September 5, 2012 archive

2012 Democratic National Convention: Day 2

Michelle’s dress looked really nice.

The Troubling Myths of Opportunity and Mobility in the Democratic Convention

By: David Dayen Wednesday September 5, 2012 9:40 am

That hasn’t been true for a while, I’m sad to say. American social mobility is among the lowest in the industrialized world. We like to tell ourselves these stories about rising from hardscrabble beginnings – indeed, it was the theme of BOTH the Republican and Democratic conventions – but there’s a selection bias involved. The people telling the stories can always reach back as far as they need in their history to find some poorer ancestor whose courage and confidence led to where they are today. The poor ancestors who had just as much courage, just as much confidence, but didn’t get the same breaks, whose progeny didn’t rise above a certain level regardless of their ability? They don’t get talked about because their descendants don’t have the microphone.



We have a drastically unequal society, and that makes it all the harder to the vast numbers who grow up in poverty and below the middle class to make it to the top. When you only hear from the strivers, it can sound differently, that new people and new faces can always have a chance to rise, if government just gives them the opportunity.



But that’s simply not how it works in America. The door has been slammed shut to those who don’t have the benefits bestowed on the rich and powerful. To some, it’s unseemly to say that, I guess. But it’s true; the economy has ceased to work to reinforce this myth of getting ahead through hard work and realizing potential. And what’s also true is that equality of opportunity is not enough. The meritocracy doesn’t even work this way; it pulls up the ladder rather than extending it down a rung.



I don’t think the speeches reflected that, not because America isn’t ready to hear the message, but because those who benefited from the current system cannot conceive of a different one.

5 – 6 p.m.

  • Call to Order: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa
  • Invocation: Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, 10th Episcopal District
  • Presentation of Colors
  • Pledge of Allegiance
  • National Anthem: musician Branford Marsalis
  • Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez of Illinois
  • Rep. Diana DeGette of Colorado
  • John A. Pérez, speaker of the California State Assembly
  • Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino
  • Rep. Judy Chu of California
  • Steve Westly, former state controller and CFO of California
  • An Economy Built to Last video: Small Business
  • Rep. John Larson of Connecticut
  • Deputy Sheriff Ken Myers, Carroll County, Iowa

6 – 7 p.m.

  • Richard Trumka, president, American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations
  • Rep. Steve Israel of New York
  • Sen. Patty Murray of Washington
  • Pedro R. Pierluisi, non-voting member of U.S. House, resident commissioner of Puerto Rico
  • An Economy Build to Last video: Energy
  • Tom Steyer, co-founder of Advanced Energy Economy
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York
  • Rep. Karen Bass of California
  • Rep. Al Green of Texas
  • Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II of Missouri
  • Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy

7 – 8 p.m.

  • Denise Juneau, superintendent of the Montana Office of Public Instruction
  • House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California
  • Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack
  • Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland
  • Education Secretary Arne Duncan
  • Progress for People video: Education
  • American Voices: Johanny Adames
  • Former North Carolina Gov. Jim Hunt
  • Video: in memoriam
  • Harvey B. Gantt, former mayor of Charlotte, N.C.
  • Live performance: singer/songwriter Jessica Sanchez

8 – 9 p.m.

  • Stronger Together video: Women’s Health
  • American Voices: Elizabeth Ann “Libby” Bruce
  • Cecile Richards, president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
  • Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland
  • Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts
  • American Heroes video: Veterans
  • American Voices: Ed Meagher
  • Gen. Eric Shinseki
  • Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter
  • Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper
  • Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Roman Catholic Social Justice Organization, NETWORK
  • Delaware Gov. Jack Markell

9 – 10 p.m.

  • Karen Mills
  • Progress for People video: Small Business
  • American Voices: Bill Butcher
  • California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris
  • Stronger Together video: Immigration
  • Benita Veliz, DREAM Act activist
  • Cristina Saralegui, journalist, actress and talk show host
  • Sandra Fluke, attorney and women’s rights activist
  • Austin Ligon, co-founder and former CEO of CarMax Inc.
  • An Economy Build to Last video: Auto Industry
  • American Voices: Karen Eusanio
  • UAW President Bob King
  • Randy Johnson, Cindy Hewitt and David Foster: former employees at companies controlled by Romney’s Bain Capital
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland

10 – 11 p.m.

  • Jim Sinegal, co-founder and former CEO of Costco
  • Elizabeth Warren, candidate for Senate in Massachusetts
  • Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, chair of the 2012 Democratic National Convention Committee
  • Former President Bill Clinton
  • Roll call vote: Alice Germond, secretary of the Democratic National Committee
  • Benediction: Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple, Los Angeles
  • Retire Colors
  • Recess

Because I’m such an incredible chauvinist I have to shout out my homes John Larson and Dannel Malloy from the Nutmeg State where we’ll sell you a piece of wood and call it nutmeg.  Elizabeth Warren and Bill Clinton are the real entertainment.

They will be having the official Roll Call tonight and I’d be surprised at a single dissenting vote.  They may or may not indulge in a round of passes to allow a selected State to put the delegate count over the top and end with a motion for unanimous acclamation which would be kind of old school.

Honesty

Jon

Stephen

In a closed society where everybody’s guilty, the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity.

Cartnoon

Superstitious?  Originally appeared May 13, 2011.

Zip ‘n Snort

Corporate Welfare Has Not Created Jobs

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

The 2012 Democratic National Platform talks big about job creation and rebuilding the middle class which has been taking hits since the Reagan tax cuts in 1984. While it touts the fact that the private sector has created jobs and the manufacturing sector is growing, its not enough. Most of the jobs that have been created are low paying. The Democratic Party has done little to debunk the lie that the wealthy corporations and individuals are job creators. By rubber stamping the past policies of giveaways to corporations and extending the Bush/Obama tax cuts, the Democrats have made the problems for the ever shrinking middle class even worse.

