Top Romney donor advocates more income inequality

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Income inequality in the United States has skyrocketed over the last several decades and especially since the Great Recession, so much so that it is now worse than in Ivory Coast and Pakistan. It may even be worse than it was in Ancient Rome, a society built on slave labor.

That income inequality is crushing the middle class and its political power. But don't tell that to Edward Conard, a top donor to presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney who gained notoriety during the campaign as a million-dollar mystery donor who set up a shell company to shield his identity. Conard, a former director at the Romney-founded Bain Capital, is working on a new book in which he argues that income inequality is a good thing, and what the U.S. really needs is more of it, the New York Times' Adam Davidson reports:

Unlike his former colleagues, Conard wants to have an open conversation about wealth. He has spent the last four years writing a book that he hopes will forever change the way we view the super rich's role in our society. "Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong," to be published in hardcover next month by Portfolio, aggressively argues that the enormous and growing income inequality in the United States is not a sign that the system is rigged. On the contrary, Conard writes, it is a sign that our economy is working. And if we had a little more of it, then everyone, particularly the 99 percent, would be better off. This could be the most hated book of the year.

Conard instead argues that income inequality helps everyone because investors grow wealthy by creating products that benefit the 99 percent. Though that is certainly true to an extent, Conard's line of thinking leads to the supply-side policies that are proven failures at "growing the pie" for everyone. The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, for instance, were supposed to create jobs and spark economic growth for everyone. They did neither, instead saddling the nation with unsustainable debt and deficits that Republicans are now using to justify massive budget cuts to programs that benefit the lower- and middle-classes.

And while investors like Conard made luxuries available to some Americans, they also bankrupted companies and left workers without jobs, pensions, or health care. Bain Capital, in fact, made billions of dollars for people like Romney and Conard while bankrupting nearly a quarter of the companies in which it invested.

Further, Conard believes the financial industry - the same financial industry that sold "shitty deals" and purposely exploited consumers - isn't to blame for the financial crisis. Instead, it was investors who created an "old-fashioned run on the bank" that created the crisis. That's a view that, as Davidson notes, "is not shared by many analysts." It is, however, a view that is shared by Conard's favorite presidential candidate, who has admitted that he is "not concerned with the very poor" and has promised to repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act that aimed at preventing another such crisis.

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2012/05/01/474673/romney-donor-income-inequality/
http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/major-romney-donor-ex-bain-exec-pens-book
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/magazine/romneys-former-bain-partner-makes-a-case-for-inequality.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

(the NY times link is the best source)

Basically, a top donor penned a book saying income equality is a good thing. He justifies it by saying it persuades people to take risks. That is, if you are lucky enough to be born with talent and ample opportunity.

Do you agree, Escapist? Or is his justifications absolute bullshit?

Personally, I find this a very good contender for the most hated book since...this:
http://www.amazon.com/Control-Christian-Marriages-Priesthood-Children/dp/1425992609

Considering that book is written in all caps, that's a hard thing to do.

Captcha: fancy free

I think its sentient.

Think Progress is supposed to be the source for this? Good to know that I can pretty much ignore anything it claims about the book then.

And Bain had less than twenty five percent of its investments fail? One would think that a seventy-five percent success rate would signal that they were good at doing what they did, but I guess you can spin statistics any way you want with enough effort.

I also laugh at how it mentions the Bush tax cuts for the rich, which are TEH DEVILS, and completely leaves out the cuts for the poor, which (if you believe the squalling that ensued when they were about to expire) is the only thing that stands between some people and living on the street. So how effective were the Bush tax cuts again? And then they have the temerity to imply that the tax cuts for the rich were what caused our current deficits. One would think they could at least keep their facts straight and remember that we just fought two wars.

scotth266:
Think Progress is supposed to be the source for this? Good to know that I can pretty much ignore anything it claims about the book then.

And Bain had less than twenty five percent of its investments fail? One would think that a seventy-five percent success rate would signal that they were good at doing what they did, but I guess you can spin statistics any way you want with enough effort.

I also laugh at how it mentions the Bush tax cuts for the rich, which are TEH DEVILS, and completely leaves out the cuts for the poor, which (if you believe the squalling that ensued when they were about to expire) is the only thing that stands between some people and living on the street. So how effective were the Bush tax cuts again? And then they have the temerity to imply that the tax cuts for the rich were what caused our current deficits. One would think they could at least keep their facts straight and remember that we just fought two wars.

