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Why Have The Rich Been Getting Richer?

(Photo by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich about the power of Washington lobbyists and his vision for reforms to make America more prosperous and equitable.

Reich lamented that the middle class has not shared the benefits of our nation’s economic expansion over the past few decades:

“The fact of the matter is that, as late as 1980, the top 1 percent by income in the United States had about nine percent of total national income. But since then, you’ve had increasing concentration of income and wealth to the point that by 2007 the top 1 percent was taking home 21 percent of total national income. Now, when they’re taking home that much, the middle class doesn’t have enough purchasing power to keep the economy growing. That was hidden by the fact that they were borrowing so much on their homes, they kept on consuming because of their borrowing. But once that housing bubble exploded, it exposed the fact that the middle class in this country has really not participated in the growth of the economy, and over the long term we’re not gonna have a recovery until the middle class has the purchasing power it needs to buy again.”

Economist Dieter Braeuninger of Deutsche Bank Research notes that, during the period Reich describes, many developed countries experienced similar increases in income inequality. Braeuninger suggests that technological advances and a surplus of unskilled labor are responsible for this trend:

“Income inequality has risen in the industrialized world with skilled workers’ incomes rising faster than compensation for low-skilled labor... [Economists] identify the strong pace in technological progress and, in particular, the revolution in [information technology] as the engine of change. The triumphant advance of the microchip, the PC, and the internet kick-started a wave of automation, as well as a transition to flexible and accelerated production processes. This not only boosted productivity, but also resulted in a shift from labor-intensive to capital-intensive production methods. The winners are hence both owners of capital goods as well as the highly qualified labor force... The new technologies allow the replacement of less qualified labor through physical capital, such as machines and computers... The global labor force has risen fourfold since the early 1980s. The supply of basic labor has increased enormously... As long as less-skilled workers cannot shift to more productive tasks, increasing income inequality remains a threat.”

What do you think?

  • In your view, what are the key reasons for the increasing income inequality in the United States?

  • How does income inequality affect the country?

  • If you think that income inequality should be reduced, how do you suggest doing so? Explain.

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    Gods winnowing fork is at work NOW!

    It is seperating those (by their choice) that choose money from those that choose God.

    You get what you seek.
    You find what you are looking for.

    Put money first...find money.
    Put God first...find God.

    The things of God are freely given but they are foolishness to those who seek money. To him who has, will more be given. To him who has not , even what he has will be taken away.

    It doesnt matter whether you have money or the things of God. Whatever you have and seek, you will obtain more.

    these are my understandings and could be wrong. Read your Bible and ask God what is right. He is the Teacher.

    Christina Marlowe: They say the taliban finds it easy to recruit because young men in Afghanistan need money so badly. Oil companies and insurance corporations have found recruiting astroturf soldiers easier because of the Great Recession. Their employees, retirees, contractors and associate are so insecure in their incomes that they hesitate to resist the bus trips and pre-printed agendas. They can't afford to ask questions. Even within radical right religion economics play a powerful role. How does one obtain any access in the USA? Networking is the standard answer. It's all in who you know and who you ally with. Advancement or opportunity by merit or ability is a scarce situation. People advance here as in the Mafia (connected guys and made men) or as in Stalin's politboro (corporate-Congress-lobbying merry-go-round). Human relations have been allowed to deteriorate to a barbaric reciprocity of corruption in order to preserve the disparity of wealth and to maintain a heavy levy on the working, producing segments of society. Media corn syrup has replaced organic culture and minds are stuck in the worship of wealth, power and celebrity to the exclusion of clear reasoning. People feel in their gut that there is no way upward except prostitution to those already in power.

    So Christina Marlowe, when you talk about a violent underclass enamored with Bibles (they never read) and guns (that often discharge in their loved ones) you have to ask yourself if this mythical coterie exists, and if it does, who ordered its manufacture. The OWNERS control both production and reproduction. Who made you, Christina Marlowe? Can you talk to people who differ from you? They're still people... They hurt and they die and they pay bills, and they too can benefit from a single payer non-profit medical delivery system. Sometimes suffering and abuse makes the people who actually do the necessary work appear less than genteel.

    Re: The Absolute Necessity of the Public Option in Health Care

    Dear President Obama and Staff, Monday, August 17th, 2009

    This so-called democracy-but-really-an-oligarchy of ours is not working...there are just too many woefully uniformed, insanely misinformed and downright stupid-to-the-point of dangerousness; these people do not know anything at all about any issue, particularly this nemesis, health care reform. They, these utterly brainless, totally uneducated, irrational gun-toting and idiotic fear-mongering masses that comprise a full and startling HALF of this country's population, have nothing constructive to say or do as they and their unconscionable Republican SS commanders lie and bait and hate and monger incessantly to the morons. This is insanity.

    My question to you, President Obama, and to your staff: Do you really think it is in the peoples' best interest to cave in on and waste time bickering with fools? The paramount importance of the public option in health care reform is undeniable and must be irrevocable. That is why we, the rational and intelligent ones, i.e. the other half of the country, voted for you to be the supreme ruler and further, for you to steamroll heavily over the crazed nutcases who oppose you.

    And Another thing:

    Subject: ON BEING REPEATEDLY RAPED...I, for one, am sick of it...

    Insurance, particularly health care insurance, is the greatest scam in history. We pay thousands upon thousand of dollars each and every year and, increasingly, we get NO GOODS OR SERVICES. In essence, we pay out billions of dollars each and every year for ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. We are in fact, making a handful of these huge industry titans, i.e. the top echelon CEO's CFO's, etc. of the so-called health care industry, a veritable FORTUNE.

    Simply stated, when any industry is driven by profit and profit alone, AS IS HEALTH CARE, they, the greedy and unconscionable controllers of the industry, reap dizzying and obscene amounts of money. WE, on the other hand, LOSE consistently and constantly. Profit-driven health care is an absolute NEMESIS.

    As this health care industry makes record profits from not providing health care to those who pay for health care, the industry also becomes much stronger and much more influential (witness the ULTRA-powerful and ULTRA-wealthy lobbyists who fight tooth and nail to keep things the way they are).

    How long does it take the average person to figure out that we are all getting UTTERLY and UNABASHEDLY RAPED????


    Christina Marlowe

    And by the way...

    To the Bastard Politicians, Republican and Democrat alike:

    It is unthinkable that there are so many Democratic obstructionists, not to mention the old fear mongering by the Republicans and Democrats alike. We, the American people, voted for OBAMA, in large part because he promised to effect systemic and CONCRETE change in several areas, not the least of which is the health care system which is utterly failing us all; all, that is, except for you politicians who enjoy full, lifetime health care benefits on our tax dollars. This is simply criminal that there are so many belligerent obstructionists in both parties. I will never forgive any of them who are casting their lot with the insurance and pharmaceutical corporations. It is simply disgusting. Did you not read the recent WSJ poll which stated that a full 76% of American citizens want the public option? And is it that you really don't care WHAT we want?

    Irately Yours,

    Christina Marlowe


    I think profit has no place at all in health care. The insurance companies can continue to operate, but they must be non-profit and not be part of Wall Street. The executives can still make big salaries and they can put up pretty buildings to do their work in, but they must not "make a profit" off their job of making it possible for people to insure that they will have their care paid for. If they don't like being non-profit, then the Congress must put in place a single payer system that takes ALL their power away.

    Rich get richer when government has poor and irresponsible management more interested in playing footsy with business in order to feather its own nests than interested in maintaining a regulatory environment they were hired to provide.

    Government is meant to serve the people generally, not to provide economic opportunity for business. That is the problem with all government intervention, including that in health care. Those in government can't help but jump on the bandwagon they create in order to get a piece of the action. That is a Hamiltonian legacy.

    While business and government need never have fought, nor competed, they never were meant to be the fast friends they've become.

    I'm sorry, the 617k was from the previous week's numbers, not a projection. My bad (bailiff whack his...).

    Initial initial unemployment claims for last week (yes, only a week) was 617,000, but the actual number was only 565,000. Oh, thank goodness! If those initial number had been true then I'd be really worried, but we only lost a half million jobs last week. Whew, we really dodged a bullet this time.

    I've seen or read this report from 5 or 6 different news sources, and they all are using the same delivery. They're more or less are telling us that our economy has bright spots.

    Well, since we only lost 565k and not 617k, I guess I can go back to picking my nose.

    Why would India call IBM and other large U.S. tech companies to get more jobs for their country? It’s because IBM doesn’t only sells crappy hardware and software, they also play on the greed of our businesses. These tech companies use their IT services to get their feet in the door, and then they introduce outsourcing. They make the process sound so easy, but the true selling point is that it will cut costs (it’s like shooting fish in a barrel).

    Did Nike and Walmart teach IBM how to outsource back in the ‘80s or was it the other way around. Either way, IBM is the new Manpower. How much do you want to bet that China and some South American countries, also, have IBM on their speed-dials?,8599,1887779,00.html

    When you’re cut, you stop the bleeding. Outsourcing, IBM’s outsourcing, is what has been bleeding the lifeblood from the foundation of our economy, and Obama, our elected enabler, is using a band-aid instead of a required tourniquet. He has surrounded himself with ConservaDems and NeoCons, and it’s almost as if he wants to take the blame for this depression (go figure…) (I can hardly wait for Jeb, the self (FauxNews) proclaimed moderate, to save us…NOT).

    Outsourcing should take priority over national security, healthcare, Michael Jackson (wait, how’d that get in here), and any other matters of importance. This is it, outsourcing, outsouRCING, OUTSOURCING.

    Krugman asks "Lost decade, anyone?"

    He’s more optimistic than I, I’d made decade plural.

    income inequality isn't a problem. as housing costs decline housing will become affordable again and the middle class will be ok. the problem is high housing costs which must first be solved by much lower real estate costs. but there are a few people who are too rich, so bring back the Death Tax.

    The elephant in the room is the demon Capitalism that no one wants to see, even as it stomps us all into one big grease spot. It is working as designed, take it all, saw off the branch you're clinging to, foul our own nest.
    Essentially the root of all evils, encompassing virtually every disasterous agency on earth, even infringing on otherwise purely natural forces.
    Given two minutes- or-a lifetimes reflection, ponder the "what ifs" society we could establish without it.
    The most humane, life-supporting and just, equality-based systems in history could be improved upon, freed from the capitalist carnivore. I've travelled the world extensively in my 75 years and this is what all people want and desperately desire.
    Without a major restructuring of our society and replacing establishments rulers human beings, our spiecies is nearing the end of the road.

    At my age, I'm selfishly glad I'm not likely to be around to see it all crumble.
    It's in you young'uns hands now...
    ~John L.

    Is India's government bought and paid for like ours (Gramm, Clinton)? Is China next?

    It is so nice and considerate (NOT) of 'Conservatives' to boycott GM. Because GOP's are Anti-American/Anti-Government, and because they are pissed their candidate didn't win (sore losers) they would put American workers out of jobs by not buying from them, the American worker. Not very Patriotic of the Republicans now is it? Of course, it also isn't very patriotic of GOP's to re-elect Bush (after he lied to start a war in Iraq) or to vote for McCain (who condoned a corrupt war in Iraq) and then send then children off to a nice, safe, fun college instead of enlist them in the military. If Republican's want to be war-mongols, the LEAST thing they could do is back up their vote and send their kids to war.

    ES wrote, in part, "We still fail to see how slavery and racism debase both the disadvantaged and the advantaged."

    From a forbidden book that I read comes this observation, “Philosophers commit their gravest error when they are misled into the fallacy of abstraction, the practice of focusing the attention upon one aspect of reality and then of pronouncing such an isolated aspect to be the whole truth.”

    It’s actually not about how one “race” interacts with another race, in my opinion.

    It’s about how the people in a particular “race” deal with their own social outliers.

    I do not claim to understand all the racial nuances of how the Chinese, for instance, had a social order, a civilization, that kept a project like The Great Wall going for a thousand years! How many generations were indoctrinated into building a wall to keep out all the “others” on the planet? How did they re-educate all those generations for the “cause”? Political power, alone, seems inadequate. Even “fear” can only go so far. You can see why the word “inscrutable” has been used in English literature to describe China and its people.

    India appears to have blended so many races without a lot of “abstraction”. Interesting country but it needs to show progress among the elite ruling class in the science of maintaining a man to land ratio.

    I’ll admit the same kind of racial ignorance for understanding the social nuances that create the persistence of tribalism among the “African” race. The females seem unusually harassed in establishing an agricultural state. Why can’t the bird build a nest? Granted, the social order of the animal world in Africa can’t be used as examples for how to evolve a uniquely human civilization. It’s pretty vicious what goes on around the watering hole in the times of drought.

    As for those who perceive themselves to be of the “red race”, it should be brought to your attention that the “red race” kept migrating away from endless war with the “yellow race” and that’s how North and South America came to be home for red race war refugees. However, some of the “red” went west into Russia. Tragically, the “red race” has been diluted by breeding with either one branch or another of the “white” race. The “reds” need to study up on which “whites” devolved into the use of slaves and which did not. Might help you re-think the whole “Hispanic” pride attitude that is annoying to so many.

    Which brings me to the “race” I understand the best. That big, general race category called “white, not Hispanic”. All I can suggest, if anyone insists on filtering the human species through the lens of “race” and not the potential of the human species as a whole, is that we all should get back to individually acquiring a smidgeon of humility when psychoanalyzing the consumer wants (not the needs) of a “race” other than our own. I am 100% certain that the other “races” – red, brown, black, yellow, and all mixes in between and betwix – would be better served in their own “racial” progress to full human species potential if their “leaders” acknowledge that they haven’t got a clue about what is really going on among the “whites” these days.

    Choose carefully which “white story” to believe. Your own race’s potential depends on it. But while observing the “crazy” blue-eyes, YOU still have the responsibility (white man DOES NOT, in the final analysis) for taking care of your own race’s “purification”.

    The future of the human species depends on bringing the BEST in each race to the round table. Take a realistic look at who shows up at the round tables to rule the world these days. Are they the BEST? Any question why there’s hell on earth?

    Right now, no race can claim being better at protecting the BEST among their own kind, can they? Everyone is still shooting itty bitty quail for sport, laying waste to the nest, and getting a “slave” to clean up the bloody mess.

    In pure fairness, with no other psychological agenda behind what I’m going to state as fact, the worst in the white race can only be eliminated through PROGRESS insisted upon by the best in the white race. We’re getting down to it now. Everyone else might want to get out, and stay out, of the way. Only after a “victor” is declared will the other continental civilizations built by the other “races” get their FAIR share of the “intellectual” fruits of someone else’s labor.

