Comments
Rethuglican SHILL-Just kidding, really...
Webb’s always been odd. He’s a Populist...uh a 1940’s kida guy...Square/New Deal. The MEN are manly and fight wars and bash metal into USEFUL things and the womenfolk fit in where they can and when you fight, you fight Tojo and Hitler with all your might and main and EVERYONE goes!

Well it’s not the 1940’s and he’s an odd duck...Those pesky womnyn-folk want to do manly things, be officers in ...*GASP* the NAVY and metal-bashing is declining and is Software development REALLY a job, much les a job for a MAN, what’s a manly-man to do or think, PLUS this whole National Security arena since 1945 hasn’t really lent itself to EVERYONE goes and we fight Tojo with all our might and main...arguably Vietnam might have turned out better if we had, but mayhap not...and the GWoT well that just seems so "PC"...

But because everyone isn’t going and we aren’t fighting with all our might and main, Webb’s a’gin the War in Iraq and so the Kossacs love him. We’ll see where Jim Webb is in 2012..I think by then Senator Webb will be in some trouble with his new friends.

He doesn’t play well with others, because he’s a 1940’s kinda guy... many things were good about 1940’s kinda guys and many things were bad about them, but a 1940’s kinda guy in 2006 is going to be a round peg in a square hole, no doubt.

Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Sorry Jon, but Inigo Montoya called and wants his shtick back—

—or he’s coming to kill you.

BTW, agreed Webb is a "soak the rich" populist, and as well his ethnic baiting isn’t any prettier when it’s a Celtic Fringer doing it.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp



Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
—or he’s coming to kill you.
It’s inconvceivable, I know. Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp

Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Certainly, some of the newly elected Democrats have been somewhat more conservative on social issues, but it’s very hard to see how that will lead to more conservative policies. If you think the Kennedy and Pelosi wing of the Democratic Party are suddenly going to submit, e.g., pro-gun or anti-abortion legislation, you haven’t been paying attention.
Aren’t conservatives for keeping government out of the lives of the citizenry, particularly on issues like family planning? Can you please explain why preventing government bureaucrats from telling a woman whether she can terminate a pregnancy is not a conservative position?
And now that he’s in office, he doesn’t appear to be done with the Folk Marxism. A few more specific objections:
Marxism? Do even know what Marxism is? Based on your "objections," it would appear you don’t have a clue.
WEBB WRITES: "America’s top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years."

RESPONSE: "Infinitely"? I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Poor word choice, perhaps, but what does that have to do with Marxism? And are you saying the top quartile has not done better, relatively speaking, over the last 25 years, than the bottom 3?
WEBB WRITES: "Few among them send their children to public schools"

RESPONSE: So the Democrats will vote for school vouchers, allowing anybody who chooses to send their children to the private schools? No. What is his solution then...would he criminalize private schooling?
So public schools are Marxist? It seems that you don’t take issue with his factual observation.

Oh, and by the way, you don’t need to pass a law that would allow parents to choose which school to send their kids to. Newsflash: They can already do that. What’s that? You want the government to pay for it?

So you want the government to be able to take my tax money and redistribute it to right wing relgious nut job schools? Are you kidding? Or, better yet, perhaps you would like to see the government pay some Muslim teacher teach kids how to hate Jews. Great.

As for me, I am against funding hate.
WEBB WRITES: "fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars."

RESPONSE: I’ve warned you, it’s the Democrats who would bring back the draft. They’ll call it "fairness".


Again, you don’t take issue with his factual observation. So facts are Marxist now?
WEBB WRITES: "The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980."

RESPONSE: Note that Webb uses 1980 for comparison. That was the lowest point of the percentage of income of the top 1%. Not coincidentally, that period in which the top 1% had a lower share of national income coincided with confiscatory income tax rates approaching 70%.
Again, you don’t disagree with his factual assertion. Facts must be Marxist.

BTW, is there a tax rate that is not "confiscatory"?
WEBB WRITES: "Manufacturing jobs are disappearing."

RESPONSE: As Donald Boudreaux points out, "True.
There’s Webb, lying again. Or wait. He’s not lying.

So Webb makes a series of factual observations, none of which are false, and that makes him a Marxist?

Guess that means that those who disagree with him are fascists.

What a joke.

Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
As a libertarian-leaning Democrat, I am a little concerned about the economic populism of many of our newly elected Senators and Representatives. That being said, comparing Webb’s comments to Marxism is silly hyperbole and as mkultura pointed out, a bizarre accusation to someone who misused the terms "infinitely" and "literally".



Written By: matt s
URL: http://www.nobordersnolimits.typepad.com
WEBB WRITES: "It is not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country."

RESPONSE: "literally"? I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Probably not. Then again, what he said was technically true: it’s not unfair to say that they are literally living in a different country. It’s false, of course, but in a manner having nothing to do with fairness one way or the other.
Poor word choice, perhaps, but what does [whining about the successes of the top quartile of the population] have to do with Marxism?
It reflects a Marxist mentality. Even if the statement were accurate, so what? That someone else earns more than I do is no skin off my nose.

Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com/
I also took some shots at Webb, in my case, for doing a rather bad job of supporting his arguments.

He covers all the lefty talking points: for example, he complains that stocks are really only owned by the rich and that corporate boards pay their CEOs too much. Yet, if it was only the rich who owned stocks, then the money paid to CEOs is only coming out of the pockets of the rich.... why should Joe Sixpack care if the rich are engaged in a giant game of same pants, different pockets?

He also gripes that fear of illegals taking our jobs or having our jobs outsourced keeps us from being able to speak up... yet aren’t the Democrats some of the biggest backers of illegals? And just how many jobs does Webb think can - or are - being outsourced to India? Sure, there are some sectors that are vulnerable to illegals/outsourcing, but it’s disengenous to extrapolate that to the country as a whole.

It would be one thing if he just accepted the fact that he won because he ran a rather effective anti-Allen campaign and that Allen’s camp (with the exception of Jon) was pretty incompetent. But, no, despite running a campaign that was almost 100% Allen=Bush, Webb now wants to convince us that he’s a man of the people, he’s a thinker, he’s worthy of holding a Senate seat in his own right... what a joke. He’ll fit in quite well.

Written By: steve
URL: http://
But right wing commentators have been telling us for days as part of their post election rationalizations that Jim Webb was a conservative. So which is it. Based on his article in today’s WSJ he sounds like an old time Roosevelt democrat to me.

Written By: John
URL: http://
It reflects a Marxist mentality. Even if the statement were accurate, so what? That someone else earns more than I do is no skin off my nose.
Pointing out that others make more than you reflects a Marxist mentality? So if I go to my boss and tell him that I should get paid more than my incompetent colleague, who currently makes more than me, I’m a Marxist? Funny, but I thought that getting more pay for doing a better job was pointedly anti-Marxist.

More to the point, if you don’t see any danger in increasing economic stratification, then you are clearly not qualified to comment on the fact that someone else has referred to increasing economic stratification.

Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Certainly, some of the newly elected Democrats have been somewhat more conservative on social issues, but it’s very hard to see how that will lead to more conservative policies. If you think the Kennedy and Pelosi wing of the Democratic Party are suddenly going to submit, e.g., pro-gun or anti-abortion legislation, you haven’t been paying attention.
It wont....but these "blue dog" Dems in Red(ish) districts will be made to vote either for Pelosi’s agenda (re-election fodder) or against it (and throw in with the GOP support)

They’ll either act like blue dogs or lapdogs. Either way, the GOP will have something to work with.

That’s the theory anyway lol

Written By: shark
URL: http://
Webb’s right!

The fact that the middle class is falling behind, as Webb says, is easily seen in all the great things that have been introduced since 1980 – that the middle class simply can’t afford.

Desktop computers and notebooks – everybody knows that only CEOs and other muckity mucks can afford them, along with things like high speed internet access, desktop printers, etc.

Have you seen those neat things called cell phones? Too bad only the rich can afford them, as evidenced by the fact that you never see any regular person using one.

Those iPod things look nifty. My kid would like one but, like all his middle class friends, he knows that only the rich have them, and buy the songs for them.

