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ECONOMY: Harrop ignores growing income gap

Letter by John L. Laakso, Fircrest on March 1, 2011 at 11:52 am with 45 Comments »
March 1, 2011 1:01 pm

Re: “The fine art of deception by skillful omission of facts” (Froma Harrop column, 3-1).

Harrop criticizes a Nation magazine article focusing on New York City as a microcosm of the growing income gap between the “have” and the “have not” groups in the United States. She accuses the author of deceiving readers by “skillful omission of facts” but picks a few parenthetical lines from the article to craft an apology for the uber rich.

But the Nation article is loaded with facts, statistics and stories of several former workers laid low by the recession. For example, the lowest income groups have unemployment statistics as bad as or worse than those in the Great Depression. But “those in the top two deciles … enjoyed the impressively low unemployment rates of 4.1 and 3.4 percent respectively.”

Dr. Andrew Sum, cited by Harrup to support her delusional attack on immigrants, is actually quoted in The Nation as saying, “See those last two groups? We call that full employment.”

While millions are out of work and losing their homes, Harrop has the gall to worry about the 57 New York City billionaires whose massive fortunes were “shaved by hundreds of millions of dollars” right before they increased their net worth by $19 billion in one year.

I have not heard a more insensitive whine about the problems of the uber rich since Ken Lay complained he suffered because he had to sell some of his 15 houses. In defending the uber rich, Harrop ignores the growing income gap.

Leave a comment Comments → 45
  1. lovethemountains says:

    “…delusional attack on immigrants.” Uh, there you go again, using the word immigrant when the correct phrase is illegal aliens.

  2. Rollo_Tomassi says:

    “those in the top two deciles … enjoyed the impressively low unemployment rates of 4.1 and 3.4 percent respectively.”

    What you are saying is that people who are in the top 20% of earners (because the job market values their job skills higher) are more likely to keep their jobs and continue to earn during a recession. furthermore, people who earn the least (because their job skills are most easily replicable and therefore valued the least by the job market) are more likely to lose their jobs?

    Wow! A blinding flash of the obvious. Next are you going to try to convince your audience that water is wet?

    This is economics 101 stuff. The lesson is if you want to keep your job in any economic environment you should develop an expertise that is not easily replicable. If, however, you prefer not to hone your professional skills, the job market will treat you as unskilled labor and discard you first during tough economic times.

  3. concernedtacoma7 says:

    Excellent rebutals.

    What the author is asking for is wealth re-distribution instead of pushing for policies that benefit all, rewarding those in society that contribute and strive for success.

    Also, the letter does not present what he sees as the actual problem. That people are rich? Policies, laws, etc? What is the proposal to raise the lower income/unemployed workers?

    This letter is akin to complaining about the weather.

  4. nwcolorist says:

    Another class warfare and envy of the rich letter.

    Yes, the income gap between rich and poor is growing, and it’s all GOOD!

    The reason for the growing gap is that those ‘evil’ billionaires have been increasing their incomes exponentially over the last few decades, while the poor are not keeping up with this rate of increase. Thus the gap has been stretched out on the upside.

    But note that the poor over the last 200 years have nevertheless steadily become better off. The poorest in America are rich compared with the world’s population.

    Rather than try to hinder the success of those that work hard (and smart), why not help the poor figure out productive ways to increase their income?

  5. nwcolorist —

    “Rather than try to hinder the success of those that work hard (and smart), why not help the poor figure out productive ways to increase their income?”

    You mean like go to school, don’t do drugs, don’t make babies you can’t provide for? Stuff like that? Gosh, do you think we should quit keeping those secrets from poor people?

  6. Why is it that these threads claiming class war and class envy always seem to have posts that engage in class war and class disgust of those who are “beneath us”?

  7. From the article:

    “No wonder 2009 set records for income inequality. In that year, the chasm between rich and poor measured even wider than it did in 1928, the last time so much wealth was concentrated in so few hands.”

    I believe that is a theme in the original article.

