Some Election Economics
I check out Robert Reich’s blog on occasion being that he is a person who was involved in the past. Yesterdays:
Over a decade ago when, as Secretary of Labor, I hollered about the scandal of widening inequality in America, I’d get phone calls from Democratic officials who politely asked me to shut up. After all, I was part of the administration, and my complaints made it seem as if the administration wasn’t doing nearly enough. It wasn’t. We hadn’t delivered on Bill Clinton’s 1992 election promises. An expanded Earned Income Tax Credit helped the poorest but the old working class was going nowhere.
Well, what’d yah know? Clinton’s progressive first run rhetoric was fluff.
He says there are 2 thoughts in this country; trickle down and bottom up.
In a global economy, investments don’t trickle down; they trickles out to wherever on the planet the rich can get the highest return. If trickle down worked as advertised inequality wouldn’t be widening so fast.
Bottom up means giving all Americans what they need to be productive – universal and affordable health coverage, good schools, a chance to attend college, job retraining, affordable child care, and good public transportation to and from the job, for starters. But as we learned a decade ago, this requires money – even more, now. So the question is how the nation can afford it…
The only way is to stop obsessing about balancing the budget and start pushing for a serious tax hike on the rich. Yet all Democratic presidential candidates are styling themselves “fiscal conservatives” and none has suggested raising the marginal tax rate on the richest beyond the 38 percent rate it was under Bill Clinton. They may talk bottom-up economics but they’re still wedded to trickle down.
I think someone is feeling betrayed. So, what are the candidates talking?
I give you an interview by Charlie Rose of 3 economic advisors to 3 democratic candidates.
And, just for good measure here is an interview with Leo Hindrey, Mr. Edwards econ adviser.
A teaser from the interview:
In 1981 the Business Roundtable noted that CEOs have multiple constituencies, but in 2004 – after Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia, the NYSE, etc. – that very same Business Roundtable narrowed CEO responsibility back to “shareholders only”. How wrong they are! Unless and until CEOs acknowledge obligations as well to employees, customers, communities and the nation, misbehaviours will continue – and, by the way, management is not a constituency unto itself.
My favorite line from the interview (cause I’ve noted here, and implied here the same question although Walmart is just his example):
The question Wal-Mart simply needs to ask itself is “when is enough, enough?”
What was that Mr Bogle was saying about enough?