Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Change Is Needed

Why Isn't Obamacare An Issue In The 2014 Election ?

The top chart shows the results of a new Rasmussen Poll (taken on September 27th and 28th of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters, with a margin of error of 3 points). The chart shows a majority (52%) of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). And those with an unfavorable opinion have a 10 point advantage over those with a favorable opinion.

This brings up a question. After trying to repeal Obamacare around 50 times in the last few years, why aren't Republicans trying to take advantage of that unfavorable view in this election? Why have they been strangely silent about Obamacare since most of the primaries ended, and the general election campaign started?

The answer is that the poll asked the wrong question. A significant portion of those with an unfavorable view of Obamacare (like me) are unhappy because they don't think the changes made by Obamacare went far enough -- and these people don't agree with the Republicans that Obamacare should be repealed. These people want Obamacare to be fixed so it covers everyone, brings down medical costs, and takes the profit margin out of health insurance. In short, most of them want a single-payer health insurance system.

The Rasmussen Poll asked the right question just a month ago in a survey done on August 30th and 31st of a random national sample of 1,000 likely voters (with a margin of error of 3 points). The results of that poll are displayed in the chart below. Note that only 36% of voters agree with the Republicans and want Obamacare to be repealed, while 59% do NOT want Obamacare repealed.

This is why the Republicans have been so silent about Obamacare in this campaign. They know that a significant majority of voters do not agree with them about Obamacare, and trying to make it a campaign issue will just cost more votes than it gathers.

The War I'd Support

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Small Donors Love Democrats More Than Republicans

(The image above was posted to flickr.com by Tracy Olson.)

The Republicans blocked the amendment to overturn Citizens United because they know they are the big beneficiaries of large donations by rich individuals and corporations. Most of that money is spent supporting GOP candidates. But the Democrats are fighting back with a secret weapon of their own -- small donors (those giving $200 or less).

On the national level, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has raised $41 million more than the National Republican Campaign Committee (NRCC) in donations from small donors. And the same thing is true in individual congressional races across the country -- both in blue and in red states. The average Democratic incumbent or hopeful has gotten $179,300 from small donors, while the average Republican incumbent or hopeful has gotten only $78,535 in small donor money (a difference of more than $100,000).

The National Journal credits this to the more effective use of the internet by Democrats, and that is probably true to a large extent. But I would like to believe that ordinary Americans (those who can afford only a small donation between $1 and $200) just prefer Democrats to Republicans. I guess we'll find out on election day if that is true.


Political Cartoon is by Rob Rogers in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Republican Presidential Preferences

This chart shows the average of the last four polls taken regarding the presidential preference of Republican voters. It is the average by RealClearPolitics of four polls (Quinnipiac, CNN/ORC, Fox News, McClatchy/Marist) taken between June 24th and August 4th. It shows there has been no movement in the polls yet, and there is still no favorite -- with no candidate getting even 12%.


Political Cartoon is by Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Bernie For President In 2016 ?

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) recently gave an interview to Thomas Frank at Salon.com. It was a very good interview, and I urge you to go to that site and read the whole thing. But there were a few questions at the end of the interview that I found especially interesting. Bernie was asked if he was going to run for president in 2016, would he run as a Democrat or Independent, and what a politician could do to solve the growing problem of inequality in this country. Here is what he said:

