We’ve Been Sacrificing for Decades

Frank BruniSteve M at No More Mister Nice Blog writes Is Frank Bruni Now the Worst Op-Ed Columnist at the New York Times? He starts by noting that the competition is fierce: David Brooks, Ross Douthat, Tom Friedman. Frank Bruni has mostly been off my radar, but I do remember he’s annoyed me a few times recently.

Steve M’s problem is that Frank Bruni claims that what we really need to see in Wednesday’s debate is the two candidates talking about the need for sacrifice:

In a few days, as you may have heard, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will go head-to-head in their first presidential debate. What I most want from it isn’t fireworks, though I’m as big a fan of political theater as the next hack. It’s a word, one that has gone sadly out of vogue over recent decades and been mostly absent from this campaign.

Sacrifice.

And I’m not holding my breath.

Steve M goes on the highlight the hypocrisy of this. As I’ve noted in the past, pundits like Bruni usually believe just what is best for themselves, so this comes as no surprise. Steve M also talks about Bruni’s false equivalence. Again: no surprise. Why would the New York Times make a columnist out of a restaurant critic unless he was also going to spout the nonsense of the elite? I recommend reading Steve M’s whole article.

I would just like to add a bit to the conversation. The poorer 90% of the country have not just sacrificed over the last 4 years. They’ve sacrificed over the last 35 years. These are the years during which productivity has gone way up while workers’ salaries have stagnated. Winner-Take-All Politics presents work by Richistan and Broadland that show that if productivity gains had been shared equally from 1979 through 2006, the bottom 90% would be making roughly $10,000 more per year while those in the top 1% would be making almost $700,000 less.

Note that this doesn’t assume that every person would get the same amount in extra money. It assumes that the people at the top would get their normal (for the post-WWII period) higher share of the rewards of productivity increases. So these numbers go to show just how distorted the economic system has been made through various governmental policies.

I bring this up, because I want people to understand that the suffering and sacrifice of the middle and lower classes have been going on for a long time. They aren’t the result of our current economic troubles, but rather our policies. And we need to do something about that.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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