Earlier this month I published a 10-part Slate series (PDF; serial version; slide show) about the 30-year rise in income inequality that Princeton’s Paul Krugman has dubbed “The Great Divergence.” In the first installment, I noted that in 1915, when the richest 1 percent accounted for about 18 percent of the nation’s income, the prospect of class warfare was imminent. Today, the richest 1 percent account for 24 percent of the nation’s income, yet the prospect of class warfare is utterly remote. Indeed, the political question foremost in Washington’s mind is how thoroughly the political party more closely associated with the working class (that would be the Democrats) will get clobbered in the next election. Why aren’t the bottom 99 percent marching in the streets?
One possible answer is sheer ignorance. People know we’re living in a time of growing income inequality, Krugman told me, but “the ordinary person is not really aware of how big it is.” The ignorance hypothesis gets a strong assist from a new paper for the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science: “Building a Better Americaâ€”One Wealth Quintile at a Time.” The authors are Michael I. Norton, a psychologist who teaches at Harvard Business School, and Dan Ariely, a behavioral economist (and blogger) at Duke. Norton and Ariely focus on the distribution of wealth, which is even more top-heavy than the distribution of income. The richest 1 percent account for 35 percent of the nation’s net worth; subtract housing, and their share rises to 43 percent. The richest 20 percent (or “top quintile”) account for 85 percent; subtract housing and their share rises to 93 percent. But when Norton and Ariely surveyed a group whose incomes, voting patterns, and geographic distribution approximated that of the U.S. population, the respondents guessed that the top quintile accounted for only 59 percent of the nation’s wealth….[Rest of article]
I couldn’t find anything new this time around. This doesn’t mean there aren’t some bargains out there–and, indeed, I’m somewhat optimistic about the market again–but in running my screen I’m just coming up with stocks I’ve already purchased.
So, for a record third time, I’m going to recommend and actually buy some more Nymagic, Inc. (NYM). I originally bought this stock last March and had it go up 13% in the ensuing 3 weeks, after which I picked up some more. It’s up a little more than 20% since original purchase, but I think there’s still some room to grow and, not finding anything more interesting, I’m going to buy some more.
Christian activist Randall “Don’t kill your Baaaaaaaaaby” Terry gives the Teabaggers some pointers:
Heavy Metal meets Big Love:
Kids! Â This looks like fun!
The most intelligent guy on the Right in a conversation with (one of) the most intelligent guys on the Left. This is how it should be done:
Wading into the controversy surrounding an Islamic center planned for a site near New York Cityâ€™s Ground Zero memorial this past August, President Obama declared: â€œThis is America. And our commitment to religious freedom must be unshakeable. The principle that people of all faiths are welcome in this country and that they will not be treated differently by their government is essential to who we are.â€ In doing so, he paid homage to a vision that politicians and preachers have extolled for more than two centuriesâ€”that America historically has been a place of religious tolerance. It was a sentiment George Washington voiced shortly after taking the oath of office just a few blocks from Ground Zero.
But is it so? [Rest of article]