I wanted to talk to you about your own plans for 2016. You haven’t said all that much in public, but it would be nice to know…
What I’ll tell you is what I do say in public, which is that, at a time when the middle class is collapsing; when we have more people living in poverty than ever before and we have huge income and wealth inequality; when we are the only major nation on earth that does not have a national healthcare system; when we have millions of young people leaving college deeply in debt; when we have the planetary crisis of climate change; when we, because of Citizens United, have a billionaire class now controlling our political process, we need candidates who are prepared to stand up without apology representing the working families of America and are prepared to take on the billionaire class which controls so much of America. I think that’s absolutely imperative that that takes place.
What I have said is that I am giving thought to running for president. I haven’t made that decision. It’s a very, very difficult decision. I have gone to Iowa on a couple of vacations. I’ll be back there. I’ve gone to New Hampshire. I’ll be there this Saturday. And I’ve gone to other places in the country including the south—North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi—to get a sense of how people are feeling.
But yes, I am giving thought and I will make the decision at the appropriate time.
People always talk about how hard campaigning is. I personally really like Iowa, I think it would be fun to spend a lot of time in Iowa.
I agree with you. We were in Iowa last week and I had three town meetings and we had one a week ago Sunday night. We had 450 people coming out in Des Moines, Iowa, for what I thought was a great meeting.
Would that mean running as a Democrat, because the Iowa caucuses…
That’s a decision, also, that I have to think about.
There are advantages and disadvantages of running as an independent and as a Democrat. That’s something I have to talk to a whole lot of people about and sort out. When I was in Iowa, most people thought I should run as a Democrat. I was in New York City the other day, most people thought I should run as an independent.
The advantage is pretty obvious: Right now, there is a whole lot of anger and frustration at the two-party system, and more and more people are registering as independents. On the other hand, If you run as an independent, then you have to set up a 50-state political infrastructure which is very difficult in some states. In other words, you have to get an enormous amount of signatures just to get on the ballot, and it is quite possible that in some states the regulations are so onerous and unfair that you may not be able to do it.
Those are issues that I just have to talk to a lot of people about.
Speaking of that, one of my own personal favorite movements was a third-party movement in the 1890s called Populism. You brought up the two-party monopoly, which is something that drives me crazy, and it’s one of the many things that ensures that you don’t get a responsive system. Is there any way that the two-party monopoly will ever get challenged?
Well I should tell you that, as you may or may not know, I was mayor of the city of Burlington for 8 years. In this city, while it was not a legal political party, given Vermont state law, in our city we had three political factions: The Republicans, the Democrats, and what we then called the independent coalition. And the independent coalition, I was the mayor as an independent. We had five out of 13 seats on the city council. Not a majority, but—I think it was 6 out of 13 for a while—but enough for veto power, which I used. So we did it in Burlington.
Now, in the state of Vermont, you have the Progressive Party, which was an outgrowth of that effort, which is now the most successful progressive third party in America, which has three state senators and, I can’t remember, six, seven members of the House, and more to come in this election.
So in Vermont you are seeing a significant, progressive third party effort.
One last question: What is going to turn around the drift toward inequality in this country? What measures could actually happen?
What you can do?
What a politician can do.
I’ll tell you what you do. If you did the following things, it wouldn’t solve all the problems, but you’d have a profound impact on income and wealth inequality:
First of all, you raise the minimum wage to a living wage so that the people who are working 40 hours a week are not living in poverty.
Number two, and maybe most importantly, you put Americans back to work. Real unemployment today is not 6.1 percent, it is 12 percent. Youth unemployment is 20 percent. If we invest a trillion dollars in rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, you can create 13 million decent paying jobs, and I think we need to do that.
Thirdly, you stop companies from throwing American workers out on the street and moving to China or Vietnam or Mexico by creating a trade system that works for working people and not just corporate America.
You do those things. Then you institute tax reform which asks the wealthy and large corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes. You make college affordable and deal with the issue of student debt. Those things will go a long way, and we have legislation that would make significantly more progressive the estate tax. So if you do those things, I think you’d have gone a good way, I think, to rebuilding the middle class in this country and asking the wealthy to start paying their fair share.
Regular readers of this blog will know that I like Senator Sanders a lot. In fact I consider him to be one of the two best senators this country has (with the other being Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts). And I believe he is absolutely right about what must be done to solve the problem of inequality in this country. But I am not at all sure it would be a good idea for him to run for president in 2016, or that I could bring myself to vote for him (even though I would love to see him president).

I say that because it has become obvious that the Republicans will be nominating a right-wing extremist in 2016 (because they don't have anyone who is not an extremist who has expressed any interest in running). And I believe that putting any of the GOP extremists in the White House would be a disaster for this country, its economy, and its people. If you think things are bad now (and they are), then wait until one of those right-wing extremists gets in the White House. Any of them would make things much worse.

If I thought Bernie Sanders had a good chance of winning a presidential race, I would happily vote for him -- but I don't. I think the best he could do as an Independent is to take enough progressive votes away from the Democratic candidate (Hillary Clinton) to allow a Republican to win. And if he ran as a Democrat, it would split the party (and maybe make enough progressives mad enough to stay home on election day -- which would elect a Republican president).

