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Paul Krugman: “I don’t know the European evidence too well, but the notion of stable wealth concentration in the United States is at odds with many sources of evidence. Take, for example, the landmark CBO study on the distribution of income; it shows the distribution of income by type, and capital income has become much more concentrated over time (see graph)
Chris Giles in Financial Times: “Professor Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century has data on wealth inequality at its core. His data collection has been universally praised. However, when writing an article on the distribution of wealth in the UK, I noticed a serious discrepancy between the contemporary concentration of wealth described in Capital in the 21st Century and that reported in the official UK statistics.”
See: http://blogs.ft.com/money-supply/

Paul Krugman: “I don’t know the European evidence too well, but the notion of stable wealth concentration in the United States is at odds with many sources of evidence. Take, for example, the landmark CBO study on the distribution of income; it shows the distribution of income by type, and capital income has become much more concentrated over time (see graph)

Chris Giles in Financial Times: “Professor Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century has data on wealth inequality at its core. His data collection has been universally praised. However, when writing an article on the distribution of wealth in the UK, I noticed a serious discrepancy between the contemporary concentration of wealth described in Capital in the 21st Century and that reported in the official UK statistics.”

See: http://blogs.ft.com/money-supply/

(Source: The New York Times)

— 2 months ago
#Thomas Piketty  #Paul Krugman  #nytimes  #The New York Times  #Financial Times  #Chris Giles 
aconservativereality:

"Recovery."
But now they have time to pursue their interests. Take up painting, and carving and such, right?

aconservativereality:

"Recovery."

But now they have time to pursue their interests. Take up painting, and carving and such, right?

(Source: rightwinged, via freeoldglory)

— 2 months ago with 861 notes

Where Is The Outrage Over Corporate Welfare?
I recently read the February 24 Good Jobs First report, “Subsidizing the Corporate One Percent,” by Philip Mattera, a respected thought leader in our business. It says that three-quarters of all state economic development subsidies went to just 965 corporations since the beginning of the study in 1976. The Fortune 500 corporations alone accounted for more than 16,000 subsidy awards, worth $63 billion – mostly in the form of tax breaks.

Think about that. The largest, wealthiest, most powerful organizations in the world are on the public dole. Where is the outrage? Back when I was young, people went into a frenzy at the thought of some unemployed person using food stamps to buy liquor or cigarettes. Ronald Reagan famously campaigned against welfare queens. The right has always been obsessed with moochers. But Boeing receives $13 billion in government handouts and everyone yawns, when conservatives should be grabbing their pitchforks.
According to Good Jobs First, there are 514 economic development programs in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 245,000 awards have been granted under those programs. I ask again, where is the outrage? The system is antithetical to the idea of free markets. A quarter of a million times, state governments decided what is best for producers and consumers. That should make us cringe. First, the government is inefficient at providing public goods, and it is terrible at manipulating the markets for private goods. But more importantly, those 514 economic development programs are almost all the result of insidious cronyism. Narrow business interests manipulate government policymakers, and those interests prosper to the detriment of everyone else. Free markets be damned.
And while I’m looking for outrage, where are the liberals? The 965 companies in the report received over $110 billion of public money. Berkshire Hathaway, a company with $485 billion in assets and $20 billion in profits, received over $1 billion of that money. Its chair, Warren Buffett, is worth about $58 billion. Buffett, by the way, is still a darling of the left. He has some nerve to call for higher taxes. The billion dollars his companies took would pay for a lot of teachers, healthcare, and other public goods.

I don’t blame the corporations. They act rationally. If someone gives you $1 billion, you take it. The blame lies with us. The sheer size of the corporate welfare system should spark outrage whether we are conservatives, liberals, or libertarians. And that outrage should be reflected in how we vote. In the meantime, kudos to Good Jobs First for continuing to highlight this problem.

