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The Morning Grumpy 2/7/2012

7 Feb

All the news and views fit to consume during your morning grumpy.


1. In case you missed it, I’m now accepting nominations for the February edition of the Buffalo Cash Mob. Please nominate your favorite business, preferably a member of Buffalo First! and let’s invest in the businesses that have invested in Buffalo. Need some background on what a cash mob is? Click here.

2. Your politics might be influenced by your biology. Conservatives are more motivated by fear than liberals.

Their political advisers must understand a psychological phenomenon that researchers have been studying for some time now: conservatives appear to be motivated by fear in a way that liberals are not. An expanding body of research suggests that Republicans and Democrats differ on some fundamental level in how they respond to positive and negative stimuli. A new study, published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, adds even more evidence to the theory that these two groups quite literally see the world differently.

Researchers at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln showed people a series of photos — some endearing, some disgusting — and then measured their physiological and cognitive reactions. Conservatives, in keeping with past literature, reacted more strongly to the negative images, and liberals strongly to the positive ones.

It’s science, you can’t argue with that!

3. The Big Lie, rich people don’t create jobs, says multi-millionaire entrepreneur Nick Hanauer, author of The Gardens of of Democracy.

What actually creates jobs, Hanauer says, is not “rich people” or “entrepreneurs,” but the economic ecosystem in which companies are created. The entrepreneur and initial investors provide the “seed” that eventually leads to job-creation, but it is ultimately the company’s customers that provide the demand necessary to support jobs. Without healthy customers, Hanauer says, entrepreneurs and investors can’t create any sustainable jobs, so the idea that rich people create jobs is misguided.

A rotting middle-class, stripped of good jobs, earning potential and capital leads to a collapse in our economy.

4. Why income inequality matters.

During the past 30 years, a growing share of the global economic pie has been taken by the world’s wealthiest people. In the UK and the US, the share of national income going to the top 1% has doubled, setting workforces adrift from economic progress. Today, the world’s 1,200 billionaires hold economic firepower that is equivalent to a third of the size of the American economy.

It is this concentration of income – at levels not seen since the 1920s – that is the real cause of the present crisis.

The effect of this consolidation of economic power is that the two most effective routes out of the crisis have been closed. First, consumer demand – the oxygen that makes economies work – has been choked off. Rich economies have lost billions of pounds of spending power. Secondly, the slump in demand might be less damaging if the winners from the process of upward redistribution – big business and the top 1% – were playing a more productive role in helping recovery. They are not.

But, let’s get those job creators some more tax cuts!

5. Bruce Bartlett, architect of Reaganomics, tells the Republican Party to knock it off with all this Reagan nonsense.

Judging from the candidates’ tax proposals, they seem to believe that the most Reagan-like candidate is the one with the biggest tax cut. But as the person who drafted the 1981 Reagan tax cut, I think Republicans misunderstand the premises upon which Reagan’s economic policies were based and why those policies can’t — and shouldn’t — be replicated today.

Anyone listening?

Fact Of The Day: Francis Bellamy, author of The Pledge of Allegiance, was a socialist. Also, the original pledge reads as follows: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” The “under god” part wasn’t added until 1954 during the red scare.

Quote Of The Day: “The tax which will be paid for the purpose of education is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

Looney Tune Of The Day: “A Sheep In The Deep”, Starring Ralph Wolf and Sam The Sheepdog

Song Of The Day: “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!” – Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds

Follow me on Twitter: @ChrisSmithAV

Email me links, tips, story ideas: chrissmithbuffalo[@]