Robert Reich , economics professor at Berkley....... He understands capitalism and what it needs to continue to be the only economic system that has worked. But he is worried about the current state of capitalism in this country and feels there must be changes.... Bottom line is that the gap between the wealthiest and the middle class must be addressed. I believe he is 100% correct. Corporations need to work at closing the gap .... Or the people will due it through the Democratic process .... Which will be messier and way moe inefficient.
Something is wrong with the " average american family" having to have two wage earners and still see their total wages slipping every year - now to $50,000 ..... While the wealthiest CEOs are making millions per year.
No middle class results in a declining country.... He is right.
He was on Bill Moyers program today .... He was spot on.
Update: President Obama agrees with Robert Reich ...... Change is a coming......
Can't say the 1% didn't ask for this attention .
It just takes 51% of Americans to legally take away their wealth .....
Concentrated wealth is bad..... And the 1% was stupid to let it get to this point.
The monopoly is just about ready to be restarted.
Don't believe the political rhetoric. Obama's comments are just prelude to an effort by Democrats to increase the minimum wage in an attempt to buy votes in the 2014 mid-term elections. According to Obama, "[A] child born into poverty has such a hard time escaping it," and ACA will make it harder. He's hoping a minimum wage increase (and employers' subsequent attempts to decompress wages) will offset the increased cost of insurance coverage that otherwise will decimate Democrats' chances at the polls next November.
Wow.... Great discussion ...... And not surprising to me that we all see this issue ( state of the middle class today..... ) ........ I have moved my opinions lately ..... By carefully listing to the history and facts that Mr Reich discusses with Bill Moyer , you start to see some of the inequities that are creeping into our Democracy and our capitalist system. You don't need to agree with Robert , but you can learn from his data. Five years ago I was not in agreement with many of his proposals .... But now I believe he is more right then wrong . Why? .... For me its the path we are on as a nation both politically and economically.
If we are happy with the current path and results , then I say motor on..... If not then we need to listen and think about how to change it. And like all complex issues, you must understand the root causes of the problems. I think Robert has identified some .
Thanks for all the posts..... Enjoyed reading each and every one....
The middle class is a massive group .... And its future is under attack ..... And that needs to get fixed.
How? It will take leadership on all sides of this issue...... And yep, they will have to work hard also.
Thx again...... AH
The divide between those who have and those who have not is growing wider. The X generation are those who have been hit the hardest, Good paying jobs have disappeared and have not been replaced. The jobs have been chopped up and parceled out in favor of partime workers...not new news but a fact anyway. Im not sure that anyone in the present administration has a plan to correct the scale of inequity or really cares for that matter. The business side is about the only side who can yet they are sitting on their hands.....watching and waiting. Lots of good commentary here.
Why is it everyone, include your smart midget friend, only has questions and observations? so what is his or your solution? Exactly. Lets pretend we can tax the "rich" even more and that money goes to the government. Now how do you get it to the middle class? I was middle class, saved my money, started a company, and am now considered "rich" making over $384,000/year. OK. Not bad for an engineer with a nurse wife. I pay most of my income in the 39.6% tax bracket, 7% state taxes, 2.64% medicare, and both sides of SS which is 12.4% for the first $120,000 or about 3%. After my deductions for......nothing, no interest (home paid for), no medical (healthy and no insurance)......I pay about 50% of my annual income in taxes. So is it helping you middle class people that did not save any money and who bought a new car or a boat while I saved and drove a used car???
You don't tax the rich more thinking that money will make it to the middle class, you tax them less and have govt. spend less on things like Iraq, Afganastan, wasteful military and medicare programs, and get rid of all subsidies. That will drive the rich like me to go out and hire middle class people and start another business or expand what I have now. Comprende??
"Even More"??? Did you say tax the rich "even more"???? This tax rate for the rich is the lowest by a mile in recent history..................and we are still fighting one of the most expensive conflicts in our history.................Eisenhower levied a 90% tax to pay for WWII, Truman levied 90% to pay for the Korean War, Nixon levied 90% to pay for Vietnam...............and now............good god are we to feel sorry for a cad that hauls down more than 175,000 clean (who drives a used car???) when nobody even complained through all those other wars while you get off with 39%. Did Johnny Carson complain? Mickey Mantle,..................what a jerk.