    Another false assertion that I believe many subscribe to regarding this issue is the zero-sum falsity. This claim alleges that trade is a zero-sum game, that in an exchange, one man's gain is another man's loss. This falsity has been proven false by both theory and history. Voluntary exchange is a positive-sum game not only because people will only enter an exchange that they believe will benefit them but also that, if voluntary exchange wasn't a positive-sum game, people wouldn't have been engaging in it for millenia. Also, if one man's gain came at another man's loss than civilization would not have progressed as it has.

    We hear incessantly that the rich get richer and that the poor get poorer. This statement is far too categorical to be accurate. Sometimes, certainly, the rich become more affluent at the expense of the poor. My examples of central banking and corporate welfare confirm this fact. But the law of comparative advantage illustrates that the rich and the poor can easily mutually benefit from trade when both specialize in those field where each has the lowest opportunity costs, where each can allocate their resources most efficiently.

    I think that income inequality is not, by definition, economically detrimental as has been suggested on the Journal. Income inequality is simply a macroeconomic disparity in wealth where some yield more wealth than others.

    The imperative point to consider is the CAUSE behind a particular instance of income inequality.

    On the unhampered marketplace, a person's wealth is inextricably linked with his productivity, with his ability to satisfy consumer demand as an employee, an entrepreneur, or a capitalist, with the quality and quantity of his service to others on the market. The natural productive differences between people inexorably leads to income inequality as some will always be more efficient and more innovative. I don't think Moyers or Reich would dispute this claim whatsoever. Absolute income equality is a fringe socialist/egalitarian goal that no one here fathoms as moral or productive.

    No, I don't think the debate is between income inequality and income equality - the quarrel seems to be over the degree of "acceptable" income inequality. Reich does not oppose income inequality per se, just the type of income inequality that has manifested within the U.S. in the past several years. But has Reich properly examined the causes behind the current income inequality? I don't think so.

    As stated above, the natural differences in willingness and capability among people unstoppably produces some form of income inequality. I think that Reich is aware of this fact but seriously underestimates it. I've met people like Reich many times before, people who are baffled at the thought that some make billions every year. But as economist Ludwig von Mises notes, profits are the result of the successful coordination of entrepreneurs, of the successful entrepreneurial satisfaction of consumer demand. Entrepreneurs acquire factors of production (land, labour, and capital goods) and use those factors to produce goods that consumers and other producers want. If an entrepreneur' gross revenue exceeds his costs, i.e., if he has used his scarce productive factors to properly satisfy consumer demand, his will yield a profit. From this we can infer that, on a free market, the greater the profit an entrepreneur earns, the greater the satisfaction of consumer demand he has wraught. Thus, on a free market, the wealthiest entrepreneurs are those who best remove productive maladjustments within the economy, i.e., who best offer what consumers want. I propose that income inequality arising from this type of free market activity is completely justified.

    Now, we as Americans do not live in a free market society - we live in a government-regulated market society. There is no laissez-faire policy here on the part of government. Banking, for instance, is controlled by a socialist enterprise called the Federal Reserve system and a litany of other federal organizations, agencies, and commissions charged with obstructing the exercise of the right to private property of private property holders on the market. The Federal Reserve has facilitated its own form of income inequality by means of inflation. Inflation, properly understood, is a macroeconomic rise in the money supply that leads to a general increase in prices. Inflation as such is a government created phenomenon as the Federal Reserve possesses a legal monopoly on the issuance of banknotes (U.S. dollars). Ever since its inception in 1913, the Fed has inflated the money supply by artificially expanding bank credit and extending this credit to private businesses. By "artificial" I mean on a fiat level. Instead of financing new credit with real savings, the Fed simply prints new banknotes and, through legal tender laws, forces the public to use these bank notes (legal tender laws stipulate that creditors may not legally refuse payment in Federal Reserve banknotes or "dollars"). When the Fed inflates the money supply, it creates an illegitimate form of income inequality. This income inequality does not arise from differences in productivity on the market; it arises from the use of coercive legal instruments like central banking and legal tender laws that impose a medium of exchange on a people without their consent and against their private property rights.

    The inequitable process of central bank inflation is easy to understand. The Fed orders the Bureau of Printing and Engraving to literally manufacture banknotes and these notes are distributed to politically connected firms, large businesses who desire bailouts, etc. The income inequality arises from the fact that the Fed introduces these new banknotes very narrowly or asymetrically. Only an exclusive few private businesses receive these new banknotes or money. They in turn spend this new money on other businesses and those businesses do the same and so on. As this new money is spent throughout the economy, it bids up prices. Remember, as demand increases prices increase and spending money is the manifestation of increasing demand in a complex monetary society. So as the fiat notes filter throughout the economy, they raise prices. Eventually, the losers in inflation are those who see prices rise before them while their profits and wages remain stagnant - those people who either receive this new fiat money too late or not at all. Thus we have income inequality.

    Inflation is a form of corporate welfare but not the only form. Tax-financed subsidies foment income inequality too. This ineqiality is illegitimate as well in my eyes because it is a product of theft, of stealing, of a violation of private property rights, not of productive differences.

    So I submit that a normative evaluation of a particular instance of income inequality MUST rest on a logical investigation of its causes. If the cause is productive, then it is justified. If the cause is the result of the initiation of force resulting in a violation of liberty and private property by government (or any institution for that matter), then measures must be taken to eliminate that cause.

    I think most economists argue Braeuninger's point about increase in technology and growth of markets naturally creating income disparities. While I think there is truth to that perspective, I can't help thinking that race also plays a powerfully subtle hand, at least in the American scene and how that scene drives much of what takes place around the globe.

    When thinking about the current economic situation, I can't help but think that race plays a significant factor, yet no one is connecting that dot.

    The 1965 Immigration Act opened up immigration for low wage workers to satisfy a growing service sector that was quickly replacing manufacturing as the largest segment of the economy. At the same time that immigration, which had been curtailed since 1925, started to increase, U.S. leadership started creating a two-tiered economy: One for the capitalists and one for the remaining 90 percent of us (including capitalists making less than several million a year).

    Last night I watched _Anchors Away_ with Sinatra and Kelly, and it struck me. When the over-60 leadership in this country think of America, they think of an America they pine for, an America that is represented in such a film as _Anchors Away_: Good white kids who deserve to be part of the community, thus a higher tax rate is acceptable in that perceived reality.

    The problem is that today's America is reluctant to face the reality of what America is. America today is much the same as it was in the late 40's with one caveat: America in the 40's and 50's was able to ignore the existence of its non-Caucasian population. And when it does acknowledge that population, as it does with Los Angeles Hispanics in _Anchors Away_, it does so in pejorative ways. In the film, poverty in the Hispanic community is treated as quaint, something that gives color to the area and raises the standard of living of Caucasian Americans by comparison, but a sense of political and economic representation is nowhere near the ballpark.

    In pining for that white-washed America that _Anchors Away_ represents, the over-60 leadership in this country, fail to recognize economic realities of America as a whole, economic realities that circumscribe a large swath of America that includes Americans of all ethnic backgrounds, hence the election of President Obama, whose campaign rhetoric spoke directly and dearly to that large segment of America that feels its interests have not been represented in government policies for a very long time.

    As long as the aging leadership in this country have a misguided view of what America is and is becoming, it will indirectly erect policies that are harmful to the country as a whole. The narrowly understood ideology of supply-side economics and global capitalism allows this leadership to be ignorant of American realities and mislead by a very peculiar and extremely effective system of American propaganda.

    Another film that allows for an interesting line of interpretation is _Mission to Mars_. On one hand it is a throw-away film that is the equivalent of fast-food. However, the film offers up something else, most likely unintentionally. It is this: A society where women and blacks can now perform the roles of the WASP males (scientists, explorers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, etc.) is sterile and no longer of interest to and deserving of the attention of the male WASP hero. Thus, he must abandon that society for a different one, one where, according to his own understanding, he can feel on top again.

    This issue is the one we constantly dance around, failing to place it front and center. When we do talk about race, we do it in a very superficial way, a way that disconnects the discussion from what what exactly America is. This is the conversation from which we cowardly back away, and we do so at the peril of the country. This is also how we all pay a dear price for the history of slavery and racial inequality. As long as we equate overcoming racial issues with acts of reluctant charity, we will fail to see how such ignorance brings down the entire country. We still fail to see how slavery and racism debase both the disadvantaged and the advantaged.

    Racial tension is so firmly woven into the American fabric that we are unable to see its subtle repercussions, beyond the superficially obvious. We do so at our own peril, as we walk the plank blindfolded.

    Post the comment here, or in making news better conversation, or in the budding "ahhrt" section for the muses directing politics to feed off of?


    Let's slide right over HOW the "collapse" happened. Go for the Machiavellian art of politics and claim heroics in "preventing" it.

    Was it "prevented"?!

    The rich get richer and the poor get poorer; all is well with the world?
    The weapons get deadlier and the fears get fiercer; so goes the world?
    The minds get fuzzier and the lives get meaningless; who wants to know?
    The earth is suffering and the people are blustering; where are the caretakers?
    We pray for peace and pay for war; What for?
    When life is done and there is no one; will there be a place for love and grace to get it right?


    I just couldn't get past the visual my imagination conjured up regarding eating scabs - sorry. Never heard of your myth before? Maybe it was modernized to be "south park" gross? Which means a whole lot of humanity is going to shut it off before they listen.

    However, I'm so glad you brought up the truth that it is ALL a free-will choice. So much philosophy and religion is dedicated to trying to come up with theories crafted to obfuscate free will - ie. predestination, mind control magik, voodoo, Big Giant Head tyranny, etc.

    Of course, the next logical sport to evolve will be the my-choice-is-smarter-than-yours game. So far, one team already thinks you have to have a higher IQ to choose eternal sleep.

    I'm in the camp that feels robbed of so much personal interest time being wasted on being forced to help others with their self-inflicted scabs, or arguing against "powers" for a better way to heal the scab than following an edict which says I should eat it.

    I'll enjoy a rest, but I've got plans for a lot more in the way of eternal adventures that I was robbed of the time to engage in while here in the USA. My choice is definitely - "so what's the next mission?" :-)

    Income distribution inequity has many sources. One is that the top successful people either set their own incomes (through setting fees and prices) or set each others' (by serving on each other's boards). They also set the wages for workers. They themselves are obviously worth more than any number of faceless workers, and they pay themselves accordingly. Then they hire cheaper workers by firing Americans and hiring Mexicans, then Chinese, not noticing that they're destroying their potential customers. The "American Century" began when Ford (the company, not the man) began paying workers $5 a day -- enough to buy their own product. It ended with the mass layoffs of American workers.

    Thanks Bill for the 70's on PBS, for a World of Ideas I & II and for the book about Joseph Campbell - and thanks for the present attempt to share your interest with the public.

    After 172 pages and 72 papers I have to say I don't feel one bit better and my 13 page reading list seems to be about dreams and certainly not the reality of man. So be it.

    Nature is about to kick Mankind's a** and I can't say I blame her.

    I am out of here....

    I know where I am going and I don't need anyone’s organs or help to get there.

    My body will return to the elements of the earth and my energy will return to the energy of the universe and I will be no more. I look forward to that eternal rest and I never wanted eternal life or consciousness.

    I mistakenly thought you might see the beauty in the myth....

    No motive.

    I now believe I have my answer as to why Bill never answers any of the input in the web logs he saves for his own reasons.

    To address inequality as it had developed up to the nineties (as Reich and Braeuninger do), it should be noted that many wealthy people have attained their wealth by means that have less to do with education that with political cooperation (example: some investment bankers).

    A second fundamental issue is access to training. It is either too costly or just not allowed. The usual solution, unfortunately, is not to question the control of academics or others. Nor is it to try to bring down costs or improve access. Rather, it is to simply pay the inflated costs by handing out a necesarily limited number of scholarships.

    There are many ways to improve the latter situation. But it would be helpful to admit the possibility that many upper income people are earning more than they would if education were more accessible.

    You can't steal the fruits of EVERYBODY's labor, IN THEORY and on paper, and expect no consequences - that's nuts. Even trying it is nuts.

    It's all about controlling the selfishness. What the heck do I care about the latest billionaire to buy a liver? Do I really believe I'll get the same shot if I ever need a vital organ because I used up the one I got at birth? Do I even want to go that route? Should I spend my whole life scheming and contorting the world's economic and scientific "labor" just so I can "live forever"?

    Legend has it that Native Americans first heard that they were NOT living in "paradise" the day they met the thundering blue-eyed black robe with a "holy book" channeling "god".

    And the liars still hold the megaphone.

    Use up your own liver, Ayr. You don't take the earth body to the next realm of your choice. We're all going to be "ayrie" :-))

    Posted by: Anna D | June 18, 2009 8:53 PM

    “got creativity ayr?”

    No mamm, I been drug hard and put up wet.

    You may want to read this sooner rather then later. It does answer the question for Bill but his people may not understand how it relates.

    But you seen to have one of those special minds and I hope you use it.

    Me, I believe in the following:

    In mythology, there exists a story about an ancient woman who sits at the gates of Heaven.

    Before a pilgrim can enter the Promised Land, she eats the scars from their body so that person may enter unscathed.

    If the person has accumulated no scars, she eats their eyes, denying them vision for eternity. Any person who has not suffered scars has not fully used the gift of life.

    I walk up to the gates of heaven...
    The old woman wiggles her gnarled finger and all my clothes are stripped away. In my nakedness, I stand before her, scarred and humble and proud.

    You have a lot of scars, son, she says, her bright, ancient eyes scanning my flesh. How did you get so many?

    Ma’am, I tell her, I rode a frisky horse through life, and I rode hard.
    Sometimes I didn’t hold on to the saddle horn, and my feet weren’t even in the stirrups.
    Sometimes I fell off, but each time I pulled myself up, climbed back on and rode again.
    The scars are my memories... The old lady nods.

    Son, you go on through the gate. You earned it.
    But you won’t find rest there. It’s just the beginning of another ride, and that’s the glory of it.
    She smiles, then leans and kisses me, her lips leaving a third eye in the middle of my forehead.

    The gates of heaven part, and through the lifting veil, I see not streets of gold, but....
    Green mountains and valleys, and dark blue rivers that roll on forever.

    You take on the living and I'll look forward to the green mountains and valleys, and the dark blue rivers that roll on forever.

    You take on the living Miss Anna D. and I’ll keep trying to get Bill to tell me why he wants so many people to comment on so many things without hearing back from him.

    Obama had the crude audacity to swat a fly last week. At least he didn't eat it. This probably frightened the Mentos and Fresca experimenters in North Korea. Now the good ship John McCain is chasing the bad guys, waiting for Obama to give the word to pull them over. Will he blink and miss this time? I hate fly guts.

    Mr. Dinnerjacket got to the parlay with Russia, China, and Brazil late because his re-inauguration took longer than normal. Northern Iran works a lot like Ohio and southern Iran like Florida. Ayatollahs are not unaware of the advantages of maintaining an American styled income distribution, which makes zombie elections more convincing.

