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OP-ED | ‘Kneecapped’ Malloy Has Only Himself to Blame

by Sarah Darer Littman | May 16, 2014 8:00am
(91) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Election 2010, Election 2014, Opinion

Last fall over dinner in NYC, a friend asked what I thought of Chris Christie for 2016. I told her that I didn’t think he had the temperament for the White House, because he was, essentially, a bully.

“But during Hurricane Sandy, he seemed like such a leader,” my friend argued.

I agreed. But one performance during a natural disaster doesn’t compensate for a political lifetime.

“But maybe we need a bully in office,” this friend argued. “Bullies get things done.”

I disagreed — because while bullies might “get things done,” they do so at a very high cost.

I’m being reminded of this conversation pretty much daily at the moment as I get emails and blog post responses from Malloy supporters wondering why I, as a “progressive” (with the quotation marks my credentials are even being attacked), would act as a “spoiler,” “kneecapping” a Malloy win by criticizing him, or by even the mere contemplation of support for a third-party candidate with views closer to my own.

The people who write this stuff act as if their newly rebranded candidate “Dan Malloy” is some kind of apolitical unicorn who’s been frolicking around in a fairytale forest for the last four years rather than a sitting governor making political decisions that might have potential electoral consequences. As if he isn’t the same Dannel Malloy who won the 2010 gubernatorial race by the smallest margin in Nutmeg State history (around 6,400 votes) and who owed all of that margin and more to the 26,000 votes he received on the Working Families Party line.

I should know, because one of those votes was mine. Although I was still a registered Democrat back in 2010, I voted for Malloy on the WFP line to express my serious dissatisfaction with him as a candidate, and to ensure that if he won, he knew that owed his victory to that endorsement.

This goes back to the discussion I had with my friend about Christie, about bullies and leadership. Bullies might “get things done” in the short term, thus giving an illusion of leadership and accomplishment, but at what long-term cost?

I recently finished GIVE AND TAKE: A Revolutionary Approach to Success by Adam Grant, the youngest full professor and single highest-rated teacher at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. It’s a book that I plan to suggest for our next town read, because it challenges the “Greed is good, I built that” zeitgeist so beloved by Republicans and, sadly, many Democrats.

As Grant observes, “In purely zero-sum situations and win-lose interactions, giving rarely pays off . . . but most of life isn’t zero-sum, and on balance, people who choose giving as their primary reciprocity style end up reaping rewards.”

An election is a win-lose, zero-sum situation. Governing, once one has won the election, however, is not.

As Grant explains, the problem with “takers” — those whose motives are self-serving — is that “they may rise by kissing up, but they often fall by kicking down . . . Research shows that as people gain power, they feel large and in charge: less constrained and freer to express their natural tendencies. As takers gain power, they pay less attention to how they’re perceived by those below and next to them; they feel they’re entitled to pursue self-serving goals and claim as much value as they can. Over time, treating peers and subordinates poorly jeopardizes their relationships and reputations.”

It wasn’t long after that NYC dinner with friends that Chris Christie’s Bridgegate exploded in the headlines.

As the Democrats go to their convention, presumably to re-nominate Malloy as their candidate for governor, they should consider this: at a time where money dominates politics, the one thing citizens have left to us to attempt to level the playing field — in the fact only thing — is our vote. If the candidates from the two major parties are a choice between the devil you know, and the devil you know enough about to not want to vote for (the need to reform Connecticut’s closed primary system to break the two party stranglehold is the topic for another column), then choosing to vote for a third party isn’t being “spoiler.” It’s called exercising one’s constitutional right to vote. If Connecticut Democrats are so worried about losing, perhaps they should think about nominating a more electable candidate.

Sarah Darer Littman is an award-winning columnist and novelist of books for teens. A former securities analyst, she’s now an adjunct in the MFA program at WCSU, and enjoys helping young people discover the power of finding their voice as an instructor at the Writopia Lab.

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(91) Comments

posted by: bob8/57 | May 16, 2014  10:28am

bob8/57

When a voter’s views are not shared by a plurality of the electorate that voter is better served by voting for a flawed but electable candidate who positions are closest to his or her own rather than voting for an unelectable spoiler. Pretty standard stuff that voters routinely ignore helping undeserving politicians gain office.

posted by: GBear423 | May 16, 2014  11:15am

GBear423

Agree with Sarah about 100%...  George the elder deserved to lose, that is what Perot did.  Malloy needs to go too. I would take a principled man over a politician anyday of the week.

posted by: CTedFromTheTrenches | May 16, 2014  11:33am

“If Connecticut Democrats are so worried about losing, perhaps they should think about nominating a more electable candidate.” QUOTE OF THE WEEK - It is Dannel who is dooming Democrats by choosing to seek reelection. Hey Dannyboy; you sold us all out, and we want you gone!

posted by: Fisherman | May 16, 2014  12:02pm

EXTRA, EXTRA!
Sarah Darer Littman writes an article on a subject OTHER THAN EDUCATION.

And it’s GOOD!

posted by: ocoandasoc | May 16, 2014  12:08pm

The only problem with Dan Malloy is that his stick wasn’t big enough and he didn’t swing it hard enough to subdue a fiscally irresponsible Democrat-controlled State legislature. In essence, he “didn’t get things done,” and the State will continue to pay a price for that.
It IS possible to be socially progressive and fiscally conservative (or at least fiscally sane!), but you’d never know it by the actions of either major party in Connecticut.
God help CT residents if a WFP candidate wins State office – the first thing he or she would probably do is demand a recount! (The case histories of WFP candidates who have won local elections paint a less than pretty picture of their governing skills or motivation to serve the public.)
And can we put to rest the illusion that the WFP “won the election” for Malloy? An unknown WFP candidate on their ballot line would probably have garnered less than 1,000 votes – and the balance would have voted for Malloy anyway, certainly not for Foley.  No, if any group of political activists pushed Malloy’s vote total over the top it was the folks who counted the votes in Bridgeport.
I certainly agree with Ms. Littman, however, with regards to CT’s archaic closed primary system that thwarts the will of the people and leaves voters with Tweedle Dee – Tweedle Dum choices. But that system seems to be the basis for the WFP’s political strategy so I’m not sure how sincere their interest in changing it really is.

posted by: Common Sense | May 16, 2014  12:15pm

In Dannel Patrick Malloy—we have a proven—non-performing expendable Governor
of our once-great State of Connecticut.  With his expected nomination as Governor—Democrats are endorsing a documented loser—that only a “uninformed voters majority would reelect to office.”
Hopefully voters will be of sound, and informed mind come Election Day.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 16, 2014  12:25pm

“When a voter’s views are not shared by a plurality of the electorate that voter is better served by voting for a flawed but electable candidate who positions are closest to his or her own rather than voting for an unelectable spoiler”

I did that last time, Bob. And in thanks, I got the finger from Malloy.

posted by: rsoxrule | May 16, 2014  1:26pm

Sarah thank you for this op-ed you summarized the situation perfectly!
Those of us in the rank and file learned early on that our concessions made via the SEBAC agreement meant nothing to the Governor or his minions who did nothing but mock us when it came time to work collaboratively on an important aspect of the agreement known as “transformation.”  As a matter of fact one of his deputy commissioner appointees led the charge in obstructing all of our initiatives to the point where today, almost 4 years later many agencies within our bureaucracy are more badly broken and inefficient than ever!

posted by: Politijoe | May 16, 2014  1:32pm

Politijoe

Sarah, you provide an excellent nuanced point that the issue really isn’t about Malloy per se, it’s about the need for campaign finance reforms. The fact that money dominates our elections and is compromising our democracy is evident in many of our failed policies. The need to rethink Connecticut’s closed primary system to afford voters a third party choice would compliment finance reforms and give more power to the voters. However, there is always a risk to the establishment candidates like George H. with Ross Perot and of course Al Gore with Nader but that is the nature of politics and the fodder for history books.

posted by: shinningstars122 | May 16, 2014  8:00pm

shinningstars122

I have two words for the majority of posts on this thread…Jodi Rell.

How soon we forget the lost seven years of absolutely nothing happening in the Governor’s house.

Sure Malloy is a poltician but Foley!?! I mean seriously that is what will shift things in our state?

Wake up folks as Republicans slowly take control in small towns all over the state, with their no vision austerity narrative mentality its all about taxes…gutting them.

What it will take to lead CT out of this mess is person(s) who have leaderships skills, vision, and know how to get things done and hustle for our state.

Work to balance our fiscal house but go after the new information economy that is passing CT by.

When all these hipsters, those which I have a feeling Sarah associates with, currently living in Brooklyn and Williamsburg want to raise their kids…guess where they will come?

Connecticut baby!!!

The other thing not mentioned in this piece is what public service used to be about.

Service is about putting your needs aside for others.

We have to instill that quality back into our political and civic processes.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 16, 2014  9:37pm

“When all these hipsters, those which I have a feeling Sarah associates with”

LOLOLOLOL!

posted by: brutus2011 | May 17, 2014  8:56am

brutus2011

Danny Boy Malloy is a politician, through and through in my view.

