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Has U.S. Democracy Been Trumped? Bernie Sanders wants to know who owns America?

#14521 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-December-25, 21:23

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-December-25, 08:37, said:

Although I agree with your concerns, I do not think who is running is as critical as you seem to think. If the U.S. doesn't remove this president simply because he has no business being in power then I really don't see much future for this country as a representative republic.


Yes, I do regard it as critical.


I would not expect this view to be unusual.


Ken
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#14522 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-25, 23:33

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-December-25, 19:09, said:

It is a stupid question because it is framed by a ludicrous position that implies a causation between a president and the economy, thus promoting the present economy as due to Trump and implying that to change is to risk this so-so 2.2% GPP that is equal to what the last years of economy produced under Obama - who had little-to-nothing to do with that growth, either.

Fair point about the framing. Yes, Woodruff could have prefaced her question with "It's well known that voters tend to give presidents more credit and blame for economic conditions than they deserve". But that doesn't change the reality which is that voters do give incumbents more credit for the economy than they deserve and they *will* give Trump more credit than he deserves. If Dems want to win over voters whose sole criterion is the state of the economy they better come up with better answers.
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#14523 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-December-26, 00:13

View Postkenberg, on 2019-December-24, 11:58, said:

I am stunned. You say "If you admit that they exist," Is there some question in your mind as to whether they exist?

I meant if the candidate answers the question in a way that confirms they exist, rather than avoiding addressing them.

He has to avoid the kind of mistake Hillary made when she categorized much of Trump's base as "deplorables".

#14524 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-December-26, 00:27

View Postkenberg, on 2019-December-24, 14:54, said:

But more to the point, I am not assuming that someone who says "I like the way the economy is going but I don't like Trump" is a conservative.

I can certainly understand that there may be reasonable people like that.

I started working full time during the Reagan administration. I was making decent money, and I didn't have much in the way of student loans (my parents paid for everything except the government's guaranteed student loans, which I think were something like $2500/year). So I was able to start investing after a couple of years, and made off pretty well due to Reaganomics. I don't even remember what I thought of his politics in general, I wasn't very politically aware at the time (I remember that Iran Contra was a big scandal, but didn't really understand it). He seemed like a nice enough person, although he was an actor so that could just have been an act. But I was happy with the economy.

#14525 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-December-26, 00:36

View PostWinstonm, on 2019-December-25, 19:09, said:

It is a stupid question because it is framed by a ludicrous position that implies a causation between a president and the economy, thus promoting the present economy as due to Trump and implying that to change is to risk this so-so 2.2% GPP that is equal to what the last years of economy produced under Obama - who had little-to-nothing to do with that growth, either.

It doesn't imply causation, it takes as given that many voters believe in that causation. Whether it actually exists is not relevant, it's common and natural for people to vote as if it does. So if someone is hoping to beat Trump, they're going to have to deal with this belief.

#14526 User is offline   barmar 

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Posted 2019-December-26, 00:39

View PostZelandakh, on 2019-December-25, 20:57, said:

So what was the easy way of diffusing the question? For Biden I would suggest a simple "I'd tell them to wake up!" opening, then after the applause dies down glide effortlessly into his prepared answer about how the economy is not really working for them.

Doesn't that risk the problem I described, it's effectively calling those voters stupid for believing this?

Of course, this was the Democractic debate, so he's not actually addressing Trump voters, the audience is Democrats. Giving an answer like that now doesn't mean he would actually say the same thing during the general election campaign, when he actually needs to win over Trump people.

#14527 User is online   awm 

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Posted 2019-December-26, 05:08

It seems likely that if you have a voter who believes all three of:

1. The current economy is great, much better than it was under Obama.
2. This is primarily because of things that Trump has done while president.
3. The economy is a primary factor determining who they will vote for.

Then it will be extremely difficult for any democratic candidate to get their vote.

I think the right response is to hope that the voter in question is not wholly convinced of at least one of the three propositions. So the right response is to:

1. Point out that current economic growth is not really any better than it was under Obama. Point out that a lot of people are struggling with costs for education, health care, and housing, and that the current economy hasn't been great for everyone. Point out that while there are a lot of jobs (low unemployment), many of these are the "gig" sort of jobs or jobs that pay a minimum wage that hasn't gone up in a long time.
2. Point out that a lot of things that Trump promised about the economy haven't come true. The big Republican tax cuts didn't really lead to wage growth and instead were invested into stock buybacks. Farmers are struggling because of Trump's trade wars. The coal and steel industries Trump promised to revive aren't doing well and have been closing plants he promised would stay open.
3. Bring things back to the staggering corruption (huge amount of self-dealing by Trump's family and appointees) and cruelty of this administration (children in cages, supporting murderous dictators world-wide, deporting long-time members of communities with no criminal records, etc).

