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Editorial: A massive heist pulled off in plain sight

Hedrick Smith is a man on a mission. The journalist, author, filmmaker and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner wants to open America’s eyes to something that he himself was once blind to: the massive transfer of wealth from the middle class to the 1 percent and how it happened. Smith, author most recently of Who Stole the American Dream, met with Monitor editors on Tuesday. His book is a lengthy account of a massive heist pulled off in plain sight, and a manual for how to restore fairness and recapture the dream.

The scale of the wealth transfer that led to the demise of the middle class is mind-boggling. In the 1980s, Smith said, the average American homeowner owned 70 percent of his or her home. That figure dropped to 40 percent by 2009 because people borrowed against their equity in their homes to make up for flat wages and the shift of financial responsibility from employer to employee. The transfer, some $6 trillion, is the largest in U.S. history.

Three major changes, and a host of smaller ones, are responsible for the biggest disparity in wealth between rich and poor since the robber baron era. One was the lifting of limits on interest rates, which made it easy for people to borrow huge sums at exorbitant costs. Another was the rapid replacement of lifetime pensions with employee 401(k) plans. In the 1980s, 80 percent of those who worked for a company with 100 or more employees had a lifetime pension. Today, outside the public sector, they are a rarity. The shift to 401(k)s, Smith says, did more to transfer wealth to Wall Street than protect workers in their retirement years. As a result, 45 percent of the baby boom generation could end up living in poverty in old age. Taxpayers who lack pensions or good health-care benefits have become eager to take them away from government workers who do, rather than fight to win such benefits for themselves. “The politics of envy have triumphed over the politics of solidarity,” Smith said.

The third change is the ongoing shift of health care costs from employers to employees. In the 1980s, 70 percent of the workforce in companies with more than 100 employees enjoyed fully paid employer health insurance benefits. Today, they too are a rarity and employees, no matter what their income, must pay a big share of cost of health care and do so on wages that haven’t increased.

At the same time, the Bush-era tax cuts and other breaks won by the rich concentrated the wealth so effectively that the combined wealth of just four families, all of them heirs to the Walmart fortune, equals that of the 120 million Americans at the bottom of the economic ladder. The 400 richest Americans have assets of $2 trillion, a sum larger than the GDP of Canada or Mexico.

The vast income disparity and reduced odds of upward mobility was created, and persists, Smith argues, because the public doesn’t understand how it happened, and they’ve been persuaded that their problems are their own fault. For the most part, they aren’t. Voters are convinced that Washington listens to lobbyists and ignores them, and they’re right. But most of all, the income disparity and the collapse of the American dream exists because people feel powerless to change things. If they act alone, Smith says, that’s true. But if they act together, as a populist movement in pursuit of political and economic fairness, they can restore the dream. They must band together, much the way the AARP has become the giant protecting Social Security and Medicare from those who want to shrink or privatize the systems. They must insist that a tax code skewed in favor of the rich be reformed.

Smith wants citizens to push back against the claim that government support of research, industries and infrastructure is inherently bad because it violates free market principles. That’s false. Government involvement led to the transcontinental railroads and the interstate highway system, for example. Both strengthened the nation and made the economy boom.

Most of all, people in pursuit of the American dream must realize that Ronald Reagan was wrong. Government is not the problem. Shrinking it so it can be strangled in a bathtub will not bring prosperity, improve lifestyles, result in economic fairness, restore faith in the legislative process or ensure the well-being of future generations. Creating a government that works because its controlled not by corporate lobbyists, but by a united citizenry will. In solidarity, Smith rightly believes, there is strength.

Legacy Comments69

Sail, do you ever get off the internet and go out into the real world? Links are for sausages, the rest of the world observes, learns, gets involved and doesn't need a biased web site to tell us what we think.

Must we be subjected to bully tactics by other posters calling those with whom they disagree, "trolls". According to Wikipedia an internet troll is: "a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. The suggestion that people who disagree with those who accuse others of being a "troll" is absurd. Many of those call others on here "right wing extremists", "tea baggers" "Facists", "greedy", "trolls" etc. Yet they are the ones calling others "trolls". The very thought of branding anyone on an opinion site as a "troll" truly shows that discussion or disagreement is not wanted by those doing so. One example, Katy Burns can rail on with an extreme columns but according to those accusing others of being "trolls" should not respond in kind with just as ridiculous points? The idea of an internet "troll" was created to demonize people who fight back against those who want to railroad the majority into their vision of the dream world they would like to see. It ain't reality, it is fantasy, what we need is to give on both sides or we are all doomed to fight on forever. Branding people "trolls" is admitting that you really don't have an argument or you think that your argument is weak.

