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"We Don't Need Monet—We Need Money"


The blue civil war is getting heated in Detroit, pitting blue collar workers and pensioners against the wealthier blue state arts-and-culture set. Reuters is reporting that some union leaders are calling for the liquidation of the Detroit Institute of Art in order to protect pensions. Choice quotes:

Mark Young, president of the Detroit Lieutenants and Sergeants Association, which represents about 500 mid-level managers in Detroit’s police department, said art should not outweigh workers, whose pensions and benefits are likely to face big cuts as Detroit restructures.

“The Van Gogh must go,” said Young. “We don’t need Monet – we need money.”

Gentry liberals—university profs, cutting edge art mavens, foundation executives—like to think of themselves as the key, leading members in the blue coalition. But as the money runs out and the civil war heats up, there’s a tendency to throw the gentry liberals under the bus. This has been happening for years now when it comes to the battles over university education in states, as funds for higher ed keep getting cut back. The fight over paying pensions versus hanging on to Van Goghs brings this tendency to the fore.

The article notes that the museum has readied itself for a protracted legal battle, should Detroit’s emergency manager Kevin Orr try to sell the art. It has retained a fancy bankruptcy lawyer and has been saving for months to fund legal costs. This fight looks like it’s going to get ugly.

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  • bpuharic

    WRM himself noted that TX, OK, LA, MS and other red states have pension problems similar to Detroit.

    Those states are right to work states.

    Guess the narrative doesn’t fit his view of unions so he doesn’t discuss them

    • Thirdsyphon

      I was actually stunned to find my deep blue home state of New York close to the very bottom of that list, nestled between Iowa and Idaho. That doesn’t fit WRM’s narrative either.
      How the heck did New York, with its Norway-like social safety net, ever manage that? You’d think it would be a topic worth looking into in some depth.

      • bpuharic

        You’re poking a stick in the bee’s nest by bringing up the facts. That’s not permitted.

      • Tom

        I can answer that question: Wall Street and all the resident old money.
        You can get away with a lot when you’ve got the financial capital of the world in your state.

        • Ritchie The Riveter

          True … it is similar to how we got away with imposing the Blue Social model between 1945 and 1970, because we were the 800-lb gorilla in the world economy after WWII … and like the Euros got away with their socialist experiments for so long, because we were there with our treasure (and a little blood) to make sure they weren’t annexed into the Soviet health care system, and had the extra money to conduct those experiments.

          • bpuharic

            The right uses the word ‘socialist’ like a prostitute uses the word ‘love’.

            Neither means anything.

    • Ritchie The Riveter

      You might take a look at who were the Powers That Be when the pensions were instituted … While those states are conservative overall, many of their large cities suffer from the same Democrat governance that took Detroit down.

      • bpuharic

        Uh…you have a problem

        WRM’s chart is by STATE, not CITY

        I realize you’re right wing and evidence means nothing. Rush (PBUH) is the Sole Source of Truth.

        But facts DO mean something to some of us.

        You’re engaged in what’s called special pleading. AKA whining.

        • Ritchie The Riveter

          You’re the one with the problem. The problems of a city within the state, is a problem for the state … ask the government of Michigan bout that.

          “special pleading” … isn’t that special?

          Face it, parrot, you are supporting a fundamentally-flawed paradigm of governance, and more and more people are going to see it as it shows itself to be UNSUSTAINABLE.

          OTOH, what I support leaves people free to find their own solutions, instead of having to accept the “solutions” of the “experts” you blindly worship …

          … wanna cracker?

          • bpuharic

            Sorry puppy. 80 percent of Americans are in urban areas, most in the south run by the right. And states set policy, not cities. So the RED states are in trouble

            But you keep lapping up the Wall Street Kool aid.

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            Wrong … cities have a LOT of latitude in setting policies.

            And the cities where most of that population resides are overwhelmingly run by …. Democrats.

            Houston and Dallas – swings between Democrat and GOP, with their dysfunctional inner cities overwhelmingly Democratic.

            New Orleans – run by Democrats for years.

            St. Louis – run by Democrats for years.

            Chicago – run by Democrats for years.

            Detroit – run by Democrats, since before my father was born.

            OTOH, look at NYC – which has cleaned up its act in recent years, under principled, responsible mayors like the Democrat Koch and the Republican Guiliani … despite the combination of a city council loaded with Progressives and access to a tax base fueled by the easy money from – guess where – Wall Street.

