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What Worries Me Most About Clinton: That she may not have the intellectual capacity to discern even critically important distinctions. Including glaring ones.

Update appended, 6/13 at 12:42 p.m.


“It should not take longer to start a business in America than it does in Canada or France. But that is the fact.”

— Hillary Clinton, during a small business discussion, Cedar Falls, Iowa, May 19, 2015 

Our antenna always goes up when a politician asserts a “fact.” Clinton made this remark in the midst of a discussion about the “perfect storm of crisis” that she said small businesses face in the United States.

She made a similar point in an article she posted on LinkedIn on May 21, but with an additional country added:  “It should not take longer to start a business in the U.S. than it does in Canada, Korea, or France.”

Clinton’s claim that it takes longer to start a business in the U.S. than in Canada or France, Glenn Kessler, Washington Post, May 22

My own antenna always goes up when I hear a politician assert as fact a generic statement that is intended to imply what I know is a falsity or that patently makes no sense.  In this instance, it was both, and, stunningly, was intended to imply a false fact that supports a key line in the Republican playbook: that federal regulation is keeping middle-class folks from starting or expanding a small business.

Marco Rubio claimed something similar in April—to which Martin O’Malley famously responded, when asked about it in an interview, “It is not true that regulation holds poor people down or regulation keeps the middle class from advancing. That’s kind of patently bulls—.”  And Jeb Bush hinted at it a couple of months earlier.

When I read about Clinton’s statements before I read Kessler’s post (I didn’t see the post until about a week after it was posted), I was absolutely dumbfounded.  As Kessler notes, Clinton complains about “red tape” in starting small businesses and says that the length of time in starting a business, caused by red tape, keeps people from starting businesses.  The claim startled me; most red tape in starting businesses is state and local red tape, not federal, and the amount and type of red tape depends almost entirely upon the type of business and factors such as whether it requires a trade license of some sort (e.g., beautician), or a liquor license, and whether a permit of some sort must be obtained.

Opening a restaurant, for example, requires local health department permits and adherence to health department rules.  It also requires procuring a physical space in which to have the restaurant, and usually also means obtaining a business loan.  Starting a home-based web-design business requires none of those things.  The incorporation process involves filing a short filled-out form with the state Secretary of State’s office and paying a fee.

Clinton doesn’t know these things?  Really?

So the generic breadth of her statement was stupefying.  She holds a law degree from Yale, was a partner in a corporate law firm, an active First Lady of a state and then of the country.  Did she really not know that most red tape in starting a business does not touch upon anything that the federal government regulates?  Or did she have something accurate and specific in mind, but rather than identifying it, indulged her penchant for talking in incoherencies apparently in order to avoid ever saying anything specific about, well, anything?

Kessler’s post answered that question.  She did indeed have something specific in question: average statistics for businesses that employ between 10 and 50 people within one month, having five owners, using start-up capital equivalent to 10 times income per capita and being engaged in industrial or commercial activities and owning no real estate.  In Los Angeles, where it takes an average of eight days to start such a business.  Whereas in Paris it takes only 4.5 days and in Toronto five days.  In New York City, though, it takes only four days.

Clinton lives near New York City and represented New York state as a senator.  She knows that New York City is in this country.

This information was taken from the World Bank website, which, Kessler says, provides statistics that “lets you compare the individual cities to countries, so New York ends up tied for 6th place — with Belgium, Iceland, South Korea, the Netherlands and Sao Tome.”  Los Angeles, he says,  is in 15th place, tied with Cyprus, Egypt, Madagascar and the Kyrgyz Republic, among others. Oh, dear. But he points to another World Bank report that notes that “the differences are so large because, in the United States, ‘company law is under state jurisdiction and there are measurable differences between the California and New York company law.’”

I knew that!  I should run for president in the Democratic primary. Every small-business owner and aspiring small-business owner knows that, so I’d have a natural constituency.  And I have the advantage of actually recognizing problems that do affect many small businesses and that the federal government can address, by regulation.  Including ones that recent Democratic congresses, together with a Democratic president, actually enacted.

Kessler comments, “So what does data about starting a business in the largest city have to do with small businesses in Iowa? Beats us.”  It surely also beats small-business owners and people who are seriously considering becoming one.  Including those who are fairly recent immigrants to this country and who don’t hold a law degree from Yale.