Sorry, was this meant to be a serious post? I'm still laughing.

By george you shouldn't be laughing, you should be reflecting. I see one of the papers own can find humor in the truth.

I thought a troll was a little dwarf.

These right wingers do not realize that CAPITALISM and the free market are not the same. Capitalism is making money of making money. Wall street and venture capitalism. When someone builds a factory and makes wickets better and cheaper than someone else, that is the free market. Then Romney comes along and sweeps up his business makes crappy wickets, declares bankruptcy and he keeps all the profits. That is CAPITALISM . .Soon no one is actually making wickets, just the little guy who physically made the wickets works in Walmart selling wickets made in China.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capitalism..........Full Definition of CAPITALISM : an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.

Not any more it isn't. Not modern capitalism in the US since the huge rise in the stock market since the 70's. How about China's capitalism? Do you think it would have that definition? You people never seem to "think". Everything has to be looked up.

"modern capitalism" ....care to post a link - thought not - doesn't exist..

Reply to sail below: And it's just for starters.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varieties_of_Capitalism

So...GWTW...what about Smith's statistics are you happy with?? That 10 % earn 48 % of all income?? Or that the other 90 % are left to earh the other 52 % ??? Are you really happy that the rich capitalists have lobbied government so laws get passed to allow them to get richer?? Read a book titled "Free Lunch', then answer those questions. Of course, you won't because you might actually LEARN something. Heaven forbid a conservative actually knows whereof he speaks.

I guess you don't know that the same 10% pay 71% of the taxes..... http://money.cnn.com/2013/03/12/news/economy/rich-taxes/index.html

Reply to sail below: Given that the top 1% own 42.1% of all privately held wealth, they're under-taxed. Federal taxes as a % of GDP are at historic lows for this country--and rival those of banana republics. Which seems to be the direction in which we're heading. http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/wealth.html

Isn't it truly amazing how much the conservatives on this blog are so really, really blind. The article focuses on real numbers, not political philosophy (note that Itsa, GWTW, et al). Yet these conservatives ignore the numbers and attack the author. What you conservatives should do is study the Lewis Powell Memo. Written in 1971, it pushes the US Chamber of Commerce (and others) to promote CAPITALISM. Writ large, because the following couple decades, massive movement by conservatives lead to think tanks supported (financially) big time by corporatist donations. Result: well one of them was the 2001 and 3004 Bush tax cuts. Who benefited from the tax cuts??? Well, that would be the top 10 percent incomes. Of course, they deserved it, cause they spent so much money supporting the think tanks and National Republican Party. So, Itsa, et al, go do some research and see how big that knife is that the NRP put into your back. My bet: you won't, you'll just rant on about progressives. Too bad.

The fallacy of the liberals mind is that they think their piece of the pie is static. The American pie is always increasing and every American has the equal opportunity to achieve whatever piece of the pie they want. Unfortunately for the liberals their policies are 180 degrees from promoting achievement.

It isn't equal opportunity. When the 1% buys off congress to pass legislation, give them subsidies and contracts, and then hide profits offshore claiming to be Irish, that's not equal opportunity. That's a scam.

Here is Obama's "Massive Heist", just released and from NBC News. http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/28/21213547-obama-admin-knew-millions-could-not-keep-their-health-insurance?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=1 Obama lied and people who like their doctors and insurance cried.

Talk about transfer of wealth (ObamaKare is the epitome of the transfer of wealth): This is proof that Obama is an serial liar: nvestigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/28/21213547-obama-admin-knew-millions-could-not-keep-their-health-insurance?lite

In the Reagan years, telephone companies and the banks were deregulated because the free market approach was better. More efficient. Blah blah blah. Then all across this country non profit health insurance companies were deregulated, so they could be taken over by the free market system. Because the free market approach was better, more cost efficient, blah blah blah. So, those of you still promoting this system have had 30 years to prove it, and instead we have the worst customer satisfaction ratings of all time when it comes to our telecommunications industry; we have the end of the neighborhood independent banks and instead have Wall St. bailouts provided by pro free market administrations, we have Enron on the books, which out simply is the biggest theft of cash in the history of the world, with hundreds of thousands of families losing their entire pension funds. Few if any were prosecuted for this theft. We have out of control medical health insurance premiums, increasing deductibles, more and more who can no longer afford insurance. And all of you who voted for all this, put all these crooks in office who caused all this, all you do is point fingers and blame people who have little or nothing to do with the root of the problem. The failure is the free market system. So instead of calling me (us) communists-really, that stuff went out of style decades ago, I keep thinking that the idiots in this country who still support this "system" will collectively and suddenly have all their heads pop out of their (expletive) and wake the (expletive) up. But I don't think it will happen, because many people are too stuck in their ways, too dang stubborn, to learn. They already know everything, I guess.

In the Reagan years..... To refresh their memory liberals need to be reminded that the Magnificient Reagan Tax Cuts of 1981 passed the Senate 89-11 and passed the hostile democrat controlled house 323-107.... that is forged bipartisanship that Obama never even dreams about

Historical footnote: If the Hastert Rule that says legislation only comes up for a vote in the House if a majority of the majority supports it were in place back then, the Reagan tax cuts would never have come up for a vote, much less have been passed. The Hastert Rule is partisanship in the extreme that Reagan never dealt with.

Sail...perhaps you should do a little research on the 1981 tax cut. Find out that: a) it was followed, each year, with a tax increase, because: b) it raised the National Debt each year. 'Magnificent Reagan..???' More like presenile Reagan !! But, conservatives don't care, they are soooo BLIND.

To really get a good idea of what tis editorial is trying to get across I urge everyone especialy the posters on this forum to view the film "Inequality for All" now showing at the Red River theater in Concord and then re comment on this forum.

that would be the kind of research one would expect from a liberal progressive democrat

That liberal progressive democrat presided over the last budget that ended with a surplus. GO SEE THE FILM. You might learn something.

Forget it. Sail already knows everything.

If I go see the film, will you read Thomas Sowell's column for 6 months??...lol

GWTW I read Sowell in the UL. Once I even agreed with him.

I doubt any of the usual suspects would be caught dead in that "elitist communist hotbed" of a movie theatre. And if they did, they probably couldn't get past the ad hominem attacks on Mr. Reich as a liberal to post anything pertinent to the discussion.

You've got that right, unfortunately.

There's an old adage that "the proof of the pudding is in the eating". Is the American economic system serving the interests of our society? The fact of the matter is that the top one percent of the American population own as much wealth as the bottom ninety percent. This is a huge disparity. It rivals the class disparity that existed in feudal Europe, when aristocrats lived in luxury while the peasants toiled in servitude. The reality of our economic system is that it is essentially owned, controlled, and managed by and for the benefit of the top one percent. Although our economic system has the single most dramatic effect on the lives of all of us, it is not subject to democratic control in any real sense. In economic terms, our society is not democratic at all: It is a plutocracy of the one percent. If you understand this, and look at the statistical data provided in the article, the inescapable conclusion is that our economic system has failed to meet the needs of the overwhelming majority of our people. To further compound the problem, it is essentially a historical truism that the political system of any society will be controlled by the same people who control its economy. This is because political institutions are fundamentally an administrative means to defend and protect economic interests. Therefore, if an economic system is controlled by a small minority, then the political institutions will come to be controlled by that minority and serve its interests. This is fully evident in our national politics.

Post of the month.

I agree. Great post.

"This is because political institutions are fundamentally an administrative means to defend and protect economic interests." So where does Obama fit in all of this? Who is controlling him? Maybe the 2 commenters below can answer, since they apparently agree with this great post.

GWTW, you're like a cop who pulls up to a crime scene and immediately begins to gather evidence specifically to build a case against a perp they know, just KNOW committed the crime. In the process, they miss any other evidence that would point to a different suspect. Any discussion on any topic and you're looking to see how Obama can be blamed. In this case, the crime is the hollowing-out of America's middle class. Evidence of this is overwhelming--the couple statistics in this column are just the tip of the iceberg. The crime has been methodically planned and carried out for 40 years. Starting in the early 1970s, corporate America decided that they were going to play a major role in shaping the country's political agenda. These were smart, ambitious men with great resources. They formed think tanks and lobbying organizations to engage politicians on a local and national level and to sway public opinion. AEI, ALEC, Heritage are just a few examples. The goal is always the same: increase profit for their companies and therefore themselves. The suffering middle class just happens to be collateral damage. Their policies have enabled health care to become a huge profit generator, enabled Wall St to increase income from 1/8 to 1/3 of all wages earned in NYC, deregulated the financial sector while at the same time de-fanged the SEC, ballooned the defense budget and drastically decreased the tax rate paid by the wealthy. Now, there have been quite a few rebuttals from conservatives to this editorial, but not-a-one has addressed the data and facts laid out in it DIRECTLY. If you believe this editorial is a bunch of baloney, then lay out your case with evidence of your own and stop deflecting the discussion.

