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The Pitchforks are Coming!

Like Nick Hanauer, I am an unrepentant capitalist. But capitalism only works if, as he says, it is well managed. And right now, we are doing a worse than terrible job of managing our capitalists and plutocrats. Income inequality is rising at insane rates. The end result, history has shown us again and again, is either a police state or an uprising. We are already seeing early warning signs of both.

I would add one caveat to his talk, however. Hanauer seems to focus on the minimum wage as a solution, but I think the big problem is not just income inequality, but inequality of opportunity. The American dream is that anyone can succeed if they try, and that is what inspires people (like Hanauer) to work hard and take risks. This only works as long as it is true and people believe it. When people believe that the system is stacked against them, then those people who have the will to succeed will increasingly do it outside the system — like with pitchforks.

Setting the minimum wage to something livable, making a good education available to anyone regardless of wealth, ending discrimination, stopping the wholesale buying of elections — these are all requirements.



  1. ThatGuy wrote:

    You certainly need to take income inequality and inequality of opportunity together because they are unavoidably linked. Money opens doors, even when direct transactions aren’t involved. Simply being able to focus solely on your education rather than needing to work early in life is a huge leg up. Not to devalue getting a job as a kid but there’s a balance that needs to exist there that isn’t possible for way too many folks. Not to mention inequality between school systems.

    There’s also nothing wrong with being an unrepentant capitalist. I expect businesses to do everything they can to make money. That’s why they exist. The problem is of course when we have politicians and even voters who are either okay with or actively working toward allowing those businesses to do even more to make money without any thought for the consequences.

    Monday, September 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink
  2. jet wrote:

    And the list just keeps growing of what we need to do, and Congress keeps putting it off, and if the Republicans do take over congress than we are f*@#ed. j.

    Monday, September 29, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  3. Dan wrote:

    And if you make getting a gun easier than getting to vote–those most screwed over by the system will find a way to change the system in ways that will not be enjoyed by those now controlling the system.

    Tuesday, September 30, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink
  4. Dan wrote:


    Friday, October 3, 2014 at 7:55 am | Permalink