America: land of opportunity

With Congress locked in a fiscal stalemate, federal agencies in Teton County are beginning to implement budget cuts mandated by the sequester. Citizens are preparing for the prospect of fewer climbing rangers at Jenny Lake this summer, or a possible delayed opening of some roads in Yellowstone.

This video, which has been making the rounds in social media, helps reframe the broader debate over government funding. The skewed public perception of wealth distribution shows just how far the goalposts have been moved in terms of generating more revenue vs. spending cuts.

Those who like to portray the discussion in terms of “job creators” and “makers vs. takers” should have a hard time justifying how this isn’t a banana republic, let alone a just society.

The stock market hit an all-time high yesterday, but as the N.Y. Times reported, the economic recovery has favored corporate profits while doing relatively little for adding jobs or workers’ pay. This video plainly illustrates why.

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Posted under Democratic Party, Economy, Environment, Politics, Republican Party

9 Comments so far

  1. Deff March 7, 2013 7:21 am

    Oh Jim. It aint that bad.

    We got rid of the whips and chains. That’s progress.

  2. Jayme Feary March 7, 2013 7:35 am

    Powerful presentation. Jim, do you know: who produced the video, and 2. from where he/she pulled the information?

  3. Jim Stanford March 7, 2013 10:00 am

    I picked it up via Mashable. The video was made and posted by someone calling himself “politizane.” He is from a red state, apparently, and judging from the accent probably down South. I looked into the accuracy before posting; much of the info can be found at http://inequality.org/wealth-inequality/. And here is an explanation from someone skeptical of the point of view: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/03/06/why-is-this-video-on-wealth-inequality-from-2012-going-viral/

  4. EJ March 7, 2013 11:08 am

    A must read/watch post, Thanks Jim.

    For what its worth, Rachel Maddow (MSNBC) had good segment on it the night prior too; a bit of googling shows she previously aired the research on June 21, 2012, and the source material (ca. Feb 2011) can be found here:
    http://www.people.hbs.edu/mnorton/norton%20ariely.pdf

    On a related topic, how can Cynthia Lummis’ District Update email of March 5 NOT mention the effect of sequestration on her own district? Hello, Yellowstone and Grand Teton and supporting communities?

  5. jd March 8, 2013 2:37 pm

    I doubt Lummis even knows where Yellowstone is, we dont drill for gas there (yet)

  6. Chad March 8, 2013 9:10 pm

    If everyone just worked real hard, they would all be in the top 1%.

  7. Kathleen March 9, 2013 8:33 am

    Hi Chad, not that I want any sympathy but I think many people would agree that it takes much more than hard work. I work 50 to 60 hours a week as an elementary school teacher. After school I teach fitness to students and teachers everyday, an hour a day to supplement my income. Then I go home to make dinner for my kids, help them with homework, once they are in bed, I work around the house cleaning up for about an hour before my evening culminates in approx 2 hours (until about 12:30am) studying for my master’s degree. The next day I wake up at 6:00am to do it all over again. Work harder? Really?

  8. danno March 10, 2013 5:24 pm

    Yes America is EXACTLY like a banana republic. I mean, rich people, everything they have they stole from someone else. They don’t deserve it. Let’s just take it from them. As a matter of fact, why don’t we just give all of their money to the gov’t and let them decide how much we need, they can dole it back to us based on our needs. Then everyone can be equal and there wouldn’t be any more of these scary videos about how horrible everything is and how Corporate America is oppressing ALL of US!!! oh NOES!!

  9. Chad March 12, 2013 8:11 am

    Yes Danno, the video is EXACTLY as you portray it. Quoting one term to distract from the overall theme, and to take the moderate tone to the extreme. You’ve pretty much textbooked ‘hyperbole’. Did you even watch it? The content lays out our current state and perceptions, while you infer it tries to place blame or suggests a solution. It does neither of the latter, but you attack; classic straw man. In fact, the video uses terms the right twists their own nipples over, like “incentive”, “encourage people to work”, and “stack of money”.

    Kathleen, my apologies. I was lobbing out a half troll/half talking point mockery of people like Danno who love to espouse the ‘hard work’ narrative. The gist being that its mathematically impossible for everyone to be part of the 1%, no matter how hard we all work. Of course, some (ahem, D) will see this as an absolute call for total wealth redistribution, bread lines, and hammer & sickle on our flag. I guess some dogs will always bark despite the shock collars of reality.

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