Morning Thoughts

Edward Snowden has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is by no means the front-runner, but just his inclusion must be seen as somewhat of a slap in the face to the American Government. The nomination was pushed through by two Norwegian politicians who believed Snowden had, “contributed to a more stable and peaceful world order” by bringing to light the surveillance excess that had been taking place at America’s NSA.

– It’s a practically ancient at this point, since it’s from Monday, but I wanted to highlight this piece from Laura Clawson at DailyKos. Inequality continues to push its way to the national forefront as a political issue, and Walmart is the perfect example, and driver, of the problem. As the graphic at the top of the post explains, American taxpayers subsidize the underpaid workers at the average Walmart, through Food Stamps, Medicaid, EITC, etc. It would seem that, as one of the world’s most profitable businesses, Walmart should be able to pay their own employees more, so the federal government that the Walton’s hate so much wouldn’t have to do it for them.

– On that note, 59%(!) of national adults believe that income “should be more evenly distributed”, 33% did not think so, and 7% were not sure. Numbers like these cannot be ignored, and they will have massive impact on our politics in the next several years. With President Obama dubbing income inequality as “the defining issue of our time“, there can be no denying that the Democratic party is taking a populist, most likely leftward, turn heading into the 2014 and ’16 elections.

It is my belief that this will be to the immense benefit of politicians who can speak to populist themes, namely, Elizabeth Warren, and that this will hurt the Democrats who are further to the right in the upcoming primary. And by that I mean none other than Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. I’ll have more on this later.

– Lastly, the Democrats are right to be going in the direction they are. Emmanuel Saez, at the wonderful state institution UC Berkley, has done the math and, “top 1% incomes grew by 31.4% while bottom 99% incomes grew only by 0.4% from 2009 to 2012. Hence, the top 1% captured 95% of the income gains in the first three years of the recovery.” Yup, you read that right, folks. From 2009-2012, the top 1% of income earners in this country captured 95% of the take-home wage growth in that period, the rest of us saw 5% of that increase. So that “recovery” everyone’s been talking about, with GDP nearing 4%, morning in America dawning again, and blah blah blah? Turns out they only felt that in the Hamptons and Sillicon Valley.

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