    Petey-poo Petersen, the billionaire, wants you to drive to DC and protest like an Iranian. Protest the stimulus and the entitlements that produce dangerous deficits. Protest the health care you pay double for and never get. Pete says pay more for less because that's profitable. Never mind the bank bailout because that's business as usual. Mark Sanford has been hold up in a brothel on the dark side of the Moon all week making his sign. ("We don't want no education: We don't need no mind control!")

    Klark Mouvinon's friend Elmer Brassankle had it right about the "Yore money", that the funds needed for human well-being could have been created electronically out of thin air all along, that taxes aren't the only way. The primary problem is psychological: that those in the oligarchy are sadistic and cannot enjoy the fruits of labor and invention unless contrasted with deprivation and widespread suffering, or at least the threat (their dominatrix fantasy)of suffering. Somewhere in their subconscious the Robert Reich's of the world know these truths but continue to be obligated to the dungeon masters. The core truth is that money is a fiction and only our labor is real. How you use your work, to subvert and subjugate others in service to those above, or to defiantly serve the needs around you is what matters. I look at Dr. Paul Farmer and see this is so.

    Mr. Reich is a smart man, as are many commenting to The Journal, but Congress and the Self-serving SENIORTY System must be fixed, because economics study is history & 'THEY' will have done it to us again while SMART men & women are talking about litle details that can only explain what happened to US again & again & again!

    Fix Congress & the Spoils Seniorty Self-Serving System or there will be NO CHANGE!

    Billy Bob, Florida

    As for why it matters, the correlation between the GINI coefficient and social measures puts inequality in a very bad light. In the developed world, never mind the third world, income inequality correlates with imprisonment, crime, lower educational attainment (TIMSS/PISA), infant mortality, shortened lifespan, etc.

    Although many economists like to attribute the widening GINI coefficient (income inequality) to technology, the majority of individuals benefiting from the growth of technology are likely technological illiterates; the heads of financial corporations, where much of the inequality grew, know little of anything deeply about technology.

    If the same protections granted to machinists were granted to service people, if those same protections were enforced, if investment income were taxed equally, if not more heavily, than earned income, if taxes were progressive, if Americans weren't a bunch of backward, god-fearing conservatives...

    The list goes on and on, but inequality is certainly something that could be managed, rather than accepted as simply the result of the growth of technology.

    Mr. Reich has nailed it on the head. Over the last 25+ years the rich have gotten richer while the middle class has actually decreased in size or at least in terms of their purchasing power. It's too bad that Reich did not recognize this while he was in a better position to affect change in this area (as Treasury Secretary under Clinton)

    "tote that barge. lift that bail. get a little drunk and you land in jail".
    Things have not changed much. Now our bought and payed for representatives so called want to appologize for slavery when they are in the process of reinstating slavery. The slave coller has been replaced by the neck tie and the sweat shops replaced by small cubicals but the destruction of meaningful existence still remains. the only difference is that people have to support themselves.
    We have become sheep to the slaughter without even a wimper.

    "Tote that barge. Lift that bail. Get a little drunk and you land in jail.”
    Things have not changed much. Now our bought and paid for representatives so called want to apologize for slavery when they are in the process of reinstating slavery. The slave collar has been replaced by the neck tie and the sweat shops replaced by small cubicles but the destruction of meaningful existence still remains. The only difference is that people have to support themselves.
    We have become sheep to the slaughter without even a whimper.
    "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11

    The Golden Goose is still alive and standing back to back in mano et mano battle against the slave and master. As you noted, the master and the slave are both weak, and getting weaker, while the golden geese are just getting started :-) So much stolen identity, ideas, cash, marriage partners - so much ideology and "religion", so much hatred, hypocrisy and hell - and the golden geese are still hanging in there - freaky and scary, huh? Even the vampires are dust balls...

    The miniscule amount of stolen fruits will last only one generation (if that) among the hordes who took's a 10,000 year, or more, same ol' same ol' schtick. Granted, they have a couple more things available to them to hang on to the stuff longer, but it will still be a "civilization" frozen in time...original Star Trek had a show about stealing Spock's brain in order to run a planet for a pampered species :-)

    New problem today is that the golden geese need to call all their kind into one place (and print their own "money") for the strength it'll take to deal with 7 billion hungry mouths to creativity, Ayr?

    Hard to imitate a honking goose sound through a written word - what works better than "honk!"?

    Eric Hoffer said:

    “No matter how noble the objectives of a government, if it blurs decency and kindness, cheapens human life, and breeds ill will and suspicion – it is an evil government.”

    Ayr Lake says:

    This is an excellent description of the government given to us by George Bush and the Republican controlled Congress for 8 years.

    Eric Hoffer said:

    “There are many who find a good alibi far more attractive than an achievement. For an achievement does not settle anything permanently. We still have to prove our worth anew each day: we have to prove that we are as good today as we were yesterday. But when we have a valid alibi for not achieving anything we are fixed, so to speak, for life. Moreover, when we have an alibi for not writing a book, painting a picture, and so on, we have an alibi for not writing the greatest book and not painting the greatest picture. Small wonder that the effort expended and the punishment endured in obtaining a good alibi often exceed the effort and grief requisite for the attainment of a most marked achievement.”

    Ayr Lake says:

    This is the behavior of our President who takes no action but delegates his ideas to others to be put into action. And they respond by finding a good alibi so they will not have to act.

    This is the behavior of our two houses of Congress both the Representative and the Senator investigate and hold committee meetings in order to find an alibi that will allow them not to act and if this fails they will find someone to blame. As we know, there are no consequents so blame accomplishes nothing and the immoral, unethical, incompetent are let go to cause great harm to society.

    Eric Hoffer said:

    “The God who created nature was above all a supreme technician.
    But once He had created nature and automated it, God lost interest in His creation. It bored Him, and in His boredom God became an artist. The God who created man was above all an artist, and He created man in His own image --- the image of an artist.

    All other animals are perfect technicians, each with its built-in tool kit, each an accomplished specialist. Man is a technically misbegotten creature, half finished and ill equipped, but in his mind and soul are all the ingredients of a creator, of an artist. And it was God’s mark as a supreme artist that He refused to automate man.

    They who lack talent expect things to happen without effort. They ascribe failure to a lack of inspiration or of ability, or to misfortune, rather than to insufficient application. At the core of every true talent there is an awareness of the difficulties inherent in any achievement, and the confidence that by persistence and patience something worthwhile will be realized. Thus, talent is a species of vigor.”

    Ayr Lake says:

    The first description of the Alibi relates to our Government’s incompetence.

    The second description of Man as an Artist and his unwillingness to develop his talent and skill is the excuse used by the poor who do not want to put the necessary effort into birthing their genius. They rather seek not to be responsible and settle for mundane repetitive work that barely pays for the necessities of life and certainly not education and invention. Real creativity is out of the question and they seek an alibi every bit as much as those in Power who refuse to be responsible for our Government, security, welfare, and the opportunity to be creative and all that means in the world of art, music, literature and much more.

    The Government is controlled by the same incompetence as the Citizen’s Home and City. The rich and powerful are the same as the poor in all ways except the amount of money at their disposal.

    The one allows the other to exist and both are partners in the direction taken by our Country in September 2008 and both continue to live their lives as if nothing has happened or changed. We are blind and being led by the blind.

    tO TOM lOEBER:

    That is why we need GOVERNMENT. Not like what Americans call government, but like the European and Scanadavian Countries.

    American corporations have been hijacked by fast talking con men. A corporation should be run for the benefit of the stockholders We have the right to limit CEO's and director compensation. Although lobbyists have made it very difficult.

    Corporations not only should be run for the benefit of the stockholders but contribute to the general welfare. When it becomes too big to fail it no longer meets this criteria and should be split up.

    One should give pause and dream what would have happened if GM & the UAW were split up like AT&T. The failure of the Government failing to act has caused a great hardship on our communities. If they would have acted against the likes of AIG, GM, Morgan Stanley, ect. would we have bailouts now?

    One would hope the public would learn that this is History of the greedy repeating itself and will again and again unless Republicans and Democrats take action. If they fail the public should not just switch Parties but elect a third party.

    Robert Reich is certainly not an idiot. I think of him more as a passionate liberal who uses facts that serve his agenda. As an idiot, he wouldn’t be able to do much damage. What’s a scary side issue is if he uses the same one-sided arguments with his students, who won’t know any better. It’s sad that academics seem to have long since given up on objectivity and fairness as their ends justify the means.

    Dr. Reich is not being truthful and he must know it. He cites that it’s terrible that insurers find ways to turn down medical claims. Does he think the government in a single payer system won’t do that? He must be familiar with the costs of unnecessary procedures and what would happen if any suggested procedures were automatically approved. He also mentions that a single player system would be much more efficient than what we have today. I agree there would be additional leverage over drug companies and providers. But what government agency has ever been more efficient than the private sector? And what happens to costs when medical care is politicized? Imagine Barney Frank doing for heath care what he did for the mortgage market.

    All that said, I favor a single payer health care. The existing system is broken and makes companies non-competitive. But putting people in charge of this who are in the pockets of drug companies, trial lawyers, unions and whoever else may contribute to their campaigns will be ugly and very expensive. And it’s a shame that all of us have to guess at the pros and cons because all we get are one-sided experts like Dr. Reich on one side and Hannity on the other.

    I'm repeating this comment from above because it is precisely what I think and what I was going to write:

    The reason loobyists and their corporate employers are so powerful, and the reason our government is responsive to their interests instead of the public interest is simple: we still don't have public financing of elections, and our elected representatives therefore remain hostages of those who will -- or won't -- fund their campaigns. I wish Mr.Moyers would point this out more often. It's the key reform that all the other progressive reforms depend on.

    Posted by: Craig Dunkerley | June 18, 2009 2:19 AM


    robert reich is an idiot. income inequality grew as a result of conscious govt. policy, not because of "the market." namely reagan and the world bank and imf. reagan was the greatest protectionist in presidential history (he doubled protections, much to the delight of industry - you can read about this glee in businessweek and fortune, where ceo's talk about what a friend of business reagan is for being their nanny). read dean baker and you'll find that this is not the market at work but conscious policy.

    markets are based on self-interest, yet self-interest will in the end undermine markets. sorry people, marx was right. the pharmaceutical industry and the agricultural industry are consciously undermining the market to feed themselves at the cost of our health.

    The reason loobyists and their corporate employers are so powerful, and the reason our government is responsive to their interests instead of the public interest is simple: we still don't have public financing of elections, and our elected representatives therefore remain hostages of those who will -- or won't -- fund their campaigns. I wish Mr.Moyers would point this out more often. It's the key reform that all the other progressive reforms depend on.

    Key reason for increasing inequality in the U.S. is the employment-at-will rule. It is the master's right over his slave. This rule must be destroyed. See

    The President can eliminate this rule by a stroke of his pen. And he should soon -- he's running out of honeymoon time.

    Ron Mulvaney

    The key reasons for the increasing income inequality in the United States is the universal employment rule in all States but Montana: employment-at-will. It is the master's rights over his slaves. My site ( is only a little over a year old, but it highlights what has been criminal acts against employees for the last 33 years.

    How does income inequality affect the country? Simple. It entrenches poverty.

    How do I suggest that income inequality be reduced? Simple again. Employment-at-will must be destroyed.
    The President has the power to do this by Administrative Rule. And he has the duty to do it.

    Ron Mulvaney

    I do not believe the USA will be more then a third world country by the end of the present recession/depression.

    I do not believe in America because it destroyed its golden goose the Middle Class... they were the ones who built a world super power.

    Now we have immoral men without consequences who care not one whit about the country. They are the congress and dictators.

    The populace the great Horde is too lazy to vote them out and so deserves the poverty we now have.

    Without a miracle you can forget the good times in America and learn to tighten your belt.

    Hard times are coming and nothing will stop that.

    Ever since the 1980's Americans when a grade "B" actor played the President, and made Americans "feel good" with the rhetoric regarding "individualism", "big government", "tax cuts" and an undeclared war on Middle Class Americans via his firing of the Air Traffic Controllers (who were on strike for more pay), there has been an erosion of the "we" in this nation!

    The now corporate controlled media has colluded with their silence about the impact of how these real issues are affecting real Americans, and the "spin" used to divide the nation on issues ranging from black/white relations, citizens/immigrants (how "they" are taking American jobs), pro-abortion/anti-abortion, heterosexual/homosexual - and "we" have been fighting ever since! Even as "tax cuts" and the "death taxes" are not going to "US" but the rich corporate oligarchy! Enough! Enough! Stop buying the rhetoric and follow the money!

    We need to have the corporations and the rich pay their fair share of taxes - no more off-shoring money to foreign banks (and if you do then you pay more), we have to close the corporate loopholes, we need to have term limits for those in power too long forget the needs of the people that they are supposed to serve, we need to have rules & regulations installed to stop paying people massive amounts for failure, we need to stop falling for the Ponzi schemes because there is too much work that needs to be done and it is going to require ALL OF US to pitch in and work together to solve them!

    Dear Mr. Moyers,

    After your chair at the LBJ ranch as White House press secretary was specifically pointed out to us by the Park ranger, and after listening to your conversation with Robert Reich, I suggest you devote a show to "What Americans Stand For" containing two lines of discussion: What we STAND FOR meaning what we allow to exist and continue to be practiced such as bigotry, inequality, lack of societal care for those least able to care for themselves, destroying the natural resources of many for the benefit of the few, illiteracy, lack of medical attention, etc.; and what we stand FOR meaning what are the values that underly and define whatever our practices and whatever we allow to exist. LBJ returned to his ranch having led the country away from STANDING FOR practices that were (and still are) detrimental to our society and towards standing FOR those values enshrined in our basic rights and priviledges for all.

    You surely can give insight and valuable thought from your various seats over the last 40 years.

    Stephen Bender

    It's time Americans get wise and term limit the rich from serving more than a decade in Washington. They have become so entrenched, that none of them recognize the allegory in wheeling in a feeble Senator who has out-lived his ability to effectively serve his constituents.


    Just a correction to my previous post. The book I referenced is by Steven Greenhouse (not Stephen Goodhouse).

    I would add to my list:

    1. Campaign reform - public money for campaignes, NO MORE LOBBYISTS (that probably should be No.1)

    2. Mortatorium on new trade agreements - we need to get a handle on the trade deficit and globalization. Retraining of displaced workers (all workers not just factory workers)

    3. You can't make people responsible for their health choices without paying attention to the food supply. Right away I would ban high fructose corn syrup (this stuff is like transfats), no junk food or drinks in schools, etc.

