Can Sanders Win Over Rich Voters in New York?

Yves here. The wealthy are getting the message that the natives are getting restless.

By Steven Rosenfeld, who covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America’s retirement crisis, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of “Count My Vote: A Citizen’s Guide to Voting” (AlterNet Books, 2008). Originally published at Alternet

Anybody paying attention to the 2016 Democratic presidential campaign knows Bernie Sanders is on a roll. Hillary Clinton is doing everything she can to ignore him in her speeches. Her campaign is saying maybe they won’t debate before New York’s primary. But they keep sending email blasts saying how much more his grassroots supporters are donating than hers.

Sanders is leading Clinton by four points in the latest poll in the next big state, Wisconsin, which votes next Tuesday. Should he win, as even the New York Times was predicting earlier this week, then the race moves next to a series of delegate-rich mid-Atlantic states voting in late April: New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. (Rhode Island also votes on April 26.)

Most mainstream analysts are focusing on the delegate math, saying Sanders has to win at least 56 percent of the pledged delegates from all remaining states. They’re saying that math favors Clinton, because she does better among wealthier Democrats and more racially diverse states, and that’s who will be voting on April 19 (New York) and a week later along the eastern seaboard.

Indeed, those states are among those at the top of the national chart for highest household incomes, from just over $70,000 in Maryland to over just $50,000 in Pennsylvania in 2015. These states’ residents also tend to have the most disposable income, and people whose income brackets tend to invest their savings in stock market mutual funds.

These political projections and economic trends pose a fundamental question that is not being raised in most analyses: Will this region’s middle- and upper-middle-class Democrats respond to Sanders’ message that big steps need to be taken to offset class-based inequalities, starting with addressing economic injustices by making Wall Street pay higher taxes? Or will they reject him because they are financially doing better than the nation as a whole?

In other words, are Democrats who have figured out how to make more money willing to shake up the status quo?

It is one thing for Sanders to rail against the super-rich or target the wealthiest Americans for higher taxes. For example, his proposal to boost Social Security benefits by forcing people making more than $250,000 a year to pay income taxes for the program like those now making under $118,500—the current income tax cap funding the system—starts by targeting the wealthiest 1.5 percent of Americans. (If he proposed just lifting the current income tax cap, that would affect the top 6.3 percent of taxpayers.)

You can expect Sanders will not change his rhetoric that much, as that has been his hallmark. Reporters who have traveled with him have noticed that he only slightly modulates his topics as the audience changes, such as talking more about criminal justice reform when speaking to African Americans in the South.

But whether Sanders’ anti-establishment remedies will be rejected by Democrats who have more invested in the establishment— whether they are little more than continuing what Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson proposed decades ago—is a question where the answer will echo far beyond the Democrats’ 2016 nominating process.

Progressives can hope that the Democratic Party is changing; that after years of seeing it cater to pro-corporate centrists and the agendas of wealthier donors it is shifting back to Main Street. But in states along the Acela corridor, where Amtrak runs its fast trains between Washington and Boston, we will soon see if the resistance to systemic change is not just confined to the wealthiest Americans.

Will these Democrats be willing to see their mutual funds pay a tiny transaction tax if it is used for making public colleges and universities tuition-free, and lowering college loan interest rates? Will they be willing to pay more taxes if it means creating the national health-care program Sanders says will cost them $500 more a year yet cut annual coverage costs by thousands?

States with wealthier Democrats should have little to fear from a Sanders presidency. But as wealthier individuals are arguably more invested in the status quo, we’ll soon see whether eastern Democrats will embrace Sanders—and a broader progressive agenda.

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  1. James Levy

    The analysis is too rough grained. You have many significant blocks of voters in these states, and the key will be targeting and swaying a few that you can reach. Sanders can win if he can capture a large enough share of younger women who didn’t come of age in the 60s and 70s and have not glommed onto Hillary as their standard bearer and aspirational representative. He’s also going to need union support, but that’s tough in a world where you still have craft unions that are inherently reactionary and sure that they are untouchable in the NY context (cops, firemen, electricians, metal workers, etc.). I think Sanders will do well among the non-Jewish ultra rich (ironically, of all the forms of identity politics we are used to, Sanders seems to have gotten little or nothing in the way of solidarity because he is Jewish) because they do see the writing on the wall, but that’s a few tens of thousands of votes. In the end, though, if Sanders can’t break Clinton’s grip on African Americans, it will be almost impossible for him to win NY, MD, or PA.

    1. Paul Tioxon

      Strictly speaking of PA, I agree with your statement about Clinton’s grip on African Americans. The best polling from Franklin and Marshall has Clinton consistently far ahead of Sanders, month after month, with little sign of any change in the support of the states Dem rank and file, the dem political establishment firmly in her corner, from the Gov, who won with Clinton help, down to the township levels. In the polling data, in every category with sole exception of under the age of 35, every grouping of voters has Clinton over Sanders. In the city of Philadelphia, she is just crushing him with 66%. The city is now 45% White, 44% Black, the rest mostly Asian, about 7%, the Hispanic category, mostly Puerto Rican is too confusing for me to break down due to overlap of ethnicity, race, etc which places them in the Census Bureaus categories among White, Black and Latino?

      Bottom line, Sanders is simply overwhelmed by the Clinton supporters in the city, which can carry the whole state for dems in national elections, will easily carry a boat load of delegates into Hillary’s lap. The only possible unknown is that the PA dem voters vote directly for a delegate who is running specifically for Hillary or Bernie, with the name of the candidate they are pledged to next to theirs on the ballot.

      So on the ballot, you can have 5 Hillary delegates and 6 Bernie delegates and you get to pick only 5, you could have ticket splitting, with someone giving 3 delegates to Hillary and 2 to Bernie. If you do not have straight Hillary pledged delegate voting or for Bernie, there could be a closer race that the polls do not pick up. This is just a speculative counterfactual scenario, as there are no reports of people planning a small Bernie protest vote, e.g. casting at least one vote for a Bernie delegate to let Hillary know that we want Single Payer Health care, while giving her the statewide win and most of the delegates.


      “The Franklin & Marshall College Poll
      The March 2016 Franklin & Marshall College Poll of Pennsylvania registered voters reveals stark party differences in the presidential nominating contests. The Democratic presidential primary race in Pennsylvania has changed little since January. The poll shows Hillary Clinton with a sizable lead over Bernie Sanders, 53% to 28%, which is consistent with her leads in January and February. The poll also shows that both candidates are considered favorably by registered Democrats. On the other side, though, the Republican presidential primary race continues to shift. Donald Trump (33%) leads, as he has since October, but John Kasich (30%) is now a close second. Unlike registered Democrats, registered Republicans do not have uniformly positive feelings about their candidates.

      Hillary Clinton currently holds a double-digit lead over both Donald Trump (46% to 33%) and Ted Cruz (45% to 35%) in Pennsylvania. The Republican candidates are deeply unpopular among Pennsylvania’s registered voters.”

      1. Notorious P.A.T.

        Well that makes sense. After all, Sanders spent his youth protesting against segregation, while Clinton spent hers campaigning for the pro-segregation Barry Goldwater. Sigh. What a country.

      2. AnEducatedFool

        I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia. Killary will carry the suburbs and Philadelphia. The 45+ crowd really focuses on identity politics. It is a way of life here.

        Pa is just a cesspool.

        I expect Bernie to win the rest of the state because of his stances particularly his stances on guns. Pa may still have the highest concentration of hunters in the country. I’m not up to date on this data. I stopped working Pa politics in 2010.

        Bernie needs to come to Philly. I think he will win over voters and I want to hear him in person.

        Bernie still has not launched any commercials in the Philly market. Once he does the race will close at least I hope so. Its hard to remember that many people do not even know that Sanders is in the race.

    2. casino implosion

      As a union NYC metal worker, I can confirm that interest in Sanders is nil. Trump is the only name heard on job sites.

      1. Jackie

        I believe it. I live in NYC and the union guys here (especially the bottom-sucking NYPD, but others) are mostly white men, mostly south brooklyn or Staten, and mostly definitely right wing when it comes to anything but token union benefits.

        They have zero alliance with teachers unions, fast food workers, postal workers or anything else we might deem to be part of a labor “movement” comprised of women, people of color and especially lower class (as opposed to their upper-middle-class unionism). As such, I wouldn’t count on any of them like we could think about union people in other places in the country.

        1. AnEducatedFool

          You can make that statement for all trade unions in the northeast especially trade unions in and around Philadelphia. The lower you go on the economic totem pole the more solidarity you’ll find. But electrical workers are typically top 10% (100k+) once they gain seniority but many are high school graduates and retain all of the stereotypical prejudices that come with that level of education.
          The anti-immigrant strain is simply self preservation. It is hard to compete with the illegal immigrants that trained on a work site that then graduate to running a crew of illegals with no overhead. It costs a lot of money and time to run a legit business in any of the building trades.

        2. Michael C

          As a member in various unions all of my adult life, I too found a considerable number of my fellow blue collar brothers and sisters to be right wing in political orientation. Some of this was due to religion, but mostly is was out of ignorance, ignorance of union history and the gains they enjoyed as a result; ignorance of how the wages they received were a result of past solidarity and struggle; ignorance of the social dimension of the religion they adhered to. I put a good part of this blame on the unions themselves. They sold out after WWII and forgot education about the struggle, forgot how to organize now that all the commies and socialists were kicked out due to TAFT-Harltey, and forgot that labor struggles must remain independent of the political system. Black people are getting a lot of flack in some quarters for supporting Clinton, but I have found that in general, not unlike many of my white union friends, they tend to be conservative. I saw this too while a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa a few years back so those conservative roots seemed, to me anyway, to have cultural roots. I am no expert in sociology though, so this is just an observation that might be off the mark. But unions have to get back to their militant roots, divorced from the Democratic Party, if they are to be a force in the United States.

  2. Tony S

    I’m not a one-percenter, but I’m maybe a ten-percenter, and I live in one of the eastern states voting in late April. I’m supporting Sanders, and it’s not a difficult decision.

    Even being relatively well-off, I’m well aware that we’re at the point where just about anybody’s job can be shipped overseas, including mine. I’ve seen it happen around me, to friends and acquaintances. I’ve seen what all this offshoring in the name of “free trade” does to communities. I’ve seen once-thriving shopping malls die. I’ve seen once-prosperous neighborhoods fall into disrepair. I’ve seen how a depressed employment market affects even those who happen to retain their jobs, as their negotiating power disappears and they’re told they should feel “lucky to have a job”. I’ve seen high-paying manufacturing jobs replaced with low-paying retail and food-service jobs, and anybody who argues that’s a net positive for the community because “things are cheaper” is smoking some serious crack.

    I am well aware that my taxes would probably go up under a Sanders administration. But a small, manageable increase in taxes is vastly preferable to a complete loss of income. I don’t see too many affluent people quitting their good jobs to take advantage of the tax breaks poor people get (such as they are). Plus, Bernie Sanders is the one candidate who unambiguously supports Social Security and Medicare, two programs the boomers who have vastly benefited from now seek to undercut for my generation and those behind me. (I’m in the age range where I would get absolutely screwed by Paul Ryan’s SS cuts.)