Kessler notes that even if Clinton were accurate in her claim that it takes longer, on average, throughout this country than in the other countries she mentioned to start small businesses generally, the difference would be a matter of a day or two.  He writes:

The World Bank’s database lists 189 countries in terms of the time required to start a business. For 2014, in first place is New Zealand, with one day. In France and Canada, along with eight other countries, it takes five days. (South Korea, along with six other countries, is listed as four days.) The United States, with 12 other countries, is listed as six days.

First of all, one extra day does not seem like much of a hindrance — so much so that, as Clinton asserted in the LinkedIn article, the fact signified the “red tape that holds back small businesses and entrepreneurs.”

This is crazy.  What, pray tell, is her point?  To show that she’s too dumb to recognize distinctions between state and federal regulation, and between one type of small business and another?  If you’ve seen one small business, you’ve seen ‘em all?  And if you’ve seen state or local regulation, you’ve seen federal regulation?

Elsewhere in her LinkedIn letter she says that it takes longer to complete small-business federal tax forms than it is to complete multi-national corporations’ federal tax forms. Maybe so, but is that because the multi-nationals keep PricewaterhouseCoopers or Deloitte on retainer and the owners of the Thai food restaurant down the road probably don’t?  She doesn’t say. She thinks the ultimate in clever political rhetoric is to make some dramatic comparison; the accuracy and even the coherence of the comparison doesn’t matter to her.

Clinton does this conflation/sweeping-two-or-more-things-together-that-need-to-be-recognizated-as-separate-things thing regularly. In her brief comment in Iowa in April in which she said she would support a constitutional amendment, if necessary, to reverse Citizens United and get “unaccountable” money out of politics, she misrepresented that Citizens United bars election laws that would require super PACs to identify their donors, and corporations to report the recipients of their political largesse.  It doesn’t.  No constitutional amendment is needed to permit such statutes and SEC, IRS and FEC regulations.

I had planned to post on all this earlier but didn’t get around to it.  But two articles published in recent days, one in the Washington Post last weekend about the 2008 Clinton campaign’s gift of snow shovels to supporters in Iowa before the caucuses, the other a Washington Post column yesterday by Katrina vanden Heuvel, prompted this post.  The snow shovels article, by David Fahrenthold, begins:

AMES, Iowa — In Phyllis Peters’s garage, there is a snow shovel. A nice one: green, shiny, with an ergonomic steel handle. It came from Hillary Rodham Clinton.

And it plays a part in a modern-day political legend, about some of the strangest money a candidate has ever spent.

Eight years ago, Peters was a volunteer for Clinton’s first presidential run. She had been an admirer of Clinton since her time as first lady. But just before Clinton lost the Iowa caucuses, her staffers did something odd: They bought shovels for Peters and the hundreds of other volunteers.

“If you’re in Iowa, you [already] have a snow shovel,” the article quotes Peters as saying.  But she accepted the gift so as not to be rude.  “For both those who gave out the shovels and those who received them,” the article says, “they came to symbolize a candidate who never quite got their home state.”

Clinton grew up in a suburb of Chicago, then spent four winters in Wellesley, MA.  That was decades ago.  But, geeez.  She didn’t get cold-climate folks?

Vanden Heuvel’s column, titled “A new definition of freedom in America,” argues that the term “freedom” has had different meanings in different political eras, and that it’s imperative now that the Democratic presidential nominee, presumably Clinton, move aggressively away from the Conservative Movement definition of freedom as economic laisse faire, and reinstitute and expand upon FDR’s famous Four Freedoms. She writes:

This is Hillary Clinton’s historic opportunity. The greatest threat to freedom now is posed by the entrenched few that use their resources and influence to rig the rules to protect their privileges. She would do a great service for the country — and for her own political prospects — by offering a far more expansive American view of what freedom requires, and what threatens it.

Clinton should make it clear to Americans that in a modern, globalized world, we are in the midst of a fierce struggle between economic royalists and a democratic citizenry. If we are to protect our freedoms, citizens must mobilize to take back government from the few, to clean out the corruption and to curb the oppressive power of the modern day economic royalists.

But this requires a candidate who is both mentally quick enough and willing to respond, accurately and in specifics, to the Republican anti-regulation, supply-side-economics nonsense.  Clinton doesn’t seem like she has either of these attributes.

Clinton appears to think that all that matters is the generic ideas people have about what she stands for, and a few specific policy proposals all in good time.  She’s wrong.  She needs to respond, in full oral statements, using clear fact-based arguments, to the anti-government policy cant of the Republican sheep herd, from which her opponent eventually will come.  But I don’t think she can.