(Source: forbes.com)

— 2 months ago
Ronald Reagan popularized the idea that people on welfare are a drain on the economy. Fox News carries that mantle today, making regular blanket characterizations of the country’s poorest families as big spending welfare frauds. Here’s why they’re wrong — but don’t expect them to admit it.
Families receiving public assistance spend on average less than half as much as families that don’t receive public assistance. Considering those very moderate figures, it’s safe to say that most of the folks represented by the red bars aren’t on welfare for selfish personal gain, but because they actually need the support.
These numbers also prompt important questions about opportunity in the U.S. For example, families that don’t receive public assistance spend an average 382% more on insurance and retirement than families that rely on public assistance. How might a family’s ability, or lack thereof, to invest in the future impact economic mobility for their future generations?
But the numbers aside, instead of pointing fingers at poor people and spreading false generalizations about them, wouldn’t we be much better off working together to ensure all families have a fair chance at healthy, productive, and fulfilled lives — or was I living in a cave when the Golden Rule was overruled?

Ronald Reagan popularized the idea that people on welfare are a drain on the economy. Fox News carries that mantle today, making regular blanket characterizations of the country’s poorest families as big spending welfare frauds. Here’s why they’re wrong — but don’t expect them to admit it.

Families receiving public assistance spend on average less than half as much as families that don’t receive public assistance. Considering those very moderate figures, it’s safe to say that most of the folks represented by the red bars aren’t on welfare for selfish personal gain, but because they actually need the support.

These numbers also prompt important questions about opportunity in the U.S. For example, families that don’t receive public assistance spend an average 382% more on insurance and retirement than families that rely on public assistance. How might a family’s ability, or lack thereof, to invest in the future impact economic mobility for their future generations?

But the numbers aside, instead of pointing fingers at poor people and spreading false generalizations about them, wouldn’t we be much better off working together to ensure all families have a fair chance at healthy, productive, and fulfilled lives — or was I living in a cave when the Golden Rule was overruled?

— 2 months ago
The safety net catches the middle class more than the poor

Liberals are shocked (shocked!) that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his co-partisans would consider cutting Medicaid, food stamps, Pell grants and other programs that serve the neediest Americans. They have accused Ryan of trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor.

But long before Ryan unveiled his “Path to Prosperity,” politicians of both parties had been redistributing government spending away from the truly destitute and toward everyone else.
In the past few decades, the federal social safety net has gotten lusher and, on its face, more generous. Spending on the major safety-net programs nearly quadrupled between 1970 and 2010, and that’s after adjusting for inflation and population growth, according to calculations by Robert A. Moffitt, an economics professor at Johns Hopkins University. He included both “means-tested” programs that are explicitly intended to combat poverty (such as food stamps, Medicaid, housing aid, Head Start, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and the earned-income tax credit) and social insurance programs (Medicare, Social Security, disability insurance, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance).

There have been, however, winners and losers during that massive expansion.

Since the mid-1990s, the biggest increases in spending have gone to those who were middle class or hovering around the poverty line. Meanwhile, Americans in deep poverty — that is, with household earnings of less than 50 percent of the official poverty line — saw no change in their benefits in the decade leading up to the housing bubble. In fact, if you strip out Medicare and Medicaid, federal social spending on those in extreme poverty fell between 1993 and 2004.

Then, during the Great Recession and not-so-great recovery, automatic stabilizers kicked in and Congress passed new, mostly temporary, stimulus measures (such as unemployment-insurance benefit extensions). As a result, spending on the social safety net increased sharply and this time for a broader swath of Americans, including the very poor, “near-poor” and middle class. But it still rose more for people above the poverty line than it did for the very poor, Moffitt found.

Other public policies not captured by Moffitt’s calculations have also effectively diverted funds away from the very poorest Americans. Consider the rise of “merit-based,” non-means-tested financial aid at public colleges or the increasing number of tax breaks and loopholes known as “tax expenditures,” more than half of which accrue to the top income quintile.