    4. Rethink pension and 401(k) - perhaps mandating pension with government subsidies?

    5. Maybe it's time for another political party - the Labor party, for the American worker and the salvation of the middle class in America!

    Difficult to redistribute wealth without more taxation. Certainly, this divide has grown into a chasm the last several decades, but I'm not convinced that it could ever be breached.

    The (Senator) Frist family raked
    hundreds of millions of
    dollars off the top of their
    health care corporation.
    Yet, under Obama, we will
    get no significant
    improvement in policy,
    only soothing vaguely
    reasonable platitudes backed
    by diktats of the corporations.
    Baucus' behavior is indicative of the
    irremediable corruption which permeates
    the Democratic and the Republican parties.
    Obama's policies are only slightly different from those of Bush.
    It is time for a 5 million person HealthCare March on
    Washington led by a hundred thousand
    people in wheel chairs. We have to make it
    clear that we don't want to be ruled by
    criminal corporate cartels.

    Corporatism folks,
    corporatism (the Urform of
    If the federal government could bail out a
    single corporation, AIG, with 80 billion dollars,
    how is it that it turns a cold shoulder to
    the state of California? More evidence of
    the base corporate fealty and the lack of
    public responsibility that inhabits
    Washington whether a Democrat or a
    Republican sits in the White House.

    Well, Grady, I guess we know what survival contribution you'd make to the IMAGINARY stranded visitors in such a harsh terrain like that of the Grand Canyon. Harping critic to hide your uselessness? I realize that that is the dream job of the Machiavellianistas with mono causes, but it doesn't hold ANY water when building a civilization...maybe you should start at the beginning of the official canyon next time and learn about "nature" from the Navajos?

    Speaking of water, if YOU were the miracle worker who could change the cheap wine to water, or better yet, getting Colorado River water from a mile down up to the people on the edge, I'd think it fair for you to get more compensation in the way of "credit" for such a feat.

    Negative harping critic...? One glass less of water per day for being so useless.

    Anna D.- I don't think they allow rocks on the trams at the Grand Canyon. It's pretty tightly managed and they move the herds along like roller coaster lines at a theme park. Some of the older concessionaires that had become landmarks have been evicted for larger flashier tenants. Microwave Aramark food is pretty dry and the pissy wine is passable only because of the altitude. I watched people there more fixated on jewelry displays than the vistas. The vendor takes 85% on Navajo rugs (may be fakes). I don't think Obama gangsters would have any problem with a Wal-Mart down in the village. The story of the GC is up in Page; the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. They put a valve and a meter on Nature so they could sell it.

    Thirty years ago there were buses of rich foreign tourists already, but it was morning in America. I was not impressed with the increasing smog pollution that marred the morphing colors of geologic bands. We hid at Hermit's Roost all night, overheard rangers and friends having a drunken orgy. The highlight was the rush of wind into the canyon when the Sun set, talking to the twisted, gnarly ancient tortured trees. I never appreciated the grandeur of the place until I experienced the challenging switchback hike up from the river the next day. (We ran down like idiots risking our bones.) Now I prefer the less busy aspen environment on the north side.

    Please don't fantasize anymore about building civilization in the GC: It sounds perverted for a scape already so put-upon. Go east to Keams Canyon and help rebuild the Moencopian school. These people weren't created by Hodaddy God but were assisted in emergence from a lower world by Spider Woman. They experienced our entire globe and chose three barren mesas. (Coal outcroppings were superior to firewood gathering.) Quite a challenge. Someday people will emerge into a higher existence, they predict. Civilization is working pretty hard to conceal the opening, ever present in our mind's eye.

    Note: If you go start in Williams and ride the train (50 miles). Stay at the motel there and bring some tennis balls up from the desert. They have courts. You will not believe how your balls will bounce.

    The truth is that Reagan economics caused all of this. Anyone remember the trickle down economics? Well I call it piss down immoral economics. He destroyed the middle class. He took away Unions which provided good pay and benefits. Now we have just enough to get you by pay and limited or no benefits. What is needed is a flat tax that if you make less than $100,000 a year you pay 15%. Anyone who make more than that pays 20%. No one gets deductions, Smaller govt because not as many needed to collect. The income would double that the govt has and everyone could have benefits and real retirement. Its a known fact that a millionaire pays less taxes than someone who make min wage. They have loopholes on top of loopholes. Does anyone ever look at food labels too. Well on most products you buy high fructose corn syrup is usally one of the biggest ingredients. The food corporations get the corn syrup for free. Another thing they can do is tax these churches. Religion is for people and not for profits. I didn't mispell that either. Olaf Brescia that was a good comment too from a great group.

    About 5 million people from around the world visit the Grand Canyon every year for the past 5 years.

    They come to stare at the biggest hole in the world and everyone just says "whoa" the first time they see it. Milions of years in the making - that hole.

    Now imagine that something weird happens and all the day visitors who are there are stuck in the Grand Canyon for the rest of their lives without any help or contact with the rest of the world.

    What kind of civilization would the visitors be able to recreate?

    It was just a game - they always said so. They used "technology" to siphon all the numbers into some secret virtual reality box and proclaim themselves "Masters of the Universe".

    But the truth is, and they know it, that they ALSO are the most incompetant creatures ever to walk this planet.

    "I'm leaving it to charity when I die"....aren't all the black tie benefits and pink bow walks all about "raising" money for health care?

    Now here's something to meditate upon - the Bureau of Land Management used to hire the kind of people that COULD recreate a certain level of civilization for all the visitors.

    I see no reason to be ashamed of being of that ilk of humanity that does stuff like "civilization". It's an interesting thing to be into - it's my deal with it...

    The shenanigans of both the greedy extremists and the "religious" extremists are a USELESS ilk of "leadership".

    The easiest thing to do is to pick a new symbol for life-maintenance transactions and get moving with the next phase of civilization.

    What most people are NOT experiencing these days is the close and real relationship humans have with the land. You need to drop yourself off in a real wilderness environment and stay there for a while to see how all the creatures and resources become aware of the FACT that the power of a human being is in IMPROVING the area where we plant ourselves. Get that - IMPROVE the area.

    I may sound wacky because unless you have experienced this phenomena, you won't really understand what I am talking about.

    At its core, the hell on earth that was the 20th century was because people were dragged kicking and screaming from their carefully nurtured paradise on earth into the belly of the factory beasts.

    The "industrialists" were/are the filthiest crappers imaginable. They never did and never will have any love for the land, other human beings, "god", nothing.

    I especially bristle at the Madame Thongmas who appear on these forums spouting pablum about how stupid and immobile people can it be both? How can you be selling a martial lockdown of the populace because of the new invented enemy, the "lone wolf", at the same time where you are supposedly bemoaning (or rejoicing?) in the data you think you have about the mental inertia that distinguishes aol users?

    Think about what YOU would contribute to CIVILIZATION at the edge of the Grand Canyon, Madames? BTW, this brave new world also shed the stature gained through the world's oldest what else you got besides media echo chamber psycho babble and ethical and moral freak show "Miss Manners" attitudes? Here's the memo you might not have gotten - aol is PROPAGANDA pablum - it's on send, no receive. Talk about being "stupid" about reality....what to do with all these "ladies"?...guess nothing else but have them move the rocks into piles so that someone else can do something REAL with a pile of rocks...

    Margaret Beresford, Montreal

    Pure Genious!

    And you said it in a few sentenances. The truth was not lost in the details. I hope you get your wish.

    My suggestion is simple just change the tax system. Please comment on the possibility of a two-tiered tax system. One tier for the very rich (including of course, the banks,corporations). A second-tier tax system for the rest. And no one from tier-one can access funds from tier-two. Large projects would be negotiated. Please comment. Thank you and take care. Margaret Beresford, Montreal.

    “The Evil in Governments and the Lies that make it possible….”

    The founders of our country were not great men, they were not good men but, they were greedy and they were smart men.

    The founders of our country were Evil men who wanted a government that could keep Kings and Dictators out of power while allowing those who were rich and powerful to run the country. They did this through a system that checked the power of politicians and forced them to make changes on a regular bases that served the needs and desires of the real rulers (the wealthy families) and guarantee they could continue to have their way without being in the “public light of criticism and hate”.

    They created the Government to guarantee they would retain the advantages and privileges of wealth and maintain their power to do what was necessary to keep the “lion’s share” of their money, land, possessions, and influence and maintain their positions and properties in life.

    They also needed to hide their power from the public and did so by the use of the First Amendment, that being “the freedom of speech” which allows the poor to speak their minds without consequence and so be ignored by the government. While at the same time also allowing the News Organizations to spread the Propaganda of the Rich, by use of the “Daily Newspapers and Nightly TV News” that the Rich and Powerful use to influence public opinion to believe and follow what they are told.

    They needed Democracy because it is the best form of Government to divide the common people with. The common people must be divided in order to control them for if they stand together they would then be in control and capable of taking back the fruits of their labor from the rich and improving their standard of life from that of Salve to Citizen.

    Competition begets hate: The republicans hate the democrats and vice versa and this continuous disagreement keeps the government in turmoil and the people’s attention on questions and not the actions of those behind the scene who are the actual deal makers leaving the public to hold the bag and pay the bill. We are enslaved by our own laziness and lack of attention to the powers given to the people in the Constitution.

    Democracy requires elections that require different parties that separate the population and cause contention and division between the common people. This is the much desired result as the common people can not agree and therefore they can not demand Equality from an unjust government.

    Democracy is not for the people, but for the Rich and for their Corporations that make them rich. Democracy is not by the people, but by the Federal Government which protects the Rich and their Corporations.

    Democracy is not of the people. That is impossible because the common people are Slaves without rights or protections and are not consulted about decisions that affect their lives. The Federal Government protects the rights of the Wealthy and Corporations and takes no notice of the slaves used to support the institutions that serve the rich and powerful.

    Democracy is no friend of the poor or working or educated people, only the rich and powerful benefit from a system that first allowed SLAVERY through the owning of human beings and now allows Slavery through the paying of wages that force people into debt and poverty.

    The Founding Fathers were mercenary bastards in another way… they saw in Capitalism a form of finance that allowed the shrewd, greedy, lying thieves, charlatans and conmen on Wall Street and in the Banks, and Insurance Companies to fleece the poor over and over. They have like clockwork on a regular bases time after time transferred the money saved by the working people to the coffers of the rich and powerful.

    This is done by the passage of laws that force the poor to pay for certain services. The one best example is the people are forced to buy many kinds and types of insurance, forced to take out loans for houses and cars, and soon forced to pay for health care. All these purchases force the people to pay by monthly payments or by paying off loans that keep them in debt. This financial oppression forces the people to pay for their services while the Federal Government uses the people’s tax dollars to take care of the rich and the corporations.

    If and when there are citizens who are able to save some of their wages or salary’s and choose to invest in the Stock Market they are first told to diversify (this makes the broker rich) and second to hold for the long term (this makes it possible for the rich to sell at the top and leave the sucker

    holding the bag and this is how the rich transfer the money from the poor to the rich).

    Also all programs recommended by the Federal Government through the IRS (401K and IRA etc.) have turned out to force the savings to be held long term and caused the market go up and when the rich sell at the top these instruments are responsible for the loss of 50 to 75% of the working class’s lost in their savings. (This is the second way the rich transfer money from the poor).

    The third way the rich transfer money from the poor is to fail and go to the Federal Government asking for a bail out. The rich are then rewarded for failing and again transfer money to themselves from the taxpayers.

    And when the Federal Government seems to be bleeding too many tax dollars, the FEDERAL RESERVE steps in with a smile and asks, how much would you like and yes we will guarantee that you DO NOT FAIL!

    At this point the people must take some responsibility as they have become so lazy as not to remove the incumbent in congress who no longer cares about their lives or families. They only have one power given to them by the constitution and that is the vote. But the vote is worthless if it creates a plural dictatorship or if you will, an oligarchy. (Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families ...). Only when the citizen uses the vote to remove the elected official who works for the rich and only when the elected official protects the poor does the citizen allow him or her to remain….

    When the electorate fears the Citizen more then the powerful will he or she protect the poor and return the fruits of their labor to them and give them the protections of the constitution and their is the only reason for the Federal Government to exist… and the Federal Reserve should be ABOLISHED!

    Capitalism is no system with its “free market and no consequences” to build a family friendly, neighborhood friendly, educational system friendly country with.

    It is a house of cards that will fall over and over and be rebuilt by a Government that will take from the poor and give to the rich all to fix a broken system so the rich may have their cake an eat it too.

    The truth is it is a system that was meant to fail… with out failure there would be no “spread” and so no way of selling and buying low… as each time you sold you would have to buy back in at a higher price and that would prevent any profit.

    Democracy is used to effectively control the people due to the fact they have lost the will to vote out the incumbent. It pits the rich against the poor, the democrat against the republican, the boss against the worker, one race against another, and in the end as we have now plainly seen the Government against the Citizen.

    Capitalism is used to fleece or transfer the money from the poor to the rich. At present moment many are saying they want the free market and no regulation… how long would they want the "free market" if they had to deal with failure and not be paid for their mistakes.

    Will you, America, be like the slaves in Egypt, be unworthy of entering the promised land or will you find the backbone to stand up as Citizens and not slaves and take back your Country, Culture, and Home?

    Are you worthy to live Free or will you remain in Slavery?


    “The Evil in Governments and the Lies that make it possible….”

    If you wait for the bail out bandits to pay the so called loans back ask your self about the 3 & ½ Trillion stolen from Social Security and never paid back….

    We the citizens paid for our Social Security program and it is ours not the Congresses slush fund.

    All the social programs the Federal Government is willing to pay a pittance for are programs meant to stymie Anarchy.

    At the end of the day the Financial System is set up to keep the people of America poor and the Federal Reserve is not your friend.

    Each time a law is passed forcing the public citizens of America to buy some product or service from a Business… the loss of LIBERTY is the loss of the Citizen’s and the wealth gained is the gain of the Wealthy.

    This action forces the poor to pay for services and products they may not need and allows the Federal Government to keep tax dollars and transfer the money and services in its care to the rich and powerful.

    Oligarchy: Government by a few, especially by a small faction of persons or families ... Thus the US House and Senate being Plural Dictators….

    You can never rise above the beast as long as you serve the Boss as a slave. What will it be? The treadmill or watching TV in a drunken stupor? Work (greed) and entertainment (desire) are not enough.

    Liberty is not for slaves… freedom comes from understanding not by consuming. One must decide that Liberty and freedom are for individuals.

    Crowds become mobs and mobs can be led with clichés and slogans. Soon the great populace, the majority, will arrive at the cliff and fall into the abyss of death.

    There will be no one to speak of Liberty or freedom… the great libraries and the ivory towers will return to dust covered over by the tines of time.

