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July 23, 2018

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I think he may have a point. If the Democrats go far enough left, it would help Trump and his supporters -- if nothing else by leaving some moderates feeling like neither alternative is tolerable. At the moment, and especially given the need to win a substantial popular vote victory in order to break even in Congressional races, the Democrats need every vote they can get.

How far is "far enough left" is, of course, a matter of opinion. And the worse Trump gets** the further the threshold moves. But in principle, sanctimonious or not, Comey has got a point.

** And Trump's ability to get ever worse shows no signs of having a limit.

first, the number of candidates for national office running to the "socialist left" is, by my count, two:

Sanders
Ocasio Cortez

they are from, respectively, Vermont and a corner of the Bronx and Queens, NYC NY. They are as representative of their constituencies as, for example, Dave Brat is of the 7th in VA.

maybe more so.

why isn't Comey offering the (R)'s his helpful advice to not go rushing off to the RWNJ crypto-Christian faux-originalist free-market-cultist right?

that horse is out of the barn, anyway.

comey has a point. so do the DSOC folks. I'm completely sure that folks like Sanders and Ocasio Cortez will be this year's boogiemen.

(R)'s have their own boogiemen. Want a list?

See you on election day.

And yeah, Comey's 15 minutes are up. Time to STFU and enjoy his retirement. There's probably a fat consulting gig somewhere with his name on it.

wj, if you and Mr. Sanctimony know so much about how to influence political parties to do the right thing, why don't you concentrate on your own?

Because it is your and his party, not just "this president's." It's the Republican Party. There's only one.

Mr. S. has no coherent point, especially given that "left" in this country apparently means public fncking libraries. I'd say he's trolling, but given what he did in late October 2016, that would be much too complimentary.

But in principle, sanctimonious or not, Comey has got a point.

Absolutely not. For some reason, only "left wing" Democrats are subjected to such one sided analysis. Only Democrats can get hurt by going "too far" from the middle. The GOP has gone some far to the right that I defy you to even define what "the middle" consists of, and if that sweet spot keeps moving right, why on earth should voters chase it?

Bottom line, Dems need to increase turnout. Period.

...if nothing else by leaving some moderates feeling like neither alternative is tolerable.

We actually had a national election in 2016 that pretty much destroyed this hypothesis. Where are all these so-called 'moderates'?

Janie, I'd say Russell asked and answered that above:

why isn't Comey offering the (R)'s his helpful advice to not go rushing off to the RWNJ crypto-Christian faux-originalist free-market-cultist right?

that horse is out of the barn, anyway.

That the advice not to "go rushing off to the RWNJ crypto-Christian faux-originalist free-market-cultist right" would be good advice can be seen in the descent of the GOP into permanent minority status. If it wasn't for extensive exploitation of culture wars/racial anxiety, it would already have happened. But it's unavoidable at this point . . . even though a race to the left by the Democrats could keep the current RWNJs going for a while longer.

If it wasn't for extensive exploitation of culture wars/racial anxiety, it would already have happened.

If stoking the culture wars is all that is keeping the GOP afloat, then who cares if Dems make noise about Medicare for all and a jobs guarantee?

Right?

You are not making a whole lot of sense here, wj.

The whole far-left/sensible middle thing seems like it breaks down if you squint at it hard enough, or, say, look at the actual policies being proposed.

I mean, the operative markers of 'far left' seems to be stuff like Medicare-for-all, some kind of college financing that won't put graduates in debt for the first 3 decades of their working life, and a minimum wage that's high enough to pay the rent and maybe gets adjusted to match the actual cost of living at least every couple of decades of or so.

The line between those being 'liberal' proposals and 'good old-fashioned common-sense American can do spirit' proposals seems pretty thin. And, dare I say, maybe slightly artificially maintained...

what is laughable in all of this, is what qualifies as the "socialist left".

extend medicare for all
subsidize public college tuition
define a liveable minimum wage

to the barricades!!

either harry truman or dwight eisenhower would have been comfortable running on all of those points.

Ocasio Cortez throws in housing assistance and abolish ICE. Because her constituents are, to a degree highly disproportionate to the rest of the nation, immigrants, and working poor people living in one of the most expensive housing markets in the nation.

In other words, she's representing her constituents.

Among the reasons that Hillary Clinton is not the POTUS right now, and Donald Trump is, is the fact that (D)'s have neglected their traditional base - working people - for a generation or more.

Comey appears to be believe that they should continue on that path. Comey is not a reliable authority on what the (D)'s should or should not do.

When (R)'s clean their own house, they can feel free to tell the rest of us what policies to support.

If, given the choice between Donald J Trump and any other imaginable candidate, moderates can't figure out who the hell to vote for, there is damned little the (D)'s can do to win them over.