I don’t care if Josef Stalin were running against him, I do not want Danny Boy Malloy as Governor of our state.

Period.

And if Foley is no better, then at least he will know that privatizing public education will lead to his only serving one term.

Just like our Danny Boy Malloy—one and done.

posted by: gailj2 | May 17, 2014  10:22am

If only Sarah herself would run! We are not even certain if Jon Pelto will run.  We are waiting to see who Working Family Party will endorse.  Jon better hurry up with his decision. If there is no other choice, NOT voting is not an option. That is suicide. So I tread water for now.  And you should too.

posted by: bob8/57 | May 17, 2014  10:40am

bob8/57

I have always found those who claim to prefer principle over politics know little of either.

posted by: Jim in Mfg | May 17, 2014  11:44am

Is the WFP really a political party?  How many are registered in the state? I thought that it consists only of unionized workers and is just and extra line on some ballots.  Last election, there were no state candidates listed as WFP without also being listed as D’s. So how is this a political “party”?

posted by: Politijoe | May 17, 2014  12:47pm

Politijoe

Well said Bob8/57…. Kudos

posted by: Common Sense | May 17, 2014  1:02pm

It’s amusing that desperate Malloy defenders of his hapless job performance are getting desperate and blaming former Gov. M. Jodi as a distraction from Gov. Malloy’s massive taxation and deficit spending.  Rell got no help from the Democratic led General Assembly continual tax and spend agenda in spearheading a deficit during her reign. However, the current Democratic led General Assembly are willing partners of our out of control tax and spend governor—and deserves an exit from the governor’s chair from sold-out-voters on Election Day

posted by: RJEastHartford | May 17, 2014  1:13pm

People should familiarize themselves with Private Equity (I am sure Sarah is quite familiar), to accomplish a “shift” as ShinningStars122 outlines a private equity guy that will limit collective bargaining rights for teachers, and municipal/state employees. More power to dictate a shift.
Education privatization, concessions or any other you issue you may pick, one issue voters should prioritize their interests or risk losing a much larger fight down the road.

posted by: Common Sense | May 17, 2014  1:16pm

@Fisherman:  Sarah Darer Littman is far from a one-topic writer.

posted by: Politijoe | May 17, 2014  3:23pm

Politijoe

RJEastHartford I didn’t completely understand your post and im not sure if your suggestting voters should support a candidate that would limit collective bargaining rights for teachers, and municipal/state employees and privatize education? I was also unclear about the term private equity guy…... as in the financial Wall Street sense?

posted by: RJEastHartford | May 17, 2014  6:11pm

Mr. Foley is a private equity guy. What I am suggesting: is to be sure that whomever you support , that candidate believes in collective bargaining. Any candidate who is philosophically against collective bargaining or set to restrict it especially for teachers (and Municipal and State employees) when governing will only accelerate the change you do not want. I apologize Politjoe my edit on the first post was poor.

posted by: GBear423 | May 18, 2014  5:28am

GBear423

Bob8/57- really?  That’s supposed to be profound wisdom? Better stick to fortune cookies and voting for “winners”.
Malloy is being seen for the hack he is, on many issues. Anybody could do a better job, a fiscal conservative is what the State needs. Follow the ideal that you borrow to run government and pay special interests for votes, and I suppose Malloy is your hero.

posted by: One and Done | May 18, 2014  8:07am

I always laugh when I see WFP.  Talk about an oxymoron.  Working?  Please.  Families?  If your idea of a family is a broken one or one with multiple partners and farm animals, maybe it does work for you.  Let’s call WFP what it is, the communist party.  There ideals and goals are no different from one another.  And before you throw Malloy under the bus, let’s not forget that he did indeed try to give massive amounts of money to the communists before he got busted for doing it.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/301730/malloy-caves-outrage-flips-commie-funding-jack-fowler

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 18, 2014  10:17am

Gail - it took me 40 years to finally discover my purpose in life, and that is NOT being a politician. I truly love writing for and working with young people. My purpose is to use the challenges I’ve faced and overcome to help others realize they don’t have to be defined by bad things that have happened to them, to help them find their own voices, to express themselves effectively in writing, and learn to advocate for themselves, so that maybe they will be the next political generation, and we might actually achieve some social justice.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 18, 2014  10:26am

“Families?  If your idea of a family is a broken one or one with multiple partners and farm animals, maybe it does work for you. “

Really? Wow. That’s some amazing generalization there. So you prefer the kinds of families where where they stay together and go to church and this kind of stuff happens? http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/brothers-charged-n-sexual-abuse-child-lasted-10-years-article-1.1790798

Okay, got it.

posted by: ASTANVET | May 18, 2014  10:31am

Sara - what the heck is “Social Justice”?  I thought we were a country/state founded on liberty and freedom

posted by: Politijoe | May 18, 2014  5:56pm

Politijoe

RJEasthartford, no apologies needed, thanks for the clarification and I agree with your assessment completely. Bob8/57 As I expressed earlier, sage advice and excellent choice of words and for what it’s worth I’ve had verbal run-ins with a couple of the unimaginative dead-end thinkers Like the one who commented to your post. At times the collective willful ignorance and fear-based rhetoric becomes intolerable but comes with the territory. And Sarah….poetic words great philosophy

posted by: gutbomb86 | May 18, 2014  10:31pm

gutbomb86

@sarah - absolutely right in calling out “one and done” for a ridiculous, offensive comment generalizing a whole party. That trash does not deserve to be posted on this site.

posted by: GBear423 | May 19, 2014  8:14am

GBear423

Politijoe, why don’t you explain Bob’s comment and illuminate us:

Rephrased to the topic: a supporter of Jon Pelto has little knowledge of principles or politics.  Why is that the case?

posted by: Common Sense | May 19, 2014  8:46am

@Sarah: Connecicut Democrats did not have the courage to nominate a more electable candidate—and instead chose to be “politically incorrect.” A bid boost for the election of a Republican
governor. I give you credit Sarah—“for seeing the writing on the wall.”

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 19, 2014  9:33am

“Sara - what the heck is “Social Justice”?  I thought we were a country/state founded on liberty and freedom”

*heavy sigh*  This, in a nutshell, sums up why today’s GOP isn’t my father’s Republican party. My late father, of blessed memory,  was a life long Republican, who served this country in both the armed forces and the intelligence service. Yet I was brought up to believe that the concepts of “liberty and freedom” and “social justice” are not mutually exclusive - in fact, they are part of the same package. So when I see Presidential candidate like Mitt Romney, born to enormous privilege, will all the benefits that the existing power structure offers him, saying “I built that” it makes me want to puke. Or Paul Ryan, who benefited from government benefits, wanting to chop down the ladder for those who come behind him. My 20 year old, who is studying politics, sums up the message of the GOP,  as “Got mine, F you! And the solution for everything is more guns and Christian prayer! And we hate gays and Muslims and want to disenfranchise minorities.”  Because that’s pretty much all he’s heard from the party while he’s been growing up. He asks me how I could have ever been a registered Republican.

posted by: dano860 | May 19, 2014  10:50am

The problem with the two words”,Jodie Rell,” is that she was ham stringed by the Democrat House and Senate. In reality the Democrats have always been in power. The back door deals she had to acquiesce too, just to get the little she did get, will probably never come out.

posted by: Politijoe | May 19, 2014  1:09pm

Politijoe

GBear423 I dont think Bobs comment needs any additional illumination from me, ” I have always found those who claim to prefer principle over politics know little of either.”  are self-evident

posted by: Politijoe | May 19, 2014  1:34pm

Politijoe

Sarah, you’re correct, this modern version of the GOP is not our fathers Republican party. What the GOP has come to represent is an historic shift of wealth from the bottom up. A party that supports corporate welfare over social welfare, advocates a perpetual state of war and exhibits an empathy gap towards its own citizens…..and for a country with our values this also represents an historic failure.

There was a time when our fathers Republican party embraced moderation and pragmatic principals to influence legislation. They stood for what was right and waged war on poverty and not on poor people. They explored the universe, cured diseases, created the world’s greatest economy and like men of character and vision, who we intuitively understood and trusted. Men who aspired to science and intelligence and didn’t belittle it.

This new dress code is a mockery of traditional Republican ideals and merely a vulgar Keynesianism robed in the vestments of the corporate elite and the one percent. This is by no means our fathers Republican party.

posted by: Common Sense | May 19, 2014  1:41pm

@Sarah:  Your 20-year-old has been sold a false, sicko description of the GOP—that wasn’t literally worthy of repeating.

posted by: Common Sense | May 19, 2014  3:41pm

Christian doctrine does not promote hate of Gays and Muslims.  This sounds like it comes from someone who never went to church snd does not have a clue about Christian doctrine—except to promote hatred through ignorance.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 19, 2014  3:55pm

Oh, I forgot the other important GOP plank, the one that turned me off almost as soon as I’d registered - thanks to Reagan’s embrace of the social conservatives: “freedom and liberty - except when it comes to a woman and her relationship with her doctor concerning her reproductive parts. Then we will legislate up her wazoo….”

posted by: GBear423 | May 19, 2014  5:33pm

GBear423

Politijoe- It seems to fly in the face of Ms. Littman’s article. She said she chose politics over Principle by voting Malloy 4 yrs ago and in the end has regretted that decision.
It seems she is advising Principle and never again be taken for granted by a Party because “the other guy is worse”. 