Maybe I'm wrong, and for the present I'll keep an open mind. But if he isn't able to swing a whole lot of support his way in the next few months (and it'll take more support than just progressives can offer), then he should stay out of the race.

(NOTE -- The caricature above of Senator Sanders is by DonkeyHotey.)

Failed Dream

Political Cartoon is by Clay Bennett in the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Fox News -- The Muslim-Owned News Channel

Monday, September 29, 2014

Minimum Wage In U.S. Is A National Disgrace

(Chart is from the website motherjones.com.)

Public Believes U.S. Ground Troops Will Be Sent To Iraq

The chart above was made from information in a new NBC News / Wall Street Journal / Annenberg Poll that was done between September 19th and 25th of a random national sample of 1,283 registered voters, with a margin of error of 3.15 points.

President Obama has promised Americans that the United States will not have "boots on the ground" in Iraq or Syria to fight ISIS. That is not true, of course -- since we already have around 1,000 troops (and maybe a little more) that are already stationed in Iraq. The president avoids admitting these troops have their "boots on the ground" by labeling them as advisors, trainers, or protectors (of our embassy and the Baghdad airport) instead of combat troops. But they are there, they are armed, and they are in harm's way.

And as the chart shows, nearly three out of four Americans (72%) believe the United States will eventually send ground combat troops to fight ISIS in that region (even though only 45% would support that, even if the military said it was necessary). I think they are right. We are already witnessing "mission creep" in that area.

The president started by sending 300 American troops to Iraq, and that has now grown to around 1,000 or more. Then he started using American forces to bomb ISIS in Iraq, and has now expanded that to include targets in Syria. And finally, he has the approval of Congress to arm and train "moderate" Syrian rebels (in spite of the fact that we don't know who these moderate rebels might be). The logical next would be for the pentagon to request ground combat troops, and for the president (along with Congress) to grant that request.

Our government, including too many members of both political parties, seems to believe that the military arm of ISIS poses a danger to the United States, and that we must protect our "ally" (the Iraqi government). Neither of those things is true. ISIS troops pose no danger to this country. While ISIS could pose a terrorist danger, defeating their troops in Iraq and Syria would not lessen that danger -- it would only increase it. And although our government wants to think Iraq is an American ally, that is just wishful thinking. Iraq's closest ally is Iran (a sworn enemy of the United States).

We are steadily marching toward a new, unnecessary, endless, and undeclared war in the Middle East -- a war we cannot win and cannot afford. We must stop this insanity now.

Open Door

Political Cartoon is by Jack Ohman in the Sacramento Bee.

New Polls In Seven U.S. Senate Races

Rasmussen Poll

Rasmussen Poll

Rasmussen Poll

Rasmussen Poll

CNN / ORC Poll

CNN / ORC Poll

Des Moines Register Poll

Mirror Image

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Should The District Of Columbia Be Granted Statehood ?

These charts were made from information in a new YouGov Poll -- done on September 18th and 19th of a random national sample of 1,000 adults, with a margin of error of about 4 points.

More than 649,000 people live in the District of Columbia, but they have no voting representation in Congress. They have no senators, and only one representative (Eleanor Holmes Norton) who cannot vote. That means there are well over half a million Americans living here in the continental United States without any congressional representation.

This brings up the question of whether the District of Columbia should be granted statehood status. That would give them two voting senators and one voting representative -- just like other small states. Unfortunately, Americans don't seem to want D.C. to become a state. Only 27% said they should be a state, while 49% said they should not (and the other 24% didn't know what to think). And when the poll was broken down demographically, only three groups had a plurality in favor of statehood (Blacks, Hispanics, and Democrats) -- while no group had a majority favoring statehood. Meanwhile, six groups had a majority opposing statehood (men, 45 to 64 year-olds, those 65 and over, Whites, Independents, and Republicans).

This seems a little strange to me -- especially for a country that started it's war for independence with the phrase "No Taxation Without Representation". Do the American people no longer believe as their Founding Fathers did? Is taxation without representation only bad when done by the British, and perfectly OK when done by the American government? The citizens of the District of Columbia certainly have to pay the same federal taxes that all other Americans have to pay, so why is it OK for them to have no congressional representation?