(R)'s at the national level are breaking the nation. My appeal to moderates is this: don't vote for people who break stuff. Vote for the other person. If the other person seems unpalatable, hold your nose. Just quit voting for people who break stuff.

IF you can't do that, guess what? You're not a moderate.

Enough is enough. We're well past the "let's find middle ground" stage.

What does "middle ground" even look like?

sorry, posted before I saw jack lecou's comment.

Janie, I'd say Russell asked and answered that above:

No, he didn't. Because the question still applies to how your party got to where it is now. You don't get off the hook by saying "it's too late." Where was your and Mr. S's wisdom when your party was going off the rails? (Mr. S's wisdom was busy in 10/16 helping "this president" get into power, let us now forget.) And since that wisdom failed so spectacularly with the Republicans, why should it be of any use to the Democrats for the purpose you and Mr. S. want it to serve?

Which is related to this: the descent of the GOP into permanent minority status -- funny how the permanent minority now holds all branches of government and is solidifying its long-term stranglehold on the judiciary even as we speak. Heaven forbid the Democrats should move further away from the center and suffer the same fate!

If stoking the culture wars is all that is keeping the GOP afloat, then who cares if Dems make noise about Medicare for all and a jobs guarantee?

Right?

You are not making a whole lot of sense here, wj.

In a word, yes. As in, without the culture wars the GOP is already toast.

But that's not to say that bigotry is the only factor by any means. And since it's not, it's worthwhile talking about other things. Things which can, if handled correctly, pull in the non-bigots.

There's no real swing voters left, and it's been clear for a while that the moderate Republicans are happier being dragged to the right than they are saying enough is enough and voting for a Democrat.

The Democrats have been holding out for the Republicans to moderate and return to the table for two decades. It hasn't happened. It won't happen.

Screw the snowflake undecideds, Get out the vote.

There's no real swing voters left

MattY disagrees.

https://www.vox.com/2018/7/23/17575768/swing-voters-exist

People aren't voting in the mid-terms for a composite of all the candidates running across the country. They're voting for the ones running in their states or districts. Talking about what "Democrats" should do generically is just not particularly on point in 2018.

the operative markers of 'far left' seems to be stuff like Medicare-for-all, some kind of college financing that won't put graduates in debt for the first 3 decades of their working life, and a minimum wage that's high enough to pay the rent and maybe gets adjusted to match the actual cost of living at least every couple of decades of or so.

The line between those being 'liberal' proposals and 'good old-fashioned common-sense American can do spirit' proposals seems pretty thin. And, dare I say, maybe slightly artificially maintained...

Allow me to observe that to call those things "far left" is essentially to accept the RWNJ's definition of terms. (Not, if an outsider may suggest it, recommended.)

OK, maybe Medicare-for-all (rather than Obamacare) qualifies as relatively further left. But the others? I'd have to say that those shouldn't even be considered -- straight out moderate would be my take. YMMV

Yes, but it seems likely from MattY's analysis that the swing is favoring the drag to the right and is more in line with being anti-establishment than it is with being competent. If the swing voters are disaffected with the status quo (as seems likely), then trying to appease them with moderation is not going to budge them. Better to rebrand around the generational values that the GOP is shitting on and come at them with it.

Screw the snowflake undecideds, Get out the vote.

Perhaps this should be a both/and rather than an either/or. Especially given the historical weakness of this in the midterms.

Just a thought.

I mean, the operative markers of 'far left' seems to be...

Allow me to observe that to call those things "far left" is essentially to accept the RWNJ's definition of terms.

jack lecou can speak up, but what else did you think putting the phrase in qutoes in the original comment was meant to imply?

Or what the rest of the comment was meant to make explicit...

sorry, posted before I saw jack lecou's comment.

Great minds think alike.

I think we could all wish for some genuinely far-left socialist stuff to come into play. If nothing else, it would help if 'moderate' politicians could have someone else to point to and say, "I just have some common sense, middle of the road proposals to get rent under control and fund college tuition. It's not like I'm a crazy socialist like that guy over there."

Overton Window being a thing and all. (Or is at least as far as satisfying dummy 'centrist' pundits is concerned.)

Things which can, if handled correctly, pull in the non-bigots.

Please provide an example, sir!

In 2008, did some Americans who had previously voted for Dubya "swing" to Obama? Were they the same people who "swung" to He, Trump in 2016? Were they the WhiteWorkingClass(TM) or the SoccerMoms(TM) or who?

Of course "swing voters" exist. Some of them are thoughtful, informed voters with consistent principles. Some of them are the consistently fickle morons who account for America's proclivity to re-elect incumbent presidents and then give the White House to the other party. I have no idea which group is bigger. But I suspect that you can't win both groups with the same "message".

Oh, and: Comey was a Republican shill two years ago, and he still is.

