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Why We Must End Upward Pre-Distribution to the Rich


#1

Why We Must End Upward Pre-Distribution to the Rich

Robert Reich

You often hear inequality has widened because globalization and technological change have made most people less competitive, while making the best educated more competitive.

There’s some truth to this. The tasks most people used to do can now be done more cheaply by lower-paid workers abroad or by computer-driven machines.

But this common explanation overlooks a critically important phenomenon: the increasing concentration of political power in a corporate and financial elite that has been able to influence the rules by which the economy runs.


#2

Gee, really Mr Reich, expound on other things that aren't obvious.

And haven't been obvious since the Reagan administration.

You served in the Clinton administration, and didn't work to stop NAFTA.

But sans snark, okay, welcome to the reality most have to work with daily in the USA, and elsewhere in the world--well less Sweden.


#3

What is the point of this snark? Well gee that is great that you know all this and took the time to announce to us that you know all this. Um? Why did you btw? So I guess you put it all together in a cogent and footnoted teaching tool for everyone who may know much of what Robert writes (but certainly not as much about the subject and from a washington insider perspective).

Well everybody listen up... Jay wants us to know that he knows and that books like this that teach people about things and how they work (not just that they happen but how - the legality and mechanisms of how they are done) aren't necessary for him.

Some things are important for people to know.

Some things that is... some things aren't ... are they Jay?


#4

Dr. Reich, you used the n-word (NATURE) exactly once. Probably should have gone back and back to it...


#6

Dr. Stiglitz may have a clue. Few in the club do.


#7

Ya, labor unions shouldn't be given artificial protections; they should be, and are, reserved for big banks and the MIC. And, like the pre teen girls who slaved in the cotton mills Lawrence, Ma.: come to work on Sunday or don't come back on Monday. You think the "free Market" gave us the 40 hour week? What a troll!


#9

Your take on patents, trademarks and copyrights is ludicrous. Under your ridiculous theory, if I invest my time and money in developing a new product or service that the public wants, I am required to simply give it away. All of my competitors will be able to sell the new product or service at a lower price because they made no investment; they received a gift from me, i.e., I served as their research and development department. Only a fool would continue to innovate without the protection of patents, trademarks and copyrights because he or she would starve to death. I retired from the practice of patent law this year, and I gave a lot of thought to this subject over the decades. People who shoot from the hip and say get rid of intellectual property are complete idiots. I knew Rick Perry was a complete fool when he said he would eliminate the Commerce Department. That department includes the Patent and Trademark Office. The PTO is supported by user fees, not by taxpayers in general. You say that patents, trademarks and copyrights would not exist in a free market. Good grief, there would be no market at all without patents, trademarks and copyrights.


#10

The "free market" is nothing more than Newspeak. Utter the words and all thought automatically ceases. The free market, in real terms, is just code for "might makes right." Extend the free market to all of us and you support murder, rape, incest, robbery, whatever any one of us wants, there are no constraints. After all, we are free to choose. Sorry, but we are not just a conglomeration of disconnected individuals. We have the right to govern ourselves by legislating what we believe to be best not just for individuals, but for the community. Therefore, we legislate against "might makes right" in our personal interactions and create laws to govern our behavior. We are NOT free to choose, and your libertarian nonsense is a thoughtless justification for mayhem.

We have the right, as a community, to govern the behavior not just of individuals, but of groups of individuals who have created "business" models that prey on all of us. Corporations are not "free to choose" to pollute without restriction, even if that hurts their bottom line. They are not free to place themselves out of society and, to protect their profits, fail to stand up to their obligations to the communities that provide them their wealth. It sounds so nice, that we all "fend for ourselves", but that is just cover for allowing the strong to prey on the weak. I do not want a return to the law of the jungle, where those with the advantages can act with utter impunity, to the detriment of, at this point of human "civilization", the very existence of our species.


#11

Not only has "bankruptcy protection not been extended to individuals and homeowners", more than a decade ago Congress significantly reduced bankruptcy protection for individuals while giving corporations more bankruptcy opportunities and more freedom to dump pension plans and other previously negotiated employee benefits.