    The promise of democracy is you will be heard… the truth is you are free to be anonymous and no one will care what you say or do.

    We live on a planet that in 1950 had roughly 3 billion that is now 6 billion and will be 9 billion by 2050. We destroy and consume more then any other specie in history.

    At the rate we are going how can we continue to deny we are in peril and continue with business as usual?

    Solve the population problem and the world will return to a livable environment.

    Thus Ends Part Two

    A timely show and very interesting to me as I am almost done reading Stephen Goodhouse's (NY Times)book "The Big Squeeze". For those who are interested in this topic I highly recommend this book as I do the site

    The widening gap between the rich and the middle class in this country is made possible by the federal tax laws that Bush (and others) put into effect. Together with the broken social contract between business and the worker it has created this perfect storm, now being called the "Great Recession".

    The four things I would change immediately:

    1. Repeal the law that allows employers to hire replacement workers for striking workers and for them to hire those replacement workers as permanent workers, who then do management's bidding and vote the union out (and all the other anti-union laws the Republicans have put through).

    2. Change the tax code back to the levels we had in the 1950's - the wealthiest paid their fair share then.

    3. Tax income made from investments at the same rate as so called "regular" income - not sure why hedge fund workers get to keep a larger percentage of their income I do because my income comes from wages?

    4. Increase the minimum wage to the level it should be at after years of Republicans thwarting legislation to increase this key wage.

    5. Institute a Single Payer health system to get employers out of the equation which would free them to spend time and money on their core business and free the workers to find work they want rather than work they must have to get these benefits. Single payer would do far more than this of course, see the Blog here on Single Payer for more ways this type of system will save lives and money!


    Stratford, CT

    That's my five legged stool for bringing back the American Middle Class!


    M. Heckler

    How does income inequality affect the country? You have heard of Sir John Acton's "Power corrupts. Absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely." Did you ever hear how the rest of the quote goes? "Great men are almost always bad." As the monetary wealth has concentrated so has the corruption.

    Was a time when a commercial for an oil company would have been considered taboo for PBS. Now the so-called "Service" tows the company line and aids in covering up just how corrupted the ever smaller faction of those who hold the purse strings of this country have become. The evidence is now overwhelming: the bringing down of the WTC towers on 9/11/01 was an inside job.

    Your television station and Mr. Moyers himself may not know there is another measure of wealth besides money. Lose that and no amount of money can compensate. The inequity of wealth has impinged upon much in our country including your ability to communicate that which is most important. I believe I learned of the concept of epistemological relativism from Mr. Moyers. Sad to see him and your television station afflicted with that insanity.

    David H.: I had not chimed in on Reich's opinion of wealth and power but you found an article on the "...mental hurdle of raising taxes..." in NC, and you addressed it to me. I watch the legislature's charade on public TV, and they refuse to play with a full deck by choice. Not yet have they realized how the gyrations at the end of empire will affect their little game. As Grady has repeatedly stated recently, he sees every little town government in NC as a mini-oligarchy of real estate speculators and budget parasites. That's true, and not only in NC, but the other half of the truth is the ideology dictated by labor exploiters. (I'm glad I didn't go to work processing food and wind up a "human slimjim" the other day.) The fascist line, in a state that is already ant bait for the worst employers 4 years out of 5, is that we better not tax or regulate lest the big bidness man bypass us for Arkansas or Haiti. And every little Jaycee, every little hog wearing a tie repeats this iron law ad finitim in all our media all day long. Being blind to the fact that a higher minimum wage and better protections make for a more prosperous community and more able workers, they still advocte for some dipshit approximation of training or education paid for by loans taken by the low earning worker. Mark Sanford has stolen our thunder by refusing education funds and unemployment supplements in South Carolina, but it is in NC where open season on the workers never closes. Our Hispanic population has risen so fast because our employers bring undocumented people by the busload. True, our resident workers are in bad shape, having been neglected and worn out (and immigrants can be cherrypicked for youth and vigor, then discarded to state health care in Mexico) But our employers seem to take particular pride in ruining all their help. The federal government does provide the indigent's solace Medicaid, partially state funded, but only one eighth of our population gets it, while it averages one sixth in the rest of the country. Home ownership started out low here and is plummeting. Most schoolchildren are eligible for free lunches, and we still have pricipals seeking shoes and coats every fall. People put up a good front for a long time but now it is plain to see how poor we are. I look at the expired tags, tires worn to the fabric, long hopeless jobfair lines with a pot of used cat litter at the end of the rainbow. The cable company has trouble collecting and is nearly insolvent. Cigarette addicts bust into closed convenience stores for smokes. Most people are not in a position to protest except as a last ditch act (maybe with a gun) and are certainly not in a position to advocate for nicities. There are still some idiots in government. In a town where all the people get for their taxes is trash pick-up the mayor wanted to impose a trash pick-up fee to continue her pet downtown development projects, and she stated this proudly in the media. She thinks the first thing needed is an olympic pool so her present sexual fixation Michael Phelps will visit and show butt cleavage. Those in charge here are often truly ignorant because they are the lackeys of our sadistic wealth holders.

    This is not to say that NC doesn't have some fancy colleges and research facilities to reinforce fascist logic or reach foregone conclusions with stylish flourish. We may soon have talking mostly corn syrup peanut butter that can call fat kids from its jar, or a car that runs on polar bears, but we will never have a sane transportation plan or anything for a curious and hopeful child to thrive on. Charlotte, our largest dung heap, prefers canned imported entertainment 20 or 30 years dated (for cultural safety) and calls it "the arts." There are no book discussion groups here beyond Oprah's whims and no political action movements beyond teabaggers calling their hound dogs. Considering what usually goes down it is no wonder North Carolinians fear the word taxes, no matter the professed purpose, or who is due to start paying their share (wealthy class and corporations). My assessment of NC leads me to believe state government should be abolished in favor of new grassroot constituencies. I could go on, but I would only harp on a class based resentment that extends to the whole nation, a quiessant complacence that results when working people "know their place" and feel their old scars all too well.

    David H.: I had not chimed in on Reich's opinion of wealth and power but you found an article on the "...mental hurdle of raising taxes..." in NC, and you addressed it to me. I watch the legislature's charade on public TV, and they refuse to play with a full deck by choice. Not yet have they realized how the gyrations at the end of empire will affect their little game. As Grady has repeatedly stated recently, he sees every little town government in NC as a mini-oligarchy of real estate speculators and budget parasites. That's true, and not only in NC, but the other half of the truth is the ideology dictated by labor exploiters. (I'm glad I didn't go to work processing food and wind up a "human slimjim" the other day.) The fascist line, in a state that is already ant bait for the worst employers 4 years out of 5, is that we better not tax or regulate lest the big bidness man bypass us for Arkansas or Haiti. And every little Jaycee, every little hog wearing a tie repeats this iron law ad finitim in all our media all day long. Being blind to the fact that a higher minimum wage and better protections make for a more prosperous community and more able workers, they still advocte for some dipshit approximation of training or education paid for by loans taken by the low earning worker. Mark Sanford has stolen our thunder by refusing education funds and unemployment supplements in South Carolina, but it is in NC where open season on the workers never closes. Our Hispanic population has risen so fast because our employers bring undocumented people by the busload. True, our resident workers are in bad shape, having been neglected and worn out (and immigrants can be cherrypicked for youth and vigor, then discarded to state health care in Mexico) But our employers seem to take particular pride in ruining all their help. The federal government does provide the indigents solace Medicaid, partially state funded, but only one eighth of our poipulation gets it, while it averages one sixth in the rest of the country. Home ownership started out low here and is plummeting. Most schoolchildren are eligible for free lunches, and we still have pricipals seeking shoes and coats every fall. People put up a good front for a long time but now it is plain to see how poor we are. I look at the expired tags, tires worn to the fabric, long hopeless jobfair lines with a pot of used cat litter at the end of the rainbow. The cable company has trouble collecting and is nearly insolvent. Cigarette addicts bust into closed convenience stores for smokes. Most people are not in aposition to protest except as a last ditch act (maybe with a gun) and are certainly not in a position to advocate for nicities. There are still some idiots in government. In a town where all the people get for their taxes is trash pick-up the mayor wanted to impose a trash pick-up fee to continue her pet downtown development projects, and she stated this proudly in the media. She thinks the first thing needed is an olympic pool so her present sexual fixation Michael Phelps will visit and show butt cleavage. Those in charge here are often truly ignorant because they are the lackeys of our sadistic wealth holders.

    This is not to say that NC doesn't have some fancy colleges and research facilities to reinforce fascist logic or reach foregone conclusions with stylish flourish. We may soon have talking mostly corn syrup peanut butter that can call fat kids from its jar, or a car that runs on polar bears, but we will never have a sane transportation plan or anything for a curious and hopeful child to thrive on. Charlotte, our largest dung heap, prefers canned imported entertainment 20 or 30 years dated (for cultural safety) and calls it "the arts." Therer are no book discussion groups beyond Oprah's whims and no political action movements beyond teabaggers calling their hound dogs. Considering what usually goes down it is no wonder people fear the word taxes here, no matter the professed purpose. My assessment of NC leads me to believe state government should be abolished in favor of new grassroot constituencies. I could go on, but I would only harp on a class based resentment that extends to the whole nation, a quiessant complacence that results when working people "know their place" and feel their old scars all too well.


    We have begun receiving unsolicited recorded messages from organizations representing health insurance industry providers - on my cell phone and home phone.

    Your program(s) over the years - have - and continue – to leave - their own mighty wake. Thank You(!)

    The powerful forces moving against the Obama agenda - are – in a way – almost frightening.

    They keep me gravitating back to these powerful lyrics written by Neil Peart:

    ‘The Big Money’

    Big money goes around the world

    Big money underground

    Big money got a mighty voice

    Big money make no sound

    Big money pull a million strings

    Big money hold the prize

    Big money weave a mighty web

    Big money draw the flies

    Sometimes pushing people around

    Sometimes pulling out the rug

    Sometimes pushing all the buttons

    Sometimes pulling out the plug

    It's the power and the glory

    It's a war in paradise

    It's a Cinderella story

    On a tumble of the dice

    Big money goes around the world

    Big money take a cruise

    Big money leave a mighty wake

    Big money leave a bruise

    Big money make a million dreams

    Big money spin big deals

    Big money make a mighty head

    Big money spin big wheels

    Sometimes building ivory towers

    Sometimes knocking castles down

    Sometimes building you a stairway

    Lock you underground

    It's that old time religion

    It's the kingdom they would rule

    It's the fool on television

    Getting paid to play the fool

    Big money goes around the world

    Big money give and take

    Big money done a power of good

    Big money make mistakes

    Big money got a heavy hand

    Big money take control

    Big money got a mean streak

    Big money got no soul...

    Why is none of the experts talking about LOBBYISTS!!

    I like the line from a 70's Ten Years After song:

    Tax the rich, feed the poor
    'til there are no rich no more.

    Go Alvin Lee.
    As if!

    I'm on the AOL network, came as default on my new computer. I've got my mail there and have gotten used to it. But what they call news is like reading People magazine: mostly celebrity gossip. It must be what people want. This voyeuristic fascination and idolization of celebrities (who are also ultra-rich) makes the rest of us unrich wannabees. What we value needs to change.
    I believe in justice. Whatever is high and exalts itself (the proud, the rich) will be brought low, and whatever is humble will be raised up.
    This is a basic premise in the Bible. It sure doesn't look that way now though.

    I agree with Michael: “term limits.”
    America needs another revolution because just as our original and un-workable arrangement under Brittan, the motherland would not listen to or appropriately respond to the colonists’ (citizens) needs. Brittan listened to its own ‘colonial governors and merchants.’ And the colonists were forced to fight a war to gain their independence.
    Today, our own congress/senate will not listen to the citizens (public), either. Our congress/senate is owned by and they work for business and trade interests (merchants and governors, again). The congress/senate is corrupt.
    I believe that term limits would keep the congress/senate from being bought and owned, perhaps, if the term limits were only one term. Yes that sound too restrictive, but it is not. One term and they are out. More common sense men and women could be elected because the incumbency advantage and its money would vanish.
    If tried, and then term limits do not work, let’s have another revolutionary war. We the people must free ourselves from the governors’ and merchants’ corrupt elected congress/senate. Obviously, the congress/senate is not going to do that for us when they have so much personal gain to lose.

    What do you think? It is shocking!
    In your view, what are the key reasons for the increasing income inequality in the United States?
    Duplicate and Special LAWS, that protects the status quo - the special interest
    group and provides injustice for the underprivileged - working class!
    How does income inequality affect the country? DEPRESION!
    If you think that income inequality should be reduced, how do you suggest doing so? Explain.

    The country is sinking in a deeper whole! The democracy, liberty, social economy,

    standard of living, are "of the cliff!"

    Many people have stated many times before we have an oligarchy form of government

    that has set the standards for the underprivileged: minimum wage, low wages, no insurance,

    eviction etc. and ignored to set any standards for the special interest groups.

    We are not going anywhere unless the LAWS are AMENDED to serve all the people.

    To establish TRUE DEMOCRACY, the constitution must be amended to

    empower the people to express their "WIL on ALL ISUESS!"

    That means that the other 9% (91-99) control the other third! Thanks, William.

    Grady, I neglected to get all of my 1:53 PM message pasted down there. True, I've blasted education as it is, but I'm thinking perhaps they do need education (with wider debate). The one that wasn't available in schools when things weren't so obvious...the one that still isn't available enough...but, for all we know, the kind of education the Obamas hope for. This below I've quoted elsewhere once...

    "These manipulative characters, people like Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, Robert Rubin, Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, AIG’s Edward Liddy and Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, along with most of our ruling class, have used corporate money and power to determine the narrow parameters of the debate in our classrooms, on the airwaves and in the halls of Congress while they looted the country."

    Now for plants and spring cleaning!

    Adios, David

    PS Thanks, Bill, for interviewing Robert Reich.

    My research shows that the
    top 1% of US families control 33 % of the total net worth held by families
    ($16,774,400,000,000). This is a net worth of $15,249,455/family for the 1,100,000 families.The bottom 90 % of the families
    control only 30.5% of the
    family net worth in the US ($15,324,500,000,000) or
    $152,029/family.If you look
    at the top 10 % of families
    they control 69.5% of the
    total net worth.

    Well, I have written about my mother's life of little-rumunerated service in the Karen Armstrong comments. There is no other person I've known who made progressiveness her daily business so gracefully. Thus, maybe having written that will help return me to the real existential tasks of living activism in touch with real people...the tack my mother took herself.

    For every "theory" people spout here...all such "answers" and each such answer are best tempered in a spouter's life by an experience in the real world. But allow me to theorize a little more. "Too much regulation," "free trade," and "socialized medicine" are in reality phrases that amount to judgement upon our modern scapegoats. One thing we know is that Christ cautioned against judgement.