I agree with her, it works for us racist homophobic,bring back the Crusades republicans too:

My example was Pres GHW Bush, losing to Pres Clinton, the spoiler being Ross Perot. I believe in that case a lesson was learned. The GOP will not take its “been taxed enough” base for granted.  The benefit from the Left side of the Aisle is 8 years of Bill Clinton.  I am certain you were happy that principled Repubs voted for Perot.
It seems to me that spoilers are a part of the American political process. They keep the Party mindful of what the limits are of their Base members.

posted by: Common Sense | May 19, 2014  7:48pm

@Sarah:  Let up on the strong tea you must be be drinking. You can’t stop with your overboard comments—renewing your lifetime bitter dislike of the GOP. Peace be with you.  Forgive and forget!  You can do it Sarah.

posted by: ASTANVET | May 19, 2014  8:35pm

Sarah - man you’re angry - Equality should not be measured in outcomes - it should be in opportunity.  First you don’t know if i’m white/black/hispanic/asian/gay/straight/rich or poor… you make a lot of assumptions.  I want to be free to make my own choices to better myself because just maybe i’ll make different decisions than someone else, and I’d like to benefit from my choices, or learn from them.  You want “social justice” to “right” some “wrong” you feel is applied to some affected group.  There is no doubt that injustice has been prevalent in our society, but jeez, you just want the power of government to lay siege on whomever you think should foot the bill.  That doesn’t sound like equality…it sounds a lot like bitterness and vengeance.  I would very much to rationally discuss this kind of stuff without being called names…but that seems like too much to ask.

posted by: ASTANVET | May 19, 2014  8:40pm

Sarah - as for your swipe at Reagan, I think the rub is in the idea that you want everyone out of the Dr. / Patient relationship but you want others to pay for it… i.e. tax dollars to subsidize abortion or contraception.  Personally those decisions I believe are with you, your doctor, but I just don’t want to pay for it.  It’s like confusing “heath care” and “health insurance” they are two separate things… Dr/Patient is different than who is paying for it.  Sandra Fluke for all her whining about contraception never walked to the 7-11 at Columbia and saw all those contraceptives apparently… but again, that’s me in her business.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 19, 2014  8:40pm

Common Sense: My son hasn’t been “sold” anything. He reads news from a variety of sources, including overseas. He has discussions, online, about politics, with people from all around the world about politics in their countries and in ours. He uses critical thinking skills to evaluate the information he’s obtained. If you think that’s a “false sicko” version of the GOP, maybe you should take a look at what’s going on around the country under the auspices of GOP legislators.

posted by: GBear423 | May 20, 2014  4:11am

GBear423

Perhaps the evil of the Republican Party can be another column.  Seems the comments have gone a bit off topic. 

Though i would say when you characterize your political opponents in such hateful terms, there really is no debate to be had.  The mind is made up and closed.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 20, 2014  9:30am

If you read my first novel, for you people, Confessions of a Closet Catholic, written over 10 years ago, you will know that I have the deepest respect for all people of faith, and am a person of deep faith myself. CCC won the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Excellence in Jewish Children’s Literature, and in the same year was named as one of the Books Suitable for Christmas Gift Giving by the Catholic News Service. But if you look around the country, faith is being pushed into the political sphere in a way that the Founders never intended. As for Astanvet, my “anger” was about equality of opportunity, and you looked right past that to assume that I mean equality of result. No. I specifically mentioned how Romney and Ryan benefitted from the existing power structure, but claim that they did it on their own, without recognizing their privilege. I made no assumptions whatsoever about YOU. You, however, are very quick to make assumptions about me, extrapolating my beliefs beyond what I’ve actually said.

posted by: Politijoe | May 20, 2014  10:14am

Politijoe

Sarah, You brought up an excellent point when you mentioned how your son obtains information…“He reads news from a variety of sources, including overseas.”

I have found more often than not, those on the extreme right simply will not consider sources such as European perspectives or global comparisons when forming opinions on matters pertaining to economics, social programs, fiscal or taxation policies. This willful ignorance is defended with clumsy patriotic flag waving, which subsequently provides a cocooned worldview with limited context and perspective.

This anti-science, anti-intellectual Ayn Rand wrecking crew is mired in fear and suspect. As a result, fiscally responsible legislation: for instance, healthcare reform, is not adequately assessed using contexual data and global comparisons to a common frame of reference like GDP.

The resulting outcome is that a small mis-informed, paranoia-soaked anti-government cohort it is oppossed to healthcare reform on the basis of judgement, fear and morality. However, when assessing the same data with a broader perspective and conext the obvious solution to solving our national healthcare crisis and annual exdenditures is based on fiscal soundness and compassion.

Until the extreme conservatives are willing to broaden their perspective and return to moderation the national discourse regarding healthcare, incarceration, taxes, wealth, campaign finance, etc… is pointless.
Fortunately this small cohort simply doesnt reflect the views of most Americans.

posted by: ASTANVET | May 20, 2014  11:48am

Sarah - my assumptions are about your political leaning, and the cliche of “social justice” which has nothing to do with “justice”.  Exploiting their Privilige?  I’m not an advocate for either of those men, but it would seem that neither family was born into wealth, that over generations the Romney’s have accumulated wealth and that Mitt actually went out on his own to earn his fortune.  I’m not into this table tennis tit for tat politics.  Plain and simple, i’m self made, I don’t advocate for taking from others.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 20, 2014  12:23pm

“that over generations the Romney’s have accumulated wealth and that Mitt actually went out on his own to earn his fortune.”

But therein is the fallacy. He “went out on his own?” Okay, just ignore all the privilege and advantages that his family’s accumulated wealth gave him. See, I recognize and fully acknowledge the privileges that I’ve received in life and how they have given me advantages that others haven’t had. In fact, that is something I’m contemplating tackling in one of my next novels. And therein lies the difference between us and our political outlooks.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 20, 2014  12:31pm

Politijoe - Having lived abroad myself for over 15 years, I know full well that we cannot trust the American media alone to report what is actually going on in our country. I read news from a variety of sources, both domestic and international,  in the hope of perhaps triangulating on “truth.” I’ve talked to my kids about media literacy since they were young.  My son in particular,  has a keen interest in politics and international affairs and communicates with young people from all over the world (the connections started via gaming but moved on to other topics). That is one of the great things about the Internet - it’s made the world a smaller place, and allows our kids to become more informed and knowledgeable -if we don’t test their natural curiosity out of them.

posted by: Common Sense | May 20, 2014  1:48pm

Sarah:  Since your son is 20 years old isn’t it time for him to write his own opinion—rather than perhaps reflect your unwaverinng anti-GOP stance. Like your love the Republicans dig:  “Look at what’s going on around the country under the auspices of the GOP legislators”—however intelligent voters know that this country has been severly damaged by the Democratic Congress as robots of the failed policies of Pres. Obama, reflected by ObamaCare—which was put on the books under the strong-arm tactics of our President—on the Democratic Congress. Gov. Malloy reflects the failed policies of Obama in leading this state to fiscal oblivion. The purpose of your continued anti-Republican assault appears to be to make make your die-hard Democrats readership happy by always callously attacking Republicans. Perhaps writing about politics is upsetting your rationale—and it’s time for you to change the subject for some deserved peace in your life.  God bless you and your family.

posted by: Politijoe | May 20, 2014  2:08pm

Politijoe

Astanvet, You attempt to misconstrue Sarah’s point regarding the equality of opportunity into a false argument of “taking from others” which assumes that much of what the country is experiencing today: concentration of wealth, income equality, opportunity, living wages, corporate welfare, CEO salaries, equitable taxation policies, etc… is simply a form of class-envy and policies designed to steal the wealth of rich Americans and give it to the undeserving, lazy, and/or poor. This premise is defended with the belief that men like Rommney and yourself are “self-made”  with equal opportunities.

However, once again the facts tell a different story. When comparing the opportunity of upward mobility of Americans with other industrialized nations the U.S. falls far short in many cases. There are a number of variables which contribute to this dynamic the least of which is desire and hard work.

The perception that the Rommneys, Bill Gates and Henry Fords of the world have accomplished their vast wealth entirely on their own is a disingenuous statement. As simple  illustrations… BIll Gates benefited by the Internet and all those (including the federal government) who subsidized and built that infastructure. Rommney benefited by the federal banking institution and all those (again even including the federal government) who contributed and built that infrastructure. The point is aside from any privilege and without minimizing their innovation and risks these are men who built fortunes as part of a society where many contributed to the infastructure of roads, communications, markets, protections and regulations not to mention public universities and government loan programs which paved the way to their success. 