So why are we robbing the poor to pay the middle class (and rich)?

To some extent, demographics are to blame. Social Security and Medicare are the biggest safety-net programs in raw dollar terms, and both are awarded to elderly Americans regardless of financial need, though Social Security is modestly progressive. As the country ages and health costs rise, these programs get bigger — and end up crowding out other spending that specifically targets the very poor.

Federal disability rolls have also grown dramatically in recent decades. As with Medicare, people don’t have to prove they’re poor to receive Social Security Disability Insurance, so the expansion of SSDI has disproportionately benefited middle-class and “near-poor” families, at least relative to other programs that do means-test.

But ideology, too, has played a major role in the reallocation of safety-net spending.

Since the early 1990s, politicians have deliberately shifted funds away from those perceived to be the most needy and toward those perceived to be the most deserving. The bipartisan 1996 welfare reform — like the multiple expansions of the earned-income tax credit — was explicit about rewarding the working poor rather than the non-working poor. As a result, total spending per capita on “welfare” slid by about two-thirds over the past two decades, even as the poverty rate for families has stayed about the same. Many welfare reformers would consider this a triumph. If you believe many of the poorest families are not out of work by choice, though, you might have a more nuanced view.

Meanwhile, there is probably greater political cover for expanding the safety net for the middle class (that is, the non-destitute). As mid-skill, mid-wage jobs have disappeared — what’s known as the hollowing-out of the labor market — middle-class families have lost ground and are demanding more government help. These middle-class families, alongside the elderly, are also substantially more likely to vote than are the poor. The feds have whittled away at welfare, and (almost) nobody has said boo; touch programs that the middle class relies on, and electoral retribution may be fierce.

On some level, politicians of both parties have understood this political calculus for decades. Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” just takes it to its logical conclusion.

— 2 months ago

miss-revolt:

“In fact, in the past 30 years, the US has seen a “life expectancy gap” grow in line with the income gap: the poorest among us today can expect to die at the rates they did before the Civil Rights Era, the richest can expect to live five years longer.”

Americans Expect Obama to Deliver on Income Inequality (via azspot)

— 2 months ago with 507 notes
progressivesunite:

CEO vs. Worker Pay
1950      20 to 1
1980      42 to 1
2000     120 to 1
2013     204 to 1
This must change if the middle class and working class are to have a fighting chance.

progressivesunite:

CEO vs. Worker Pay

1950      20 to 1

1980      42 to 1

2000     120 to 1

2013     204 to 1

This must change if the middle class and working class are to have a fighting chance.

(via drunken-rambling)

— 2 months ago with 1213 notes
addictinginfo:

The United States is fast becoming a pseudo democracy. The only thing currently stopping it is the fact that some of the funders have the right priorities, which is taking away their own influence. 

addictinginfo:

The United States is fast becoming a pseudo democracy. The only thing currently stopping it is the fact that some of the funders have the right priorities, which is taking away their own influence. 

(via bernyrbarnes)

— 2 months ago with 384 notes
liberalsarecool:

Republican supply side economics, Bush tax cuts, and Republican voter suppression are all examples of conservatives creating an oligarchy.
The “both sides do it” fallacy is dead.

liberalsarecool:

Republican supply side economics, Bush tax cuts, and Republican voter suppression are all examples of conservatives creating an oligarchy.

The “both sides do it” fallacy is dead.

— 2 months ago with 249 notes
In case you need an ironic example of supply and demand: Amazon ran out of copies of Capital in the 21st century by Thomas Piketty. So, now the used copies are trading for more than four times the original price.

In case you need an ironic example of supply and demand: Amazon ran out of copies of Capital in the 21st century by Thomas Piketty. So, now the used copies are trading for more than four times the original price.

— 2 months ago
#Thomas Piketty  #Paul Krugman  #Capital  #Gilded Age  #wealth  #richaregettingricher