    Regarding the food revolution, I forgot to mention that I heard Michael Pollan harking back to Wendell Berry's past writings and the Barry Commoner days on Bob Edwards. And so...some continuity. The sensible assessments and solutions have come round before. Perhaps their re-emergence will consciously not depend on an Obama hero type character [I'm not sure the magnitude of this current stature was actually his or his campaign's aim], but will focus more on everyone pulling like everyone else...and on everyone becoming much more informed.

    When I said below today that perhaps we grind the faces of the poor unconsciously I should have said more. In employment these days our entire impetus is to avoid a job that deals directly with the marginalized. As Klein and Richard J. Barnet have pointed out, pockets of the third world have errupted here in the first. Government bureaucratic jobs proliferate to deal with all the scapegoated folks but to deal with them many times removed. HMO jobs proliferate to process anything but the multitudinous illnesses of real people. But these "problem" people (mortgagees included) are now so would seem that the judgement paradigm and the they-didn't-take-advantage-of-the-opportunities rap might begin to be less viable.

    I know the marginalized are out there needing our assistance. Maybe when I'm absent more often from here I'll meet up with more of'em. That's the future folks, and it can't be that bad if, in the nature of things, it's the only thing that'll burn up the karma.

    Term limits for every elected official would have an impact, I believe. If one's agenda cannot be realized in two terms, or not found valid enough to be carried on by the newly elected, maybe said agenda isn't worth pursuing. Also limits would certainly change the lobbing landscape.

    It's how you ask the question. WHY is everyone worried about the "deficit"?

    Well, as it was pointed out, the 90% of us who are eating the crumbs of 10% of all wealth KNOW that taxes take out another 30% of the 10% we have and that is definitely not enough to pay for a CIVILIZATION.

    And the health care debate...? Even slimier.

    Because the question is framed as if there will be no monthly premiums to pay.

    Data is that there are over 1000 BILLIIONAIRES in the USA.

    Then the hand-wringing and teeth-grindiing begins about "where can we get 600 BILLION" to launch a SANE health care system.

    Seems like 1000 BILLIONAIRES (do I need to do the math for everyone or can you all still do simple multiplication?) want everyone to just go to hell. Nice. If you think I'm being snippy, do some research - the CEO of United Health Care gave himself a 1.8 BILLION dollar package in 2005.

    The 90% of us who have to try and get enough of the 10% of the money still circulating among us (but going fast, huh?) KNOW that the "deficit" is just an absurd, psychotic "distribution" of wealth. BILLIONAIRES are billionaires because they STOLE everything.

    No one in D.C. is representiing the 90% who have the 10%. They actually are just trying to get it to be 5%.

    We NEED to print our own currency. It's been done before in USA history and it needs to be done again.

    How can anyone believe that they are NOT psychotic with this latest sicko game of fear they've launched - the "lone wolf"?

    Yea, it's a worry that 90% of the people GET THAT THEY'VE BEEN HOSED. And as usual, the "lone wolf" is TOO PERFECT of an archetype and the timing is also too perfect.

    Yep, Pollan said we have one million farmers now, but that at one time we had 40 million. Let media try to slickify a return to that zeitgeist! Man, if we rely on them to know it's happening...we'll never find out.

    By now we boomers have seen so many phases of status symbols they should all seem absurd. Have we taught our children well? Mimetic rivalry continues on. People will buy Ford's forthcoming electric car (before the price comes down) at 50k, and be proud it's an American brand. But they will not have looked at the issues or debated the issues. A possession will be their answer. [What about Tata's version at 2K?]

    I'm theorizing that in this era here in the U.S. we "grind the faces of the poor" unconsciously.

    Found this link on NC in my searching, Jack...

    PS I still think campaign finance reform and single-payer health insurance are useful to keep top'o the issue-triage list (minimal requirements to keep the vampires at bay).

    Go ahead on, K.C.!

    I'm a newbie, obviously. Tried to make a link to John Kyl's record on Healthcare Reform. It didn't work but underlined my following text.

    I'll try again:

    Worth a look to see what is being said.

    Watching the show last night inspired me to try to be an informed, active citizen. I wrote to all my representatives in Washington to say that I would like to see us move toward a single payer healthcare system. I felt like Sally T from South Texas, (previous post here). I live in AZ, with two Republican senators. I don't think my voice will be heard. After writing to John Kyl on the subject of healthcare, pressing submit took me to John Kyl on Healthcare Reform.
    Here's the spin from the other side: the scare tactics, even the use of the word "cherrypicking" in another context. They didn't "cherrypick" their stories about how bad healthcare is in Canada and the UK. I know a lot of Canadians who winter in the Arizona desert, and they are all glad to have the healthcare they have. In fact, they have to purchase American healthcare coverage while they are here. For one 80+ year old, it was going to cost him $10,000 to have healthcare insurance while he visited the US. He stayed home. Our insurance companies at work
    for us.

    I hear the same old worn out cliches too often on Moyers' blog.

    1.Education is more the gateway to perpetual debt than a key to individual prosperity. The people who can afford to consume education are so networked up they don't need it.

    2. People who are powerful and wealthy earned it, and some are deserving of multi-millions in salaries. I reply that the wealthy are all criminals and that no person should earn more than $250K a year in today's currency. Wealth should also be capped.

    3. Campaign Finance Reform will solve access to office and bribery/corruption/collusion/favor trading. Only idiot apologists repeat this. You know damn well that not just anyone can run for office and that vested interests and party elites choose the candidates. You also know that political ads are one of the biggest media incomes left. CFR is stupider than Obama's insurance companys in the loop health care plan. You can't fix a broken political system by treating a minor symptom. Bought and fixed elections are normal now because an oligarchy is in charge. Corporate capitalism prevents democracy. They are incompatible and mutually exclusive. The body of law in this nation rigs both the economic and political game. As long as elected official reject any reform because it undermines the iron hand of the rigged corporate market nothing will really change. Remember it was wealthy McCain who wanted public funding, and bought Obama who is bailing out the wealthiest financiers on their gambling debts. Any way you cut it, it all comes from working people's taxes, and snowballs into perpetual debt servitude.

    But you sweet upper middle class apologists just keep parroting the words your masters have programmed. Maybe they'll throw you a crumb.

    Why are the rich getting richer? Because of what Bruce Cockburn calls "ignoration" I guess (otherwise known as education). From somewhere at any rate a lot of folks have picked up the philosophy that an economy is an arrangement whereby one corrals intellectual property. But an economy is not that. An economy is for survival. The glamour of this merger, hedgefund, and sell-toxic-CDSs-philosophy is fast wearing off.

    A food revolution might make things more equitable, as chucking GMO patents would be requisite right up front. As workers confronted the challenges of going back to untainted crops from seed banks, they'd continue to contemplate the insanity of the plants we've engineered.

    "The air waves belong to the people..." Debra deKelaita

    Digitalized signals can get weak due to electrical storms, moving trees, and simply...hills. Cable customers are soon going to need their own additional digital boxes. This whole thing was a scam. I hate to contemplate it, but when we rely on some of the newer communication devices there seem to be all sorts of monkey wrenches that can gum up the works (as in Iran's election).

    "This freedom they talk of is basically for the few and just means no rules when it comes to the corporate power to swindle and rip off anywhere and anyone they choose."

    Yes, exactly. That was the nature of NAFTA.

    Those are just two of my pet peeves. But the stuff higher on the triage list is proving Naomi Klein right. This philosophy these adepts have been taught is crashing the world. But in the bubble of our ridiculous media, the rich keep on with it. The Republicans wanna stay neck deep in the Big Muddy (no gov health insurance) while the argument with merit...that gov should be the single payer...never even gets heard. The intransagence of doom.

    I guess counting sheep is, for instance, just enough concentration to weary one to sleep. I'd lose interest doing that, but the BBC's World News Service will usually do the trick. [Sleep well. At least someone's on the beat.] Sometimes however it wakes me up. The situations with refugees get worse every time you turn around. Googled around for one site that encompassed all the situations on my mind. This link below does not include the clashes of the poor against well armed soldiers and police which also seem on the rise.

    In the face even of all this they will not rethink their options. But, then again, it's not in their face because no one taught them to go look for it.

    Campaign finace is the problem and could be the answer. No personal or corperate money should be allowed in the business of campaigning and election. We own the airways that could be used with limitations. Tax money could be distributed to candidates. Then our elected officials would be free to do what is best for the nation, such as single payer health insurance for everyone, such as Medicare and Medicade. Ken, a retired medical Social Worker and WII veteran.

    Campaign finace is the problem and could be the answer. No personal or corperate money should be allowed in the business of campaigning and election. We own the airways that could be used with limitations. Tax money could be distributed to candidates. Then our elected officials would be free to do what is best for the nation, such as single payer health insurance for everyone, such as Medicare and Medicade. Ken, a retired medical Social Worker and WII veteran.


    As always, you tell it like it is.

    I have to tell you if you haven't read any of my older posts. I voted for Nader. I trust what he has to say because it is the truth. Unfortunately, that is why he will not be elected president. Collectively, Americans do not like the truth. If they did, they wouldn't watch television or surround themselves in fiction media.

    Solidarity is the foundation that will be built on the truth. The foundation will be for a new way of living else we choke to death on "reduced emissions."

    Keep up the posts Grady. Because you are not the only one who is "...As Mad as Hell and not Going to Take it Anymore!"


    I don’t always, or usually lately, agree with Mr. Reich but in this case he is right on target.

    Single Payer is the only way to go. Health insurance companies are a business, like any other, whose primary purpose is to make money. This is no different than a company that sells software or shoes or anything else; the product they are selling happens to be health insurance. They make money by selling policies for more money than it costs them to payout on those policies. By definition then, no health insurance company is going to do anything that upset’s that equation like covering people with preexisting conditions. The healthcare crisis therefore cannot and will not ever be resolved while profit seeking businesses are providing health insurance.

    The rich are getting richer for many reasons. Technological advancement reduces the need for as many jobs. President Reagan introduced the idea of trickledown economics the logic being that if the rich get richer some of that wealth will trickle down to everyone else. The offshoring of American jobs and influx of H1B workers has reduced the need for and wages of skilled workers. Illegal immigration has reduced the wages of unskilled work. Deregulation has allowed the needs of business to come before the needs to the population. And the dominance of Wall Street with its focus on short term gains has caused skyrocketing compensation for CEO’s and Hedge Fund managers leaving less money for everyone else.

    To solve the problem we need a more equitable slightly progressive tax code where all forms of income are taxed at the same rate; with those rates being lower than they are today with fewer loopholes and deductions. We need more regulation and enforcement of regulation so that the government regulators focus on the citizens they are meant to protect not the well being of the corporations. We need an immigration policy that is tied to the unemployment rate and is enforced. We need fair trade not free trade at all costs. We need executive compensation that is tied to long term success; like making stock options and grants to executives be held for 5 years. And we need incentives for corporations to keep jobs in this country by giving tax credits for each full time legal US employee making under $125K per year with the greatest tax break going for those jobs paying $40K to $80K annually.

    I speak as a man who is considerably shorter than our diminutive Rob Reich (Risch? Rike?). We are facing a similar dilemma to that of Chairman Mao in the 60s: Life in our nation has ceased to make sense. Mao had been unable to overcome his own cult of personality and saw that his power heirs would be too weak and selfish to institute a fairly distributed and sustainable prosperity. His gambit was to instigate a Cultural Revolution, turn the technocratic elite out and re-educate the society to understand that food production comes first, then medicine, then environment, then basic education, scientific advancement, appropriate technology, music, artistic expression and so on. The currency in China then was political power within the Communist Party. The Red Army and top elite (with minor contention at Mao's death) remained in place to form the core of the current merchantilist fascism which now dominates Chinese life. Raw money power has superceded party status. His Cultural Revolution, though a failure, was the correct cure, but was insufficient in scope. At least it didn't go off the rails of sanity as in Cambodia, but the result dooms the world as we conceive it.

    The United States remains the world conceptual aspiration in many ways. Just this week we have seen a Bush-type fraud in Iranian elections, where the liberal opposition espoused peace with the USA and consumptive prosperity. The USA itself is far overdue for a Cultural Revolution, with those on top turned out to hoe potatoes and dump bedpans. (I was dismayed just this week when a federal judge sentenced a financial criminal to "write a book.") Robert Reich, as well-meaning and candid as he presents, is an ideal candidate to be turned out for mundane tasks in the countryside. As much as he has spoken to us since the early 90s none of his hopeful plans have ever been instituted by his elite sponsors. Like Moyers, he is a capitalist apologist and a financial hostage.

    I have not said anything unusual that most people don't know. Most of you, if you could look beyond your false hopes and your hostadgcy would admit that our main problem is concentrated private property and elite collusion by business contract. The failure to level the material aspects of citizenship (cap wealth and earnings), to decommission corporate charters and to allow taxpayers to designate the preferred use of their contributions would gradually diminish our bondage and enable us to stabilize our symbiosis with our planet. China has no calcified system of capitalist law and so could adapt even faster once the financial rug were pulled from beneath their elite.

    I know, I know.... you can all read the early 19th century idealism of ME Rant, but his logic exists only in a dream world like Second Life. Those low brows like Ron Paul have a skewed perspective on the world, and cannot admit how far we've overrun carrying capacity or how the issues of food and climate change are impinging on our nation. We are at a strange place where those who have faith in technological solutions resemble the naysayer of 100 years ago who never abandoned horses and buggies and swore people would never fly. They are badly mistaken in their estimations of how bad things are and how urgently drastic change is needed.

    What an unfortunate electorate we are! The elite put before us a war monger and a co-opted human rights organizer. (If you've ever studied Mexican politics you might know what an abomination (= a bitch) it is to elect a sell-out.) But then Oldhat Nader, Boy Wonder Kucinich and/or the likes of Rainbow McKinney would not have been much better. The Oligarchy remains in charge. And the only way to depose the oligarchy is to cut off their air, their water, their blood, their cheese; whatever. We have to quit paying our bills and buying into schemes like insurance and retirement that disproportionately benefit the wealthy, as schemes are designed to do. What I mean is payment strikes and boycotts until they can be turned out. No one is too good to do the necessary work, and no able body will be exempted. Our solidarity will guarantee it. I think we may get beyond the illusion of wealth and produce whole humans again, and if not the planet is fast going to Hell (ecologically speaking).

    There are some things the man in the street can do to bloody the noses of the 1% who own the USA.

    First get rid of all your credit cards. You don't need them they run your lives by giving you a credit score which you must maintain in order to get credit. If you don't need credit, and you don't because you're paying a higher price for everything by using a credit card then you're free of the credit score. I have'nt had a credit card for over 40 years now and I've never missed having one, the greenback is quite acceptable and fraud is almost unknown.

