Media, In-Group Collectivism, Feeding American Denial On Inequality, Wage Theft, And More


Denial is a powerful force, and in a representative democracy, mass denial is incredibly dangerous. Combine mass denial with in-group collectivism packaged by a handful of self-serving elites, and we call it conservative media. And leading the charge is the ideological solidarity sold by Fox News for conservative consumption, a force assisting in transmuting our representative democracy into something much more closely resembling a representative oligarchy.

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Opportunity vs. Outcome: Acknowledging Inequality Is Not ‘Resentment’

Conservatives love talking about the idea that if everyone works hard, plays by the rules, they too shall prosper. Hell, even President Obama has used this same rhetorical refrain on many occasions. And whether he believes it’s true or not, it never quite rings true for me when he says it, because it seems he’s still trying, over five years into his presidency, to win over at least a few conservatives.

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An Indefensible Economic System

Someone needs to explain to me why there are so many Americans making average or even substandard wages who continue to defend the capitalistic status quo. I think this is where Robert Reich is correct, that people are simply afraid. In a labor market where employers have all the power, people just feel lucky to have a job.

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Robert Reich Says We Should Set A ‘Maximum Wage’ For Top Executives

The minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation, this is a fact that not even Republicans attempt to refute, at least not that I’ve seen. But do you know what has far outpaced inflation? Executive pay. According to a Facebook post by former labor secretary Robert Reich, when minimum wage was first enacted in 1935 it was “intended to represent society’s sense of minimally decent pay.” Reich says at that time “executives were paid about 20 to 30 times the average wage.” But we all know what has happened over the decades.

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The Supply Side Lie

Post war until roughly the 1970s, increases in income in all quintiles more or less moved together. The bottom quintile increased with the top quintile. Since the 70s, the top two quintiles continued to grow, with the top quintile actually accelerating (although to be fair, it corrected/adjusted during the Great Recession, but only modestly). But since the 1970s, the bottom three quintiles have been pretty much flat.

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Economic Inequality Is A Clear And Present Danger To American Democracy

The phrase “clear and present danger” is the standard by which freedom of speech can be abridged. As the saying goes, nobody has the right to shout “fire” in a theater. The United States Supreme Court began citing this standard in 20th century rulings, reaffirming that freedom of speech stops at the point where it puts pubic safety in peril. The idea is controversial, but it should be understood that constitutional rights are not absolute. Whether you agree with this standard as it applies to freedom of speech, is of little importance here. It only matters that you understand what it means, because economic inequality is a clear and present danger to American democracy.

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Pew: Most Republicans Believe Poor Just Aren’t Working Hard Enough

This should come as no surprise, but a Pew study released today shows most Republicans believe you are poor because you choose to be poor. Or in other words, the poor are simply not working hard enough. This of course echoes the sentiments of Kevin O’Leary, who I wrote about yesterday. He’s the fat cat who said it’s “fantastic” that 85 people own the same wealth as 3.5 billion people (half of Earth’s population).

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VIDEO: Canadian Businessman Says It’s ‘Fantastic’ 85 People Have More Wealth Than Billions In Poverty

Canadian Businessman, TV host, and “Asshat of the Year” winner (and that’s impressive because it’s still only January) Kevin O’Leary says that it’s “fantastic” that the richest 85 people have more wealth than half the population on planet Earth. The video is worth watching just to see the reaction by O’Leary’s co-host, Amanda Lang.

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Taxing The Rich: A Liberal Argument For A Progressive Tax System To Grow The Economy

Conservatives will play the “class warfare” card if you dare mention a tax increase on the rich. And if you talk about income inequality, well, this means you are simply envious, and you are trying to “punish success.” But for this conservative “logic” to be rational, wouldn’t we have to consider the current progressive tax system to also be unfair? — Well, as it turns out, that is exactly what many conservatives say about progressive taxation, but it doesn’t mean their assessment is sound.

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The Rich Are Rich Because They Deserve It? Krugman Responds To Brooks

Is the affluence of the wealthiest Americans entirely earned, or is there a level of luck, timing, and in some cases, family inheritance involved? Or to ask it a different way, can people honestly make the case of one human being that is deserving of such massive wealth (like that of the .01%) on the merits of his or her productivity? Is there any single human being who deserves to be worth more than the combined wealth of millions of fellow citizens?

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