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While you were sleeping . . .

Bob Somerby has been a voice howling in the internet wilderness longer than there has been a blogosphere.  The Obots hate him which is a good enough reason to read him in my book.  Yesterday:

Ignoring a revolution: By far, the most striking passage we read all week came from the pen of Bob Herbert.

Herbert cited data from Robert Reich’s new book, Aftershock. In this passage, he is discussing your country’s economic growth over the past thirty years:

HERBERT (9/14/10): There was plenty of growth, but the economic benefits went overwhelmingly—and unfairly—to those already at the top. Mr. Reich cites the work of analysts who have tracked the increasing share of national income that has gone to the top 1 percent of earners since the 1970s, when their share was 8 percent to 9 percent. In the 1980s, it rose to 10 percent to 14 percent. In the late-’90s, it was 15 percent to 19 percent. In 2005, it passed 21 percent. By 2007, the last year for which complete data are available, the richest 1 percent were taking more than 23 percent of all income.

Those data describe a social revolution. In the 1970s, the top one percent received eight percent of national income. By 2007, their share had tripled, to 23 percent. Herbert went on to state a concomitant point: “A male worker earning the median wage in 2007 earned less than the median wage, adjusted for inflation, of a male worker 30 years earlier.”

The rich have gotten a great deal richer. Everyone else has stood still.


In the face of that staggering social revolution, are you aware of any politics or political messaging on the left which has tried to encompass this revolution? Have liberal entities even tried to make the public aware of this change? Have liberal entities tried to build political frameworks in which average people of the left, the center and the right can see their obvious common interest in confronting this revolution?

Actually, no—you have not. And by the way: Average people of the left and the right are the joint victims on this vast grab of wealth at the top. Progressives will never be able to address this revolution as long as average people are split into two warring camps, with big dumb nuts like Ed Schultz and Sean Hannity encouraging the two rival tribes to despise one another.

There was ONE period in the last 30 years where the poor got richer and the gap between rich and poor SHRANK. Can you guess when that was?

A) 1981 to 1992
B) 1993 to 2000
C) 2001 to 2010

85 Responses

  1. There was ONE period in the last 30 years where the poor got richer and the gap between rich and poor SHRANK. Can you guess when that was?

    *raises hand and squirms* Ooo, ooo, I know! I know!

  2. Amazing – Bill did all that, and we all prospered, and he did it without growing the big Boogeyman State.

    I’m bringing this up from downstairs, since it’s related:

    I get so sick of the idiots on both sides of the aisle that can’t think their way out of a paper box. I’ve been pining since I saw Bill on Stewart for sane, rational govt again.

    Letting the economy and the markets run free, free, FREEEEEE I tell you! is only going to create more disparity. On the other hand, growing govt to massive proportions to no effective ends if also a fiscal disaster.

    Newsflash: During the Clinton years, federal spending fell as a share of GDP, from 21.4 percent in 1993 to 18.5 percent in 2001. Got that, teapartiers? You CAN do sane rational intervention, and enlist govt to solve some problems, without creating a bureaucratic beast.

    And oh, you Obots: giving the govt carte blanche to grow byzantine departments, spend whatever they want, wherever they want, and mostly on their favored banking cronies and re-election slush funds while calling it “stimulus” is not liberalism. Got that? The solution isn’t “The R’s say small govt is good, therefore big govt must be good.” Quit playing the moronic childish opposites game, and pay attention to whether the govt is actually HELPING ANYTHING.

    Jesus Christ on a waffle cone, I want Bill back and Hillary too.

    I know, I know, I’m on an endless whine today, but I want smart , lean, efficient govt again that looks out for all of us. I waaant my Cliintons baaack! Waaaah! 😦

  3. But, but, but, that can not be, he’s an evil Republican from the Carlyle Group. {{Sips more kool-aid}} Ah, better now.

  4. Okay, if you get to be the economist on this thread, I get to be the petulant clown.


  5. There was ONE period in the last 30 years where the poor got richer and the gap between rich and poor SHRANK. Can you guess when that was?
    The greatest disparities were 1928 and now, with ~24% of pre-tax income going to the top 1%. (For the 1% “income” is just the tip of the wealth iceberg). The best year was 1976 at 8.9%…the Reagan revolution and the Reagan Democrats quickly corrected that “problem”. The only change in the trend were the Clinton years.


    • The best year was 1976 at 8.9%

      Yeah, but 1976 was a pretty sucky year for all of us. I mean, it’s good that the rich suffered too, but there’s more to it than just closing the gap. Equal suffering is preferable to unequal suffering, but not the ideal. Only Bill managed to close the gap AND have us all prosper at the same time.

      • I agree the late ’70s sucked and the poor leadership of Carter paved the way for the Reagan Revolution. IIRC, I think my first home mortgage in the late 1970s had an interest rate of 18.5%.

        The trend of the graph that I linked to is more informative of the screwing of the middle class than is the specific number for 1976.

    • So, that’s what Steve Earle looks like. Huh. Love that song.
      Hasn’t he gone through something like 5 wives? He looks too young for that kind of nonsense.

  6. This NYT headline probably has something to do with those figures.

    Unions Find Members Slow to Rally Behind Democrats

    Labor leaders, alarmed at a possible Republican takeover of one or both houses of Congress, promise to devote a record amount of money and manpower to helping Democrats stave off disaster. But political analysts, and union leaders themselves, say that their efforts may not be enough because union members, like other important parts of the Democratic base, are not feeling particularly enthusiastic about the party — a reality that, in turn, further dampens the Democrats’ chances of holding onto their Congressional majorities

    Why work for people who work against you?

    • and remember Donna? You don’t need US?

      • Yep, she basically said anyone out there, and I assume it’s still true today, anyone who doesn’t love Obama, is not needed or wanted in the Democratic party. Period.

        I hope all of you newly sobering up Obots got that message too.

    • What, the union rank and file are tired of being used as foot soldiers when the only ones who benefit are the top bosses and leadership who get nice dinners at the WH?

      Who’da thunk.

  7. Digby scolds the Obi one …

    Unfortunately, midterms are almost always partisan elections, driven by the hardcore base of both parties. Behaving as if your voters are petulant and unappreciative may be therapeutic, and it may even be true, but it doesn’t get the job done.

    • There’s even gratuitous Obot bashing on the thread by administrators!!!

      [This user is an administrator] rootless_e
      The most remarkable thing about the Emo-left is how it speaks for all of us liberals/left so authoritatively. I thought we were all about social justice and human rights, but it turns out that our major concern is whether we are being appreciated and properly thanked. Too bad Saul Alinsky died before this major advance in knowledge could be advertised.

      • Lol Again with the bottom-up grassroots democracy. “We own you! Crawl! We’ll tell you what social justice is! Human rights are fluffy emo bs! You don’t think, you take orders! If you get kicked 500 times, you thank us for not making it 1000!”

        This so inspiring I can hardly stand it!

      • I’m shocked!

    • It wasn’t a Hemi powerd drone, it was a 1968 Plymouth GTX 440 4 spd with a 3.54 Dana 9.75 rear. Silver with a black vinyl top and a dark red interior.
      The four speed transmission was like something you would find in a dump truck because anything less would grenade from the torque that 440 put out. And it shifted like it too.

  8. How the hell do you copy a url on a mac? I’m using my brother’s computer.

    Anyway, Helen Thomas is getting a lifetime achievement award from the Council on Islamic-American Relations.

    It’s at The Hill.

  9. Bill Maher has a new slogan to go with the new Dem logo: Don’t Get Up; We’ll let ourselves out.

  10. Darn, I tried embedding the video, didn’t work. Here’s the link to the website that has the video:


  11. This video isn’t meant to have any sociopolitical significance; it’s just fun. Toasted cassette FTW! 😆

    • With Ian’s accent, “I’m living in the middle of your memory” sounds like “I’m living in the middle of your mammary”. 😛

    • Says it all, thanks Barack, Harry, Nancy, and all you ass hat Democrats that voted for Ronald Reagan.
      It was you guy that started our slide into hell.
      Rat-fucking bastards.
      And a special F U to Howard Dean.

  12. Then there’s this because the guy two garages down has a 1978 Corvette:


  13. End of Summer – welcome ‘Fall’

  14. Well, if you were with me tonight, this is what you’d have been doing about a few blocks down the street from the kathouse …

    • Nice.

    • Fun! Ah….warm weather still down there.

      Sorta related, last week we went to hear Dr. John and the “Lower Nine-Eleven Band” at Jazz Alley. (overpriced uninteresting food as usual) But very fun music. Liked the “Save Our Wetlands” piece a lot.

  15. Betcha don’t remember this one, but I do. It was back in the thick of the political blogging days…. June 2008.

    And the Huffster had this to say:


    My post for the 11th that year had the list of the fledgling PUMAS before whatever the big fall out was. RD will remember.

    Maybe she knew something about 2012.

    Hillary should run.

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