Monthly Archives: December 2014

The rich are getting richer.

Pew Research has some interesting data on how the distribution of wealth in the US has changed over the years. It indicates that the wealth of the low and middle income segments of the population is basically stagnant but the upper income segment is continuing to increase its wealth.

The definition of the income categris not given Most likely the whole population is divided into terciles, three equal segments. Thus it does not reflect  the extreme lopsidedness of the highest income categories. Also recall that wealth is a net measure of assets, and the outstanding mortgage loan ios subtracted from the value of a home. This may explain why the housing boo before 2010 is only seen in the two upper income segments.

Here’s some of the data:wealthInequality

 

 

 

Midnight in Paris

I was watching Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris” on Netflix the other night and particularly enjoyed the long camera tour of Paris that opened the film. It was enhanced by the accompanying music, “Si Tu Vois Ma Mère” , by Sidney Bechet and played by the master himself.  Bechet was, and still is, much loved by the French and spent much of his career there.  Woody Allen’s use of old recordings as background music for his films is one of their best features.

What the Dems don’t get.

Since Obama’s early days trying to get “bipartisan” action from Congress, the Democrats have once again agreed (in the House at least) to a piece of bad sausage after behind the scenes negotiatons. If it weren’t for the efforts of Elizabeth Warren and a few other progressives, the Democratic party would be on record approving the relaxation of rules on Wall Street concerning derivatives and the measures to aid rich people in buying elections.

I know legislation requires compromise, but the Democrats will get nowhere unless they make clear that compromise with the current Republican Party requires, not accepting things that are less good, but things that are bad. The average voter sees only the result and concludes the Democrats aren’t any better than the Republicans.

At the very least I hope that Obama, if he signs Cromnibus, makes it clear that he does so only because he has to, and makes clear his opposition and contempt for what the Republicans have required.

Bernie Sanders???

I don’t think Bernie Sanders should run for President in 2016. Too much chance he would end up as a  spoiler. However I hope he runs in the Democratic primaries just to push Hillary out of her favorite centrist position.

Here are his proposals for a national economic recovery program. Almost all the elements are supported by a majority of voters if not by the leaders of both parties. If the Democrats don’t run on a truly progressive platform in 2016 they may forfeit the election.

Observations

1. The election results in November were depressing enough, but the appointment of Ashton Carter to be Defense Secretary is almost as bad. Obama continues to surround himself with people who think there is a military solution for all our problems. A Rhodes scholar from Yale who has never served a day in the service replaces the mere sergeant who thought his job was to avoid quagmires.

2. William Pfaff is just one month older than me and that may account for the fact that he is getting as cynical I am. Here’s a column in which he  takes a broad look at the Obama foreign policy in the real world.

Quote for the day: The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. – G. B. Shaw

Divorce

An interesting article in the NY Times today says the divorce rate has dropped in recent years. It was always highest in the marriages of the 79s and 80s, but earlier and later marriages show a lower rate. Plenty of speculation on the cause and even a claim that the rate is influenced by growing inequality. The article also points out that most people believe the divorce rate is still at a maximum.