I only used it because there was very little about the book by major sites until I found the NYtimes articles after it was posted.

I'm going to go find that site from Hell Girl now. Fuck it. This is it. This is the limit. It's like Republicans just do this shit for the evulz. Somewhere, this guy is tying a young girl to a train track while twirling his handlebar moustache after kicking a pregnant dog and burning down an orphanage...An orphanage where he brutalized the orphans, raped the nuns, and then forced them all to cannibalize each other.

There is NO way people can keep being this stupid and keep looking up to people like this. Gods forbid someone reads this book and believes that shit.

scotth266:
would think that a seventy-five percent success rate would signal that they were good at doing what they did, but I guess you can spin statistics any way you want with enough effort.

Bain Capital, in fact, made billions of dollars for people like Romney and Conard while bankrupting nearly a quarter of the companies in which it invested.

There's a difference between "not bankrupt" and "success" that I should hope you are aware of... while "success" entails "not bankrupt", "not bankrupt" doesn't by itself mean "success."

Ultratwinkie:

Just... wow.

"And if we had a little more {income inequality}, then everyone, particularly the 99 percent, would be better off"

That is literally a self contradictory sentence. That takes a certain level of delusion. Many people manage to contradict themselves over the course of a book or a speech or even a paragraph. But a single sentence? We are truly looking a a master at work.

But on a serious note, his central premise is flawed. He says that income inequality provides the few with the means to produce products for the many. Fine, in an odd sort of way I can see that in theory.
It doesn't work like that. The problems with the financial sector are that they aren't producing. They created this whole house (more like a fucking skyhook) of cards built around this idea of creating unrestrained growth by essentially swapping money around in horrendously convoluted fashion, and therefore 'cheating' the system
They didn't create any actual economic growth - it just shifted imaginary money around to make it look like there was more actual wealth than there was.

So they haven't actually produced anything of worth for the customer, the 99% (their end of the deal), but have still profited massively. Ergo, his hypothesis is flawed.

EDIT: and yes, I have long suspected that the captcha is becoming sapient. It reminds me of this xkcd - except I think the computers are doing the training... *ominous music, thunderclap*

Well, this is kind of funny.
I know these people believe (or at least spout) trickle down economics. But few of even them would argue that the growing gap between rich and poor indicates that trickle down is working. Unless of course they mean achieving its true result, namely an isolation of the rich from everybody else and a further decrease in vertical mobility than the USA already suffer from (don't buy into "bootstraps"-anecdotes, look at actual statistics).
All that said, it's not surprising to have somebody like him advocate trickle down since he is rich.
I'm much more worried about all the poor and middle class people who wrongfully think that trickle down helps them, than I am about the rich at the top who know that it helps themselves. Because without that faulty belief, these policies would not get the wide popular support they need and vertical mobility might actually increase.
It's not just the system that's rigged, it's the mindset and ideology overall.

Seanchaidh:

scotth266:
would think that a seventy-five percent success rate would signal that they were good at doing what they did, but I guess you can spin statistics any way you want with enough effort.

Bain Capital, in fact, made billions of dollars for people like Romney and Conard while bankrupting nearly a quarter of the companies in which it invested.

There's a difference between "not bankrupt" and "success" that I should hope you are aware of... while "success" entails "not bankrupt", "not bankrupt" doesn't by itself mean "success."

Semantics. If the number of bankruptcies is supposed to indicate that Bain Capital is doing badly at its job (as the article from Think Progress implies), then the number of not-bankrupt companies must be a measure of its success, or the statistic is meaningless drivel.

You can successfully argue that the companies not being bankrupt != them being successful (after all, a portion of that seventy-five percent are probably only making enough to pay the bills), but by the same token I can argue that the companies Bain supported that went bankrupt did so for reasons entirely unrelated to Bain.

EDIT: The New York Times article explains the book much better from what I can see (after all, I haven't read it). What he seems to be arguing is that since investors drive innovations that improve society, we should have more of them. Thus the reason he says there should be more wealth for the 1%: he's not arguing that the CURRENT 1% should have more, but that the 1% should grow larger, theoretically increasing the amount of investment and therefore the amount of innovation.

