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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press The Post Only Calls It Redistribution When Government Policy Pushes Income Downward

The Post Only Calls It Redistribution When Government Policy Pushes Income Downward

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Sunday, 01 December 2013 08:54

For the last three decades the government has pursued a wide range of policies that have had the effect of redistributing income upward. For example our trade policy, by deliberately placing manufacturing workers in direct competition with low paid workers in the developing world, has lowered the wages of large segments of the work force. By contrast, we have left in place the restrictions that protect doctors and other highly paid professionals from foreign competition, ensuring that their pay stays high.

Similarly the too big to fail insurance that the government provides at no cost to large banks like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs allows top executives at these banks to pocket tens of millions of dollars a year. And our budget policy, that keeps tens of millions of workers unemployed or underemployed, lessens the income not only of the unemployed, but reduces the bargaining power and wages of those who are employed.

These and other government measures have the effect of redistributing income from ordinary workers to those at the top of the income distribution. Given this fact, it is peculiar that the Post would tell people in a piece on the growing strength of populists within the Democratic Party:

"many Americans are uncomfortable with the notion of the government redistributing income far beyond what happens today in order to accomplish basic elements of the populist agenda."

The question at issue is not the amount of redistribution; the question is the direction of the redistribution. The Post seems to want readers to imagine that the upward redistribution of the last three decades was just a fact of nature, as opposed to being an outcome of government policy. That is a major distortion of reality.

Comments (8)Add Comment
Redistributing Income Far Beyond What Happens Today ???
written by Last Mover, December 01, 2013 9:58
"many Americans are uncomfortable with the notion of the government redistributing income far beyond what happens today in order to accomplish basic elements of the populist agenda."


Exactly. Let the neo-fascist "makers" do it instead. They are much better at using government through faux populism to lead American sheep to economic slaughter.

Not like stupid liberals rising up themselves as faux populists, only to choke on their own zero-sum "taker" version of redistribution ... that obviously brought us to where we are today ... a plutocracy of serfdom.

Neo-fascists know the difference. Government can be used to cultivate "makers" as well as "takers".
Assertion
written by Jeffrey Stewart, December 01, 2013 10:02
"many Americans are uncomfortable with the notion of the government redistributing income far beyond what happens today in order to accomplish basic elements of the populist agenda." -Z. Goldfarb


Mr. Goldfarb provides exactly ZERO evidence or logic supporting this conclusion. Therefore, no one should accept its veracity.

There is no populist agenda
written by leftover, December 01, 2013 10:24
Goldfarb is as wrong about how Americans feel about income distribution as he is about a "populist agenda" in the Democratic Party. There is no populist agenda in the Democratic Party. Only two concerns inform the activities of American politicians: getting elected and staying in office. To that end the "natural logic of capitalism" is the rule: "[Y]ou have a right to as much as you want of anything you want and by extension, the right to use any means available to get it." (Wendell Berry) The means available to get into office include masquerading as a "populist"...or anything else... to reinforce the false consciousness of constituent agency in what has become a one-party political circus produced by the power of concentrated wealth.

Americans are genuinely disaffected with a system clearly determined to suck what wealth remains out of the middle class, creating more poverty, more insecurity, increased hardship and more division in society. The ruling class exploits that disaffection only when necessary, employing conscience laundering and fear mongering, to sustain the illusion of a benevolent public/private partnership responsive to constituent needs. The issue of distribution of wealth will never be adequately addressed now that New Deal Coalitions have been replaced by Neoliberal Toadies. Populist reformism is impotent in Neoliberal America. Populist rhetoric, just like The Public Option and The American Dream, is nothing but a scam.
Only two?
written by ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©, December 01, 2013 11:23
.
Only two concerns inform the activities of American politicians: getting elected and staying in office.

You are omitting the most egregious: getting rich via the large corporations you helped while you were 'servicing the public'.

Bill Clinton is worth over 100 million dollars now. He didn't get those speaking fees from the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Obama Administration is following that same blueprint.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/politics/mary-schapiro-and-lanny-breuer-give-us-the-ultimate-dog-bites-man-story-20130403


And of course, our corrupt Republican party calls their competing corporatists a pack of Socialists.
~

...
written by fuller schmidt, December 01, 2013 1:36
The populist agenda? The greed mongers are so sure of their ability to hoodwink the masses that they're letting their choices of words show who they really are. Of course it's because The Big Job Creator In The Sky has blessed them all with special talents, probably on a par with all of the half-man half-god figures of our illustrious history.
...
written by watermelonpunch, December 01, 2013 4:03

Americans are uncomfortable with not getting what they know they deserve... that most Americans don't understand why is the problem.

And this is a clear case of the Washington Post not helping that problem.
The Post has been conservative a long time
written by Charles Johnson, December 02, 2013 8:32
About 30 years ago, my spouse was President of the Washington Area ACLU and Katharine Graham was the attraction at a small fund-raiser for the ACLU. I asked her why the Post had become more conservative when Reagan became president and she vehemently denied that it had. When I pointed out that the Op-Ed page that morning had pieces by three conservatives (led by Patrick Buchanan), she simply said she disagreed with me.

It was clear then that the editorial page was more conservative; it has become clear in more recent years that the news pages also reflect that conservative bias.
Pope Francis
written by ethan, December 02, 2013 12:00
Off topic, but could you comment on Eugene Robinson's column in the 11/28 WaPo? It can be found at http://www.washingtonpost.com/...story.html

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.

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