We have these things called malls – lots and lots of stores. Unfortunately they’re always empty because nobody can afford to buy anything. I don’t know how they stay open. There can’t be enough CEOs to keep them open.

They keep building more and more hotels and resorts even though nobody can afford a vacation. And the airports and planes are empty for the same reason.

Of course, housing has also come less affordable. That’s evidenced by the fact that the average new house size in 1950 was about 1400 square feet. In the 70 new houses shrank to about 1700 sq. ft. Today, with the falling prosperity of the middle class, new homes have shrunk to an average of about 2200 sq. ft. If things get much worse they’ll soon shrink to about 3000 sq. ft.

And last, we come to cars. Isn’t too bad that average Americans are stuck in things like used Corollas and Civics and only the wealthy can afford (and afford to run) those big SUVs; not to mention things like BMWs, Volvos, etc? Because only these super rich can afford them, you hardly ever see one on the road.

Yep! We’re all diein’ here. Webb will fix it though.









Written By: Sparky
URL: http://
"The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980."
Aside from the fact that they already pay 36.89% of the total tax burden now....
(that’s roughly 1.3 million of us....)

With an additional 20.23% kicked in by those in the top 2-5%...
(and that’s another 5.25 million of us.....)

For a whopping total of the 57.13% of all taxes being paid by a mere 5% of the population.
(so, about 6.5 million of us....)

Whereas the ’bottom’ 50% of the tax paying population pays less than 4% of the yearly tax burden.
(that’s a little over 65 million of us....roughly the total populations of California, Texas and Pennsylvania)

Yeah, damn them rich folks (top 5% -> making over $137,000 a year).....They need to pay more - let’s see if we can get that bottom 50% so they’re not paying at all.
increasing economic stratification
So, let me see if I have this straight - you’re worried that
2 percent of the total population making more than $137,000 a year has created a major stratification that we need to worry about?
Talk about mindless envy.

Written By: looker
URL: http://
WEBB WRITES: "America’s top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years."
MK SEZ: YEAH! THE RICH ARE EEEEEEEEEVIL!

Reality: Pretty much everyone is doing better.
WEBB WRITES: "Few among them send their children to public schools"
MK SEZ: YEAH! SCHOOL VOUCHERS AEE EEEEEEEEEEEVIL!

Reality: Precious few Democrats in the House or Senate bother to send their kids to public schools either
WEBB WRITES: "fewer still send their loved ones to fight our wars."
MK SEZ: CHICKENHAWK! CHICKENHAWK! CHICKENHAWK! LETS BRING BACK THE DRAFFFFFT!

Reality: This is a volunteer army, you don’t "send" anyone off to fight. At any rate, the rich "send" more of their loved ones to fight our wars than the anti-war liberal crowd ever did or will, so maybe he should put a sock in it
WEBB WRITES: "The top 1% now takes in an astounding 16% of national income, up from 8% in 1980."
MK SEZ: TAX THEM MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE!

Reality: So what? It’s all fun with numbers. I’m also sure that the top 1% pays much more in taxes, produces more economic movement, employment etc etc. than most of the nation. (Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and their offshore shelters excepted of course

MK SEZ:
So Webb makes a series of factual observations, none of which are false, and that makes him a Marxist?


Reality: It sure means he’s engaging in Marxist rhetoric. Only he knows (for now) if he really is one or not.


Written By: shark
URL: http://
"Pointing out that others make more than you reflects a Marxist mentality?"

No, but asserting that it is inherently unfair for any other employee to make more than you, is.

"...if you don’t see any danger in increasing economic stratification, then you are clearly not qualified to comment..."

The danger is not in stratification, the danger is in stagnation. The fact that someone is making more money than me is not as big a sin as the possibility that no one else is. One persons prosperity does not necessarily mean someone else’s poverty. However, a general absence of prosperity will guarantee everyone’s impoverishment. The arguement against prosperity is just based on the envy and ignorance of the masses, and opportunism on the part of politicians.

"So if I go to my boss and tell him that I should get paid more than my incompetent colleague...I’m a Marxist?"

Maybe you’re not that competent? Here’s a Litmus Test...If you have to tell someone you’re "not a crook"...You probably are. If you have to publically announce that you "did not have sex with that woman"...you probably did. Likewise, if you have to tell your boss what a great emnployee you are... you’re probably not that great.



Written By: righteousjohnson
URL: http://
So if I go to my boss and tell him that I should get paid more than my incompetent colleague, who currently makes more than me, I’m a Marxist?
mkultra, most likely he makes more because he’s competent.

You are a Marxist if you think you should earn as much despite your incompetence.


Written By: Don
URL: http://
Maybe you’re not that competent? Here’s a Litmus Test...If you have to tell someone you’re "not a crook"...You probably are. If you have to publically announce that you "did not have sex with that woman"...you probably did. Likewise, if you have to tell your boss what a great emnployee you are... you’re probably not that great.
And if you have to tell people you are smart, you probably are not that smart.



Written By: Don
URL: http://
What a silly article. Lets take a look at these bullet points. The first 2 posts are stupid quibbles and the rest is just misleading. In the 3rd and 4th post, the author for no reason extrapolates crazy policy from Webb’s legitimate points. In the 5th post the author misleads as to why the Democrats opposed the stock market option (hint: it was not because they don’t want more people to invest in the stock market.) In the 6th part the author misleads by slipping "pre tax" income into a discussion that is PRECISELY ABOUT THE EFFECT OF REGRESSIVE TAXATION.

Written By: Patrick
URL: http://
Marxism? Do even know what Marxism is? Based on your "objections," it would appear you don’t have a clue.
It’s the premises that are implicit in these statements that are Marxist and particularly so. Embedded in these statements is the premise that the rich are rich because the poor are poor and vice versa. Marx’s theory of surplus value gave concrete support to the notion that "capitalists" (he coined the term) got rich by confiscating the value created by laborors. Today it is of course understood by modern economics that the richness of the rich and the poorness of the poor have nothing to do with each other. In other words, sentiments like those expressed by Webb, in the light of modern economic understanding, are non sequiturs.

Another unspoken premise in these statements that isn’t explicitly Marxist but is never the less archaic and consistent with Marxian theory is the notion that "the rich" and "the poor" and "the middle class" are persistent, fixed groups of people. But if the US Census Bureau is to be believed, the truth is that these categories are highly dynamic. From census to census, only about 15% percent of "the rich" and 14% of "the poor" remain in those groups.

Thomas Sowell lamented long ago that although Marx’s contribution to modern economics is zero, economic assuptions predicated on his theories are part of the cultural standard equipment in the western world.

yours/
peter.

Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
Populism? I’m not so sure.

I don’t really have a dog in this hunt either way, but when I start thinking about populism, I start thinking about Patrick Buchanan, as a prime example of that line of thinking... and one suspects that putting Buchanan into the same boat with Marx, would be less than warmly received.

Is it possible that what we’re witnessed to his a mislabeling by the Democrats for the purpose of getting elected, the same way Bill Clinton was a "moderate"? I suspect that what we’re seeing is Dick Morris’ politics of triangulation, with a slightly different twist to it.



Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Wow, Jon, this is moving into the realm of just plain sad. For the next few months, until you get out of the habit of trying to twist everything Webb says for campaign purposes, why don’t you just avoid writing about him? If you can’t do that, find a friend and ask them to screen your Webb posts (someone you trust enough to tell you that you have a problem). Posting things like this just makes you look like a tool.

Written By: Phil
URL: http://
The "Economic Nationalism" of Webb, Buchanan, & Dobbs is going to become the economic debate of the decade.

The fact is that Capitalism causes dislocations, and there is public support for some form of amelioration.

We can choose an approach where we individualize the welfare state (job training credits, Personal accounts, HSAs) and give people the tools to manage in the world, or we can fall into Dobbsian universe, were we morph into the failed Euro-Model in a half-generation.

Webb will be only too happy to lead us there.

Written By: Bruno
URL: http://www.extremewisdom.com
"But right wing commentators have been telling us for days as part of their post election rationalizations that Jim Webb was a conservative."

