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George Will, Bernie Sanders, Freedom and Income Inequality


#1

George Will, Bernie Sanders, Freedom and Income Inequality

Dean Baker

George Will really takes it to Bernie Sanders in his column this morning.

"The fundamental producer of income inequality is freedom. Individuals have different aptitudes and attitudes. Not even universal free public education, even were it well done, could equalize the ability of individuals to add value to the economy."


#3

The object of this article (rhymes with shill) is a dim-witted troglodyte tool of the 0.01% to convince people to vote against their own interests. That he is still getting face time in the national media is a national disgrace. Fortunately the up and coming demographic is probably blissfully unaware of the fool.


#6

I assume the Wall St. transaction tax would be paid by the company, not the customer?


#7

That George Will, who is nothing but a paid shill and a presstitute that uses casuistry to pretend he is intelligent, is given access to the MSM, tells you why so many people are brainwashed by him and so many other so-called journalists that are given access to the MSM who are nothing but well paid shills to spread the propaganda of the Amerikan Fascist Empire!


#8

Provide decent living wage jobs with benefits and the opportunity to provide well for your children and more people would most likely stay married.

I am a senior and on social security and now I don't get that skimpy raise. CPI needs to be changed to realistic gauges. A lot of seniors don't drive or like myself drive less than when I was working full time. BFD. Food, rent, property values and taxes have gone up. It makes it harder for seniors to stay in there home. I have lost $$$$$$ with the last 25 years of no interest on my savings since I do not want to invest in the casino gambling institutions after losing money in 80's then early 1999. Wall Street has turned into a scam but some ordinary Americans do make money off of it.

But if 50% of Americans don't vote, then the rest of us get screwed too. But are they qualified to vote, do they pay attention to anything other than shopping malls and sports arenas?


#9

"... tens of millions of middle and moderate income people have benefited from getting lower mortgage interest rates."

If they bought from 2009 to 2012, maybe so. But since 2012, the Wall Street crowd has jumped in using all that ZIRP money from the Fed to buy up huge numbers of foreclosed homes, running home prices above their previous peaks in many places. Thus, even with low mortgage rates, the huge cost of the house now overpowers the advantage from low mortgage rates.

There are other, similar problems with Baker's article. The odd thing is, Baker was one of those who protested when the Wall Street crowd started buying all those foreclosures, so he really should know better on some of these issues ...


#11

Dean Baker, Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz and Robert Reich are solid, progressive economists and understand the nuts and bolts of how to make the current transmission and engine run the well oiled machine, much more effectively. Sen. Sanders and the 99s have a different idea about the political economy; we're going to toss the old transmission and engine out and build a new hybrid for the 21st Century, while keeping the good parts of the machine intact. Single Payer for All, Living Wages, Equality, Justice, Environmental Reclaimation, Peace and Prosperity in a country of the 99s, for the 99s, by the 99s. To fail to do this assures a chaotic and unpredictable future. We cannot allow ourselves and our country to become another Mexico, Eqypt or Iraq, imo.


#12

Yes, and I have a hard time seeing that 50% greater GDP than in 2007 that Baker touts. It may show up in the finance industry, and in the bubble in Silicon Valley startups and such, but my trailer park neighbors don't seem to be seeing that GDP, unlike in 2007, when they were finding work with ease. I think the calculation of "GDP" must be done by the same people who "measure inflation", and find "none". Again, my trailer park neighbors are seeing a lot of inflation, as rents climb drastically, along with many other necessities.

Baker seems to have a good heart, but also an attachment to a lot of economic dogmas that are not nearly as good as his heart, and that do damage ...


#14

No SSI Cola is based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that prior to the Raygun Regime actually reflected the real rate of inflation affecting the 99%. After Republican Ford and Democrat Carter lost their election bids (1976 and 1980 respectively)in both cases as a result of being blamed for high inflation, both parties revised CPI calculation methodology to make sure inflation is always understated. Three plus decades of understating inflation is what caused the housing bubble a decade ago, hence the 2008 crash, and continues to undermine wages and earned benefits such as SSI.


#16

Neither patent nor copyright infringement is a criminal offense. The government does not arrest infringers. A glaring mistake by this author.