    Refuse to pay for health insurance and make an arrangement with your doctor for payment direct and sign to the affect you'll not sue him/her. This relieves him/her of carrying massive insurance to cover such an event thus reducing costs.

    The whole point of the excercise is to reduce the amount of money the insurance companies grab this in turn reduces their power.

    The list of things which a citizen can do to get back to be living in a democracy is endless but it does require effort and commitment and sacrifice but well worth the effort.

    When I was younger I was a republican because I fell for the less
    government and more freedom deal.
    That is until I realized what they really meant by less government
    was-deregulation and no social programs.
    This freedom they talk of is basically for the few and just means
    no rules when it comes to the corporate power to swindle and rip
    off anywhere and anyone they choose.
    It's a freedom to be just as greedy as you can get away with
    and where another's boundaries mean nothing under the guise of
    our own 'national interest'.
    By the time they threw in the 'family values' I was already gone.

    The democratic party is a big let down . They act as if they are the best in the interest of the people party when they are out of power and then become spinelessly vacant while stuffing their lobby pockets when they are in I hesitate to use the word 'power' as they obviously are clueless when it comes to using it.
    So let's just say - in the lead.

    When it comes right down to cause and effect it appears that campaign financing would be the first obvious place to begin to untangle the problem we have with this financial inequality and neglect of the people's interest.
    We the people need to finance our elections . The air waves belong
    to the people so ads should be free. That saves money.
    Also off the subject a bit but these phony election machines
    need to be wiped out with a vengeance. It is insulting that any group could think we would be so careless with our elections to
    simply trust such a desperate grab for power. This is the kind of
    stupidity that actually is 'evil'.

    It has become very obvious that those we elect are being bribed
    into giving their votes to the interest of the highest bidder which is more often than not at all in the interest of the people.
    It is bribery and it is illegal.
    Like for instance this new health care fiasco they think they can
    slip over us complete with the old insurance parasites attached like
    a bad case of the crabs.
    This is not change nor is it working in the interest of the people in
    fact it often appears they detest the very voters who elected them and please...a corporation is not a person. It is easy to see where that bad idea was headed.

    It just seems very strangely odd to me that it would cost a billion
    or even a million simply to attain that position of service to the people?
    Something is very, very wrong with that picture.
    There are so many things to be done to make things right but taking over the campaign financing could be a place to begin to untangle the mess we are in.

    I found Secretary Reich’s comments around healthcare reform to be embarrassing. Not for me but for him. How can I person who held such a high post in government allow himself to take such a one side and uninformed view. He all but blamed the healthcare crisis on insurance payers. Their greed for profit as he stated is to blame. Has anyone kept tabs on the providers to see if they have any standards of quality that we can measure with some degree of certainty? Providers operate under the principle of volume as it is how they are compensated. When a payer will not reimburse for a procedure that a provider deems necessary we declare the system broken and blame the payer. What if the providers were asked to deliver care based on clinical evidence that procedure or drug they are recommending actually had a favorable outcome to the patient? There is plenty of improvement to be made in the healthcare system without placing blame squarely on the payer system.

    Secretary Reich says we need an informed citizenry to force changes. I try to be informed but what can I do when I live in south Texas with John Cornyn, etc. representing me? I visited Senator Cornyn's office a couple of years ago to discuss issues effecting blind Americans. His aide told us that Senator Cornyn would not support any legislation that put constraints on business. Where is the room to make changes with that attitude?

    We have only to look at other civilized countries to wonder what is wrong with our system. Fact is nobody, even Reich can only wonder!! Can the intelligent people who run our country be made to follow and be accountable, through a New Constitution.

    Kenneth Galbraith, some 30 yrs ago,gave this simple explanation of the impact of wealth consolidation.

    A man with $10mil will buy one refrigerator, one washer and one dryer. 200 people with $50k each (the same $10mil) will buy 200 refrigerators, 200 washers and 200 dryers.

    Spreading the wealth will move an economy consolidating the wealth will kill an economy.

    According to the GSA report on the effects of the Bush tax cuts, we moved $180mil to people that make over $1.5mil p/yr. The Bush tax cuts were a transfer of wealth to the rich and they killed the economy.

    Good luck in getting that $180mil back...

    Regarding RR's remarks about pushing for the public option rather than pursue single-payer healthcare because he says it's just not possible, I have to say I disagree. I really like RR but he must know that you don't start a negotiation at the middle where you're willing to compromise. If he believes s-p is the way to go, than he should speak clearly about that rather than promote a muddy middle. RR's Family Medical Leave Act is a good example of a "practical" compromise that does a little bit of something but which is actually inadequate yet it persists without change for over 15 yrs. We cannot accept healthcare reform that settles on the same weak compromises as FMLA. I work for a international company that has workers in the same departments, although located in different countries. So I have the odd experience of American co-workers going out on maternity leave for a max of 12 wks, yet that benefit can be whittled down depending on what day of the year the baby is born. The American employees come back to work in relatively stressed circumstances. While at the same time, our British co-workers go out on leave for 6 mos to a year. The exact same company is able to manage a humane approach to maternity leave in one country but cannot do it in our country. The work is the same, the job titles are the same, often the projects are the same. So it's not the company--it's the laws of our nation that creates such extreme circumstances for our people. If congressional support is not there, it's because Congress has been bought by the healthcare industry and we should not mince words about that. I vote and I support single-payer, universal healthcare.

    Justin St Rain - good post.

    We all were talking about how we never use the self check out at the stupidmarkets. One of the most cynical uses of "technology" that tickles the "hate" gene every time you buy your food.

    Extreme this and exteme that - funny how "greed" is still "good" and so "good" it can never be accused of being "extreme".

    Business news channel did a bit of immature investigative work to come up with a worshipful documentary called "The Rise of the Super Rich".

    Immature reporting because no one seems able to connect any dots in the "perception is reality" lalaland of extremism.

    Totally agree that NO ONE is worth so much more than someone else. If they were worth so much more, they wouldn't be here on earth :-))

    Excellent portrayal of the lack of action being taken to pass regulations to prevent another meltdown in the U.S. economy. Glad to see both Reich and Krugman share a basic wisdom and common sense. Now if Congress will only listen and do their part,

    Dear Bill,

    I don't measure my life or any others anymore by how much money One has, and have pity for those so many who still do.
    The true purpose of life is simply living, and find it takes little money for that. And for those who have made making money their lives, I think have a much further Way to go than me.
    Be One,


    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to ALTER OR TO ABOLISH IT, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." --

    The Declaration Of Independence

    The "few" has always had a contempt for the "many"; for they know that their power is an illusion. However, they "many" has always had comtempt for themselves, which makes for political impotence; for their illusion is separation, the enzyme by which the pathogens of greed may feed!

    Technologically the scientists have helped to reduce disease, to improve communication; but also they are increasing the devastating power of the weapons of war; the power to murder vast numbers of people with one blow. The scientists are not going to save mankind; nor are the POLITICIANS, whether in the East or West or in any part of the world. The politicians seek power, position, and they play all kinds of tricks on human thought. It is exactly the same thing in the so-called religious world; the authority of the hierarchy; the authority of the Pope, the archbishop, the bishop and the local priest, in the name of some image which thought has created.

    We have to start defining economic poverty as the inability of individuals to create sufficient value for themselves and for others.

    Every attempt to define poverty as a condition of income or asset level is only describing symptoms and does not lead to a comprehensive focus on the causes of poverty. Defining poverty as a condition leads to the erroneous concepts of victimization and helplessness and long term entitlements. By defining economic poverty as an individual inability we can strive to improve the four capabilities that are essential for individuals to spontaneously create value: motivation, knowledge, enterprise, and health.

    Motivation capability is developed through a strong need achievement for socially positive economic activities at an early age. Our schools should concentrate on this. Volunteer mentoring programs like Junior Achievement should be supported and expanded. The Entrepreneurial Learning Initiative (ELI) here in northeast Ohio is striving to empower high school age students to become entrepreneurs and feel the success of creating value. The shortage of family roll models and mentoring along with the long-term traps of entitlements and housing projects diminish positive motivation. Income redistribution diminishes motivation for both the givers and the receivers.

    Knowledge capability is obtained from education, training, experience, and associations. Knowledge starts with education. Yet over the last forty years we have been digging a huge festering sociological hole with our large urban public school systems. These school systems seem to be overwhelmed by the culture that they are in and are failing to educate and are driving an increase in poverty and feeding the crime and incarceration rates. There is no transparency as to what is going on in urban education to cause less than 50% graduation rates. The media has failed us on this issue and we have not yet defined this problem accurately enough to drive the political process. We need to find out how much of the problem is in the form of disruptive anti-achievement behavior, the lack of parental involvement, bureaucratic political correctness, inappropriately administered programs, teaching proficiency, etc. To foster continuous improvement of the learning environment we need to deconsolidate the large urban school districts into smaller and more responsive neighborhood districts and then we need to create a public school voucher system to spur educational competition for enrollment between districts. Knowledge is also diminished by insufficient emphasis and training in skilled trades and by the lack of youth mentoring associations that can provide more options. Adaptability to changing enterprise needs will require broader knowledge and more supportive associations.

    Enterprise capability provides the vehicles for individuals to create value within.
    Individuals have to create value within someone else’s enterprise or they have to create their own enterprise. We need a greater number of higher value creating enterprises. Over the last twenty years the number of higher value creating enterprises have been disproportionately reduced. This has occurred in part because the improper incentives for foreign outsourcing that include the avoidance of taxes, environmental issues, and safety costs. There has also been a scarcity of new enterprise incubators and support systems to generate higher value creation enterprises to replace them. The reduction in higher value creation has resulted in higher personal debt that provided more fuel for the economic melt down. Also our income tax regulations have precluded enterprises from building sufficient cash reserves to weather market situations as we have now. Policies that support communicating with employees as equal stake holders to investors and management would provide a sense of fairness, without unions, that would legitimize all enterprises as they serve their customers.

    Health capability is essential for unfettered creative activities. Physical and mental disease, age, and family care obligations can prevent individuals from being able to create value. These are the individuals that need interim transfer payments and effective and affordable health support systems. We need to encourage wellness programs and reduce obesity to reduce its related diseases. We need to intervene in the lives of abused and feral children and provide them with disciplined, positive, and caring environments in lieu of anticipated incarceration costs.

    Causal diagrams for each of the four essential capabilities can be developed in considerable detail to prioritize creativity reinforcing policies, programs, and legislation. No one has all of the answers and care must be given to avoid unintended consequences. But moving forward in the direction of enabling individuals to create more value will have astounding results over the next several generations.

    I really got p... off yesterday when I heard how some of these private insurers have invested 4 plus billon dollars into the tobacco industry. Again, Reich hit it when these companies have their own invested interest. John Q Public has been and is been screwed by all these voices coming against public opinion..and now I think, the President. This story ain´t over yet...stay tune.

    There is only one cure. all elections must be publicly funded. as long as there is one dime of private money in elections, the entire political system will remain corrupt and the people will have no representation

    I question whether we can break the stranglehold that the corporations have established on our government. I have strong doubts.

    There is an education gap. For those who do well in their education--go to college, for example--there is unlimited opportunity to succeed in the new knowledge-based economy. For those who do not do well in their education, there are crappy jobs with few benefits and less security. My dad has a high school diploma and a union job. Were he to enter the workforce now (intead of 40 years ago), he would be unable to land the same kind of job because, quite simply, those jobs are fewer and further between. I have two college degrees, as does my wife. We are among the most 'safe' groups in this deep recession because our educations protect us from the bad economy (at least, to a greater extent than someone with less education.)

    A Troubadour's America

    Oh, America!
    Where has your muscle gone?
    For thin-legged office men
    Build houses of paper
    And their paper tygers
    Peddle futures against the dawn

    And the ghosts of hungry 1930's men
    Know it's all a con.

    So scatter stock and debenture
    From the airship O'plenty
    The computer god's box
    Lost America's wealth
    In the wild black yonder
    Of red numbers and trades
    Of muscle and blood for paper

    And signs to read:
    "Out of Business"
    Had to eat the seed corn -
    Too leveraged to wait for dawn.
    Had to float more paper
    And sing the song
    Of "put and call"
    Had to sell America
    When her engine
    Began to stall.

    "So boys, we got to borrow
    And buy her back on margin!
    Before they call her notes"
    And the pies-in-the-sky begin to fall
    And before all Corporate Liberty
    Is shipped across the sea
    With no memory of
    The workin' muscle of America
    That made strong her economy
    With the sweet-sweat nectar
    Of the free
    And her dark and shaded sons
    That still wait to fully be.

    John Jay Licata,
    Troubadour Poet,
    Seattle, Washington
    San Jose State,
    class of '76

    Unrestrained capitalism is by definition is the few getting rich by taking wealth from the many. We now have a government bent on forcing us to accept unrestrained capitalism.

    It was said earlier in this thread, corporations control politics because, in the wisdom of a nineteenth century Supreme court decision, that a corporation is a person. They are, therefore, allowed to put their enormous wealth to their own advantage by first naming who can run for public office, who will be backed in the election campaign, and once they have bought the election of this person he/she is told how to vote not by the people but by the corporations that put them in office. Every elected official knows full well that the money that put them in office and will be there for their reelection comes not from the people but from the corporations. So why is it surprising that the only laws passed are those giving the corporations more power over the people, that benefit their own greed at the expense of the whole country and are frequently written by the corporations themselves? Until that Supreme Court decision is reversed or a constitutional amendment is passed that unambiguously says that only people that are actually eligible to vote can do anything to effect the outcome of an election we are doomed to live in a country that is owned by the corporations and run exclusively for their benefit. The people cannot possibly compete with the wealth of the corporations and the propaganda that that wealth buys which controls what information the people get when deciding who to cast their vote for. How can we trust the information we are getting about politics and what the politicians are doing when the media that provides us with that information is itself controlled by the same giant corporations that control the politicians. As long as the corporations are able control not only the electoral process, the people who are in office and the media that informs us whether these politician are doing our business or that of the corporation we will have a government of, by and for the greed of the corporations and the people will have to settle for what little is left. As has already been demonstrated too many times these corporation are concerned only with the short term profit of any venture even if that means that the country does not survive in the long run.

    Deregulation and tax policies favorable to the rich caused a lot of the inequity. Regulation and more equitable tax policies would solve the problem.

    Because they're given first place at the Feds trough operated and supervised by the Feds Open Market Money Hand out Committee. Well somebody's got to be first!

    And then they can set up all the insurance companies, money market funds and Savings and Loans, and off shore banks, insurance companies hospital chains, chemical labs, food processing companies, corporate owned farms, operate and advertise on all the media outlets, and own all the major realty companies and build all the houses few can afford unless submittimg to exorbitant mortgage deals, and oh, also hire all the lobbyists to defend their nefarious exactions. That's how its done! But don't get mad at us (they'll al chime in and say), we're not printing the money!

