It’s not Left vs. Right…

It’s our Ruling Class in a crony capitalist economy against the rest of us:

Lefty dupe solution: Ignore Obama’s incestuous relationship with all this and his hurried erection of a police state to protect it.

Righty dupe solution: Say, “Think Progress! This statistic is ritually impure!”

HT: Caelum et Terra

  • Esther

    Oh my goodness, this…

  • Confederate Papist

    Think Progress, so-called, is a commie think tank. What they propose is not what I would call capitalism or distributism, so I don’t even care if what they say is true or not. What company that is not designated as “non-profit” wants to operate at zero profit or negative profit (besides solar energy companies, that is)?

    I don’t care if my company has 96% profit, I get paid well and treated well, and if the boss wants to keep his 96% profit, who am I to say otherwise? BTW, he doesn’t….last year he took a lot of the evil profit and re-invested it in the company and upgraded the computer system after 10 years of using ancient technology….which is what most companies do with their profits.

    • Raul

      This ‘righty’ is reminded of something his ‘lefty’ and agnostic uncle once said before his untimely death, “Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you read.”

      I urge a position of maintaining a healthy skepticism and to always consider the source.

    • Ted Seeber

      Solar Energy companies don’t want to operate at negative profit. They are forced to due to competition from illegal Chinese subsidized panels being dumped on the world market.

      • Confederate Papist

        Like everything else Ted.

        I sell against Chinese made stuff all the time…sometimes I get my clock cleaned and sometimes I get a call back once the crappy Chinese stuff failed and eventually get the sale. Adapt or cease to exist…which could mean push back, also.

  • Matthew A. Siekierski

    I’d like to see the same chart reproduced covering the change in GNI from 08 to 09, when the GNI dropped $500 billion.

    • Christopher Burd

      Exactly. The timeframe is so cherry-picked, it’s ridiculous.

      Just another sucky infographic.

      • TMLutas

        Agreed that the time frame is cherry picked. But if you look at it in broader terms, the signal *is* there. As I’ve noted elsewhere in the thread, this is because we’ve got a major imbalance in labor markets on the long wave of economic liberation that started in the 1970s with Nixon. I think Obama’s mishandling this problem but it’s a big problem that in the best of circumstances won’t be resolved for a few decades.

      • Robert King

        A serious question: what is ridiculous about cherry-picking the time frame?

        One could argue that the time frame was cherry-picked for its significance: haven’t we been told for the past few years that the economy is recovering? Isn’t this the period when the very period of “economic recovery” is supposed to be happening? Isn’t it, therefore, a good time period to examine?

        My gripe is with the use of the pie chart. I would much rather see something more temporally bound: a line or bar graph, perhaps, showing trends and movements in economic distribution. I’d also like to see what else is accounted for besides “wages” and “corporate profits”.

      • Jonathan

        The multiple endpoint statistic.

        The old “Tom Brady has completed 11 of his last 12 passes” argument.

  • Sean O

    Con Papist
    The chart would indicate that the workers are operating as “non-profits” not the Corps. Did you look at the chart? 99% is a long way from zero. Does it not cause any discomfort? Does it not suggest colossal greed arrogance and unfairness? How does such a chart mesh with the message of Jesus? This is a chart only Ayn Rand & her Mammon worshiping acrolytes could love.

    • Confederate Papist

      When does your pay become unfair? Before you agree to the salary or after you find out what your organisation’s profit is?

      • Ted Seeber

        Who ever “agrees” to a salary? I take the compensation I’m offered, or my children don’t eat. That’s not agreement, that’s extortion.

        • Confederate Papist

          Erm…you’re assuming only a situation if you’re not employed, I am guessing.

          If I am looking for another job while I am employed and a company offers more money, better bennies and a car/laptop/phone and I take the job and find out the boss or my comtemporaries are making more than me, should I be upset? No! I agreed to take the job for the offered compensation.

          If you’re talking about someone who’s not worked in a year or two and takes a job that pays thousands less than what he/she is accustomed to get paid (like I did in the mid 1990′s), then take the crappy job and keep looking, especially if it pays better than unemployment. I did it, so that means anyone else can.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            No, CP, the Church says (as I understand Her anyway) that while a lack of consent can make a situation unjust, consent doesnt and cant determine the just of a situation.

