Income Gaps and OWS Gets Chilly

Why am I a registered Republican? Because when I registered as a
Republican, I was at the height of my new-found conservatism, having been a liberal in my youth (as so many are). Also, because my disillusionment with liberalism (my own liberalism having been naïve) was so profound, I was taking the full pendulum trip to the other side.

I’m going to remain a registered Republican, although I become less enamored with the sorts of politicians the GOP puts forward (and are currently in office) every day. Income gap polling as an issue? Let’s try to own it!

Speaking of income gaps, Bridgeport, Connecticut is the city in the US with the biggest gap between rich and poor. It’s a blue city in a blue state, if we’re talking political affiliations.

In fact, it’s interesting that the same folks who repeatedly cited how blue states paid more in federal taxes, while red states received more in federal taxes, haven’t been interested in blue state/red state comparisons when it comes to the income gap. Perhaps it’s because states like New York—which is a fairly blue state—rank highest in wealth disparity.

Atlanta, Georgia has the highest income gap between 2005 and 2009. Aha, you say! Georgia is about as red as a state gets! Alas, Atlanta is a decidedly blue pocket in that red, red state.

Washington, DC is also a city with some of the greatest income disparity, according to latest census data.

Interesting, most of the cities with the highest income gaps are blue cities (in terms of both local government and who they tend to vote for in national elections) swimming in seas of red. Atlanta, Dallas, Gainesville, Baton Rouge.

Among the states with the most unequal income, we find California, Connecticut, New York, Louisiana, as well as Texas, Mississippi, and Alabama and D.C., if you want to count them as a state. What does that tell us? That even liberals and Democrats have a very hard time doing anything to effect the income gap, and that even fair progressive policies (such as those employed in California, New York, and Connecticut) don’t necessarily do much in regards to controlling income disparity. Also, that legalized gambling made a lot of people very rich in Mississippi.

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I have noted that I expect most protests to have a partying, here-for-the-babes-and-drugs type element. Well, those folks are going to be going home. When the weather starts freezing, the partying is over for the party-people.

Unemployment is higher for veterans. We apparently don’t do much for placement. Clearly, we can and should do better. We spend a great deal on defense, we can’t afford some time spent on placing folks exiting the service?

The gap between rich and poor foods is narrowing. Supposedly. I still think anybody can eat inexpensively with judicious shopping, and perhaps a little gardening. Fast food and restaurant eating (Chipotle? Really) is still, in my experience, a lot more expensive than smart shopping, clipping coupons, and owning a freezer.

Are more taxes and regulation the path to prosperity? Well, Maryland is going to find out, starting (but not stopping) with higher taxes on toilets.

Less regulations under Obama than Bush? But the problem is, Obama’s regulation are more onerous or expensive. Jeeze, you people are never happy.

15 Responses

  1. No coincidence that all the states you mention as having high income disparities are highly racially diverse. Poverty still falls disproportionately on African-Americans.

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  2. Excellent point: demographics play a huge roll in income disparities. Yet I'm not sure there's an immediate policy prescription to change that quickly. And I'm pretty sure OWS is not agitating for generational change over the next several decades. 😉

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  3. Kevin (from your regulation link):The Bloomberg News report found that while Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules up to this point in his administration, the Bush team approved 643.How did we ever survive the Clinton era without those surely essential 1,256 new regulations?

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  4. "How did we ever survive the Clinton era without those surely essential 1,256 new regulations?"Well, as we recall, Democrats and liberals everywhere are willing–nay, eager!–to confess that the Clinton era were dark, dark days. And that things are much better now!

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  5. Wouldn't it be hilarious if David Brock wrote a hit piece book about Herman Cain, had another "come to Jesus" moment, went to work for the Kochs and started a rightwing propaganda site called ThinkConservative?I think he's got it in him.

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  6. I think David Brock has already decided whose cocktail parties have the better conversation, and which side does the highest quality event catering. I doubt he's coming back.

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  7. re: the "registered republican" — in Virginia you don't have to register with a party. open primaries mean you can select which primary you want.

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  8. Scott, the regulation process is ongoing in all administrations and I doubt if there are a NET of many new regulations. Regulations are regularly reviewed and discussed in fora with the interested parties, then posted in the Federal Register for comments. After the posting period, many proposals are pulled back for further tweaking. Finally, the regulation gets updated and is replaced in the CFR.Statute volumes truly expand, but the two volumes of CFR I subscribe to hardly change in size. I also subscribe to a labor only publication called "Mandated Benefits". This is a compendium of federal and state laws and regs, a compliance guide, if you will. My 2007, 08, 09, 10, and 2011 volumes are the same size and in the same size type. The sort of thing that routinely changes does not get additions, but gets amended. In my field, the DOL publishes its Semi-Annual Regulatory Agenda listing the status of regs under review. Employers [and my colleagues] review this material for impact and we comment. See http://www.dol.gov/asp.Again, I suspect the numbers refer to revisions, not NEW regs from thin air.

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  9. If you ever need to re-validate your decision to be a Republican or libertarian, just reread Kelo v. City of New London

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  10. jnc, Kelo is just plain bad. Rs liked it, for the most part. But libertarians saw it for what it was, IMO.

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  11. Ashot, if the women who sued Cain entered into a confidentiality agreement as has been reported it would have been malpractice not to bind Cain to it as well. Assuming he was bound by the agreement, do you think the accusers are now freed from it? My practice seldom uses these, but yours must do so regularly. What do you think?

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  12. "Rs liked it, for the most part. But libertarians saw it for what it was, IMO. "I'm not in agreement with this. From the moment it was handed down it has been widely denounced on the right. I think you would have a difficult time finding a conservative that supports it. I would agree that a Chamber of Commerce type along with a party aparratchik would like it but I honestly cannot think of one Conservative defense of it.

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  13. Gotta go with McWing on that. I cannot see a conservative argument for Kelo. Perhaps some corporate Rs with their eyes on property they wanted the courts to award them in the future might have supported it. I don't recall much support. I did not like it, as a layperson.

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  14. CoC, exactly who I meant.

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  15. Mark- Yes, we use confidentiality provisions in all settlements, but I have not seen someone act on a violation of that provision. That's becasue it probably isn't worth the fees for my clients to seek damages for violation of the confidentiality provision and they aren't about to start going public with the info. In this case, yes, the accusers could go public now since Cain has breached. That assumes their settlement didn't set up a different remedy.

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