            That combination is a lot like the combination between a junkie and his heroin.

          • bpuharic

            Unfortunately for your argument, most southern cities are run by conservative GOP. As are most states. And the states are in trouble. States, believe it or not, have governments. ANd WRM’s charts show the Red states…no unions…are in trouble. Red cities…no unions…are in trouble. COnservatives are in trouble

            Thanks for playing.

          • Tom

            Look at an electoral map by county instead of by state sometime. The big cities in the South vote…Democrat. And are most often run by…Democrats.

          • bpuharic

            If that were true they’d be blue states

            They’re conservative and red. THeir policies are a failure

          • Tom

            Or it could be that the big cities don’t dominate state politics down south like they do in the north.
            You’re from Pennsylvania: Philadelphia on one end, Pittsburgh on the other, Alabama in the middle.
            If those cities were smaller, PA would be red.
            That is the situation that obtains down south.

  • Thirdsyphon

    It’s not just the DIA that’s retained fancy bankruptcy lawyers. (Although probably still not as fancy as Detroit’s emergency manager, Kevyn Orr).
    This fight is definitely going to get ugly, and if major American museums stay out of the bidding for fear of sullying their hands, it’s a safe bet that all the really good stuff is going to end up in Dubai. That’s assuming, of course, that the DIA’s collection actually ends up being sold in the first place.
    We can expect the heirs of major donors like Robert Hudson Tannahill to argue that he didn’t part with his most prized possessions just so they could wind up hanging in some *other* rich collector’s house. . . and the city’s argument that the art is held by the city “in trust,” while it might not be that strong objectively, might at least give a Bankruptcy Court judge an out if he’s looking for an excuse to preserve the collection.
    I still maintain that the DIA should be using this time to obsessively photograph and 3D-map every last object in their collection, so that at least the virtual equivalents of these pieces can remain available to the public.

  • Fat_Man

    Does Detroit actually own the assets in question? Or is the Museum a separate corporation?

  • USNK2

    Some clever private equity person, maybe someone born in Detroit, should structure an IPO to turn the Detroit Institute of Arts into a private corporation. The proceeds of the IPO go to the City of Detroit’s restructuring.

    Otherwise, the art auction market would find very depressed prices for an wholesale art sale from DIA, and America would lose one of it’s top 5 public art museums.

    • Thirdsyphon

      That’s not a bad idea. . . although I’d prefer to see the museum taken over by a private 401(c)(3) than a for-profit corporation with regular shareholders. Unless the DIA’s attendance were to spike dramatically, the corporation you’re proposing would mostly exist to generate shareholder revenue by selling off the DIA’s collection piecemeal rather than all at once, to avoid glutting the art market. While that’s a good way to maximize the ultimate price the pieces sell at, all the benefits of this model would accrue to the newly-formed company and its shareholders, and not to the people of Detroit.

      • USNK2

        Thank you Thirdsyphon for clarifying what I meant by an IPO for the DIA. I never meant it to be a for-profit endeavour, but as a non-profit whose shareholders are all the affluent people who want to sustain DIA as intact as possible. I read somewhere that three of Detroit’s suburban counties had voted for property tax increases dedicated to making DIA’s annual operating costs sustainable, not dependent on the municipal budget.
        Peter Schjeldahl at The New Yorker had a blog post that peaked my interest, and I went to the DIA website, and even a brief online visit made it clear that DIA is a core asset for everyone in a 100-mile radius of Detroit.
        Having grown up in Miami, Florida, without an art museum, I know what a difference it makes to any city, even small ones.
        In 2011, Tuscaloosa, Alabama discovered another 29 paintings had been removed for auction AFTER the iconic keystone of the collection, Asher B. Durand’s 1853 “Progress” had already been sold for $40+ million (and no one knows to who!)
        Much of the Warner collection was still privately owned by a family-owned corporation. It was/is a tragedy because Jack Warner had spent 40 years creating the finest collection of American art ever, but his son wanted the cash for the company.
        Fortunately, Jack still owns part of the collection (possibly now in litigation), and I was able to see a travelling exhibit of it at the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut in 2011.
        I am glad I was able to see “Progress” at the MetMuseum in NYC, and in Tuscaloosa, before it disappeared, most likely to a foreign buyer.

  • Tom Servo

    I would love to see them sell it! And I would really love to see all the limousine liberals swallow their tongues and let their eyes roll back into their heads when they go to the cities down in Texas who’ve got the spare money to load up on this stuff! HA ha!!!