    More broadly, I want an economy that works for everybody. A living organism cannot survive if its blood circulates only within its head — the arms, torso and legs also all need to have the blood flowing through them. The gross wealth inequality that we’ve fallen into is ultimately going to destroy the entire economy — even for the more affluent crowd. My support of Bernie is not borne out of altruism — it’s borne out of self-interest. And that applies to EVERY American who isn’t one of the super-duper-rich.

    And, of course, Bernie is the one candidate who gives me hope that we’ll rein in some of the most absurdly wasteful and counterproductive government spending in history (the war-on-drugs being the prime offender). I don’t just think he’s the best choice; I think he’s the ONLY choice among those available that can pull America out of its downward spiral. The status quo is killing us, and I’m tired of being the frog in the boiling pot.

    1. Matt

      Well stated Tony S, I’m not a wealthy individual but even if I was I’d be voting Sanders. This country needs a healthy, vibrant middle class to survive. The top 1% are sucking dry the income and wealth from them and everyone below them like a damn vampire. Eventually there will only be the haves and the have nots and no one in between. Good to hear a wealthy and successful person like yourself who is thinking of the big picture and long term success of this country instead of just going for the Corp Democrat in Hillary Clinton. I’m sure you’re not alone but it’s important for folks like you to say so. Thanks

      1. Tony S

        Wow, so much positive feedback here. Thanks to all who responded!

        I’ll add one more thought — what good is a $100 tax cut it means I now have to invest $1000 in an alarm system for my home?

        It is inevitable that we’ll always pay for the existence of poverty. But we can choose HOW we do so. We can (a) create government jobs programs (and there’s so much that needs done), (b) create a welfare-transfer progam, (c) implement economic policies that lead to full employment, or (d) do nothing, and just deal with the increased crime and degraded quality of life for all.

        Neoliberalism has chosen (d), and that will ultimately sink us all. Even as a “have”, I don’t really have any interest in living like, say, an affluent Brazilian, having to watch my step everywhere I go and shuttling from protected enclave to protected enclave. That’s no way to live.

    2. Spring Texan

      You articulate this so well I’m sending to my siblings. Could not agree more that the idea that people are better off because they have a lot of cheap clothes in their closet and some nice electronic gadgets (but no decent job or pension or job security or access to higher education without acquiring a debt overhang) is ridiculous.

      1. Loraine F.

        I couldn’t agree more. Beautifully said with a perfect analogy of the electorate to a living organism, which will die if all the blood/money resides at the top. God I hope you are right Tony S that the reasonably well off in New York and Connecticut get the Sanders message.

        Reasonably well off in Connecticut would be my category and my friends are firmly in the Clinton camp, and no matter what articles I send them about what the New York Review of Books called the Clinton System for enriching themselves at the expense of everyone else makes a dent.

    3. RUKidding

      I live in CA, and I’m a boomer who is still working full time. But I’ve never been much of a Clinton fan and now not at all. I make good money but my taxes probably wouldn’t go up much under Sanders, but they might go up some.

      That’s fine with me. I really want Soc Sec & Medicare to be strengthened not weakened, and I get it that means more money has to be paid into the system. Sheesh – 1+1=2. And I don’t even have kids. But I do have nieces and nephews, plus great nieces and nephews. And I do want them to have a chance at having some help as they age.

      This whole “rugged individualism” bs is a crock. I read Ayn Rand when I was 12 (not kidding); found it somewhat interesting then but by 15 realized what an utter CROCK that is. It’s simply outrageous that some of our financial/economic wonks and politicians hold up Rand as someone to venerate.

      I’m voting for Sanders. I’ve never ever had any issues paying taxes, other than I wholeheartedly dislike how much goes to our MIC, which mostly means the money gets wasted going into the pockets of crooks and thieves. Certainly it doesn’t do much for the enlisted personnel, and that’s for sure.

    4. thoughtful person

      I agree, live in Va, part of a middle class family (under 100k income). However, I grew up outside Philly, and my high school friends there mostly seem to lean toward or are strongly pro Clinton (the higher the income / wealthy personal identification, the stronger). They are mostly higher income than I, so pretty set Acela corridor types.

      Hopefully more will catch on, both among the wealthy, but also among the various minority groups that would likely benefit much more from a Sanders presidency than a Clinton one. In this regards I was pleased to see MI vote results had Sanders ahead of Clinton among younger African Americans I believe.

      It will also be interesting to see how well the polsters do at predicting “likely voters”. It appears that thus far many polls accuracy has been way off (take MI).

    5. Notorious P.A.T.

      Don’t forget that global climate change doesn’t stop at the edge of well-to-do communities. Oil, coal, and fracking endanger every human life on Earth.

      1. participant-observer-observed

        Yes, and quite a few upper middle class retired are active in wetlands conservation boards etc

        The fracking moratorium in NY state was a very broad-based and persistent effort.

    6. different clue

      The boomers do not seek to undercut social security or medicare. This is an anti-boomeritic lie peddled by the CFP MSM and the DLC Clintonite Obamacrats. It is the DLC Clintonite Obamacrats and their CFP MSM which want to undercut social security and medicare.

      The average boomer such as myself, who has been pre-paying DOUBLE social security taxes ever since the Great Reagan Rescue of 1983 wants to see social security and medicare held harmless and protected from General Budget embezzlement rackets run by the pro-OverClass DC FedRegime governators. And since I have 12 working years to go before I can get back some of the SocSec I have been PREpaying for ever since 1983, I certainly don’t want to see it undercut.

      The Youngers of today might want to study which Social Class Enemies of the people and of all life on planet Earth have been selling the meme of selfish boomers. If the Youngers of today can find out who those Social Class enemies are, they (you) might want to decide whether you really want to buy their brain-control product or not.

      1. Tony S

        I don’t disagree with you, but the DLC/Third Way Clinton crowd is most heavily supported by (older) boomers. They’re the non-minorities who are most heavily in Hillary’s camp. I’m paying for their Social Security and Medicare benefits now. They don’t sound very appreciative…

        1. different clue

          It depends on how older they are . . . . when they first went onto SS and Medicare. The Great Reagan Rescue happened in 1983. At that point the size of the FICA tax was doubled.
          The theory was that everyone working as of 1983 was some kind of boomer, so they would pay double FICA tax on the theory that half their FICA tax would pay for their elders already on SS and the other half would be pre-funding their own SS when they reached the age to collect.
          So for the older boomers, every year between 1983 and their retirement onto SS is a year that they double-payed. The very oldest boomers did least of that double paying and the mid boomers ( more recently retired) did more of that pre paying.
          Younger boomers like me are still pre paying and will be prepaying for 10 or 12 years or so. Another part of the Great Reagan Rescue was delaying the age-onset of full SS benefits the later you were born. So I could retire “earlier” and get less payback per month. Or I could retire “later” and get full payback per month. SS would be gambling that I would die before I live long enough to collect very much. I would be gambling that I would live long and collect much, even at the latest age of SS retirement.
          SS to me: ” Do you feel lucky?”
          Me to myself: ” I don’t know . . . do I?”

          The so-called BaBoo cohort is such a long time-span that some people have suggested calling its younger component by a different name to draw attention to their different attitudes and cultural matrix. Analysts have suggested “Generation Jones” ( which can be googled). Those still speaking of older boomers and younger boomers might nickname them “Beaver Cleavers” and “Brady Bunchers”.

          But no . . . the “Beaver Cleavers for Clinton” don’t sound very appreciative, do they? Their motives and attitudes are worthy of analysis perhaps. Then again, I wonder how many “Beaver Cleavers” are not for Clinton? I wonder how many of them are among the downscale White people who are for Trump or etc.? And it would be interesting to know how many of them are for Sanders. And what makes the difference.

    7. Randy

      Tony —
      I am of similar status and identical disposition. There’s s a good chance I’ll be quoting this comment in the near future. It is superbly well put. I don’t think we’re alone and the one thing predictable about Bernie’s campaign so far is that its prospects defy predictions.

  3. allan


    And I would add that, for those of us with young adult children, this is not the economy that we thought they were going to launch into. Not everyone’s daughter can get a $600,000 a year gig as a cub reporter at NBC …

    [intended as a reply to Tony S @ April 1, 2016 at 7:49 am]

  4. TheCatSaid

    So far an effective Clinton tactic has been to get her supporters to send in early postal ballots in states where this has possible. This means she gets them to commit before they’ve been exposed to Sanders’ locally targeted publicity, which tends to occur nearer to the actual dates.

    There are a number of ways this tactic favors Clinton
    1) Getting people to commit early takes advantage of Clinton name recognition
    2) Sanders is forced to rely on getting out the vote, exposing his voters to a multiplicity of obstructive tactics (e.g., number of polling places, distribution of voting machines, long lines disenfranchise some voters more than others, etc.)
    3) Mail-in ballots have gaping holes in chain of custody of the ballot, in ways that are particularly difficult or impossible to monitor even if one wants to. Since primary election monitoring is typically even more lax than at the general election, and since Clinton’s team is probably far more skilful at taking advantage of opportunities that might present themselves at local level, it puts even more pressure on Sanders to keep pace.
    4) The voting machines / ballot-counting machines (optical scanners) have their own vulnerabilities, including who has custody of the machines and when. They are all hackable, and the same hackable machines are still in use. (See a video at

    These advantage the Clinton camp. Sanders would be well advised to train voters and volunteers to do everything they can to pay attention, ask questions, and learn as much as possible about relevant matters at their local level. There are a number of organizations that focus on election integrity, is just one of them, and it has some useful voter toolboxes.

  5. weinerdog43

    Moving to Wisconsin from Chicagoland has been an eye opener. Wisconsin is not a wealthy state. Get outside of Madison or Milwaukee, particularly in the northern half of the state, and it is not far away from Tobacco Road.

    I’ve seen a LOT of Bernie signs traveling around rural WI over the past couple of weeks. That doesn’t mean terribly much except some enthusiasm. The Republicans I speak with at work are feeling pretty upset about their situation. (I’m enjoying it immensely.)

    Anyway, a question to our NC team: I’ve already voted (Bernie), but my wife is torn: Would she create more mischief voting for Trump? Kasich? Marco? (he’s still on the ballot along w/Jeb! & the rest). She likes Hillary. I’ve tried to gently suggest that Hillary is not so hot, but she really identifies with how badly the press and republicans have behaved toward her. She’s an upper middle class, 60 something, white woman who suffered the casual sexism during her working career. I suspect there are more than a few women just like her. Any ideas/recommendations?

    1. divadab

      Among my friends and acquaintances, the hard-core Clinton supporters are in your wife’s demographic. I have yet to find an argument that will win over these old-school feminists. Mostly I get requests to stop bashing Hillary. Just for saying she’s a highly successful inhabitant of a corrupt system – how could she not be compromised?

      But – perhaps more policy issues – like “Don’t you want single-payer healthcare? Hillary says you can’t have it. Don’t you want peace? Hillary wants more war – threatening Iran and Syria – and presided over the bombing and destruction of Libya, which is now a chaotic mess with IS getting stronger every day – and she voted for the Iraq war resolution”.

      But good luck with that – Sen. Clinton has loyal supporters and at the end of the day you have to respect that.

      1. Carla

        “Old school feminists” is right. I know a lot of women in their 60s, 70s and 80s who do really radical leftist work, and are voting for Hillary. It’s incomprehensible, but there you have it.

      2. Spring Texan

        I dunno. I’m a woman in my 60s and have not been slightly tempted to vote for Clinton. Don’t really understand it.

        I do have empathy for how she is attacked and her experience denigrated but that’s because she’s a human being as is every Republican and rich person. I have empathy for the disappointed Jeb Bush also. But vote for her? HELL NO!!!

        I am especially not tempted as her lack of respect for people is so darn evident in interactions, she is incredibly condescending, and because of her hawkishness.

        To have someone like Sanders to vote for — I’m so happy about it!

        1. afisher

          I’m with you. Many seniors are quietly supporting Bernie. Most I know are retired and want to “pass it forward” to assure that future generations have an opportunity to succeed and not have to work until they die.

          Even though Bernie lost in the TX primary, I wear my Bernie T-shirts and more often than not, there is positive recognition of him/his name.

          1. Jerry Denim

            I’m confused as to why seniors should be “quite” in their support of Sanders. Bernie Sanders is the ONLY candidate from either party who has taken the firm stand to not only protect, but to expand Social Security. Before Sanders hijacked the DNC primary Hillary Clinton and every other Democrat in the Obama era has only wanted to talk about how much should Social Security be cut and how the privatizing of Social Security should work in the name of being bipartisan, a serious person, responsible, etc. etc. Senior citizens have a great deal of selfish reasons for supporting Bernie Sanders, a “pass-it-forward” mentality is not required. You can vote for Sanders now with the satisfaction he is offering you a great deal up front and your grand kids a brighter future down the line. Win/win.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The seniors may want to know where the money will come from, in order to assess how realistic his proposal is.

              And if he’s bogged down in the quagmire of taxing this to fund that, instead of MMT, then, the idea will not register.

              That’s my guess.

              So far, I have not heard MMT mentioned at all, not even once, in any debate (and I may be wrong).

              1. Jerry Denim

                I’m pretty sure that’s strategic. Modern Monetary Theory sounds like a laugh line from a possible upcoming debate with Trump/Cruz/Clinton. I can’t imagine anything that would sound more ‘pie-in-the-sky’ to the uninitiated that are accustomed to thinking of government spending as household spending. As far as network news and live debates, if you can’t explain it in two sentences then you can’t explain it. Americans have been trained to think in sound bites. Sanders is wise to keep his distance from MMT while he’s campaigning.

                Funding Social Security doesn’t require delving into the mechanics of modern monetary theory however. Sanders has a simple plan to shore up the finances of Social Security for many generations of Americans to come and fund an expansion of benefits by simply lifting the arbitrary cap on income over $118,00 a year. Sanders plan simply requires people who make over $118,00 a year to pay the exact same percentage of Social Security tax as those who make less than $118,000. I believe he has proposed a new cap of $250,000 for the tax since benefits are capped as well. Easy to understand and it sounds very fair and reasonable. No MMT discussion required.

                Sanders has a great nine minute informational video about Social Security on YouTube. I sent it to my retired father-in-law who loves his Social Security and Medicare but told me he would not vote for a ‘socialist’.


                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Absolving people from the responsibility of being educated on policy…from cripes at 1:11AM below.

                  People don’t time to be educated, to become high information voters – that’s a feature, not a bug. Working two or three jobs can be taxing.

                  Still, we have to still start somewhere about informing the public about MMT…some reference in his website would help. If we don’t start, start early (say back in January or 20150), and if we don’t talk about it during the presidential primary and general election season, are we saying it’s best to leave the topic to our ‘super-delegates’ or representatives?

                  Once the election is over, it’s hard to tell our ‘super delegates’ to not bail out banks or pass NAFTA.


              2. different clue

                MMT sounds like a bright shiny squirrel and a left wing intellectual tinkertoy.
                When my brute survival is at stake, I am filled with burning rage for prolix leftists who treat threats to my Social Security as a perfect stage upon which to prance and display their verbose prolixity and their oh-so-superiorly knowledgeable intellectuality.

                FDR knew what he was doing politically when he made SS based on workers’ payroll taxes. ” I PAID for these benefits. Keep your G*d D*mn Government hands the F*CK off my Social Security.”

                1. inode_buddha

                  But you’re perfectly OK with the private sector getting its hands all over your social security?

    2. voteforno6

      Tell her that voting for someone is more preferable to voting against someone. If that person is Clinton, so be it.

      1. jsn

        In New York, on this demographic, 50-70 Hillary supporters, I don’t know that I’ve changed their vote, but I’ve asked them to give me some positive reason to support Hillary. It has been interesting to hear what they propose and point out very simple and very obvious problems. Several rounds and they at least quit trying to call me an “idealist” for supporting Bernie.

        1. tegnost

          The only traction I was able to get on this topic came when I adopted your tactic, and started asking people to tell my why hillary is good and let them talk, then respond in small doses because any other tactic made them defensive, one comment well placed worked better for me than a 10 questions barrage. My mom is worried enough about her grandkids and I might have made up some ground but she holds the nyt and kruggles in high regard so they and PBS provide the hillarite talking points

          1. jsn

            Right! Get them talking and, at least in my experience, the “positives” they come up with are so transparently hollow they can usually be responded to by simply naming an incident: the bailouts, the Iraq war, sentencing laws in the crack epidemic, etc. With each successive attempt their urge to self censorship grows before the next lame talking point comes out…

          2. weinerdog43

            Thank you folks for all your kind words and suggestions.

            I sometimes wear my lawyer hat too often and it really is better to let someone arrive at the proper conclusion in their own way instead of being lectured. I also agree that it is better to vote for someone or some cause you favor than to vote against something or someone.

    3. frosty zoom

      you could show her pictures of murdered activists in honduras, destroyed cities in syria, and eviscerated children in libya. maybe that would convince her how badly ms. clinton has behaved towards them.

      1. Carla

        How about pictures of Americans bankrupted and left destitute by medical bills? Hillary destroyed Medicare for All for at least a generation, and maybe two. And she accomplished that before she even served in an official capacity!

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          It won’t work, of course. Anything dramatic (pictures of evictions, drone killings, etc.) and people retract into their PBS, NYT and Kruggles hardened shells (thanks @Teagnost for the reminder).

          Asking for reasons to support HIllary sounds promising. Being sympathetic, respectful, and patient are also very effective but not necessarily easy.

          1. Mattski

            My sense, after countless unavailing arguments with committed Hillary supporters, is that a) their convictions about her are not policy- but feelings-based. They are comfortable with her, and have some of the same ressentiment about her mistreatment at the hands of the right as many right-wingers carry about their candidates. Feelings are almost impossible to refute;

            b) their critique of mainstream politics does not extend to an awareness of how neoliberalism has distorted our political process;

            and c) they have no systematically based critique of the military industrial complex or our historical effect on progressivism planetwide (800 military bases, etc.). Sadly, this is the case for most Democrats, anyway. And c) is the subject about which Sanders is least strong, both for fear of antagonizing people and because his record on stuff like the IP question is not so great, either.

    4. curlydan

      Good luck! I couldn’t convince my wife to vote for Bernie. I could not get past the “she’s a woman, and she’ll do a good job.” I did manage to convince my six- and eight-year olds to support Bernie.

    5. TedWa

      She’s going to cut SS (she was for linking benefits to chained CPI) and ship jobs overseas with the TPP and we all know what else these trade agreements mean. She’s a die-hard giver and supporter of her clique that includes the likes of anyone on Wall St that paid her $2,500 per minute for speeches and the likes of Albright and Kissinger, and she’s for endless war and Pentagon spending that is bankrupting the states and the nation. We have money for war but none for infrastructure or improving the lives of Americans. She was a Goldwater girl and really is a republican at heart (such as it is). Plus she under a non-partison FBI federal investigation – that’s not Republicans after her, it’s the FBI. Her mental and physical health is in question, minor strokes more than once is what I heard. And she changes her position daily, and therefore can’t be trusted. Plenty more but that’s all I can think of at the moment.

    6. aletheia33

      along with all these great suggestions, perhaps you could ask them if they would have voted for margaret thatcher? and then when they say “that’s different,” explain how it isn’t, due to the takeover of neoliberalism; or give them a bit of literature to serve as a primer on what that is.

      women who are not directly suffering their own/their families’ unemployment and worse due to the neoliberal takeover, on the whole, do not know even what it is or that it has happened. to even know about it, you have to poke around and search out deeper information than you’ll find in the usual “liberal” middle class media–first of all NPR; and the new yorker, the atlantic, the new york times. very few do.

      these women are not aware of the extent of the neoliberal capture of the whole concept of the term “progressive”. they may work for a “progressive agenda,” they may read daily kos, they may care a lot about the growing poverty and ruin. they do not realize how corrupt the whole society has become, because they are protected from knowing it. they do not realize the extent of cooptation of all the usual efforts to do good. they do not understand (and are not interested in understanding) why only a candidate financed by millions of tiny donations can be at all trusted right now.

      these women say, “i love bernie. but…” because they listen to and trust NPR.

      and let’s not forget, these women believe in equal opportunity for all women to fight HRC’s wars.

      1. jrs

        I would have empathy with Margaret Thatcher if I thought she was being attacked for things a man would never be attacked for (not policy in other words, policy is fair game, but say her appearance, or being too assertive or etc.). And I don’t care how empathetic Margaret Thatcher may or may not be. But vote for her. No.

      2. different clue

        Or maybe rather than lecture them about how “voting for Margaret Thatcher is different”, one could ask them ” what’s different about it”? In line with just-carefully-ask-them advice a little bit upthread.

    7. grayslady

      Suggest asking your wife what policies she would like a president to pursue, regardless of the current candidates. Are you currently limited by narrow networks in health insurance? Is that something she would like to see changed? Is she concerned about the NSA spying on her private emails? Is she an outdoor enthusiast who cares about the environment? Is she fed up with having her own government trying to frighten her by constantly harping on a small set of ME terrorists? Somewhere there’s a hot button issue for her–or maybe several. Then start asking her which policies of Hillary will address her concerns. How do those policies compare with the policies of Kasich, Trump, and, of course, Bernie. Then just let it sink in. Keep it as an intellectual discussion. You be the one asking the questions–how she feels about this, how she feels about that. Then drop it and let her assimilate the information.

      By the way, as a feminist who was an ERA activist back in the 1960s, I can say, absolutely, that there were men who were far more passionate about attacking inequality and sexism than some of the women I knew. Equally, who did more to improve the lot of blacks in our country–Lyndon Johnson, a white southerner, or Barack Obama? Gender or skin color without commitment is useless.

    8. JohnnyGL

      I faced the same problem with my wife who had no interest in politics whatsoever. But, she is in full agreement that we hate our health insurance and I beat the drum that she can help me try to do something about our terrible health insurance by voting for Bernie.

      You and your wife are getting older, if you get cancer before you’re eligible for Medicare, especially if it’s bad enough that you need to retire early, then you’re screwed!

      Health Insurance alone should frighten everyone into voting Bernie. Your insurance company is going to drop you as soon as they can if you run up big bills and you’ll be too sick to fight back!

    9. Vatch

      I’ve posted this before, but if you didn’t see it, it might help you now. These votes provide solid evidence for the way that Clinton would behave as President. I’ve included Sanders votes on the same issues to provide contrast. Perhaps these facts will help open your wife’s eyes about Clinton.

      Her vote in favor of the insidious bankruptcy reform act:

      The 2001 bill did not become law, but it was similar to the 2005 bill (S. 256) which did become law. Hillary Clinton was not present for the 2005 vote, because her husband was having surgery for a partially collapsed lung:

      Her vote in favor of the original Homeland Security Act:

      Her vote in favor of the Patriot Act:

      Her vote in favor of the Patriot Act reauthorization of 2005:

      She voted in favor of the Iraq war resolution:

      Her vote for the TARP bank bailout:

      Comparison with Sanders.

      His vote against the Patriot Act:

      His vote against the Iraq war resolution:

      His votes against the insidious bankruptcy reform acts:

      His vote against the original Homeland Security Act:

      His votes against the Patriot Act reauthorization of 2005:

      His vote against the TARP bank bailout:

      1. ms 57

        You may have posted this before, but I hope you continue to do so. It is the most clear education for anyone who really ponders whom to support. Thanks.

    10. Notorious P.A.T.

      The Republicans I speak with at work are feeling pretty upset about their situation.

      Have you broached the topic of Bernie with them? I’ve spoken to a few Rs who are open to picking him if it’s a choice between him, Clinton, and Trump.

      1. weinerdog43

        The “Bernie!” sticker is pretty noticeable in my tiny office. I’ve enjoyed the dispirited and “…well, I may sit this one out…” discussions. They really don’t know what to do. Without Fox telling them what to do, they’re lost. I enjoy sending them over here and to Jesse. Heh.

    11. Waldenpond

      My tactic is to say…. older white woman that supported Clinton in 2008 as she was running to Obama’s left, but I was concerned about her foreign policy positions. I was immediately dissatisfied with her actions at state (money, Libya) and knew I would never vote for her again. All true.

      I never bring up past history. I always focus on her time at state and I do not mention being investigated other than to wave it off and note she’ll never get indicted by the Dems. A wrinkled nose, a questioning brow that her policies for women may be no more than the typical plutocrat position that women should be equally exploited?

      My mother is entrenched. She believes Clinton will cut mcr/ss on us but not her, she smirks, shrugs and says ‘what are you gonna do?’ Oy. She actually says that she’ll be dead.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        Working my way through Frank’s book. It’s a bulldozer clearing the urban blight of democratic party betrayal of the last 40 or so years. The DLC meritocracy would need to be a kinder, gentler version of itself to have any hope for redemption. But you ain’t gonna be no real human being in their eyes without the elan and style that goes with university socialization. Professional accomplishment of the intellect need only apply. All others deserve what they command from the truly wise globalized economy.

  6. divadab

    I think a more critical determining factor in NY is that it has a closed primary – very closed – as in order to vote in the Dem primary you needed to be registered as a Democrat in Oct 2015. This means few independents, and more traditional Dems – this is Clinton’s demographic, not Sanders’.

    But we shall see.

    (Don’t rely on the exact reg. date above – it’s from memory, but the point is – no changing registration to Dem anytime near the primary in NY).

  7. anonymous

    Sorry, but Sanders’s transaction is tiny for only those who don’t have to pay it. If you are a middle class taxpayer who has been forced out of the corporate job market and are fortunate enough to have some savings left to live on after 2008, the tax would be exorbitant if not confiscatory.

    Example 1. The average equity mutual fund owner gets significantly less than 3% per year return on their investments, because the average person’s market timing is awful; I seem to remember Yves has cited these studies at least once or twice. It is human nature to buy tops (when things are going well) and sell bottoms (when it is easy to think things will never get better) — that is what most people actually do. It is psychologically quite difficult to do otherwise, and that is why Richard Thaler and the other behavioral finance types have made their careers. According to some studies actual returns are below 2%. So, given that fund turnover in the average fund is about 85% annually, the tax will take at least 6% of the fund investor’s actual income and probably more. Because the in and out cost of the tax will be 0.2% (.1% in and .1% out) of 85% (fund turnover) of realistically, 2% return — or 0.17% on total principal — and OVER 8 PERCENT of actual income received. That’s before you get to think about your income tax.

    Example 2. Since bond mutual funds yield even less than equity funds in this low interest rate environment, the effect on actual returns to investors could easily double if not treble those for equity fund investors.

    Example 3. If you are again a middle class person who has actually figured out a profitable way to day trade (hey, 5-10% of traders who try it, actually succeed) this tax will just about put you out of business. Suppose you buy and sell $100,000 worth of stock in a day. That would be 5 in and out trades, 1,000 shares per trade, of a $20 stock. You make, say $600 per day after commissions. Then you pay the transaction tax — $100 to get in, $100 to get out. That’s an income surtax of 33%, before you even think about your federal and state income tax returns.

    So middle class savers (and especially the 100,000 or so small traders) will be Bernie Sander’s collateral damage. Even though no one has ever suggested that small traders, let alone middle class savers, had anything to do with causing the Financial Crisis. Even though small traders compete AGAINST the Goldman Sachs “Vampire Squid,” which will always find a way around taxes and prosper.

    There would be plenty of ways to protect/ carve out middle class taxpayers from the effect of the tax if Bernie wanted to target only the actual financial malefactors. But so far I have heard nothing on this front from him.

    1. nippersdad

      I question your transaction tax. The idea was first floated to make billions of daily tiny trades made by computers using algorithms unprofitable and to render the markets more stable thereby. The tax discussed was a percentage of a penny per trade, so now you are talking about hundreds per trade. Have you got cites for that? Seems like a huge disparity in percentages that I have yet to see anywhere else.

      Under the plans that I have seen, the numbers would be virtually invisible to the type of trader that you mention. It only becomes big money when you take virtual trading by computers into account.

      1. anonymous

        Nipper, NPR says that the Sanders proposal would tax stock trades at 0.5% or $500 per $100K. So in my analysis I actually assumed that the tax would be watered down substantially. At 0.5%, our trader would pay $500 to get into his/ her trades, $500 to get out, and turn a $600 positive day into a $400 net loss.

        As for Lambert’s snark, I think that translates, in Esperanto, to, “NC to small traders, drop dead.” Why he feels that way, I don’t know. Something in the water up in Maine???

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            farrokh, is this correct, 0.5 percent on covered transactions involving

            (A) any share of stock in a corporation,

            “(B) any partnership or beneficial ownership interest in a partnership or trust,

            1. farrokh bulsara

              Well, yes that is how I read subsection (e)(1). But there are several exceptions for individuals listed in the bill as well. The essential takeaway here is that Bernie has proposed legislation that will generate revenue to fund his other egalatarian goals. They will simultaneously contribute to a reduction in income inequality as well. Do they hurt HFT? Yes, most definitely. Do they hurt “day traders”? I don’t know because I have more pressing things to worry about like surviving for the next few months. The cleverist thing the neocons brought to the “sellout America” table was the wholesale pursuit of the “ownership society”, aka 401k pensions. I think that Jamie Dimon and I have a very, very different outlook on them.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I’m not sure how many people are really making any money day trading, as opposed to people who would like to think they are, or might one day. My guess is not very many. And I’m not sure why they wouldn’t net out positive on single payer anyhow. Finally, if it comes down to it, I’d rather save lives as a matter of public policy than facilitate a market of dubious social utility.

          1. anonymous

            Oh Lambert! You really have to be kidding.

            It would seem that you know you’ve been caught out in offering a false choice (transaction tax or no single payer!), which is the kind of thing that ought to be beneath you. After all, a 0.5% tax on stock trades would discourage trading and not just among day traders. IOW, the transaction tax will blow up some traders (picayune collateral damage in your judgment) but not actually raise all that much revenue, partly because it will discourage the behavior to be taxed.

            Sen. Sanders has talked about using the tax to fund higher education (which it probably would not suffice to do, based on the experience of those countries which have transaction taxes) but AFAIK he has NEVER claimed that the tax would fund single payer in addition. Nor would he dream of saying that the transaction would fund such a large expense as single payer health care for all. So your conflating single payer finance with the transaction tax is more than a little misleading and I think you know that too.

            If you want to advocate some combo of higher marginal income tax rates on and excise taxes to fund education and health care (the way the Europeans fund these things), that is a worthy debate to have. The debate you are trying to have is bogus on its face, not to mention offensive to the facts.

        2. nippersdad

          I looked into that yesterday and found some discrepancies that you might want to look into. There is a range of taxes, from .5 to .005, that apply to different kinds of trading involving different kinds of assets. The underlying idea was to curb algorithmic high frequency trading by bank computers, so if you were not a beneficiary of that guy who sold GS proprietary secrets (and then went to prison for it), I fail to see how this would affect you in the way you describe.

          I doubt you have a CRAY computer in your basement, few of us do. As you have characterized your market activities, you are simply not engaged in the type of trading that these programs were designed to address.

          I am not a market expert by any means, there are those here who could advise you far better than I, but I would do a little more research into this than just take the word of NPR. That venue was corrupted during the Bush Administration and is more of a propaganda outlet at this point than anything else. My Wife just mentioned that this is covered on Sanders’ web page pretty thoroughly, so it looks like you may have better luck by going there and getting it from the horses mouth, so to speak.

  8. Jim in SC

    I see Bernie’s candidacy as confirmation of my belief that our education system has failed. He is proposing the greatest tax increases in history in an economy that is far from robust, yet his largely ‘educated’ followers don’t seem to see the danger in his policies. This campaign season has produced not one, but two, pied pipers, Bernie and Trump. Bernie’s apparent sincerity is appealing, but his policies would collapse the economy.

    Incidentally, Bernie’s political doppelganger, Francois Hollande, is now President of France. He was elected President in 2012 promising much of what Bernie is promising, but now seems to be running for Ronald Reagan’s third term, with tax cuts for individuals and corporations. A recent poll found him to be less popular than ISIS.

    1. frosty zoom

      you just called americans rats.

      anyhoo, these “greatest tax increases” will affect exactly how many people? aren’t these the same people trickling down jobs to vietnam and togo? aren’t these the same people making gwazillions by borrowing against loans borrowed against loans paid for by the interest charged on the interest charged?

      that’s not really an economy – that’s extortion.

      1. Jim in SC

        Nope. Bernie has come for the children.

        The ‘greatest tax increases’ will eventually include everyone, because there aren’t enough rich people to make a difference. If we confiscated the assets of the Forbes 400 the proceeds would fund the government for six months. The Bernies and Hollandes of the world depend upon their followers being unable to do math. This is why I see recent political developments as demonstrating the failure of the educational system.

        1. pretzelattack

          i think bernie’s supporters do math quite well. your post fails to address the inequality which is destabilizing the system. the rich did well enough during the eisenhower years, when the marginal tax rates were much higher, and nobody is talking about confiscating their assets, except by raising the estate tax. the mania for tax cuts and defunding government has produced the current situation, with a gradually falling middle class and a growing underclass that have little reason to hope.

