Free Markets, Free People

Robert Reich still pushing the populist “equality” argument

And it continues to get sillier and sillier:

The richest 1 percent of Americans save about half their incomes, while most of the rest of us save between 6 and 10 percent. Being rich means you already have most of what you want and need. Each additional acquisition yields a sharply declining level of satisfaction: That second yacht isn’t nearly as exciting as the first.

So when the top 1 percent rakes in more than 20 percent of total income – twice the share it had 30 years ago – there’s insufficient demand for all the goods and services the economy is capable of producing at or near full employment. Without enough demand, the economy can’t grow or generate nearly enough jobs.

So what can we take from that?

Here’s my interpretation -  the top 1% is taking in 20% of the income and burying half in coffee cans in the back yard.  Or said another way, none of it is invested and pushed back out in the economy to entrepreneurs, businesses or other pro-economic growth activities.  They just keep it, stuff mattresses with it or burn it to light their big fat cigars, or something.   Well, at least in Reich’s version of the economy.450px-Share_top_1_percent

And they have this declining level of satisfaction because they have everything they want.   Other than an excuse to take their money, what is relevant about that (even if true)?  Not much.  But back to that excuse business.  We can save them from the disappointment they’re bound to have when they buy that second yacht (which, btw, will provide good jobs and pay for those who build it) and screw the yacht workers.

Finally, when the rich take that 20%, there’s less for everyone else to spend, so there’s insufficient demand.   Really?  That’s why?  Or could it have to do with the awful economy, over regulating state, massive unemployment and business uncertainty driven by those three things?  Could that possibly be responsible for “insufficient demand”?

Anyway, the apparent Reich argument is that if we just made them (the 1%) give up most of that 20% (I assume, given his usual preferences, he’d like to see that via taxes so the government can do the great job it has done up till now spending it – couldn’t trust the proles to spend it properly you know), why there’d be more money to go around and thus somehow magically more demand and everyone would live happily ever after.  And we’d be able to put those yacht workers on extended unemployment and food stamps.  Yahoo!

300px-IncomeInequality7.svgThe end.

The end of sanity perhaps. 

The richest 1% are taking 20% of what size income pool?  Oh, context!  Reich never says.  Nor does he mention the standard of living and comparable income levels of 30 years ago.  Or the fact that much of what cost a lot of money 30 years ago is relatively cheap now in comparison.  Because, you know, that doesn’t help his argument.

And why 30 years ago?  Check out the chart 80, 90 or 100 years ago.

Additionally, the Reich economy is also apparently a zero sum game.  If the rich take it the “poor” don’t get it since there is presumably a defined pot of money available.  Oh, there’s not.  So that again brings us to the question, “20% of what”?

This is just another attempt by a committed collectivist to reignite the class warfare meme.  It’s desperation time in the old political sphere and Reich is counting on economic ignorance and envy to do it’s thing.  Screw the truth (and history) – it’s never been this bad and it is the root of all our ills.

What guys like Reich, Obama, Axlerod and the Occupy crowd don’t seem to understand is this basic truth:

Successful populists such as Republican Teddy Roosevelt and Democrat Franklin Roosevelt did not allow their championing of “the little guy” to devolve into class warfare.

They realized that Americans tend to view the United States as a land of opportunity and do not begrudge anyone for becoming wealthy.

Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr said it best:

I have no respect for the passion for equality, which seems to me merely idealizing envy.

And that’s exactly what that bunch is trying to do.  Idealize envy.

I don’t think, unless the America character has changed dramatically over the past 3 years, it’s going to succeed.


Twitter: @McQandO

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17 Responses to Robert Reich still pushing the populist “equality” argument

  • There’s demand – there’s demand for gas to fill our cars to get to work and what used to be a $30.00 fill up is now a $50.00 fill up, but of course THAT has nothing to do with us NOT spending that missing $20.00 just like we used to, right?  That’s just one example.  Those kids working minimum wage jobs aren’t buying as many big drinks and twinkies because they’re using the money to get back and forth to work.   Talk about depressing both the individual and the economy.  And if you TAKE that money from ‘the rich’ it isn’t going to translate to kids working minimum wage making more, or having more to spend.
    Maybe Reich would know that if he wasn’t really one of the 1% he wants to tax the snot out of.