I don't know about that: I think the issue in our economy isn't the lack of investing. And I disagree with his assessments regarding risky-looking financial ventures like credit swaps: taking them off the market was a good idea. But at the very least the Times article is actually interested in what the dude has to say, as opposed to constructing the typical "fat cat" straw man and setting it ablaze.

scotth266:
I also laugh at how it mentions the Bush tax cuts for the rich, which are TEH DEVILS, and completely leaves out the cuts for the poor, which (if you believe the squalling that ensued when they were about to expire) is the only thing that stands between some people and living on the street. So how effective were the Bush tax cuts again? And then they have the temerity to imply that the tax cuts for the rich were what caused our current deficits. One would think they could at least keep their facts straight and remember that we just fought two wars.

Nobody mentions the tax cuts for the poor because they were disproportionately in favor of the rich, and because while a poor person might get a few hundred dollars back a year, a rich person might get a few million. And why it's considered a big deal? Actually, if it keeps up for another 10 years, it'll be more expensive than Iraq or Afghanistan. Granted, that's not exactly fair, as it assumes we'll be out of Afghanistan soon, but still, there's no denying that the tax cuts were EXTREMELY expensive.

On topic: I can't really tell whether or not this is a non-story. On one hand, it certainly forwards the narrative that the republicans are not looking after the poor, on the other hand, it's entirely possible that this guy is just a nut.

scotth266:
Semantics. If the number of bankruptcies is supposed to indicate that Bain Capital is doing badly at its job (as the article from Think Progress implies), then the number of not-bankrupt companies must be a measure of its success, or the statistic is meaningless drivel.

Well... no.

In the same way that a large number of deaths from gun violence or whatever might say something negative about a place while the rate of people who didn't die from that specific cause doesn't necessarily say anything good about it: it just says that's not exactly what happened.

And actually, what I think they meant to imply (whether true or not) is that Bain looted the companies and threw them into bankruptcy while profiting from their demise. There are absolutely ways to profit by doing that, such as completely halting production and selling off all the assets for more than the total stock price. But profitable doesn't necessarily mean productive (though it certainly can be argued that selling the assets would tend to put those assets to productive use by someone else.)

"Shakers and Movers": Relevant captcha is relevant.

@Scott: A implies B does not logically lead to the conclusion that Not A implies Not B. For example, if A is "I died from a gunshot" and B is "I am dead", "I did not die from a gunshot" does not imply "I am not dead". Similarly, while "the company went bankrupt" is a clear sign that the company is doing poorly, "the company did not go bankrupt" is no guarantee that it is doing well.

-_-

Yes, the thing we need to make sure capitalism functions as it should is to make sure bankers can make even dumber choices because the government will always back every horrible money drain by giving them more money.

Uhhh...

This isn't free market capitalism, this is state corporatism.

What were you people expecting? A billionaire Wall Street banker write a book about how he needs less money, unless it is part of a PR scheme?

Seanchaidh:

And actually, what I think they meant to imply (whether true or not) is that Bain looted the companies and threw them into bankruptcy while profiting from their demise.

And that claim still wouldn't pass the smell test, since

A) The statistics say they didn't do that (at least to 3/4 of the companies they did business with), and
B) They provide absolutely no proof that Bain caused the bankruptcies of the companies.

So their use of the statistic is inherently misleading - which was the main thing I was annoyed about.

Stagnant:
Granted, that's not exactly fair, as it assumes we'll be out of Afghanistan soon, but still, there's no denying that the tax cuts were EXTREMELY expensive.

So extremely expensive that the tax cuts for everyone who wasn't rich have been costing the government almost four times as much money, at least if I got the number of zeros right[1].

The Democratic plan is neither cheap nor paid for. Making permanent all tax cuts for the middle class will cost the Treasury $2.7 trillion over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, at a time when Washington has already added trillions to the debt. Extending the tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans would drain an additional $678 billion.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,2005389,00.html#ixzz1tmfLdBGv

Yes, you can easily argue that the tax cuts on the rich aren't necessary (they're not). But when people cry about how "costly" the tax cuts for the rich are, they seem to gloss over the fact that the costs of maintaining those cuts for the middle class was 4/5 of the cost.

To put this in perspective, according to that account by TIME, here's what everything cost in 2010:
Bush cuts (richs) $678,000,000,000,000
Bush cuts (other) $2,700,000,000,000,000,000

Note that the second number has a few more zeros on the end, and therefore makes up a much bigger portion of that yellow section on the graph you link to. Yet I'm supposed to believe that it's the Bush tax cut for the rich that is the driving force behind the debt.

No, it didn't help, but it wasn't even close to being the main contributor.