ADDENDUM: I posted a comment in response to a comment by Mark Jamison that says in part:

One thing that comes through loud and clear from her attempt to Sister Souljah small-business owners and aspirants, Mark, is that she thinks Democrats NEED a Sister Souljah moment for small-business owners and aspirants. Dick Durbin could educate her on that, simply by referring her to what’s known as the Durbin Amendment.

Another thing that comes across is that, just as she didn’t realize in 2008 that Iowans all have snow shovels, she apparently doesn’t recognize that small-business owners and aspirants want solutions to problems that they actually have, and that that requires knowing the specifics of the problem, including the cause.

I want to make clear that I think the concerns of small-business owners are very much appropriate issues for progressive Democratic politicians to address. And that progressive Democratic elected officials do address them–the Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act being an example.  What Democratic candidates and officeholders should not do is create straw men for them to swat down.

Added. 6/10 at 5:41 p.m.


UPDATE: Naked Capitalism’s Yves Smith yesterday linked to this post (thanks, Yves!), and the link spawned a surprisingly long exchange of comments there, started by reader Carolinian, who noted and linked to a Harpers piece from last year that makes similar or complementary arguments.

Carolinian notes in one of her comments in that thread that Clinton’s campaign is hellbent on getting across the claim that Clinton is a wonk–something that I’d planned to post on here at AB.  A day or two after I read the articles about Clinton’s federal-red-tape-is-discouraging-people-from-starting-small-businesses tack, I read two articles, one by Peter Beinart on The Atlantic website (I can’t remember where I read the other, or who wrote it), assuring readers that Clinton is a wonk. I remember thinking, “OK, got it. Clinton is a wonk.  It’s just that she’s a wonk who thinks most small businesses need permits or licenses from the federal government in order to open.  And just this morning I read two more along that line, one of them (in Politico, I think), which says that her staff is pushing the “wonk” moniker because it’s accurate: that’s what she is.

The gist of these articles is that she really cares about policy–the nitty-gritty of policy, especially how best to achieve a policy goal.  One problem with that, though, is that she keeps making sing-songy soundbite statements that are either inaccurate or misleading or irrelevant or downright incoherent.

Clinton and her staff seem to be misconstruing the meaning of “wonk,” which does including within it the ability to understand the meaning and implications of the statistics and other facts–and recognize the actual sources of those facts, as distinguished from the cliches that the Republicans are selling.  The problems that people have in trying to start a business almost never involve federal red tape.  By saying otherwise, Clinton’s now made clear that she’s no wonk.

Updated 6/13 at 12:42 p.m.


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Freedom. [Addendum added.]

Liberty.  States’ rights.  Freedom.

Just ask Justice Kennedy about how the removal of federal constitutional checks on state and local courts, prosecutors and prisons has ensured our freedom.  Well, his, anyway.

He’ll tell you.  It’s our constitutional design (his word), see.

I keep wondering why international human rights organizations don’t aggressively spread information about this country’s states’-rights agenda and it’s huge, appalling consequences, and make clear that this is, virulently advanced by the current Supreme Court.  Because, really, only when this gains broad international attention will it begin to end.

And, yes, this is what the Court calls, explicitly, freedom.  The rest of the civilized world, though, I trust, would call it barbarism.  If they knew about it.

And really, it’s long past time that they did.


ADDENDUM: To clarify, the premise of Kennedy’s states’-rights=freedom shtick is that separation-of-powers=freedom; ergo, Germans, Scandinavians and the Dutch, for example, are prisoners. The selling point is supposed to be checks and balances, but under Kennedy’s brand of separation-of-powers=freedom, there is a separate of powers but there are no constitutional checks on state and local government police and judicial powers. Freedom is defined not by what happens to you but instead by which government, and what part of that government, is doing it.

Added 6/9 at 11:34 a.m.

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Musings on Krugman’s Musings on Inequality and Growth

Paul Krugman is skeptical about the alleged negative effect of inequality on growth

there have been a number of studies that seem to find a negative relationship, all based on some kind of international cross-section approach (some with time-series aspects too). So what is my problem? In general, I have doubts about the whole growth regression methodology, which has lots of problems in identifying causation (remember, that’s the methodology behind the Reinhart-Rogoff debt-threshold paper). Beyond that, there just isn’t a striking, simple relationship between inequality and growth; all the results depend on doing fairly elaborate data massaging, which might be right but might also be teasing out a relationship that isn’t really there.