  • Twenty years ago, how many people of whatever income had four-wheelers, boats, DVD player/recorders, flat-screen TVs, or a cell phone with multiples the power of our early space vehicles?
    Markets RAISE the standard of living for everyone.  BIG GOVERNMENT RUINS.

  • “The richest 1 percent of Americans save about half their incomes, while most of the rest of us…”
    “…the rest of us…”. Please. Are we actually supposed to believe this apparatchik is not in the 1% (except intellectually, of course)? He’s just one of us folks? If he doesn’t own a yacht it is because he gets seasick and burns too easily.
    “there’s insufficient demand for all the goods and services the economy is capable of producing…”
    His next article will be about the crass materialism  that infects American society.  The one after that will be about the unwillingness of the American people to save enough.

  • If he doesn’t own a yacht it is because he gets seasick and burns too easily.

    Well…that, and he’d need special scupper screens to keep from being washed overboard.  Such a tiny man…and every possible way.

    • You’re on to it.  Reich is short.  What Reich really wants height equity.

  • Successful populists such as Republican Teddy Roosevelt and Democrat Franklin Roosevelt did not allow their championing of “the little guy” to devolve into class warfare.

    Are you serious? Both Teddy and Frank spent gobs of effort in denigrating the “rich”. That’s rather what populism is all about.

    • And like their modern counterparts – were both demonizing the rich while BEING rich.   Sweet no?

  • Here is wisdom, Only by allowing the richest 1% to make as much money as they can do we ensure that all the rest of us can also prosper.  Money going from people and business and into the government is a loss of opportunity costs, it ends up in a smaller economic pie both now and in the future through foregone growth.
    But to people like Reich, none of that matters, they would rather we all be much poorer, as long as the rich were also poorer.

    • Ah, that’s not quite the key – the key is ‘other rich’ will get poorer.  That’s a common theme with these rich bastards that are trying so hard to save us from ‘the rich’.  It’s not entirely clear WHO they are going to bilk, but I doubt the Roosevelt’s gave up buckets of their cash back in the day while railing about the rich, and I hardly think Reich, Obama, Buffett, Letterman or any of these other two faced Occupy supporting, Obama loving, SOB’s are likely to give up their buckets of cash.  They have someone else in mind, some of them KNOW who they want to get and have their own asses and assets covered, and the others are just rich dumbasses who haven’t figured out who the magic tax thing will nail yet.
      So far the most honest rich guy I’ve seen who admits to voting Democrat is Jon Lovitz, and he makes no secret of the fact that he’s rich, and he doesn’t want the government to take what he likes to think really IS his money.

  • There’s a  few thing you forget:
    1.  The reason things are cheaper, and the cost of living for most of us has improve, is that things that used to be made in this country are now made overseas by cheap foreign labor—which is the major reason why we now have critical unemployment in this country.  Instead of supporting the American worker, now we are supporting China, Vietnam, India, etc.
    2.  The upper 1% (actually it’s a larger percentage) now spends its surplus financial resources in the financial market—instead of those markets that actually create jobs and products which support the labor economy.  And, yes, they are hoarding it offshore in the Caymans and other discrete bank accounts—Mitt Romney is a good example of this behavior.
    3.  Right now, the economy is a ‘zero sum’ game—though conservatives don’t like to hear that.

    • Short response…you are an idiot.  An economic, historical, and civics idiot.
      Excellent representative of the Collective.

      • Trollin’, trollin’, trollin’
        Tad CF is trollin’
        All the readers rollin’
        …their eyes!

        All the clues he’s missin’
        Obama’s butt he’s kissin’
        Economy is still in a slide