Right wing commentators were telling us that Supreme Court nominee Souter was a conservative, too. Right wing commentators are just as full of it as left wing commentators.

*************************

Do I understand this correctly? Going to your boss and demanding a raise because you deserve more than your incompetent fellow workers is a sign of competence? Sounds more like a desire to take a long, unpaid vacation to me.

Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Mkultra, as usual, you’re being a d*ck. No, that’s not duck.
"More to the point, if you don’t see any danger in increasing economic stratification..."
What, like pre-revolutionary France you mean?

Do you naturally miss the point of everything or are you just being a willful *ss?



Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
and one suspects that putting Buchanan into the same boat with Marx, would be less than warmly received.
Don’t forget Buchanan’s presidential foray.
When Pat Buchanan showed up to tout his new book on Tim Russert’s CNBC show, Russert asked about his recent lunch date with Lenora Fulani, former presidential candidate of the New Alliance Party. Russert described her as "a black-nationalist Marxist."


Written By: tom scott
URL: http://
Tom,

With Buchanan as a staunch "Nationalist" and Fulani as staunch "Socialist," we can honestly say that his run was America’s first "National Socialist Party" foray.

A stretch? Perhaps, but with all the "Bush is a Fascist" talk, it might be fun to compare dictionary definitions and policies.

"From Freedom to Fascism" indeed.

Written By: Bruno
URL: http://www.extremewisdom.com
Terrible column.

#1. Unsubstantiated claims of Marxism, (tell me, would that be any more literally accurate to call Jim Webb’s statements "Marxist" than it is for Jim Webb to use the word "infinitely?") No. Unless, as others on this thread has pointed out, to make observations or, g*d help us, value judgements, about the distribution of wealth in society is now "Marxist", in which case we live in a nation and world of unknowing Marxists who have never read Marx.

#2: very trivial cases of "gotcha" (Webb used an adjective that can’t be literally interpreted with accuracy! oh no!)

#3:

Geninenly illogical combinations:
WEBB WRITES: "Few among them send their children to public schools"

RESPONSE: So the Democrats will vote for school vouchers, allowing anybody who chooses to send their children to the private schools? No. What is his solution then...would he criminalize private schooling
First of all, vouchers of course do not allow anyone who chooses to send their children to private schools. If they did, it would be a social-welfare program of unrivaled size in our country. Vouchers provide a minor financial incentive to use private schools, which would quickly be followed by more rapidly escalating private school tuition, while completely ignorning the basic problem of substandard public school education for those who remain.

But that’s not the point. That’s a critique of vouchers. The specific point is that since Jim Webb’s criticism is that rich people don’t send their kids to public schools, your suggestion that he support vouchers to let more people go to private schools is 100 percent opposite of Jim Webb’s goal. Therefore, your suggestion makes no sense.

Here’s another example of a non-sensical evasion, couched as a response:
True. Contrary to his suggestion, though, this fact is unrelated to recent trends in globalization, corporate governance, or tax policy
Only with the word "recent" hanging in there does this claim a modicum of credibility. Besides, does the problem somehow have to be "recent" in order to be dissatisfied with the produced results? No.

Here was a relatively good point - not that I consider it worth a whole lot, but it was at least substantive.
The trouble is that, in a globalised economy, policies aimed at fleecing companies will fail to spread the rewards more widely. Firms will simply move to a more congenial environment. The best way to boost national economic prosperity is to make labour and product markets work more efficiently, speed up the shift of jobs from old industries to better-paying new ones, and improve education and training to prepare workers for tomorrow’s jobs.
"Firms will simply move to a more congenial environment". So, you therefore claim that, say, an increase in corporate tax rates will bring in *zero* new income? (After all, all the firms should move away).If not, maybe this is immediately disproven as a constant assumption, yes?

As for "improving education and public schooling" - weren’t you just taking cheap shots against that in this very post? And isn’t improving either of these things simply a coercive, big-government intervention? Shouldn’t the "free people" be left to let the market set rates of training all on its dear own? Eh?

But it was a catchy, well-written hit piece on J. Webb, Jon. Speaking of following the market.



Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I’ve updated the post. Most commenters will see their objections answered there.
Aren’t conservatives for keeping government out of the lives of the citizenry, particularly on issues like family planning?
[...]
So facts are Marxist now?
No. The rest of your questions are equally stupid, and will be ignored. Should any of your following responses demonstrate some degree of comprehension, I may respond again.
But right wing commentators have been telling us for days as part of their post election rationalizations that Jim Webb was a conservative.
I believe I’ve already answered that in the body of the post. See: "some of the newly elected Democrats have been somewhat more conservative on social issues ... the occasional, putative ’conservatism’ from some new Democrats has been a cover for their economic views — most of which are decidedly liberal." Webb is more right-leaning that many Democrats on some issues....on others, he is not. I distinguished between the two. Please try to do the same.
The first 2 posts are stupid quibbles
But they are funny quibbles.
In the 3rd and 4th post, the author for no reason extrapolates crazy policy from Webb’s legitimate points.
Crazy? In the first case, I merely pointed out the incoherence of his complaint. In the second...Webb has been a supporter of the reinstitution of the draft for most of his adult life. Rahm Emanuel advocates mandatory universal service. If you don’t know about positions taken by your own Parties leaders, don’t call me crazy for telling you.
In the 5th post the author misleads as to why the Democrats opposed the stock market option
I didn’t say that was the sole reason why they opposed it, but Democrats did object, in part, on the grounds that the market was volatile and uncertain.
In the 6th part the author misleads by slipping "pre tax" income into a discussion that is PRECISELY ABOUT THE EFFECT OF REGRESSIVE TAXATION.
Where did Webb say something about regressive taxation? He didn’t. Tax rates are only a part of the ’problems’ he alleges. And while we’re at it, here’s our effective tax rates broken down by quintile. Please show me the regressive rates.
one suspects that putting Buchanan into the same boat with Marx, would be less than warmly received.
I don’t care. Buchanan is objectionable on many of the same grounds, and many others besides.
For the next few months, until you get out of the habit of trying to twist everything Webb says for campaign purposes, why don’t you just avoid writing about him?
As I recall, I’m not writing for your benefit. If it makes you uncomfortable to see Webb’s economic Folk Marxism criticized, you’re probably coming to the wrong place.

Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
It’s the premises that are implicit in these statements that are Marxist and particularly so. Embedded in these statements is the premise that the rich are rich because the poor are poor and vice versa. Marx’s theory of surplus value gave concrete support to the notion that "capitalists" (he coined the term) got rich by confiscating the value created by laborors. Today it is of course understood by modern economics that the richness of the rich and the poorness of the poor have nothing to do with each other. In other words, sentiments like those expressed by Webb, in the light of modern economic understanding, are non sequiturs.


Horsefeathers. Everything about the basic nature of markets themselves - including, oh, the labor market, specifcally demands that the that how one person is compensated has a relative impact on the compensation of every other individual. That’s why it’s a distributed system in the first place.
sentiments like those expressed by Webb, in the light of modern economic understanding, are non sequiturs.
Pot. kettle. black.

Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
I’ve updated the post. Most commenters will see their objections answered there.
On the plus side, your commitment in your responses to civility is commendable.

Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
WEBB WRITES: "They own most of our stocks, making the stock market an unreliable indicator of the economic health of working people."

RESPONSE: ...and yet, it was the Democrats who opposed Social Security Personal Accounts, which would have increased working class investment in the stock market.
Undoubtedly this quote is taken out of context. Webb is not necessarily advocating more working class investment in the stock market, rather, he is pointing out that since most stock is owned by the rich, looking at how well the stock market is doing is no way to prove that the "average american" is doing better.

You attempt to make Webb look contradictory, Mr. Henke, but truly you only expose your own shallow understanding of the issues at hand.

You would rather quibble over wording and supposed inconsistencies than discuss the facts.

Written By: EC
URL: http://
I would have to more closely examine the question of Buchanan’s positions on various topics to that of Webb. As I say, I’;ve no dog in this race, so I’ve not bothered to examine them each more closely. My initial perception as they are not even in the same ballpark, (or at least they didn’t USED to be) though initial perceptions have a way of coming up somewhat out of kilter.