--TP

straight out moderate would be my take

Then the moderates should be all good, and Comey can go jump in a lake.

Perhaps this should be a both/and rather than an either/or. Especially given the historical weakness of this in the midterms.

Both/and isn't a viable rhetorical strategy. What the Democrats need -- individually and collectively -- is a strong, simple articulation of what they stand for and why it is better for their voters than what the Republicans are doing. And it must be a message that aims at redefining the center and drags that center back to the left rather than re-triangulating on the ever rightward drifting center. Identify what is and what isn't up for debate and force the other guy to reconfigure around the new center.

Both/and isn't a viable rhetorical strategy.

Whyever not? If a clear articulation on policy (of whatever kind) is somehow an impediment to a strong get out the vote effort, I'm just not seeing it.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/trump-considering-revoking-security-clearances-for-comey-brennan-2018-07-23?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

Try to act normal. Don't show emotion. Don't lose your minds. You see a rabid dog with the head of a fascist conservative feeding on liberal carrion, go about your business. Do not rush. Outrage will only make them come after YOU.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxyQYSJ3zQg

They can be fooled .... right?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Da57kvilG0

Go to sleep.

If you're looking at policies that will move the country in the direction you want, without being too explicit about doing so (for fear of backlash), you might be interested in this

...people tend to secularize when four factors are present: existential security (you have enough money and food), personal freedom (you’re free to choose whether to believe or not), pluralism (you have a welcoming attitude to diversity), and education (you’ve got some training in the sciences and humanities). If even one of these factors is absent, the whole secularization process slows down. This, they believe, is why the U.S. is secularizing at a slower rate than Western and Northern Europe.

“The U.S. has found ways to limit the effects of education by keeping it local, and in private schools, anything can happen,” said Shults’s collaborator, Wesley Wildman, a professor of philosophy and ethics at Boston University. “Lately, there’s been encouragement from the highest levels of government to take a less than welcoming cultural attitude to pluralism. These are forms of resistance to secularization.

Of course, it's a finding that can work both ways. And it appears, from the enthusiasm for home schooling, that some groups have happened upon it without the research....

Whyever not? If a clear articulation on policy (of whatever kind) is somehow an impediment to a strong get out the vote effort, I'm just not seeing it.

Because the Trump/Obama swing voters are not motivated by policy and the things which do motivate them are going to alienate the voters you are aiming to motivate on the left.

The right-leaning swing voter will hold her nose and vote R as a matter of identity and loyalty when conflicted. The younger progressive voter will just as likely either not show or will vote third party. Chasing the one (who is just as likely to revert to voting R) bleeds off the other.

It's not about chasing moderate votes with rational policy articulation. That's not how those people decide to vote.

The Dems need a set of principles to fight for and a convincing argument about what that fight will look like.

Climate Change and the Environment? Immigrants and the American Dream? Grow wages, not productivity and profits?

Hammer it. If the swings don't respond to that, then they are part of the problem.

And just to highlight a potential problem with Democrat's attracting enough younger voters:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-millennials/exclusive-democrats-lose-ground-with-millennials-reuters-ipsos-poll-idUSKBN1I10YH

take a less than welcoming cultural attitude to pluralism

a comment about "pluralism".

the assumption always seems to be that the "regular" people are the mostly-white, mostly-christian, mostly-non-urban, mostly-straight ones who live in places that are, likewise, mostly all of those things.

and the assumption is also that it is somehow their prerogative to tolerate the presence of people who aren't mostly all of those things, or not.

and the name we give for tolerating those not-mostly-those-things is "pluralism".

it really isn't anybody's prerogative to "tolerate" the existence of other people, or not. people who aren't like you do not require any justification to exist. not even to exist in your country, or your state, or your town, or your neighborhood.

people get to live wherever they want, and they get to be themselves wherever it is they decide they want to live.

as far as I can tell, "pluralism" just means accepting the fact that you and people like you aren't the only ones on the planet.

if that's going to be the stumbling block, we aren't going to get very far.

if for no reason other than that there are a lot of the other-than-mostly-whatevers, and they're not going anywhere.

i'm not sure how it became the job of people like me to make sure that nobody else has to be afraid of people who aren't just like them.

it's not a job i really asked for, or want.

it really isn't anybody's prerogative to "tolerate" the existence of other people, or not. people who aren't like you do not require any justification to exist. not even to exist in your country, or your state, or your town, or your neighborhood.

While this is certainly true, those who aren't "regular" people (per your definition) typically aren't in need of teaching on the need to tolerate those who are different. They may not like having to tolerate those (including "regular people") who are different, but they are clear that it's not optional in the real world.

So "pluralism" as a concept is actually about providing, or at least trying to provide, a way for those who have previously been able to avoid tolerance (if they wished, and many did) to wrap their heads around the idea. Before we reach to point where it's no longer optional. A matter of winning over as many as possible by persuasion, so as to make the transition less fraught.