Amen.

Nice post. Well-said.

I asked a simple question based on the "post of the month"...If "political institutions are fundamentally an administrative means to defend and protect economic interests." ,,then that begs the question...Whose economic interests did it serve to get Obama elected...yours...mine..or the 1%...????

Right now I'd say the 99% because Romney, being a 1%er, would've killed us all off by now. National revolt. Given our congress is clearly corrupt, the occasional blockade by O is the only thing stopping the riptide by the 1%.

Simple questions don't always have simple answers--outside of trolldom. I believe I adequately answered your question.

Is this a serious question? Considering its source--doubtful. But contrary to the hysterical claims of the unhinged, and at the risk of pointing out the obvious, Obama is a centrist Democrat. Until the recent Tealiban shutdown, he tried to compromise with Republicans at every turn--to little avail. The lobbying and political campaign money that has washed over D.C. in recent decades has corrupted both parties. The Democratic Party is dependent on Wall St. finance for campaign funds, which might explain the lack of criminal prosecutions in the wake of the 2008 financial meltdown. It might also help to explain the absence of a public option in the Heritage/RomneyCare/Obamacare/ACA. It also helps to explain the reluctance of the Democrats, including Obama, to do away with the some of the tax breaks that favor the financial industry, and their lack of interest in pushing for a tax on financial transactions.

Everything Hedrick Smith has written is from a left wing perspective. He has worked for some of the most progressive organizations including the Washington Post and PBS. He has produced anti-capitalism films and documentaries on Wal-Mart and other companies that he felt were "greedy"....they appeared on Frontline, another biased, ideologically based initiative of progressives. To Jim below, if you get money from the government to build your business, you are correct, you built that business with the help of the government. But, in fact, if you take your hard earned savings, invest them in your own business and take nothing from the government then you built that business on your own. It matters not whether property taxes built the roads because the folks you want to provide more "fairness" for probably did not pay any income taxes and they probably received refunds. This childish attitude of people who have "got theirs" is embarrassing and those spouting it should hand their collective heads in shame for even saying such a thing. Where is their self respect, sense of right and wrong, sense of self determination, pride, etc. I think what Republicans are complaining about is the government bureaucracy where one person takes to pieces of paper, hands it to the next person who staples it, hands it to the next person who stamps it approved, hands it to the next person who puts it in the outbox, hands it to the next person who takes it out of the outbox, hands it to the next inbox where a person takes it out of the inbox and hands it to the next person who reviews it, hands it to the next person who removes the staple and separates the two pages only to place them in two outboxes where two more people pick them up from the outboxes and deliver them separately to another person who signs off on them to start the process of finally getting something approved. All the time, those stapling and handing on are earning good money and complaining about being overworked at 37.5 hours per week while collecting a pension when they retire which is 75% of what they earned while they were working.

When you can't argue the facts--that deliberate policies have been put in place that have allowed wealth to be redistributed upward for more than a generation--change the topic.The post above is a glaring example of the politics of envy, along with the usual off-topic anecdotes that never address the issue the essay raised.

Envy? I think when people talk about others that have "got theirs" and to heck with everyone else or when people talk constantly about how there is some inherent lack of fairness to things, well, those who call themselves progressives are being small and small thinkers. Personally, I am not a fan of feeling sorry for public servants who are at best inefficient and for the most part part of a golden parachute group, doing the minimum and still whining about how hard they work. The politics of envy is pitting one group against another which is what Obama does oh, so well. When will progressives grow up and take responsibility for themselves instead of envying some 400 people who are the richest of the rich. Energy spent working hard to better your lot in life is a wiser way to spend your days. I could care less what people earn, have, own....I take responsibility for my own situation....I don't look for Robin Hood to come along and give me a handout. Man up, step up, make it happen. Dig deep down inside and take responsibility for yourself. If you are physically and mentally able to pursue your dreams, you too may one day be a bit more wealthy. Of course, if you are a union slug and you take the entitlement mentality role, well, not much upward mobility there.

"When will progressives grow up and take responsibility for themselves instead of envying some 400 people who are the richest of the rich." When will congress stop taking bribes to let the 400 write legislation?

Government spending “is inherently bad because it violates free market principles”, what product does the government produce? Government spending is what drives the US economy. Actually shut off the government cash for 6 months and see what happens to the US economy. Stop paying the ~~ 15% Fed/State/City workers (translates into ~~30% of the US households being directly affected): stop all the government building of roads, bridges, buildings: stop private sector service contracts of computers, ink, paper, furniture, supplies: stop all defense spending and even stop all the FREE grants. When the domino effect stops where would the US economy be - 50% unemployment????? I always chuckle at a friend who's business generates most of his gross revenue from the government when he says he wants to keep reducing the tax rate. HE should be the very one asking for a higher tax rate so the government can spend more and he makes more. A stanch hard core Republican that says he built it all himself and I just remind him that he built it with TAX dollars…… What is wrong is spending the money without generating revenue to pay for it. Many posters have already “got theirs”, they just don’t want to pay the cost of getting it.

Hmmmm..the government shut down for 2 weeks...try shutting every business in the country down for that long. Then compare.

Yep, exactly the same result........ Government spending is pretty much one entity (Fed/State/City are all tax dollars)....... I'm not saying uncontrolled spending and unlimited taxation are good. I'm merely pointing out how many jobs are affected by government spending and that many who claim they want lower and lower taxes are the very ones who benefit from them.

the fact that one does not see a problem with the perception that BIG Govt is necessary to run the economy..... proves the democrats have succeeded in their mission to dumb down the nation

your desired form of Big Govt that has an .."ism" at the end of it can be found in Europe. In the USA - the most successful country in the history of the world...... CAPITALISM has been the reason for our success. Progressives liberals & democrats are doing everything in their power to end that ..... hence : 90,609,000: Americans Not in Labor Force Climbs to Another Record

You've created a straw man--that's not what he said. And your economic history of the U.S. is empty sloganeering that would fail a high school economics paper. Your post ignores both the fact that capitalism only works well when regulated, and that much of the infrastructure and manufacturing capacity that once graced our nation came with considerable help from government investment. Thanks to that investment, we have the internet, our rail and highway systems, a military that defeated the Axis powers in WW2, a military-industrial complex and its numerous spin-offs, as well as a legal tradition that eliminated slavery and mandated wage minimums and decent working conditions. By contrast, those who espouse your view have given us (in no special order) slavery, segregation, the Confederacy, a civil war, weak or non-existent regulations, encouraged balkanization of the nation via states' rights, and under-investment in infrastructure. This nation's current economic woes are not the fault of any one president or congress, they're the culmination of 40 years of misguided and wrong-headed policies by both parties.

You left out the part about in your opinion and the opinion of the websites twisting statistics to create propaganda.

more from the left's Manifesto - this from a man that has one foot well over the line into a different political philosophy that ends in "ISM" and it isn't Capitalism

Response to the usual suspects below: Try making a coherent fact-based response. Spare us the name-calling and red-baiting.

Correct, it is a record. Those would be the folks who stopped looking in the unemployment statistics. The ones that do not show in the massaged 7.3% number. It does not feel like any 7.3% unemployment situation I have every experienced.....it is much, much worse. The feeling on the ground is much more valid than easily manipulated statistics. Good post Sail!

As I asked, what product does the US make. What industry did it take over for your "S" word to apply. This government pays private companies to do all the work.The healthcare website that you complain about was built by a private company, all those insurance companies are private companies and all those hospitals are private companies. The Government does not own any of them. Tax payers spent more on Wall Street and we don't even own that....... You state Capitalism has been the reason for success. YET, if the Government wants to be a Capitalist and make a dollar off a project you cry it is Socialism. You state Capitalism is good for your business and makes it great and makes the country great one could ask why is it not good for the government to run like that. If you make the profit it is Capitalism, if someone else makes it (the government) it is Socialism. I'm not promoting Socialism, just pointing out a few facts.