But my real point in brining up Buchanan, is that I guess the question that should be asked, is "what is populism"? The definition of populism, has always seemed to me to be somewhat broad and variable, given that the population itself,and their positions on one thing or another seems to be broad and variable to the moment.

Thereby, it was far more easily moldable to the needs of the then democrat minority than ’moderate’ was. "Moderate" at least as a goal post on the either end of the field that one can use to judge relative position by. "Populist", not so much.




Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
You would rather quibble over wording and supposed inconsistencies than discuss the facts.
Clearly, what we have here is a true believer.

what do we have to judge the man by about what he says? Inconsistencies in position are certainly indicative of what the person will do well in office. Justice certainly what he says.. his wording... is all we have to judge them and buy. That’s particularly true in this medium, were words are all we have to make judgments by.

Don’t mistake this as a defense for Henke, EC. He and I have stout disagreements. Still do.

But I have to tell you this in all honesty: You’re way off base here. And, did you notice that your comments about the stock market do nothing but confrm his parallel between Webb and Marx?

Your Webb Cheerleading is wherewith noted and dismissed for what it is.



Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Dear Friends,

Your site appears interesting but the print is so tiny, on the screen, that I can’t read anything. I can’t even see if there is a place to click "print friendly" or something similar.

Written By: Pat Loftus
URL: http://aol.com
The danger is not in stratification, the danger is in stagnation. The fact that someone is making more money than me is not as big a sin as the possibility that no one else is. One persons prosperity does not necessarily mean someone else’s poverty. However, a general absence of prosperity will guarantee everyone’s impoverishment. The arguement against prosperity is just based on the envy and ignorance of the masses, and opportunism on the part of politicians.
Both are dangerous, but stratification even more so. Moreover, success of those at the top is not necessarily the result of prosperity, but of choices made by policy makers at the governmental level.

Take the home mortgage interest deduction, for example. If you own a home, you can deduct from your gross income the money you spend on interest. But if you don’t own a home, and rely on credit cards, you can’t deduct the interest you pay on your credit card debt, even if you borrow money to pay the rent. Now, whom does this imbalance favor? The more wealthy, of course.

There are a myriad of other ways in which choices made by policy makers in the government favor the rich over the poor. The FICA tax is another excellent example. Many people of lesser means pay more FICA tax as a percentage of their income than some very wealthy people do, i.e., the tax is regressive.

So if a politician speaks about wealth imbalance in this country, and governmental policies excacerbate those imbalances, does that make the politican a Marxist? Hardly.
And if you have to tell people you are smart, you probably are not that smart.
Is that why people keep saying what a smart guy Bush is?



Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
No. The rest of your questions are equally stupid, and will be ignored. Should any of your following responses demonstrate some degree of comprehension, I may respond again.
This coming from the guy who said Jim Webb is a Marxist.

Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
And are you saying the top quartile has not done better, relatively speaking, over the last 25 years, than the bottom 3?
He’s not, but I will.

Yes, believe it or not, individuals and households starting in those bottom three quartiles have done notably better than individuals and households starting in the top quartile. I can do this all day, but here’s an appetizer:
We just happen to have these numbers...

One reason that the bottom quintile doesn’t seem to move so fast in an upward direction is that people keep on looking at the quintile snapshots and not taking into account that it’s constantly being filled by people entering the job market for the first time, people coming into this country (many illegally), and of course, there are always people between jobs and careers (perhaps just "underemployed") for periods of time (although statistically, in the US, the unemployed don’t stay unemployed as long as in, say, Europe), which distorts the picture a bit too. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the bottom of the barrel doesn’t rise too fast: they’re often the people who are just getting started in their careers, so if the income of this quintile doesn’t move up too fast, what do you expect? That Americans will start pulling ahead of the rest of the world so fast that people starting their careers here will be worth so much more, even as globalization’s sweeping in? Because that’s what it’d take.

The problem with looking at quartiles of the population in snapshots at different times and not tracking those individuals is, you’re not getting a sense of the mobility in this country. The truth of the matter is, the old lefty song and dance about growing income inequality is bullsh*t. The rich get richer and everyone else gets richer faster.
(Although you have to take as a given, as Jon’s already pointed out, that a major difference is the lack of punitive tax rates since Reagan throttled ’em. That does make a difference in after-tax income, and I haven’t started counting other forms of compensation besides straight income. But really, who here pines for the good old days of Carter’s last year in office?)

Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Pat Loftus -
Dear Friends,

Your site appears interesting but the print is so tiny, on the screen, that I can’t read anything. I can’t even see if there is a place to click "print friendly" or something similar.
Your browser comes with options to increase the font size of everything on the page you’re looking at. You can probably do it with one keystroke, like holding Ctrl and hitting + ... try it. You can do it multiple times if you want to increase it a great deal. When you navigate to other pages and want smaller text again, you can do the same but strike the dash key instead of the plus key.

Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Correct. I a line... the question that’s not being asked is, how many who WERE poor are no longer poor,a nd have moved UP?



Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
Webb may not be a "Marxist", but those are certainly Marxist talking points.

None of his statements really mean anything specific, under scrutiny. He’s just talking out of his ass. Generally though, the meaning is clear — things are "unfair" and Government (Webb himself) is the one to change them to make them more fair.

Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
"Working Americans have been repeatedly seduced at the polls by emotional issues..."
I just love the typical Democrat’s esteem for his constituency’s ability to reason.





Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
But if you don’t own a home, and rely on credit cards, you can’t deduct the interest you pay on your credit card debt, even if you borrow money to pay the rent. Now, whom does this imbalance favor? The more wealthy, of course.

Who does it favor? Those who are smart enough to not live beyond their means, mostly. There are a lot of non-wealthy Americans who own homes and don’t ’rely on credit cards.’
There are a myriad of other ways in which choices made by policy makers in the government favor the rich over the poor. The FICA tax is another excellent example. Many people of lesser means pay more FICA tax as a percentage of their income than some very wealthy people do, i.e., the tax is regressive.
Tax? Tax!? I thought Social Security was a safety net retirement program where each of us puts money away in the lock box for our future benefit? If anything, therefore, wealthy people are getting the shaft because they can’t ’invest’ as much in that wonderful wealth generator called Social Security. But hey, if you think a solution is to decrease the amount everyone gets to put in SS, in the name of fairness to the people of lesser means, by all means, I’m for it.

Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Now, whom does this imbalance favor? The more wealthy, of course.
Or any poor slob who owns a home. It is an incentive from the government to OWN something MK. Jeepers, one would think you’d be in favor of such a thing.

Written By: meagain
URL: http://
Mkultra, it is a rare day when you come on here and add any value; mostly you lift your leg and attempt to crap all over the 3 bloggers. Is your life so vacuous that you have nothing better to do? What’s the point? Wouldn’t you find more satisfaction over at the DU or the Daily Kos?

Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
#1. Unsubstantiated claims of Marxism, (tell me, would that be any more literally accurate to call Jim Webb’s statements "Marxist" than it is for Jim Webb to use the word "infinitely?") No.
Uh, wrong.

The use of "infinitely" was simply wrong.

But it is possible to interpret Webb’s comments as Marxist. You might not agree with the interpretation, but it is reasonable.
Unless, as others on this thread has pointed out, to make observations or, g*d help us, value judgements, about the distribution of wealth in society is now "Marxist",
In fact, such observations or judgements are often Marxist. Perhaps not a well thought out form of Marxism, but general agreement on key principles.
in which case we live in a nation and world of unknowing Marxists who have never read Marx.
Lots of people unknowingly agree with Marx on key points—points in which Marx was wrong.


Written By: Don
URL: http://
Is that why people keep saying what a smart guy Bush is?

mkultra, I don’t recall Bush claiming to be smart.

Kerry at least implied he was smarter than Bush, back when we all knew Bush was a "C" student and Kerry’s grades were unknown. We now know Bush had a 77 average at Yale and Kerry a 76. The dumb one was the one who implied he was smarter and subsequently lost the election.


Written By: Don
URL: http://
Jon, are you one of those HOMOSEXUALS working for Allen?