He then presents Krugmanmetrics — a simple scatter of data from a small set of rich countries. The scatter shows almost exactly zero correlation.

My comment: Ah a post on a topic which I know something about.

First, a warning to a possibly careless reader, don’t reject the alternative.

Second, the sample is much smaller than the one usually analysed. The literature generally considers all countries for which data on inequality are available (note I didn’t say “high quality and comparable”). There is an advantage of looking at otherwise similar countries with extremely different GINIs, but the tiny sample means tiny power.

I recall statistically significan negative simple correlations between inequality and growth — it isn’t always true that the data have to be massaged.

I think it is important that the alleged stylized fact isn’t reported only by lefties — at all.

OK now how about causation. I think one hint in the data (which wouldn’t show up in the sample analysed here) is that extremely surprisingly high enrollment in primary and secondary school in poor countries is correlated with low inequality and subsequent rapid growth (look for cites of Roberto Perrotti).

Extreme cases of high enrollment, low inequality and high growth are the usual suspects — Japan and the four little tigers. Here it is interesting that dictators who delivered low inequality and high growth were not at all perceived to be leftists. Chiang Kai Shek was beloved by the (now painfully moderate) Bush Sr so much that he shouts £unleash Chiang” when serving at tennis (his son Jeb demonstrated that he doesn’t know who Chiang was — clearly presidential timber). He was despised by the international left, the international center left and the international center. Another hero of equality and growth was late dictator of South Korea Park Chung Hee, again a reactionary hated by the center and left (definitely including me, but not, it seems, most South Koreans who have elected his daughter Park Geun hye President).

This would tend to suggest that it isn’t true that anything which reduces inequality increases growth. There is a large literature seeking and failing to find an association one way or the other between high taxes and growth (remember don’t reject the alternative). I have no idea about the association between strong trade unions and growth.

Finally a whole lot of the raw correlation is due to Latin America in the 80s. They had extreme inequality and extreme suffering during the 1980s debt crisis. Was this the business cycle messing up the regression or the causal connection ?

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The Alpha and Omega of my Thoughts on Backwards Induction from the Long Run Omega Point

This extraordinarily long and confused post is my response to Brad DeLong’s
New Economic Thinking, Hicks-Hansen-Wicksell Macro, and Blocking the Back Propagation Induction-Unraveling from the Long Run Omega Point: The Honest Broker for the Week of May 31, 2015

Before the jump, I make only three brief points.
1) The phrase “the Long Run Omega Point” asserts that there is only one possible long run outcome. Backward induction from the long run requires that there is no hysteresis (that is path dependence — the word was pulled back from Larry Summers distant past by one Brad DeLong).
2) Someone smart once said something smart-assed about backward induction.
3) Just so it’s clear — I have never met anyone who I am convinced is definitely smarter than Brad DeLong

more thoughts (much much more) after the jump.

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The Entire Population of Kansas Is About to Lose Its Liberty.

KANSAS CITY, Kan (Reuters) – While still unable to agree on a budget, Kansas lawmakers on Saturday averted a furlough of thousands of non-essential employees by passing a bill defining all employees as essential, officials said.

Republican Governor Sam Brownback said in a statement posted on his website that he will sign the bill so that state services can continue working uninterrupted.

Kansas averts furloughs for thousands of state employees, Kevin Murphy, Reuters, today

So all state employees in Kansas are essential. Who knew?

I dunno.  Sure sounds to me like big gummint.  Okay, well, I guess in Kansas these days, mid-sized gummint.  But still ….


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Why Progressives Should Reject Social Security Cap Increases

The basic reason is simple: it undercuts the broader progressive agenda. Also it buys into a particular Right economic meme. Both are huge mistakes.

To understand this we need to step back and examine overall tax policy and tax progressivity. What should progressives want? Well I suggest that as a first step we restore top marginal income rates back to Reagan levels (50%) and extend them to all income including realized capital gains. And then as some potential second stop restore those top rates to Kennedy levels (70%). At this point the Federal government would have the funds to start addressing all parts of the progressive agenda from childhood education and health to retirement security in a direct way, that is we could once again engage in the New Deal and the Fair Deal in a quest to achieve the Great Society. Or in more restrained rhetoric start working on social democratic solutions to broad societal problems.