I can understand why the Republicans would oppose statehood for the District of Columbia. They know the district would likely elect minority senators and a representative -- and they would probably be Democrats, since the Republican Party has become a haven for racists that continues to harbor anti-minority policies. But why would other groups deny one of the basic tenets of our Founding Fathers -- a tenet that was a primary cause of our own war for independence? Does that even make sense?


Political Cartoon is by Mike Thompson in the Detroit Free Press.

This Capitalist Says The Minimum Wage Must be Raised

The article below was written by wealthy entrepreneur Nick Hanauer. It first appeared in YES! Magazine, and was reprinted by Bill Moyers. I post it here again because I think it is important, and should be read by as many people as possible.

The fundamental law of capitalism is: When workers have more money, businesses have more customers. Which makes middle-class consumers — not rich businesspeople — the true job creators. A thriving middle class isn’t a consequence of growth — which is what the trickle-down advocates would tell you. A thriving middle class is the source of growth and prosperity in capitalist economies.

Our economy has changed, lest you think that the minimum wage is for teenagers. The average age of a fast-food worker is 28. And minimum wage jobs aren’t confined to a small corner of the economy. By 2040, it is estimated that 48 percent of all American jobs will be low-wage service jobs. We need to reckon with this. What will our economy be like when it’s dominated by low paying service jobs? What proportion of the population do we want to live on food stamps? 50 percent? Does this matter? Should we care?

Business people tell me they cannot afford higher wages. Not true. They can adjust to all sorts of higher costs. The minimum wage is much higher here in Seattle than in Alabama, and McDonald’s thrives in both places. Businesses adjust to higher costs, even when they say they can’t.

Our economy can be safe and effective only if it is governed by rules. Some capitalists actually don’t care about other people, their communities or the future. Their behavior, if left unchecked, has a massive effect on everyone else. When Wal-Mart or McDonald’s or any other guy like me pays workers the minimum wage, that’s our way of saying, “I would pay you less, except then I’d go to prison.”

Which brings us to the civic dimension of what the campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 is really about. We’re undeniably becoming a more unequal society—in incomes and in opportunity. The danger is that economic inequality always begets political inequality, which always begets more economic inequality. Low-wage workers stuck on a path to poverty are not only weak customers; they’re also anemic taxpayers, absent citizens and inattentive neighbors.

Economic prosperity doesn’t trickle down, and neither does civic prosperity. Both are middle-out phenomena. When workers earn enough from one job to live on, they are far more likely to be contributors to civic prosperity — in your community. Parents who need only one job, not two or three to get by, can be available to help their kids with homework and keep them out of trouble — in your school. They can look out for you and your neighbors, volunteer, and contribute — in your school and church. Our prosperity does not all come home in our paycheck. Living in a community of people who are paid enough to contribute to your community, rather than require its help, may be more important than your salary. Prosperity and poverty are like viruses. They infect us all — for good or ill.

An economic arrangement that pays a Wall Street worker tens of millions of dollars per year to do high-frequency trading and pays just tens of thousands to workers who grow or serve our food, build our homes, educate our children, or risk their lives to protect us isn’t an expression of the true value or economic necessity of these jobs. It simply reflects a difference in bargaining power and status.

Inclusive economies always outperform and outlast plutocracies. That’s why investments in the middle class work, and tax breaks for the rich don’t. The oldest and most important conflict in human societies is the battle over the concentration of wealth and power. Those at the top will forever tell those at the bottom that our respective positions are righteous and good for all. Historically we called that divine right. Today we have trickle-down economics.

The trickle-down explanation for economic growth holds that the richer the rich get, the better our economy does. But it also clearly implies that if the poor get poorer, that must be good for our economy. Nonsense.

Some of the people who benefit most from that explanation are desperate for you to believe this is the only way a capitalist economy can work. At the end of the day, raising the minimum wage to $15 isn’t about just rejecting their version of capitalism. It’s about replacing it with one that works for every American.

Promising Nothing

Political Cartoon is by Mike Stanfill at farleftside.com.

Unions Are Important

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Blasphemy / Destinations

Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky

Congratulations to Chelsea and Marc Mezvinsky on the birth of their daughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky. Here is how CNN reported it:

Chelsea Clinton has given birth to a daughter, according to a post on her Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The baby was born Friday, a Clinton spokesman said.

"Marc and I are full of love, awe and gratitude as we celebrate the birth of our daughter, Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky," Clinton's message read.

Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they feel "blessed, grateful and so happy to be the grandparents of a beautiful girl."

"Chelsea is well and glowing. Marc is bursting with pride. Charlotte's life is off to a good start," the elder Clintons said in a statement.


Political Cartoon is by Bob Englehart in the Hartford Courant.

A Survey On Religion And Politics In American Society

The Pew Research Center just did another survey on religion and politics in this country. They surveyed a random national sample of 2,002 adults, and the survey had a margin of error of 2.5 points. The top chart shows that Democrats hold a 5 point advantage among the general public, but the different religious groups vary widely in their party preference.

The advantage for Republicans is with White evangelicals (52 points), White mainline protestants (8 points), and White catholics (14 points). The groups favoring Democrats are Black protestants (74 points), Hispanic catholics (61 points), Jews (44 points), and those unaffiliated with a religion (36 points).

A rising number say religion is losing its influence in American society. In 2002, about 52% said religion was losing its influence, while 37% said religious influence was making gains. Today about 72% say religion is losing influence, while 22% say it is gaining in influence. I personally hope that 72% is right, because religion, any religion, shouldn't have that much influence in a secular nation with a secular constitution.

I shouldn't celebrate though, because 49% want churches to be able to express their views on social and political views, and 59% say they want political candidates with strong religious views.

Fortunately though, most Americans seem to like the law that prohibits churches from endorsing specific political candidates of any party. The chart below shows a clear majority of all groups (including Republicans and White evangelicals) don't want churches endorsing political candidates. This is a good thing -- and the IRS needs to make sure that churches follow the law about this.

The survey also asked religious groups their opinion on homosexuality and same-sex marriages. Not surprisingly, there is still a lot of bigotry among the religious community.


Political Cartoon is by Joel Pett in the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Too Many Americans Prefer Bible Over The Constitution

These two charts are made from a fairly recent Gallup Poll -- done between August 7th and 10th of a random national sample of 1,032 adults, and has a margin of error of 4 points.

I guess there is some good and some bad in this survey. It is good that the percentage of people who want to toss out the Constitution (at least the First Amendment that guarantees freedom of religion) so they can force their religion on defenseless school children has shrunk over the last 15 years -- from 70% in 1999 to 61% in 2014. That's a fairly significant drop.

But it's bad that slightly more than 6 out of every 10 Americans would be happy to violate the Constitution to use the government to spread their religion. I have no problem with anyone believing in a religion and worshipping as they please -- but they cross the line when they force others to submit to their religious rituals. Children have no choice in whether they attend school or not. It is a requirement -- and when people are required by the government to attend (or when people voluntarily attend any government function) they should not be subjected to the religious rituals of another person.

Why is it so hard for many Americans to understand that religious freedom includes the right to be free from religion -- and would be worthless without that right?

Bad Company

Political Cartoon is by Jim Morin in The Miami Herald.

Bernie Asks For Help To Keep The GOP At Bay

(This caricature of Senator Bernie Sanders is by DonkeyHotey.)

This is the latest message from Sen. Bernie Sanders to his supporters:

These are tough times for our country.

In the United States today, the middle class continues to decline, while 95 percent of all new income created since the Wall Street crash of 2008 goes to the top 1 percent.

Today, we continue to have the most unequal distribution of wealth of any major country on earth. The top 1 percent owns 37 percent of all wealth, while the bottom 60 percent owns all of 1.7 percent. One family, the Walton family of Walmart, owns more wealth than the bottom 40 percent — and the gap between the very rich and everyone else grows wider and wider.

Today, real unemployment is 12 percent while youth unemployment is 20 percent. The federal minimum wage remains a starvation wage of $7.25 an hour, and women receive only 78 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Today, while millions of families are unable to afford health care or a college education, one out of four major corporations pays nothing in federal income taxes, and we lose about $100 billion a year as corporations stash their profits in tax havens like the Cayman Islands.

Today, the threat of climate change is worse than ever, with scientists telling us that there is now only a short window of opportunity to transform our energy system, cut carbon emissions and reverse global warming.

That is some of what is happening in the real world, the world that affects millions of Americans.

And then there is the political world, with a very different reality. 

A recent Gallup poll tells us that 64 percent of Americans cannot even name the parties that control the U.S. Senate and U.S. House. Political scientists project that, in the coming November elections, some 60 percent of Americans will not vote, which means that 70-80 percent of low income workers and young people will not be voting. 