Again, there are certainly some voters who will say "I am making more money than I did four years ago so Trump is great" and just ignore all the racism and cruelty and corruption, all the broken promises, etc. And we can argue about whether such voters are racist themselves (because they are willing to overlook racism for a few extra dollars in their bank account) or whether they're just oblivious. But I don't think they are reachable voters in most cases.

If you look at Trump's approval ratings through his presidency, you will see that they are extremely stable. He has been pretty much at 42% approve and 52% disapprove for a long time. You might think these numbers would go up and down depending on the news (economic or otherwise) but they really don't. That suggests this will be more of a "turnout" election than a "convince the voters" election -- there are very few voters likely to change their minds at this point. Fortunately for Democrats, Trump is consistently unpopular. The risk is that he might be able to win the electoral college anyway (he was unpopular going into 2016 too and he did lose the popular vote), and Republicans have ramped up the voter suppression efforts in recent years. It will likely come down to ground game, but I think a high-turnout election is likely because Trump is so polarizing (see 2018) and this will probably work to Democrats' advantage.
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#14528 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2019-December-26, 05:51

View Postawm, on 2019-December-26, 05:08, said:

It seems likely that if you have a voter who believes all three of:

1. The current economy is great, much better than it was under Obama.
2. This is primarily because of things that Trump has done while president.
3. The economy is a primary factor determining who they will vote for.

Then it will be extremely difficult for any democratic candidate to get their vote.

I think the right response is to hope that the voter in question is not wholly convinced of at least one of the three propositions. So the right response is to:

1. Point out that current economic growth is not really any better than it was under Obama. Point out that a lot of people are struggling with costs for education, health care, and housing, and that the current economy hasn't been great for everyone. Point out that while there are a lot of jobs (low unemployment), many of these are the "gig" sort of jobs or jobs that pay a minimum wage that hasn't gone up in a long time.
2. Point out that a lot of things that Trump promised about the economy haven't come true. The big Republican tax cuts didn't really lead to wage growth and instead were invested into stock buybacks. Farmers are struggling because of Trump's trade wars. The coal and steel industries Trump promised to revive aren't doing well and have been closing plants he promised would stay open.
3. Bring things back to the staggering corruption (huge amount of self-dealing by Trump's family and appointees) and cruelty of this administration (children in cages, supporting murderous dictators world-wide, deporting long-time members of communities with no criminal records, etc).

Again, there are certainly some voters who will say "I am making more money than I did four years ago so Trump is great" and just ignore all the racism and cruelty and corruption, all the broken promises, etc. And we can argue about whether such voters are racist themselves (because they are willing to overlook racism for a few extra dollars in their bank account) or whether they're just oblivious. But I don't think they are reachable voters in most cases.

If you look at Trump's approval ratings through his presidency, you will see that they are extremely stable. He has been pretty much at 42% approve and 52% disapprove for a long time. You might think these numbers would go up and down depending on the news (economic or otherwise) but they really don't. That suggests this will be more of a "turnout" election than a "convince the voters" election -- there are very few voters likely to change their minds at this point. Fortunately for Democrats, Trump is consistently unpopular. The risk is that he might be able to win the electoral college anyway (he was unpopular going into 2016 too and he did lose the popular vote), and Republicans have ramped up the voter suppression efforts in recent years. It will likely come down to ground game, but I think a high-turnout election is likely because Trump is so polarizing (see 2018) and this will probably work to Democrats' advantage.


I think that Adam is quite right in what he is saying. From my perspective, the big concern should be that a high mobilization election has the potential to go really really wrong if

A. It is close
B. One side does not accept the election results

Consider what might happen is either

A. The Democrats believe that voter suppression in Milwaukee, Detroit, and Florida cost them the election
B. Trump loses but starts claiming that there was massive amounts of voter fraud

I'm quite worried that these are likely scenarios
Alderaan delenda est
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#14529 User is offline   kenberg 

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Posted 2019-December-26, 08:12

View Postbarmar, on 2019-December-26, 00:27, said:

I can certainly understand that there may be reasonable people like that.

I started working full time during the Reagan administration. I was making decent money, and I didn't have much in the way of student loans (my parents paid for everything except the government's guaranteed student loans, which I think were something like $2500/year). So I was able to start investing after a couple of years, and made off pretty well due to Reaganomics. I don't even remember what I thought of his politics in general, I wasn't very politically aware at the time (I remember that Iran Contra was a big scandal, but didn't really understand it). He seemed like a nice enough person, although he was an actor so that could just have been an act. But I was happy with the economy.


You have given my day a great start!



Much of my thinking starts with the idea that politics is not at or even near the top of everyone's To Do list. "I don't even remember what I thought of his politics in general, I wasn't very politically aware at the time". Exactly.

I believe most people are some mix of wanting to do right by others and of having their own interests. I keep thinking that I really need to stop buying spring water in plastic bottles, but there it is in the refrigerator.

As I have probably mentioned before, my favorite line in The Philadelphia Story is from Kathrine Hepburn as Tracy Lord: "The time to make up your mind abut other people is never". Ok, a one-liner will always have to make room for exceptions, but if we want to win an election we have to start with the idea that some people might, just might, listen a bit and think a bit . That is, they might if they are not preemptively dismissed as hopeless.

Anyway, forget Hepburn and movies. I just have to look back over my own life.

Speaking of Reagan, he prevented Jimmy Carter from getting a second term. Well, Carter did a pretty good job of preventing himself from getting a second term. But Reagan was a very effective campaigner. This gets me back to how critical it is to have a good candidate in 2020.

This has been a busy holiday season for us, a great deal of fun, and perhaps I am feeling too good. I hope the above doesn't sound too naive. But cynicism can also be a form of naivety.

My best wishes to Rudolph for guiding the sleigh so well.
Ken
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#14530 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-26, 09:03

Rather than nitpick about what candidate "x" said, the bigger picture is this:

Quote

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wouldn't rule out pardoning Republican operative Roger Stone, describing what happened to his former confidant as "very tough" and criticizing federal prosecutors and investigators as "dirty cops" and "evil people."

Trump, talking to reporters following a video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago resort in southern Florida, first said he "hadn't thought of it" when asked if he would pardon Stone, but then lambasted the criminal case against him.

"I think it's very tough what they did to Roger Stone, compared to what they do to other people on their side," Trump said.

"I've known Roger over the years. He's a nice guy. A lot of people like him, and he got hit very hard, as did Gen. (Michael) Flynn," Trump added, referring to his first national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Russian interference into the 2016 election.

Trump added that "a lot of other people... got hit very, very hard."

“And now they're finding out it was all a big hoax. They're finding out it was a horrible thing," he said.


Stop and consider - two of the closest to campaign, Manafort and Stone, were given strong hints by the Trump's attorney that if they kept their mouths shut they would be rewarded with a pardon. Now, Trump is building a false narrative case that the pardons are justified.

If Trump gets away with offering pardons for silence and then follows through with those pardons, the rule of law is dead. Without the rule of law, the U.S. is a banana republic.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Black Lives Matter.
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#14531 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-26, 16:06

Meanwhile, back in the real world (AKA twitter) there was this:

George Conway Says Foreign Leaders See Donald Trump as a 'Deranged Idiot'

Quote

Conway replied directly to the president, writing that Trump himself was the only one to blame for his struggles with foreign leaders. "The problem you have with foreign leaders, @realDonaldTrump, is that they think you are a deranged idiot," he wrote. "They see it in your tweets, and they see it on TV."

While I usually find little to disagree with George Conway, he has totally missed the boat on this one. President Impeached is a "deranged idiot"??? Really George? I can't go with anything less than "deranged psychopath". Discussion?
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#14532 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2019-December-27, 03:13

View Postjohnu, on 2019-December-26, 16:06, said:

Discussion?

No thanks, please.
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#14533 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2019-December-27, 03:31

View Postawm, on 2019-December-26, 05:08, said:

...

All good points, but the main general election message by Democrats will be healthcare. This is an awkward point for Biden to make in the primary, because he is running against candidates who want to do more to expand coverage than he does. But in the general election he'll be running against a party that for 3.5 years has been making every effort to take healthcare coverage away from millions, and who passed a giant tax cut for millionaires.

"The economy has been working fine for you? That's great to hear, because it hasn't been working great for everyone. But as president I'll work for everyone. For those who have to work three part time jobs, and for you who is seeing the hard work you put in every day pay off. And I'll make sure that it continues to pay off - you shouldn't have to worry about losing health insurance if your employer suddenly has to downsize. Trump promised to protect health insurance coverage. Instead, every step of the way, they tried to take away health insurance from millions of Americans. First they failed because we worked hard to get some of my Republican friends (McCain, Murkowski) on board to protect Obamacare. They lost in Congress because Americans want to keep their health insurance. But having lost in Congress, Trump's administration and 18 Republican states are trying to get the law taken down in court, with a legal argument that every legal scholar--Democrats, Republicans, moderats, liberals, conservatives--have considered ridiculous. Why? Because they care more about getting tax cuts for their campaign donors and Mar-a-Lago club members than they care about you. How old are you? 55? If you give Repbulicans four more years, do you really trust Medicare will still be there for you when you turn 65?
If you elect me, you can keep doing your work and caring for your family and friends, and stop worrying about politics."
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#14534 User is online   awm 

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Posted 2019-December-27, 03:51

View Postcherdano, on 2019-December-27, 03:31, said:

All good points, but the main general election message by Democrats will be healthcare.


I know a lot of Democrats think this message was the reason they succeeded in 2018, although I'm not convinced this was significant compared to anti-Trump backlash (combination of suburban white women who don't always vote for Democrats doing so because of disgust at Trump, plus high minority turnout).

The reason I'd question this, is that the American health care system is extremely good at hiding costs from the majority of citizens. I've talked to a number of people at my work who moved from the US to Switzerland, and a common complaint is the high cost of Swiss health care (which costs roughly half US health care, for better outcomes). The reason for this is that in Switzerland everyone is on an individual (private but highly regulated) market and pays their full monthly premium, whereas in the US the better employers are covering 80-90% of premiums. So even though US health insurance costs a lot more, the monthly bill is higher here.

Obviously there are some people who have no insurance in the current US system, or who are on the individual market and see the high prices directly. But this is a relatively small fraction of the population, many of whom tend not to vote. A good number of them also never use the health insurance they have, and might think they are better off with one of the cheap plans (that don't cover much) which Trump has been allowing back into the market.

Attempts by Democrats to massively overhaul health insurance again just a decade after the Affordable Care Act aren't necessarily the best look for the party. That said, the "Trump backlash" effect doesn't need Democrats to campaign on it in order to happen, so it makes sense to focus more on helping ordinary Americans. I do wonder if something like a nationwide guarantee of paid vacation or subsidized childcare would be more appealing (as well as easier to implement than another big healthcare reform).
Adam W. Meyerson
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#14535 User is online   cherdano 

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Posted 2019-December-27, 05:42

View Postawm, on 2019-December-27, 03:51, said:

Attempts by Democrats to massively overhaul health insurance again just a decade after the Affordable Care Act aren't necessarily the best look for the party. That said, the "Trump backlash" effect doesn't need Democrats to campaign on it in order to happen, so it makes sense to focus more on helping ordinary Americans.

But Biden is *not* promising a major overhaul of US health insurance.
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#14536 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-27, 09:06

View Postcherdano, on 2019-December-27, 03:31, said:

"The economy has been working fine for you? That's great to hear, because it hasn't been working great for everyone. But as president I'll work for everyone. For those who have to work three part time jobs, and for you who is seeing the hard work you put in every day pay off. And I'll make sure that it continues to pay off - you shouldn't have to worry about losing health insurance if your employer suddenly has to downsize. Trump promised to protect health insurance coverage. Instead, every step of the way, they tried to take away health insurance from millions of Americans. First they failed because we worked hard to get some of my Republican friends (McCain, Murkowski) on board to protect Obamacare. They lost in Congress because Americans want to keep their health insurance. But having lost in Congress, Trump's administration and 18 Republican states are trying to get the law taken down in court, with a legal argument that every legal scholar--Democrats, Republicans, moderats, liberals, conservatives--have considered ridiculous. Why? Because they care more about getting tax cuts for their campaign donors and Mar-a-Lago club members than they care about you. How old are you? 55? If you give Repbulicans four more years, do you really trust Medicare will still be there for you when you turn 65?

If you elect me, you can keep doing your work and caring for your family and friends, and stop worrying about politics."

Well put.
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#14537 User is offline   Winstonm 

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Posted 2019-December-27, 09:34

Instead of border walls and giant tax cuts for the rich, invest in children as our future:


Quote

About 15 million children in the United States – 21% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty threshold, a measurement that has been shown to underestimate the needs of families. Research shows that, on average, families need an income of about twice that level to cover basic expenses. Using this standard, 43% of children live in low-income families.

Most of these children have parents who work, but low wages and unstable employment leave their families struggling to make ends meet. Poverty can impede children’s ability to learn and contribute to social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Poverty also can contribute to poor health and mental health. Risks are greatest for children who experience poverty when they are young and/or experience deep and persistent poverty.

Research is clear that poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being. But effective public policies – to make work pay for low-income parents and to provide high-quality early care and learning experiences for their children – can make a difference. Investments in the most vulnerable children are also critical
my emphasis

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#14538 User is offline   y66 

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Posted 2019-December-27, 11:40

From Big Money and America’s Lost Decade by Paul Krugman at NYT:

Quote

Unemployment in the United States is currently at a historical low, just 3.5 percent — and we’re achieving that low unemployment without any sign of runaway inflation, which tells us that we were capable of this kind of performance all along. Remember when people like Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, told us that high unemployment was inevitable because of a “skills gap”? They were wrong.

But it took us a very long time to get here, because unemployment receded only slowly from its post-crisis peak. The average unemployment rate over the past decade was 6.3 percent, which translates into millions of person-years of gratuitous joblessness.

Why didn’t we recover faster? The most important reason was fiscal austerity — spending cuts, supposedly to reduce the budget deficit, that exerted a steady drag on the economy from 2010 onward. But who was obsessed with budget deficits? Voters in general weren’t — but surveys indicate that even when the unemployment rate was above 8 percent the wealthy considered budget deficits a bigger problem than lack of jobs.

And the news media echoed these priorities, treating them not as the preferences of one small group of voters but as the only responsible position. As Vox’s Ezra Klein noted at the time, when it came to budget deficits it seemed that “the usual rules of reportorial neutrality” didn’t apply; reporters openly advocated policy views that were at best controversial, not widely shared by the general public and, we now know, substantively wrong.

But they were the policy views of the wealthy. And when it comes to treatment of differing policy views, the media often treats some Americans as more equal than others.

Which brings me back to the 2020 campaign. You may disagree with progressive ideas coming from Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, which is fine. But the news media owes the public a serious discussion of these ideas, not dismissal shaped by a combination of reflexive “centrist bias” and the conscious or unconscious assumption that any policy rich people dislike must be irresponsible.

And when candidates talk about the excessive influence of the wealthy, that subject also deserves serious discussion, not the cheap shots we’ve been seeing lately. I know that this kind of discussion makes many journalists uncomfortable. That’s exactly why we need to have it.

If you lose all hope, you can always find it again -- Richard Ford in The Sportswriter
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#14539 User is offline   johnu 

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Posted 2019-December-28, 16:25

World’s Richest Gain $1.2 Trillion in 2019 as Jeff Bezos Retains Crown

Quote

And the richer they were at the start of the year, the richer they got. The world’s 500 wealthiest people tracked by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index added $1.2 trillion, boosting their collective net worth 25% to $5.9 trillion.

When you are talking about wealth disparity, and income disparity, there is this. 25% increase in wealth To be fair, much of it is stock market paper profits that could dive in value tomorrow, but much has been converted into real estate, various businesses, intellectual property, cash equivalents, etc.

Obviously not all are Americans, but for those that are, they wouldn't even notice a 2% wealth tax when their net wealth would still have increased 23% instead of 25%.
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#14540 User is online   awm 

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Posted 2019-December-28, 16:58

View Postjohnu, on 2019-December-28, 16:25, said:

When you are talking about wealth disparity, and income disparity, there is this. 25% increase in wealth.


If you invested in the S&P500 you would’ve gained about 25% on the year (between rise in the index and the dividends). This was an unusually good year for the market (for contrast, in 2018 you would’ve more or less broken even). Stock market valuations have a lot to do with the wealth of billionaires, but probably aren’t the driving factor behind wealth inequality. Although I’d support a small wealth tax (2% seems okay to me, 6% not so much) the real problem is getting wages to rise in line with productivity for the rest of the work force.
Adam W. Meyerson
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