The challenge people put in front of (D) candidates is to present their point of view without watering it down, but also without offending or upsetting anyone who doesn't agree with them.

Which seems like an agenda for either a kindergarten teacher, or a hostage negotiator.

But if that's what is needed, hopefully there are some folks with the patience and the stomach for it.

In the end, folks are going to run in particular places, which have particular political cultures. Hopefully they'll know what will work, in the environment they need to run in.

As long as they win, it's all fine with me.

(R)'s are breaking everything they can get their hands on. If they weren't doing so before, they sure as hell are doing so now. I want them the hell out.

Which seems like an agenda for either a kindergarten teacher, or a hostage negotiator.

Forgive me if I offer up another Both. ;-)

Perhaps on point.

Here is the message.

and the name we give for tolerating those not-mostly-those-things is "pluralism".

Though I agree with most of what you’ve written here, I think this is quite wrong.
Pluralism to me means that no one system or point of view has all the answers. It’s not about tolerating the other, but rather valuing the existence of all sorts of others, or other ideas, which in some contexts have more validity than you, or your ideas might have.

Rather Off Topic, and folks here may not be the ones to ask, but Russell's link peripherally raised a question. Why do folks on the left routinely use the Koch brothers as a standard example of self-interested wealth making the world worse for the rest of us?

Not that I'm a fan, but it seems to me that the Mercers do significantly more harm. I'm I wrong on that?

wj, I don't know whether you're right about relative harm, but my sense of it is that the Kochs have been in the public eye for a long time, the Mercers only within the last few years. Whether my sense of it has anything to do with reality is another story.

In my personal awareness: the Kochs' father co-founded the John Birch Society, which was quite prominent when I was a kid. I heard/saw it mentioned quite a lot, probably mostly in newspaper and magazine articles. My family was anything but political, so a topic would have had to be oft-mentioned in public contexts for me to know about it.

However - personal history might also skew my awareness. Three of the four Koch brothers went to MIT and one is a Life Member Emeritus of the MIT Corporation (the thing that normal organizations call the board... ;-).

Their father, like Clickbait's, was "Fred." There must be something about that name.....

Mercers it is. The Kochs are old industrial money is perhaps why.

There are maybe on average two of three very wealthy right-wing families in each state in the Union who give big bucks and support the most radical policies of the GOP.

We wouldn't recognize the names. Many are second and third generation offspring of corporate titans.

I've been meaning to make a hit list.

Funny this should come up. My son asked me recently about public attitudes during the anti-communist hysteria in the McCarthy era. I was too young then to have any awareness, although I'm pretty sure I remember McCarthy's name in the news, and newsreels of HUAC's proceedings. (The John Birch Society, says wikipedia, wasn't founded until 1958, which I find interestingly late in comparison.)

I asked my mom what she remembered, but she doesn't remember much. Granted, she's 94 and slowly failing, but she remembers a ton of stuff about WWII, the Roosevelts, etc., so it's not like she has lost all that history yet. But as I said, we weren't a political family.

The only thing I know of the John Birch Society is the Chad Mitchell Trio song.
Which is fun.

It gives the impression they were an object of ridicule rather than fear.

I don't remember them as an object of either fear or any kind of widespread ridicule. More bemusement, perhaps, or just indifference except insofar as they involved themselves in electoral politics (Goldwater).

Folksingers were hardly barometers of the general public mood.

But it's weird to look back with nostalgia at a time when the far right lunatic fringe was actually told to get lost by the Republican Party.

The far right lunatic fringe obviously didn't take it to heart, too bad for us.

It’s not about tolerating the other, but rather valuing the existence of all sorts of others

yes, that is what pluralism *should* mean.

"It gives the impression they were an object of ridicule rather than fear."

I thought John Cleese's funny walk put the Nazis to bed permanently too.

But here we are with a President who does a cracking good Mussolini on a daily basis along with a Jewish sidekick, and I don't mean Jerry Lewis and Mel Brooks, who can do Martin Bormann to a T.

Boris and Natasha have made a comeback too from the scrapheap of satire.

Rocky and Bullwinkle received the Novichok treatment. Have you seen THEM lately?

The right wing in America practices cultural relativism with the best of them. The only Europeans they admire are the genocidal ones.

It's like one big fascist costume party. All sadistic cackling and swivel chairs.

Have you noticed how few of these louts wear eyeglasses, other than Bolton?

They share at least a vain, cosmetic hatred of eye wear in the Other, much like Pol Pot.

Russell, whether income inequality is a thing for most people is an open question in my mind. That said, I would like to see the Dems run Sanders/Warren or Warren/Sanders type ticket. The hard right has Trump, so a face off might be instructive. I'll submit the far right gets more votes than the far left, but my crystal ball is well under .500, and let's put "far" in quotes for balance.