[1] Admittedly, there WERE a lot of zeros, so I could easily have fucked that up

In other news, rich men like having more money. Report at 10.

scotth266:

Stagnant:
Granted, that's not exactly fair, as it assumes we'll be out of Afghanistan soon, but still, there's no denying that the tax cuts were EXTREMELY expensive.

So extremely expensive that the tax cuts for everyone who wasn't rich have been costing the government almost four times as much money, at least if I got the number of zeros right[1].

The Democratic plan is neither cheap nor paid for. Making permanent all tax cuts for the middle class will cost the Treasury $2.7 trillion over 10 years, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation, at a time when Washington has already added trillions to the debt. Extending the tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans would drain an additional $678 billion.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/politics/article/0,8599,2005389,00.html#ixzz1tmfLdBGv

Yes, you can easily argue that the tax cuts on the rich aren't necessary (they're not). But when people cry about how "costly" the tax cuts for the rich are, they seem to gloss over the fact that the costs of maintaining those cuts for the middle class was 4/5 of the cost.

To put this in perspective, according to that account by TIME, here's what everything cost in 2010:
Bush cuts (richs) $678,000,000,000,000
Bush cuts (other) $2,700,000,000,000,000,000

Note that the second number has a few more zeros on the end, and therefore makes up a much bigger portion of that yellow section on the graph you link to. Yet I'm supposed to believe that it's the Bush tax cut for the rich that is the driving force behind the debt.

No, it didn't help, but it wasn't even close to being the main contributor.

Good answer. Now here's my question: what counts as "rich"? What percentile of the populace? Because if it's less than 20%, then you should see the problem. That's why it's considered tax cuts "for the rich". Another reason people don't bitch so much about tax cuts for the middle class is that in times of economic downturn, they make sense - putting more money into the pockets of the poor and the middle class can stimulate spending, as they are a lot more likely to spend rather than save (as opposed to the rich, who more often than not already are saving a lot of money). But all in all, I would consider this a fair complaint. I still wonder, though - what percentage of Americans make more than $200,000?

[1] Admittedly, there WERE a lot of zeros, so I could easily have fucked that up

TheDarkEricDraven:
I'm going to go find that site from Hell Girl now. Fuck it. This is it. This is the limit. It's like Republicans just do this shit for the evulz. Somewhere, this guy is tying a young girl to a train track while twirling his handlebar moustache after kicking a pregnant dog and burning down an orphanage...An orphanage where he brutalized the orphans, raped the nuns, and then forced them all to cannibalize each other.

There is NO way people can keep being this stupid and keep looking up to people like this. Gods forbid someone reads this book and believes that shit.

Well if Republicans think they're too evil to be electable, they can always pull a Mr. Burns on us.

But in all seriousness, it's a rich guy who says giving him more money helps us get richer. That's about as logical as saying "Throwing your jewelry at a burglar will keep him from robbing you."

Sounds like a very conflicting message. On one part he's sounding like a tape recording about 80's trickle down economics, and anyone who's not been living under a rock (or a gated community in the millionaire's quarter) in the US in the past 30 years knows this doesn't work and can never work.

At the other hand he's arguing income equality? That's the diametrical opposite of the rest of the message. It's nice and all, but I'm not sure how he envisions it. The exact same composition but taxes radically changed so the US gets income equality? Okay, that would improve things massively for the coming 20 years, but it won't happen.

Because another thing he got wrong is that the system is rigged. System is a big word. It's a metaphor for all of a society.

Let's start with small observations: How come the politician who gathers the most money generally wins? The US general public is used to this, used to the political paralysation, indoctrinated with a huge number of fundamentally flawed concepts. Best example I know: gun freaks. Give them statistics about tens of thousands dying, and they say it's a good thing. Note to them how weapons kill, and they'll scream weapons don't kill. Explain to them how every single example of legalised murder they quote would've been better off without people dying, and they'll scream people would've died anyway even if that's an unlikely improven assumption. Also note how obsessive-compulsive gun freaks will respond to this post by puking out their normal obnoxious excuses, demonstrating their state of complete indoctrination.
In any sane world, the US second amendment would've went out the window somewhere early 20th century, yet it hasn't and the position of the gun lobby is almost unassailable. How come this strange situation?


Because US society has a great many of those holy cows. Doctrines and myths people believe in stubbornly, like a religion. It's part of the US culture, as is rigid conformity to those doctrines.