Then Senator Clinton voted in favor of the new bankruptcy laws.


#12

Employment at what wage? You forgot to mention that part. Employer and employee are two separate things but you speak from the employer perspective. For an employer labor at the minimum possible wage is best while for an employee labor should be paid a livable wage (not subsidized by tax money like food stamps or welfare) with medical benefits (people are not disposable if they get sick and easily replaced), retirement like a pension. Slavery should not become wage slavery. A man/woman is worthy of their hire (is actually biblical... ahem,,,lol). Capitalism is not only the employer's need since the employer does NOT live in a vacuum.

People make up a country - a society - a civilization not just corporations. Minimal wages create a deficit society that drags down the system. In other words the capitalist system needs for workers to be able to afford purchasing products and services. Many who tout the employer position fail to recognize that a society of near slaves working at minimum wages cannot sustain the capitalist system. The more you pay the working class the more you are actually paying the consumer class thus enabling them to buy your products.

Greed is by definition blind to everything except its own justifications. Even Pharaoh eventually learned that you had to feed the peasants who grew your food because if they starved then no one was there to grow your food and you ended up starving too.


#13

There is no such thing as "free trade."

All trade is managed trade that is regulated by governments.

The US trade negotiators' notion of "free trade" is a conservative created misnomer with the purpose to misled.


#14

"But this common explanation overlooks a critically important phenomenon: the increasing concentration of political power in a corporate and financial elite that has been able to influence the rules by which the economy runs."

Exactamente! Thank you, Mr. Reich.

Let's hope that the trolls who brought their Free Trade mantra to today's Buchheit thread might read Reich and take in the Truth... its reception otherwise blinded by receipt of their paychecks.


#15

This type of behavior--aimed at invalidating the important testimony of an individual who still has a pulpit from which to state it--does exactly what? Tough to know if it's some kind of Original Sin carryover that turns every person into a guilty sinner, or if it's corporately funded: a deliberate campaign aimed at assassinating the testimony of any who blow the whistle on just how unfair the playing field (along with purported laws) has become.

It's not an accident that this piece works as a terrific companion article to Mr. Buchheit's; and that leading both comment threads are pro-business types who pretend to be outraged by the writers.

This infiltration by right wing ideologues is insidious!

The same kind of "moral outrage" is also shown by those perfectionists who chide Mr. Sanders not for all his important policy positions, but for the ones he has yet to speak out about.

Amazing Dis-Grace!


#16

HONEST forum readers: Take due note of this new poster. He is touting INDUSTRY talking points that protect corporations and their profits. These are lies!

There is a wide chasm between the corporate meme and the reality.

How come Canada and other nations' drug prices are lower?

You are a fraud! And since it's OBVIOUS that your job is to lie for corporations, I am going to flag your post.

Right wing libertarians HATE anything done by govt. They blame the EPA for corporate polluters and in this case, blame the FDA for the price of drugs. When this nut-job has a drink with his buddies, he no doubt blames welfare Mamas for the state of the economy and Black homebuyers for the crash of 2008.


#17

Well-argued. Nice job.


#18

Reich QUIT the Clinton administration because it was too right wing. Is that good enough for you, Jay?

You are just the allegedly left wing version of the Tea Party. Ignorant and belligerent. More interested in getting your rocks off than in searching for the truth.


#19

EVERY time Robert Reich has an article published on Common Dreams, some nutjob has to bring up "Clinton, NAFTA, blah, blah, blah...." I guess it was your turn this week, huh, Jay?


#20

Wereflea,

Books like this are all well and good, but it's a bit too late, particularly given the passage of NAFTA on Reichs' watch.


#21

Why is it nutty to object to this?

Reich served the whole first Clinton term.


#22

Gee, 4 years in the Clinton admin and then he "quits" because it was too "right wing".

I'm not entirely dismissing what Reich says, but he's not the strongest messenger.