And, while most Americans have become turned off by politics in this off-presidential election, there is a group of people who are very well attuned. And that is the billionaire class. As a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, the Koch brothers, the second wealthiest family in America worth over $80 billion, are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to elect candidates whose main function is to make the rich even richer. And they’re not alone. Other billionaire families are also spending freely to make certain that the Republican Party captures the U.S. Senate and retains the U.S. House.

And, if we don’t stop them, they may succeed.

Republican control over the U.S Congress will be a disaster.

As a member of the U.S. Senate, let me tell you what a Republican Senate will mean for America.

Are you concerned about campaign finance law, and the ability of billionaires to buy elections? Well, not one Republican in the Senate voted in support of a recent effort to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United. In fact, many Republicans now want to eliminate all restrictions on campaign spending.

Are you concerned about global warming and its threat to our planet? Well, the new Republican Chairman of the Environmental Committee may be Sen. Jim Inhofe, who recently wrote a book calling global warming a “hoax.”

Are you concerned about the need to raise the minimum wage to a living wage? Well, the new Republican Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee which has oversight of labor issues may be Sen. Lamar Alexander. He has stated publicly that not only should we not raise the minimum wage, but that we should eliminate the concept of the minimum wage — which means that workers in high unemployment areas could be working for $3 or $4 an hour.

Are you concerned about income and wealth inequality? Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans want to completely eliminate the estate tax, providing a huge tax break for millionaire and billionaire families.

Are you concerned about women’s rights and pay equity? The vast majority of Republicans in the Senate do not believe that a woman has the right to control her own body, and there is almost no Republican support for pay equity for woman workers. 

Are you concerned about poverty in America? The vast majority of Republicans want to make major cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and nutrition programs, and balance the budget on the budget on the backs of some of the most vulnerable people in our country. 

What can we do? Fight back! In the remaining six weeks of this campaign we need to mount a vigorous grassroots movement which connects with millions of Americans through door-knocking, phone calls and in every way possible. We need to educate and organize the American people to understand what a Republican-controlled Congress will mean to the average American and to make sure that does not happen. 

If progressives want to win in 2014 and beyond, it is imperative that we effectively bring our message to middle-class and working-class voters throughout the country. There is no shortage of billionaires willing to bankroll extreme right-wing candidates, and we must respond. 

Please help me make sure the Republicans do not take over the Congress. Please help me take on the billionaire class whose greed has no end. Please help me build a strong grassroots campaign which elects progressive candidates in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. Please help me to protect millions of middle-class and working families. 

Please contribute to Progressive Voters of America (PVA). 

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders


Political Cartoon is by Lee Judge in the Kansas City Star.

Is This Really What Your God Wants ?

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Unions Matter

What GOP's "Trickle-Down" Has Done To Income Growth

The chart above is by Bard College and Levy Institute economist Pavlina Tcherneva. The chart was based on statistics from Thomas Piketty's best-selling book, Capital in the 21st Century. It paints a very clear picture of what has happened to income growth since 1949, and why most people are having such a tough time recovering from the Republican recession.

Note that between 1949 and 1979, rising productivity was shared with both the 90% and the top 10% getting a share of it. This resulted in a healthy economy and a large and growing middle class. But about 1980 the Republicans and their corporate buddies altered the economic playing field to favor the rich and the corporations. They told people that these new economic rules would benefit everyone, but they lied.

The chart shows just what happened. The rich and the corporations were able to start hogging nearly all of the rising productivity (income), and when the Bush administration doubled-down on these GOP "Trickle-Down" economic policies, they stopped sharing any of it. Income is still growing in this country, thanks to rising productivity, but it now is growing only for the richest 10%. The other 90% is falling further behind every year.

And it has resulted in the largest gap in income and wealth between the rich and the rest of America since before the Great Depression -- a gap that continues to grow (since the GOP has blocked all efforts to return to a sane and fair economic policy).

Americans are rightfully angry with Congress over their failure to fix the economy and create enough new jobs. But they need to understand that the economy will not be fixed as long as the Republicans retain any power in Washington. They sold out to the rich and corporations decades ago, and they must be voted out of power before a healthy economy can be restored.

Race Against Ebola

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.