But if progressives and Social Democrats agree on this then proposals to lift current Social Security wage caps and/or extend FICA to all income starts crowding out any possibility to tax THAT SAME INCOME via changes in marginal rates. Moreover it floods cash into and through a Trust Fund system that doesn’t allow expenditures on anything other than the specific programs involved. With the result that the rest of the progressive agenda remains stymied by the crowding out effect even as the Right can ‘explain’ that ‘you can’t have nice things’ because all the money is going to Social Security. Thus proving that the whole program was ‘unsustainable’ to start with and that any extensions of it, say in the direction of Single Payer Health Insurance, is just foolish and ignorant.

The truth is that the actual cash flow issues facing Social Security are minor and manageable within its current structures. Indeed almost all that needs to be done for Social Security going forward can be addressed by policies focused on increasing real wage and labor share via minimum wage and wage theft/suppression enforcement and by embarking on a much needed direct expenditure on public infrastructure. After all 12.4% of every wage dollar funded directly by a bridge replacement projects and 12.4% of every wage dollar produced by the multiplier effects of those wage workers spending their remaining wages flows directly into Social Security anyway. Meaning that jobs projects ARE Social Security ‘reform’.

George Laffer wasn’t entirely crazy. There is a maximum rate of tax extraction that corresponds with the greatest growth of the economy. It would just seem that depending on how you structure the incidence of that tax between wage income and capital income the empirical data shows that rate to be closer to Johnson and Kennedy’s 70% than Reagan’s 50% then 35% or Clinton’s 40%. So lets get cracking on raising marginal tax rates. But that effort is only impeded by progressives explicitly endorsing ‘Social Security Crisis’ and sending any and all increased tax revenue through the Trust Funds.

This isn’t to say to neglect Social Security entirely. The DI Trust Fund needs an immediate boost in revenues and the OAS Trust Fund would well be served by a gradual increase in FICA rates (hi Coberly!). But that doesn’t require extending FICA to all income, that is simple overkill and overreaction to what Dean Baker and Mark Weisbrot appropriately named the Phony Crisis in their book back in 1999.

To me the broader progressive economic agenda is simple: Restore top marginal income tax rates to 50%, or better 65%. Pursue policies explicitly focused on increasing employment, real wage and so labor share. And then—. Well there doesn’t really need to be much more “And then”. Certainly not in regards to major adjustments in the structure of Social Security finance, that just will work itself out with the combination of higher employment at higher wages and maybe some tinkering with FICA rates under the current cap formula.

Progressive Taxation and MJ.ABW (More Jobs. At Better Wages). And oh yeah – leave Social Security alone (at least mostly). Cap Increases are just a diversion from the real progressive solutions to the total progressive agenda.

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Rick Perry Says Social Security and Medicare Were Given to Us by God. Seriously. [Addendum added.]

The things we have in this country were given to us by God, not by government.

Perry: Government isn’t your savior, Nick Gass, Politico, today

Social Security and Medicare were given to us by God?  Who knew?

The highway system, sewer and water systems, airports and air traffic control, operation of shipping ports, public school systems, and (going back a way) electrification of the Tennessee Valley?

The research that resulted in the polio vaccine?

Guess I’ve been under a misapprehension about their provenance.

ADDENDUM:  It just occurred to me that, presumably then, the things Canadians, Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, and Germans have in their countries were given to them by God, not by government.  And the French, too—especially their healthcare system, widely regarded as one of the best in the world and available free of charge to everyone.

Which makes me wonder why God favors Canadians, Danes, Swedes, Norwegians, Germans and the French over Americans.

That said, I do understand why God favors the residents of blue states here in this country over red states.  Just in the last year alone, God has saved many, many more lives and lessened pain and physical suffering for far more people in blue states than in red states simply by deciding to significantly expand Medicaid availability under Obamacare.  Why did He decide to be a savior for so many more people in California than in Texas and Kansas?  He’s obviously a Democrat.  But he’s supposed to be nonpolitical.

This is testing my faith.

Added 6/5 at 2:58 p.m.

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More Class Warfare: The Real Point of the 18th Amendment (Prohibition)

Consider the wording of the 18th Amendment passed out of Congress during WWI and ratified in 1919.

Section 1. After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all the territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited.

Section 2. The Congress and the several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by the legislatures of the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

and then consider what is missing from it.