            It would be unjust for you to compel me to work without my consent. You’re darn tooting!

            But extracting my consent, even for a nominal wage!!!, in and of itself, doesn’t move the needle toward justice. In fact, it can push the needle even further into the red, especially if you are using my humanity against me, to compel or manipulate me into slaving for you. By my humanity I mean things like my concern for fulfilling my role as provider for wife and young.

            Yes, sometimes, a just wage is at bottom or below negotiating range. Wonderful for the guy in that situation. But that is not the guy our economic system should be geared toward.

            (I’m telling you, just dig into Rerum Novarum and all its follow-ups. Read the encyclicals themselves. Let them speak to you, from Leo XIII forward. I know you’ll listen prayerfully to them.)

            • Confederate Papist

              I’ll do that Hez. Thanks.

              Maybe I am just too naive here. I’ve been shat on so many times by employers, and have been screwed more than a Georgetown law student, but when I look back the only constant is me. Whether I was treated fairly or not is irrelevant, as I didn’t have the time to dwell on it…I had to find something else to feed my family.
              I will read Rerum Novarum but I also believe that a more Christian style of capitalism (if there is such a thing) or Distributism is the answer.
              That, and cleaning house in DC, of course.

          • Ted Seeber

            “Erm…you’re assuming only a situation if you’re not employed, I am guessing.”

            In my industry, non-disclosure agreements are such that it is very hard to look for a job while you’re employed- and sometimes for up to three months afterward.

            “If I am looking for another job while I am employed and a company offers more money, better bennies and a car/laptop/phone and I take the job and find out the boss or my comtemporaries are making more than me, should I be upset? No! I agreed to take the job for the offered compensation.”

            True. But that’s if your previous job allows you to leave without suing the pants off of you for working for a competitor.

            “If you’re talking about someone who’s not worked in a year or two and takes a job that pays thousands less than what he/she is accustomed to get paid (like I did in the mid 1990′s), then take the crappy job and keep looking, especially if it pays better than unemployment. I did it, so that means anyone else can.”

            Anecdotal evidence is always one of the worst logical fallacies “I did it, so that means anyone else can” is actually just trying to judge the world with a single data point. Hard to prove a trend with only one data point.

            • Confederate Papist

              Well, we can both agree that both of our points are broad brushes then, because I too was subject to a non compete, and non disclosure (under threat of keeping my employment because my tenure preceded the policy…and I think that was illegal, but I digress), but I considered it null and void when they cut me loose. Also, it depends on the state you live in. I lived in a right to work state, so that “agreement” wasn’t worth the paper on which it was written. Plus they would have had to sue all 150 people they cut loose, which would be very expensive, and not worth it.
              You are correct in saying, I guess that because I did something others can, but I will submit to you right now that many people in my demographic (35~50) are working jobs that my teen-aged daughter should be working.
              Again, generalities on both of our points will not solve any problems, but maybe someone can use them to help themselves out.

  • Lindsay

    I do wish there were an unbiased source for this type of information. Clearly, there is an issue whereby cronyism and greed of a small minority hurt a majority, and the disappearance of a middle class is the biggest indicator of this. But as Confederate Papist said, not all “profits” are simply pocketed and used to by luxury paraphernalia. If it is being reinvested, that helps workers. And yet, for just the reasons cited about both the left and right being duped on this, I’ve yet to see a source I didn’t feel had an agenda.

    • Ted Seeber

      For the most part, this incredible mishandling of the economy over the last 25 years (yes, I realize there were booms in that as well as busts, but every boom is a bust in the making) has even the crony corporatists so scared that the profits are mainly going to the modern cyber version of mattress stuffing.

      • RLM

        It’s not just mattress stuffing, Ted. Another issue is the fact that we are the only developed country that taxes profits that have been made in and taxed by other countries. As a result, companies keep those profits off-shore and reinvest them abroad instead of bringing them back to the States to reinvest them here.
        But this policy was supposed to “keep jobs in America.” If anything, it has given companies more incentive to outsource… Ahh, the unintended consequences of leftist economics!