Written By: Sirkowski
URL: http://www.missdynamite.com
I find it odd that so many people are questioning whether an article entitled "Class Struggle" is really Marxist.

Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Mkultra:
More to the point, if you don’t see any danger in increasing economic stratification, then you are clearly not qualified to comment on the fact that someone else has referred to increasing economic stratification.
Translation: if I don’t agree with your stupid, unfounded prejudices, then I am clearly not qualified to comment on the fact that you have stupid, unfounded prejudices. By that logic, if you don’t see that you are an idiot, then you are clearly not qualified to comment on the fact that someone else has identified you as an idiot.

With all due respect, mkultra, you give lightweights a bad name.

Written By: Xrlq
URL: http://xrlq.com
Horsefeathers. Everything about the basic nature of markets themselves - including, oh, the labor market, specifcally demands that the that how one person is compensated has a relative impact on the compensation of every other individual. That’s why it’s a distributed system in the first place.
Well if everything about the nature of markets "demands" such causality, it shouldn’t be hard for you to cite something specific, right? Relative how exactly? Give it a shot!
sentiments like those expressed by Webb, in the light of modern economic understanding, are non sequiturs.
Pot. kettle. black.
You know glasnost, I don’t really mind sticks and stones that much when they’re accompanied by an actual point. Try harder... or at least try.

yours/
peter.

Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
WEBB WRITES: "America’s top tier has grown infinitely richer and more removed over the past 25 years."

RESPONSE: "Infinitely"? I do not think that word means what you think it means.
Bottom level income tends to zero, thus disparity ratio tends to infinity.

Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Total Crap; hard to believe they pay this guy to write. The election’s over and moderation won. Get a real job.

Written By: Lewis Holt
URL: http://
Moderation Lewis? Moderation between what?

Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
In past elections, Webb’s populism has been a loser at the ballot box. This time it worked somewhat so Conservatives need to take it seriously.

The economy is doing well but I sense that people feel very insecure because of outsourcing (or at least the negative way the media reprots about this issue). The big hug from the Populist seemed to resonate this time.

The good news is that the Democrats don’t have clue about this issue and don’t have any attractive policy solutions. Once people realize this they will sober up and look back to the Republicns for solutions.



Written By: C. E. Dowalt
URL: http://
By the way Jon, that’s a great portrait of Karl you found there. Makes me wish the Treasury would come out with a new $1000 bill and put him on the front.

yours/
peter.

Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
Or any poor slob who owns a home. It is an incentive from the government to OWN something MK. Jeepers, one would think you’d be in favor of such a thing.
Oh - so it’s ok if the government tinkers with the machinery of the economy in order to bring about a desired social result. And yet Webb is criticized for suggesting that government may have a role in tinikering with the machinery of the economy to bring about a desired social result.

Home values have skyrocketed in the last 5 years. Why in the world does the government need to provide an additional incentive?

I understand now. When government adopts policies that favor the well off, it is capitalism, the free market, and all that. When government adopts policies that favor the less well off, it’s Marxism. This is the essence of Henke’s position. Indeed, it’s the essence of the GOP.

Is there an honest winger out there? Someone who will admit that the purpose of the GOP - it’s raison d etre - is to redistribute wealth upward.

C’mon - I know you are out there.
Translation: if I don’t agree with your stupid, unfounded prejudices, then I am clearly not qualified to comment on the fact that you have stupid, unfounded prejudices. By that logic, if you don’t see that you are an idiot, then you are clearly not qualified to comment on the fact that someone else has identified you as an idiot.
No, translation is that the erosion of the middle class is a bad thing for democracy. Why do you think the destruction of the middle class is a good thing? Were you dropped on your head as a child?|

Do you really think that democracy will prosper if wealth is increasingly concentrated at the top? Wealth is power. When wealth is concentrated, power is concentrated. When power is concentrated, democracy suffers. That you do not understand these basic concepts is obvious.

Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
I’m saying that Webb and many new Democrats are fairly Folk Marxist in their approach — that they have a ’class struggle’ perspective in which they pit "the oppressors against the oppressed" and become willing to user the machinery of the state to interfere with freedom of choice — not that they are communists
I don’t think Webb said anything about oppressors or the oppressed. But this comment is pure propaganda. Limabaugh in tone and quality. And it is either naive or deeply cyncical.

The modern GOP - like most poliical parties - represents a set of economic interests. And those interests seek to use government to benefit themselves, and the political party is the means they use influence and affect governmental policies.

Now, while the Dems represent some elite economic interests, by and large those people with signifcant wealth tend to be Republicans. It’s just a fact.

The modern government, then, is the battlefield where these various interests fight with one another. The battle is over governmental policies, because such policies tend to affect economic interests.

This is really just Poli Sci 101.

Now, in a democracy, i.e., one man one vote, those folks on the lower end of the economic scale back policies that benefit them. The danger for those at the top is that there are more people nearer the bottom than the top. Thus in a democracy, the wealthy fear that their ability to maintain and increase their wealth could be undermined by those near the bottom. After all, there are far more people earning 30K a year than earning 1 million.

So those at the top have to re-cast the debate. How do they do this? By calling those nearer the bottom - and the politicians they support - Marxists. The term Marxism carries with it many negative connotations, of course, given its association with communism. And thus the debate is transformed from an economic one to a nationalistic one. And it thus becomes emotional. And it thus becomes ridiculous. After all, if you don’t let the economic interests represented by the Republican party have their way, well, then, you are not better than Lenin himself. You are waging class warfare. You are a commie.

And Jon, ever the propagandist, is happy to play the Marx card. It’s a silly contention, reflective of shallow thinking and the worship of economic power. It’s defensive, and smacks of McCarthyism. But when you align youself with wealthy interests who are interested in suppressing the ambitions and energy of those with less wealth, what else can you do? You certainly can’t admit the truth.

Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
For a whopping total of the 57.13% of all taxes being paid by a mere 5% of the population.
This is simply not true.

You may have meant that this group pays 57% of all INCOME taxes, but income taxes make up less than 40% of all federal taxes, and federal taxes themselves are a fraction of ALL taxes. 75% of Americans pay more in Payroll taxes than they do income taxes, of course it’s not the top 5% that is buying all that stuff that creates the profits for corporate taxes, and all those homeowners paying property taxes are not the top 5%.

I think wealth is great, and I don’t have anything but healthy envy for the few percent that earn more than I do, however, there is a point at which wealth concentration will creat a societal breakdown, and we are approaching that point.

I believe that our current policies are actually causing a wealth redistribution concentrating at the top. I could be wrong, it may not be policies at all but just the current evolution of our economy, but the end result is the same, what I consider to be dangerous wealth concentration.

Did you know that about 44% of all private wealth is concentrated in 1% of American families? In itself, perhaps that’s a "so what, good for them", but in the historical context, it represents the greatest concentration of wealth in American history and is approaching oligarchical wealth concentration. For most of our history, the wealthiest 1% of Americans owned about 20% of private wealth, there have been spikes, such as the Robber Baron era where it jumped to about 40%, but the market corrected evened that out a bit and it settled back to around 22%. There is no appearance of slowing now, and you have to ask yourself, at what point does this system crack?

Is it 50%?

Is it 60%?

Is it 70%?

Is it 80%?

Is it 90%

We have a virtually flat income tax system today with the wealthiest paying barely 2% more in total federal taxes than the median family (before I hear people echoing GWB, median families pay the full share of payroll taxes while the wealthy are capped and on large incomes or market based incomes rate structure shrink in comparison to median families. Compare this with say, the 1950’s when the top net effective rate was 76% and the median family paid about 6% in total federal taxes. That confiscatory rate did not stop American from enjoying explosive growth, and the rate for median families is what built our middle class.

Take a little, leave a little, but don’t break up the game. Right now, either policy or the economy are in the process of breaking up the game.

But hey, it’s a free market right, let the chips fall where they may???

Cap





Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
There you go, two idiots back to back. Yes, you’re both idiots. No, that’s not ad hominem (though it does appeal to the emotions), it is clear fact.

Mkultra delivers his usual sing-song, unsubstantiated propaganda (all while railing against propaganda) and Cap rambles on about how he feels things are out of balance.

