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  • Lance Mannion
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A worthy successor to "The Car".


You and Charlie Pierce are on the same page.

Ken Muldrew
When they’re done it’s obvious they have way more pie than they can possibly eat and the rest of us barely have enough to fill a small plate.

“Hey, where’s the rest of ours?” we say.

“They have it,” they say.

If it's so obvious, why is this feeble misdirection so effective?

S McCoy

Lance - sorry for the slow response, but I've been thinking about your pie factory for a couple of days. So are you proposing that we all get an equal piece of the pie - regardless of the quantity/quality of our input - as an economic system? Or as a moral code we should convince our fellow citizens to adopt? Or something else?


I'm not seeing Lance propose anything. I'm seeing him describe how the very rich are stealing the sweat and money that went into making the common pie.
And the description is spot on.

S McCoy

Well GregN, usually when someone offers up such a dramatic diagnosis, they also have some sort prescription in mind to go with it. I happen to think the idea "the very rich are stealing the pie" is ridiculous, but also that it's not good to have an excessive amount of wealth. My prescription is to convince the wealthy to give away much of their money....but out of a grateful heart, not through coercion.

Bruce Munro

"My prescription is to convince the wealthy to give away much of their money....but out of a grateful heart, not through coercion."


Lance Mannion

Bruce, I have to admit my first reaction was a cynical smile too. But actually convincing people with money to spare that they should give it away (and not just to their church. Sorry, Mitt, tithing does not count as charity.) is something that many museum directors, college presidents, hospital administrators, artistic directors of theaters and directors of local symphonies, head librarians, not to mention people who run food banks and soup kitchens, homeless shelters, boys and girls clubs, etc etc spend their days doing to great and useful effect. There are a lot of public goods that wouldn't exist without rich people just giving their money away. It's a debate whether or not the government could do some of this, more or this, or all of it more efficiently. This is where Hooverism floundered. The first version, the real version. Herbert Hoover, a rich man with experience of convincing other rich people to dig deep, was convinced that the problems caused by the Depression could be taken care of by private charity. This used to be the difference between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives were for tackling the problems while waiting for the cause to fix itself. Liberals were for tackling both. (Leftists were for going right after the cause by changing the whole system.) Herbert Hoover, a true John Galt, would be appalled by what the parasite Paul Ryan wants to do in the name of Selfishness.

S McCoy, I don't have a solution. There are lots of things that can be and need to be done and of the first is get people to realize what's happening. That includes rich people, many of whom already do, and don't like it. (cf Warren Buffet and most everybody who shows up with an open checkbook at Bill Clinton's Global Initiatives. Bill, btw, is someone else who spends his days convincing rich people to give it away, and he's very good at it.) A good start would be convincing people on Medicare that the way to save their Medicare isn't to make sure it's not there for their children and grandchildren.

One of these days I need to write a post or a series of posts defining my terms. For example, I distinguish between the Rich and rich people. More or less it's the difference between Scrooge before his conversion and Mr Pickwick.

Lance Mannion

Just one more quick thought, another step is to get people to stop taking it seriously when a parasite like Paul Ryan refers to people who are essentially employees, just very highly paid ones, as "job creators."

S McCoy

Bruce - I know, I know....

Lance - you're right, it's obviously a complex problem that requires complex solutions. But it boils down to three basic choices: take The Rich's money by force, don't allow them to get rich (and therefore Rich) in the first place, or change their hearts and minds. I don't want to live in the country that the first two choices create. I would suggest that vilifying rich people isn't a great tactic to promote choice #3.


This may give some perspective on the economic pie. Basically, if the plutocrats would only be less greedy, even they would benefit, but the most privileged always delude themselves they're the winners in a meritocracy, have an outrageous sense of entitlement, and will destroy their own country by exclusively pursuing (what they perceive to be) their own interests. As a class, a significant portion of the rich and powerful really don't get the whole "enlightened self-interest" thing. They're not all like that, but because of their class' disproportionate power, even smaller, dogged factions (like the Kochs) can cause significant damage. They can afford to play the long game. What's a few million a year if it buys much more in tax cuts, or helps dismantle the last vestiges of the New Deal?

Earl Bockenfeld

High on the list of lies conservatives keep getting away with is the idea that the Declaration of Independence, and in fact the whole entire American Revolution, were intended to keep us from falling into a Kenyan nazi-socialist hellhole of health insurance mandates and safety regulations. When in fact we were revolting against a cesspool of crony capitalism, sexual and religious dominion and corporate exploitation crimes that bears a striking resemblance to Mitt Romney's Bain Capitol Utopia.

Bye-bye, Miss American Pie
Drove my chevy to the levy
But the levy was dry
And them good old boys were drinking whiskey and rye
Singing this'll be the day that we all die.

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