And the answer is “purchase, possession, or consumption”. All of which remained legal. Which meant that serving alcohol in a private residence whether at a dinner party or a cocktail party or a garden party was perfectly okay, at worst the host would have to claim some “pre-war” stock. Why even Senators and Congressmen and Presidents could (and did) openly consume intoxicating beverages in their offices and within limits at private clubs. Which would raise instant issues of hypocrisy and “goose and ganderism” except for one thing the history books gloss over. Prohibition was all about maintaining maximum productivity on the factory floor by effectively denying open access for workingmen. Because while in theory there would be no barrier to buying beer by the glass, or the beer bucket, or gin by the drink, or the bottle, it was clearly illegal to sell it in any open city or town setting. And it was not like the workingman could afford to have a bootlegger deliver booze by the case to be legally tucked away in some rich man’s cellar.

Which gets me to the point, and one that I barely have even anecdotal support for, though I believe it is out there. Prohibition largely worked for the actual purpose for which the wealthy and powerful ALLOWED it to be put in place. The 20s were the golden era for the new science of industrial engineering and production efficiency. Jobs that a generation or more before had largely been done by craftsmen were increasingly being done by factory workers operating on “the line” with every move under observation by those who would implement improvements based on Taylorism, after Frederick Winslow Taylor the father of time-motion studies. Which efficiency improvements you were not likely to get in the kind of alcohol infused workplace of the century before.

As an indication of the soundness of this theory consider that in reading about the business and social affairs of the American elite in the 1920s there is not a single hint that alcohol use was restrained or repressed, no instead this was the golden age of cocktails. Nor was there any evidence of an upsurge in piety among that group. But there was (and always will be) a class interest in boosting labor productivity and grabbing the spoils. I suggest that was what in part made the Roaring 20’s what they were. A program of prohibition that largely left the elites unaffected while clamping down on at least day time consumption by the working class.

Consider this an open thread on class warfare and labor share. Or whatever. Me, I am going to grab a stiff drink.

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Non Class War in the USA ?

Via Steve Benen and Greg Sargent.

The Washington Post/ABC News pollsters asked “Do you think the federal government should or should not pursue policies that try to reduce the gap between wealthy and less well-off Americans?”. 62% of respondents answered yes. This should be very unsurprising as it is roughly the same as the fraction who have been telling Gallup that high income people pay less than their fair of taxes for two decades now. It is also similar to the number who support higher taxes on high incomes to pay for the ACA and (in another poll) to prevent exaustion of the social security trust fund.

I have been, partly ironically, referring to this solid majority opinion as “class war” but Benen mentioned something which tends to unermine the class war interpretation/joke

What’s more, support for action in this area is quite broad. A majority of Americans regardless of race, for example, support actions to reduce the wealth gap. A majority of Americans regardless of age agree. Indeed, across the board – gender, level of education, household income, geographic region – there’s a broad consensus that this is an issue worthy of national action.

Wait a majority in the highest income sub group (income over $ 100 thousand a year) answered yes ? That sure doesn’t sound like class war does it ?


In fact, 63% of those respondents answered yes which is actually a tiny insignificant 1% higher than the overall fraction 62%.

Now I think the class war hypothesis can be saved if the vast majority of even the highest income subset don’t consider themselves “wealthy”. I sure wouldn’t consider a family of 5 with income of $101,000 and a mortgage wealthy (even though they are by world standards and very wealthy by the standards of almost all of human history). The class interest based struggle could be between the bottom 99% and the top 1% who are too few to show up noticeably in polls.

update: the vast majority of households with income over $ 100K are not in the top 1%. In fact almost 22% of US households had income over $ 100K back in 2012. What I meant to type is that the results of the poll can be reconciled with the idea that we are all selfish if the vast majority of houeholds with income over 100K don’t think they are “wealthy” but rather think the wealthy are the top 1%. To get in the top 1% a family needed $388,905 already in 2011. The idea I was trying to present is that someone struggling along with $ 120k might want to take from the wealth with $ 400k per year. I’d rather think that people who consider themselves wealthy are willing to share their wealth with the rest of the US (provided other wealthy people do too).

end update

Still the result is nice and potentially very useful to Democratic candidates who can argue that they are not advocating class warfare but proposing that we deal with a national problem as a majority of Americans regardless of their income think we should.

The strategy has the additional advantage that Republican candidates and operatives will have trouble resisting the argument that the poll is meaningless because many people with income over $ 100K* are absurdly poor takers and not like the job creators at all. Some will not hide the fact that families with income of $110,000 per year are much too poor to be in the class whose interests they serve.

*typo corrected thanks to Coberly

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