Both of you make several wild-*ss assertions that you don’t support (and cannot). You’re both as myopic as it gets.

If this were my blog I’d kick both your *sses out for complete failure to think.



Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
"We have a virtually flat income tax system..."
Pardon me, but HAHAHAHAHHAHA!



Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
Do you really think that democracy will prosper if wealth is increasingly concentrated at the top? Wealth is power. When wealth is concentrated, power is concentrated. When power is concentrated, democracy suffers./blockquote>

Yet you want to concentrate that power in the hands of a single entity. The market distributes that power amongst competitors, where the power of each is checked by the power of the others. In the sphere of government, there are no competitors. Moreover, government holds the power of true coercion. Exxon doesn’t have guns and jails, but the state does.

If our government didn’t take upon itself to issue process level regulations to industry and commerce, and thereby taking upon itself the power to determine winners and losers in the marketplace, The power of the wealthy would be no threat at all to democracy. State power that doesn’t exist isn’t for sale and thus can’t be bought at any price. Want to limit the power of "the rich"? Then limit the power of the government.

yours/
peter.

Written By: peter jackson
URL: www.liberalcapitalist.com
HAHAHAHAHHAHA!
If you earn $40,000, you pay roughly 14.5 percent in federal taxes.
If you earn $70,000, you pay roughly 17.6 percent in federal taxes.
If you earn $5 million, you pay roughly 22.3 percent in federal taxes.
If you’re one of the 400 richest Americans, you pay roughly 17.5 percent in federal taxes.

You want to quibble? I’d say that when the guy making $70k (slightly higher than the median family income) pays the same rate as a guy in the top 1%, that’s virtually flat.

Do I have to spell out why this is, capital gains, dividend tax breaks, no payroll taxes, etc, or can stop laughing long enough to do the math?
"If there is such a thing as class warfare, my class won."
Warren Buffett


Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Home values have skyrocketed in the last 5 years. Why in the world does the government need to provide an additional incentive?
Yes they have, and so have have second mortgages, and now the housing market is falling faster than it has since the 70’s and the money from those second mortgages is long gone, spent to keep the engine of the economy rolling, and now you know what’s skyrocketing?
Foreclosures Increase 17 Percent in Third Quarter, Up 43 Percent From 2005
Monday, October 30, 2006 -


IRVINE, CA - RealtyTracTM released its Q3 2006 U.S. Foreclosure Market Report showing that 318,355 properties entered some stage of foreclosure nationwide during the third quarter of 2006, a 17 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 43 percent yearly increase from the third quarter of 2005. The nation had a foreclosure rate of one foreclosure filing for every 363 households during the quarter, slightly higher than last quarter’s rate of one foreclosure filing for every 425 households, but lower than the first-quarter rate of one foreclosure filing for every 358 households.



Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
If you earn $40,000, you pay roughly 14.5 percent in federal taxes.
If you earn $70,000, you pay roughly 17.6 percent in federal taxes.
If you earn $5 million, you pay roughly 22.3 percent in federal taxes.
If you’re one of the 400 richest Americans, you pay roughly 17.5 percent in federal taxes.
Cite? I mean, it’s easy to prove your point with statistics when you’ve made them up yourself.

Written By: Linus
URL: http://
I’m going to politely ask that people follow a simple rule when quoting statistics: provide your sources. I’ve gone through this little tango on too many occasions on forums.
it represents the greatest concentration of wealth in American history and is approaching oligarchical wealth concentration
Never mind the sheer ridiculousness of using the term "oligarchy" to describe the possession of wealth, as if the term could actually apply. My response is:

And yet... no revolution. No screaming mobs of poor people, unable to feed and clothe and shelter themselves, or afford cable TV for that matter. No throngs of peasants crashing the gates of millionaires’ and billionaires’ homes to kill them and rob them.

What could be wrong with these people, that they don’t take the cue of all those mobs in history that rose up against those dastardly oppressive rich people?
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck."

—Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough For Love, 1973
I think about that when people tell me we should soak the top 5% of earners in this country. But perhaps I should leave the collectivists with this Heinlein quote instead:
Never appeal to a man’s "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage.
Tell me why rich people are a threat to me and why your plan for dealing with that threat has merit. Then we’ll have something to talk about.

’Til then.

Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Now, while the Dems represent some elite economic interests, by and large those people with signifcant wealth tend to be Republicans. It’s just a fact.
Yes, surely these people are the impoverished salt of the earth:

Katrina Vanden Heuvel (who owns The Nation, among other properties)

George Soros (who owns most of the Democratic Party, among other properties)

Peter Lewis (who owns just a few Senators with D after their names)

Herb Sandler (who owns a pretty good chunk of Wall Street)

John Kerry and Teresa Heinz-Kerry (who owns the part of the Democratic party that Soros decided not to buy, among other properties)

Ted Turner (founder of CNN)

and the above mentioned Warren Buffet (who owns pretty much everything that he wants to own)

And have a look at this article from Peter Schweizer quoting some figures from the Center For Responsive Politics. He also lists the 5 richest members of the Senate. Guess how many are Democrats.

Oh, and what about the foundations that donate to openly identified leftist causes? Would you like to see the list comparing them to foundations donating to openly right-wing or libertarian causes? It’s just a wee bit lopsided.

The old "Republicans are the party of the rich line" just doesn’t work anymore. Facts and figures put the lie to it.

BTW, aren’t two of the largest donors to Democrats media figures (Hollywood, the recording industry, and journalists) and attorneys (including you, MK)? Hmmm... not exactly impoverished social groups, are they?

Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Great article, Jon. This brand of "folk Marxism" or "populist Marxism" has been infecting the national political debate for years. It’s about time we get serious about pointing it out.

Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Yes they have, and so have have second mortgages, and now the housing market is falling faster than it has since the 70’s and the money from those second mortgages is long gone, spent to keep the engine of the economy rolling, and now you know what’s skyrocketing?
Good point. But I still stick to my basic point: there is no need for the home mortgage interest dedecution, even if propery values remain stagnant. If you pay a mortgage, you build equity. That is reason alone to buy a home.

My point was simply thar those who disagree with me would oppose any attempt to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction. And true to form, they did.

Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Cap rambles on about how he feels things are out of balance.


Wow, if I state an opinion on a fact as if it were a fact, I get railed for making an unfounded assertion, if I make it clear that it is my opinion but also show facts that support my opinion, I get railed for opining.

I must be doing something right.
And yet... no revolution. No screaming mobs of poor people, unable to feed and clothe and shelter themselves, or afford cable TV for that matter. No throngs of peasants crashing the gates of millionaires’ and billionaires’ homes to kill them and rob them.
I am sure you have made this point about the incrementalism of things YOU don’t like, so I’ll make it about this. The boiling frog effect. If you put a frog in apot of boiling water, it will hop itself out as quickly as possible. The middle class is the frog, our economy is the pot of water, our current policies are the heat being turned up ever so slowly, to return the frog analogy, by the time the frog realizes it is in boiling water, it’s too late to jump out.

The water is nice and warm with IPODs and cable.

This does not prove my earlier point, but it addresses your notion that since there is no rioting in street, there must not be anything wrong.
Cite? I mean, it’s easy to prove your point with statistics when you’ve made them up yourself.
Link
I’m going to politely ask that people follow a simple rule when quoting statistics: provide your sources. I’ve gone through this little tango on too many occasions on forums.
Kevin Phillips - Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the
American Rich.
Never mind the sheer ridiculousness of using the term "oligarchy" to describe the possession of wealth, as if the term could actually apply.
Poorly stated on my part, the point I was trying to get across was that these few are influencing government to the extent that they represent an oligarchy. Would you prefer I said plutocracy?
Tell me why rich people are a threat to me and why your plan for dealing with that threat has merit. Then we’ll have something to talk about.
No threat, don’t worry, isn’t the water nice and warm? ( I know, this is a BS response, more humor than anything) I would suggest you consider the following and decide whether they is a causal relationship between the concentration of wealth and the current "middle class" quality of life...

There are modest household income gains over the last 40 years, but there is a 500% increase in the number of two worker families (now 71%) and America’s children are being raised in day care centers.