All in all, that stops social change from happening; nobody really wants it, outside of a few ridiculous fringe groups who are their own best counterargument. Like that OWS stuff. First thing they did was consort with anti-globalists and set the place on fire. How to run a possible political movement into the ground 101.

Most likely social change in the US will be extremely slow and incident-driven.

Example: the inevitable move towards universal healthcare. You could bring this forum's servers down in flames if you wrote down every single example of how the current US health system fails, but despite of the monumental size of the reason to change it, even a visionary who became president had a really tough time changing anything. And it says a lot about the US that the water down compromise that Obamacare became is still the biggest social change in the US since the Second World War.

My best guess: continued conservatism and apathy for the years to come, and the US as a country continuing to sink fast.

my highly intellectual contribution to this debate will be simple, yet amazingly relevant: Connard (with two n's) in french means jerk. "If our destiny stems from our name, then I weep for the flower named Wilt."
However to be fair, a sociey with 0 income inequality would be quite scary and above all boring

Why is a rise in income inequality such a terrible thing? If Person A is making $15000 one year and $20000 the next year, and Person B is making $150000 one year and $300,000 the next year, okay, the gap between them has increased, but Person A is still better off than he was.

Hahaha, right, because that's how increasing income inequality works in the USA. Everything's getting better, everybody getting richer, it's just that some are getting richer more quickly than others! But at the end of the day, everybody will have at least a good house, good food, good healthcare and good retirement savings, so really, there's nothing wrong. It's not as if the middle class was dissolving and the lower class growing in size and poverty. I sincerely hope you're joking.

bmasta:
my highly intellectual contribution to this debate will be simple, yet amazingly relevant: Connard (with two n's) in french means jerk. "If our destiny stems from our name, then I weep for the flower named Wilt."

That right there made my morning, Cheers :D

OT: So how much will this affect Romney does anyone think?

scotth266:

To put this in perspective, according to that account by TIME, here's what everything cost in 2010:
Bush cuts (richs) $678,000,000,000,000
Bush cuts (other) $2,700,000,000,000,000,000

As stated there, the tax cuts for the rich alone would have lost the government about 50 times as much revenue as the entire national GDP of the USA. Or to put it another way, you've got way too many 0s. More plausible would be $678,000,000,000 ($678 billion) for the rich and 2,700,000,000,000 for the other ($2.7 trillion) in total revenues over ten years 2001-2010, so an average of $340 billion a year. Split, we could assume, about 20% rich 80% other.

Next, who the 'rich' here? These statistics are useless without reference to what they represent. If the 'rich' in this analysis pay 20% of the total tax bill and got 20% of the total value of the tax cut, then they've not been made proportionally any better or worse off.

PrinceOfShapeir:
Why is a rise in income inequality such a terrible thing?

Because the gap in the US is already huge, and growing further. Also nobody's really better off. The upper outliers don't benefit. Whether you have 3 million or 300 million, you're rich. The lower outliers however suffer a lot. Right now the US is the only western country with such an income disparity. All other countries are third world countries or developing. Actually, many developing countries and countries in Africa beat the US with better distributions. To compare: if you put it in categories like they did on Wikipedia, neighbour Canada is four entire classes different.

Comparing: that's about the same difference between the Netherlands and Brazil, with all it's favela slums. So basically Canada is compared to the US, the difference between a wealthy West-European country, and a bunch of slums where dozens of people get killed every day.

For a country that in theory is the second largest economy on the planet due to a massively bloated GDP, that means something's been done very wrong.

PrinceOfShapeir:
Why is a rise in income inequality such a terrible thing? If Person A is making $15000 one year and $20000 the next year, and Person B is making $150000 one year and $300,000 the next year, okay, the gap between them has increased, but Person A is still better off than he was.

The problem is that is not what is happening. In the US the wages for a majority of the population have been stagnant for decades. It is only the rich who are getting richer.

PrinceOfShapeir:
Why is a rise in income inequality such a terrible thing? If Person A is making $15000 one year and $20000 the next year, and Person B is making $150000 one year and $300,000 the next year, okay, the gap between them has increased, but Person A is still better off than he was.

Economically, it might not be that terrible. Socially, it's potentially very corrosive. Mind you, what's socially corrosive may well end up being economically corrosive too.

Another practical problem is that the real terms median wage in the USA has been largely stagnant for 30-40 years. In other words the poorer guy doesn't go from $15k to $20k, he goes from $15k to $15k.