    It’s kinda hard to talk about poop without alluding to nor mentioning the word “poop”

  8. blakeshouse says:

    These socialist/ neo marxists will continue to play the class envy card at every turn. IT IS THE ONLY THING THEY HAVE.. This one note opera has been playing for as long as most everyone can remember, and at various points along the way some have fallen for bits and pieces of it. Those days are over.
    Call it by any number of names that have been floated over the years, it is still the same garbage as always, WEALTH REDISTRIBUTION plain and simple. The apologizer-in-chief even slipped up and called it that when he let his socialist guard down some when talking to Joe the plumber on the campaign trail. Nancy “botox” Pelosi never tried to hide it and still refuses to get it after Nov. Ried continues to hold on to it and will till Nov 2012.

  9. blakeshouse says:

    I have had 3 different friends in 3 different parts of the county get into accidents with cyclists and in all 3 cases the bike riders were sited for not obeying the traffic laws and all 3 came back and tried to sue the drivers for damages. Thankfully the judges threw each and ever lawsuit out of court. After one of the bikers ended up in the pierce county cross bar hilton for criminal damage to the drivers property when he was caught vandalising the mans home after the case was tossed

  10. “Rather than try to hinder the success of those that work hard (and smart), why not help the poor figure out productive ways to increase their income?”

    I would argue that the rich don’t necessarily work harder then they did in the ’60’s. They do have more control of the money. As such, more of the money goes in their pockets.

    I blame free trade, but unequal trade. I see the rise of the mutual fund industry as part of the problem. The lobbying groups with their dirty money don’t help either. The increase in the automation of manual labor, and the movement to creative based labor is an big issue too.

    At any rate, I don’t think this widening of the income gap is healthy for America.

    And yes I agree with you that we need to work a lot harder and smarter to increase the income of the poor.

    Seniors it’s time to get to work. Get off your fannies and volunteer to teach these kids and adults the skills they need to succeed. America needs you!!

  11. The right call it socialism when the cash flows away from the rich, but christian capitalism when the cash flows upwards to the rich.

  12. aranciata says:


    Why has the News Buffoon “conveniently” not reported this? Wisconsin Dem to Female Republican Rep. After Budget Vote: “You Are F*****g Dead!”…

  13. beerBoy — Why are you reading class disgust for those “beneath” us into this? What I witness most frequently in this forum and in the real world is an attitude of “live and let live” regarding peoples’ lifestyle choices. If someone wants to make choices that lead to a lower standard of living, that is their right. It’s no big secret that if you drop out of school it is unlikely you will find and hold a job that will support you in a middle class lifestyle. So, when someone drops out of school and struggles financially, they are living their choice. I stayed in school and am living my choice. I don’t think the guy who dropped out is “beneath” me because he chose a different lifestyle.

  14. rv – you have made the assumption that:
    1) there is a level playing field
    2) bad choices are the only reason for poverty.

  15. You are correct – bad choices are not “the only reason for poverty” but making a series of bad choices over time will help one get there.

    Making a series of good choices – not the only reason for wealth – will go a long way to helping keep one from poverty and on the road to wealth.

  16. bB — No, there certainly isn’t a level playing field. My siblings and I, who were raised by my single mother after my dad died definitely had to scramble a lot harder than our peers. None of my friends had to fork over babysitting and lawn mowing money as pre-teens, then our paychecks as teenagers for Mom to pay our basic bills. Even as kids we figured out how to make enough money to pay for food, clothing, housing, transportation, and education. You don’t get to pick what you start with, but you do get to pick what you do with it.

    So if we agree to toss out the relatively low percentage of people living in poverty due to circumstances beyond their control, such as illness or a bad car wreck or something, what else is there besides personal choices?

  17. Roncella says:

    ronniew, your post above makes alot of sense. However liberals/progessives are bent on income re-distribution, and will never give up trying in every way possible to accomplish this goal.

    Now that Many Republicans/Conservatives/Independents have seen the light about the out of control spending by President Obama and Pelosi and Reid and the dems. and establishment republicians/ Rino’s in Congress, the dems are on the attack against the cuts coming, painting those that want to cut and balance the budgets as mean and uncaring willing to starve old people, and children, and the poor.

    Its the same old playbook that the dems always use to push their unfair attacks and keep from fixing Social Security and other programs that need fixing NOW, its also used by the dems to win elections by scaring old folks and families so they continue to vote democratic.

