Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Rank Fallacies of Willis Hart #1: Bernie Sanders Never Said The Economy Is A Fixed Pie

This post concerns an 8/22/2015 commentary by the Libertarian blogger Willis Hart in which he calls out Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders for a number of supposed "fallacies".

Problem is, instead of giving any "rank fallacies", Willis either lies (by attributing views to Bernie Sanders he has never expressed) or by insisting that ideological differences equate to a "fallacy" (Bernie doesn't agree with Willis' Libertarian views because Bernie Sanders isn't a Libertarian).

The first of these phony "rank fallacies" as follows.

Willis Hart: The Rank Fallacies of Bernie Sanders... a) That the economy is a fixed pie and that the only real question is how to divvy it up. (8/22/2015 AT 3:13pm)

Bernie Sanders has never said these words. I'm guessing that Willis believes Bernie Sanders speaking against the sky-high pay of some individuals is the same as saying the economy is a fixed pie? It isn't. Bernie Sanders opposes people taking a bigger slice of the GROWING pie than they deserve. Everyone knows that the US economy grows. When it shrinks that's called a recession, and when it doesn't grow that's stagnation.

But Willis scoffs at the idea that sky-high CEO pay reduces worker pay. According to Hart, "in the larger scope of things [the high pay is]... exceedingly insignificant". But Willis is wrong.

Paying a CEO an exorbitant amount of money does not magically increase the size of the "pie", it naturally (and logically) leaves less money for the workers. When you consider that CEO pay has grown 90 times faster than typical worker pay since 1978 (according to a 7/1/2015 EPI article, these individuals are OBVIOUSLY taking an increasingly larger size of the pie.

So, even though the pie is growing, some are taking a larger slice of that growth than others. That the pie is being divvied up unfairly is what Bernie Sanders is saying! Further proof that this is what is happening is the fact "that in 2009 and 2010, the first year of the current recovery the one percent captured 93% of the income growth".

According to a FED survey of consumer finances, the gap between rich and poor Americans widened during the recovery.

Average... pretax income for the wealthiest 10% of U.S. families rose 10% in 2013 from 2010, but families in the bottom 40% saw their average inflation-adjusted income decline over that period. (Fed: Gap Between Rich, Poor Americans Widened During Recovery by Ben Leubsdorf. 8/4/2014 The Wall Street Journal).

Bernie Sanders has NEVER said the economy doesn't grow. He has never said "the economy is a fixed pie and that the only real question is how to divvy it up". This is one of Willis Hart's infamous strawman.

The United States is the world's largest economy. Yet, in the last two decades... its growth rates have been decreasing. If in the 50's and 60's the average growth rate was above 4 percent, in the 70's and 80's dropped to around 3 percent. In the last ten years, the average rate has been below 2 percent... (Trading Economics).

The rate of growth has been steadily decreasing, while salaries for those at the upper end have been increasing at a MUCH faster rate than the salaries of everyone else. And, since the recession "ended", the wealthy (who saw their incomes go down... as EVERYONE'S did) have recovered (they got 93% of the income growth), while those at the bottom have seen their incomes go down.

Bernie Sanders is RIGHTLY concerned about this. For Willis to call this concern a "rank fallacy" is proof of Hart's rank stoogery in supporting the Libertarian oligarchy-serving fallacy of dismissing the ever-increasing wealth divide.

An example of an ACTUAL statement by Bernie Sanders... as opposed to words suck in his mouth by the lying strawman-loving Willis Hart?

Bernie Sanders: The issue of wealth and income inequality, to my mind, is the great moral issue of our time. It is the great economic issue of our time and it is the great political issue of our time. (Excerpt from a 7/1/2015 speech in Madison Wisconsin at the Alliant Energy Center before an estimated at 10k people).

In regards to this ACTUAL statement concerning income inequality (not fixed pies), PolitiFacts says "mostly true".

Politifact: [Sanders'] claim repeats a finding from a study by two internationally known economists that were supported by two other major economists we contacted. But the study has been criticized, for example, for not including Social Security in the wealth calculations. For a claim that is accurate but needs additional information, a rating is Mostly True. (Bernie Sanders, in Madison, claims top 0.1% of Americans have almost as much wealth as bottom 90%).

A rating of "mostly true" is leagues away from a "rank fallacy", you liar Willis! This is why the Hartster's claim of "rank fallacy" gets a rating of "strawman-pants-on-fire" from me.

Image: French economist Thomas Piketty has warned that unfettered capitalism will lead to even more grotesque wealth inequality because returns on investments like stocks and real estate - stuff the wealthy own - generally outpace economic growth and wages. That warning is looking more and more like a reality in the US, which has seen much more of its income growth going to its top 1 percent of earners in recent decades than any other developed country.

OST #68

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