  • bueller

    Presuming that the statistic is accurate, it doesn’t say nearly as much as you think. Corporate profits, for publicly traded companies, simply benefit stockholders. Which, these days, is pretty much anyone who has a retirement account. This dichotomy of corporate profits = bad, wages = good is absolute nonsense. It may have made sense 300 years ago when only the most wealthy had ownership shares in companies and thus benefits from corporate profits were limited to them; it makes no sense whatsoever today.

    • TMLutas

      I disagree that it’s not a worthwhile stat. I think it says a lot. It says that we have a massive mismatch between the number of hiring entities we have and the number we need. It’s a very strong pricing signal. Why is that signal being generated and how can we damp it out are important questions that Think Progress completely misses the boat on, but that doesn’t mean that the blind pig hasn’t found a truffle despite it all.

    • Ted Seeber

      Like the imaginary negotiated salary above, retirement accounts are just a dream to me in my field of software engineering. The few times I’ve been granted such a thing, the job ends well before I’m ever vested in the funds.

  • Sean O

    “we are a nation of stockholders now”
    That is absolute nonsense. Most “owners” have negligible amounts. The vast amount of ownership is at the top.

    • TMLutas

      That doesn’t invalidate the point. Being paid ahead of production was always a sucker’s game, something you did because the risk of being paid after production was too much for your tastes. As we get richer, our risk profiles change and labor will grow less important.

      Labor will continue, but the future we should be considering is ownership and being paid post production. It’s a recipe for high quality goods and services with people committed to doing a job done right. That’s not a bad thing for an economy to have. It’s probably pretty good for the soul too.

      • Sean O

        I don’t follow your comment. “We are a nation of stockholders now” may be nominally or technically truth, but the real truth is that ownership of stocks is highly concentrated in the hands of the rich. To emphasize the nominal truth over the real truth is done to mislead people and plant false notions in their heads. The truth is that we are a highly stratified nation and most wealth and income is commanded by a small portion of the population. And this situation has much more to do with quirks, flaws, clubbyness and power imbalances in the workings of Capitalism than anything to do with risk/reward or talent.

        Capitalism is a highly flawed man made system that happens to work better than other systems [mostly because it aligns with our innate drive for self-preservation and our selfish nature]. It is the greatest system for generating material wealth. It is no so good at distributing that wealth. It needs constant monitoring or adjusting to keep it from destroying itself which should be blatantly obvious given our recent financial meltdown,the savings & loan fiasco of the late 80′s and many other. The greed, arrogance & criminality of many of our Wall St titans seems to be boundless.

      • Robert King

        Labor will continue, but the future we should be considering is ownership and being paid post production.

        I’m not an economist, so I’m not sure I follow this argument. Do you mean that laborers will cease to be a significant part of the U.S. or global economy? Then who will be producing the goods for which the owners will be paid “post production”?

        Or do you mean a more distributist ideal: that more people will be owners of the means of production, rather than wage-laborers, and that these many owner-laborers will be paid for the goods they produce?

        Or am I missing the point altogether?

  • Michael O.

    Mark, have you been following any of the discussion on Charles Murray’s new book Coming Apart? It’s about the unraveling of the white middle class, and it certainly seems to fit with a lot of what you’ve been posting.

    Douthat discussed it:

  • R. Howell

    The stat looks useless to me because it covers only a two year span. Why was 2009-2011 picked? Corporate profits are highly volatile, much more so than wages. 2009 was right after the most catastrophic financial crash since the 1930s. I suspect profits plunged sharply from 2007-2009, then rebounded. This doesn’t tell you much about long term trends in wealth distribution.

    Even if it’s factually accurate, the chart is designed to shock, not inform.

    • Raul

      +1 to all of that.

  • Michaelus

    Oh come on – there is an obvious truth to this data. It is that in spite of making huge pile of money corporations are not adding workers or increasing wages. That is true. It is not so much an indication of the wickedness of rich men (although they are generally wicked) as an indication of the uncertainty caused by Government actions. For example – Exxon had about $73 billion in cash and cash-like assets available in their latest quarter. In a normal world Exxon would either be spending that to increase capacity (and hiring lots of people) or paying it out as dividends. Instead they will sit on it until the government clarifies their weird energy policy. Apple has $55 billion and Intel has $26 billion. That is a lot of non- productive wealth sitting and waiting…possibly for the next election.

