March 12, 2017

Whatever happened to the narrative that a few billionaires control everything?

I'm asking myself this morning as I read "The Future of Politics is Grassroots" in The Hill.

My answer to the question whatever happened to the narrative that a few billionaires control everything is:

One billionaire happened.

50 comments:

MayBee said...

It's funny, because the Podesta emails demonstrated that a few billionaires definitely controlled Hillary's politics. They never talked about the grassroots.

exhelodrvr1 said...

A grassroots billionaire happened.

buwaya said...

I find the worldview of the article interesting.
"Grassroots" are something that have to be chanelled by "professional grassroots activists". "Grassroots capacity" has to be "harnessed". Of course.

By think-tanks, associations, consultants, non-profits, and of course the "working political class".

karlpopperghost said...

I'm asking myself this morning as I read "The Future of Politics is Grassroots" in The Hill.

My answer to the question whatever happened to the narrative that a few billionaires control everything is:

One billionaire happened.


To make a grassroots it takes an electorate and one billionaire,
One electorate, and a billionaire.
And fantasy.
The fantasy alone will do,
If billionaires are few.

AReasonableMan said...

Maybe they already have what they need:

Millionaires Will Get $157 Billion In Tax Cuts If Republicans Repeal Obamacare

AReasonableMan said...

And this, of course:

House Republicans back bill allowing companies to threaten employees with higher insurance payments if they don't agree to genetic testing

Paco Wové said...

"By think-tanks, associations, consultants, non-profits, and of course the "working political class"."

Funded by a few good billionaires.

Annie said...

ARM, aren't those 'cuts' coming from the taxes imposed on them from obamacare?

Why should someone be punished with more taxes just because they earn more? Doesn't seem fair.

traditionalguy said...

Somebody tell the EnemyMedia. They still say cpntinuously that Trump is total loser who will be removed from office any day now.

This is getting funnier by the Fake News Day.

Michael K said...

ARM is a fake news enthusiast.

Many argue that workers are being coerced into giving up private medical information, such as their weight, their blood pressure and whether they are at particular risk for cancer.
Employers would offer as much as a 30 per cent reduction in insurance payments, if workers participate in the programs.


"Wellness programs" are here to stay.

Genetic testing is mostly a fake issue.

Michael K said...

The "tax cuts" are mostly capital gains which Obama said he would raise even if they lost money.

For "fairness" of course.

Paco Wové said...

"Employers would offer as much as a 30 per cent reduction in insurance payments, if workers participate in the programs."

Of course, if it weren't for the uniquely American stupidity of having health insurance tied to employment benefits, this would be a non-issue.

AReasonableMan said...

Annie said...
aren't those 'cuts' coming from the taxes imposed


The argument that the rich have been getting richer in a 'fair' manner is based on the idea that globalism disproportionately rewards the 'most gifted'. What you see in this graph is that countries like Japan and Australia, which have export oriented economies and have been much more buffeted by globalism than the US, have not seen income inequality skyrocket as it has done in the US. The system is rigged in the US, it has nothing to do with globalism. It is a crooked system, now being made even more crooked.

rehajm said...

'Grassroots' is signaling from the central planners to the plebes.

rehajm said...

Income inequality as an issue died with Hillary. The fashionable leftie trend has swung back to liberal elitism.

Michael K said...

if it weren't for the uniquely American stupidity of having health insurance tied to employment benefits, this would be a non-issue.

Yes, and making this point over and over might make it possible to decouple.

Fox News this morning had a very good GOP Rep on the Obamacare Lite bill who should be the spokesman for the conservative wing.

That issue would be a good one for him to emphasize.

AReasonableMan said...

rehajm said...
Income inequality as an issue died with Hillary. The fashionable leftie trend has swung back to liberal elitism.


Any data points to back up this assertion?

n.n said...

Judge billionaires by the content of their character, not the color of their bank accounts.

Achilles said...

AReasonableMan said...

The system is rigged in the US, it has nothing to do with globalism. It is a crooked system, now being made even more crooked.

I totally agree. Good to have you on the tax reform team ARM.

Our system with high marginal corporate tax rates riddled with loopholes, subsidies and high personal income tax rates just as riddles with tax dodges has to go.

Cut taxes. Cut loopholes.

Fernandinande said...

Reading about the federal gubmint's meddling in healthcare gave me brain damage.

This Act may be cited as the “Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act”.

COLLECTION OF INFORMATION.—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the collection of information about the manifested disease or disorder of a family member shall not be considered an unlawful acquisition of genetic information with respect to another family member as part of a workplace wellness program described in paragraph (1) or (2) offered by an employer (or in conjunction with an employer-sponsored health plan described in section 2705(j) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg–4(j))) and shall not violate title I or title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (Public Law 110–233). For purposes of the preceding sentence, the term ‘‘family member’’ has the meaning given such term in section 201 of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (Public Law 110–233).

Guildofcannonballs said...

"the uniquely American stupidity of having health insurance tied to employment benefits"

That unique stupidity you speak of, is that the one that helped the Allies win the big man-caused disaster and consequently put America in the catbird seat geopolitically for periods of time counted in half-centuries not years or decades?

Of course you would have done things way better and way smarter than the people responsible for this "unique stupidity" all those years ago, we can all agree on that premise given hindsight is 20/20 and many results have poured in for a very long time, but I am curious if you feel the nondescript idiocy represented by Congress not untying healthcare insurance to employment benefits long after WW11 ended is also in your opinion unique stupidity, as if that be the case I would then counter that that is not at all unique but simply the same old same old pay-to-play corrupted graft as can be found everywhere else in the world.

jaydub said...

"Genetic testing is mostly a fake issue."

True, as evidenced by fact that the test data is not tied back to a specific employee.

kentuckyliz said...

The employer requiring genetic information would violate GINA and be the target of a civil rights suit probably costing them more than what they're trying to save. I can't imagine a jury of my peers being enthusiastic about GATTACA type employers. They are imagining how it might affect them and their family members and lead them to ruin. Big jury awards to be punitive. Bring it on and start with me. My lottery ticket purchases lately have not been lucky and this sounds like a good payday.
https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/genetic.cfm

jaydub said...

"What you see in this graph is that countries like Japan and Australia, which have export oriented economies and have been much more buffeted by globalism than the US, have not seen income inequality skyrocket as it has done in the US."

What you might also see is that this graph was compiled by a 2007 Piketty and Saez study that has since been largely discredited. One might also note that Austrailia and Japan have not been buffeted as much as the US because those two countries tightly control immigration to preserve wage rates.

AReasonableMan said...

jaydub said...
this graph was compiled by a 2007 Piketty and Saez study that has since been largely discredited.


Want to provide a compelling reference for that statement?

AReasonableMan said...

jaydub said...
One might also note that Austrailia and Japan have not been buffeted as much as the US because those two countries tightly control immigration to preserve wage rates.


"There were 4.1 million foreign born in Australia in 2001, representing 22 percent of the total population of 19.0 million.
There were 5.6 million foreign born in Canada in 2001, representing 19 percent of the total population of 30.0 million.
There were 31.1 million foreign born in the United States in 2000, representing 11 percent of the total population of 281.4 million."

Canada and Germany in addition to Australia have more recent immigrants and lower income inequality than the US.

jaydub said...

ARM, I talk about Australia and Japan and you reply Australia and Canada. Did the Japanese statistics not work for the narrative? And don't confuse immigration with controlled immigration. But, there's also:

"According to the Japanese Ministry of Justice, the number of foreign residents in Japan has steadily increased in the post Second World War period, and the number of foreign residents (excluding illegal immigrants and short-term foreign visitors and tourists staying less than 90 days in Japan) was more than 2.23 million at the end of 2015.[1] With an estimated population of 127.11 million in 2015,[2] the resident foreign population in Japan amounts to approximately 1.75% of the total population." By the way, resident foreign population also includes US servicemen, of which I was once one.

And

"According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the majority of people in Australia illegally are visa overstayers, who enter the country legally but remain there after the expiry or revocation of their visa.[2] DIAC estimated that in the period from 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, approximately 15,800 people overstayed their visas out of 4.5 million temporary entrants during that period (about 0.35 per cent). As of 30 June 2010, DIAC estimated that the number of visa overstayers in Australia was around 53,900, or 0.2 per cent of the Australian population." BTW, Australia also detains refugees arriving by boat.

See ARM, tightly controlled. Very tightly controlled. So what's your point?

buwaya said...

The foreign-born in Australia as of 2001 are, by far, mostly Asian and white. A lot of my family would be in that count, since when my uncle, an accountant, went there in 1958 to work on the Snowy Mountains project.

IIRC the two largest groups are from the UK (nearly half) the next from New Zealand, and even the vast majority of the remainder are from various European countries or East Asians.

Who your immigrants are matters a lot. The biggest mistake of the Euros.

jaydub said...

ARM: " 'jaydub said...this graph was compiled by a 2007 Piketty and Saez study that has since been largely discredited.' Want to provide a compelling reference for that statement?" Sure, but just this one time for free. I usually get $175/hr for consulting on economic issues, so next time you're going to have to come up with more than BS to get me to respond. Anyway, how about the IMF? Is that a compelling reference? To wit:

IMF Working Paper Testing Piketty’s Hypothesis on the Drivers of Income Inequality: Evidence from Panel VARs with Heterogeneous Dynamics Prepared by Carlos Góes, August 2016.

"Thomas Piketty's Capital in the Twenty First Century puts forth a logically consistent
explanation for changes in income and wealth inequality patterns. However, while rich in data, the book provides no formal empirical testing for its theoretical causal chain. In this paper, I build a set of Panel SVAR models to check if inequality and capital share in the national income move up as the r-g gap grows. Using a sample of 19 advanced economies spanning over 30 years, I find no empirical evidence that dynamics move in the way Piketty suggests. Results are robust to several alternative estimates of r-g"

AReasonableMan said...

Your post does not address the quality of the economic data that I linked to just the interpretation. The data remains the data.

AReasonableMan said...

aydub said...
ARM, I talk about Australia and Japan and you reply Australia and Canada


I am giving you that Japan has low immigration, although I think this is irrelevant to the issue. But, there are plenty of other examples like Australia. Why don't these also count?

AReasonableMan said...

The point is Australia has more recent immigrants than the US by a considerable margin.

jaydub said...

ARM, you're confusing visitors with immigrants. Lots of people (apparently over 8 million) came to Australia legally in 2016, but not all were immigrants. The table below gives a breakdown by visit purpose, plus change from prior year, for 2016. Please note that only 283,600 of 23.3 million came for employment. Add the 59,000 illegals that overstayed their visas and you get around 1.5% potentially involved in employment as opposed to other types of visitors. And, WRT your other question, the data used by Piketty was not raw numbers but calculations based on interpretations from his discredited study. You don't publish a paper, have it be inconsistent and unreproducable, then cherry pick the results you want - all of it goes out. BTW, That'll be $350 (I have a 2 hour minimum.)

PURPOSE OF VISIT TOTAL NUMBER CHANGE FROM 2015
Holiday 4,236,500 21.6%
VFR 2,071,800 0.5%
Business* 812,700 1.3%
Employment 283,600 -11.4%
Education 514,000 9.5%
Others 344,100 12.0%
Total 8,262,900 11.0%

AReasonableMan said...

I am not confusing anything. From wiki:

"According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics in mid-2010 5,993,945 of the Australian resident population were born outside Australia, representing 26.8 percent of the total Australian resident population.

By 2050, it is estimated that approximately one-third of Australia's population could be born overseas.

Australia and Switzerland, with about a quarter of their population born outside the country, are the two countries with the highest proportion of immigrants in the western world."

The US has many fewer immigrants as a percentage of the population. That is just a fact.

ALP said...

Because Clinton outspent Trump but still lost.

AReasonableMan said...

jaydub said...
You don't publish a paper, have it be inconsistent and unreproducable, then cherry pick the results you want - all of it goes out.


This is transparent nonsense. People can agree that the data in a study is correct while still disagreeing with the interpretation. This is actually a pretty common outcome.

this graph was compiled by a 2007 Piketty and Saez study

This is obviously false since the data extends to 2015. Did you actually look at the graph before repeating your canned talking points?

And while we are at it, your claim that Piketty's studies have been discredited is also nonsense. Some people believe he is wrong, many others agree with him, at least in broad outline.

jaydub said...

ARM, quit bothering me until you pay up what you already owe. But, while I'm here, I have not said a word about the total percentage of Australians who are immigrants, only that they tightly control their immigration so as to support existing wage rates. If they admit 283K every year for 20 years that would equal around 5 million foreign born Aussie residents, or about a quarter of the population. So what? The existing wage rate by definition supports that number of settled Aussie immigrants. The point is not how many foreign born live there, it's how many they let in each year and what happens to wages because of it. A major problem with the US income situation is that we have had uncontolled immigration for the past 8 - 20 years, and whenever wages have started to rise during that period, the immigration rate also goes up and helps dampen that wage increase. You can't complain about income inequality and support uncontrolled immigration at the same time - unless of course you are an unreasonable man. Oh, wait!

Bob Loblaw said...

One billionaire happened.

Two, actually. Jeff Bezos and Carlos Slim.

AReasonableMan said...

jaydub said...
ARM, quit bothering me until you pay up what you already owe.


I owe you nothing because everything you have said so far is wrong. I happen to be less than enthusiastic about US immigration policy but making up stuff about other countries is not a good way to make an argument.

Again, many countries have a higher immigration rate and lower income inequality rate than the US. This is just a fact. Wealth and income inequality within the US is based primarily on the rules set up by our society, which are less favorable for the poor than they are in other countries, the favorable tax treatment for carried interest being an obvious and egregious example.

jaydub said...

ARM, the reason no one wants to engage you in conversation is because you make some BS statement, then when called on it, you try to put the onus on the one raising the bull shit flag to prove you wrong rather than supporting your own assertions. Then when presented with facts, you move the goalposts or change the subject or resort to adhominem attacks - whatever muddies the water long enough for you to slither off to a new piece of BS. IOW you're intellectually dishonest. I'm through wasting time on you.










AReasonableMan said...

jaydub said...
ARM, the reason no one wants to engage you in conversation is because you make some BS statement


The statement I made was :
"The argument that the rich have been getting richer in a 'fair' manner is based on the idea that globalism disproportionately rewards the 'most gifted'. What you see in this graph is that countries like Japan and Australia, which have export oriented economies and have been much more buffeted by globalism than the US, have not seen income inequality skyrocket as it has done in the US. The system is rigged in the US, it has nothing to do with globalism. It is a crooked system, now being made even more crooked."

It is not a BS statement, it is widely held belief. To effectively attack you need to be prepared with something more than a few half-baked talking points and an almost complete lack of knowledge about other countries.

Robert Cook said...

"...if it weren't for the uniquely American stupidity of having health insurance tied to employment benefits, this would be a non-issue."

It'll become a non-issue when most of us are made redundant from our jobs by increasing use of technology and robots to do our work. Then our problem will not be obtaining healthcare but beating out the other filthy wretches sleeping with us under the decaying highway overpass to capture the meaty-looking rat that scurries past for our week's meal.

rehajm said...

ARM said..

It is not a BS statement, it is widely held belief.

Got any data points to back up your widely held belief?

Michael K said...

"IOW you're intellectually dishonest. I'm through wasting time on you."

ARM used to be reasonable. I think he/she has a bad case of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

My wife had a cousin emigrate to New Zealand, which has similar although more stringent rules. They sold a house in the Bay Area for a million dollar profit. They then decided to move to New Zealand. They had quite a story of the hoops they had to jump through.

I have met illegal immigrants (American) working in Australia but they came as visa holders.

Fifty years ago, non-white immigrants were barred completely.

AReasonableMan said...

Blogger rehajm said...
Got any data points to back up your widely held belief?


Did you read the thread? The answer is yes.

AReasonableMan said...

Michael K said...
ARM used to be reasonable.


I am very disappointed in this response MK. You used to be a much more thoughtful guy, but now you just repeat yourself. I feel you are mailing it in and just posting out of habit. I think you can get back to your more thoughtful self but just stringing together a few random anecdotes is not enough, you need to stretch yourself, try again to understand what reality looks like.

Michael K said...

"you need to stretch yourself, try again to understand what reality looks like."

I assume then that you don't read my linked articles. I try to not post content free rants like some others around here.

I would be happy to discuss the history of employment based health insurance. In fact, I wrote a book on it.

I see you getting off on rich vs poor and globalism and open borders.

I don;t mind discussing those but I find more rants than questions.

Capital gains tax cuts, for example, are always going to benefit the rich but they also benefit the rising tide that lifts all boats, to quote a Democrat.

buwaya said...

Australia has plenty of immigrants.
They are not like Europe's immigrants or America's immigrants, for the most part.
And ditto for Switzerland.
Who your immigrants are matters more than anything else.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem with the article is that it ignores the difference between the two parties. Grass roots works on the right, but not really, on the left. There, despite apparent similarities between the two sides, there is quite a bit of paid astroturfing on the left - much of it paid for by those meddling billionaires. They have classses that teach how to disrupt town hall meetings, how to intimidate politicians and the other party, how to turn protests into riots, etc, and they often turn up with pre-made signs on rented busses.

All you have to do is look at how the two major party candidates got their nominations to see the difference. Crooked Hillary's nomination was almost entirely an inside job. The DNC and the MSM were in on the action, coordinating with her campaign to first beat Sanders, and then, they were expecting, the Republican. And, if all else failed, she had the superdelegates (a bunch of party insiders given votes based on their political power, and not the least bit democratically selected) sewn up. Trump, on the other hand, beat all of the insider candidates to get the nomination, and with it, to beat Clinton's insider campaign. You could see the difference in their campaign events. When she would actually get out before the public, attendance was mediocre at best, and unenthusiastic. His were packed by grass roots activists. His were exciting. Hers were not. She spent the bulk of her time campaigning fund raising with the rich and well connected insiders, who were expecting to be trading their campaign contributions for special favors and the like when she was elected.

The Republican Party has, from its inception, had a strong grass roots component. Still does, as shown by the Tea Party and the Trump campaign. Early on, so did the Democratic Party. At least at the time of Jackson (though he arguably had his rich backers who received favors in trade for their support). Sometime between then and now, it became the top down party of political insiders. My guess is that much of it stems from the rise of inner city machines, and then the loss of support outside the big cities that had those machines. In the 1970s, the antiestablishment members of the party tried to make the party more democratic, and succeeded for awhile in getting some power to the rank and file, though even then, they couldn't go completely democratic, leaving the insiders their superdelegate votes. Those antiestablishment Dems became the establishment themselves, and after decades in power are loath to give up that power, Hence, the marked age discrepancy between the leadership of the two parties, with the Dems inevitably being several decades older than their Rep counterparts. In any case, as long as the Dem party remains top down, the very rich are going to continue to have very outsized influence in that party, both by providing the funding for campaigns, and for organizing and paying for their supposed grass roots.

Michael K said...

the very rich are going to continue to have very outsized influence in that party, both by providing the funding for campaigns, and for organizing and paying for their supposed grass roots.

And getting subsidies and H1B visas in return.