In the last three decades the rich have gotten the bulk of the benefits of economic growth, as those at the middle and bottom of the wage distribution have seen little improvement in living standards. This naturally leads many people to want to reverse the policies that have led to this upward redistribution, such as high unemployment, a trade policy that protects high end workers, while subjecting the middle and bottom to international competition, government subsidies to too big to fail banks, an ever more intrusive patent policy, an anti-trust policy that greenlights monopolies like Microsoft, and many others that could be added to this list.In short, he's a Pete Peterson Social Security thief with the additional quality of wanting to stir up generational greed warfare to advance his agenda. Atrios, as usual, is dead on.
Of course the winners of the last three decades don't want the public to consider policies that might reverse this upward redistribution, so instead they do things like try to promote generational conflict, claiming that the troubles of younger workers are somehow attributable to their parents Social Security and Medicare. Wall Street billionaire Peter Peterson is a leader in such efforts, having funded numerous groups for this purpose.
NPR did its part in the promotional of generational war, interviewing Paul Taylor, the executive vice president at Pew Research Center about his new book. Taylor repeatedly complained that younger generations don't seem angry about their parents' Social Security and Medicare.
Actually, the demographics have long been known to the people who designed these programs and were predicted almost perfectly many decades ago. Furthermore, the projected shortfalls in Social Security and Medicare can be met with tax increases on the millennials that are considerably smaller than the tax increases faced by the baby boomers.
The key issue is whether we continue to see the upward redistribution of the last three decades or whether the gains from growth are broadly shared. The Social Security Trustees project that average compensation will increase by more than 50 percent over the next three decades. If the wages of typical worker increase in step with the average then it would be difficult to see the generational injustice if their payroll taxes increased by two to three percentage points, especially since this will be needed in order to support their own longer retirements.
It is striking that NPR is willing to focus so much more attention on the threat to the living standards of millennials presented by a 2-3 percentage point increase in payroll taxes than the policies that could lead to much or all of the benefits of productivity growth over the next three decades going to those at the top, as has been the case for the last three decades.
Alok Jha of The Guardian writes-
If I had one niggle, it is that Tyson (and the programme itself) seems rather too much in awe of Sagan – and shackled by his legacy. Perhaps the new Cosmos gets more confident in its own skin in subsequent episodes but, in the first at least, the new presenter seemed to be doing an impression of his predecessor. We lose some of Tyson's own spark, wit and mischief.If you don't get National Geographic Wild you've already missed it. For me it's also an uncomfortable reminder that National Geographic is part of Rupert Murdock's News Corp media empire, though even back in the 'good old days' NatGeo was a little uncomfortably 'white man's burden' and jingoistic.
The rest of the week looks like this (for now)-
The Daily Show
The Colbert Report
Tomorrow is the puzzling re-appearance of Ronan Farrow.