If that is the Dem ticket, I'll be on the sidelines (again) FWIW.

Since we can't rule out an indictment or a stroke, one realistic scenario is the Dem lefties vs a Pence-led right wing team. I'd sit that one out, too.

Russell, whether income inequality is a thing for most people is an open question in my mind

Please say more. Do you mean to say that you aren't sure that most people are aware of it, or that most people are not concerned about it, or that most people are not harmed by it? Or are you saying something else entirely which is escaping me due to the terseness of the formulation?

Income inequality gets framed as the forgotten (white) working class. But it’s not the fault of the people taking a larger and larger share of national income. It’s China and immigrants from Latin America who are to blame. Regulations, too. Can’t forget them.

Who can the Democratic Party run to attract your vote?

More to the point, even if John Kasich ran as the Democratic candidate, the mp/republican juggernaut will lie, cheat, and steal the election from him.

Regarding income inequality as a thing or not, many conservatives recognize it exists big time, on their way to approving of it:

https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2017/11/13/conservatives-income-inequality-rigged-rich/

Other cites:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/02/the-truth-about-income-inequality-in-america/252892/

https://news.wsu.edu/2017/11/15/researchers-chart-rising-inequality-across-millennia/

I can tell income inequality is a real cause for alarm, because some of them thats got, no Marxists there, have been breaking a sweat about it or awhile, like so many cousins of the Czar at another historical flash point.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2014/09/09/business-leaders-worry-about-income-inequality-and-revolution/

Regarding an indictment or stroke, why can't we have both?

But mp will go the thug gangster route .... after the indictments, he will hold up at Mar-a-Lago, Russian agents biding their time lounging with mai tai's by the infinity pool, and he will emerge like the old Mafia chieftains would after their final cornering .. in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank and a sippy cup prop, faking a rictus on one side of his face and various palsies.

His raft of ratfucker conservative attorneys will bend over him to hear his faked whispered answers and convey them to the Judge, probably a conservative whose family will have to be placed under federal protection because of thousands of death threats from conservative/republican filth across the country.

Putin will visit to pay his respects to the beleaguered fellow humanitarian.

Steve Bannon, fresh from violently overthrowing European governments, will fly in at low altitude on Air Force One, sent for him, to rally the 60 million.

mp's 60-million strong wailing for liberal blood.

Tucker Carlson and Maria Bartiromo and a cast of scripted villains nightly pleading: "How can the Deep State, meaning queers, blacks, immigrants and commie liberals, treat the President like this, the poor soul. We'll get you for this!"

This guy and his sidemen are not going out with a quiet blood clot.

He's taking it all with him in an explosion.

I'm accused of having a rich imagination. I imagined early on in the republican primary as a dozen or so other conservatives were demonized as rotten liberals that mp would be President and that NO republican, regardless of their disgust with mp, would vote for Clinton, all of them having roughly the same opinion of Clinton as the Kremlin.

It looked perfectly plausible to me, but then I'm just a dreamer.

I'm the fool that owns Amazon stock.

Many conservatives and libertarians recognize vast income inequality as the perfect good, rather than denying it exists.

It's the fulfillment of their favorite texts. Entire think tanks bend over backwards to celebrate income inequality and prevent any amelioration of it, besides selling expensive bootstraps to those who can't afford them.

May we wear those boots to work? Uh, no, see the dress code.

https://ari.aynrand.org/media-center/press-releases/2013/05/14/ayn-rand-hits-a-million-again

As an aside, the other night I was talking with a female friend and she said she re-read "Atlas Shrugged" once a year.

She hates mp.

Unlike my persona here, I'm polite to my friends.

I decided not to say I re-read Walker Percy's "The Moviegoer" once a year, for fear of appearing a snob, which I am.

She hastened to add that she highly disapproved of Rand's politics and economic "theories".

What she LIKES is the character development therein.

Myself, I detect more character development in the carnivorous potted plant in "Little Shop of Horrors", though much the same appetite for human flesh.

Birchers were pretty ubiquitous out here in the manly manly West what with their penchant for erecting "Impeach Earl Warren" billboards and railing against the evils of chlorinated drinking water. Buckley might have thought he threw them out of the conservative movement, but they were all in on Goldwater and are the precursors of what we now know as the Tea Party.

Have you noticed how few of these louts wear eyeglasses, other than Bolton?

The present penumbra of the ebbing waves of the history of right wing hate on Nelson Rockefeller.

I'm the fool that owns Amazon stock.

Amazon could be the embodiment of Marx's prediction that the falling rate of profit would be the precursor of the working class rising up and seizing the means of production. After all, if you can't make any money off it, who needs it?

One can only hope.

