Monday, June 20, 2011

Justice Thomas Has Some Very Nice Friends, Greece Seems to Lack Credibility, the U. S. Could Learn from Brazil . . .

Other News That Needs Comments

Justice Clarence Thomas has always been a strident advocate of Conservative causes, and now comes the news that his friendship with a prominent and wealthy right wing supporter of Conservative causes may cross some ethical lines.  The gentleman in question is one Virgil Crow

Mr. Crow has done many favors for the justice and his wife, Virginia, helping finance a Savannah library project dedicated to Justice Thomas, presenting him with a Bible that belonged to Frederick Douglass and reportedly providing $500,000 for Ms. Thomas to start a Tea Party-related group. They have also spent time together at gatherings of prominent Republicans and businesspeople at Mr. Crow’s Adirondacks estate and his camp in East Texas.

Fox News commentators said they saw no problem with any of this, but did say that had the situation involved a liberal Justice they would have had to start a second cable channel just to cover their 24/7 attacks on the character of the Justice.

The Headline in the New York Times on the situation in Greece reads

One reason is that

The country failed to collect on another 40 billion euros in back taxes owed in 2010, Ms. Stavraki said. “The problem is that most usually pay 20 percent of what they owe, and then they disappear,” she said

Upon hearing this the head of the Tea Party in the U. S. said “what a great idea, first the Greeks give us democracy, now a great tax system”.

The Greek government responded to the criticism by suggesting a re-shuffling of the cabinet might fix things.

An attempt to inject humor into the Republican Leadership Conference was reported this way by the New York Times

The Louisiana Republican Party hired the impersonator, whose name is Reggie Brown, to appear during the afternoon session of the party’s three-day gathering here. He made derogatory comments about Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty, Newt Gingrich and Mr. Obama before organizers cut off his monologue by loud music and he was escorted from the stage.

First, he showed obscene photographs of Anthony Weiner, a Democrat who resigned his seat in Congress last week because of lewd pictures he sent to some of his Twitter followers. Then, the impersonator turned to the implosion of Mr. Gingrich’s campaign, after many of his aides resigned last week, saying: “His supporters are dropping faster than Antony Weiner’s pants.”

The Louisiana Republican Party explained by saying “our programs are obscene, why shouldn’t our humor be also?”

The Washington Post has done an in-depth story on the growing disparity between the very wealthy and the rest of the country.  For those of who are concerned about the distribution of income in the U. S., this is where Conservatives pull out the “class warfare” card.  The Dismal Political Economist does not dislike the wealthy, in fact he has spent a lifetime trying to join them.

What does concern The Dismal Political Economist and others is that in order to drive the U. S. economy to growth and higher employment, the gains of economic growth must be largely distributed to the lower and middle classes.  This is not because of some socialist wish for greater income equality but because the U. S. economy is consumption driven, and there needs to be growing income for the lower and middle income groups to drive consumption which will in turn drive growth. This is basic economics.

Brazil is a country with high income inequality, but its growth of the last decade has been accruing to lower and middle income earners, and as a consequence that growth is exceptionally strong. 

And, in addressing a right wing group Michelle Bachmann asked the crowd

“So do you feel as rich as you did two years ago?”

"Absolutely, it’s been great" said the CEO dominated crowd.

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