If you start a new business and hire employees, they are "business deductions" for which you do not pay taxes, and may actually obtain tax credits, depending on a variety of circumstances. You only pay income taxes on the profits of your business, and if you live in a business friendly community (and there are many of the out here) you will get tax abatements on property and other local taxes to bring new businesses in. The bottom line is that, if you're sincere about wanting to bring new businesses in, there are enough tax incentives out there to make it well worth your while. If you just want to whine about the fact that you have to pay taxes, then suck it up. Adjusted for inflation, middle class workers make far less now than they did 40 years ago in spite of working more hours and having greatly increased productivity. And for the record, I'm also self-employed, in a high income bracket, and pay more in taxes than most people make. I also drive used cars, bought a repo home that I fixed up myself, etc. I just don't whine about it.
That said, I do agree with you on the complete waste of money (mostly to rich Republicans like #$%$ Cheney and his supporters) on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Medicare programs, however, have become so stingy that more and more doctors are opting out of the program. You may be healthy now and not carry medical insurance, but I assure you that you're an idiot for that because, regardless of how healthy you may be, a single accident could send you into bankruptcy. My wife had a tragic accident a couple of years ago, and her medical bills have run over $3 million. Without full insurance, we'd be paupers--as you will be if something happens to your family before you wise up.
Prosperity is wonderful, but it isn't cheap. Stop whining, pay up, and be grateful that you have the income to do so.
1. Reduce government to a bare minimum. We will close everything from DOE to EPA and so on. The only thing we keep is DOD and pare it to minimum. Any country that will mess with up will automatically be wiped out immediately by nuke. We will start to close lot of bases oversea. Create a department called Charity.
2. Start charging everyone for service: highway, defense, and so on. If Exxon wants protection of oil shipping, charge them for the use of our Navy.
3. Close down the IRS and get rid of taxes since we are a paid-for-service government.
4. What to do about the poor? Start a public work program and we will pay when they show up and work. Anyone who is crippled can get some money from the charity department (how much will depend on that budget).
5. Shut down all lobbying for profits activity. We will require all lobbying for non-profit to put in the paperwork showing us that they won't benefit directly or indirectly in term of profits. Institute a minimum 10 years prison term on all form of for profit lobbying.
6. President will have one term. Congress (House and Senate) will have two terms.
Here's what happened to "hard work": Hard work was relevant and respected in my parent's era. But now, in my grandkid's era, hard work is for fools and it gains you zero respect. Gaming the system, finding the angle, and touching money while it moves rather than actually producing anything is the main path to wealth and respect. But perhaps this depends on your definition of "hard work."
Any solution will obviously be a bitter pill. My best guess is that a key element will be a rethinking of globalization.
tt.....watch his special with Bill Moyer this weekend..... and see if what he says doesn't make sense.....hard work is fine and required to succeed.....so is responsibility.....gaining valuable skills , etc.....but there is something bigger at work here......and hard work alone doesn't get it anymore for the middle class......which use to be 80% of the population here.....and if 80% of the population feels that the rules are not fair....well, then democratically they will vote a solution....and we both know how well that will work.
Here is just one hidden example of runaway inflation, the last time I bought a car battery from Auto Zone it cost me 60.00... I bought a car battery for the wifes car 2 weeks ago the cost 140.00...The battery was made in Mexico which I figure the cost to manufacture is a cost of about 30.00...This is only one example just do the math and figure why the wage earner in this country struggles to save a buck...Stagnant wages and prices on everything continue to climb, not a receipe for success for the middle class!!
Aloha and Mahalo
I totally disagree with this statement: "Bottom line is that the gap between the wealthiest and the middle class must be addressed. I believe he is 100% correct." That my friend, is a socialist or communism society.
Capitalism is working just fine, thank you. Stopping listening to the liberal press saying capitalism is not working. Sure, many CEO's of public traded companies (those are the only ones we can hear about) are overpaid but that has nothing to do whether capitalism is working or not.
What is killing the average American and hurting capitalism is what Letha said below perfectly: "it's local, state and federal government bureaucrats that are dissipating household wealth by overreaching, overspending, overregulating and overtaxing." You want to make a change... start here.
I also don't buy the fact that I keep hearing in the press where they say the rich keep getting richer and the middle class keeps getting poorer. That is totally BS.
It is very difficult to measure incomes (income statistics don't count many other sources of incomes and government payments) and the government keeps telling us that the middle class keeps getting poorer. Another way to measure incomes is if you look at the statistic of CONSUMPTION... consumption trends of the middle class is much higher than say 20 to 30 years. Bigger houses, big screen TV's, more sophisticated and safer cars, computers, cell phones, etc. etc.
How can the middle class keep getting "poorer" if consumption levels are way up?
I am surprised a smart guy like would post this.
Go America and go capitalism. Work hard and you will be rewarded.
Fan..... What you are missing is that the game is rigged .... Rigged by laws that protect the rich ..... I am still very angry and focused on how the rich ( both wall street and politicians) wreaked the economy, and no one went to jail . They hide behind the laws they created to give them cover.
Sorry Fan.... But our current form of capitalism is flawed ....
I have no problem working hard.... Always did .... I have no problem being responsible ..... But the rules of the game need to be transparent and fair .... They are not.
Carefully listen to the professor.... He is not anti capitalism.... Instead he has focused on the rules of play ..... They favor the rich .... And there is no argument there.
I am not anti rewards.... I am for a level playing field .... And I know that those in power will not give their edge up easily.... They feel entitled.... That is a problem when they pushed to hard and stole many hardworking Americans retirement savings ..... And they did steal .... Under the guise of the law..... And no one went to jail .... One of the people that all but admitted this was the CEO of Goldman Saks ..... " we push right up against the line between legal and illegal activity and use lawyers to protect us".
Ah just like anything else, you get it right when you know the reason things really
Well sometimes you have to see it like it really happen when two companies moved into
the south and began the QT's and Race Tracs on every corner type of set up.
Remember when they started invading the south? Both of these retail chains operate on a
cookie cutter type of store layout plan (meaning each store was about the same as the other
locations). QT stores were more modern and have digital price signs to change the price of fuel
at the price signs that the customers see at the street, as well as at the pump. All done
at the computer, either at the register or on the managers computer. Race Trac price signs
are on the ground so it makes it quick and easy to change the gas prices without the pole
and suction cup act.
VLO had this type of system to change the prices at the pump from the computer, however
as far as the street signs were concerned, they had to be changed by hand with the old
fashion square numbers and the pole and suction cups that stuck on the number and had to
be raised into place and fitted into slots for each number! TALK ABOUT AN ON GOING JOB!
And the two other companies above knew this! Seems like they would wait to change there
price down a penny or two right after managment would leave the store for the day (2 PM
most days, however that is the rule and not the usual time as mgrs. are on salery!), so they
move the price down to draw more customers to there stores with what is called the penny
annie game. (You know if you see two prices for fuel and one is a penny or two less, then
a lot of people will shop for the price that is lower most of the time.) You had to be a
real dedicated manager leaving the store and going home for the day and then notice that
your competitor just did the penny or two lower penny annie game as you are passing there
signs on the way home ;)
Continue to next
Another perspective, friend. A capitalist is a person who has a lot of money, property, etc., and who uses those things to produce more money (courtesy Merriam Webster). CEO's, unless they are the founders of their companies, are opportunists rather than capitalists. Confusing the two would lead to ruination of this great country, as would attempts to redistribute wealth. Capitalists take nothing from the "average American family"; it's local, state and federal government bureaucrats that are dissipating household wealth by overreaching, overspending, overregulating and overtaxing. Robert Reich's parents were capitalists, but he chose to become part of the problem. He is wrong.
No disagreement with the webster definition .... Just not what we have currently.
Stay tuned.... The professor is more right then wrong. He has the data to back it up.
Our Democracy will become more strained then it is....
It will take smart focused leadership in government and the private sector to steer this boat better.... And it is not there imo .