This self-induced mythology of an America where successful individuals pull themselves up by their own bootstraps and chisel their own future irregardless of equality, privilege or contribution is a false dichotomy without merit or context.

posted by: GBear423 | May 20, 2014  6:38pm

GBear423

Sarah, Politijoe, et al, its really trying to get past all the disparaging remarks and in some cases personal attacks when commenting. Perhaps some grace would go a long way and would be returned.

This “you didn’t build it” ideology may have been around awhile, but I heard it from Obama on the campaign trail. It was so outrageous and foolish in my mind, that it didn’t seem worthy of a President.  In fact it was defeatist and divisive. The desired effect, to wedge between Democrats and Republicans.

Americans have equally across the board opportunity to become successful. Many friends from rural Alabama are doing remarkably well.  Some are not. We all came from the same poor backwoods,blue collar life. YET none of us are upset about Romney or Ryan having a good life. They could be unknown rich people right?  But they are not, they are making something of themselves, they are serving others, Romney did so without taking a salary. 

How sad it is that you take away from their accomplishments, because there is a paved road outside does not mean anything, they would still be doing something for themselves and others were it Alabama red clay (which was my road’s composition)!

posted by: Politijoe | May 20, 2014  7:11pm

Politijoe

Common Sense, 
Its unseemly and unfair of you to suggest Sarah is imposing her opinions upon her son. I believe what she has been trying to convey to her readers and I would assume her son is perspective.  Ironically, your statement lacks just that….“intelligent voters know that this country has been severly damaged  by the failed policies of Pres. Obama, reflected by ObamaCare.”  This statement is a gross over-simplification founded on conjecture and without basis.  The significant issues we face today as a nation have been exacerbated over the last thirty-five years, not the last five years. Healthcare reform, hasn’t damaged the country, in fact just the opposite is true….. the lack of healthcare has bankrupted countless American families and driven the economy towards a fiscal cliff. A lack of perspective serves no productive purpose in our civility, our discourse or our democracy. 

posted by: ASTANVET | May 20, 2014  8:43pm

politjoe- dude - seriously - i grew up Dirt poor.  How do you explain my libertarian views as by Sarah’s or your definition of ‘inequality’ within our system…all that “concentration” of wealth must have kept me down right?  Now that I have created a nice life for myself, taxation, regulation and lack of property rights threatens my ability to pass along some of what I have built from being passed to my next generation… which is what we all strive for right?  Listen, it’s not black and white…there are grey areas, i get that.  But the principle that we must govern people in this heavy handed way is ludicrous.  We are fooling ourselves with the illusion of freedom, and when someone like me comes to challenge that notion, we get yelled at by the ‘tolerant’ ones… the only answers I have seen from folks in CT has been to throw more money at a problem, that money comes from taxes, it raises all living expenses… this is not news.

posted by: Politijoe | May 21, 2014  8:47am

Politijoe

Astanvet, GBear:
From an anecdotal perspective your positions appear valid and logically arrive at the conclusion regarding issues of inequality, wealth and opportunity- namely these are merely a form of wealth confiscation, class envy and largely non-existent. However, the reason you have arrived at these conclusions is precisely because you have relied on anecdotal evidence and conjecture. This pattern creates a cocooned perspective based on faulty assumptions supported by false arguments and dichotomies which leads to faulty conclusions.

For instance, GBear stated “We all came from the same poor backwoods, blue collar life. yet none of us are upset about Romney or Ryan having a good life”. This speaks to my point, the issue is not about what they have but instead about the equality of wealth, taxation and opportunity.

Astanvet you mentioned “all that “concentration” of wealth must have kept me down right”? This again speaks to my point regarding perspective; this is not about a myopic viewpoints or anecdotal examples, this is about a broader perspective that relies on the data to support the evidence regarding inequality, wealth and opportunity and as I keep reiterating here…perspective and context.

A limited perspective that is supported by false arguments and dichotomies creates a form of radicalized mythology of bootstrap independence that simply doesn’t live up to the reality. The issue of income equality and middle-class mobility is so long established,
so visible, across so many different measures of income it remains hard to ignore. For example, using data PRIOR to the 2008 economic crash: from 1980- 2007 the average after-tax income of the one percent of households increased from $337,000 to $1.2 million. This is an increase of almost 260% in 25 years compared to average middle class incomes, which only increased about 15% during the same time. Today the economy is twice as wealthy and productive as in 1980. However, in spite of three decades of economic expansion and growth, middle-class incomes have risen only slightly, almost entirely because of increased work hours and women joining the work force. This is a direct result of our failed taxation policies. The wealthy pay more overall in taxes, however they have the lowest tax rates in 65 years and as a result reap enormous gains because their tax ratio compared to wealth is much lower than the ratio of the middleclass. In other words the level of taxation relative to income is the critical factor
regarding income equality. The data regarding middle class mobility is equally striking and revealing. Once we eliminate the myopic oversimplifications about tyrannical governments and liberal plots we can begin to gain an accurate understanding based on the evidence, facts and data to enact policies that sustain a broader distribution of the economy’s wealth.

posted by: GBear423 | May 21, 2014  12:45pm

GBear423

PJ,  Your mixing economics with civics. For myself, I believe in the separation of State from Economy.

Certainly bust the trusts, the too big to fail is BS.  End corporate bail outs.

They own both parties you realize? Your heroes are beholden to them just as much as the GOP.

“The equality of wealth, taxation and opportunity” The Point I made is poor kids in the sticks have opportunities. Poor kids in the city have them too. Find them and act on them and the world is your oyster. 

Rich kids have it easier, but someone before them worked hard so they would not have to. THAT is a motivation shared by all human beings, a better life for their descendants. It appears to me, from what you say, that you want to take away that motivation.
Replacing it with a benevolent Society/Government. You can find that right next to the Unicorns and Hobbits.

posted by: GBear423 | May 21, 2014  3:33pm

GBear423

Also, there is the use of the word dichotomies… I do not think it means, what you think it means…

There has been a very great explanation (ridicule) of my belief that all Americans can find opportunities regardless of their economic beginnings. You insist that is “a cocooned perspective based on faulty assumptions supported by false arguments and dichotomies which leads to faulty conclusions”.

HUH?  What factors would level the playing field?

posted by: ASTANVET | May 21, 2014  3:40pm

Politi-joe, you know, everyone likes to talk anecdotes about the economy unless it disagrees with their philosophy.  You want bigger government… but has the war on poverty helped poverty?  Has the war on drugs helped the drug problem? Has big government helped the places that have a monopoly on big government (NYC, Detroit, Chicago…etc..etc..etc.)  Didn’t LBJ use those places as models for the ‘great society’... What have all these social welfare programs gotten us… Social security is broken, Medicare/cade is broken, so the answer is to start another one under the ACA?? My point to this article, is yes, Malloy and company (all progressives on the R or D side) have brought us corporatism, cronyism, nepotism and a ruling class that is so obvious that we may actually have a bush v. clinton election… AGAIN… if that isn’t aristocracy I don’t know what is… so yes, big government has dug a HUGE hole and kneecapped themselves.  I just wonder if all the smart people of CT can see there is another direction you can go with smaller, limited government.

posted by: Common Sense | May 21, 2014  5:26pm

Sarah: I kiked your past effort to be concilliatory in your written views—but as ASTENVET wrote citing your anger and asked that you are that you rationally discuss the stuff without calling names. Perhaps you had a setback in your private life—but your readers appreciate your
less antagonistic literary style that you are very capable of.

posted by: Politijoe | May 21, 2014  7:17pm

Politijoe

Gbear my understanding of the term false dichotomy is when someone is typically presenting their opinion as one of only two mutually exclusive assumptions, subsequently representing a false dichotomy. For instance: when Bush famously stated to our allies “You’re either with us or against us” thereby forcing our allies to classify themselves in a false dichotomy. Perhaps others would like to clarify this. More importantly, regarding income equality, wealth concentration, etc..you ask: “what factors would level the playing field?”
I assumed I made that point to some degree earlier when I stated ...“From 1980- 2007 the average after-tax income of the one percent of households increased from $337,000 to $1.2 million. This is an increase of almost 260% in 25 years compared to average middle class incomes, which only increased about 15% during the same time. Today the economy is twice as wealthy and productive as in 1980. However, in spite of three decades of economic expansion and growth, middle-class incomes have risen only slightly, almost entirely because of increased work hours and women joining the work force. This is a direct result of our failed taxation policies. The wealthy pay more overall in taxes, however they have the lowest tax rates in 65 years and as a result reap enormous gains because their tax ratio compared to wealth is much lower than the ratio of the middleclass. In other words the level of taxation relative to income is a critical factor regarding income equality. The data regarding mobility is strikingly similar.