Pluralism: It's OK if you are different from me, I can respect that, as long as you do what I tell you to do.

Russell, whether income inequality is a thing for most people is an open question in my mind

the issue is less income inequality per se, and more that a hell of a lot of people struggle, a lot, in a very rich economy.

i'd also say that (a) inequality and (b) a lot of people struggling are not unrelated phenomena. but i'm not that invested in making sure that nobody has "too much money", whatever that means. i'm interested in everybody having enough. because there is certainly enough to go around.

median household income is about $60K. that is 'median', meaning half the households make less, and 'household', meaning all income from all earners.

lots of folks on shaky ground.

it's still the economy, stupid. the 'stupid' there is a reference to the clinton mantra, not a reference to mck.

a pretty good us income breakdown.

note the discrepancy between median and average household income.

note the percentage of households with an adjusted gross income under $15K. if you don't want to click through, it's 24%.

a quarter of households.

the article is ca. 2016, so things are a bit better now, maybe, but no more than a bit.

where's the money, lebowski?

I assume the 'stroke' part referred to Sanders not The Donald.

I think the Dems' main problem is that they are seen as wishy-washy and too likely to go GOP light when elected. Compromised for too much compromising (which these days amounts to outright capitulating unconditionally and still getting rejected).

note the percentage of households with an adjusted gross income under $15K. if you don't want to click through, it's 24%.

one slightly brighter note: that group almost certainly includes a lot of young, single people - ages 15-24 have the lowest mean income. they're probably working crap jobs, living with roommates, while in school or fresh out of school or the military or whatever, and will grow into better paying jobs in the future.

I think the Dems' main problem is that they are seen as wishy-washy and too likely to go GOP light when elected. Compromised for too much compromising (which these days amounts to outright capitulating unconditionally and still getting rejected).

This is how they are perceived on the progressive left, and on the contrary they are being caricatured as dangerous lefties on the RWNJ right, which is affecting the perception of them on the rest of the centre/right due to the fucking Overton Window. That's the whole point of this discussion, to work out what they can do (if anything) to escape the twin horns of this ridiculous pincer dilemma (if you will forgive the mixed metaphor) .....

note the percentage of households with an adjusted gross income under $15K. if you don't want to click through, it's 24%.

one slightly brighter note: that group almost certainly includes a lot of young, single people - ages 15-24 have the lowest mean income.

Also oldsters. Our household lives a comfortable retired middle-class lifestyle. Our AGI last year was $11,588. Under current rules, until your gross income reaches a pretty substantial level, none of Social Security goes into AGI.

If you have a disability pension, depending on how it's figured (generally, if your compensation has nothing to do with years of service), it's treated like a form of workman's compensation. I know this from doing my deceased father's taxes.

Without looking at the forms, I'm assuming that means my father's AGI was zero, since neither his SS nor his pension was taxable, even in the complete absence of deductions and exemptions.

Income is all well and good, but wealth is where financial security and its attendant freedom (not to mention power) comes from.

McKinney questions whether "inequality is a thing for most people". Okay, it's hard to know what "most people" think. But McKinney, like the rest of us, presumably knows what he himself thinks, so I'd like to know McKinney's own answers to the following:

What percentage of total US wealth is owned by
1) the richest 20%?
2) the middle 60% ?
4) the poorest 20%?
It's an open-book quiz, but it might be fun and instructive to take a guess before looking it up.

--TP

What percentage of total US wealth is owned by...

Well, without looking, I know the poorest 20% has a negative net worth. I'd guess the middle 60% have a zero net worth. So, the richest 20% have it all (more than all if you assume the debt owed by the bottom group is held by those at the top).

I know this: the bottom 20% is in the red. They own a negative percentage of total US wealth.

At least they don't have to worry about estate taxes!

(They'll also reap the benefits of financial deregulation, since predatory lenders will be better able to put them even further into debt. Always looking out for the little guy, those GOPers.)

I won't directly give away the results of my brief search for an answer to Tony's question, but right off the bat I think it's misleading to take the wealthiest 20% in a lump, as if all the people in that quintile were sort of equivalent.

If you look here, there's a pie chart that shows that the people in the 80-90th percentile in wealth hold 12% of the total net worth, the only decile (?) where that holds remotely close to true. The top 20% is skewed by the staggeringly out of whack percentages at the very very top. The graph, in fact, would look a lot like the graph of incomes I've been harping about for ten years. To even it out significantly for those at the bottom wouldn't require touching the 80-90% people.

Civics class:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/sessions-joins-chants-lock-her-up

Snowflakes in schools should be armed in case sniveling, racist little republican cucks find their way thru security

Also, russell said something recently (and I can't find it, but don't have a ton of time to search) about how he isn't focused on how much wealth people accumulate at the top, he just thinks the people at the bottom should have enough to live on decently. (Obviously, I'm paraphrasing.)

My hammering on the percentiles of income and wealth at the top may make it seem like something personal concerning the wealthiest. That isn't really *my* point either, but if people are going to be paid a living wage, and have decent health care and good public education etc., the money is going to have to come from somewhere. Or to put it a different way, some of the wealth that's currently a flowing to the top is going to have to start flowing...elsewhere.

The job of the bottom 98% is to refund all of their money to the top 2%, to mollify the suits:

https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2018/07/23/tesla-suppliers-refunds-profits/817740002/

No different than fast food schleppers forced to pay for their tacky dumb-looking uniforms out of their windfall hourly wages.

The next car Musk launches into eternal orbit in space, he needs to be at the wheel with the top down.

Have some cake, losers.

I think the Dems' main problem is that they are seen as wishy-washy and too likely to go GOP light when elected

As Janie says, that's the view on the "progressive left". The point of the discussion is, how much does it help the Democrats' electoral prospects to be regarded as "less wishy-washy"? Vs how much does it help to be seen as "GOP lite"?

After all, there is a big chunk of the country which, while we have no use for the RWNJs, aren't exactly fans of the progressive left either. Personally, I'll vote for a progressive left candidate over much of what the GOP puts up these days. (Especially in a Congressional election this year). But somehow I think I'm a bit more flexible on that front that some.

Janie,

Of course it's misleading to lump the top 20% all together, since it's a fair bet that McKinneyTexas and Jeff Bezos are both in it, and only one of them owns a newspaper or a space rocket.

BTW, McKinney may have a higher "earned income" than Bezos, and therefore be paying a higher marginal rate in taxes. If so, there's only one GOP-acceptable policy response: cut Bezos's taxes.

--TP

As Janie says, that's the view on the "progressive left".

I know we all look alike, but I do believe you mean GftNc.... ;-)

Here are the numbers from JanieM's link. The second set of percentages in parentheses are mine, to imagine a hypothetical wealth distribution which still allows for people to be staggeringly wealthy, with people at the top holding twenty times what they would in an even wealth distribution, but doesn't leave others fighting to survive on a daily basis.

Top 1% (34.6%) (20%)

Next 4% (27.3%) (20%)

Next 5% (11.2%) (7.5%)

Next 10% (12%) (10%)

Upper Middle 20% (10.9%) (15%)

Middle 20% (4%) (10%)

Bottom 40% (0.2%) (17.5%)

Fewer billionaires and more millionaires, and way fewer desperately poor.

I know we all look alike, but I do believe you mean GftNc.... ;-)

Yeah, from California the difference between England and New England gets kinda vague.... ;-)

Fewer billionaires and more millionaires, and way fewer desperately poor.

So, from desperately poor to desperately dependent.

CharlesWT: So, from desperately poor to desperately dependent.

That's quite a leap. hairshirt didn't write one single word about how he imagines such a reapportionment might occur. russell has said, and I cited him a few comments ago, that ideally it should come by way of the people at the bottom getting paid a living wage.

So I'm going to make my own leap. You're saying, in effect, that earning a living wage makes you desperately dependent. Indeed, I think that's been one of the goals of our economic system for a long time. The sainted job creators, doncha know, and everyone else can take the crumbs.

Just as a footnote, there are plenty of people who *can't* work, and are by definition "desperately dependent." Children, some of the disabled, many of the very elderly. Sneer away, though. I'd say it's not a good look, but all the evidence says you don't care.

"So, from desperately poor to desperately dependent."

Beats desperately violent, at both ends of the income scale.

..., that ideally it should come by way of the people at the bottom getting paid a living wage.

I can't comprehend how a "living wage" could possibly work.

So, from desperately poor to desperately dependent.

What JaineM said. Plus:

You'd think the people at the top don't depend on things to get and stay there. They're just full of virtue, is all. They aren't dependent on any institutional advantages, right? (Or on their parents ... or their parents' parents, and so on.)

I can't comprehend how a "living wage" could possibly work.

You and a lot of other people apparently. Therein lies the problem.

And another thing! Even if the desperately poor became dependent but not poor, where would the "desperately" part come in?

Sorry for the serial comments, but I'm just feeling apocalyptic today.

https://abcnews.go.com/International/biblical-disaster-greek-official-wildfires-killed-50/story?id=56774845

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/flash-flooding-sweeps-across-country-record-heat-hits-132903470--abc-news-topstories.html

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/07/a-global-heat-wave-has-set-the-arctic-circle-on-fire.html

CharlesWT,

Just to nail down our definitions: if The Guvmint mandates a minimum wage, does that make minimum-wage workers "dependent"?

Would your answer be different if the minimum wage were set at $5/hr or $15/hr?

--TP

What constitutes a living wage would vary from person-to-person, place-to-place. Who gets to define what it is and how it will be implemented?

What constitutes a living wage would vary from person-to-person, place-to-place. Who gets to define what it is and how it will be implemented?

Well, if we don't know how to get it just perfect, we should probably do nothing.

Working out of the office. Will reply to Nous and TP later this evening. Hopefully.

Working out of the office. Will reply to Nous and TP later this evening. Hopefully.

What lack of wealth means, as a practical matter.

I can't comprehend how a "living wage" could possibly work.

it works like this:

  • you work
  • you get paid
  • you get bills
  • you pay the bills
  • you have enough left over to save some

not hard to understand

"Who gets to define what it is and how it will be implemented?"

Different people than the ones defining it as what accidentally trickles down now.

So, from desperately poor to desperately dependent.

Nothing beats the pleasure of sleeping in doorways with members of the Walton family.

I can't comprehend how a "living wage" could possibly work.

but, but, but....libertarians can apparently comprehend selling yourself into slavery, owning the air above your house, spending most of your time in court suing others for infringing on your 'liberty', etc.

CharlesWT,

I did not ask you about a "living wage". I asked you to clarify what you mean by "dependent".

Does a government-mandated minimum wage OF ANY AMOUNT make minimum-wage workers "dependent"?

Are you so libertarian that defining a word you yourself use would stifle your freedom or something?

--TP

"Who gets to define what it is and how it will be implemented?"

Not the Governor of Kentucky, whose definition of which desperate people get to keep their teeth changes weekly:

http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/395155-kentucky-governor-cancels-medicaid-dental-vision-benefits-after-losing

Is it safe?

Depends how desperate you are.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzw1_2b-I7A

Would your answer be different if the minimum wage were set at $5/hr or $15/hr?

The minimum wage should be $0/hr. But $5/hr would be better than the current nation/local rates.

$15/hr tells employers that they shouldn't bother creating a job unless its value to them is greater than $15/hr plus benefits and other job expenses.

Unless their skill and efforts are worth more than $15/hr plus benefits and other job expenses, it would be illegal for a person to have a job. An employer can't pay them less and won't hire them otherwise.

The first minimum wage laws at the turn of the last century were intended to price women, children, and social undesirables like minorities and the physically and mentally challenged out of the labor markets. Do they somehow work differently now?

Well, if we don't know how to get it just perfect, we should probably do nothing.

Yes.

Democrats, please don't lose your minds because the only alternative is this nest of sociopathic, ruthless, malignant vipers:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/fox-news-goes-to-war-against-its-own-kimberly-guilfoyle?via=newsletter&source=DDMorning

Does a government-mandated minimum wage OF ANY AMOUNT make minimum-wage workers "dependent"?

It makes them dependent on family, friends, relatives, government, somebody if they're not qualified for a minimum wage job.

Yes.

Is what we have now perfect? I'm guessing not, because there's a minimum wage.

$15/hr tells employers that they shouldn't bother creating a job unless its value to them is greater than $15/hr plus benefits and other job expenses.

What does it tell an employer if no one can afford to buy their goods/services?

The first minimum wage laws at the turn of the last century were intended to price women, children, and social undesirables like minorities and the physically and mentally challenged out of the labor markets. Do they somehow work differently now?

Yes.

"What does it tell an employer if no one can afford to buy their goods/services?"

If they are Burberry, it tells them they are on the right track.

It makes them dependent on family, friends, relatives, government, somebody if they're not qualified for a minimum wage job.

If only they could be paid $2/hr legally, they wouldn't be dependent on anybody.

"The first minimum wage laws at the turn of the last century were intended to price women, children, and social undesirables like minorities and the physically and mentally challenged out of the labor markets. Do they somehow work differently now?"

I expect so. Otherwise, conservatives/republicans would be all for a $20 minimum wage.

Fi dollah? The sun don't shine where that gets stuck.

Next, you'll be canvassing for the $100 per month rental unit.

So desperate dependency isn't such a bad thing after all?

"women, children, and social undesirables like minorities and the physically and mentally challenged out of the labor markets."

Papa John is a conflicted man.

To supplement JanieM's pie chart, there also this graph:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wealth_inequality_in_the_United_States#/media/File:Wealth_distribution.png

Just something to keep in mind while having these abstract arguments about how our economic system should work as though we're in a vacuum divorced from an actual reality.

"and the physically and mentally challenged out."

You could do that too by getting rid of OSHA and their mandated ramps and spacious toilet stalls.

Why limit ourselves?

There are so many paths to fucking freedom and independence for the desperate.

The Second Amendment, as defined by the same idiots, might become an unregulated option for the desperate as well.

You can make more money holding up a KFC at gunpoint than schlepping the extra crispy at fo dollah an hour.

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