Govt shut down for two+ weeks and nobody noticed. Only a liberal can imagine that more Big Govt is the foundation for this nations return to greatness

Jim, I think you're one of the most independent thinkers on this forum. I like reading your comments as oftentimes they showcase another side of the argument. You are not afraid to take Dems or Reps to task for all their stupid ideas. I think it's real telling that when you disagree with the conservatives on this forum, they jump all over you and label you a liberal.

Jim, your post is on-the-money. People who complain about the size of government conveniently forget about what a driving force they are to the economy. Some of the biggest employers in NH are highly dependent on government spending: General Electric, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems are all suckling off the government teat. And of course there is the shipyard in Portsmouth and Pease AFB.

We are not talking about defense spending money. We are talking about all of the waste, fraud, abuse, red tape, bureaucrats mired in red tape and single tasking. Those companies you mention are producing a product that the government is paying for. They are not overcharging the government, they are mostly the ONLY companies that have the talent to provide those services. When you have the Secretary of a Department and an under secretary who has an under secretary and that person has an undersecretary.....well that is what we are talking about.

Why aren't we talking about "defense spending"? Do you honestly think it is immune to "waste, fraud, abuse, red tape, bureaucrats...". The facts say otherwise.

"At the same time, the Bush-era tax cuts and other breaks won by the rich.............."................http://www.kmco.com/case_studies/media-case-study/

What kind of business people would they be if they didn't take advantage of the tax breaks available to them? Not to take advantage would place them at a distinct disadvantage compared to their competition. The fact the Monitor's editorial position may be at odds with their business practices doesn't mean the business side sees no problems inherent in repeated rounds of tax cuts and breaks. It also speaks to something devotees of Fox may be unfamiliar with--an editorial position at odds with the mercenary interests of the corporation speaks to journalistic integrity and independence, and a focus on the common good (evidently treated by Carpers as a subversive concept, if comments here are any guide).

Federal debt to be over $20 trillion by the time Obama leaves office...focusing on the common good. Yay!

Given that the sources of that debt, including the very significant role right-wing/laissez-faire/libertarian policies have played in getting us to this point, have been repeatedly discussed on this site, your obsession with the federal debt is both cynical and hypocritical--not unlike your posts. But for your consideration, from a NY Times comment to a Krugman piece, more inconvenient facts: "Balanced Budgets and Depressions" by Thayer, Frederick C., The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. "... since 1791, there have been six significant economic depressions among the innumerable "business cycles." Each sustained period of budget-balancing was immediately followed by a significant depression. ... This is the record: 1. 1817-21: in five years, the national debt was reduced by 29 percent, to $90 million. A depression began in 1819. 2. 1823-36: in 14 years, the debt was reduced by 99.7 percent, to $38,000. A depression began in 1837. 3. 1852-57: in six years, the debt was reduced by 59 percent, to $28.7 million. A depression began in 1857. 4. 1867-73: in seven years, the debt was reduced by 27 percent, to $2.2 billion. A depression began in 1873. 5. 1880-93: in 14 years, the debt was reduced by 57 percent, to $1 billion. A depression began in 1893. 6. 1920-30: in 11 years, the debt was reduced by 36 percent, to $16.2 billion. A depression began in 1929. The question is whether this consistent pattern of balance the budget-reduce the national debt-have a big depression is anything other than a set of coincidences. According to economic myths, none of these sequences should have occurred at all. How on earth, for example, could we virtually wipe out the national debt in the mid-1830s, then fall immediately into one of the six recognized collapses in our history? ..."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-30/budget-deficit-in-u-s-narrows-to-5-year-low-on-record-revenue.html

Lets do a little survey here..Monitor editors...yes, you..whoever wrote this...Does NNE offer a lifetime pension plan? Do you enjoy fully paid employer health insurance benefits? Have your wages increased??? Now, if the answers to those questions are no, no and no...then answer this question..why? NNE is a big "corporation"..right? They can afford it..right? Why dont you "lobby" your own company for all that you want, and get back to us with the answers NNE gives in response? Thats a great story idea!

You won't get those answers. I asked for the cost of their insurance under the Obamacare mandate. No response. You won't get them to admit that it is having the same devastating impact on them and they will never speak out against the hand that feeds them.

Or let's just try to make the perfect the enemy of the good. The whole gist of the essay was to point out the forces at work that are depressing wages, and making good benefits increasingly difficult to sustain. Your response studiously avoids any mention of the essay itself or the points it raises.

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