You went on to state ” It appears to me that you want to take away the motivation and replace it with a benevolent Society/Government.” I’m confused just how you arrived at this conclusion…. I repeatedly stated that this is about gaining a broader perspective based in part on the aforementioned data. Since you didnt reference ANY of the data I provided and instead chose to question the grammatical use of dichotomy I’m uncertain if your not comprehending the data or simply dismissing it out of hand, could you clarify that for us as we move forward on this?

posted by: justsayin | May 22, 2014  6:22am

Thanks for bringing this book to our attention. Very good article. Politics like business needs competition. Amazing those, on both sides, who rail against a Monopoly do not let competition into their arena. Our vote is our voice, if you do not vote you can not complain, lets do both!

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 22, 2014  8:08am

” I kiked your past effort to be concilliatory in your written views—”

Seriously? You’re asking me to be conciliatory using that word? Please tell me that was a typo.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 22, 2014  8:24am

Astanvet - as you know, I don’t hesitate to criticize Republicans AND Democrats (contrary to Common Sense’s view, he apparently selectively reads my columns and only appears to see the GOP criticisms and not the D ones). I don’t see the same from you. And we aren’t going to be able to cure the very real ills in this state without everyone stepping away from their “my party right or wrong” attitudes and calling out the hypocrisy and corruption in their own parties. You talk about Malloy and his cronyism being aristocracy - I’d like to see you pointing some of the same laser like attention at your own party. My state senator, Scott Frantz, who is on the bonding commission, rails about our state debt, yet voted to finance the purchase short term technology like iPads and chrome books for SBAC implementation with CONSTRUCTION bonds. So we will be paying for that technology long after it is obsolete. I wrote to him asking how he could possibly justify such a stance months ago, and have yet to have been graced with a reply, despite being a both a columnist and a constituent. So please - until you are honest enough to admit there is fault on both sides of the aisle, spare me all the personal attacks and diagnosis of my character.

posted by: GBear423 | May 22, 2014  10:29am

GBear423

PJ- 
I was not aware I was presenting a black OR white opinion/statement. There are always a variety of factors regarding the ability to move up the ladder of success.  I perceived that you feel the ladders all should be the same.  I say they are all relative, no dichotomy, plenty of grey.

The data you provided seems to be a partial analysis of economic growth in the USA. It is my opinion that you are cherry picking data to make your argument/explain perspective- much like in the youtube video about the evil 1% that spurred on the OWS/great unwashed fad. I am not dismissing the data, just probing for more contexts.

If its perspective that you want to convey, then I am pretty sure we (the paranoia-soaked cohort) see that you feel the 1% are not being taxed enough.  That the 1% should send that wealth (profits) back down the chain among the employees and consumers; and those making billions in hedge funds and trading etc, I suppose they should not make that much either…  who decides where their excess money goes?  The cap on success??  Who decides what is too much? An elected Representative? A group of them?  This is where I drew the altruistic society/government comment.

“My perspective” is to tax the 1% and all others less, a flat rate if our incomes are to be taxed at all- I rather not have income taxed.  Reduce the size of the Federal Government and allow the Market to regulate itself; the consumers pick and choose the winners.  The shareholders determine who their CEOs are and what ridiculous amount of their money to pay them.  The Press is free to publish the truth of what happens in business, public opinion would keep businesses in line. The Federal Government would be limited to regulate interstate/international commerce.  NOT subsidize, but be also a consumer and provide incentives across the board for industries that stay in Country.

posted by: Common Sense | May 22, 2014  12:13pm

Sarah:  I like you but you appear to fail to conciliate by fighting every individual opinion that is opposite of your convictions.  Suggest you don’t take comments to your writings too seriously
and “let it flow like water off of your back.”  Have a good day—every day!”

posted by: Politijoe | May 22, 2014  2:55pm

Politijoe

Gbear423 I suspected that in fact you are not aware you present false arguments and dichotomies. Im also fairly certain you are not aware your perspective is based on conjecture, anecdotal evidence and false assumptions, (I say this constructively) For example,  you assume that my position is “All the ladders of opportunity should be the same” is a false assumption. I in fact don’t believe, nor suggested such an opinion.  What I have consistently been stating is that there should be equality in our opportunities, wealth and taxation, that is different than  “the same”

You go on to state “The data you provided seems to be a partial analysis of economic growth in the USA. It is my opinion that you are cherry picking data to make your argument, I am not dismissing the data, just probing for more contexts.”  With all due respect economic issues can be incredibly complex and convoluted, however provided there is some context things can be boiled down to a brief equation.  In the limited capacity of the comments section it isn’t reasonable to expect the depth and scope required to delve into complex issues like healthcare, taxation, wealth, etc.. Never the less the information I provided hasn’t been cherry-picked but remains based in fact as a snapshot that indicates broader systemic issues  surrounding inequality of wealth, income, opportunities and taxation in America.

What troubles me is that in the very next breath you begin to create yet another false dichotomy stating “ I suppose (the wealthiest Americans) should not make that much either…  who decides where their excess money goes?  The cap on success??  Who decides what is too much? An elected Representative? A group of them?  This is where I drew the altruistic society/government comment.”  Once again, this is not about stealing wealth, or about limiting wealth or about imposing limitations on wealth, it’s about equality. For instance the information i provided previously regarding the ratio of taxation relative to income indicates a striking inequality of taxation.

I was glad to read that you shared some specifics regarding your position regarding taxation. We would all like less taxes. We would all like to live long healthy lives but in order to live in a civilized society this requires taxation.  You suggested a flat rate if our incomes are to be taxed at all.  Problem here is a flax tax is a regressive model and therefore hits the poorest hardest. You also mentioned “I rather not have income taxed at all”  This is simply not a realistic scenario. Currently federal income tax accounted for 41.5 %  in 2010 (down from 49.5% prior to the Bush tax cuts of 2001 – 2003). Therefore, how and where do we make cuts that even begin to get us close to closing a 40% gap and continue to have a functioning society? You’re not talking about reducing taxes 2-3% you’re stating 40%. We cannot advocate a 19th century government in a 21st century world.
 

posted by: GBear423 | May 22, 2014  3:35pm

GBear423

I agree, making assumptions is wrong. Am I creating a false dichotomy by saying that?  Probably, but forgive me if I did… ava Maria

Please, without further ado-  How do you equate wealth, opportunity, and taxes?  The Readers Digest version por favor.

BTW, the poor in my crazy model would continue not to pay taxes until they reached a median salary. There was a time before Income Tax, I am no economist by any stretch, though I suspect there is a way to get us back to that 19th century model and efficiently run a Federal Government.

posted by: ASTANVET | May 22, 2014  8:28pm

sarah - by god i want to kiss you right now.  You hit the nail on the head.  Honestly if I had a good example of a virtuous, moral, fiscally responsible, rights protecting candidate on either side of the aisle, I would reference them… the fact is, they are so few and far between that even trying to find a good example is near impossible.  I have had good friends who were elected to office.  People of principle and integrity… their experience and my limited one in politics left them frustrated.  They left office, and that makes me wonder what kind of people STAY in politics.  Corporatism, cronyism, nepotism, it’s all part of the system… money money money… I am encouraged that even as far apart as we are in some subjects, we can find common ground.  That is the best news i’ve heard all week.  Thanks for making my memorial day weekend!

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 23, 2014  6:58am

Astanvet - it’s like I always say - you talk to most people long enough you’ll find something you can agree on : ) Urge you give credit where credit is due - i.e./ to State Comptroller Kevin Lembo - he’s actually walking the walk, not just talking the talk when it comes to transparency. The new site is pretty amazing, and when I asked a question about how I could cross reference something I searched in one part of the site with the Open Checkbook, I was told that will be a feature available in the next update. What I’d done was search on a keyword, found an inordinate number of no-bid contracts on that keyword, and wanted to look up what those contracts were - but in open checkbook you can only see by line item, so unless you know specifically that a certain contract was for a certain department, you can’t cross reference. The ability to cross reference is going to make it MUCH easier for both legislators, the press, and the general public to keep an eye on what is happening in Hartford. Let’s make sure this project doesn’t die a death because the cronies like their no-bid contracts.

posted by: Politijoe | May 23, 2014  9:55am

Politijoe

Gbear423,
You pose the question…“How do you equate wealth, opportunity, and taxes?” Couple of things here, first Im not entirely certain I understand the question as you have asked it. Secondly, I wouldve thought at least on the surface, the dynamics between the three are self-evident. Lastly, what would make you think complex, convoluted issues such as wealth, taxes, social mobility, etc are simple and concise and your expectation that summizing the cause and effect of these issues in a “Readers Digest version” gives me pause.  Largely because this is a reocurring theme we hear all the time from the far right regarding comparisions, studies, legislation and their subsequent political viewpoints….”Its too long, its complicated, etc…”  these are complex systems that require deliberation and study, absent that what you have is bumper-sticker politics and sound bite solutions. I would ask that you refrain from mocking, dismissing, suspecting, juding and moralizing issues and use that time and effort to deleve into these nuances. Are the topics of taxation, wealth, mobility, healthcare, poverty, incarceration etc…. interesting? Probably not and if there not interesting enough to gain at least a fundemental understanding and informed opinion then it’s perfectly acceptable to discuss another topic.