    Because they're given first place at the Feds trough operated and supervised by the Feds Open Market Money Hand out Committee. Well somebody's got to be first!

    And then they can set up all the insurance companies, money market funds and Savings and Loans, and off shore banks, insurance companies hospital chains, chemical labs, food processing companies, corporate owned farms, operate and advertise on all the media outlets, and own all the major realty companies and build all the houses few can afford unless submittimg to exorbitant mortgage deals, and oh, also hire all the lobbyists to defend their nefarious exactions. That's how its done!

    Does Mr. Moyers mean corrupt Democratic Party Officials? Yes, they seem to get more wealthy, exploiting their positions in public service every day. It is also fascinating, the Congress voted to give themselves a raise, while Ms. Pelosi again fails in her promise to reform earmarks, investigate the corrupt Mr. Murtha, Mr. Rangel, etc., It seems this study of greed is blind, when it comes to the very concerning extortion of the taxpayer funds in Washington by the currently elected Majority.

    While what Mr. Reich said is correct, he didn't discuss why this wealth shift took place. I suspect that it was a result of the political weakness of working people. Our country lacks a labor party. The attempt to create such a party was crushed at the turn of the 20th century. The unions that were permitted to survive gave up the right to vie for representation in the national and state governments. While the Wagner Act temporarily gave them the ability to negotiate with employers on an equal footing, the Taft-Hartley Act ended that and the long slide -- the shrinking of union power began. With the export of capital and jobs to poor countries, the last "nails in the coffin" of U.S. labor was placed. Much of the skilled labor that the gentleman from the German bank referred to earns less than what U.S. auto workers used to receive and has fewer benefits to boot.

    In a capitalist Utopia, you would have production without any workers to suck up any profits. Unfortunately, without workers earning wages, there is no one able to buy the goods produced. We are well on our way to this situation. If you take homes out of the equation, the top 10% of the country controls 90% of the wealth. The rich then loan this wealth back to the rest of us so that we can buy the products of our own labor. Eventually this system has to crash.
    Much has been said about the paradox of thrift lately, but no matter how much of their 10% the bottom 90% spend, it won't compensate for the 90% of the savings by the 10% of the rich. Keynes believed that if the rich invested their savings, it would compensate for the loss of consumption, but it didn't work that way. When the rich invested in capital investments, it just automated factories and put more people out of work. When they invested in stocks, they created bubbles. When they loaned their excess back to us, the interest absorbed what little wealth we had and caused the system to collapse even faster.
    The only solution is for all of us - rich poor and political - to recognize that no one is worth hundreds of times more than anyone else. We need to adjust compensation systems, minimum wages and the tax structure to get money into the hands of people who will use it.
    We could solve our country's problems in a heartbeat if we went back to the tax structure in place during the Eisenhour administration - taxing the ultra rich 91% and spending it on infrastructure, energy and education.

    Economist Braeuninger says,"As long as less-skilled workers cannot shift to more productive tasks, increasing income inequality remains a threat.” perhaps we need to look at what "productive tasks" are nowadays. it's not just "brain" stuff like pushing paper or manipulating technology. it is often stuff that determines the day to day success or failure of a company.

    how to reduce income's pretty simple: Pay people more for the work they do.

    -cashiers at the grocery store handle thousands of dollars a day, yet get paid $8 per hour? they actually physically get the money and make the transactions that eventually may add up to a stock dividend for owners.

    -that retail clerk who, btw, will determine customer satisfaction and return patronage gets $9 per hour? he/she is the face of the company whose products are being sold not some "brain" job vp who collects big bonuses.

    -that home healthcare worker who is often the homebound patient's life line to food, medication and even going to the bathroom? $9 per hour. calculate the "skill level/value added" of that worker's "productive tasks" when you've soiled yourself and can't get up without assistance.

    -the chambermaid who cleans up after the businessman or tourist out doing his/her thing? $8.50 per hour. if he/she does his/her job well, the traveller will book at the hotel again...maybe have the next conference at that hotel...

    the managers/boardroom educated degreed "brain" types don't seem to connect the fact that they are managers because there is a business done by workers. workers need to be valued and compensated for what they actually do and who they are. in many cases, the least paid are the company's direct connection to the company's success or failure.
    maybe if they were compensated adquately for their modern "productive tasks," and true "value added," there would be a growing, prosperous middle class again.

    I think r e mant speaks for me!
    I also believe left of extreme right is center.
    Maybe a conservative can find Thomas Paine!

    Sandra, thanks to the 'left' MSM (or the disinformation program FOX) you are unfortunately completely misinformed. The CRA didn't force any bank to give mortgages to unqualified borrowers, it only required the banks to apply the same standards regardless of race, skin color, gender, etc. (read the law at The bank's own statistics had shown at the time that a non-white borrower who had the same qualifications as an equally well qualified WHITE person was more often than not denied a mortgage even though he qualified according the the bank's own standards! The law was supposed to end that practice because it was discriminatory. The banks soon discovered that a black borrower also pays his/her monthly bill if they qualified using the same standards as for whites (what a surprise!). And the banks earned quite well with non-white borrowers! The root cause for the current meltdown was the disconnect between who gave the (initial) money and who carried the long-term risk. By bundling mortgages together and selling them off on Wallstreet, the banks (and other even less regulated entities who due to new de-regulation could now also get into the mortgage business) didn't care about standards anymore and lowered them since it was very profitable to sell the bad stuff off. The investors who bought this stuff were fooled by the AAA ratings these kind of investments were getting from S&P and other rating agencies (The rating agencies subsequently downgraded hundreds of AAA ratings of these investment instruments. It is well documented that the rating agencies had mostly no idea how to rate the risk appropriately but since they were paid by the ISSUER of the investments they had a massive conflict of interest and just pulled the AAA rating out of their behind!) The investors couldn't check out every borrower themselves (because the deal was already done) and the banks didn't do it either because they sold the risk off! All this is very well documented in the Congressional record (but you won't hear much of this in the MSM because it clearly shows a complete breakdown of the system and the voting cattle is not supposed to be upset!). The reason was fraud but mostly not on the side of the borrowers but the lenders (and a complete lack of oversight and regulation by both Democrats and Republicans)! Over 50% of the so-called sub-prime mortgages were refinanced mortgages not new ones! These people were told that refinancing their half-paid-off house will give them more money for consumption and when the rate adjusts they should just refinance to a fixed rate again! It is also well documented that non-white areas were heavily targeted by banks, etc. to sell sub-prime mortgages. A lot of them are now loosing their houses.
    You are right that FHA mortgages with 3% down will create new problems in the future. The same fraudulent lenders are now jumping into this business. And the FHA simply cannot keep up with checking the credentials since their staff was slashed under Bush. Again, a complete breakdown of oversight and regulation. The simple truth is that the current American flavor of capitalism lopsidedly favors short-term gain over long-term improvement. It is rotten to its core and most people here do not want to look that ugly reality in its face!

    To bribe Congress is a Federal offense - it is called treason. Why is lobbying different? When ALL the lobbyists are in jail or banned from DC, then the government will once again belong to the people. Mr. Reich didn't go far enough but he is on the right track.

    The problem begins with the Federal Reserve and the private control over the money supply.

    The Federal Reserve must be abolished. The creation of money must be brought under public control.

    Maybe a miracle will happen and Ron Paul will finally be able to audit the Federal Reserve.

    An even bigger miracle would be if people in this country actually knew what the Federal Reserve is.

    I've always been a fan of Bob Reich however; I was a little put off by his last book where he tended to side with Clinton’s love fest with the Globalists Community and his betrayal of Blue Collar working class Americans by passing NAFTA.

    As far as class in America is concerned, I remember 30 years ago when Sen. George Mitchell of Maine gave the brief but concise Democrat response to Ronald Reagan’s inauguration speech; "Here Comes Class". Time proved that the man knew what he was talking about.

    Finally, I’m afraid that all of us on the progressive side are sitting back and waiting for president Obama to burst forth with a miracle cure for all the problems. I'm afraid that Bob Reich's assessment of America currently being a Plutocracy, controlled by wealthy private special interests, is too close to reality. If so, we will need something that the Democratic Party has been in short supply of over the past four decades, the leadership of a patriot instead of a politician!

    The problem revolves around moral hazard. On the one hand, common good is necessary to limit selfishness, but selfishness is necessary to limit welfarism (a neutral word not synonymous with socialism, but with the idea of a no-fault society). Private property cured the problems of sloth in the commons, but leads to such a maldistribution that whatever it gains is rendered worthless. Much of what has happened in the last several decades has not been economic growth, but maldistribution, the wealthy becoming relatively wealthier, but the nation as a whole much poorer. That has now come home to roost, and we need to reappraise what our self-interest really entails. If our wealth is to be worth something, people must work. In a larger sense then, the problem is not the struggle between self and society, but of the loss of virtue, or moral hazard. A virtuous people can be selfish and selfless, independent and dependent, conservative and liberal (as we use terms) at the same time. On the other hand, a corrupt people is a non-entity, a spineless, worthless mass, which we are fast becoming, and it won't matter what it calls itself. The health care cost problem, like every other issue in our society, is symptomatic of this, and not the cause of it. The question tho is posed by the administration and Mr Reich in the usual liberal fashion as a matter of redistribution, which conservative Republicans oppose (a socialized system not in question). Neither ask whether better health care would make the nation as a whole wealthier, which it undoubtedly would. It is like the auto industry, which refused to make small cars that everyone could afford, but which offered little profit, until it became clear that their market share was dwindling. It is like wasting non-renewable energy sources, or creating pollution, which threatens the planet. The answer is clearly that we need both competition and a budget cap, under the present monetary system, just as is proposed to solve the energy and environmental problems. But it is the unbridled manufacture of money, which is clearly the most significant factor behind maldistribution, and if the Federal Reserve were amended to make it necessary that investment had to come from savings instead of by creating bank credit, just the same as if the Federal government were required to balance its budget, then it would undoubtedly be possible for health care and many other things to be operated under free market principles fairly and efficiently. Neither party is willing to do that, and so we print and spend more and more money and we will certainly end up like Zimbabwe.

    Obviously Sandra hasn't figured out that it is the wealthy who declared class warefare beginning with Ronald Reagan. And they are currently winning fabulously.

    I have not always been a great fan of Robert Reich. However, tonight he gave a very complete argument about what makes our economy work or not work. Without a middle class you don't have a capitalistic democracy...period. He also gave an excellent explanation of the powerful role of the lobbyist and their control of our representatives. As long as politicians need millions to get re-elected nothing will change. Why isn't that a headline topic?

    Bill Moyers broadcasting is so left leaning one sided, I would never contribute to PBS as I have in the past. Robert Reich is one who simply fosters class warfare scenarios in his denigrating the corporate treasures of our country and the 50% of the enterprising people who create and offer the jobs--now needed by the mass public.
    The banks ,which are now vilified constantly by the media and some in the government, only began to give out mortgages under the CRA (community development act) in the late 70's to unqualified people because democrat controlled administration told the banks to give out the mortgages to riskier mortgagees. Reich fails to discuss that. Wall St. simply invented bonds and capitalized on what was fostered on them. Frannie & Frieddie were responsible for much of the home mortgage failings and they were run by democrats. Even now on the radio there are daily blares of FHA mortgages available for anyone with 3% down. Who is getting these mortgages? Won't that lead to more forclosures? Is wall st. responsible for this ? The fraud is still going on, obviously, and what do the banks have to do with this new questionable FHA offer? PBS really should be giving all sides of an issue and stop the hyper pseudo liberalism and one sided stance. and yes , the massive health care mandate, will simply bankrupt the country. Europe & Canada are unhappy and getting away from their socialist health care programs. so why would the U S now change. The existing system certainly can be reformed, improved, and cover everyone with private enterprise partnerships.

    I think it is not a matter of race, but rather rich versus poor. It could have helped immensely if the "stimulus" money had been paid to those with incomes less than $80,000 and they could have paid their credit cards and loans to banks. Strings attached could require that the money be paid on the cards and bills. That way the banks would be paid and the people would be out of debt (and most not likely to get in that debt again).

    It's been so long since I've dared to dream of a United States where all people were really equal. It's not a difference of religion, creed, or color that separates us, it's the difference between rich and poor.

    Why are trash collectors paid less than those who work in a nice clean, air conditioned office? Why are many actors paid more than doctors? Who decides what people, and the jobs they perform, are worth?

    How can this be changed? Who has the power? What will it take? Will we life through it? Will we ever achieve a real change?

    You asked how income inequality affects the country. I read a really interesting article in the Washington Post some time ago about a research study. It said that people in societies with greater income inequality have lower overall health. Now, it makes sense that the poorer part of the population would be less healthy, since they don't have money to pay for health care. But even the rich people were less healthy in societies with high income inequality. Maybe we actually are our brother's keeper after all?

    In the last 15 years outsourcing and NAFTA have drained all the blue collar and trade jobs that used to support families. All that is left are minimum wage and professional jobs for grad school educated people.

    One systemic reform would help significantly: eliminate corporate personhood. Unless and until that happens, capitalism with a human face will remain a delusion.

    The Prosperity Gap in this country was (and is being) caused by a conscious attack on the working people of this country by people like Ronald Reagan and the Rich and RichWannaBees who profitted from, or who fantasize about profitting from, his Franz Joseph I hatred of "unrich people".

    Reagan's 'Greed is Good' somnambulism brought about the demise of the LessWellConnectedPolitically. If survival of the truly FITTEST had been working, Ronald Reagan and his Rush Limbaugh and Nancy Pelosi Traitors would NOT have survived!

    The elimination of manufacturing jobs, the environmental rape, the elimination of governmental regulations, the theft of public wealth by government agencies (the Michael Powell led FCC was one of the most egregious), the policies that reduced taxes with the accompanying piling up of crippling national debt, the treasonous lie-based wars that are sucking out our very lives ... all of the treasonous, office-oath-breaking crimes of the past 30 years has left this country with a toxic rogue government that clearly cares nothing about the people of this country.

    What do we do about it:
    First, people must devote more time to realizing that the present government, both Republicans and their Democrat henchmen, is out to do them in. This outrage WILL continue if rank and file Americans do not act. Meaningful CHANGE, like wealth, can only trickle UP from the working people of this country. To expect meaningful change from either of these two political factions of the same tyranny is a DELUSION.

    If we CANNOT effect change from this continuing slide into oblivion -- i.e., if the forces of the ruinous ReaganRichRepublicanReligious miscreants are really too much for us, then we have to question our loyalty to our own government. If we truly cannot do anything about our national suicide,

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