#17

Dean Baker and I both focused on the same deceit in George Will's slick column, "Not even universal free public education, even were it well done, could equalize the ability of individuals to add value to the economy."

If by 'add value' to the economy, Will is referring to adding value to the GDP of the Empire only 'posing' as (and HQed in) our former country, then Dean should reconsider the suggestion I made to him at CEPR many years ago that we needed a new measure of economic negative value, or a GDNEC (Gross Domestic Negative Externality Cost) index.

What George Will ignores is that as large as the supposedly 'growing' GDP of the U.S. is, today's most profitable corporations, financial entities of HFWs (Hedge Fund Whores), PEPs (Private Equity Pirates), and AICs (Activist Investor Crooks) predominantly make their out-sized profits for themselves and for the TCCs (Transnational Capitalist Classes) and UHNWIs (Ultra High Net Worth Individuals) by gaming the markets biggest flaw and making faux-profits by stealthily hiding far larger negative externality costs --- and dumping these fully unburdened costs off their own P&L statements and onto the backs of "others", including the 99% of average 'subjects' in this Empire, and onto the corpse of our former country.

Fortunately, even without a proper GDNEC Index of hidden negative externality costs, the insurance (and particularly the global Re-insurance industry) is starting to squeal like a stuck pig with the massive negative externality costs of nasty byproducts our genius scam artist 'value creators' and "job creators" (as Frank Luntz named them), which include; tobacco smoking deaths health care and liabilities, nuclear plant decommisionings and clean-ups, super-storm damages to super-pricey real estate, and the latest 2007-09 $17T debt bombs of CDSs, CDOs, and other derivative crap when the genius 'financial engineering" crooks and looters on Wall Street turned not lead, but paper into gold (for themselves) --- all of which were demonstrations of how those 'unequally' bright and aggressive few among us "added value to the economy" by temporarily hiding their shit.

Of course it might be nice for all of us if we had a GDNEC to see how much negative externality cost should have been deducted from the inflated GDP measure of how well 'we' the people are really doing in this stacked economy run by the Disguised Global Crony-Capitalist EMPIRE that now IS our former democratic Republic of a country, eh??


#18

Jonny, for Fast FAST FAST relief I would recommend taking a fast acting Alka-Seltzer tablet of new and improved 'Wealth Reform' --- even better than the traditional relief of 'Land Reform', that has eased the painful stomach of many countries that suffered from a sociopathic ruling-elite who; stole, expropriated, looted, hoarded, monopolized, and took out of productive use all the land assets of their country.

Now the new Alka Seltzer Wealth Reform formula allows the average people of a country that has had the deceitful tiny 0.01% minority of ruling-elite pricks; steal, expropriate, annex, loot, hoard, monopolize, and take out of productive use all the capital wealth of their country ---- you will find this new "Wealth Reform" cure to be much faster than any financial speculation taxes, estate taxes, or even 90% marginal tax!


#19

This is yet another way that the public is paying for the 2008 bank bailouts. "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!" The homeowners should have been helped, not the banks. Instead, our corrupt government made the bankers whole (and still makes that a priority at the Fed), and thereby enabled them to finance the takeover of the housing market from the people who had owned the houses. IF the banks had not been bailed out, their mortgage loans could have been written down in bank bankruptcies to fairer debt levels and terms for owners, and the government could have helped owners with the remaining problems with the loans. That would have stopped this runaway rent inflation that the government statistics never manage to see when they "measure inflation" (more corruption) ...


#21

Would you look at this -- 'some' of our elected terrorists have been saying that all Social Security payments need to be raised [not just by 1 or 2%, but an actual raise) until the rubber meets the road, and now those wonderful elected representatives will say how sorry they are, but the will to do something just wasn't there! And yet, those self-same congressmen won't give up any part of their $175,000 paycheck so that you and I have enough to live on!
When are we going to fire these worthless asses????


#22

Excellent accurate and informed commentary amacd, thank you! An uneducated population, an uninformed population and in-debt population fully involved in interest and wage-slavery usually do not focus-on or understand how the political whores and financial parasites are robbing the 99% and how radically their lives are diminished by the pirates - unfortunately this forum only gets to a small minority, and the info you and others lay-out needs to get to a much larger audience. The MSM clearly, and "public" media do not inform what needs to be. But we keep trying to inform and instigate. Kudos to you for your efforts......


#23

George Will's arrogance is offensive and his elitism nauseating. What would he know about public education NOT ever having attended a public school? He has never had to go without clothes/shoes, heat in his home, a home, food, transportation or take a job to help his family pay the utilities/rent. In his mind, his artificial universe is the only one in existence and, if we are nice, he will let us spin in it. His world is a far cry from the reality of millions of Americans yet he makes harsh judgments and outlandish statements that distort that reality: blame the victims. Guess all those years at the National Review and rubbing shoulders with the wealthy elite and self-proclaimed expert conservabots have poisoned his brain. I read part of that column this weekend and had to stop as my brain was exploding with disgust.


#24

Neither party has ever, can, or will ever "solve" income inequality. The data clearly shows it -- summarized very well in this article: mbird [dot] com/2015/10/everybody-elses-biggest-problem-pt-7-lets-blame-the-other-guy/

It you think your candidate will make a difference, sadly, you are deluded. Government can do some things, but it has never been able to satisfactorily assist the most vulnerable among us.


#25

Much to comment on here, but I'll restrict myself to two points. The current middle class declaration about Social Security -- "I paid for it!" -- is not exactly correct, nor was Social Security established as personal retirement savings accounts. Depending on a range of factors, it's quite possible to get back more in benefits than one personally paid in. Take it a step further: Right now, millions of elderly women who had never worked outside the home, paying into Social Security, are able to survive because of Social Security. Social Security also provides disability insurance. Until this generation, Americans could grasp the value of paying into programs collectively, for the common good.

When it comes to ignoring the facts about "income inequality:" 2015 will be remembered as the year that inequality itself was redefined to (incredibly) exclude our poor, thereby making the entire inequality discussion a fraud. We have a real poverty crisis (note: Learn the difference between "low income" and "poor.") Think about it: The US shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s -- decreasing the number of jobs while, at the same time, increasing the number of people who desperately need jobs. Yet we all pretend that there are no consequences! In fact, the overall quality of life in the US went from #1 when Reagan was first elected, launching the initial campaign against the poor, down to #43 by the time Obama was elected. As long as Americans are either unable or unwilling to legitimately address inequality, conditions can only worsen.


#26

SSI and SSDI are for the disabled, and they have been targeted for cuts/freezes repeatedly ever since Bill Clinton. Liberals have largely ignored this issue ever since then as well. By the a start of 2015, as our attention began turning toward the 2016 elections, Democrats agreed to virtually end food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled. Annual cost of living adjustments to the disabled have actually been denied repeatedly in recent years. It's no surprise that 2016 brings yet another benefit freeze. Gee, think it will have any impact on how they vote?


#27

Thank you Dean for dealing with the dunderhead Will. He has been bleating the same propaganda for years. I bet his column (I won't read it) would be plagiarized from himself circa 20 years ago.

I get so tired of the corporate media. This AM, I watched CBS morning show where they put up the latest polling graphic, explaining that "Hillary has widened her lead on Bernie Sanders." Never mind that it had Joe Biden in that particular poll, never mind that they didn't mention or show the poll prior to compare what that wider lead was. The poll was probably nothing more than a margin of error difference, but how would the viewers know this?

I think the media is either missing or doesn't want to reveal the real story, that Sanders is closer than we think. We know landline phone polling is now biased to older people. The long time polling firm Gallop announced they aren't going to do horse-race polling this year for primary season because of inaccurate data.

I look at the GOP and wonder how anyone can know any truth to their polling with so many candidates in the field. And Trump's campaign is mainly about talking about his poll numbers.
And all of this poll crazy talk, and we are months from Iowa still.

We know Sanders numbers are probably a bit deceiving, because the MSM wants to deceive. Sanders is no friend to them, we all know that.

George Will's tired old mantra against the types of things Sanders wants won't change any of his readers minds. Who reads him? Older people in the GOP and the media. He is just echo chamber broken record.