rich no more.”
–Ten Years After, 1971

But if that little nugget of pop culture hippie wisdom is to be believed, then it’s more important to tear down the rich than to help the poor. Otherwise, shouldn’t it go “‘Til they are poor no more”?

JimLennon on December 8, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Wow.

the privileges that the people at the very top enjoy

???

and “Unstack the deck, economically” ???

Seriously, populism and inciting class warfare…simple tools of the socialist.

That people like Chris Matthews spew the adulation for this man that they do, when he is so clearly nothing more than a socialist street-corner barker…means we are, in fact, doomed to repeat history.

I hear the boxcars and camps being assembled right now…

I wish that every speech he made, the words “privileged, elite, wealthy, etc” would be replaced by the word “Jews”. And perhaps THEN the blinders would come off, and people would see who truly stands before them. …sadly, probably not.

a5minmajor on December 8, 2013 at 1:05 PM

So is this a problem? Of course it is. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum it’s impossible to deny that there are far too many people among the working class who aren’t earning enough to enjoy the dream of prosperity which America has typically embodied.

Are you jumping onto the socialist bandwagon Jazz? **shakes head in disappointment**

TfromV on December 8, 2013 at 1:07 PM

I thought “climate change” was defining challenge of our time. Now it’s “income inequality”?

tpitman on December 8, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Obama said this week the primary focus of the rest of his term will be addressing income inequality. Given his track record of (not) standing behind what he says, this is very doubtful.

But if he DOES make this his new focus, conservatives should welcome it happily and step up and explain as Thatcher did where wealth comes from and how a “rising tide lifts all boats”.

Paul-Cincy on December 8, 2013 at 1:08 PM

One problem with conservative messaging is our side never keeps it simple. Here is my view of the different approaches to income inequality by the left and right.

The Left’s Plan for income inequality: Make everyone equally poor and unhappy. Basically we all live equally crappy lives.

The Right’s Plan for income inequality: Get rid of barriers that prevent people from moving up the social ladder. Basically we all live equally better lives relative to where we started in life.

Sadly sometimes the right confuses free market capitalism and crony capitalism. This has hurt our side a lot because it confuses the people.

William Eaton on December 8, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Recall Pelosi, the talking goat…give it a few seconds bef. she claims that unempl. extensions boos the economy.

She is such a clapperteeth scumhag.

Schadenfreude on December 8, 2013 at 1:22 PM

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