          1. Jim in SC

            See my comment about apples to apples comparisons and the difference between marginal and effective tax rates below. Read the links I posted in response to ‘Code Name D.’

            Wealth and income inequality is the product of home ownership disparities, a thirty year stock market boom, the transition of ‘good jobs’ to cities (the owners of land around cities are the beneficiaries), changing marriage patterns among high income professionals (who now tend to marry each other), two earner families in general, the lack of marriages among the working class (married men work harder and earn more), and rising health care costs (so a greater proportion of total compensation goes to benefits instead of wages). Not to mention that the immigration of the past thirty years has brought lots of highly motivated but low income/low wealth people into the country.

            ‘Nobody is talking about confiscating their assets, except by raising the estate tax.’ So you admit that is Bernie’s plan?

    2. JCC

      If a small transaction tax on stock trades would collapse the economy, primarily by slowing down HFT, then I would think that it’s too fragile to survive, anyway… and if it doesn’t, then then lowering the trillion dollars in student debt is a good thing.

      We had no problems with high taxes and a college educated workforce in the 50’s and 60’s, so why would we have a problem with the same today? Unless you’re convinced, of course, that a third world U.S. economy is inevitable, i.e., a college education for a large swathe of the working class is no longer necessary, and that HFT and financial fraud is good for all of us?

      1. voteforno6

        It seems like there’s an obvious compromise here. Concerned about the effects of a transaction tax on people with mutual funds? The first $100K or so per person per year could be exempted. That would shelter the small-time investors, and still get at the high frequency traders.

      2. Jim in SC

        Most people don’t realize that comparisons with the 1950’s taxation are not apples to apples comparisons. It is true that marginal tax rates were very high in the ’50s, but deductions, credits, etcetera, especially for real estate and oil and gas, were equally high. (Probably the automobile, oil and gas, and real estate industries were the biggest political contributors of the time.) The effective tax rates paid by wealthy people–including the very wealthiest–in the ’50s were actually a little lower than effective tax rates today. It would have been great if all that money that went into tax shelters in the ’50s would have gone for investment in the economy instead of creating twenty times the per capital retail space of France. It’s possible that the malaise of the ’70s could have then been avoided (or so I speculate).

        The other reason the economy–and individual workers–did well in the ’50s and ’60s is that we had the only industrial infrastructure that had not been compromised by WW2 bombing. The world had to buy our goods, because they weren’t making them anywhere else. Finally, 400,000 Americans died in the WW2 , so competition for labor was heightened, as it was in Europe after the Black Death.

        1. Jim in SC

          Also, far fewer people went to college in the ’50s than today. Fewer people were ‘credentialed’ by college then, yet that didn’t seem to keep them from finding work and learning things. College is far more vocationally oriented today, and so are students. It’s very unclear to me that ‘college’ means the same thing to the average person that it did in 1980. And students are, by and large, studying far less. However, higher education has been a job machine for the college educated middle and upper middle class. So it’s not surprising that we, as a society, should conclude that what people need is more schooling, even though thirty years of additional requirements for graduation from high school have barely budged test scores.

          Educated people in the ‘1970s and ‘1980s were presumed to have certain reading and writing skills, as well as a good enough knowledge of history to, for instance, explain the causes of the American Civil War from more than one point of view. That sort of capability is now gone, though students spend far more time in a classroom than they did then.

          1. tegnost

            Pretty sure none of those college students in the ’50’s had student loans, which if you use the ACA model is a tax applied on students. Agree about ’70’s thing only because kidz these daze don’t spel so gud…but that might be computers. I don’t think college anymore is about thinking it’s about earning enough to pay off the loan tax, which rich people don’t have to pay.

          2. Alejandro

            There’s a lot to respond to, but it may be worth considering that there’s a distinction between opinions and facts, and facts, depending on the context, are either relevant or irrelevant. Without the relevant facts and stats, claims seem mostly conjectural.

        2. Code Name D

          And let the back-walking begin!

          Your original comment, “Raising taxes now would sink the economy.” The response was to point out that the tax rate in the 1950s was at 90% and this was the strongest most robust economic growth in American history. You come back with, “Yay, but they had massive deductions.”

          Ah, no, they didn’t. And you are called upon to produce evidence to support your claim. But I would almost bet you pulled it out of your ass. Today, corporations pay NO TAXES, with many even raking in tax-money to pad out their bottom line. So your “apples to apples” dodge isn’t going to fly here. The fast remains that taxes were far higher in the 1950s than they are now – and the economy then grew far faster than it dose today.

          More over, Professor Friedman and others looked at Sanders economic plan. The odd thing is that his plan is with sufficient detail that it can be looked at, at the academic level. And according to the Standard Model, Sanders would grow the economy by over 5% per year for the first four years. Keep in mind economist today are having whiplash if they can get the economy to grow by one half of one percent. (Here, let me cover up that trap a little better. Wouldn’t want the setup to be too obvious now would we?)

          Second, about post WWII production. You are quite correct that we benefited hugely by manufacturing to the rest of the world still in the process of rebuilding from the war. Sooooooooooo then why are we shipping production overseas to China and other “developing nations?” NAFTA, GATT, TPP and other so called “free traded” agreements directly undercut domestic production, moving entire industries out of the US. And Clinton supports the TPP.

              1. Jim in SC

                You’re quoting a Nicholas Shaxson, a journalist who writes for Tax Justice Network, which Wikipedia describes as an ‘advocacy group.’ The stuff that Amity Shlaes is quoting was written by notable academics, including an University of Iowa law professor, Marc Linder, who points out that the effective tax rate for millionaires dropped from 49% to 31% between 1953 and 1960, even before Kennedy’s tax cuts. And some scholars, such as Martin Sullivan, Chief Economist at the non-profit but highly respected publication, ‘Tax Notes’, believe that actual effective rates were even lower.

                The author of the Manhattan Institute piece, Arpit Gupta, is a Phd candidate at Columbia. He quotes Piketty and Saez in support of his position (though it appears that Piketty and Saez are unaware of the situation regarding real estate and oil and gas deductions in the ’50s and ’60s.) His argument is that even Piketty and Saez agree that effective income tax rates were not dramatically different between the 1950s and 2004. They say that wealthier people were paying more then than now, but because of higher capital gains and estate tax rates. The author disagrees. What I haven’t seen anyone discuss is the impact of generation skipping trusts prior to 1976. I am no expert, but I surmise that, for the very wealthiest, this vehicle provided a remarkable reduction in estate taxes across generations. My point in bringing this up is to illustrate the great difficulties in comparing the interelated tax regimes of one time with those of another.

                Here is a link that refers to pre-and post-1976 trusts.


                I tend to pay attention to the work of academics, because they will be criticized by other academics. Journalists, on the other hand, are writing for an audience that is far less critical.

                1. Yves Smith Post author

                  While there is reason to wonder whether journalists have the time and energy to do sufficiently in depth work, your trust in academic work is sorely misplaced, particularly one chosen by Amity Shlaes, a hardcore libertarian. In the mortgage and finance arenas, I’ve seen utterly shameless hackery from academics on a regular basis, including those from big-name schools. This applies both for business and law schools. As I discussed a bit in ECONNED, the teaching of law was deliberately corrupted by a “law and economics” movement spearheaded by Henry Manne. You have both cognitive capture and outright corruption at work.

                  And needless to say, the claim that law changes were not a significant driver of the shift of wealth to the top, is at odds with the explosion of gap between the 0.1% and everyone else. That is due to almost entirely to the hedge funds and private equity firms being able to have labor income taxed at capital gains rates, and capital gains getting preferential treatment as a result of the Reagan tax cuts. Similarly, Columbia B-school has published research that shows that the Reagan tax cuts caused executives to overpay themselves. Those executives are a big proportion of the 1%.

                  Finally, the comparison is apples and oranges. Income and wealth are not the same thing, and our estate tax rates are not that low. Generation skipping trusts worked for a while. You haven’t been able to use one for many years, and family fortunes don’t last that long.

                  As to the specifics,

                  1. Jim in SC

                    Do you agree that academics have a built in base of critics in other academics? I believe journalists lack this. Many sites are visited mostly by their partisans.

                    As for hedge fund incomes being a primary cause of income inequality between the 0.1% and the rest of us, I am skeptical. I don’t think hedge fund and private equity funds make up such a big portion of national income so that they could have that effect. And while what you say about the ‘mischaracterization’ of long term capital gains income driving outsized compensation might be true on the private equity side, most hedge fund income these days is from management fees, which are taxed at ordinary income rates, and what capital gains there are are short term, also taxed at ordinary income rates. Most hedge funds are not long term investors, and enjoy few, if any, long term capital gains. I think they’ve become big and dumb and constrained by their size. It’s the already huge that have been raising all the money for years now.

                    Finance may be responsible for much income and wealth inequality, but for reasons I’ve rarely seen stated: it is easier and faster to go from idea to company to public company than it has ever been. This has made many people wealthy. With less money for startups, innovation would be slower. Fine by me, but the public demands new ideas and new products.

                    I appreciated your admission that ‘family fortunes don’t last that long.’ Most people don’t understand that. It speaks to the difficulties of delivering positive investment returns after fees, charitable giving, and family growth and spending.

                    1. Alejandro

                      May consider the distinction between income inequality and wealth inequality, and how the former relates to the latter. Albeit the loftier the abstractions the more confusing it can become, and being aware of abstracting is always challenging…

                      You seem to allude to, but fail to recognize the conflict. Finance posits that the expectation of returns drives investment, and this is true. But what it can’t or won’t recognize is that the lower limit of physical quantities is zero and the upper limit is incontrovertibly NOT infinity…this, imo, is on display with the absurd rationalizations of “negative rates” , QE etc…

        3. different clue

          Simply abolish Free Trade and restore Militant Belligerent Protectionism and bring our kidnapped-jobs-in-foreign-exile back into America again, and the taxes then and taxes now would be apples to apples again.

            1. tegnost

              Are you going to give up your own way of life and descend into poverty in order to bring someone on the other side of the world out of extreme poverty? Also, is bringing third worlders out of poverty one of your goals in life so that you would want to make that sacrifice, or are you simply offsetting someone else’s sacrifice to justify the gains you’ve made at others expense? Your useless toy product the I phone is just a gizmo, and like everything else, won’t cost $2,000 if no one can pay that much for them, that’s the free market.

            2. Desertmer

              Well that will be a very good thing if IPhones cost $2000. Maybe we won’t be buying one every year.
              We need to pay a lot more for items than we do now. I should not be able to buy a wool sweater for $15 for example. It’s why I have 15 of them instead of the 3 I might actually need. They ought to each cost, say $200 and be well made, by American workers using local materials and paid a living wage and provided with healthcare and last for years.
              We have destroyed any understanding of actual value – either for labor or for physical objects. It’s time we relearned that knowledge. Look at where people shop and the prices – Marshalls, Home Goods, Ross, dollar stores. All foreign made junk at laughably low prices. Made by people trapped in unsafe slave like factories. You cannot possibly see that as benefiting anyone ……
              As to the third world – in my travels around the world ( we are nature travelers and birders so we go to many rural areas) I see an awful lot of extreme poverty remaining particularly in Africa. People growing export crops that beholden them to Monsanto and its ilk and the ensuing debt cycle instead of the more nutritious native food crops other crops as well as ‘cottage’ industries ( NOT I may emphasize – ‘tourist’ goods’) with locally sourced materials that they actually need to bring them out of poverty within their own milieu. Another time we can discuss how corruption grows exponentially within the third world in the free trade environment….
              We – the free trader nations, have destroyed local economies in the third world for decades. It is beyond the pale intellectually to say otherwise. You should be ashamed of yourself, Jim in SC, for promulgating such nonsense.

    3. Code Name D

      Repeating the Republican line that tax cuts grow the economy.

      Sorry, this is Naked Capitalism. You will find that to folks here are far better educated over basic economic theory that your typical Clinton rave. Austerity is the reason why the economy is “far from robust.” We have had 30 years of tax cuts, every thing from capital gains, corporate taxes, government subsides. If you were right – we should be drowning in jobs by now. Clearly we are not – so you must be wrong. QED.

      1. tegnost

        The most shocking thing for me was to find out wealthy hillary supporters claim trickle down works.

        1. frosty zoom

          of course it works! without them, their gardener would have to go back to that latiny place where gardeners come from.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The economy far from robust.

        ‘Robust’ can be measured

        1 What we consume, versus, say people in the 19th century or 10,000 BC.
        2. GDP growth.

        Most often, it’s the latter.

        Now, if it’s GDP growth we desire, it’s well known it’s easier to grow for, say, China 30 years ago.

        You start from a lower base…and you can pick more low hanging fruits.

        In that sense, austerity is not the cause of the economy far from being robust.

        You let the banks fail, take a short term hit, you can start from a lower base.

        Too many zombie banks, zombie corporations, zombie corporate landlords…

      3. Jim in SC

        Code Name D: The tag at the end of your ‘demonstration’ makes me fear we’re graduates of the same college.

        By the criterion of GDP growth, we’re back to the trendline of the past 180 years. It is slower, however, than the trendline of the past ten years, 1995-2007.

        If our object is simply to produce jobs, we should pass out the teaspoons and start digging ditches.

        1. Pat

          Forget the teaspoons and forget the ditches. We have a failing infrastructure in America. It is not just Flint with water problems. We need to be rebuilding our electrical grid, our water system, and yes most of our roads, rails and bridges. We do not do that because
          1.) our taxes are too low to fund that especially when
          2.) we have continuing foreign military adventures that are not about either spreading democracy or reliving human suffering, but about enabling profit making adventures for selected corporate groups.

          I could keep going on how we waste the money we do have in this country, but the idea that we would need to fund the digging of meaningless holes when there is so much to be done here that would actually improve the country is crap. One of the reasons that Sanders, and yes Trump, have resonated with much of the American public is they do get that even the tax dollars we do collect are not being spent on AMERICA, but elsewhere. And that needs to change. It is time America started supporting America and Americans. And if we stop securing the rights of this or that oil company in foreign places is not enough to fund it, and if a bunch of traders suddenly have to have their income treated the same as the guy who does more useful work cleaning the streets, so be it. The janitors of the world have gotten the short end of this stick for far too long. Hell forget ending the foreign military adventures – the financial industry either needs to pony up those jobs they have been supposed to have been producing (and I mean good jobs at above living wage with benefits) or their deal needs to end and income be treated as income.
          And yes, similar to sales taxes, I do believe in a financial transaction tax. It is just hitting them the same as we get hit for practically everything.

    4. oh

      Per your flawed logic, the trillions spent on wars and on bank bailouts should have crashed the economy by now!

    5. diptherio

      You say “tax increase” as if all taxes effect the same people or all have the same economic effects. Uh….no. Return to econ 101…and you can leave that broad brush at home, btw.

    6. Vatch

      Bernie’s apparent sincerity is appealing, but his policies would collapse the economy.

      You’re joking, right? The establishment policies that Sanders opposes actually did collapse the economy in 2008! If anything, Sanders policies would improve the economy, because more people would be able to buy goods and services.

      1. susan the other

        And all the free market capitalists recognized the writing on the wall. So what will Trump’s billionaire supporters make of Bernie? The billionaires themselves can’t turn anything around, they know that, but they want things to be in balance. Because they understand how necessary it is, balance, to capitalism. So Trump has two choices than will both impact Bernie’s success; Trump can either clean up his babbling nonsense or he can go full Hitler. Full Hitler is definitely out because Trump is actually a capitalist with a conscience, like all of his friends. And they want change, and fast. The neoliberals are the rotten flesh that needs to be amputated. So when all the political ads hit the fan the one to really take a hit is Hillary, and Bernie will benefit. Will it make a difference, though? I hope so.

    7. James Levy

      We have hundreds of billionaires and corporations sitting on trillions and spending their money buying back their own stock. There is no deficit of money in this country. When we “needed” a trillion to throw at Iraq, we found it without a murmur and without crashing the economy. What we have is a grotesque maldistribution of that money. You can earn billions via “investment” (playing casino capitalism) while you can work 40 hours a week 50 weeks a year and live in poverty. I’m sorry for you if you don’t see how morally repugnant this is and that if it isn’t stopped the system will collapse taxes or no taxes.

    8. I Have Strange Dreams

      I see your posts as confirmation that the educational system has failed. First you start out with a complete lie: “Greatest tax increases in history”, then you jump to conflating Mr. Sanders with Trump (that is just an insult to any educated person and shows how oblivious to your audience you are) and then you baldly state that Sanders policies would collapse the economy, without a shred of evidence when, actually, Sanders plan would be the greatest boost to the economy since WWII. And that is just your first, short paragraph.

      You then, bizarrely, jump into a strange anecdote involving the President of France, Ronald Reagan and ISIS which makes it seem like you have mild dementia. A kinder person would say that you are practising the obfuscating tactic of the “Gish gallop”. However, your posts give a good insight into the confused, frightened and uninformed world of elderly white men living in the backwards parts of America, so for that, I suppose, I am thankful.

      1. Jim in SC

        Dreams: Elderly?

        Look. If you won’t read the links I post. If you won’t do the math. Then we have no basis for conversation. Did you not follow Hollande’s campaign, with its soak the rich policies so reminiscent of Bernie, or observe Hollande’s retreat from them once he encountered the real world? He retreated because the policies don’t work.

        James Levy: I don’t think anyone, rich or middle class, is earning much from investment these days. If you have some evidence to the contrary, I’d like to know it. It is doubtless possible to earn $14,500 a year ($7.25x40x50) as a single person and still live in poverty, but I don’t find that as offensive as you do. Why? Because minimum wage is usually a place to tread water until one learns skills that will pay more. What concerns me more about the rush to raise the minimum wage to $15 is that many highly skilled workers don’t earn much more than that, and some earn less. I think the move to $15 will lead, in the short run, to low skilled workers losing jobs to high skilled workers, and in the long run, to a decrease in the educational aspirations of the young, possibly including an increase in the high school dropout rate. But I guess we can legislate against that and put the dropouts in jail if they won’t cooperate.

        1. Eduardo Quince

          “reminiscent of Bernie”

          You’ve breached logic by saying the past is reminiscent of the present. Bernie might be reminiscent of Hollande’s campaign but never vice-versa.

        2. John Zelnicker

          @Jim in SC – “Because minimum wage is usually a place to tread water until one learns skills that will pay more.”

          Then, pray tell, why are so many college graduates and 30-40 year-old folks working at McDonalds for minimum wage?

        3. I Have Strange Dreams

          I am, unfortunately, very familiar with the nonsense trotted out by your favorite propaganda mills. I doubt that you are too intellectually challenged to see that the wool is being pulled over your eyes by the Koch funded disinformation empire, so you must be morally challenged. Bernie Sanders does not have a soak the rich campaign. You are engaging in blatant fiction. Next you will telling us that trickle-down economics has been a roaring success.

          Can you not make a single post without a lie? You have been caught out so many times peddling mistruths that a normal person would be too embarrassed to ever post again. I don’t believe you have any interest in honest discussion and, besides, you have no credibility. I believe you are fundamentally dishonest and driven by an ideology of greed. You engage in deliberately propagating pro-billionaire falsehoods that harm your fellow citizens. How can one have a conversation with a liar? Repeat that word to yourself. Let it seep in. Liar, liar, liar. How dare you, a proven liar, demand that I debase myself by accepting your links as proof of anything except your mendacious cravenness?

          Virtue. Read what that means, and you will see why you have more in common with Clinton, Trump, Obama, Cruz than you have with Bernie Sanders. If there is a Hell, Jim, you will be spending time in the eight circle.

          1. Jim in SC

            I appear to have irritated a number of people. That was not my intention. I will post no more.

  9. Brooklin Bridge

    These political projections and economic trends pose a fundamental question that is not being raised in most analyses: Will this region’s middle- and upper-middle-class Democrats respond to Sanders’ message that big steps need to be taken to offset class-based inequalities, starting with addressing economic injustices by making Wall Street pay higher taxes? Or will they reject him because they are financially doing better than the nation as a whole?

    Some of the “better off” I know are not looking at the candidates with this much depth. When you talk to them, you get back their own processing/digesting of the MSM plus DNC plus Hillary campaign propaganda.

    1) Hillary is realistic, Bernie – pie in the sky
    2) Hillary will get things done, yada yada
    3) Hillary is a woman – one revolution at a time
    4) Hillary has already won, Bernie needs to get with the plan

    When they feel weakness in their own perception, depending on who they talk to or the strength of facts presented, they adjust the way they cough it back up, but it seems to hold as a whole. Talking about issues such as income disparity or military overreach or corruption (that is, going a little deeper) is frustrating and avoided with individualized takes on such themes as, “The perfect is the enemy of the good” and so on. Hey, I know this sounds simplistic, but there it is.

    This is based on a small group of people in Massachusetts so it is impressionistic at best. But the interesting thing is that those I know at least would not disagree about the major issues (income, gw, population, war, resource scarcity, pollution) or that they need to be addressed. Rather, they have found a way to see Hillary as the answer. They are not seeing, and perhaps don’t want to see, the need for systemic change, and can’t or won’t see how deeply Hillary has become emblematic of the problem itself.

    But that is far from the whole story. I have been equally surprised at the number and particularly the variety of people I come across who are for Sanders, such as Republican leaning independents (and I honestly can’t explain why I have so many Republican friends – other than that kindness (my most favoritist hero at the personal level) is not limited to party). So if such is any indication of what is going to play out on the east coast, it may not stop Sanders, but it may not give him the boost he needs for the MSM to finally give him a little oxygen.

    Another point that bears repetition. Being close, I strongly suspect that the voting process will be as rigged as possible and then some in Clinton’s favor. It alsmost seems they are trying to make a point of letting us know this is all fake and we are lucky to even get a plastic steering wheel with the little red rubber horn. The fact that so many can not see things like this, or the importance of the email scandal – among others – leaves me deeply perplexed.

    1. divadab

      Well how many people were taken in by the propaganda sales effort for the invasion of Iraq? Some people still believe the lie of WMD’s.

      People are fucking stupid. Keep it in mind.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        I don’t think all that many people were taken in. But the powers that be turned perception on its head so that we all believed we all believed.

        Interesting you mention it, for many – given the context of the 2000 election theft – it was the start of the great shift. Eye opening.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If they still believe, it’s their brain.

        If they no longer believe, but do not speak up (This candidate will say this: It was a mistake to go over there and more than weak to torture, to not go after bankers, and to continue droning), then it’s their heart…weak heart.

        It’s a heart problem, or we have here a very good 11 dimensional, triangulating chess player.

        Or a good strategist (one man’s good strategist is another’s 11 dimensional player)

    2. David

      “The fact that so many can not see things like this” yes, especially with white women.

      Somehow they believe they are immune from the vortex sucking them into becoming another economic casualty as the white collar are affected by the TPP, SS cuts, etc. and the destruction reaches up to the top 90%.

      Unlimited H1b and the Tribunals will knock out incredible number of job categories, which Clinton will say she has no control, given Obama approval of TPP after the election.

      This is the most critical election in my lifetime. Sadly people don’t get it until they are affected directly. When Ross Perot spoke about the “great sucking sound”, people didn’t believe him – couldn’t envision the future – and he was treated by the press and the establishment as a clown and ridiculed just like Trump and Bernie are today. People still see abortion, rights of various description, religion as more important than protecting / making a living wage.

      With 12 months of the 92′ election Clinton put thru the first trade bills that eliminated 10 million good jobs.

      1. Carla

        Re: identity voting. I think Glenn Ford of BAR gives the best explanation of African Americans and how they vote. African Americans are likely to vote for the person they perceive is most apt to beat the “white man’s party.” And of course EVERYONE’s telling them that’s HRC.

    3. Brindle

      ….”the importance of the email scandal”. Large numbers of Dems see the email investigation as just a GOP effort to go after Hillary. Harnessing the “Clinton’s as victims” storyline has worked for decades. A relatively politically sophisticated friend recently said to me regarding the email thing that it’s “so minor—everybody does it” etc. Most voters don’t have any idea of likely corruption involving The Clinton Foundation and Sec of State Clinton.

      1. James Levy

        Well, the Republicans have gone after Clinton like maniacs over the years (you should have seen the idiot, condescending campaign they ran against her when she first ran for the Senate in NY) and the fact that they have screamed over and over that she is a radical and a liberal and a leftist feminazi has made it damned difficult to convince large numbers of Democrats that she is a bought and paid for corporate shill (which she most definitely is). Dem voters have heard the Republicans cry wolf so many times that now when it is clear she did break the law, no on believes or cares. And when you tell them that Sanders is a Left alternative to Clinton, they don’t get it, because they’ve been told a million times that Clinton is a Leftist by Fox, Rush, and half the talking heads in the MSM. It’s an awful hurdle for Sanders and his supporters to surmount.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Bernie never have fought, if the MMT bazooka has never been and will not be deployed.

        That’s my fear – the establishment has already won. There is no revolution.

    4. JazzPaw

      Yep. That is my experience with talking to my boomer and older friends who have a nice stake in the status quo.

      They like their Medicare, but single payer is socialist. Millennials “are naive and don’t know their interests” is a common refrain among those who have pensions that have been under funded and IRAs that depend on the Wall Street bailout to keep up their inflated values.

      For these voter the status quo is stated calmly as “moving in the right direction”, but the unsaid message is “I’ve got mine Jack and I’m not going to risk it now”.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Do they break it down as to how many have voted and how many have not yet voted?

      For those in the South, they can’t vote again, now that they know Sanders better.

  10. ke

    WS, public education, and public healthcare are all crap products. You don’t want to subsidize carp products and give them away as free entry points, which is the same problem with the internet, which was sold as solving the problem.

    Jews hunted down Jews with dc electronics in wwii. Hitler was a symptom, not a cause. Microsoft and Apple don’t earn anything. Politics is about defining the narrative, misdirection.

    1. frosty zoom

      since i found your post somewhat difficult to comprehend, i took the liberty of translating it into esperanto for others who may be having the same dilemma:

      WS, publika edukado kaj publika sano estas ĉiuj crap produktoj. Vi ne volas subvencii karpo produktoj kaj donu ilin kiel liberaj punktoj de eniro, kiu estas la sama problemo kun la interreto, kiu estis vendita kiel solvi la problemon.

      Judoj ĉasita malsupren judoj kun dc elektroniko en WWII. Hitlero estis simptomo, ne kaŭzo. Microsoft kaj Apple ne gajnas nenion. Politiko estas proksimume difini la rakonto, misdirekto.

      1. ke

        There is something to learn everyday.

        Which would you rather have, the $Trillion dollar false promise of public education, or this website as a public education channel.

        The eyes need serve the hands, if service is your goal

        1. jrs

          Well it kind of depends on the goal. If my goal was to find employment, I’m not sure all the reading this website in the world would help. So I’d want education that trained me for some profession or at least made me “marketable”. Yes despicable as that term is, workers are products in this system. For political change yea websites, teach-ins etc. are the way to go.

          1. ke

            If public education, public healthcare, and WS resulted in a healthy perspective, we wouldn’t be in this mess. None lack for subsidy chasing debt to the cliff, and none will result in more appropriate behavior relative to need, as they are all massive false signals with massive false multiplier effects.

            1. frosty zoom

              public healthcare saved my wife’s life. it saved my father’s life. thanks to public education i know where togo is and my wife is a scientist. your “every scrub for hisself” is just blather.

              i agree with hreik:

              גוייִשער קאָפּ

            2. ke

              The data is obvious.

              We spent 6 years carefully detailing the path for young people to read reach gainful employment at 4X rent or better, without having to beg for someone else’s version of, equal rights, but you are certainly welcome to your opinion.

              You are are certainly not alone, as part of the majority. Which is my point. Labor has no interest in big business and big government complaining about each other.

      1. ke

        Don’t believe that nonsense that only 30% can be replaced.
        wouldnt be here, and the upper middle class wouldn’t be next on the list to replace, if the middle class didn’t assume that the hands serve the brain, a derivative.

        1. ke

          Public education is on trial, globally.
          The proof is in the pudding as they say, and so far your point is moot.

          1. frosty zoom

            “thank you for calling police corp.. we value your call. for homicide, please press one. for jaywalking, press two… unfortunately, all our operators are busy. please hold the line.

            feelings, nothing more than feelings..”

            1. pretzelattack

              for a small additional charge, merely a quarter interest in your home, or your entire bank account if you are one of those parasitical renters, you can speak with one of our emergency operators.

  11. ScottW

    My analysis is of Hillary v. Bernie is simplistic. If you are happy with the status quo, or fear change more than the status quo, you support Hillary. If you believe continuation of the status quo is unsustainable and reject pay to play politics, you support Bernie. Not surprisingly, older, wealthier and Black people are in the former group in larger numbers.

    Hillary supporters refuse to address the elephant in the room and it isn’t Donald or any other Republican. It is the fact that for 16 years she and Bill have been bought off by every possible special interest, foreign government and billionaire. The $153 million in speaking fees is just the tip of the iceberg. The Foundation’s acceptance of hundreds of millions in donations (the exact amount is secret) from individuals and foreign governments who received tangible benefits from actions (or no actions) she took as Sec. of State is even scarier.

    If elected, Hillary and the first man will have a direct financial interest in the Foundation. They can’t shut it down, so how are they going to survive 4-8 years without all of those donations? I haven’t heard anyone ask what Hillary promises to do with the Foundation if elected. And as we found out when she was Sec. of State, the donations, speaking/consulting fees kept flowing in despite the “Agreement” to have donations cleared by State and the President.

    Anyone arguing the Foundation’s donations are not directly tied to favorable actions at State, or future benefits if Hillary is elected, is living in a different universe.

  12. Ranger Rick

    How many rich people are there registered to vote in New York compared to the under-50,000 bracket?

    Of those, how many rich people are planning to vote in the Democrats’ caucus, where they will have to rub elbows with the poor people they so scrupulously pretend don’t exist?

    No, the real question is “Can Sanders win over machine politics?” I anticipate loads of people getting paid to go vote.

    1. Lord Koos

      Right — this posits that there are more wealthy and upper-class voters than there are lower middle class and poor voters, I’m not sure that is true.

      The machine is definitely working against Bernie in NY. People are finding that their voter affiliations are being monkeyed with, some having been switched to independent or Republican from Democrat, making them ineligible in a closed primary.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The focus should be on winning now.

        However, if Sanders doesn’t win this time, what is the lesson here, about how to defeat the machine? That seems to be a recurring theme everywhere.

    2. farrokh bulsara

      This doesn’t break it down by income, but perhaps something can be inferred when looking at Dem enrollment by county. I think it is interesting to note that there are appox. 2.5 million living outside of the NYC area and approx. 2.8 million inside the NYC area.

      I grew up in CNY but left the area 30+ years ago. However, I have many friends and family still there and I return to visit infrequently. Hillary isn’t well liked upstate.

  13. Kurt Sperry

    I’ve had two Republican friends recently defect to Bernie, neither would consider Hillary inn a gazillion years. The one and only friend I have who is staunchly pro-Hillary (as in brave enough to support her on FB) is the prototypical privileged older white woman who is frankly not very bright but is also the head of a museum. I don’t think it would be possible to change her mind, her political consciousness is closer to political unconsciousness and she identifies with Hillary in that mindless way that identity politics is designed to. The Hillary supporter demographic is I think similar to the Obama one, people who don’t have much knowledge about politics or policy and make their choices based on fuzzy branding and identity issues. By and large I don’t think these people are what you’d call “high IQ” or persuadable by rational arguments. Incipient senile dementia may in fact be Hillary’s ace in the hole.

    1. aletheia33

      perhaps it’s a fact worth looking at that the vast majority of this type of person (described by kurt sperry at 4/1, 10:42 am) in vermont supports bernie. from my observation point in vermont, it is basically just because they know and trust him. this would seem to support lack of information as a key factor.

      btw senile dementia–you should have stopped before bringing that up–has nothing to do with one’s political acuity. incipient senile dementia does not wipe out a person’s lifelong level of political awareness or cause those who are in the habit of thinking for themselves to stop doing so.

      1. hreik

        incipient senile dementia does not wipe out a person’s lifelong level of political awareness or cause those who are in the habit of thinking for themselves to stop doing so.

        thank you for saying that. You were nicer than I would’ve been.

      2. Kurt Sperry

        OK, sorry I was wrong to say that. The really incredibly tight demographic correlation between advanced age and Hillary support may be entirely cultural, but it takes some pretty impressive cognitive dissonance to identify as a “progressive” and at the same time be a right wing, war lovin’, neolib corporate Clinton supporter. You either would have to possess almost no political consciousness whatever or to suffer from some sort of significant cognitive dysfunction. This isn’t a backhanded knock on conservatism either, I find no analogous cognitive lack in conservatives who correctly identify themselves as such.

        1. hreik

          thanks for that. some of us had loved ones with dementia. So kudos to you for apology. ty

        2. different clue

          55-75 is not that advanced in age. 85 and above is getting advanced in age. So Hillarism is probably a matter of attitudes and perceptions set early on and only re-inforced since then.

    2. Eduardo Quince

      What you diagnose as “Incipient senile dementia,” I diagnose as pro-Hillary autopilot inertia (aka Hillarybot syndrome).

  14. Whine Country

    This reminds me of an election held years ago in the Wine Country of Northern California where I lived at the time. I ran into an attorney acquaintance of mine who was running for City Council and I asked him how he was doing in the polls. He said that unfortunately he was not doing too well. He was polling in last place and, of those polled, the front runner was “What’s her name – that woman who’s running”.

  15. Katharine

    Very well said! Thank you–but please don’t blame all boomers for the despicable behavior of a few! Many of us want to see Social Security preserved and strengthened–as it very well can be–so that your generation and those that follow also enjoy its benefits. That is one of many reasons we support Bernie.
    [Supposed to be reply to Tony but not posting that way.]

  16. cripes

    Diversity identity politics absolves many people from the responsibility of being educated about policy and the track record of candidates in a political process that discourages it. I suspect they are both lazy and content to wave “first” black/female/hispanic/gay banners while supporting reactionary politics. This habit is both anti-democratic and probably serves their inherent status quo bias. They’re basically OK and not seeking much “change” despite the slogans of phonies like Obama and Hillary.

    People who are on the short end of the economic stick voting for these sc*mbags are stuck in Thomas Frank’s Kansas. They have more sympathy from me, deluded as they are, than their smug class “betters.”

    At an event yesterday, a woman asked me if I would vote for Hillary if/when Sanders loses the primary. “Eyeroll”

    I just replied that Hillary has a proven record of disastrous wars, supporting job-destroying trade deals, bank bailouts, mass incarceration, and impoverishing poor women and children. As a matter of conscience I will not vote for reactionary elitists of any color or gender.

    There just wasn’t time for gentle nudging with a stranger.

    1. JazzPaw

      Identity politics has been mined by the establishment Democrats the same way “traditional values” has been by Republicans. Neocons ally with liberal interventionists to spin up wars, and the black guy and the woman do the implementation because they must be doing the right thing. They aren’t white and male.

      Hillary will continue the corporatist “progress”, if she can get away with it. We will have a proposal for forced savings from her BlackStone Treasury Sec. HillarySave to hose your stream of income because you’re just too irresponsible to save on your own and too stupid to invest it on your own, and too weak to be able to control whatever is left.

      1. James Levy

        Keep in mind that the House Republicans are imbeciles–literally. They could have gotten a host of such sweetheart “grand bargain” deals out of Obama but they are so petty (and some of them so racist) that they passed them up time and time again. These guys are Ultras. They will deny Clinton victories just out of spite or the misbegotten notion that when they finally get ‘their” guy in the White House then all things good and holy will pour forth from D.C.

        1. farrokh bulsara

          Spot on James, and they will investigate and litigate Hillary from now til doomsday.

        2. different clue

          James Levy,

          If your analysis is really correct here, then you have just made a very strong case for voting for Hillary while voting for every Tea Ultra within reach for Senate and House. Or at least every Tea Ultra if the “Worthy Opponent” is a Reid-Pelosi type of Clintonite Obamacrat.

  17. meeps

    The words prophet and profit sound nearly identical in the English language.

    I know only a few people who are voting for Clinton. They were reared in private Catholic schools where cranky nuns whacked them with rulers all day long. I would characterize these people and their relationships as ranging from dysfunctional to abusive.

    The indoctrinated mind dismisses criticism or questioning of its forcibly inculcated beliefs. Reasoning with it is an exercise in futility; you can witness such a mind escape the conversation via the eye, which glazes over. If you are in a two-way talk with a Clinton supporter, by all means, chat away. Otherwise, save your energy for something fruitful.

    I think Sanders is doing a good job reaching those who are willing to question the status quo.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I know of no one who has voted for Hillary.

      1, I am not the social type, so I don’t chat with too many people.
      2. I don’t know them enough to talk about politics
      3. I do know that many have voted for Clinton, so, (this is not knocking anyone), maybe I should broaden my circle.

      1. meeps

        MyLessThanPrimeBeef @ 3:49

        My social group is small, too, possibly not applicable at scale. I am fortunate to know some brilliant peeps who are always game for lively banter, even if it wanders into politics or other scary places. I happen to appreciate your regular contribution to NC, so if you broaden your circle, please don’t leave this one. (:

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Thank you, meeps.

          This is a great site…I’m afraid I have taken more than I have given.

  18. Dr John

    In terms of energizing the progressive left, is there anyone here who can make a compelling argument for why a vote for Trump is not better than the status quo? The resistance to both is high, but one gets the feeling that the the Neoliberal Lion taming done by the Clinton’s is much more sophisticated in how they sell out the public than the circus that is Trump…

    Short term outcomes asides (i.e. supreme court nominations, sensitive foreign policy issues, Immigration reform policies), which of these presidencies could do more damage. At some point, Trump might end up like Carter (cut off at the knees with very little support — except for the free media)…


    1. meeps

      Dr John @ 3:48

      In my way of seeing, a vote for Trump is not better than the status quo because Trump is the status quo, magnified. The dominant narrative that Trump is anti-establishment has been accepted at face value and repeated ad infinitum by the MSM, but I don’t buy it. He’s rather inelegantly and inarticulately a personification of the more lamentable aspects of human nature — precisely the problem with the status quo. If the existing state of affairs could be called courageous, carefully considered, fair, kind, diplomatic, humanist, etc., there’d be no need to challenge it.

      1. Dr John

        Interesting Meeps.

        We agree Trump is establishment (nouveau style). Also, we agree that Trump underwrites some of the more vile aspects of human nature.

        I guess my point, one that after more consideration seems less important that I initially considered, is that the grotesque nature of Trump seem much easier to resist than the faux democrat Clintonian shapeshifter…

        In one way, the left knows they are in for a fight to the death.
        In the other, they are susceptible to delay, pacification, and acceptance of the Neoliberal Order as Gaius Publius has recently written. In this case, politicians are here to get us to accept increasingly less as society deteriorates…

        Then again, I could be exaggerating the Clintonian risk? But I do not think so.

        1. meeps

          Dr John @ 9:10

          I think we are on the same page. Clinton is no better than Trump, but the Democrats have waged a relentless assault against truth. They deny faults and failures and, frankly, bully those who bring those shortcomings to light.

          The left must know they are in for a fight to the death since right wing reactionary governments are coming to power around the world and crushing leftist uprisings. Your concern that leftists are susceptible to delay and pacification, if not worse, is warranted.

          All votes come with risk, but the known quantity of risk Clinton et all represent is unacceptable.

        2. JazzPaw

          My read is that Trump is promising ineffective but very strong chemo. Hillary is promising to be our hospice nurse.

    2. weinerdog43

      Here’s my argument to my sweet Mrs. weinerdog:

      Trump is a rich d*&chenozzle and he does not have to bow to the Vampire Squid. Every other Republic d*&che candidate is owned by the banksters. Vote crazy d*&chebag instead of bankster owned d*&chebag.

  19. Anna Beaulieu


    Listening to Pete Seeger’s “Little Boxes” as I despair for a neighbour’s fate, needless to say the world, would that the folk singers of lore lift the human spirit.

    1. farrokh bulsara

      Anna, you should check out the Milk Carton Kids. They are not overtly political, but they are introspective and a delight to listen to.

  20. ke

    Silicon Valley has already proven it can and will replace a middle class, at will. First they came for…Do you really think Bernie, from a drug economy sprinkled with hobby and pot farms, is going to walk back trillions of lines of code, or do you see what the judges are doing with civil liberties as a result. If you think the judges begin to recognize their predicament, watch what happens in May.

  21. TheCatSaid

    I’m concerned about this video, documenting HRC partisans apparently working as paid staff for the Sanders campaign, with specific examples, such as regional managers. Result: obstruction, volunteers told to cancel meetings, to not do things that any normal campaign should be doing, promised literature not being provided, ignoring reports of party affiliation being changed, and more.

    Worst of all, the volunteers in question have not been able to get through to folks higher up in the Sanders campaign; there’s no indication this is being taken seriously, or if the concerns are being conveniently “disappeared” by rogue staff. They raise serious questions about how Sanders campaign staff are being hired–apparently with inadequate vetting for loyalties to a competing candidate.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Agreed. Alarming video and after shenanigans in Arizona, et al. I am very concerned
      about NY, where the stakes couldn’t be higher.

      quoting from video blurb:

      “Stephen Coyne joins Debbie today to talk about State Level campaign directives that sabotaged Bernie Sanders GOTV and canvassing efforts in Western MA….Events were canceled, orders to not open campaign office given, out of date/old roles substituted for up to date available canvassing apps and data, canvassing material denied. The former MA Field Director for Sanders Joe Caizzo & his parter Karen Clawson Cosmas are employs of Truman Foundation….The directives given for the campaign worked AGAINST the interests of Sanders in MA. However, beyond the state level apparent sabotage is a LARGER question: Who HIRED a Truman Foundation political partner to run the State Level Bernie Sanders campaigns in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut? The Truman Foundation was founded by Rachel Kleinfeld, the personally appointed Hillary Clinton advisor for Foreign Policy as SOS until 2104 and staffed by a long list of her allies. Additionally, the Truman Project is partnered with the Center for National Policy and the CHAIR of that project is HILLARY CLINTON’S CAMPAIGN MANAGER. The board is FILLED with Clinton’s tightest political allies. It borders on twilight zone absurd that any employ from this agency would be allowed anywhere near the Sanders campaign. “

  22. Fiver

    Speaking as an outsider:

    To my mind there is a strategy that really could deliver Sanders the nomination, and that is an independently organized national campaign to make Clinton’s e-mail operations a non-negotiable cause for rejection. If everyone who understands just how disastrous a Clinton Admin is bound to be bombarded Obama, the DNC, elected Dems, major media etc., on this single issue and continue to raise the roof should Obama permit a white-wash, she will fall. Make enough of a stink – as the evidence already known absolutely does justify – and powerful people and interests will ask themselves if they really want to go with someone so clearly identified with exactly what the public has already unmistakenly signaled they are done with, i.e. – two standards of conduct and application of law, with unlimited forgiveness of injury for the powerful and ever-dwindling prospects for the economic, political, civil, consumer, privacy, information or any other rights for visibly growing ranks of Not-ins. The Not-ins don’t need to know the truth, and of course have no right to demand it.

    There is nothing ‘dirty’ or underhanded in shining a great big light on potentially serious criminal and certainly character liabilities of a prospective President, and conveying that vigorously. Or are there really 2 standards after all?

  23. richfam

    First, the super rich don’t give a hoot about higher taxes, except on capital gains (which they aggressively avoid taking already) so no blood (bern, whatever). Sanders taxes hit the working rich, those with higher end incomes but who still need to work. If you work in NYC and make $300k which by any standard is a lot of money Sanders burns (berns) you to a crisp and you’d be a fool to want him in office.

    So you’re 40 years old, well educated and finally “making it” in New York at 300k and already paying 51% total tax rate and Bernie says f-u pay me another 10-20%. (this restless native is berned (sorry cant stop doing that) at the stake of free college and healthcare. Time to move to Vermont where its freezing but the cost of living is low.

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