    • Confederate Papist

      Bingo. We have a winner!


    • Mark S (not for Shea)

      That argument might hold a tiny bit of water if the CEOs of those companies weren’t making several hundred times the salaries of their workers and employing what amounts to slave labor in other countries.

      So no water held. Your argument is all wet.

      This is old-fashioned greed and avarice, plain and simple.

      • Confederate Papist

        In the publicly held corporations, the shareholders approve the salaries of the executives based on performance. Now you can claim foxes and hen-houses, and I wouldn’t argue with you too much except that all shareholders have a vote…as far as privately held companies, well, it’s none of anyone’s business what the owners make. They can keep it all or give it all away, who are you or I to say otherwise?

        • Mark S. (not for Shea)

          Your argument boils down to a justification for an absolute rule of the wealthy, and the rest of us should just get in line, tip our hats, and mind our betters. That’s not justice.

          When the CEO of Apple or Amazon is getting paid millions each year while they employ slaves in other countries or American citizens whose working conditions would make Dickens blush, there is something seriously wrong with corporate behavior and why we let them get away with it.

          American capitalism used to mean that every person had the right to own his or her own business and home. It has no come to mean that companies have the right to own everyone’s business and home. There’s something inherently deranged about that.

          • Confederate Papist

            I am not refuting that those situations are inherent throughout the world and in North America. I am against corporatism, I just don’t think that 99% of all businesses are run the way you claim they are.

            I work for a small business, my boss is the sole proprietor (or his wife, heh), and most of my business is with small companies throughout the state of Florida. I also do business with large corporations as well, because they know that if they need something they only have to come to me and not go through multiple layers to get attention. I don’t know what you do for a living, but you will find that the majority of businesses are small business…and yes, the GE’s, Siemens, McDonald’s of the world get all the attention because they have the dollars, but you don’t have to let the corporations run your life. You still have a choice.
            In regards to Apple, Steve Jobs deserved the money he got….he is (was) the company….and as a major player in the corporation, he agreed to the salaries of the executive committee of that organisation.

            • Richard Johnson

              Yes, and every day 4,000 women agree to abort their children. Does that make it right? If not, then why point to the consent of stockholders or CEOs regarding outrageous executive salaries as justification for them?

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          I almost agree with you after your aposiopesis, with the caveat that they are subject to more local* taxes like sales, property, and estate.

          More importantly, beyond the political, should we have no position socially regarding how another man dispenses of his fruits? A miser tends to make himself an ostracite.

          *More local meaning less Federal, in the reality of our current system. NOT a call for a rate hike on property taxes. Though things like adverse possession can be freed up as remedies for property speculation. Now, how do we handle the aforementioned currency speculation (that’s what Exxon, Apple, Intel, et al holding that capital in stasis in hopes of the hurt getting them favorable terms is speculation of a sort, after all)?

      • dpt

        “That argument might hold a tiny bit of water if the CEOs of those companies weren’t making several hundred times the salaries of their workers”

        I’m not arguing that CEOs deserve multimillion dollar bonuses, but for perspective… if the CEO of Exxon was paid $30M last year that represents just 0.04% of the profits. Sure with $30M, the company could hire 100 to 150 or so employees (considering salary, benefits, overhead, etc.).

        So is it CEO greed resulting in the jobs situation? With these top companies sitting on piles of cash as noted above, there must be other reasons and uncertainty creating this situation.

        • dpt

          “the company could hire 100 to 150 or so employees (considering salary, benefits, overhead, etc.). ”

          By this, I mean in the US.

    • TMLutas

      You’re missing the forest for the trees. Yes, Obama has made this problem vastly worse but it was already here before he ever got elected to the Illinois Senate, much less the Presidency. India decides to get rid of its socialism and frees, what, 800 million workers? Perhaps 350 million have already made the transition and plugged into the world labor market. We’ve got another 450 million to go. China says to get rich is glorious. They still have hundreds of millions of people to process out of the grinding rural poverty their internal passport system keeps them trapped in. And Africa! Africa is actually coming alive economically, reforming and putting more labor on the market.

