Saturday, April 12, 2014

"Let them eat apple pie," Foreigh Policy Review

It’s one of the most famous quotes in history. A
t some point around 1789, 
when being told that her French subjects had no bread, 
Marie-Antoinette (bride of France’s King Louis XVI) 
supposedly sniffed, 
“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”—“Let them eat cake.” 
With that callous remark, the queen became 
a hated symbol of the decadent monarchy 
and fueled the revolution that 
would cause her to (literally) 
lose her head. . . .

 Marie Natoinette

Louie XVI

Louie XVI 178988 french revolution


Let Them Eat Apple Pie
Income inequality in the U.S. is now as bad as it was in aristocratic Europe. Are the bread riots finally coming?
Voice/Fpeign Policy
 Everyone's a convert -- except, of course, for the Republican Party. Congressman Paul Ryan's budget plan (which the GOP-controlled House has now adopted) proposes to cut the top tax rate both for individuals and corporations from 35 percent to 25 percent and to sharply reduce virtually all forms of domestic spending which benefit the poor and even the middle class.

  imagine a scenario in which the Ryan plan would not increase what is already the most unequal distribution of income and wealth in the industrialized world

Per contra:  David Ddaavenoprt, Inconvenient Truths Should Slow The Income Inequality Bandwagon, Forbes

This viral video is right: We need to worry about wealth inequality  Wonkblog, Washingto n Post

In New Tack, I.M.F. Aims at Income Inequality, New York Times

Ms. Lagarde rejects the notion that the I.M.F. didn’t care about income distribution before. She noted that over the last two decades the institution has put emphasis on ensuring that its programs don’t hurt the neediest. The fund’s own research concludes that its programs have increased spending on education and health in poor countries.

Work by Carol Graham and Soumya Chattopadhyay at the Brookings Institution finds that recent episodes of unrest around the world, including the Arab Spring, Brazilian street protests and the uprising in Ukraine, were fueled not by the poor but by a middle class frustrated by a lack of opportunity to progress further.

Carol Graham and Soumya Chattopadhyay | March 7, 2014 11:02am

The Decade of Public Protest and Frustration with Lack of Social Mobility Brookings Institute
This is shaping up to be the decade of protest. From Chile and Brazil to Turkey, Thailand, and Venezuela, riots have broken out and even – as in Ukraine – broken governments. Each protest has its own character, of course: but there are striking similarities among them – and, in particular, among the people participating in them.

The Protestors Are Pessimistic, Not Poor

For one thing, the protests are being led by relatively wealthy people in relatively wealthy countries. The “prototypical” protestor is not a nothing-to-lose risk taker, but middle-aged, middle income, and more educated than the average, falling into the outdated category of “middle class”. He or she has, for the most part, made significant investments in the socio-economic system that she lives in, and yet is pessimistic about opportunities for the future within it. In fact, the protestors look a lot like the upwardly mobile but unhappy “frustrated achievers” around the world I have been tracking for years.

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