I suspect that if you believe that there are more two worker families is because the families are just greedy and want their MTV, you see no relationship. But then it’s hard to account for the fact that household income gains have been slight while the number of workers is households has gone up dramiatically, the number of hours worked by each person has gone up significantly, and the productivity of each worker has increased signficantly. The net result is more people in a house are worker more hours and making sligtly more, inflation adjusted, than one worker made alone 40 years ago. And don’t forget, while the taxes on the highest earners has decreased by 60%, the federal taxes paid by median households has gone up by 400%.

I’m not expecting you to agree, but this is how I understand our current environment and you asked.

Cap




Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
"My point was simply thar those who disagree with me would oppose any attempt to eliminate the mortgage interest deduction."
Wrong again knucklehead. Please, eliminate it. And I happen to own two homes right now. That’s right, kill it. But there is a condition. Toss out the entire tax code and start over with a simple flat income or consumption tax. Since you leftists also hate the regressivity of the FICA ’tax’, we can toss that out for free too.





Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
But then it’s hard to account for the fact that household income gains have been slight while the number of workers is households has gone up dramiatically, the number of hours worked by each person has gone up significantly, and the productivity of each worker has increased signficantly.
I wonder what kind of an effect 10 million illegal immigrants have had on such measures? Millions of slaves willing to undercut the market wage certainly can’t help.

Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
"blah blah blah boiling frog blah blah blah"
It’s a myth.
"There are modest household income gains over the last 40 years, but there is a 500% increase in the number of two worker families (now 71%) and America’s children are being raised in day care centers."
And this is because of the concentration of wealth? Because all the rich people are not paying the middle-class enough? What exactly are you saying here?



Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
I am sure you have made this point about the incrementalism of things YOU don’t like, so I’ll make it about this. The boiling frog effect. If you put a frog in apot of boiling water, it will hop itself out as quickly as possible. The middle class is the frog, our economy is the pot of water, our current policies are the heat being turned up ever so slowly, to return the frog analogy, by the time the frog realizes it is in boiling water, it’s too late to jump out.
Actually, I heard that frogs do indeed jump out even if you heat them very slowly. (Yes, here it is, Google knows all!) But I get the point.

Unfortunately, I disagree with the idea that the middle class is disappearing. First of all, I just love asking the question, "What does it mean to be in the middle class, as opposed to lower class or upper class, in America? What are the criteria?"

Really, what critical amenities are the rich enjoying that 90% of America simply can’t reach (gold-plated cell phones, after all, are just cell phones), and what’s holding back those poor benighted souls who don’t have it? Rich people?

Secondly, what used to be called the middle class in the US would be considered rather poor by today’s standards, given the changes in quality of goods and services, the change in real income (consider that inflation always has been over-reported—I would argue grossly so—for a wide variety of methodological reasons that can’t be filtered out), and quite a bit more. General quality of life has risen in so many ways, great and small, over the last 25 years that I wouldn’t even bother trying to list them all. I could write volumes, seriously. We are really fabulously wealthy. Tell me if it stands the bullsh*t test that families 40 years ago were only "modestly" less wealthy than families today. Think about the pervasive technology and information we have now that wasn’t available to the average family then, and that alone should disabuse you of any notion that we’re just barely more wealthy now than we did then.
The income/inflation numbers don’t tell the story properly at all.
There are modest household income gains over the last 40 years, but there is a 500% increase in the number of two worker families (now 71%) and America’s children are being raised in day care centers.
Forty years ago, opportunities for working women were considerably narrower than they are today. Part of the reason that we’ve monetized and professionalized child care is simple specialization: we’ve got vastly increased opportunities we can trade off against having to keep an eye on our kids every waking hour, and there are services out there where people devoted to spending all their working hours with those kids can do so.

Anyway, I desperately need sleep. I will answer the rest of your post later, Cap.

Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
I find it odd that so many people are questioning whether an article entitled "Class Struggle" is really Marxist.
You shouldn’t. The combination of our educational system (I probably should have put that in quotes) and the press has left us with a situation where hardly anybody knows what marks was talking about, much less the actual affects that his proposals caused. That was never more clear than it is sitting here in reading some of these responses.

(Shake of the head)



Written By: Bithead
URL: http://
If you earn $40,000, you pay roughly 14.5 percent in federal taxes.
If you earn $70,000, you pay roughly 17.6 percent in federal taxes.
If you earn $5 million, you pay roughly 22.3 percent in federal taxes.
If you’re one of the 400 richest Americans, you pay roughly 17.5 percent in federal taxes.
Here you go, Cap. Total effective federal tax rates for every quintile, and for the top 1%, too. The top 1% pay 32.8%. It’s progressive at every level.



Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
you can’t deduct the interest you pay on your credit card debt
Ah, but you USED to be able to do that, I remember it quite fondly,
think 1986 tax-reform act.


Cap - I gave an earlier, current, cite for the percentages paid by whom, I realize you may not agree with me, or like me, or take me seriously, but the numbers were from http://www.taxfoundation.org/publications/show/250.html

But, let’s use your numbers, they only come out a little different than mine
If you earn $40,000, you pay roughly 14.5 percent in federal taxes.
If you earn $70,000, you pay roughly 17.6 percent in federal taxes.
If you earn $5 million, you pay roughly 22.3 percent in federal taxes.
If you’re one of the 400 richest Americans, you pay roughly 17.5 percent in federal taxes
So, let’s see, if you make more than $40,000 - you’re in the group that is paying 14.5 + 17.6 + 22.3 um....gee.....54.4 percent of all the taxes....

And how many people MAKE more than $40,000 - why, turns out, it’s about 25% of the Income Tax paying population - so 32,592,789 out of the total population of
281,421,906.

Let’s play with your number some more - those 400 people....let’s see, they each PERSONALLY, pay .04375% of the total tax burden. (17.5/400)

Leaving the rest of us to personally pay .0000006328% each.

Hmmmmmm. Obviously the rest of us are paying a whole lot less than those 400 on a personal basis, don’t you think?

I had to use my numbers for the total tax payer base, since I don’t know what your total was before you got aggitated that only 400 of them were paying 17.5% of the total tax for a country with a population of 281,421,906.
Boy, talk about public service, 400 of them paying 17.5% of the total tax burden. wow.....

I mean, what number do YOU like? 20% of the total tax burden of 281,421,906 people payed by 400 people? 25% of the total tax burder of 281,421,906 people payed for by 400 people? How much do we need to charge them before we can elevate them to ’tax slave’ status and will that make you happy?

Written By: looker
URL: http://
Hah....
doh....you’re talking their rate aren’t you.
Well....don’t I feel exceptionally um, stupid.....


Written By: looker
URL: http://
Hah....
doh....you’re talking their rate aren’t you.
Well....don’t I feel exceptionally um, stupid.....
That’s okay, this stuff get pretty wonkish and it’s not like we’re professionals here.

I make my share of mistakes too.

Cap

Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
Here you go, Cap. Total effective federal tax rates for every quintile, and for the top 1%, too. The top 1% pay 32.8%. It’s progressive at every level.
Bad data Jon, it ignores capital gains and dividend tax rates and focuses on only wage based income tax.

Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
No, it doesn’t. Read the bottom of the page, where it describes the components included. Inter alia, "dividends, realized capital gains", etc.

Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
"Jim Webb seems concerned about inequality — moreso than he is for, say, personal freedom." Isn’t that true about most egalitarians?

Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://
The good news is that the Democrats don’t have clue about this issue and don’t have any attractive policy solutions. Once people realize this they will sober up and look back to the Republicns for solutions.
This has been true in general for the past 30 years or so. That’s why they are slowely fading away, despite the best effort of the Republicans to keep them in the game.

Written By: Don
URL: http://
The modern GOP - like most poliical parties - represents a set of economic interests. And those interests seek to use government to benefit themselves, and the political party is the means they use influence and affect governmental policies.

Now, while the Dems represent some elite economic interests, by and large those people with signifcant wealth tend to be Republicans. It’s just a fact.
Yeah. That’s proven by the campaign contributions the parties receive: lots of small donations for the Republicans, fewer big donations for the Democrats. Obviously the fat cats support the Republicans.