      We desperately need to improve our company formation, build up lots of businesses that push labor rates up so that the big boys can go right on exporting jobs and soak up that 2 billion in excess labor we’ve got right now. Our net labor wage rates will hardly budge until we finish this task.

      • Richard Johnson

        And pray tell how we are going to do that without increasing the disposable income of consumers? Remember, it is consumer spending, not corporate investment, that drives 70% of our GDP.

        Our current system is broken. Corporate welfare is seen as beneficial to our economy, in spite of the fact that it does little if anything to actually improve our economic lot. Meanwhile we watch more and more people leave the unemployment rolls by going past their 99 (soon to be 79) week limit, thus lowering the unemployment rate since they are no longer counted. Then our politicians, both GOP and Dem, can point to lowering unemployment as economic growth.

        Snake oil salesmen never had it this good.

  • Richard Johnson

    “Righty dupe solution: Say, “Think Progress! This statistic is ritually impure!””

    Boy was that prophetic.

    • Mark Shea

      Yeah. Thank God *you* aren’t like those Bad People over there.

      So: how about Obama and his incestuous relationship with the rich? Any comments on that?

      • dpt

        President Obama is certainly connected to the rich and Wall St. insiders…Tim Geitner, Jon Corzine, Larry Summers, Robert Rubin, etc.

        • Richard Johnson

          Yep, and so are Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum. Nader was dead on when he said there was no difference between the two major parties.

      • Richard Johnson

        You bet, Mark. I didn’t vote for him, and will not vote for him. He’s truly no better than anything the GOP has to offer. And the vast majority of the Democrats are in bed with the corporatists right along side the GOP.

        That’s why I left the GOP back in 1999, walked right past the Democrats and became a Green Party member.

        Next question, oh baneful one?

        • Mark Shea

          Fair enough, mate.

      • Donna Miller

        Yes, yes, siree he has an incestuous relationship with the wealthy! His administration opposed many of the reforms that should have gone into the Dodd-Frank bill, such as a financial transactions tax to reduce speculation, restoration of Glass-Steagall, breaking up the big banks, and Blanche Lincoln’s proposals on regulating derivatives.

        They were willing to spare no expense to bail out the banks, but admitted in 2010 that their program to help distressed homeowners was actually a program to help out the banks by spreading out foreclosures rather than stopping them. They only worried about the moral hazard of bailouts when it applied to homeowners. They have mostly let the banks off the hook for massive foreclosure fraud and other financial crimes.

        While allowing immunity from lawbreaking for our financial and political elites, they have consolidated and even expanded the Bush/Cheney assault on liberty for the rest of us. Occupiers and pro-lifers, you may have different reasons for protesting at the DNC this year, but you will both be treated the same when you get too close to a building where The One is present!

    • RLM

      Oh, please, that is an unfair characterization of the kinds of arguments and criticisms I am seeing in these comments. People are *not* making a fallacious argument based on an appeal to the (lack of) Think Progress’ authority. They are pointing out that certain features of the chart (e.g. the two-year time frame) are being influenced by that organization’s own political biases and explaining how those features call into question the message Think Progress wants us to take away from the chart.
      Please be fair-minded, for goodness’ sake; isn’t that one of the things that not-left-nor-right-wingers ought to seek to be?

  • TMLutas

    This is a bad statistic but it’s not because it is ritually impure or any such nonsense. The plain fact is that the USA and its allies have freed up huge pools of labor that have been coming on line into the world market starting with Deng’s reforms to Mao and continuing to the present day. Putting aside ideology (unless you think econ 101 is ideological) when you vastly increase the supply of labor the price will tend to go down. The solution to that is to vastly increase the demand for labor. You incentivize the increase in demand for labor by increasing the compensation for creating companies and hiring people to do stuff.

    And look right there, the fact pattern that’s giving Think Progress the vapors, that’s it. It is basic economics that human liberation will produce a labor supply glut until we can get enough businesses going to mop up that glut. The process is not going to be pleasant and the pain will be spread widely. The realistic alternative is to keep people in bondage longer than necessary in order to preserve the comfort and economic gain trends for the laboring classes of the free world. Now *that* would be evil.

    I’ve been calling this situation our “Red Queen economy” for many years now. You have to run as fast as you can building up businesses just to stay in place. If you want labor wage gains on top of that, you’ve got to create businesses twice as fast.

    I want to create those businesses twice as fast. But who do I find in my way from a policy perspective? The same forces that are complaining about the meager gains in wage labor rates. I’m not going to get into whether they do not understand the situation and are just playing the spoiled brat or they are consciously opting for the “keep them in slavery” option.

    No matter what your economic system preferences, we’ve got a lot of workers new to the global labor market coming out of economic slavery. As Catholics we need a response. What should it be?

    • Ted Seeber

      My response would be to use the power of Congress over interstate commerce to enact state-border level tariffs on material goods. Sufficient to encourage the idea of using the internet to sell intellectual property for small scale local production.

      The reduction in economy of scale alone would put everybody back to work.

      It would also mean dismantling the WTO, but it would be worth it in the long run.

    • Marthe Lépine

      I have a problem with your characterization of small farmers in developing countries as “rural slavery”. Do you really think that building larger factories is “freeing farmers from slavery”? The way I see it, this is typical US ideology. Maybe helping rural people make a better living from producing quality food for the population would be a more useful thing to do. After all, there will always be a demand for food; on the other hand, a lot of useless consumer gadgets might become harder and harder to sell as workers everywhere become poorer. In addition, small farmers producing good food are a blessing for the quality of the environment. Their practices have far less potential to exhaust the nutrients from the land (because they are less intensive and they still practice crop rotation), damage the underground supply of water (because they don’t use so many chemical fertilizers), erode the soil ( because they do not tend to destroy soil-retaining forests on slopes just to get bigger farms)… And this is only a few examples of the way small farmers can be extremely beneficial. It would be much better, in many cases, to support those farmers instead of forcing them to move to cities and work in factories, where they will be told that they are lucky to have jobs at all!

      • Aquila

        Small farmers in China and India do tend to use pesticides and fertiliser, and often far less efficiently than on large commercial farms. Just think: a farmer with 2 acres under barley spreads his fertiliser by hand or with crude equipment; the commercial farmer meters it out precisely, because the scale of use means that inefficiencies are very expensive. Primitive farming in the Philippines and elsewhere can mean slash-and-burn agriculture, which destroys forests and is far more likely to cause land slippage than a well run commercial farm.

        I am all for helping rural folk to farm more efficiently; we must be prepared for the possibility, however, that this will reduce the requirement for a rural workforce, and accelerate the flight to the cities.

        I’m not arguing here that it is all peaches and cream with commercial farms, but it is quite false to think in terms of peasant=good, commercial=bad. I wonder if you have chosen to live a peasant lifestyle? It is quite achievable, if you want to do so. As for Chinese peasants, they are usually not forced off their land (I know that it does sometimes happen), but they go to the cities because their $2 and hour jobs leave them far better off than their idyllic peasant careers.

        I’m certainly not accusing you of this, but there are plenty of wealthy westerners who seem to think that the exotic beauty of, say, brightly clad Senegalese women pounding millet in to flour that was such a feature of their package holiday, is argument enough that those women should grow old pounding millet. Very often, the local people would disagree.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    TM Lutas,

    Human liberation?

    Last comments I read by you seemed to imply the plight of our slave labor pools in Asia are a form of mortification on their path to salvation.

    With these things in mind, I become curious and wonder what or whom you worship.

    • TMLutas

      Since you are showing no evidence of actually understanding what slavery is even though it’s been patiently explained to you. I invite you to hit the books and not be so insulting.

      Once again, slavery is uncompensated forced labor you cannot just leave. Sweat shops are the sucky bottom rung of getting past really poor previous economic arrangements. The two are not the same. Sweat shops come with a natural exit plan which is called economic progress that absorbs excess labor. Slavery just endures without tremendous sacrifice to end it.

      When you confuse the two, you make light of slavery to which I have an appropriate response, just not one that is acceptable for a christian site. So let me tone it down and just say you are cooperating with evil, whether you understand it or not.

      • Ted Seeber

        With a surplus of world labor, there is no exit plan to sweat shops. You just move production to the next cheapest continent to put continual downward pressure on wages in the countries you leave behind.

      • Marthe Lépine

        Just a minute! Farming as “uncompensated forced labor”? Do you mean that monetary compensation is the only kind of compensation? Another typically US preconceived idea… Small farmers working on their land produce their own food, they don’t need money to purchase it. They typically have a roof over their heads without having to pay rent (or mortgage). They are free to bring their produce to any market they want. (Unless of course intermediaries intervene to purchase directly from the farms at “next to nothing” and re-sell the produce to city workers at inflated prices that those workers’ wages barely cover, if at all. In which case it would perhaps be more helpful, in order to “liberate” the small farmers, to help them get together to purchase a refrigerated truck and get to the city themselves in order to bring their own produce to the city – as was actually done in some village in Haiti, if I am to believe the speaker from that country I heard last week.)

  • Hezekiah Garrett


    I gotta observe you sound more like a carpetbagger than Johnny Reb here.

    • Confederate Papist

      Erm…how? I am in sales. I’m not selling snake oil, just automation controls…how is that carpetbagging?

  • Hezekiah Garrett


    Do you think it fair to call such statistics evidence of this nation’s preferential option for the rich?

    • TMLutas

      Do you really want to leave all your ignorance hanging out at once?

      • Richard Johnson

        Of course they do. It’s called supporting the tribe. If they actually start acknowledging what is happening (and has been happening for a generation) then they have to take responsibility for their role in turning it around.

        Standing up against the HHS mandate is easy and free. The GOP is there to do the heavy lifting for you. All you have to do is go vote for a Republican in the fall and the problem will go away if enough of them get elected. Simple. Easy. No cost.

        Standing up against the growing powers of the corporations in this nation costs something. There’s no simple, free, 10 second answer that fits our short-attention-span-theater of newsbytes. You have to actually work, actually get your hands dirty, and push back against the system. The GOP won’t haul water for you on this one, and neither will the Democrats. They are part of the problem, not part of the solution.

        • Confederate Papist

          Look everyone, Richard’s got all the answers. So STFU and listen to him.

          • Hezekiah Garrett

            I couldnt wait to get home and see what comment you were referring to. I figured you were being sarcastic. In context, I see I was wrong.

            I never thought I’d say this about a Green, but he makes decent sense.

          • Richard Johnson

            Thank you, and God bless you!

            • Richard Johnson

              (Previous comment directed to C.P., as per Scriptural command)

              • Confederate Papist

                Thank you, and many of God’s Blessings back to you.

                I am sorry for the un-Christ-like comments.

  • Hezekiah Garrett

    Carpetbaggers weren’t merely looked down on for being from the north,nor for peddling, though these might now be the connotation. Read some contemporary criticism of them.

  • http://g Hezekiah Garrett

    I don’t have to accept your LCD definitions, TM.

    And frankly, I care not what aspersions Mammon’s worshippers might wish to cast. So sure, if I define slavery broader than you I must be ignorant.

    I’m not going to have to answer for that sort of ignorance to Jesus. You’re still going to have to explain your faith in unbridled capitalism.

    • RLM

      Hezekiah, remember you may also have to answer for why you claim to be able to read TMLutas’ heart and know his sins (“worship of Mammon”)… not to mention your tone, which is uncharitable to say the least.

      • Hezekiah Garrett

        Except, I haven’t, and if you’ll read this thread you’ll see how you made your error. I asked Lutas about his beliefs, and he responded.

        I did not judge him to be a mammon worshiper. I merely took his response seriously.

        And I asked the initial question, precisely, out of charity. I might have misunderstood him. He had a chance to inform me I was wrong about his beliefs. Instead he went on again narrowing slavery’s definition until it’s thin as gruel.

        • Hezekiah Garrett

          And frankly, I don’t believe for a moment Jesus is going to judge my tone. He’s going to judge my words, my actions, my deepest intentions. I just don’t buy the thin-skinned sappy-happy-clappy Jesus.

          L8rz, as the kids say!

          • RLM

            Oh, I see, now you want to call Jesus as a defender of the practice of calling something with whom you disagree a “carpetbagger”? Interesting view of Jesus you have… Needless to say, I think you are wrong. The saints vehemently defended the truth – often with their very lives – but I don’t remember any of the them condoning name-calling or recommending it as a method of getting your opponent to change his or her views. If name-calling fits into your definition of “charity,” little wonder you are so free and expansive with the definitions of other words, such as “slavery.”

      • Joseph

        Ugh… I hate comments like these meant to stifle discussion.

        • RLM

          Well, Joseph, you are certainly entitled to your preferences. I did not make the comment to “stifle discussion,” but to hold Hezekiah up to his/her own standards. Hezekiah is the one who brought in the Lord’s judgment of souls, while at the same time judging TMLucas to be a “worshipper of Mammon” — something (s)he has not proven to me, despite his/her insistence that TMLucas has revealed himself to be such a person. So if you have an issue with my invoking Hezekiah’s own standards against him/her, then you should go ahead and make the same accusation against the originator of the comment thread for the sake of consistency.

  • Raul

    I like this graphic. It looks like Pac-Man. Except he looks like he is sick. Pac-Man fever?

    • Marthe Lépine

      Of course, this PacMan is sick: he got too fat eating all the little fry!

  • Joseph

    I’m curious as to why so many people leaving comments believe that the stats are either bogus or cherry-picked to the point of irrelevancy. They aren’t.

    • Marthe Lépine

      I am not sure, since I take those stats seriously. But it might be that the graph looks threatening to some; loss of power and privilege is always threatening…

      • RLM

        Nope, sorry. I think you have to go back and read the comments again.

        For instance, R. Howell above had a particularly insightful comment to make about the chart:

        “The stat looks useless to me because it covers only a two year span. Why was 2009-2011 picked? Corporate profits are highly volatile, much more so than wages. 2009 was right after the most catastrophic financial crash since the 1930s. I suspect profits plunged sharply from 2007-2009, then rebounded. This doesn’t tell you much about long term trends in wealth distribution.”

        I am not a social scientist, but I have had training in sociological, economic and psychological research methods and I can tell you that his criticism is a valid one. If Think Progress is trying to make a comment on the distribution of wealth over time, then a two year-time horizon is by no means ideal.

        Furthermore, that is just one of the comments that was made by those questioning the chart. Please read their criticisms carefully and engage with their arguments instead of just issuing a blanket dismissal under the guise of painting your opponents as power-hungry elites.

  • Donna Miller

    Think Progress is not the original source for this data:

    “Economists at Northeastern University have found that the current economic recovery in the United States has been unusually skewed in favor of corporate profits and against increased wages for workers.

    In their newly released study, the Northeastern economists found that since the recovery began in June 2009 following a deep 18-month recession, “corporate profits captured 88 percent of the growth in real national income while aggregate wages and salaries accounted for only slightly more than 1 percent” of that growth.

    The study, “The ‘Jobless and Wageless Recovery’ From the Great Recession of 2007-2009,” said it was “unprecedented” for American workers to receive such a tiny share of national income growth during a recovery.

    The study said that of the previous recoveries since the 1970s, the recovery following the 2000-1 recession was next worst in terms of the share of increased income going to wages and salaries. The study found that 15 percent of income growth went to aggregate wages and salaries in the six quarters after the recovery began following that recession, while 53 percent went to corporate profits. The growth in national income can also go to net interest, rental income or proprietors’ income.”

  • RLM

    This isn’t to dispute the assertion that both parties are guilty of crony capitalism, but when I read the link Donna Miller provided above, I found out that the authors of the study, in measuring wages did not include benefits or taxes. And yet, we know that there have been tax increases on the local level (e.g. states and localities increasing income taxes). In addition, economists have argued that one reason take-home wages have been stagnant (and not just over the past two years) is because health insurance benefits have increased. As a result, workers aren’t taking home more in wages because it costs more now for an employer to provide health benefits than it did before and because, in certain areas, they are being taxed at higher rates.
    Again, this isn’t to say that crony capitalism is non-existent problem, but I don’t think this is the chart or the study to prove that assertion.

    • RLM

      I’m sorry, I should have said: “In addition, economists have argued that one reason take-home wages have been stagnant (and not just over the past two years) is because THE COST OF health insurance benefits HAS increased.”

  • Mark S (not for Shea)

    Here’s some more “ritually impure” info for the Righties:

    Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it. The GOP needs to open up a history book before it’s too late.