I'm not saying there isn't a problem - quite the opposite. But talking about the rich getting richer and income inequality and whatnot is utterly meaningless.

Income inequality isnt a problem, the important thing is for even the poorest of people to be able to obtain the funds required to meet their basic needs.

Seekster:
Income inequality isnt a problem, the important thing is for even the poorest of people to be able to obtain the funds required to meet their basic needs.

And many can't without some kind of assistance. That's the issue with cutting that assistance so you can give another round of tax cuts. After all, that money has to come from somewhere and I don't think you could justify another unpaid for tax cut to just about anyone. Then there's also a matter that many of the products the rich invest in go way beyond basic needs. If you reach a critical mass of people who can't afford these semi-luxuries, then those companies crash hard and then there can be a cascade effect.

PrinceOfShapeir:
Why is a rise in income inequality such a terrible thing? If Person A is making $15000 one year and $20000 the next year, and Person B is making $150000 one year and $300,000 the next year, okay, the gap between them has increased, but Person A is still better off than he was.

Well. Because it seems to me in the US the lower class is growing, the upper class is getting smaller. And the upper echelons of upper class is getting a lot richer. I dont think this is how soceity is supposed to work.

PrinceOfShapeir:
I'm not saying there isn't a problem - quite the opposite. But talking about the rich getting richer and income inequality and whatnot is utterly meaningless.

Im not saying its not a problem, I only said that in my previous post. Oh and btw, talks spread the message. Facts gets proven, people get ammunition. Some of theese people (Like myself) Will go the streets or send emails to people with power. Theese people will get the idea that some people dont like income inequality. And will maybe do something about it.

-Not- talking about it 'and' -Not- doing anything. is even worse than talking about it and not doing anything. Talking gets something, no talking gets nothing. If there is a problem, talking about it is the next-best thing. And its usually preffered to go fetch torches and pitchforks and 'kill' all the rich people. 'Talking' is what you do in a civilized soceity.

PrinceOfShapeir:
I'm not saying there isn't a problem - quite the opposite. But talking about the rich getting richer and income inequality and whatnot is utterly meaningless.

That's self-contradiction.

If there's a problem that involves to some extent income inequality, then discussing income inequality is not utterly meaningless, is it?

Seekster:
Income inequality isnt a problem, the important thing is for even the poorest of people to be able to obtain the funds required to meet their basic needs.

If income inequality is caused by an inequitable distribution of profit, then that hurts everyone (except the ones unjustly profiting, of course.)

A large share of profit is distributed by ownership of things rather than recompense for one's ingenuity and contribution. Government programs pale in comparison to the amount of wealth that is taken by ownership of the product of others. If the market is to properly encourage economically efficient behavior through price signals, property rights and legal structure need to reward doing more than owning.

Apart from that, meeting basic needs is not enough for the very poor to have much social mobility even through very hard work. Quality public education, public order, and other such things are necessary as well. The very poor need good ways to advance their position, not just subsist.

scotth266:

Semantics. If the number of bankruptcies is supposed to indicate that Bain Capital is doing badly at its job (as the article from Think Progress implies), then the number of not-bankrupt companies must be a measure of its success, or the statistic is meaningless drivel.

Except success/failure is not black and white. You can succeed and make loads of money or you can crash and burn, but what about those companies that on average only make back their expenses? If your company is making no money it's hardly successful but at the same time it's not gone bankrupt so it's not an obvious failure.

Since the only statistic mentioned is the ~25% bankruptcy rate we cannot draw any conclusions about the success of Bain Capitals investments. For all we know 74.99% of all companies are just scraping by and are nobody's definition of a success.

scotth266:
Think Progress is supposed to be the source for this? Good to know that I can pretty much ignore anything it claims about the book then.

I'm getting the sense that there's a really dubious false sense of equality coming out about the Escapist's source-whinging meme. I wonder if after decades of shame at FOX New's reputation as blatant partisan propaganda, people are suddenly deciding to try and turn the tables. It's like the 90's "Liberal media bias" zombie awoken again for the Internet age.

Of course, this couldn't miss the point further, even if the point was lodged under a rock on the dark side of Europa. The reason FOX News is propaganda is because there is a clear, documented, long-term history of intentional deception and misrepresentation of facts. If the facts were on FOX News' side, they wouldn't be propaganda, they would simply be news. The reason FOX is such a disreputable source is because FOX lies. Not because FOX is conservative.