To follow up on your other points:  “ the poor in my crazy model would continue not to pay taxes until they reached a median salary” …. What would that thresehold be for you? $8,000 annually, $12,000 $18,000 or maybe $30,000 and a single mother with a child or a family of four?

You mentioned “There was a time before Income Tax…..I suspect there is a way to get us back to that 19th century model and efficiently run a Federal Government” I don’t mean to sound condesending but seriously, I want you to think about that statement, about the size and advances in our society, our economy and the world since the 19th century and THEN contrast that with where we are today and the enormous gap in your premise.

Aside from mentioning that I may have been cherry-picking data to support my position you havent yet commented directly on the data I shared. How do THOSE economic discrepencies feel to you?  Do THOSE outcomes suggest equality?  Is THAT level of wealth disparity seem like the America you agree with and understand?

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 24, 2014  8:21am

Gbear - since you claim there are no structural inequities preventing people from succeeding and tell us that Alabama’s red clay wouldn’t prevent anyone, no matter what their race, religion or ethnic origin from succeeding, I wonder if you’ve read this: http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2014/05/the-case-for-reparations/361631/  You know it’s interesting - I attended an event at Woodway Country Club in Darien on Wednesday night and I told my daughter that when I walked in, I half expected the “Jew Detector” to go off. (Pleased to report that it’s been dismantled and it was a lovely evening). When I was growing up in Stamford, it was well known that Woodway was restricted. As recently as 1999, when I moved back from the UK, I was looking at houses in Darien with a broker, and as soon as I asked about synagogues, she pointed me to Stamford and she never responded to my emails or phone calls again. It’s not so long ago, and the “Gentleman’s Agreement” was still alive and well, at least as far as that broker was concerned. Maybe it’s the different between being a white, Christian male and a Jewish woman that gives us such different outlooks. Working on Wall St in the 80’s I experienced more than enough sexism for a lifetime and as a young schoolgirl I had a Catholic schoolmate tell me that I, personally, killed Jesus. I was totally bemused, and replied in my logical way “But I wasn’t even alive then!” So perhaps these experiences allow me to empathize more with the challenges and prejudices that others face.

posted by: Politijoe | May 24, 2014  1:48pm

Politijoe

Sarah, thanks for sharing that great article, although most readers should be aware of the challenges that existed the story always bears repeating. People tend to dimiss the brutal truth of Americas past, from genocide to slavery to apartheid and the fact this nation was largely built at the expense of the oppressed.

Today institutional racism remains ignored and even denied when in fact the evidence is all around us. The same dynamics exist with people’s perceptions of mental health, women and homelessness where there remains institutional stigma.

The challenge is establishing recognition and acceptance of the issues. Then hopefully sharing reliable data will lead to a broader perspective and comprehension of the interdependencies. Of course this assumes they can overcome fear-based beliefs and be willing to release preconceived notions and the false mythology of American exceptionlisim in order to practice compassion and close the empathy gap that exist. I have found some more open and capable than others.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 24, 2014  2:59pm

Politjoe, you and I have not seen eye to eye but I gotta tell you buddy that what you said is so offensive to me it really makes me sick.

You said ” false mythology of American exceptionlisim”.

Why don’t you go live somewhere else? We have our problems as a country, but I dont see people risking their lives to come here like they do with any other country.

So basically America being exceptional is a myth in your eyes?

I know Christine won’t print what I would really like to say, so I won’t challenge the Comment Policy here. Just know in your heart that I said it.

posted by: GBear423 | May 27, 2014  9:55am

GBear423

How do THOSE economic discrepancies feel to you?
A: They feel unfair.

Do THOSE outcomes suggest equality? 
A: Not at all.

Is THAT level of wealth disparity seem like the America you agree with and understand?
A: My America does not get in the way of another American’s success. 

  What is leading to your corporations getting fat stacks of dollaz yo, is Big G Repubs & Dems regulating small biz into the ground while their corporate buddies already have the keys to open doors around excessive and complex legislation.
  Remove government from the Market and you may see some equalization.  I am against corporate welfare and the stacking of the deck against small business.  Tea Party is an ally in that fight.  Reduce the influence of the Federal Govt and see our economy grow.  It is the classic case of using an axe where a scalpel is needed. 
  Your boy Dannel is giving grants to businesses that are already successful.  Some grants and loans to businesses that are only moderate successes (and failures), but have the political bonus of promoting their government ideology (Green businesses).  There is an article about Bridgeport that is a ***big electronic billboard for my point***
  The government is a part of the problem PJ. Until you realize that the Democrat Socialist hacks are just about gathering power, under the guise of “equality”, you are just feeding the machine you think you are fighting.  Government is the problem, it is the source of your inequality, and it is most definitely not a salvation.

posted by: GBear423 | May 27, 2014  10:17am

GBear423

Sarah I can’t begin to say how ridiculous it is for anyone to “educate” me on the affects of racism in the deep South. I am of Puerto Rican and Mexican decent, my maternal Grandfather is 100% Mexican, and my father is a dark skinned Puerto Rican mix (they both were successful in Alabama). My friends that I referenced are a mixture of races. Melting pot you may say, cause we are all American.
I am glad you at least pointed out that racism is in many places (its worldwide), we just deal with it and find ways around it. There are good people too in those places. More good than bad in my small part of the world.

posted by: Politijoe | May 27, 2014  1:36pm

Politijoe

GBear 423, your response to the level of wealth disparity in America is again a false dichotomy. Let me try to illustrate what I mean. We can have fiscally manageable wealth disparity and of course an unsustainable level of disparity. Correcting unsustainable disparities in wealth does not by default “get in the way of another’s success”  Therefore, it appears there is a disconnect in your thinking…. If the economic discrepancies are unfair and the outcomes are not equitable then by default the level of wealth disparity is already too great and unsustainable. 
Furthermore your statement “What is leading to your corporations getting fat stacks of dollaz yo, is Big G Repubs & Dems regulating small biz” aside from the gansta verbiage used to make your point I’m uncertain what your stating. Is big business the problem in regards to wealth disparity, big government or small business regulations?
Your attempt to support this convoluted premise with the belief “Remove government from the Market and you may see some equalization, reduce the influence of the Federal Govt and see our economy grow.” …….
Fact is we tried that with deregulating Wall Street and we all saw how that turned out. Its no secret when left to its own devices capitalism does some things badly or not at all. The mistaken belief that free markets alone can solve our economic problems is false. Markets together with government operating as complimentary pillars of the economy produce the fairness and sustainability we are seeking. Therefore the debate should not be over whether government is involved in the formation of capitalism and markets, it has always been. 
You consistently seem to paint these complex issues with over-simplified broad strokes, for instance you stated “Government is the problem, it is the source of your inequality, and it is most definitely not a salvation.”  …….
This anti-government rhetoric is nonsense. No one has suggested government is the salvation, but it’s also not the enemy. These are multifaceted issues that require corrections in our taxation policies, campaign finance, wage compensation, and expenditures. Take a look at some of the European models when it comes to healthcare, taxation, wealth concentration, mobility, women’s issues, education, etc…. based on those outcomes, we could take some lessons. One of the big differences is: in Europe is the government is afraid of their people; in America the people are afraid of their government.

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 27, 2014  4:00pm

I think part of the overall economic issues relate to the intersection of technology and the costs of human labor.

This is a very interesting article on what is happening in Europe with jobs that for as long as any of us have been alive have been done by humans. It’s just going to get worse and the harsh reality is that if you follow “life’s rules” you might stand a chance of being OK, but if you don’t you are screwed. That and the fact that our society went very wrong when we encouraged illegals to come into this country and do work Americans didnt want to do. That “didnt want to do stuff” has really backfired on large segments of our society, but believe it or not I dont just blame them as they had willing accomplices in government and business guiding them down that path of “you arent educated and it’s OK that you dont want to work the field or sweep trash.” They fed those people a bill of goods and allowed people to come in and take jobs away from people that would do the work.

http://www.gopusa.com/freshink/2014/05/27/minimum-wage-maximum-damage-2/?subscriber=1

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 27, 2014  5:17pm

Politijoe we would be foolish to not look at what other countries do and take lessons from that. I think everyone would agree with that.

However again you seem to want to make Europe a panacea. They’re a mess too. They’ve hosted two World Wars and most recently the issues with Bosnia and Serbia to name a few. They did bad bad things to each other in case you havent noticed.

Unemployment is very high in most countries and the EU is trying to figure out how to not have Greece and Spain to name just two, pull them all down. The UK is going through a potentially huge political change as nationalism is becoming a big driver for them because so many Brits love the melting pot that is their country but now see that many that come in want to have that pot their way with Sharia and other scary things. The Netherlands is an awesome place and they are facing the same issues where people are coming in with different values and could care less about the country they are in.

I was in Paris last year and at a train station I saw more French military armed to the teeth with full auto weapons patrolling the place than I have ever seen in the US in one place Guess what? They arent doing that because they’re worried about the French born guy who just wants to work and sit outside at a cafe with his girl…or guy.