    • bpuharic

      TX has the highest percentage of minimum wage workers in the US

      So where do you think all those rich folks got their money?

      • Tom Servo

        Texas has the highest number of Mexican immigrants in the US (except maybe for California) so who do you think is working all those jobs? But Obama says that’s just great and we need even more and there’s nothing that the State can do to stop it, so who’s fault is that?

        • bpuharic

          Illegals don’t work for minimum wage. See those words? Minimum wage? That applies to legal workers. And it’s the GOP that led the fight to let businesses hire illegals at bargain basement rates.

          And if ‘immigrants’ are working for minimum wage, again that merely proves TX is unable to raise wages for workers.

          • Jeff Jones

            Raising wages with government force only knocks the bottom rung off the ladder of success. Not all jobs are meant to provide a living. The jobs my family and I had as teenagers couldn’t possible have provided for a family. I made $500 for the whole summer working at University of Houston in the mid 80s. That job, like many entry level jobs, was meant to provide experience, which it did, NOT a living.

          • bpuharic

            Liberals argue evidence. Conservatives argue anecdote. It seems to be a consistent pattern.

            The fact the US has the lowest social mobility and greatest inequality in the western world indicates we do NOT have a free market in labor. Thus, as Adam Smith indicated, we need govt action to determine why those who’ve tripled their income in the last 30 years (the 1%) have held down the wages of the middle cllass

            We need to return to free market capitalism vs the right wing socialism of the rich.

          • Jeff Jones

            > Liberals argue evidence. Conservatives argue anecdote.

            Broken record. Only you buy that here.

            > (the 1%) have held down the wages of the middle cllass

            [Laugh] Why is this not happening to me? I’m part of the middle class and seem to be doing just fine by them.

          • bpuharic

            Remarkably enough, there are 140,000,000 middle class Americans who aren’t you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            To a conservative, the world revolves around his narcissistic view of himself.

            It’s arrogance married to ideology

          • Jeff Jones

            > 140,000,000 middle class Americans who aren’t you!

            No kidding. But, a great many of them do not agree with you. You don’t speak for 140 million people, which is almost half of the country. If you did, there would be more people coming to your defense here. So far, I have only seen one person say anything that even remotely comported with your repetitive ideological nonsense.

          • bpuharic

            Ever get the idea talking with a right winger is like talking to a corpse? No perception at all.

            Hey genius. I’m not ‘speaking’ for anyone. Not a single person. Not one

            I’m presenting the statistical facts. And that’s what has you confused. To the right wing, facts don’t matter. The water cooler matters. Rush (PBUH) matters.

            Facts? Who needs ’em. You have your myths, your right wing fantasies about the way things work

            Notice what’s missing from your position? Facts. Data. Evidence. That’s why liberals argue evidence and conservatives argue anecdotes

            As to being popular here, WRM’s readership is almost exclusively extremist far radical right wing. Of course no one defends me here.

            The right hates facts

          • Jeff Jones

            [Laugh] It doesn’t matter what you say about right wing this and right wing that. Conservative fiscal principles will prevail in the end because liberal ones rely on taking from one person and giving to someone else at the discretion of politicized bureaucrats.

            There are not enough rich people on the planet to fund what you want. So, the left will once again hammer the middle class with its redistribution, because that is where the real money is.

            As WRM has written at length, the blue model will continue to erode and smaller government will replace it. The university system will implode due to high tuition and online competition, and liberal professors will out of jobs. The mainstream media will continue to hemorrhage money and will be forced into either mergers or management (and policy) changes. And, stimulus packages will continue to fail because it takes so long to navigate the building permit process that most of the projects never get off the ground.

            As all of this plays out at once, a portion of the liberal democrats’ constituencies will abandon them.

            I’m not saying the left will disappear, but your current strongholds will be in jeopardy.

            This is my final response on this blog entry. You have the last word, which I am sure you will take.

          • bpuharic

            Conservatives are socialists. They are socialists for the rich. Proof?

            Busting of labor unions
            Lowest capital gains taxes in 6 decades
            CEO pay at record highs
            Corporate profits at record highs
            Financial sector profits as percentage of corporate profits at record high


            19 trillion dollars lost in 1 year

            8 million jobs lost


            So we tried the socialist way…the conservative way…the way of protecting the rich at all costs.

            It failed

            Dream on, socialist.

            The people most in favor of ‘smaller govt’?

