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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
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Robert Reich Takes On Ryan Adviser Who Claims Income Inequality Is Not A Problem


Here we go again with another one of these Third Way flacks making their way onto our airways -- although this one has moved onto the Manhattan Institute and working as an economic adviser for Rep. Paul Ryan. From this Friday's The PBS Newshour, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich joined Scott Winship to discuss the expiration of unemployment benefits and " mounting concerns over inequality and lack of opportunity."

To no one's surprise given his background, Mr. Winship did his best to try to convince the viewers that lack of upward mobility and record income disparity in the United States is really no big deal.

Business Insider ran a piece on Winship last month, who is apparently working on some big plan that's supposed to be unveiled this spring, and surprise, surprise, he's a big fan of "entitlement reform" a.k.a. gutting our retirements and earned benefits, and he really likes tax cuts, vouchers and the earned income tax credit as opposed to increasing the minimum wage; or in other words, the same trickle-down economics conservatives have been pushing that haven't worked for decades now. You can read that entire article here: Meet The Man Who Wants To Help Paul Ryan Solve Poverty.

ROBERT REICH: Well, besides slower economic growth -- and I do think the studies predominantly do show that -- and, intuitively, it's obvious -- beyond that, you have a kind of corruption and eroding of our democracy. When more and more money accumulates at the very top, so does, inevitably, political power. As the great American jurist Louis Brandeis once said, we can have a great deal of money in the hands of a few people, or we can have a democracy, but we can't have both, because money inevitably of that degree, as in the late 19th century, now, does corrupt and undermine with lobbying and campaign contributions our democracy.

More, inluding video, at the link.

Scott Walker's crappy book: Context is everything.

If anyone ever asks you, "What would Jesus do?"

Next time someone tells you welfare is bad for the economy ...



Given what has happened to Target, and following the rhetorical precedents set by opponents of the Affordable Care Act, I don't believe we have any choice but to close every big box retailer in America, starting with Target, until every one of these systems is made error-free and impregnable, which of course the private sector can do because it does everything better than the public sector...until you discover that somebody in Kiev has bought $70,000 worth of herring and kutia on your MasterCard. Then it's the government's fault because freedom.

Then, just as we're all waiting on our porches for the last of our Christmas packages to arrive, we recall that the people who have worked for two decades to chloroform the U. S. Postal Service always have assured us that the Private Sector, as personified by FedEx and UPS, would more than make up the slack when the clearly obsolete USPS goes out of business.


Again following the rhetorical precedents set in the debate over the Affordable Care Act, I think both FedEx and UPS should be shut down immediately because their systems were overwhelmed by a sudden demand. This was due to inexplicable "bad weather" in a season we like to call "winter" and due to an "extraordinary event." Called "Christmas." Which is so extraordinary that it has occurred on the very same day since at least 336 A.D.

I'm sure that, next year, FedEx and UPS will solve the mysteries that are winter and Christmas in time to demonstrate once again that the Private Sector does everything better than the public sector, or else will find a way that it is all the government's fault because freedom.

NYT: The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food

A long read, but worth it for anyone who eats.


On the evening of April 8, 1999, a long line of Town Cars and taxis pulled up to the Minneapolis headquarters of Pillsbury and discharged 11 men who controlled America’s largest food companies. Nestlé was in attendance, as were Kraft and Nabisco, General Mills and Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Mars. Rivals any other day, the C.E.O.’s and company presidents had come together for a rare, private meeting. On the agenda was one item: the emerging obesity epidemic and how to deal with it. While the atmosphere was cordial, the men assembled were hardly friends. Their stature was defined by their skill in fighting one another for what they called “stomach share” — the amount of digestive space that any one company’s brand can grab from the competition.


As he spoke, Mudd clicked through a deck of slides — 114 in all — projected on a large screen behind him. The figures were staggering. More than half of American adults were now considered overweight, with nearly one-quarter of the adult population — 40 million people — clinically defined as obese. Among children, the rates had more than doubled since 1980, and the number of kids considered obese had shot past 12 million. (This was still only 1999; the nation’s obesity rates would climb much higher.) Food manufacturers were now being blamed for the problem from all sides — academia, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society. The secretary of agriculture, over whom the industry had long held sway, had recently called obesity a “national epidemic.”

Mudd then did the unthinkable. He drew a connection to the last thing in the world the C.E.O.’s wanted linked to their products: cigarettes. First came a quote from a Yale University professor of psychology and public health, Kelly Brownell, who was an especially vocal proponent of the view that the processed-food industry should be seen as a public health menace: “As a culture, we’ve become upset by the tobacco companies advertising to children, but we sit idly by while the food companies do the very same thing. And we could make a claim that the toll taken on the public health by a poor diet rivals that taken by tobacco.”


What happened next was not written down. But according to three participants, when Mudd stopped talking, the one C.E.O. whose recent exploits in the grocery store had awed the rest of the industry stood up to speak. His name was Stephen Sanger, and he was also the person — as head of General Mills — who had the most to lose when it came to dealing with obesity. Under his leadership, General Mills had overtaken not just the cereal aisle but other sections of the grocery store. The company’s Yoplait brand had transformed traditional unsweetened breakfast yogurt into a veritable dessert. It now had twice as much sugar per serving as General Mills’ marshmallow cereal Lucky Charms. And yet, because of yogurt’s well-tended image as a wholesome snack, sales of Yoplait were soaring, with annual revenue topping $500 million. Emboldened by the success, the company’s development wing pushed even harder, inventing a Yoplait variation that came in a squeezable tube — perfect for kids. They called it Go-Gurt and rolled it out nationally in the weeks before the C.E.O. meeting. (By year’s end, it would hit $100 million in sales.)

A Brief, Opinionated History of Taxes in America


More at the link.

"... operating on the momentum of an ignorant past ..."

Third Way leader Jim Kessler attacked by dog

Love, hate and God's judgement

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