In two articles at Common Dreams, writers Paul Buchheit and John Atcheson debunk the “job creators fraud” and lay out the real problem ailing the economy, “corporate welfare”. In Mr. Buchheit’s article, he concisely cuts through the “job creator” nonsense with the facts.

Based on IRS figures, the richest 1% nearly tripled its share of America’s after-tax income from 1980 to 2006. That’s an extra trillion dollars a year. Then, in the first year after the 2008 recession, they took 93% (pdf) of all the new income.

He also notes that the wealthiest 10% own 83% of the financial wealth (pdf) and only pay 15% tax under the premise that they would create jobs. Instead they put that wealth into tax fee accounts overseas (pdf).

Mr. Atcheson breaks it down noting that the 15% tax rate allows the wealthy to avoid some $59 billion in taxes per year and by sheltering profits off shore, “(c)orporations are given $58 billion a year in tax breaks (pdf).” Hedge fund managers are given a tax break that allows them to pay only 15% on their earnings, avoiding at least $2.1 billion in taxes a year. Yet, as he further points out:

We spend $59 billion on social welfare programs, but more than $92 billion on corporate subsidies.  According to the Environmental Law Institute, fossil fuel industries alone get more than $70 billion in subsidies, with most going to the oil and gas sector.  Yeah, we certainly can’t afford to deprive Exxon of its record profits just to give money to needy kids.

Add to that $1.2 trillion the $9 trillion in low interest and no interest loans from the Federal Reserve and $700 billion bank bailout that these corporations and banks are making huge profits on and paying no taxes. You have, Mr. Buchheit notes, “$10 trillion in misdirected dollars.  Just 1/10 of that would create 25 million jobs, one for every unemployed or underemployed worker in America. Or a $45,000 a year job for every college student in the United States.”

These are the facts that Mr. Buchheit’s lays out:

The Wall Street Journal noted in 2009 that the Bush tax cuts led to the “worst track record for jobs in recorded history.” 25 million people remain unemployed or underemployed, with 30 to 50 percent of recent college graduates in one of those categories. Among unemployed workers, nearly 43 percent have been without a job for six months or longer.

For the jobs that remain, most are low-paying, with the only real employment growth occurring in retail sales and food preparation. A recent report by the National Employment Law Project confirms that lower-wage occupations (up to about $14 per hour) accounted for 21 percent of recession losses and 58 percent of recovery growth, while mid-wage occupations (between $14 and $21 per hour) accounted for 60 percent of recession losses and only 22 percent of recovery growth.

The minimum wage is shamefully low, about 30% lower (pdf) than the inflation-adjusted 1968 figure. And the tiny pay can’t be blamed on small business. Two-thirds of America’s low-wage workers, according to another National Employment Law Project (pdf) report, work for companies that have at least 100 employees.

All these job woes persist while productivity has continued to grow, with an 80% increase since 1973 as median worker pay has stagnated. [..]

With the bulk of their assets buried in “low-risk investments (bonds and cash), the stock market, and real estate”, the wealthy are not creating jobs:

… Only 3 percent of the CEOs, upper management, and financial professionals were entrepreneurs (pdf) in 2005, even though they made up about 60 percent of the richest .1% of Americans. A recent study found that less than 1 percent of all entrepreneurs came from very rich or very poor backgrounds. They come from the middle class.

There is ample evidence that more jobs were created when the top marginal tax rates were high.

Instead of cutting our social safety net, as President Obama has agreed to do in his “Grand Bargain”, we need to end the corporate welfare programs and put an end to the lie that if we tax the wealthy less they’ll create jobs.

On This Day In History September 5

Cross posted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

September 5 is the 248th day of the year (249th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 117 days remaining until the end of the year..

On this day in 1882, the first Labor Day was celebrated in NYC with a parade of 10,000 workers. The Parade started at City Hall, winding past the reviewing stands at Union Square and then uptown where it ended at 42nd St where the marcher’s and their families celebrated with a picnic, concert and speeches. The march was organized by New York’s Central Labor Union and while there has been debate as to who originated the idea, credit is given to Peter McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a co-founder of the American Federation of Labor.

It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland  put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date was chosen as Cleveland was concerned that aligning an American labor holiday with existing international May Day celebrations would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair. All 50 U.S. states have made Labor Day a state holiday.

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning


Art Glass 4

We All Shine On

John Lennon . . .

I’m sick and tired of hearing things from uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites. All I want is the truth.  Just gimme some truth.

Politicians don’t tell us the truth, the conventions are meaningless, the political system is rigged, the government, the economy, and the media are controlled by uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocrites.  They have immense power and material wealth, they all have a very high opinion of themselves, but one artist with a conscience and the truth is worth more to humanity than every politician, banker, and businessman who ever lived.

John Lennon had a conscience, he told the truth, about himself, about society, about politics, about what matters and what doesn’t.

Why in the world are we here?

Surely not to live in pain and fear.

We have to shine on, no matter what. We have to shine on because the night has come and the land is dark.  We have to stand by each other, we have to pick each other up when we fall.  That’s not socialism, it’s not Marxism, it’s not entitlement fever, it’s why we’re here.  Making money isn’t what life’s about, seeking power over others isn’t what life’s about, helping each other is what life’s about.    

The Great Latino Hope

Marco Rubio As Aired

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Going to trial with a lawyer who considers your whole life-style a Crime in Progress is not a happy prospect.

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