            Bank robbers. Thugs. Rapists.

            A criminal will always be in favor of smaller govt

            The conservative way is the way of the criminal.

          • Thirdsyphon

            You *do* realize that this counts as “arguing anecdote,” I trust.

        • Pete

          Tom, don’t feed the troll

      • koblog

        At least they have jobs that pay minimum wage. How many minimum wage jobs does Detroit offer? What is Detroit’s unemployment rate compared to Texas?

        • bpuharic

          By all means let’s turn the US into a 3rd world country like TX

          • Ritchie The Riveter

            Tell it to the tech professionals in Austin and DFW, where the power of personal initiative has not been suppressed the way it has in Detroit.

            Been there, done that … I’ve worked there, parrot …

            … wanna cracker?

          • bpuharic

            Puppy love for Wall Street. Touching!

          • Jeff Jones

            Liking DFW and Austin does has little to do with loving Wall Street.

          • Jeff Jones

            > a 3rd world country like TX

            Those of us who actually live in Texas know this assertion you keep making is utter B.S. If things are so horrible here, why are people staying? There are no laws forcing people to stay in Texas.

          • bpuharic

            I lived for 2 years in Farmersville, sport. I know TX

            People are moving in because the right has destroyed so many jobs the only ones left are minimum wage

            Like those in TX.

          • Jeff Jones

            So leave Detroit the way it is to keep it from at least creating lower wage jobs. Brilliant.

            Let’s ask Detroit residents what they would prefer if given a choice between the status quo and your false vision of Texas.

          • bpuharic

            Hey look.. TX has the highest percentage of minimum wage workers, just like I said:


            Facts, my dear boy. It’s what the right hates.

    • Thirdsyphon

      I can just see Governor Perry going on local television to announce that he’s investing billions of TX taxpayer dollars “to bring a truly first-class collection of fine art to Houston at long last.”
      I’m reminded of an El Paso salsa commercial from a few years back where a bunch of cowboys are relaxing for dinner around a crackling campfire when the cook proposes that they eat some salsa “made in New York City!” There’s lengthy pause. . . and then a voice intones grimly: “Get a rope.”

      • Tom Servo

        It would be even funnier if Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban teamed up to buy them – they REALLY know how to piss people off!!!

        (and they would do it, too!)

        • Thirdsyphon

          They would if they could, but I don’t think they have the net worth to do something like this just to make a statement. One obnoxious, meddlesome billionaire who *does* have that kind of money, though, is Michael Bloomberg. . . and the more I think about it, the more I realize how perfectly something like this would fit his style.

      • USNK2

        Houston already has a world-class art museum, and many others, not counting all the fine museums in Dallas-Fort Worth, and others.

        “Located in the heart of Houston’s Museum District, the MFAH is a dynamic cultural complex comprising two gallery buildings, a sculpture garden, visitors center, library, café, movie theater, two art schools, two house museums, and two gift shops.”

        • werewife

          MFA Houston used to have a perfect James Turrell skyscape. It was ruined by an unanticipated skyscraper a couple of years ago. Sigh. Now I have one less entry on my bucket list.

  • kgelner

    Is it terribly picky to point out the picture lead to this article is not Monet, but a Van Gogh – and a self portrait at that?

    • koblog

      The quote was, in part “the Van Gogh must go…,” so it’s appropriate.

  • Barbara Smith

    But if they sell off the collection, then our tax bills in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties should go down. We voted a levy last year to help fund the DIA. I sure won;t continue to pay the tax if ANY of the collection is sold.

  • koblog

    Sadly, selling what’s left of the assets will only go so far to save Detroit. They’re already selling houses for $1, and getting no takers. (The nation’s highest property taxes and the likelihood you’ll get robbed the first day you move in don’t help.)

    But Detroit is America writ small: we could sell all the assets of all the millionaires and all the billionaires and all the art galleries and museums and it would fund the Federal government’s gaping maw of debt for only a few days.

    We, like Detroit, are well and truly broke.

    But take heart! Taxpayers will be paying for Congressional and their staffers’ Obamacare, as is only right.

  • GunAwesomeSauce

    The answer to all of these problems is to not have long term pension obligations, but 401k-type programs so that the city’s only obligation is this year’s budget. Once paid, it is in the name of the worker and the city no longer has to worry about it.

    And I know someone will chime in and say “but but defined-benefit blah blah blah”. 401k’s don’t have the problem that you are constantly dependent on the future good fortunes of the company. The money is paid to you now and is now in your name for you to manage (within the constraints of a 401k). You are no longer dependent on the city’s tax base.

    • pp91303

      401k’s also incentivize people to work. Defined benefit pensions, especially like the ridiculously generous kind given to public employees in California (most workers can retire in the 50’s with 90% of their highest salary rate for life in addition to health care benefits). Why would anyone work one day past the first day they are eligible for their pension benefits? Public employees should have to work until they are 67 (at least). They have almost absolute job security so they have less stress than the tax payers who are paying their salaries.

      Idaho is full of thousands of retired LAPD and LAFD public unionists living large on 90% of their already overgenerous pay when they were working. And they get the added benefit of living in a red state with a significantly lower cost of living. Californians are paying for a bunch of 50 and 60 somethings to live another 30-35 years on a sweet vacation. Meanwhile, school districts like LA Unified are eliminating arts, music and other kinds of instruction.

      • bpuharic

        Theyve been a failure

        It”s ridiculous to presume the middle class could save for its own retirement and proof is that almost no one does. In addition, those of us who WERE stupid enough to save over the last 30 years saw our savings wiped out via Wall Street greed.

        These were another gimmick by the wealthy to plunder the middle class and it worked

        • pp91303

          And if the middle class is unable to save for its own retirement, how do you expect them to provide for the retirement of others?

          That’s the whole point. Public employee pensions are paid for by tax payers and the middle class by far pays more federal and state income taxes than any other group. If these overgenerous pensions are going to be paid for, they will be paid for by the middle class more than any other segment of society. The only thing that can be done is for people to provide for their own retirement and for them to work as hard and long as they can. They should not be guaranteed a 30 year vacation that, in many instances, will be as long or longer than the time they spent working at the job that gave them the pension benefit.

          • bpuharic

            As Robert Reich has pointed out, if we had the same income distribution profile 1976-2007 as we did 1949-1976 median income would not be fifty thou, it would be 90K

            The 1 percent tripled their income in the last 30 years while middle class incomes were stagnant

            What do you think middle class retirement benefits would look like if middle class incomes were 70 percent higher than they are now?

            THAT is one of the consequences of the right wing war on the middle class

            The 1 percent has taken care of themselves at the cost of redistributing income. Socialism for the rich. Capitalism for the middle class

          • GunAwesomeSauce

            Whatever. If you want to invest your 401k into treasuries instead of the stock market, go ahead and do so. I can do that with my 401k right now if I wanted to.

            The point is that you can’t expect the middle class taxpayers to be hit up for the next 30 years for the retirement cost of the city workers, especially if they were not in any hazardous jobs. The more the middle class is hit up to pay for the retirement costs of the city workers, the less they have to save for themselves.

            I suppose the next answer is that “well, then go after the 1% more”. Two problems with that.

            One, there aren’t enough rich people to hit up to pay everyone’s retirement cost.

            And two, your philosophy is morally wrong to begin with. You seem to think that everybody’s money belongs to “society” (whoever that is) first and foremost, instead of themselves. Whether it is a 1% or 99% person, the true American founding ideal and the only true moral philosophy is that your money is yours first and foremost, and the government may only rightly take what it needs to protect your life and the rest of your private property. Any more taken than that is morally wrong, no matter what the vote is.

          • bpuharic

            We lost 19 trillion in equity in the last recession. The right’s response?

            Banks are too heavily regulated. THey need more deregulation.

            We bailed out the wealthy to the tunes of trillions

            The conservative response? Silence

            But when the cities go bankrupt because the rest of the economy is in the tank? Conservatives get hysterical blaming unions

            Even though SOUTHERN states, with NO unions are going bankrupt too

            So yeah. Let’s continue to blast the middle class. Saves us from having to criticize Wall Street Masters of the Universe.

          • GunAwesomeSauce

            The conservative response was to start electing Tea Party members because conservatives saw the corruption of the Republican party, especially in the bailouts. The Tea Party was formed just as much against Republican corruption as much as Democrats. Now you understand the fight going on within the Republican party. Now you understand why people like Justin Amash and John McCain don’t get along.

          • bpuharic

            The TP is a lunatic fringe ultra right wing group of traditional GOP voters who just call themselves another name.

            I call them another name too, but I’m polite and don’t post it here.

          • richard40

            The tea Party is the only group in the nation now that completely opposes the kind of crony capitalism and bailouts that you have been constantly been complaining about, whil at the same time wanting to extend those wrongheaded bailouts to everybody else that asks. I have noticed that every time some leftie rails against the tea party, they never rail against the real positions of the tea party, only some bizarre leftie characterization of it.

          • bpuharic

            Which is why they’re in favor of banking deregulation, the Citizens United decision, deregulating campaign spending limits, etc.

            They believe in 1 dollar, 1 vote.

            So yes, I just railed against the TP delusions.

          • richard40

            Don’t blame that crony capitalism on the right, since Obama and the dems supported it as well. Certainly do not blame it on the libertarian right, and the tea parties, who were the only ones that opposed the bailouts you are complaining about. Once again, if you don’t like the bailouts of the rich, then end them, I will applaud you. But the answer to one wrong policy, bailouts for the rich, is not do do the same wrong policy, bailouts, for everybody else that asks.

          • bpuharic

            THe right believes in 1 dollar, 1 vote. They’ve gutted campaign finance laws, invented the ‘corporate person’ fiction and made it easier for lobbyists to buy elections.

            And proof of the complete UFO type delusions of the TP is they opposed the bailoutts while favoring the policies that LED to the NEED for the bailouts

            Folks you can’t make this stuff up. The TP is actually trying to tell us they understand economics even though it was THEIR ECONOMICS that led to the meltdown.

          • Jeff Jones

            > THe right believes in 1 dollar, 1 vote.

            And the left believes in 1 cadaver, one vote. So there you have it.

          • bpuharic

            That doesn’t even make sense

          • richard40

            The 2 main causes of the housing collapse, fannie mae, and the community redevelopment act, were both both big gov interferences in the market, opposed by typical tea party supporters. Of course lefties like you prefer to lei and say the housing crisis, caused by bad gov policy, was in reality caused by the free market.

          • bpuharic

            Wrong, but certainly good talking points for Rush (PBUH)

            First, it was the derivatives market, not the housing market that caused the collapse. Wall Street, not main street did this

            Proof? Let’s look at evidence

            Home ownership has been constant at about 65% over the last 30 years.

            What WASN”T constant was credit default swaps. Between 1997 and 2007 they increased by

            20,000%. That’s no typo.

            20,000% after right wing ideology led to deregulation.

            sixty two TRILLION dollars in CDS’s were sold in 2007.

            So go ahead right wing. Regurgitate Rush’s (PBUH) talking points

            I have the facts. You have nothing.

          • GunAwesomeSauce

            Forgot to say, you missed the part where a 401k is actually more secure because you are not tied to the destiny of one entity. Look at all of the Enron pensioners. The company died and they were all screwed.

            A 401k is beneficial to the individual because the money is in your name now and you can invest it as you wish. If the company you worked for goes under, or you are Detroit and the city goes under, it doesn’t really matter because the money has already been transferred to you.

          • bpuharic

            Which, I suppose, is why the middle class hasn’t used them, and which is why they lost about 40 percent of value in the recent recession

            But have no fear! The 1 percent actually gained in the last 2 years while middle class assets have dropped.The wealthy continue to drive inequality to record heights.

            Those conservative policies are working great.

          • GunAwesomeSauce

            What do you mean the middle class hasn’t used them? They are a relatively new invention. Wikipedia says 1978.

            You said earlier that there is socialism for the rich and capitalism from everyone else. The answer to your problem is to have free markets for everyone. Not enact socialism on everyone.

            Socialism destroys the middle class because the middle class doesn’t get to keep their own money. It is taken by the government at gunpoint to be redistributed to others on the promise that later someone else will get taken from to give back to you. Or Person A takes Person B’s money, but then Person A promises that later Person B can take from Person C.

            Socialism is just everyone stealing from everybody else at the same time. Everyone is a criminal and victim at the same time. One big societal circle jerk.

          • bpuharic

            Oh look, the communist newspaper the “Wall Street Journal” says the middle class isn’t saving enough for retirement:


            30 years? That’s a career’s lifetime.

            The right takes money from the middle class and bankrolls the rich when THEY gamble with THEIR money, as they did in the TARP program. The rich can’t lose.They make money…they keep it. THey lose money…the middle class bails ’em out.

            Thanks Conservatives.You socialists are the best friends the rich can have

          • richard40

            The solution for crony capitalism for the rich, which Obama also does regularly, is not to go to socialism for everybody, but to end crony capitalism for the rich.

          • bpuharic

            Agreed. But the right wing has decided that in America it’s 1 dollar, 1 vote. The rich have the right to buy elections


          • richard40

            You are aware that Obama got more money from big money types in Wall Street, Hollywood, and Silicon Valley, than the repubs right? So who exactly is selling out this nation to rich cronies.

          • bpuharic

            You’re aware that was true in 2008 but not in 2012, when Wall Street put a Wall Street banker up for president, right?

            Oh…you’re not.


          • GunAwesomeSauce

            So, you don’t like socialists either, because they take from you at government gunpoint for their benefit. Good, now you just have to complete that thought and also say that you can’t take from them at government gunpoint for your benefit either.

            TARP bared no resemblance to any true conservative program, because it is a socialist program just like you said. Letting Lehman fail was a true conservative position. Unfortunately, that wasn’t allowed to continue to clear out and punish all of the bad actors.

            Like I said earlier, the Republican party has some socialist corruption in its ranks and that is a lot of what the infighting is about in the Republican party.

          • bpuharic

            TARP was a conservative program. The fact conservatives are socialists for the rich?

            That’s just something you’ll have to deal with

          • bpuharic

            By the way…this post shows the economic illiteracy of the far right

            What happened when Lehman collapsed?

            Credit markets froze. Liquidity dried up. The economy ground to a halt. Had this continued, we would have had the greatest depression in US history

            But to the American right wing, no disaster in history is more important than demonstrating how perfect their failed view of economics is.


          • GunAwesomeSauce

            So according to you, first TARP is socialist and then it’s conservative. You criticize TARP for being a socialist program that steals money from the middle class to give to the rich, and now you praise it.

            You are espousing two mutually exclusive positions here.

          • bpuharic

            See you can’t look at evidence objectively. that’s WHY you’re a conservative. Recent studies have shown that the leading predictor of whether someone is liberal or conservative is how authoritarian they are. the more authoritarian you are, you more likely are to be right wing.

            Yes, conservatives are socialists. It’s a point made by, inter alia, Joseph Stiglitz, who’s pointed out that, where the rich are concerned, the right is socialist about risk and capitalist about reward.

            The right believes we should bankroll the rich. Lower taxes, tax subsidies, and protection programs like TARP are all conservative programs to protect the rich

            So yes, conservatives are socialists

            As long as you have enough money

          • GunAwesomeSauce

            Who is “we” in your comment there?

            So if you have lower taxes, and they also have lower taxes, somehow you are bankrolling them? How is keeping your own money and them keeping theirs translating into “you bankrolling them”?

            And please inform me of how I am authoritarian when I want less government intrusion in everyone’s life, including yours?

            If you must know, I consider myself classic liberal, which is “liberal” as understood around the time of the founding, not the inverted meaning that is around today. Somewhere between conservative and libertarian in modern politics.

            Your problem is that you don’t really think that the rich stealing from others is wrong morally. You are only mad that you aren’t in on it.

            I consider all of it wrong, no matter who is receiving and who is doing the taking. Socialism is wrong in all its forms.

            The government’s only correct role is basically police and military to punish criminals and repel foreign invaders, and for that they can charge the taxes to cover those services which equally apply to everybody. Other than that, it becomes stealing from one government-defined more favorable group to give to another government-defined less favorable group, depending on the arbitrary whims of who is in power.

          • bpuharic

            Yeah we’re bankrolling them because we all have to pay for living in this society and there’s no reason a billionaire should have lower taxes than I do, when he lobbys and buys elections specifically to do that.

            You want more intrusion into everyone’s life, specifically pushing the myth that social advancement in the US is due to hard work

            It’s not. The US has the lowest social mobility of any western country. So we DO have intrusion into our lives, regardless of whether it’s govt or corporate power.

            That’s how revolutions starts.

            And you don’t mind the rich stealing from anyone…including you. You’re the bank robber who lobbies to make bank robbery legal. And you invent fairy tales to justify it.

            Supply side economics is a fraud.

          • Guest

            And it’s funny calling the leftist side “less authoritarian”. Have you me

          • richard40

            I am middle class, and I used 401k’s a lot. The middle class error was investing too much savings in housing, and not enough in stocks.

          • bpuharic

            Do we need any more proof that the right wing is deluded. Truly in need of institutionalization?

            How many middle class people can afford to invest in stocks


        • richard40

          Our savings were not wiped out by wall street greed. The stock market has completely recovered from the 2008 losses. in fact their has never been any 10 yr period where the stock market has lost money, since any short term dips always recover within a few years. And if you are paranoid that workers are too stupid to save, maybe you were, but I was not, then simply make a mandatory 401k employer contribution.

          • bpuharic

            401k’s have not recovered, while the 1 percent, which lives and dies on stocks, HAS recovered. Middle class equity is worth less today than it was in 2007 while 1 percent equity is about fifteen percent higher.

            Typical conservative; you call the middle class stupid.

            Me? I look at evidence. The fact the middle class hasn’t had a pay raise in 30 years. The fact we have to save for pensions, for healthcare, for college for the kids, for mortgages and SOMEHOW the right thinks we STILL have enough to sock away tens of thousands in stock plans

            THe right is completely delusional. Which is why they’re right wing

          • richard40

            My 401k’s have recovered, and I am not in the 1%. The middle class equity crash you cite was driven mainly by the crash in housing prices, which has not yet recovered. But the stock market is completely back to 2008 levels, and slightly better, so anybody who invested in a broadly based 401k should be ok. And your riff on the 1% was mostly nonsense, in the 2008 crash they lost just as high of a % of their savings as anybody else did.

          • bpuharic

            No one cares about your Reader’s Digest anecdotes. That’s the difference between liberals and conservatives. We argue evidence. You argue just so stories.

            Only 60 percent of workers are even COVERED by 401k’s. And the average size is less than 100K

            So tell me how you retire on 100K.

            And the 1 percent have not only recovered but actually gained ground at the expense of the middle class.

            And, of course, they didn’t lose their jobs and their homes like the middle class did while we were bailing them out.

            The right is convinced the biggest civil rights battle in history is the one to liberate the rich from the middle class

          • richard40

            Actually 60% coverage is pretty good, especially since may workers are young and part time, and may not even be remotely thinking about retirement or 401k’s. As for the average size, that is an individual choice. Personally this middle class person chose to save about 10% of my salary in 401k’s, and they are now a lot more than 100k. And even less workers have Detroit city gov style pensions. In any event, the pay as you go feature of 401k’s clearly makes them much less risky, and therefore superior. And I notice you have not refuted my point that the stock market completely recovered from 2008, and thus any 401k invested in it has also recovered.

          • bpuharic

            Actually it’s pretty dismal since that means 40 percent don’t have ANY retirement at all except social security

            But that’s the middle class. Only in America is 40 percent failure seen as ‘pretty good’

            ANd no one can retire on 100K

            ANd how can a retirement plan, in the stock market be ‘less risky’ when few have recovered even to the 100K level?

            the plan is a failure But it made alot of Wall STreet folks wealthy

            And if you’re right wing you’d say that’s pretty good

          • richard40

            Even if your company does not offer a 401k, you can still save part of your salary and invest it in stocks, as I also did, and some of that is also deductible with the IRA provisions. And if you say 60% 401k’s is not enough, are you also aware that the % of people getting the kind of lavish pensions you cite are even less.
            Basically any sensible person should save about 10% of their salary for retirement, by 401k if their company offers one, or otherwise just set aside part of their pay. And don’t tell me that nobody in this country can live on 10% less to save for retirement, the problem is not that they cant, but they wont.

          • bpuharic

            That you would suggest such a thing merely shows how out of touch the American right wing is

            Median income in America is fifty K. On that you’re supposed to

            pay your mortgage
            Pay your bills
            Pay for your kids
            Pay for college

            and STILL save enough for retirement?

            GO ahead keep blaming the middle class for the hosing it took to support Wall Street socialism.

          • richard40

            Actually most of the families in my extended family make about 50k or even less. The secret is you don’t live like you are making 70k when you are only making 50. When you are making 50k you live on 45, and save the other 5.

          • bpuharic

            No one cares about your Reader’s Digest anecdotes.

            Liberals argue evidence. Conservatives argue anecdotes

            I’m talking about the statistical distribution of income and 401k programs among the US middle class

            Not your hairdresser.

      • richard40

        Two big bennies, one which helps workers, and one which helps the cities.
        1. They are pay as you go, so cities and companies cant go broke by overpromising on pensions they cant afford later, since the funding is due immediately, not promised later.
        2. The 401k belongs to the worker, so they don’t have to worry about losing it if the city or company goes broke.

  • shenanniganist

    The telling bit: they have “retained a fancy bankruptcy lawyer and [have] been saving for months to fund legal costs.” Funny how that works huh.

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