Written By: Don
URL: http://
Why populists are not marxists - whilst both see egalitarianism as an ideal a marxist will remedy unegalitarian systems by confiscating all wealth irrespective of whether or not it is consented to democratically, a populist will only act with popular democratic consent.

"Populist marxism" is an oxy-moron.

Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Why populists are not marxists - whilst both see egalitarianism as an ideal a marxist will remedy unegalitarian systems by confiscating all wealth irrespective of whether or not it is consented to democratically, a populist will only act with popular democratic consent.
You’re confusing Marxism with one of the eventual variants of communism. The Marxism to which I refer is simply a sociopolitical philosophy, rather than an economic prescription.

Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Depending on your skill at semantic gymnastics, one could lable anything South of Objectivism as Marxist, including every elected politician in America, making America a defacto Marxist state.

What we are really talking about is degrees.

So if you want to say that Allen was a Marxist but Webb is a bigger Marxist, fine, but I think the vagueries surrounding the term, and the fact that it is big, huge, whopping negative to be associated with Marxism (even though they ALL are to some degree) reduces the labelling of something as marxist to nothing more than an epithet.

Ideas are not good or bad based on the degree to which they adhere to an ideology, they are good or based on their merits, which ideological prinicples are an appropriate consideration, but should the first consideration, not the last.

Cap

Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Oh - so it’s ok if the government tinkers with the machinery of the economy in order to bring about a desired social result.

MK, I love how you turn this back on meagain and hope that nobody notices that in the first place you had a really bad example for your really poor point. I’m serious. Your assertion that a boon to homeowners is clearly class warfare - well, it’s idiotic, and you got called on it (as you should have), but you still manage to get a zinger in there about some of the self-styled libertarians who really aren’t. I mean, it is a good point. It might sound a lot better if sometimes you weren’t shouting it from the bottom of a hole you’ve dug yourself into.


Written By: Wulf
URL: http://www.atlasblogged.com
I get a little more PO’d about lower tax rates for income that was not generated with blood, sweat, and tears, but rather from money.

I don’t think we should penalize cpaital gains earnings, but to tax a guy more for earning with his own labor than a guy who’s stock goes up smacks of just the kind of redistribution to the top policy that and economic tinkering that populists complain about and libertarians SHOULD complain about.

The home mortgage deduction and tax free transfer to a new home will benefit most people over the course of their lives, a scant few make any significant capital gains.

But it’s all supported under the guise of stimulating the economy.

By this logic, you should cut all taxes on everyone under $60k (the people that spend ALL the money the earn) and watch all that money pour into the economy. Stimulating isn’t it?

Cap

Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
I get a little more PO’d about lower tax rates for income that was not generated with blood, sweat, and tears, but rather from money.
I’ve previously written that my preferred (possible) tax system would be an "equality tax" — that is, an all-encompassing flat tax, in which labor and capital are taxed at the same rate (eliminating tax distortions in choices between the two), and sufficient "survival income" or basic goods are exempt from taxation. That would eliminate a lot of distortion, and yet still be effectively progressive. In fact, by eliminating loopholes, it would be ironclad progressive taxation without discriminating based on income.

However, the capital gains/investment taxes are a bit problematic. Raising tax rates on them simply to punish the wealthy or to reduce inequality is less of a clear choice than you might think. For one thing, employment-producing investment is about the last thing we want to tax. (that’s one reason I’d love to shift from the payroll tax to a carbon tax...why disincentivize employment?) For another thing, tax cuts to capital produce far more return on investment than tax cuts to labor. Mankiw and Weinzierl found that "in the long run, about 17 percent of a cut in labor taxes is recouped through higher economic growth. The comparable figure for a cut in capital taxes is about 50 percent."

That said, I’d very much like to eliminate the absurd "corporate taxes" (about 70% of which is borne by domestic labor — i.e., we proles, not the rich) and replace it all with a flat tax (indexed to spending) that eliminates the discrimination between labor and capital.

Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
Jon, on your favored tax plan, have you worked out the rate required to be revenue neutral after all the tax free stuff is subtracted? Does it include SS and Medicare, excise, corporate, estate, and sin taxes? It sounds interesting.
For another thing, tax cuts to capital produce far more return on investment than tax cuts to labor. Mankiw and Weinzierl found that "in the long run, about 17 percent of a cut in labor taxes is recouped through higher economic growth. The comparable figure for a cut in capital taxes is about 50 percent."
The abstract is misleading. It should read, "The feedback is surprisingly large: in the long run, provided spending is cut to keep the government budget in balance, for standard parameter values, half of a capital tax cut is self-financing." In Mankiw-Weinzerl’s model, you have to cut spending by almost all of the static revenue loss in the short run, and by half of the static revenue loss in the long run. That’s not Bush tax policy.

If the government does not reduce spending equivelant to the tax cut, the model fails. That model does not represent actual government budgets which NEVER g down. In other words, it is a false model.

I’ll take a labor tax cut, we KNOW that a labor tax cut increases consumption and we know increased consumption grows the base, and you get added liberal benefit or money in the hands of people’s who’s lives will be greatly impacted by it.

Stick with the Laffer curve, it’s vague enough to apply any time all the time.

Oh, and I’m with you on corporate taxes except one detail, corporations don’t like paying taxes sop they tend to reinvest potential profits, if it were tax free, especially considering that an elimination of the corporate tax would likely be viewed as temporary, may lead to a failure to reinvest profits which of course is antithetical to that whole job creation thing.

Hey, how’d you like my standoff on the healthcare thread?

Cap

Cap



Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Jon, on your favored tax plan, have you worked out the rate required to be revenue neutral after all the tax free stuff is subtracted?
I don’t know. It’s essentially a mix between the Hall-Rabushka (iirc) flat tax and the Dale Jorgenson "Efficient Taxation of income" plan.
In Mankiw-Weinzerl’s model, you have to cut spending by almost all of the static revenue loss in the short run, and by half of the static revenue loss in the long run. That’s not Bush tax policy.
Both Mankiw/Weizerl and I were talking about taxes in general, not the most recent tax cuts. I’d rather go for structural reform than the hodge-podge we usually get.
I’ll take a labor tax cut, we KNOW that a labor tax cut increases consumption...
I disagree with the premise to some extent. Everybody likes to say "poor people spend all of their money!", but how is that different than what richer people do? If you’re not keeping it under the mattress, you’re "spending it". Your spending may be investment, but it’s still going out and working somewhere. I don’t buy the idea that we get more ROI when people increase their consumption of everyday consumer goods versus increasing investment.
Oh, and I’m with you on corporate taxes except one detail, corporations don’t like paying taxes sop they tend to reinvest potential profits, if it were tax free, especially considering that an elimination of the corporate tax would likely be viewed as temporary, may lead to a failure to reinvest profits which of course is antithetical to that whole job creation thing.
I don’t have a position on how much they should or should not reinvest, except to say that I hope they reinvest as much as is expected to be profitable and no more. If they’re only reinvesting because otherwise unprofitable behavior is better than taxes, then I’m not sure that’s a distortion we ought to encourage.
Hey, how’d you like my standoff on the healthcare thread?
For the most part, I haven’t been reading other threads. With a 4 year old and a 1 month old and renewed employment search, I barely have time to blog. I’ll try to check it out tomorrow.



Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://QandO.net
I don’t care. Buchanan is objectionable on many of the same grounds, and many others besides.
Before this thought gets lost, Jon, I will tell you that I find Buchanan objectionable on many terms as well. But I don’t think that I would have ever labeled him a Marxist.

Perhaps I wasn’t clear in my remarks about the comparison being less than warmly received; I was thinking Karl Marx would’ve been the one to be insulted... though I could see both being loud in their objections.

I’ve agreed with some of his arguments in the past, on an argument by argument basis when I found them to have merit. But I must tell you, that hasn’t happened much in the last few years. Years ago, the man would have been easily fit into the mold of a social conservative. Today, not so much. That one out the window, those several years ago for reasons I’ve never quite bothered to figure out. It wasn’t worth my time to try.



Written By: Bithead
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools: Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment: