Another Income-Inequality Study Stating the Obvious

by James A. Bacon

Along comes another study demonstrating that income inequality in the United States is getting worse and worse. The wrinkle this time is that it breaks down the growth in inequality by state. Virginia, it turns out, ranks 15th in the country for income inequality in 2008-2010, with the top fifth of households earning 8.1 times the income of the bottom fifth. That compares to the worst and best states, New Mexico with a 9.9 ratio of top to bottom, and Iowa with a 5.6 ratio.

Pulling Apart: A State-By-State Analysis of Income Trends,” published by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, also shows that income inequality increased between 1998-2000 and 2005-2007. In Virginia, the bottom income quintile lost $507 in income on average while the top quintile gained $17,138.

The numbers themselves are not terribly controversial. The trick is (1) explaining what is causing the increasing inequality, and (2) figuring out what to do about it.

“Pulling Apart” attributes the growing income inequality to the usual suspects such as globalization and foreign competition, the decline of unions, the increasing technology-intensity of work and the increasing returns to investment income. There’s probably some truth to these explanations, although how much is open to debate. What the study totally fails to consider is the movement of the population from low wage-earning regions to high wage-earning regions.

We can see the migration at work in Virginia as Southside and Southwest Virginia show near-zero growth as young people leave in search of better job opportunities while Northern Virginia grows like topsy. As high-wage Northern Virginians increase as a percentage of Virginia’s population — and NoVa, don’t forget, has among the highest incomes in the country — income inequality gets worse. Is that a bad thing? Would we rather see fewer jobs in Northern Virginia? Would we rather see poor Virginians stay put in Danville and Grundy? Or would we simply wish for the impossible, that NoVa tech jobs locate in small mill towns with uneducated workforces?

Ignoring the migration from low-wage regions to high-wage regions also overlooks the fact that high-wage regions also have a higher cost of living. If you adjust the wage differential by regional cost of living, the gap is not as great as it appears. Any analysis that fails to account for regional disparities in living costs exaggerates the gap in living standards.

The conclusions of this study are all the more suspect when you read the proposals on how to mitigate the growth in inequality: (1) Raise and index the minimum wage, (2) improve the unemployment insurance system, (3) increase the progressivity of state tax systems, and (4) strengthen the safety net.

Hmmm. How well has the minimum wage worked out as an anti-poverty tool? Let’s roll the tape. Santa Fe ($10.29) and Albuquerque ($8.50) have the highest minimum wages in the country. Yet New Mexico ranks No. 1 in the country for income inequality, and No. 10 for the increasing rate of in income inequality. It turns out that Arizona, California and Massachusetts also have minimum wages higher than the federal standard… and all three rank among the top 10 for income inequality.

The problem with progressive proposals like the ones advocated in this study is that they address symptoms, not causes. Sadly, there are reasons why America’s bottom fifth are losing ground. People are not acquiring the education and skills they need to keep pace with the demands of a globally competitive knowledge economy. The more you insulate people from that stark reality by redistributing money to them, the less incentive they have to expend the effort to improve their lot by acquiring those skills.

I am not saying that we should shred the safety net. But I am saying that we should acknowledge the unintended consequences of expanding it. Even with unemployment as high as it is, the U.S. manufacturing sector is unable to fill some 3 million jobs across the country because it can’t find employees with the requisite skills. You want to attack income inequality in the U.S.? Address that gap before redistributing more wealth.

68 Responses to Another Income-Inequality Study Stating the Obvious

  1. If you have kids in public school and you do not pay $10,000 in taxes a year – you are, in fact, a “taker”.

    right?

    Now the next question is how much of a “taker” are you compared to others benefiting from the “safety net”?

    the folks who do not have kids who pay thousands of dollars in taxes are transferring “wealth” to the folks who have kids that utilize $10,000 a year in other people’s money.

    right?

    • Yes, you are right on both counts. Public education is a subsidy from the many to the few.

      Most people seem to think that it’s a worthwhile subsidy but it most certainly is a subsidy.

  2. here’s something else to consider.

    It is claimed that many Walmart employees are eligible for food stamps and their kids receive MedicAid health care and reduced lunches at school.

    think about that. How would you fix that?

    • I assume, but don’t know, that these Wal Mart employees are part time. If so, I see no need to fix anything other than the overall economy. I think people who are struggling to find full time work but are working part time should be applauded and encouraged. One can only hope that a better economy will allow the people working part time at Wal Mart to find full time positions where they will no longer need the public safety net of “food stamps” or Medicaid Health.

      • re: ” I think people who are struggling to find full time work but are working part time should be applauded and encouraged.”

        so you support food stamps, MedicAid, reduced school lunches for the “takers”?

        How about you Jim Bacon?

  3. This is all the fault of women. And nothing can be done about it.

    It centers on the need to reproduce, an insatiable desire to activate the male; and his reaction to her, the compulsion to achieve her demands.

    Her demands are always in flux, however, given the female brain that measures one man against the next using the standards of the day. Actual needs don’t satisfy her tests. She’d settle only for the “Best” she can get.

    Hence she’s the motor driving progress and destruction. Civilization.

    We’ll change this force of nature? Fat chance. Enforcing by politician’s writ some scheme of wealth redistribution makes as much sense as our cooling the earth’s climate. Or our slowing the winds. Or our regulating the tides. Imagine all our foolish schemes, like trading carbons on a stock exchange.

  4. Reed? what ARE you talking about?

  5. I’m talking about the real world, Larry. The one we’ll all lost sight of.

    And the more we try to interfere with how that real world really works, the deeper our troubles will grow. We’d became compulsive, trying to force artificial outcomes on the real world.

    Our ever expanding and intrusive regulations, taxes, and other micro-management of markets, commerce and economic outcomes are screwing up the remarkable systems we have inherited – the ones that have created the richest society the world has ever known, far richer that any rational person had ever before imagined.

    “Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute” –
    What’s the name conjure Up? Haven’t we been down this road before.

  6. and more blame on others… eh?

    how come “socialist” Europe and Japan beats the crap out of our kids academically for a lot less money than we spend.

    whose fault is that?

    with all of our “regulations” and “micro-managing” we are the “richest country in the world” but our kids ranks 15th on Academics and it’s whose fault?

  7. I am not blaming others at all. Not in the least. I am simply saying that we collectively refuse to learn from the past – how many times do we have to repeat what never works, and never will. That’s all I am saying, Larry.

    • All I am saying Reed is that we do learn from the past if we are serious about confronting the issues and not just saying we can’t help it or worse it’s someone else’s fault.

      Europe and Japan produces the best educated kids on the planet.

      they did not get there by blaming others or saying they did not learn from the past.

      Singapore has the best universal health care system in the world that consumes just 6% of their GDP and yet they have one of the highest life expectancies and infant survival rates in the world.

      they did not get there by blaming others and not learning from the past.

      we can do it too.

  8. Several things stand out to me on the question of income or wealth inequality.

    1. It’s gotten too easy to make money with money. Wealth inequality catalyzes income inequality. Once a small percentage of the population controls a large percentage of the capital the trend toward more wealth inequality is assured. I know countless people who make money with money. They structure the investments to the point that they are actually taking very little risk. Frequently, the vast majority of the money isn’t theirs and they won’t lose their own treasure if the investments fail. Finally, a succession of US presidents has artificially kept interest rates so incredibly low that the government is essentially paying these people a subsidy to increase the wealth and income gaps.

    I believe that the capital gains tax has become perverted from its original intent. Once upon a time, you poured your money, heart, soul and life into a business. Sometimes it paid off, sometimes it didn’t. When it did pay off you profited handsomely and paid a lower tax rate in acknowledgement of the risk you took. Today, you invest in a completely liquid stock market where you can move money into, out of and around the market with the click of a mouse. You can hedge your investments with options and futures. You can borrow money almost for free to magnify your investments. And, half the people stuffing money into their pockets are betting the money of college endowments, pension funds and 401(k)’s rather than their own money.

    We need wholesale revisions to the capital gains laws in the US.

    2. Education. Jobs go unfilled in America during times of high unemployment because our educational system has failed. More money comes into the system but class sizes just get bigger and bigger. Technology is 20 years behind the curve inside the typical classroom. Teachers, administrators, schools and school boards are largely unaccountable. Economies of scale fail to be realized as each and every county and city pursues its own curricula. Since there is essentially no competition in public education there is no innovation in public education.

    We need wholesale revisions to the public education agenda.

    3. Immigration. Labor prices are a function of supply and demand. Period. Allowing tens of millions of largely low skilled illegal immigrants into the United States raises the supply of low skill labor. This lowers the price of low skill labor since demand is stable or shrinking. The idea that immigrants do jobs that Americans just won’t do is ridiculous. If illegal immigration were properly controlled and the price for lower skilled labor rose, there would be plenty of jobs that people would want to do bhecause it would pay reasonably well to do those jobs. Beyond that, relative scarcity for lower skilled labor is a key ingredient in unionization. If the supply of lower skilled labor continues to skyrocket through uncontrolled illegal immigration then the wages for relatively lower skilled labor will continue to be depressed and unionization will be thwarted.

    We need to join every other country in the developed world and enforce our immigration laws.

    • Our economy is post industrial globalized and the easiest way to make money is to control it. Before the 2008 crash finance was 20% of the economy. It fueled the real estate bubble but when that burst the banks and the hedge fund managers just made more money. Romney will be known not so much for his presidential run but as a symbol of the greed and distortions created by the financial system and our blindness to it ~ how can anyone have confused what he did with running a business~ he was a banker who used other people’s money to buy low and sell high.

      Somehow we need to get back to making real things and to rewarding people who know how to make good products to sell and to hire people.

      • In one of the most stubborn unemployment periods in some time, we have over 3 million jobs that are unfilled because of the lack of qualified people.

        We rank 15th in the world in math, science, and even Engish proficiency in articulating scientific and math concepts, problems and solutions.

        14 other countries clean our clocks on education and they are competing well for global jobs that “make” things while we have people working 2-3 jobs flipping pizza are selling home remolding stuff.

        and what do we do about this?

        we blame teachers.
        we blame parents.
        we blame illegals.
        we blame China.
        we blame “takers”
        we blame Colleges and Universities
        we blame student loans
        and the list goes on and on.

        we blame.

        we refuse to take responsibility for the things we ourselves refuse to do to get the US back on track in a global economy.

        forget boomers… how about the “blame generation”?

  9. I do not want people to think that because we do not have children that we resent the taxes. We pay the taxes because we believe in the worth of public education (I’d like to see it more cost-effective but not to lower taxes – to boost achievement), however…

    when I hear people who have kids in the public school system taking about “takers” it strikes me as seriously hypocritical.

    Public school is the grand poobah of “takers” in my book. thousands of dollars of subsidy so pointing at others who receive assistance as “takers” just strikes me as myopic.

    I believe we have too many regulation and taxes are too high – yes.

    I’d like to see both reduce. But I do not believe that most black folks are “takers” or Latino’s “illegals with anchor babies” nor do I think people who receive assistance – whether it be food stamps, reduced lunches or MedicAid as ALL shiftless and lazy.

    People want a job. They want to “earn”. It’s devastating to the individual psyche to feel worthless… very damaging to most people.

    there are some that grow up believing in entitlements – so I do not say they do not exist.

    I just think the sound bites are way over the top on these issues.

    it breaks my heart when I see a kid who is not taken care of by their parents or worse. We have, right now almost 300 kids in our school system that are “homeless”. We have several hundred more that social services is in care of. It’s terrible but we cannot toss them out.

    • My point with regard to being a parent is that it’s hard to see what society does to kids these days unless you have kids. The endless advertisements, the moral decay. The nastiness of popular culture. A couple of days ago I heard my six year old singing a song about having the moves like Jagger (Maroon5). Overall, the lyrics are not too bad but here is one “stanza”:

      You wanted control
      So we waited
      I put on a show
      Now I make it
      You say I’m a kid
      My ego is big
      I don’t give a shit
      And it goes like this

      When I told him to stop singing such bad words he asked me why. “It’s on the radio, Dad.”. “It’s on TV, Dad.”.

      Maroon 5 isn’t even a particularly bad band from a lyrics standpoint.

      However, they just have to throw in a vulgar set of lyrics. Why? So, I have to tell my six year old son that it’s not OK to sing vulgar lyrics.

      I also have a 22 year old son. When he was six it wasn’t this hard. There was still the family world and the adult world. Now, you can’t distinguish one from the other.

      Society is breaking down. Vulgarity is the new normal. Kids are bombarded with bad influences. Sometimes, I just want to grab entertainers by the neck and say, “What are you doing?”. “Why do you have to make everything coarse and vulgar?”.

      Really, it drives me up a wall. And I have enough money to protect my six year old to a substantial degree. I really feel sorry for the family with three young kids and both parents working. Society pushes its bad messages into the kids’ brains. From bad food to vulgar song lyrics, it never ends.

      And, to be sure, I like Maroon 5. I like the song “Moves like Jagger.”. I just wish (for once) that a pop culture organization could resist the temptation to be venal and vulgar. Just once. It’s hard to police everything your kid sees and hears.

      As for TV – oh my goodness. Watch “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” some time. Yes, it’s funny. However, it’s not appropriate for a 17 year old let alone a 6 year old. One day I see it recorded on the Tivo box so I watch it. Holy smoke! I have to delete it so my six year old never sees it. But it was pure coincidence that I saw it. Thirty years ago a program like that would never have been allowed on TV. Never.

      There are no boundaries anymore. Kids become “instant adults” with what they see and hear. You try to protect them but the entertainment industrial complex is forever blaring bad content at kids.

      Google sado masochism. See what comes up. When my 22 year old was 6 this kind of crap was only available in dark and dreary adult bookstores. Now, it’s a click away for a kid of any age.

      It’s sad. Today’s kids never get to be kids. They are instant adults exposed to crap from the entertainment industrial complex. Go play a video game. Pure gore. Frightening. And marketed to 12 year olds. All super liberal people at these companies. They don’t care. When it comes to a choice between money and liberal ideals, money wins.

      • I do not discount for a minute the difficulty of raising kids today. The prospect of actually trying to bring up a child in this environment is – it OUGHT TO BE – intimidating.

        But there are no shortage of people who have kids who totally underestimate the magnitude of the responsibilities that they have taken on.

        My point is that it is YOURS not someone elses because you think the job has gotten too difficult.

        Everyone who does a crap job of bringing up their kids has that same excuse.

        Let me recite to you some letters that teachers receive from parents as to why their child is disrupting the entire class and depriving other kids of time to learn.

        Parenting is an exceptionally difficult job and even parents that do their best.. still can end up with a bad situation.

        the job of a parent IMHO (and I fully admit shallow credentials) is to equip that child with a moral compass no matter what the rest of the world is doing.

        The parent has the job of showing that child what “character” and “principles” are so that when they deal with the rest of the world – they know who they are and how to conduct themselves regardless of how others do.

  10. re: I am not blaming others

    ahem… “greedy grays”?

    “clown shows”?

    want more?

    :-) I’m just tweaking you here.. but a lot of “stuff” on this
    blog plays the blame game IMHO.

    • I do blame my own generation for the problems America faces. It’s not “blaming others” when you blame yourself. Why is this hard.

      I am 53 years old and squarely in the Baby Boomer generation. We ran up the debt, we let America’s infrastructure decay. We wreaked our education system. We let special interests own our government. Pretty much, we suck out loud.

      If the Republicans have a hope for the future it is to apologize to the Echo Boomers and later generations and promise to do better as the horrid Baby Boomers.

      The first thing that should happen is there should be a 100% estate tax. Given that we ran the deficit to the moon and gave ourselves unsustainable entitlements, the least we can do is pay back the debt / deficit when we die.

      Really, we suck. We are America’s worst generation – by far.

      Time for some pay back.

  11. Don speaks elegantly on many issues, most recently on the incessant and pervasive vulgarity of our culture. It’s everywhere leading our society ruinous depravity.

    Ten years ago I walked out of a theater before its movie started. The loud disgusting previews brutalized my senses. How anyone, much less our children, survive such trash is miraculous, a sure testament to God’s Grace.

    I had not returned to a movie theater for ten years, until last night. Lincoln – do not miss this movie – a Knusher Play on Film – its Art for the Ages. Proof of human redemption through empowered individual action.

    A Big Caveat to Don’s typical wisdom –

    “Once a small percentage of the population controls a large percentage of the capital the trend toward more wealth inequality is assured.” “The first thing that should happen is there should be a 100% estate tax.”

    These are terrible ideas.

    Once the Central Government Controls a large percentage of the peoples money (how its produced and distributed) the People will Soon be Slaves.

  12. it’s a big nasty world out there – and there is no more important duty for a parent to work to equip their child with a moral compass, character and principles upon which to rely on as they navigate.

    the “central govt will enslave you” narrative is dumb Reed.

    where do you get this crap from? Every single industrialized country in the world has a central govt and I do not see any slaves.

    the 3rd world countries are where you find the slaves.

  13. “the “central govt will enslave you” narrative is dumb Reed”

    Read the quote again Larry:

    Once the Central Government Controls a Large Percentage of the Peoples Money (how its produced and distributed) the People will Soon be Slaves.

    Do you really want to stick by your opinion? Think about it first.

  14. Reed that is pure ideological idiocy with absolutely no connection to the real world.

    we’ve heard this Anne Ryan looneytoon stuff over and over from the far right.

    A solid majority of Americans reject it and with good reason.

    It’s a canard that gets trotted out every time there are discussions of income inequality.

    You CAN have a discussion about income inequality and what to do (or not) about it without trotting out the “central govt and enslavement” idiocy.

    so now you have my opinion and yes I did think about it.

  15. Good Larry. More power to you.

    • “Reed, where do you get this crap from?”

      “The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with the most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council and senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself to exercise it.” (Adam Smith, An inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Wealth)

      • Reed – I would refer you to the U.S. Constitution for an education on central government. It’s real and it’s not philosophy but it IS based on a philosophy that people do elect the governance they deserve.

        • Sadly, that obvious.

        • Sadly, it’s obvious that people far too often elect the government they deserve. The US Constitution is a shining exception. That’s because its tap root, going deep into philosophy, anchors its spirit and mechanisms.

          • People vote FOR centralized government. They want a National Defense. They want a FEMA. They WANT FDIC. They WANT Interstate Highways.

            etc, etc…

            people WANT a Centralized Govt.

            I’m not saying they want it 100% but the opposite is also not true.

          • reed fawell III

            You miss the point. It’s not whether or not we have a central government. We do, its called the federal government. And its constrained by and limited to only those powers granted to it as enumerated in the Constitution, as may be properly amended. And it’s a Republic as established and limited by that Constitution, so people’s right to dictate to others doesn’t doesn’t rule. The current whim or fancy of a few or the many, or the diktat handed down from on high by some “regulator, or set thereof” doesn’t cut mustard.

  16. I can follow the threads of this argument nicely, but I get repulsed when people get on their high horse about “moral depravity.”

    I don’t see it’s any worse — in fact likely a lot less dynamic, than the 1960s when I was a teenager. Every culture goes through wild periods. It happened in the 1920s, then the 1960s and then, a little in the 1990s. I don’t see the current culture all that offensive and I have two college-aged children. They seem to handle it OK and in many ways, I am glad I can have frank discussions with them without having to fall back on phony code words as I did with my parents who came of age in the 1930s.

    Also, don’t forget that the cultural revolution of the 1960s was really about 1950s revolt. Troops back from the horrible war were disgusted with the overly-massaged, cultural correct popular culture that had been made up and pushed by Disney, Hollywood and advertising firms. They didn’t want to take that shit any more. So, you got outlaws like bikers and Jack Kerouac. African-Americans, back from the war where they were told they were fighting for humanity, no longer wanted to put up with the crap of Jim Crow and white domination so you suddenly see a raft of anti-discrimination and pro-integration lawsuits.
    This stuff happened long before anyone heard of the Rolling Stones or Martin Luther King Jr.
    We’re not going to hell in a handbasket and I’d rather be with this current generation than the “Me-first people” of the 1980s. And I do get sick hearing about the “Greatest Generation.” That was all Tom Brokaw marketing to sell his book. At least those guys got to fight a war that may have had a point. Vietnam sure did not.

  17. “We’re not going to hell in a handbasket and I’d rather be with this current generation than the “Me-first people” of the 1980s.”.

    You, me and all the other Baby Boomers are the “me-first people” of the 1980s.

    “Troops back from the horrible war were disgusted with the overly-massaged, cultural correct popular culture that had been made up and pushed by Disney, Hollywood and advertising firms. They didn’t want to take that shit any more. So, you got outlaws like bikers and Jack Kerouac.”.

    Disney, Hollywood and the advertising firms have never been in greater control of society than they are now. However, Hollywood has convinced people that they are sophisticated cool liberal minded people as they spew out pornographic violence like Pup Fiction and an endless litany of mind numbing reality TV.

    I have high hopes for this generation. Hopefully, they will have a few Jack Kerowacs in their midst. God knows, their parents have failed them with wars without end, permanent recessions, staggering debts and a corportatocracy that has rendered both political parties its vassals.

  18. Boy I hate it when people start blaming everything on the boomers. Every generation has its faults, but for some reason the boomers get all the blame/credit for everything. I’m a boomer and I am proud of where this country has moved since the segragated intolerant ignorant conformist post-WW II Ozzie and Harriet world. We are a much freer and fairer society. However, it wasn’t the boomers or the greatest generation or generation x, y or z or whatever, who did it. It was the liberals and the conservatives and the thank-god-for-them reasonable and fair-minded moderates. It was the country, our beloved USA, the light of the world then but even more so now. I have tremendous hope and confidence that my children will be happy and even freer than I was. I see good things happening.

    • Brown vs the Board of Education was 1954. The oldest Boomer was 8. The first African American student was admitted to the University of Mississippi in 1962 – a year when the oldest boomer was 16. Closer to home, Fairfax County officially desegregated its public schools in 1960. The oldest Boomer was 14.

      If you assume that the Boomer Generation comprises people born between 1946 and 1964 then the “average” boomer was born in 1955 and turned 18 in 1973. Do you really claim it was the Boomers who turned the tide on segregation in America? Ridiculous.

      The spark of desegregation was lit in WWII, catalyzed by the integration of the armed services by Harry Truman and was well underway before the fist Boomers got their drivers licenses.

      The Baby Boomers are America’s worst generation. They have accomplished little to nothing as a generation. At best, you can give the Boomers credit for protesting the war in Vietnam. However, given what we have recently seen in Iraq it’s hard to say that those protests caused an end to unnecessary foreign conflict.

      And please don’t tell me about computers and technology as a Boomer accomplishment. Gordon Moore is 83 years old. He founded Intel at age 39, in 1968. The oldest Boomer was 22.

      Even the civil liberties now being slowly afforded to the gay and lesbian community have nothing to do with the Boomers. Those rights are being granted as the Boomers’ children become voting adults.

      Peter is right about the “Me Generation” of the early 1980s. And guess who that generation was? The Boomers. In 1982, the “average” Boomer was 27 years old. It was those men and women who were properly and derisively dubbed “the me generation”.

      I am a member of the disgraceful Boomer generation myself. All I can say to my children is that “I am sorry.”. Sorry for the broken economy, sorry for the debt, sorry for the war without end, sorry for the failing education system, sorry for looting Social Security and Medicare, sorry for the divided nation.

      • You’ve missed my point entirely and instead circled back to moaning about the boomers. It’s easy to get caught up in one’s own wonderfulness. OK I get it. You’re saying there’s some sort of generational gestalt and the boomers are the evil influence responsible for all that’s good and bad (mostly the latter). LOL. Somewhat narcissistic. You sound like my parents but they didn’t get it either.

    • I’m with Richard. The boomers in some parts of Va played a good role in desegregation.

      The tide would never have turned in Va without the support of a good number of whites.

      • So, in Larry’s book Boomers = Whites.

        Interesting.

        By the time the average Boomer was 18 (1973) segregation in Virginia was over.

        Segregation was ended by the Boomer’s parents, not the Boomers.

        Larry, read your history.

        • re: boomers = whites

          yeah.. I said that.. and I guess I never thought of
          blacks as boomers…

          re: history

          1963 … first wave of the boomers…at 18 yr old

          or…you tell me what you’d call young people in the 1960’s that fought for civil rights and equal rights… and opposed Vietnam.

          what generation were they? give me a history lesson.

        • re: the battle for black Americans rights was over in 1973

          really?

          we just had an election where blacks are called “takers” by whites.

          really?

          DJ – have you heard some of the descriptions of this Present from white conservatives?

          do you really think the issues was “over” in 1973?

          • oops

            ” DJ – have you heard some of the descriptions of this PRESIDENT from white conservatives?

            do you really think the issues was “over” in 1973?

        • I do not know about DJ but I grew up in Virginia and I can tell you that discrimination against blacks did get get “solved” on some magic date inside of some generation of “pre-boomers (or post, or whatever).

          It was – and it remains, a multi-generational struggle.

          I remember when blacks were systematically kept from the polls and the people that did it sat in church next to others who knew they did it but they would slap each other’s backs and wink and nod and get on with the church supper or whatever while the blacks attended their church down the road.

          If you want to do know why blacks turned out for the election – and you think it had to do with free stuff – you are still living in that racist world IMHO. They turned out because of the vile, hate and prejudice against this President because of his race. They were not about to let the forces of racism run him out of office. there was more than just this involved in the election but if you think this was not – you’re out of touch.

          • You live in a fantasy land where desegregation was only addressed once the Baby Boomers came of age.

            You live in a fantasy land where being a “taker” automatically means being black. As I have explained to you statistically, you and your very white neighbors in Spotsylvania County are far more likely to be beneficiaries of government entitlements than the very diverse population of, say, Arlington County.

            I see no difference in the feelings people have about Barack Obama and the feelings people had about Bill Clinton or George Bush for that matter. There is Obama Derangement Syndrme just like there was Bush Derangement Syndrome. Your endless charges of racism are just a feeble minded attempt at a political narrative. I see Clarence Thomas, Alan West and Thomas Sowell embraced by the right. Sorry Larry, but the people who hate Obama from the far right would hate him just as much if he were white.

            However, to get back on point – the question arose as to whether the Baby Boomer generation could take credit for desegregation and improved race relations. In the cold light of history and demographics, there is no way that can be demonstrated.

            If the Boomers were to lay credit to any substantial improvement in American society it might be the more complete integration of women into all aspects of our lives.

  19. - An Interesting Conversation going on here.

    – It’s good when well informed folks say what they think. It freshens the air!

  20. I love Pulp Fiction.

  21. If not Pulp Fiction, then how about the Expendables or, since the first was so good, the Expendables II?

  22. Perhaps Expendables I and II are awful. I’ve seen neither.

    Brutal, edgy, and powerful, Pulp Fiction fully justified itself. It was also ground breaking. Unfortunately the Hollywood machine could copy Pulp Fiction’s brutality but not its art. So we’re left with poor imitators strewn about our culture, vulgar trash on celluloid that “entertains” our children.

    Otherwise, I suspect I’m with you on this movie thing most all the time.

    Re III – I’m neither boomer nor post boomer, but there remains two of us extant – thus the need on this media to differentiate. The old fool can either hide behind a false name, or use a fully version of his real one which he rarely does – the old fool chooses the latter.

    • ” … neither Boomer nor post Boomer …”. Interesting. You’re not a zombie are you? One of those eternal, trans generational members of the undead. We really don’t like having zombies on the blog (althou we make an exception for LarryG).

  23. One shore leave in the midst of a five year War- that’s me!

  24. “you live in a fantasy land where desegregation was only addressed once the Baby Boomers came of age.”

    Indeed not. I said clearly it was a multi-generational issue.

    “You live in a fantasy land where being a “taker” automatically means being black. As I have explained to you statistically, you and your very white neighbors in Spotsylvania County are far more likely to be beneficiaries of government entitlements than the very diverse population of, say, Arlington County.”

    I don’t but the GOP does and that’s one reason why they lost. And I agree with you about “entitlements” especially if you include the 10K per kid public school “entitlement”.

    “I see no difference in the feelings people have about Barack Obama and the feelings people had about Bill Clinton or George Bush for that matter. There is Obama Derangement Syndrme just like there was Bush Derangement Syndrome. ”

    DJ – you clearly do not know black folks. They are very aware of racism – you seem not to be.

    “Your endless charges of racism are just a feeble minded attempt at a political narrative. I see Clarence Thomas, Alan West and Thomas Sowell embraced by the right. Sorry Larry, but the people who hate Obama from the far right would hate him just as much if he were white.”

    talk to black people DJ. It’s not my narrative. the folks you see “embraced” by the right – I can assure you are NOT embraced by most black folks who consider them Uncle Toms.
    “However, to get back on point – the question arose as to whether the Baby Boomer generation could take credit for desegregation and improved race relations. In the cold light of history and demographics, there is no way that can be demonstrated.”

    there were folks in the boomer generation that worked courageously to right the wrongs done to blacks. There were others in other generations also but you may remember the 60’s and Martin Luther King and Equal rights for Women and the ubiquitous peace symbol and of course Rachel Carson.

    “If the Boomers were to lay credit to any substantial improvement in American society it might be the more complete integration of women into all aspects of our lives.”

    I don’t look at any generation as a sole contributor to change but some were more active than others on issues that ripened.

    The “greatest generation” did not ask for their circumstances, but they did respond and that is pure Americanism.

    • Spotsylvania County is 83% white. Fairfax County is 63% white.

      Trust me, LarryG – Here in a real diverse county people don’t think Republicans are racist.

      There are 13 houses on my street. Only 3 have white families where all the people were born in the US.

      About half the people on my street were Romney supporters, half Obama. My neighbor born in Iran was a staunch Romney supporter. The African gentleman across the street (he is not a US citizen) was an Obama fan.

      LarryG, you ought to leave your lilly white enclave once in a while and come up to NoVa. You can ask my Asian, African and European neighbors what they think of the election. Nobody will claim that Republicans are racists. Nobody.

      Calling all critics of Obama racist is just an attempt by liberals to squelch all criticism of Obama. Don’t like Obama’s economic policy? You must be a racist. Don’t like his foreign policy? You must be a racist.

      Maybe that crap sells down in Whitesylvania County. It doesn’t play up here.

      • DJ – you may want to consult directly with blacks and Latinos to ask why they turned out in droves to support the President – no matter whether in Fairfax or Spotsylvania.

        why do you think they turned out in droves DJ and won Virginia?

        think DJ.. this is not about LarryG… think!

  25. re: you miss the point.

    what point?

    we have 3 branches of govt. None other than Thomas Jefferson said this:

    ” “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and Constitutions. But laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

    now what do you get out of that Reed?

    what I get out of it is that Democracy in a Republic is by consent of the government via elections.

    change was expected by the forefathers.

    they realized that the Constitution could not forsee the future.

    My view is that people DO WANT Centralized govt and the Constitution does not prohibit it but more important it does not say what the limits are – at the same time it set up a system that allowed laws and elections from which we decide what level of central govt we want.

    We had an election about this. The country is closely divided on it.

    but the bottom line is that people want a central govt, it is permitted in the Constitution and the Constitutions allows laws to allocate power to Central Govt and the SCOTUS rules on the fidelity of the new laws with respect to the limitations in the Constitution.

    You can disagree with it but you are not only in the minority but you are on the opposite side of laws and the interpretation of them by SCOTUS.

    Here’s the real problem. All of us have laws and regulations we do not like – but it varies by individuals. The law you do not like is not the law I do not like.

    You do not constitute a solid majority of people who agree with you.

    you may not like it – but that’s the way the country was purposely designed.

    And as long as people vote – you will be likely outvoted.

    • “… but more important it does not say what the limits are…”.

      “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”.

      The Constitution is clear. Liberals are not.

  26. re: the Constitution is clear

    yup… Central govt at the Federal level unless they delegate Central govt to the states – but make no mistake – central govt.

  27. ‘Here’s the real problem. All of us have laws and regulations we do not like – but it varies by individuals. The law you do not like is not the law I do not like.
    You do not constitute a solid majority of people who agree with you. you may not like it – but that’s the way the country was purposely designed.”

    Pure bunkum, Larry, you theory destroys the Rule of Law, and imposes in its place the totalitarian state.

  28. re: ” you theory destroys the Rule of Law, and imposes in its place the totalitarian state.”

    actually – laws are CALLED rule of law right?

    the law that says you can’t make paint with lead in it – I like but if you manufacture paint and it will cost you more to make paint without lead in it you may consider it an “onerous, job killing regulation”.

    ditto for lead in gasoline

    or mercury in smokestack pollution

    or pay day lending

    etc, etc.

    my point here is to recognize that different people dislike different laws but if enough people together dislike a law – they may express their displeasure to their elected.

    this is the system we have. It’s called a Constitutional Republic with elected representation.

    calling it a “totalitarian state” makes one wonder how that compares to REAL totalitarian states …. more over the top right wing blather.

  29. Read the Federalist Papers, Larry. It’s a good start. Currently, you have not a clue as to what you are talking about.

  30. I’ve read them Reed. I also look at reality – around us and what people want, what they vote for and what the oppose.

    and the forefathers set up a government first and foremost would be representative and accountable to voters.

    they choose what kind of government they want. We just had an election about that in case you may have noticed.

    The muslim “socialist” from Kenya won the election over the “businessman who was going to voucherize Medicare and stop giving “free stuff” to the takers”.

    Do you have a clue Reed?

    are you living in denial like the rest of the GOP?

    The country you live in – you have one vote. When you and all of your fellow countrymen go to the polls – you are doing what the Constitution – which was co-authored by the same folks who wrote the Federalist Papers and you may recall if you really are interested that even back then there was fierce debate about the totality of what was in the Federalist papers verses how much of it got embodied in the Constitution.

    I suffer no fools on the right Reed. They proved their true colors with recent history. They are, in fact, anti-American in many, many ways.

  31. this has nothing to do with the GOP. It has nothing to do with “your fools on the right.” It has nothing to do with “Anti-Americans.”

    Rather, it has a lot to do with you’re taking the time to read and meditate on thoughts and ideas of others of accomplishment (like Madison) based on experience gathered over centuries, before one makes grand sweeping and pronouncements based on nothing but arguments going on in your head.

    For evidences of the wisdom of your ideas on political science read the newspapers on TODAY’S events in Egypt.

  32. But it has EVERYTHING to do with our Constitution and the form of government it created.

    I live in the real world Reed and what I hear from you sounds a LOT LIKE the far right of the GOP these days.

    The real world in the US and in every other industrialized nation in the world is an elected govt that represents what the greater majority of voters want or don’t want – not what a small minority want.

    It was Jefferson who said that laws evolve to adapt to the world as it changes.

    when you response to rules and regulations is to claim essentially that they violate the rule of law and constitute de facto “totalitarianism” you are revealing something that is apart from the way the world really works. You are, in essence, saying that America and all other industrialized nations have evolved into totalitarian governance – because you don’t like the laws.

    think about that Reed. You’re railing against a majority of Congress that approved the legislation, the POTUS who singed it and the SCOTUS who affirmed it’s Constitutionality – and you’re implying it’s totalitarianism. To me – that’s off the wall right wing idiocy.

  33. “when you response to rules and regulations is to claim essentially that they violate the rule of law and constitute de facto “totalitarianism” you are revealing something that is apart from the way the world really works.”

    Larry, you need to read history. Start anywhere. Or, for example, start with late 19th century Bismarck and Prussia and read on through the Post WWII British Labor Governments, including every major European government in between ranging from the Urals to Liverpool.

    Then show me one example of where your statement reflected “the way the world really worked.” And then show where the reverse of your statement reflects how the world really works base on history, rather than someone’s imagination, typically those with a very obvious axe to grind.

  34. Reed – the world works the way it works right now. I can deal with that. I accept it. Do you?

    we’re not talking about history here guy. We’re talking about how the world works right now and if you accept it – or not.

    and what you would do to fix it if you do not agree.

    hand-waving about “history” is not dealing with the world as it is right now.

    I’m not the one who is complaining here about how the world works right now.

    I do not like all aspects of it but I do accept it as the direct consequence of how our Govt was formed, created and now operates.

    Again – I do not think we need to change. Do you? If you do, then you need to stop hand-waving issues and get to the specifics of what you would actually do to make it more like what you think it should be.

    don’t go running to the closet ..be forthright and stand up for your beliefs guy. I can respectfully disagree with you – and likely will but what you are doing now is laying down an opinion here .spouting “totalitarianism” and then run away from explaining what you mean, and why and what you would do instead.

    why do you bother to comment if you won’t defend your comments?

  35. “Reed – the world works the way it works right now. I can deal with that. I accept it. Do you?”

    No, I do not. Look at Egypt right now, this very day. What is happening there right now stinks. And it’s the way of the world, Larry, save for the exceptional. Save for the latter, most of what happens in this world stinks.

    Only Liberalism has proven its ability to save us. Liberalism demands that tyranny not stand, whether it be tyranny by the minority or by the majority. Liberalism understands that the unfettered power of either never fails to lead to corruption, coercion, and persecution. History proves this. Search the historic record and you’ll find that is the way to world most always works. And it must be resisted at all costs. Resisted with Liberalism.

    For history also shows that the only antidote this drift to corruption ending in tyranny is liberalism. That is democracy so restrained to protect the right of all individuals through the rule of law and private property. These together properly applied empowers all people with the freedom to pursue happiness, to realize their own dreams and to create wealth for themselves under a system that never fails to benefit all citizens.

    All else is bunkum. And this world is never in short supply of bunkum.

  36. Reed – we are not Egypt guy. It IS the way of the world. What is your point ?

    the world has triumphs and tragedies. What is your point and what does that have to do with this country?

    “liberalism” WTF?

    The Conservatives are the ones who cloak themselves in American “exceptionalism” and beat their breasts to the world that other countries should adopt our form of government as best.

    and yet at the same time, these same people talk about totalitarianism in this country.

    I cannot even fathom what your exact points are here… they are vague and all over the map.

    Why do we start out talking about pollution laws in this country and end up talking about Egypt and liberalism and “bunkum”?

    to this point in this thread – I really have no idea what your point is.

  37. keep working at it. Stop looking for logic refined to mathematical formula.

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