  18. ‘what else is there besides personal choices?’ How about 40,000 factories and a few million manufacturing and service jobs sent overseas?

    I’m still looking at the ‘you are dead’ incident but would like to point out that
    1) there is a lot of differecne between ‘you are dead’ and ‘I am going to kill you’ and
    2) considering that it was right after the Budget Vote he could have been referrng to her policical career.

  19. XRING – ‘you are dead’ !!!

  20. XRING – ‘I am going to kill you’ !!!

  21. Xring – let the clock begin before the minions at TNT remove my posts…

    Both of them…. as they should.

    They will not waste time parsing the difference between the two post. They are both offensive, inappropriate and can be definitively interpreted as a threat.

    Wow – the logic astounds me.

  22. TNT – mea culpa

    I am trying to make a point.

    Standard disclaimer – no actual threat intended, blah, blah, blah…

  23. Roncella and xring– I may be the only conservative-leaning poster on here who isn’t opposed to some level of income redistribution. You know why? Because it won’t work and it will shut up the libs if they get to at least try it. You can drain me dry and I, because it’s how I am, will figure out a way to get by. I’ll grow my own food and home school my kids. And after this social experiment fails we will see the rich re-acquire the bulk of the wealth and the poor still refuse to acknowledge the cause-effect relationship between effort and prosperity. I let my kids try things I know they will fail at because it is an excellent learning experience.

  24. xring — Maybe he’s just being a big fat baby since he didn’t get his way and she knows that and didn’t take it as a threat.

  25. BlaineCGarver says:

    RonnieW, they have been doing income redistribution ever since the war on poverty began in the sixties. Trillions have been given, for nothing in return, to those who cannot or will not work.

  26. Blaine — Yes, and how is it working? Are we winning the war on poverty yet? Are more people using this relatively new assistance to learn the skills to support themselves, or are we just increasing the numbers of poor people by offering an effort-free option?

    You know what you get if you feed one stray cat? Ten stray cats.

  27. “I’m still looking at the ‘you are dead’ incident but would like to point out that
    1) there is a lot of differecne between ‘you are dead’ and ‘I am going to kill you’ and
    2) considering that it was right after the Budget Vote he could have been referrng to her policical career.”

    Do you reallly not see how you are attempting to explain away an offensive threating comment by an elected official to another elected official? One human being to another…?

    Am I wrong to interpret that he really isn’t going to physically kill her but he is just going to “kill” her career?

    You know, now that I have had my afternoon bottle of Tequila… it is all making sense…. I don’t really wanna kill ya, I just want to ruin your ability to provide for your family as a duly elected legislator.

    Is that all…? you are right… I am feeling less threatened…

    “rr – bring it on boy chick.”

    “boy chick” – that is a good one, can I use it?

  28. rr — Give it up. If the congresswoman didn’t respond as if she felt threatened it’s probably because she didn’t feel threatened. Only on Jerry Springer do people fly into a rage when someone says something insulting. In the real world, we say “yeah, whatever” when an otherwise intelligent, responsible person says something dumb.

  29. xring — If you don’t respond by tomorrow can we assume you succombed to your lunch?

  30. ronview, several great points. Especially the one that the lady did not respond. Maybe the two of them are just friendly enemies. I’ve heard people say things to each other that would have sparked a sobber knocking donnybrook in my wild and misspent youth.

  31. “If the congresswoman didn’t respond as if she felt threatened it’s probably because she didn’t feel threatened.”

    She did respond… “Everyone was exhausted. We were on the floor 58 hours. (But) there is still no excuse for his comment,” Litjens said.

    She has also asked for action… “Litjens says she has accepted Hintz’s apology, but has asked the Assembly leadership to discipline him.”

    Using your example, it is the male congressman that flew into a verbal rage when a person was doing what they were elected to do. He may not like the vote but saying “You’re f***ing dead!” amongst us civil folk is wrong… period.

    My point was how we as a group make excuses for behavior, especially when it’s ” one of us” or “our team” But of course, that same behavior is baaadddd when its the “those other guys”.

    The initial behavior was inexcusable and wrong, regardless of party or percieved reason.

    Now as far as real world reaction…. yep, I could look at you, laugh and call you my boy chick…

  32. Or you could look up U.S. Rep Paul Broun (R-GA) and see what happened at his list townhall meeting.

  33. rr — I’m missing your point. It sounds like what you’re saying is that what he said was dumb and childish and that she’s not going to get into it with him. But that’s what I said and you’re disagreeing with me. If she’s willing to let it go and move on, why aren’t you?

    And as far as the real world, if you looked at me you would not call me a boy chick, but if you did I’d laugh and move on. Whatever, heh heh heh.

  34. Maybe rr was trying to point out that after the shooting in Arizona, the left and Obama said we need to stop the threatening rhetoric. But now that the threatening rhetoric is coming from the left and the union dudes, Obama and the left don’t have a problem with it?

    Just wondering.

  35. Poverty in America comes with cable TV and cell phones. And last but not least, obesity. The rest of world should be so lucky.

  36. xring – U.S. Rep Paul Broun… if you are talking about the “…shoot O…” comment. Broun reacted to a comment from a constituent, he issued a light comment, he reported the incident to the US Secret Service, he issued a stronger condemnation…

    Not sure how this relates to the Wisconsin madness. One person threatened another person directly… in the other case one person threatened a third person in the form of a question.

    Both are wrong. Both are uncalled for… one requires a call to the US Secret Service.

  37. ronniew – what the Dem said was threatening and uncalled for in a congressional body to a specific person in her place of work. I saw an interview with her. What she is doing is what I would do, attempt to diminish it in public but report the incident to the appropriate governing body (her “boss”) and document it as an incident. Getting threaten as you are doing your job is a big deal.

    A point was made and I agree that all this is happening after the Arizona rhetoric. WTF, did we not hear the President. The Gov. Walker Nazi and target posters are beyond the pale and hypocritical.

    My point is that if it is wrong for the GOP, it is wrong for the Dems and it should be condemned… but since we all have lives and I don’t expect people to chase and condemn all the negative GOP/DEM rhetoric. I do think it reasonable that we don’t make excuses when “one of our own” makes an outrages comments.

    We probably do agree on some issues but are looking at it from different starting point of view.

    I got my point across. I got nothing more on this issue.

  38. Well I’m still alive.

    And my final word to rr is that I am surprised certain right wind media are spinning a tale of the brave conservative lady standing tall in the defense of FREEDOM in the face of death threats from commie union thugs.

  39. xring… dude… it is a case of one individual making a threat to another individual while performing her duly elected duty.

    Break it down to its core and please don’t let yourself get distrated by the left/right rhetoric. That Kool-Aid taste in your mouth will eventually fade away after a time.

  40. certain non-main-stream media have never let reality get in the way of a real good talking point.

  41. Publico called me stupid in another thread. And ignorant. And uneducated. I’m depressed now. I feel so bad.

    Okay, now back to reality. Someone insulted me and guess what? It’s not really bugging me. He just said that to get his point across. I got his point, respect his opinion (don’t agree with it, but that’s a different issue,) and am moving on.

  42. x-ring sez – “but christian capitalism when the cash flows upwards to the rich.”

    WOW! All this time I never knew that 100% of big business was wholly owned by Christian capitalists. There must not be any poor atheists?
    Bb is wrong in supposing that teachers are not paid enough? Because if they were, then they would be rich…and convert from atheism?
    There are NO rich Democrats? There are NO corporation owners that are politically active who have any funds left over to give to liberal causes?
    And all this time….
    Define absurd irony…

  43. Christian Capitalism a combination of Fundamental Christians who belief in the gospel of prosperity (god wants all Christians to be financially rich) and free market capitalism.

    In the future I will try to lower my comments to palin-english.

  44. larsman – you like old books. Read Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. It lays out his thesis that Protestantism changed the Catholic emphasis upon “good works” into an emphasis upon working for working’s sake and thus created the necessary prerequisites for the emergence of Capitalism.

    Thus the term Christian Capitalism, while being in some sense redundant, is not inaccurate.

  45. Weber’s exposes the deep, dark secret that the reason Protestants are suppose to work hard and acquire wealth is so their tithes would be larger and church officials and ministers would have a better standard of living.

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