On another note I get a little jealous at times when I see the mega rich not having to worry about their paychecks and making ends meet. However, lets assume we do it your way and we tax them more? Does that money go to people that are capable of working but dont, to infrastructure that makes the unions rich so they can funnel money to the Democrat Party, to climate change funding scientists that will say anything to get their salaries to keep coming in?

Seriously, if we take from one group because they can afford it, to who and how does that money go to? If you throw government in any part of your answer you’re going to lose me because you know that both parties will spend that money, crony capitalism will be in force, we’ll give to people that dont need it.

Hypothetically lets say we had a tax increase on the rich and we decided we were going to use it for high speed rail. How do you do that without enriching people with their hands out along the way? You cant say non-union contractors so we could put many more people to work because the unions wont allow it.

It’s all a scam.

posted by: GBear423 | May 27, 2014  6:01pm

GBear423

PJ wrote:  “then by default the level of wealth disparity is already too great and unsustainable.”
Too big to Fix?  Naaa, I do not think so.  I am sure you have an idea how to whittle this disparity down to a more narrow gap.

“Fact is we tried that with deregulating Wall Street and we all saw how that turned out. Its no secret when left to its own devices capitalism does some things badly or not at all.”
That is a false argument based on false premise. I say again, the politicians apply axes when scalpels are needed. There is no claim that govt is evil, I have said that govt is too big, not that it is evil or bad. Too much of it is a problem. Yes Corporations left to their own devices would destroy capitalism. Without competition there is no innovation nor a sustainable economy.

And yes its convoluted, we already stipulated this is all convoluted.

“These are multifaceted issues that require corrections in our taxation policies, campaign finance, wage compensation, and expenditures.”
I agree with all this except wage compensation. How is that achieved without a transfer of wealth??

How would you change tax code? I fear it would be different than my ideas…

posted by: GBear423 | May 27, 2014  8:58pm

GBear423

“One of the big differences is: in Europe is the government is afraid of their people; in America the people are afraid of their government.”

not to go off topic but, Our Bill of Rights is supposed to protect us from a government growing out of control. The Government is supposed to be of the People.  Now its chock full of a privileged class of career politicians, hell we have dynasties now- Bushs and Kennedys; and Clintons want to join the club.
The Left in this country are doing their best to strip us of key safeguards, all in the name of public safety.

and Europe is afraid of the new immigrants that are swarming into their countries, or you forget the subway and train bombings?  The soldier hacked to death not far from his barracks? Spain’s elections were affected by the bombings. No sir, their People are afraid.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 28, 2014  3:46pm

“The Left in this country are doing their best to strip us of key safeguards, all in the name of public safety.”

Oh for crying out loud! Apparently GBear slept through 8 years of Bush/Cheney assault on the Constitution and Civil Rights. At least anyone who read my columns knows I have been consistent in my opposition to the erosion of these rights. For my pains, I’ve been called a terrorist loving destroyer of Western Civilization by those on the Right during the Bush years, and now I’m looked upon as a traitor by Dems who just LOVED me when I was criticizing Bush because I’m calling them out for their own hypocrisy. Can you at least have the slightest attempt at some intellectual consistency? Otherwise, spare me. You’re just as bad as anyone on “THE LEFT” that you so despise.

posted by: Common Sense | May 28, 2014  7:43pm

Hard-core Democrats like “Smoke-screen-Sarah” keep blaming Bush while Obama is systematically destroying this country.  This patheic charade keeps being continued by the writer who has nothing else to write about except the same theme to promote political and religious division.

posted by: Politijoe | May 28, 2014  8:52pm

Politijoe

Sarah, I believe you summed up Gbear perfectly with “…at least have the slightest attempt at some intellectual consistency….” Gbear’s statement “The Left in this country are doing their best to strip us of key safeguards, all in the name of public safety”…GBear, take a look at Sarah’s phrasing once again….. “Intellectual consistency”  I say this because your statement regarding Liberals stripping the country of constitutional safeguards is just ridiculous. This Pattern of progressive-bashing, anti-government rhetoric is one-dimensional. As I have continued to state… a broader perspective, context, and moderation.

Less importantly, I’ll address the points you directed to me. you immediately assumed I had concluded that the level of wealth disparity is too big to fix…… where and how did you arrive at this leap? Also, you falsely stated I attributed “government is evil” to your statements, I don’t believe that was the case, what I did state was a consistent pattern of anti-government rhetoric…..there’s a difference. You went on to state “Too much of it (government) is a problem…… how do you quantify that? And if you agree these are convoluted and complex issues why is there a significant emphasis and a perceived notion of liberal agenda on your part instead of addressing the policies themselves?

You ask, “How is wage compensation achieved without a transfer of wealth??.... Before I respond to a complex question like this I would safely assume since you have stated the issue of wealth disparity in this country is “not too big to fix”  you therefore agree there is an issue of wealth disparity. With that said, let me ask you this, do you feel the current level of wealth concentration and disparity in America has been brought about by a redistribution of wealth from the bottom up? If so, isn’t that a form of wealth transfer, if not then how do you explain the enormous wealth concentration and disparities you yourself recognized?
Your question…..”How would you change tax code?”  The short simple answer is equitable. When the Mitt Romney’s of the world pay 13% or less and the guy who cuts their lawn pays 25-28% that’s inequitable. When multi-national, multi-billion dollar corporations pay zero in taxes, that inequitable.
Finally, GBear, I would request that you refrain from over generalizations and painting topics with broad strokes. For instance, your comment European citizens fear of their government and the citizens are “afraid” is simply anecdotal examples to conceptualizations.
Since you brought it up, and side- stepped the issues, l would like to hear your comments on equitable taxation policies, market deregulation and quantifying the size of government I would welcome your thoughts on these-without broad generalizations, false dichotomies, or anecdotal conclusions.

posted by: Sarah Darer Littman | May 29, 2014  5:46am

“Hard-core Democrats like “Smoke-screen-Sarah” keep blaming Bush while Obama is systematically destroying this country.  This patheic charade keeps being continued…”

LOLOL! Apparently you missed my “Woman without a Party” column last year when I wrote about why I was leaving the Democratic party. And you, like GBear, apparently slept through the “Patriot” Act, Warrantless Wiretapping, the CT Four case…I could go on, but I know there’s no point, because if you want to talk about “a writer who has nothing else to write about except the same theme”...well, my dear Common Sense, I suggest looking in the mirror.

posted by: Politijoe | May 29, 2014  6:30am

Politijoe

Common sense, I bet you didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President. Or when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate energy policy. Or when a covert CIA operative got outed. You seemed to forget the Patriot Act was passed and the government was illegally wiretapping Americans. You certainly didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us and then spent over two trillion dollars on said illegal war. I doubt you got mad when over 10 billion dollars just disappeared in Iraq. Or when you found out we were torturing people.
Did you express your moral outrage when we let a major US city drown or gave a 900 billion dollar tax break to the rich? What about when Bush redirected a trillion dollars to insurance companies for Medicare Advantage (which cost over 20 percent more for basically the same services that Medicare provides.) Like most uninformed conservatives you were probably silent when under the Bush administration the deficit hit the trillion dollar mark, and our debt hit the thirteen trillion dollar mark. I don’t recall any outrage of scandal when several embassies were attacked and people were killed under Bush. But you finally got mad when the government decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick. However, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans… oh hell no. But now it’s Obama who is destroying our nation and NOW YOU’RE MAD?

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 29, 2014  7:44am

Joe, no, yes, no, no, no, yes, no, yes, no, no, no, maybe, yes, no.

Seriously, some of these I agree with you on, but your revisionist history for a smart guy can be tiring.

I’ll just talk about your little embassy comment. You attempt to compare embassy attacks on random days in random places to Benghazi.

On the anniversary of 9-11 since that horrible day all embassies as well as potential targetted places in this country are on a high alert. Did any of the random embassy attacks request more security and have it turned down? Did any of the embassies have a situation remotely close to Benghazi where embassies of other countries had been attacked in the same city in the 60 days prior so they decided to close up shop? When Benghazi was attacked do you think that Bush would have gone in guns blazing because remember, know one knew how long the attack would last, or would a stand down order be given so Obama could go do debate prep? Did Bush try to cover up what really happened in any of those attacks or did he say it was Al Qaeda and discuss the war with Radical Islam which is a term Obama has never used because he thinks if he doesnt say it that they’ll just be nice? You arent bothered by the fact that leaders of this attack like to sit openly sipping lattes in coffee shops but Obama cant seem to bring them to justice but he can blow to smithereens the 16 year old son of an American terrorist with a drone.

YES I am OK with torture but IF we torture someone and it turns out they really didnt know anything then I think we need to make them very rich so they can go live happily on a tropical island somewhere.

posted by: GBear423 | May 29, 2014  11:42am

GBear423

I started this comment thread by agreeing with you Sarah “about 100%”

...and now you’re taking my comments from a forum exchange (w/ another) and labeling me as not having Intellectual consistency? Crying out loud indeed…

I was not asked about my thoughts on Bush or the anti-Christ Cheney (sarcasm). I am not a fan of Bush, he spent too much, he can wrap this economic collapse all around his Presidency, he made the wrong case for War, I was never concerned about the Patriot Act as in times of War it has been historically the case some temporary restrictions on liberties have been “thought” necessary.  Now why you feel you have to tell me or anyone about your “pains”???  I made no accusations or assumptions about you in regard to criticisms of Left and Right. 

The Patriot Act was a reaction to terrorist networks and communications. It was a piece of legislation passed in response to an unprecedented attack on our shore. It is not a concerted effort by a Political Party.

The Democrat Party has made it their mission to change our society and the role of government. They want government to control prosperity, healthcare, speech, religion, and to remove guns from the public. That is what I see. There are Republicans that feel these positions have merit, I am against those people too. There is no inconsistency from this GBear.

posted by: Politijoe | May 29, 2014  8:54pm

Politijoe

GBear you have stated a few points that merit consideration such as Political dynasties, protecting small business, equitable corporate taxation and at times recognizing everyones hands are dirty on both sides of the isle. I think where the dialog becomes derailed and somewhat confusing is the majority of your statements reflect (at least to me)  broad generalizations, dichotomies and inconsistencies on the issues of taxation, wealth, a market economy and  Democrats.

For instance with regard to wealth you have clearly stated that addressing the issue of wealth concentration and wage equality is the same as stealing wealth or limiting wealth. The flip side of this issue is opportunity and mobility, here  your assumption is that Americans have the same opportunity to become successful. However the reality is Americans may have different opportunities for success and mobility but should always have equal opportunities. 

Your positions on taxation and a market economy appear somewhat incomplete with regards to flat tax, reducing government to 19th century levels, further lowering the marginal tax rates rates on the wealthiest, CEO compensation and eliminating governments long standing and complimentary role in shaping our market economy.

Finally, I suspect it is the demagoguery of the Democratic left that compromises your best efforts and creates some confusion. You recognize there are discrepancies with regards to wealth, corporate taxation, political dynasties, etc… Yet in the very next breath you will make gross generalizations such as  “The Left in this country are doing their best to strip us of key safeguards, all in the name of public safety.” and “ The Democrat Party has made it their mission to change our society and the role of government. They want government to control prosperity, healthcare, speech and religion.”

These broad generalizations provide little if any meaningful context or perspective  based on what is perceived as misleading Dichotomous conceptualizations. This in turn attracts criticism and recruits a need to fill the voids in theory, practice and policy. In the end the point begins to suffer and the dialog becomes compromised. 

posted by: GBear423 | May 30, 2014  6:30am

GBear423

PJ wrote: “However the reality is Americans may have different opportunities for success and mobility but should always have equal opportunities.”

Define Equal Opportunities.

I think I gave my position and an adequate reasoning behind them. The Democrat party has very clearly moved significantly to the left.
George Will writes: “When Johnson became president in 1963, Social Security was America’s only nationwide social program. His programs and those they subsequently legitimated put the nation on the path to the present, in which changed social norms — dependency on government has been destigmatized — have changed America’s national character.”

That is what I am talking about. America has changed, and not for the better.  The Dems are not recognizing this and are doubling down on creating more dependency on a Government that has a massive Debt and they are selling the idea that we need to create more debt to get out of debt. That is approaching treasonous ideology. It will cause the demise of our nation. I am sorry you think that is paranoid thinking, but don’t you see that the current Administration has no intent to pay our debt? that the democrats have no intent to pay the debt? That the only people that talk about cutting spending is the GOP? Which, may be disingenuous, but at least they are putting it on the platform.  /shrug

posted by: Joebigjoe | May 30, 2014  7:29am

Politijoe you still have not defended your previous comment about Americans buying into the “mythology of American exceptionalism.”

Even Barack Obama believes in American exceptionalism although his issue is he wants to bring America down in the world and change America internally in ways that make us more socialist.

When I read your stuff here (and I definitely do) I picture an elitist liberal sitting by a roaring fire with his scotch and smoking a pipe (with legal tobacco) telling everyone what’s wrong with America.

You challenged me and now GBear about generalizations about the Left and Democrats. Speaking for myself obviously not all Democrats and not all lefties are bad. I’ll use Bob Beckel as a leftie that I rarely agree with except for his stance on Radical Islam and those that pretend they arent supportive of that group, but really are, yet I respect Beckel.

I think that the people on the far left with the insanity that comes out of their mouths have some type of mental illness. I’m not alone. Would you rather I be real specific each time on which sub group I’m referring to? I will say “Dems” for example and I will also say that because if a far left looney tune says something that’s crazy you hear crickets from the Dem Party but when a Todd Akin or other Republican idiot says something crazy you hear many people in that party condemn it.

posted by: Politijoe | May 31, 2014  2:49pm

Politijoe

GBear423, you mentioned a few topics relating to opportunity, spending and social programs. In spite of the challenge to respond with any real level of detail on such divergent themes I thought I would offer two relatively brief perspectives.
Define Equal Opportunities. This wasn’t a very specific question, however as it pertains to the topic of mobility and wealth: initiatives that support extended maternity and paternity leave, living wages, access to affordable healthcare, early childhood development, nutritional initiatives, affordable higher education and transportation policies are good cornerstones.
The broader issues of equitable taxation and modifying the concentration of wealth in America along with a return to stronger unionization would compliment these efforts and begin to correct the practices of predatory lending and institutional racism while beginning to address the structural challenges that contribute to the culture of poverty and violence.

Spending: “The Democrats are selling the idea that we need to create more debt to get out of debt and have no intent to pay the debt. The only people that talk about cutting spending is the GOP, Which may be disingenuous, but at least they are putting it on the platform.” 

This is a simple illustration of just how wrong you are with regards to the spending issue being mutually exclusive and solely a result of Democrats on a wild spending spree. Comparing both Republican and Democrat administrations over the last 30-50 years here’s a glimpse of what you missed with regards to spending, growth and taxation:

Annualized growth of presidential spending since 1980
Reagan: first term 8.7% second term 4.9%
Bush Sr: 5.4%
Clinton: first term 3.2% second term 3.9%
Bush Jr: first term 7.3% second term 8.1%
Obama: 1.4% - since Obama’s first fiscal year the annual deficit has shrunk from $1.3 trillion to under $820 billion.

Stock market returns over the last fifty years:
GOP administrations= 109.9%  Democrats= 109%
Stock market returns annualized: GOP= 2.7%  Democrats= 11%
GDP: GOP= 2.7%  Democrats 4.1%
Income growth: GOP= 0.69%  Democrats 2.2%

posted by: Politijoe | May 31, 2014  3:04pm

Politijoe

GBear, During the 1950’s the marginal tax rate on top earners was close to 90% until 1980 when Reagan dropped the marginal tax rate below 40% (and subsequently raised it several times thereafter) to Clinton who again raised the rate back to about 40% and subsequently balanced the budget. Today it is down to 34% and in many cases the wealthiest Americans pay 15% or less. During the 1950’s corporations contributed nearly 1/3 of federal revenues. Today American corporations are far wealthier with over two trillion dollars in reserves and today they contribute less than 1/10th to federal revenues. The top five U.S. banks reported $64 billion in profits last year. However without corporate welfare they would’ve barely broken even. The profits they report are essentially transfers from taxpayers to shareholders. G.W. Bush gave a huge tax cut that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthiest Americans while contributing to an enormous deficit, which essentially means those tax cuts are being paid for with borrowed money.
You also cited govt dependence “The Democrat party has very clearly moved significantly to the left…dependency on government has changed America’s national character….America has changed, and not for the better.  The Dems are doubling down on creating more dependency on a Government”

I think the challenge is your broad use of the term dependency. Your limited definition of welfare and the cost associated with both. For instance you mentioned Medicare as the beginning of Americas demise.  However what you didn’t mention was that Medicare raised over 40 million (mostly elderly) out of abject poverty since its inception. I think it’s your use of the term dependency as it relates to social welfare and self-sufficiency that limits your perspective. This melding of over-generalizations and bootstrap independence results in oblique, inequitable and dichotomous results.
The term “welfare” is implied to mean individuals and families who receive income based government assistance. However such a broad definition would also include most Americans tax deductions for mortgage interests, GI bill, VA assistance, Medicare, Social Security, tax deferred college loans, housing loans, etc.. Although I suspect in the traditional conservative GOP sense of the term it would imply TANF benefits (food stamps, housing, medical) The problem is this form of “welfare”  (TANF) doesn’t provide nearly enough to create a total state of dependency. This distractive discussion from conservatives regarding welfare actually costs much less than 1% of the federal budget, while corporate welfare costs is far more costly. When you take into account inequitable taxation and unsustainable defense this issue of “welfare” is simply being penny wise and dollar foolish and rooted in a dichotomy of mythological notions of American independence, exceptionalism and preconceived prejudices of minorities, poverty and wealth.