So all these people who proudly proclaim they can ignore a source just because it is liberal-aligned are missing the point. Only if the source can be demonstrated to regularly push lies can they be disregarded- regardless of their political affiliation. And no, contradicting what you want to be true is not proof of lies.

So if you don't want to look like a child who stuffs their fingers in their ears every time they hear something they don't like, I suggest you quit throwing a tantrum every time someone cites a source whose political alignment differs from yours.

Ultratwinkie:
Do you agree, Escapist? Or is his justifications absolute bullshit?

Of course his justifications are bullshit. They're the same bullshit the GOP has been peddling for yearsdecades. It's become practically a religion- "You benefit by me being rich," which people whole-heartedly believe despite their being zero evidence and actually quite a lot of disproving evidence. This is why when people say the US is a Christian country I snicker a little- the god most commonly worshiped in the US is Mammon.

Now this doesn't mean we need income equality. Society benefits by people who work hard getting rewards. The fallacy comes in when people presume that because they have the reward, they must have earned it by working hard. This fallacy grows when they then assume people who didn't get rewards didn't work hard. And then when they assume that because some people get more wealthy after they worked hard that we should increase income inequality ("If a little is good, more must be better!") then we have a big ole' 'splosion that gets stinky, goopy fallacy all over the place.

The biggest strike against the GOP right now is that they know times are rough for everyone. They know people are angry. And they could really take a strong leadership role by proposing ways to make things better for everyone. But they don't. They just recycle the same tired trickle-down nonsense we've been getting fed for as long as I've been alive. We keep hearing that the government shouldn't provide the safety net- that it should come from private charity. And yet we never see the people who advocate this taking leadership positions to inspire more charity.

PrinceOfShapeir:
Why is a rise in income inequality such a terrible thing? If Person A is making $15000 one year and $20000 the next year, and Person B is making $150000 one year and $300,000 the next year, okay, the gap between them has increased, but Person A is still better off than he was.

It doesn't work that way though. Stop looking at dollar amounts, and consider it as percentages of the whole. If there is 5000 "wealth", and persons A, B, C, D, and E have 1000 "wealth", that is income equality. Now lets say the economy grows, so there is 10000 "wealth" in total, but this growth introduces inequality of reward, because the five people have different jobs. Lets say that person A's share increases to 4000 "wealth", leaving the other four with an increase of just 250 to 1250 "wealth". Now, that's still not a huge deal, because lets set cost of living at 250 "wealth", so while A has more disposable income than the rest, they all still have plenty left over once they pay for necessities.

Now, imagine this scenario repeating unchecked for decades, with person A's amount of "wealth" going up by the same disproportionately large margin with each increase. Then modify the scenario with currency devaluation, inflation, the effects of commodity trading on food prices, and the thousands of other factors which affect a capitalist economic system. A can protect substantial portions of his share of the total "wealth" from these factors by accounting tricks, using tax-havens, lobbying government, and a dozen other methods, while the others cannot.

So, we've been running the scenario for say, 30 years, what are the results? The total "wealth" is now 500,000 with A having 400,000 of the total, and the other four having 25,000 each. But in those intervening 30 years, the additional factors have been working, and the cost of living is now 24,000 "wealth". When the system started, after the first increase in total "wealth", A devoted 6% of his wealth to living expenses, and the rest had to spend 20%. The end result is that person A now has to devote just 5% of his income to covering necessary living expenses, while persons B, C, D, and E must devote 96% to the same.

And THAT is why income inequality is bad, especially in a system as hostile to redistributive welfare as America. Obviously the example is simplified, in reality there would be hundreds of tiers of income, but it should give you a basic idea why everyone who doesn't hold to neo-liberal horseshite-dressed-as-wisdom "economics" has been going a bit crazy since the Thatcher/Reagan-era.

Seekster:
Income inequality isnt a problem, the important thing is for even the poorest of people to be able to obtain the funds required to meet their basic needs.

[Citation needed]

Income inequality may be a problem on any number of levels.

One, for instance, is that to a large extent wealth equals power, and huge power imbalances in society readily lead to abusive uses of power in society.

Secondly, it tends to breed discontent, disaffection and unhappiness.

Thirdly, increasing differences in individuals (of any sort, including wealth) makes it harder for people to comprehend or sympathise with others, thus is divisive.

Fourthly, it frequently (although not necessarily) is associated with "basic needs" not being met, or that what "basic needs" are is often downgraded to level sufficiently sparse that being on them is a severe impediment for those there.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked