Protecting Workers Is How We Protect the Economy

Avatar

Kate Harveston

Kate Harveston is originally from Williamsport, PA and holds a bachelor's degree in English. She enjoys writing about health and social justice issues. When she isn't writing, she can usually be found curled up reading dystopian fiction or hiking and searching for inspiration. If you like her writing, follow her blog, So Well, So Woman.

Related Post Roulette

35 Responses

  1. Avatar Pinky
    Ignored
    says:

    There’s an assumption in this article that reminds me of Andrew’s latest. This article assumes that opponents are divorcing the ideas of the economy and the people. Andrew assumes that some people are divorcing the numbers of affected people from the lives of affected people. Why are these assumptions being made? I care deeply about the economy and the statistics because they represent human lives. There’s no contradiction. The economy is the embodiment of the idea that I can provide for myself by producing what other people want. I actually have trouble imagining people who care about “the economy” or “the numbers” without caring about what they mean.

    This might also be why I hate the Gallery segment of the SOTU speech. When you say that thousands or millions of people are affected, I don’t need to see a single representative. I get it; unless it’s a situation that you’re making up completely, I’m willing to acknowledge that you can find one person who is affected. That doesn’t make it more real for me. Am I so alone in this?Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Pinky
      Ignored
      says:

      We do see this sort of segregation though, in discussions about globalism or minimum wage, where when people point out how these are bad for workers, other people point out that the current regulatory structures are “good for consumers”. As if consumer and workers aren’t the same people.

      Or we see it when the term “job creator” is invoked, as if job creation is something that happens independently of and antecedent to workers and consumers.

      What the pandemic is showing is that investors, workers, and consumers are all tied tightly together in an interdependent cycle.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Chip Daniels
        Ignored
        says:

        I see those things as different. We can have different roles in the economy, but we’re humans. This article seems like an accusation that we’re not thinking of the economic actors as humans.Report

        • Avatar Philip H in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          We don’t. Corporations are now legally “people.” Thus its easy to see economic actors as something other then humans. And even in the aggregate those who do the work are still seen as only quasi-actors at best, though one would hope that 25% unemployment would change that view.Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            Corporations have always been legally people. The word incorporation literally means “to be turned into a person”. The rest is opining on how people view other economic actors, and I don’t think you’re making a supportable accusation.Report

            • Avatar Philip H in reply to Pinky
              Ignored
              says:

              Sure I am. Its why corporations got $500 Billion in the stimulus bill (and are now set to get it without oversight since it seems he can fire IGs with no blowback) and individuals only got $1200 and only if they meet certain arcane criteria. Its why small businessess are getting loans (if the banks play fair which the big ones aren’t yet) that will be forgiven if they pay people, but individual mortgage holders who are out of work will – at best – get additional payments and interest tacked on to their mortgages at the end of the loan. Its why health insurance companies won’t actually let policy holders of the hook for co-pays for treatment, while pockets funds from the two above sources. It’s why corporations took their last tax break (and the one before that) and bought their own stock back instead of increasing demand for goods and services by increasing worker pay. I could go on and on.

              Labor – people – are not going to come out better form this policy debacle precisely because they are not viewed by policy makers and politicians (much less CEO’s) as economic actors. they are not seen by those folks – who are controlling the levers – as in any way necessary for economic success. The cries of getting the economy back to work are not about them – those cries are about corporate bottom lines and short term profits.Report

          • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Philip H
            Ignored
            says:

            Corporations are now legally “people.”

            I guarantee you this doesn’t mean what you think it means. For one, the Citizens United decision does not mention or in any way rely upon the idea that corporations are people.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky
      Ignored
      says:

      I actually have trouble imagining people who care about “the economy” or “the numbers” without caring about what they mean.

      Re: your trouble imagining that type of cynicism: Have you seen The Wire?Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        No I haven’t. But that’s a “based-on” work of fiction. I can imagine that people accuse each other of being like that, because it happened in the article. I’m not sure that people *are* like that, or that it’s a significant number of people or anything more than a stray thought.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Pinky
          Ignored
          says:

          But that’s a “based-on” work of fiction.

          It’s a work of fiction created by a guy who spent 20 years or so as a beat reporter covering Baltimore politics and crime.

          Let’s go with a different example which excludes a bunch of US-oriented priors. Right now the Trump admin is criticizing the Chinese for lying about the severity of the epidemic in Wuhan, accusing them of reporting lower mortality rates than actually occurred. Implied in the argument is that the Chinese perceive (probably correctly) some discernible value in presenting the false data., ie., that the signal conveyed by (falsely) reporting lower mortality totals will influence people’s perceptions in the direction they’d prefer.

          Let’s suppose that’s correct. Is that an example of Chinese politicians/bureaucrats caring more about the numbers than what they mean?Report

          • Avatar Pinky in reply to Stillwater
            Ignored
            says:

            Yeah, kinda. It’s a communist government, which means they explicitly prioritize the economy over the individual. But even then, I don’t know how the individual bureaucrats feel about the victims. I’d assume they have compassion for them, even if they’re ordered to fudge numbers. I don’t have any proof that they’ve lost their empathy.Report

  2. Avatar Rufus F.
    Ignored
    says:

    When people think about “revolutionary moments”, I think they imagine something like French Revolution, or really the Reign of Terror phase of that, which was horrible and violent, and something like a carnival in a lunatic asylum. The French Revolution lasted for years. More importantly, there are bloodless revolutions too. More of them than we realize.

    I think what’s going on now isn’t a huge shift in terms of “Capitalism” or “The Economy” or any of those big things. It’s just that a whole bunch of different tiny norms seem suddenly irrelevant, you know? Sure, Capitalism and Globalization will probably move on just fine in a different form. But the way I take part in them will be different. Because the way I did before just don’t make a lot of sense After the Virus. And I suspect a lot of little things that I’m doing in reaction to this event are more common than I can tell. If we learn anything from this very bad time, it should be that collective action is possible.

    What it reminds me of, more than anything, is a decade before the collapse of the Soviet Bloc, when people were quietly going about their business- and they weren’t fighting in the streets or anything- it was just they *didn’t believe” anymore in the things the people at the top told them were true. It just feels like something in the background is *over*.Report

    • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Rufus F.
      Ignored
      says:

      Yes, this is my sense of things as well, that this is more of a Chernobyl moment than a Pearl Harbor moment.

      The various institutions and entities are going through the motions of a liberal democracy, but lacking any faith in it.Report

  3. Avatar Dark Matter
    Ignored
    says:

    It took radical progressive thinking to lift the United States out of the Great Depression.

    After the first 8 years America really should have wondered if that “thinking” wasn’t part of the problem. We didn’t get out of the Depression until the World War forced FDR to turn his attention away from the economy.

    Whether his fight against inequality came at the expense of the economy is very much a question worth asking. Individual programs seem fine, but I’ve seen strong arguments he tanked a recovery or two in there.

    FDR’s radically progressive vision was so popular that the nation had to impose its first-ever presidential term limits to get him out of the White House.

    FDR died in 1945. The 22nd AM was passed in 1951.

    Most Presidents who serve two terms could go on to serve more. Washington set the tone by deciding more was a path to dictatorship.

    The Second Bill of Rights would have declared that every American has the right to a job, a “decent living,” an “adequate wage,” a “decent home,” health care, economic protection “during sickness, accident, old age or unemployment” and, finally, “a good education.”

    What happens if “the right to a job with a adequate wage” exists but NO ONE wants to hire me at that wage? Does the gov step in and have me twittle my thumbs at $30 an hour? Why should I try to be economically productive if jobs like that are the default?

    With the money Mr. Bezos makes in a single day, he could shutter every Whole Foods location in America and give each one of his employees paid sick leave.

    You are confusing income and wealth. Whole Foods has 91k employees, the CEO makes 15 million a year, ergo “paid sick leave” costs roughly fifty cents per person per year?

    Math from progressives when they’re talking about the rich gets interesting.

    On March 23, 2020, the Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, said on Fox News that elderly Americans should be willing to lay down their lives for the stock market:

    Dan Patrick said on Fox News Monday night that “lots of” grandparents would be willing to die in order to save the economy for their grandchildren…. The country will collapse if we shut down for three months.”

    He’s clearly talking about the economy, that thing which supplies jobs, money, taxes and so forth as opposed to just the stock market.

    this wealthy, lucky man is never actually going to have to perform the self-sacrifice he’s telling the rest of us to make.

    The interview with Patrick wasn’t done with him wearing a mask. Politicians meet lots of people.

    Dan Patrick is 70 years old and has 3+ grandchildren. Self-sacrifice is exactly what he was talking about.

    There doesn’t seem to be any federal-level effort to ensure people keep their homes and apartments…

    They haven’t come up with a single, sane, policy that treats the outback of Montana, the inner city of Detroit, and the streets of San Francisco as though they all have the same housing issues. Hmm… there’s probably a reason for that.

    As for inequality, good news! The stock market tanking has seriously narrowed the gap. So if that’s the yardstick we want to use to measure “good”, then the virus has been a massively good thing. IMHO that kind of result calls into question whether this is a sane yardstick.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Dark Matter
      Ignored
      says:

      This formatted wrong and then I didn’t have the ability to edit it:

      There doesn’t seem to be any federal-level effort to ensure people keep their homes and apartments…

      They haven’t come up with a single, sane, policy that treats the outback of Montana, the inner city of Detroit, and the streets of San Francisco as though they all have the same housing issues. Hmm… there’s probably a reason for that.

      As for inequality, good news! The stock market tanking has seriously narrowed the gap. So if that’s the yardstick we want to use to measure “good”, then the virus has been a massively good thing. IMHO that kind of result calls into question whether this is a sane yardstick.Report

    • Avatar Pinky in reply to Dark Matter
      Ignored
      says:

      I figured you were going to go with “FDR’s progressivism was so popular that they had to invent paralysis and a stroke…”.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        I don’t view “popular” as a measurement of good economic policy.

        Hugo Chavez was popular. Taxes are unpopular. Getting free stuff from the gov is popular.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Dark Matter
      Ignored
      says:

      “FDR died in 1945. The 22nd AM was passed in 1951.”

      But what about ZOMBIE FDR? All hail our Lich President, who hath conquered both Hitler and the grave!Report

    • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
      Ignored
      says:

      You are confusing income and wealth. Whole Foods has 91k employees, the CEO makes 15 million a year, ergo “paid sick leave” costs roughly fifty cents per person per year?

      No one said ‘The money Bezos is paid.’. They said how much he ‘makes in a single day’.

      Also…Bezos isn’t the CEO of Whole Foods, I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say. Bezos actually makes less than $100,000 a year in salary.

      He ‘makes his money’, and in fact has made most of his money, by his Amazon stock going up.

      And, thus, to exchange some of his income for health care, all he’d have to do is…have Amazon provide healthcare. Which would very slightly eat into Amazon’s earnings, decrease their stock gains.

      Let’s calculate that. Amazon stock gained over 20% the last three years, which at this point is approximately 200 billion dollars.

      Amazon has less than million employees, but let’s round up to that to a million. This means that the stock market thinks, right now, that each employee adds $200,000 per year in their total capitalization.

      And this isn’t ‘income’, this is _market cap_, it’s something should already take into account their current salaries, CEO salaries, and costs, and taxes, and everything. Amazon, as it is functioning right now, appears to be increasing their total stock in value each year by $200,000 per employee. That’s what the stock market thinks they are worth. (And heaven forbid we argue with the dumbass stock market.)

      I don’t know much about the cost of health insurance, but I do know you can insure someone for less than $200,000 a year! You can insure them for maybe three percent of of that…I’m not sure where all their workers are, but they tend to be in urbanish areas where a reasonable estimation of $6000 isn’t crazy.

      And all that would do is knock about three percent off the growth rate of Amazon stock, i.e, about six billion dollars. Leaving Amazon market cap gains at….194,000,000,000 this year. (Except not really, because it’s a pandemic and their usage has skyrocketed, and this will probably be their best year ever.)Report

      • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        This: “[amazon market cap is] approximately 200 billion dollars.”

        does not mean this:

        “the stock market thinks, right now, that each employee adds $200,000 per year in their total capitalization”

        For many, many, many reasons. Healthcare for Amazon workers has really good arguments for it, but I’d rethink this one some more.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Ozzzy!
          Ignored
          says:

          This: “[amazon market cap is] approximately 200 billion dollars.”

          That is not what I said. The amazon market cap is approximately 0.8 trillion dollars.

          It is _going up_ by roughly 200 billion dollars a year. Or approximately $200,000 per employee.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            Oh, heh, I misremembered. 0.8 trillion was what it was a year ago, it’s actually 1 trillion now.Report

            • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to DavidTC
              Ignored
              says:

              Thanks for catching that error! That is a really big difference. Should I change the rest of my comment to fit this new amount?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Ozzzy!
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m…not sure you actually followed my point. I wasn’t correcting the amount, the actual market cap of Amazon is not important here. I was correcting your assumption I was _talking_ about the market cap.

                What is important is how much the market cap is going up. How much it’s going up a year is the market’s ‘perceived yearly net profit’ of Amazon.

                This is not the _actual_ net profit, of course, and if someone wants to argue the market is stupid and bad at valuing things…I’m the wrong person to argue the other side of that. I agree completely.

                However, despite the market cap and stock price often being disconnected from reality, it’s officially What We’re Supposed To Care About.

                And Amazon can, in theory, spend somewhere near that amount and come out neutral in stock price.

                The worse case scenario they could issue that much stock, and, yes, I’m issuing _that much_ stock would cause rather a lot of moment, but I’m not talking about that much.

                Or they could just…you know, insure people out of their profits, which…decrease their profits a little, and thus would slow the stock gains slightly, which in this magical world where the stock market is always right and makes perfect sense, would exactly decrease their market cap by the amount spent.

                (Or, in theory, actually less…surely providing health insurance provides at least _some_ benefit to Amazon, if only in slightly increased retention. I’m not saying it would counteract the amount spent, but the _entire amount_ shouldn’t be reflected. It could cost them $6000 a year per employee, and then provide a savings of $1000 or something.)Report

              • Avatar Ozzzy! in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                I understood.

                “How much it’s going up a year is the market’s ‘perceived yearly net profit’ of Amazon”

                This is wrong (or very poorly worded).

                “And Amazon can, in theory, spend somewhere near that amount and come out neutral in stock price.”

                This is wrong.

                “The worse case scenario they could issue that much stock, and, yes, I’m issuing _that much_ stock would cause rather a lot of moment, but I’m not talking about that much.”

                If amazon issues stock the value of the company doesn’t change, the price of each share changes. No ‘profit’ is created by selling new shares of stock, just money is just transferred.

                “Or they could just…you know, insure people out of their profits, which…decrease their profits a little, and thus would slow the stock gains slightly, which in this magical world where the stock market is always right and makes perfect sense, would exactly decrease their market cap by the amount spent.”

                This makes the same mistake above in conflating a one time amount with an annual cost in perpetuity and then comparing it to a best guess of all the future earnings into forever.

                IDK David, I just think you are dividing numbers here and assuming the ratio stays the same. Then you do other things with that same ratio and say See? Look how obvious this is.

                You have holes and gaps and missing effects in your assumptions here that are causing your conclusion to be wrong. That doesnt mean your goal is wrong, just that this line of reasoning is not the support you seem to think it is for your goal.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Ozzzy!
                Ignored
                says:

                Me: The worse case scenario they could issue that much stock, and, yes, I’m issuing _that much_ stock would cause rather a lot of moment, but I’m not talking about that much.

                You: If amazon issues stock the value of the company doesn’t change, the price of each share changes.

                I stand there and say ‘issuing a bunch of stock would cause movement in the stock market’, and you ‘correct’ me and point out issuing stock wouldn’t change the value of the company, just the stock price. You need to learn to read.

                No ‘profit’ is created by selling new shares of stock, just money is just transferred.

                Yes, the money is just transfered…to Amazon, the people selling the stock…who then can spend it on things…like insurance for employees. Do you…not understand how selling things works?

                And…I didn’t call it profit. In fact, I didn’t mention the word profit _with regard to that_. It’s not profit, it’s getting _additional investment_. The place I mentioned profit was when I said the company’s market cap is going up, and I said that _wasn’t_ profit, it’s a reflection of the market’s preception of profit.

                This makes the same mistake above in conflating a one time amount with an annual cost in perpetuity and then comparing it to a best guess of all the future earnings into forever.

                Oh, look, after pretending what I said made no sense, you finally admit it makes sense and apparently you just decided to waste everyone’s time arguing for no reason.

                So, to be EXTREMELY CLEAR: You understand that Amazon could generate money for itself by creating stock and selling it, which would have the side effect of slight reducing current stock gains. They could do this every year. They could then take that money, and spend it on health insurance.

                REPEAT THAT STATEMENT. Right here. In the reply to me. I want to make sure you actually understand what I am saying. Because I am really tired of this.

                Now you have a ‘real’ objection or at least an objection that is actually in the universe I proposed instead of what you imagined: Amazon might have their market cap increase slow down, or even start going negative in the future, and not able to continue doing that.

                My answer to that objection is: I do not care. I simply do not care in any manner whatsoever what happens to Amazon, and I don’t see why a giant corporation that is apparently so profitable should be allowed to exist without providing basic benefits to employees.

                I could try to justify that more, but you have wasted this entire conversation on bullshit and I’m pretty much done here.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “I stand there and say ‘issuing a bunch of stock would cause movement in the stock market’…”

                he means dilution, you idiot, not a market movement

                “Amazon could generate money for itself by creating stock and selling it…every year. They could then take that money, and spend it on health insurance.”

                lol

                you honestly think this shit works like bitcoin

                “[This] would have the side effect of slight reducing current stock gains.”

                um

                wait

                you say “They will just issue more stock and make more money! But slightly less money because they’ve issued stock!”

                so they issue stock and it makes less money than they would have got before

                so they issue more stock, and it makes even less money

                so they issue even more stock, and so on

                you’re a smart fella so I’m sure I don’t have to explain where this ends upReport

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Does that mean you’d be good with every company with a falling stock price eliminating health benefits? We might be in a bear market so that could be pretty grim, especially for the month of March.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
                Ignored
                says:

                As an aside, my point wasn’t really the stock price, it was about profitability…the problem is that companies are really good at hiding their profits, doing things that make them not ‘profits’, and thus we end up having to take their stock price (well, market cap) as an indication of that. The company had a market cap at $X last year, it is valued at $X+$Y this year, the total value of the company appears to have increased, in some conceptual sense, by $Y, even if _mysteriously_ that’s not the amount of profits reported.

                Like Amazon. Amazon reported somewhere around $31 billion in gross profit last year. But as I said…the total market cap of the company went up by $200 billion. If the owners of the company sold it, they’d come out $200 billion ahead of last year. And thus it’s wildly silly to pretend it made only $31 billion, if you see my point. (Heh. ‘Only’ $31 billion.)

                Anyway, saying ‘A really profitable company should be able to provide basic things to employees’ is not thus saying ‘And thus unprofitable companies shoud be able to get away with not providing basic things to employees’.

                We make everyone follow OSHA rules, for example. We don’t say ‘Oh, man, it’s been a bad year for Ace Chemicals, you can put off replacing that railing over that vat of chemicals.’

                But we still get more outraged when a company that clearly _can_ afford basic things doesn’t. Whereas we have some sympathy for companies that legitimately can’t afford it.

                (Now, we don’t make small companies provide health insurance, but that’s not really to do with profitability…it’s to do with the fact that insurance pools of 6 people are not actually ‘pools’, and if we made those companies buy insurance their insurance company would charge them based on estimates of employee health, causing (quite justified) employment discrimination against people in poor health. Whereas with 200+ people it doesn’t particularly work that way.)Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Anyway, saying ‘A really profitable company should be able to provide basic things to employees’ is not thus saying ‘And thus unprofitable companies shoud be able to get away with not providing basic things to employees’.

                Why should a company’s profits be connected to how much it pays its employees? Especially since you don’t want any sort of roll back if the company has problems.

                Effectively you’re claiming highly profitable companies shouldn’t have low value employees. I’m not sure that ends up where you’d want it.

                …basic things to employees…

                I strongly dislike linking employment to HC insurance. It’s a bad idea for multiple reasons and I don’t view it as a “basic thing”.

                Big picture there needs to be room in the market for bad jobs so low value employees (like my younger teens) can work and start up the ladder.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “the total market cap of the company went up by $200 billion. ”

                which means next to nothing in respect to revenue or profit, you dickhead

                it’s actually funny that you’re going after amazon over this when they are notorious for having ridiculously high market cap compared to their actual earningsReport

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        They said how much he ‘makes in a single day’.

        “makes in a single day” reasoning is silly because it implies it’s personal cashflow and not networth value of a company. It’s from the mindset that views the rich as McDuck when is it’s the valuation of a company.

        Amazon has less than million employees, but let’s round up to that to a million. This means that the stock market thinks, right now, that each employee adds $200,000 per year in their total capitalization.

        You’re assuming Amazon owns no buildings, software, computers, or any other assets other than those employees. You’re also making other mistakes.

        And this isn’t ‘income’, this is _market cap_, it’s something should already take into account their current salaries, CEO salaries, and costs, and taxes, and everything.

        Market capitalisation isn’t cash flow.

        Amazon, as it is functioning right now, appears to be increasing their total stock in value each year by $200,000 per employee. I don’t know much about the cost of health insurance, but I do know you can insure someone for less than $200,000 a year!

        So if someone owns a $20k (or even $200k) house, they can afford to spend $20k a year for health insurance.

        Ignoring that, there’s the problem that the market, and not Bezos, sets the value of his employees.

        Granted, he could pay them above market rates, but him announcing he’s going to run his company as a socialist commune where he’s treating assets as cash is also him proclaiming that he’s going to be providing a lot less value to his customers and stockholders and, allow his competitors to underbid him and take market share away from him.

        One would expect his stock price to fall a lot after that, i.e. his market cap would go down. According to your logic that means his employees should then be paying him for the privilege of working there.Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter
          Ignored
          says:

          You’re assuming Amazon owns no buildings, software, computers, or any other assets other than those employees. You’re also making other mistakes.

          (I would like it to be noted that, a long time ago, someone who is now gone from this site, assumed I was an idiot because I phrased something pretty much exactly like this, which apparently implies that I, and you, think that employees are assets….when in reality it’s just poor terminology.)

          I’m not sitting here arguing that Amazon hiring another person, or firing someone, will alter their income. I’m asserting that $200,000 per employee is added to Amazon’s market cap each year, on average. My statement is not ‘Employees magically make the money’, I was merely merely stating ‘If we evenly distribute this Amazon thing per Amazon employee, it is this amount’.

          I could just as easily make the same point about warehouses, asserting that Amazon makes $X a year per warehouse so could afford to a level of warehouse improvement that costs a faction of that. Or ‘Amazon shipped Y packages last year, which means each employee ships an average of this amount of packages’.

          Do I need to argue that the market cap is the net worth of company? That would be hard for me to do, because I think it’s stupid and don’t agree, but…everyone else seems to.

          But…if you have a problem with the increase in market cap not being real money, let me rephrase in actual money: Amazon could issue 3% more stock in 2020 and every year onward (On top of whatever they normally do, which I don’t know what that is), and use the money from _that sale_ to cover employee health insurance. Which should, hypothetical, assuming a perfectly rational stock market (Something I never assume, but we’re supposed to take on faith.) would merely would change the skyrocketing stock price increase from 20% to 17%, and thus slow down Bezos’s (And all other stockholders) yearly increase in wealth.

          Everyone follow if I say it that way?

          So if someone owns a $20k (or even $200k) house, they can afford to spend $20k a year for health insurance.

          No, but if they own a bunch of liquid assets that go up in value $200,000 a year, yeah, they can spend $20 on health insurance!

          This was apparently very unclear, but I did not say Amazon stock is worth $200 billion. I said it GOES UP EACH YEAR by $200 billion. Hence my point that a fraction of that damn money could be used to provide health insurance…which could be done by just providing it, and the stock would, accordingly, reduce its upward climb by some small amount because Amazon very very slightly reduced their absurd profits.

          Or, like I said, if that’s too confusing, Amazon could just directly issue something like $6 billion dollars worth of stock each year and use that to pay for employee health insurance.Report

  4. Avatar Urusigh
    Ignored
    says:

    “It took radical progressive thinking to lift the United States out of the Great Depression.”

    It’s not a good sign when the first and central claim of your article is flat out wrong: The Great Depression of the 1930s was by far the greatest economic calamity in U.S. history. In 1931, the year before Franklin Roosevelt was elected president, unemployment in the United States had soared to an unprecedented 16.3 percent. In human terms that meant that over eight million Americans who wanted jobs could not find them. In 1939, after almost two full terms of Roosevelt and his New Deal, unemployment had not dropped, but had risen to 17.2 percent. Almost nine and one-half million Americans were unemployed. On May 6, 1939, Henry Morgenthau, Roosevelt’s treasury secretary, confirmed the total failure of the New Deal to stop the Great Depression: “We are spending more than we have ever spent before and it does not work. . . . I say after eight years of this Administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started. . . . And an enormous debt to boot!”

    New Deal spending failed to lift the American economy out of its morass. That spending was doomed from the start to fail. Tax rates were hiked, which scooped capital out of investment and dumped it into dozens of hastily conceived government programs. Those programs quickly became politicized and produced unintended consequences, which plunged the American economy deeper into depression. More specifically, the National Recovery Administration, which was Roosevelt’s centerpiece, fixed prices, stifled competition, and sometimes made American exports uncompetitive. Also, his banking reforms made many banks more vulnerable to failure by forbidding them to expand and diversify their portfolios. Social Security taxes and minimum-wage laws often triggered unemployment; in fact, they pushed many cash-strapped businesses into bankruptcy or near bankruptcy. The Agricultural Adjustment Act, which paid farmers not to produce, raised food prices and kicked thousands of tenant farmers off the land and into unemployment lines in the cities. In some of those cities, the unemployed received almost no federal aid, but in other cities — those with influential Democratic bosses — tax dollars flowed in like water.

    Oh, and for those who constantly bemoan the influence of money and cronyism in politics, let’s note the partisan process of capturing tax dollars from some groups and doling them out to others quickly politicized federal aid: “WPA employment reached peaks in the fall of election years. In states like Florida and Kentucky — where the New Deal’s big fight was in the primary elections — the rise of WPA employment was hurried along in order to synchronize with the primaries.” The Democratic Party’s ability to win elections became strongly connected with Roosevelt’s talent for turning on the spigot of federal dollars at the right time (before elections) and in the right places (key states and congressional districts).

    Q: Do you know what FDR’s “Second Bill of Rights” looks like more than anything else? A: The Soviet Union.
    Q: Know who had the higher average living standard between the US and the Soviets? A: US
    Every time someone calls for “Redistribution of Wealth” as a national policy, he’s really just proclaiming his intent to commit theft on a grand scale and offering a bribe for others to go along with him. Counterproductive policies like those in this article merely make EVERYONE poorer in the long run.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *