From Columbia to the District of Columbia

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reuters White House correspondent, Andy Sullivan, and national political reporter for POLITICO, Reid Epstein, discuss President Obama's speech on restructuring government agencies to the latest from the 2012 GOP race -- from Stephen Colbert's jumping in to Jon Huntsman's getting out.


Reid Epstein and Andy Sullivan

Comments [29]

I'm only jealous of:
the Federal Reserve Bankers' privilege of creating (counterfeiting) fiat money out of electrons; and
Obama's appointees' ability to not file tax returns, with impunity.
I wish everyone didn't have to file tax returns.
I wish no one had the privilege of inflating the money supply.
I'm resentful of agribusiness' and other cronies' creation of regulations to hurt small competitors. But I'm not jealous because I don't want that power.

Jan. 16 2012 10:50 AM

If there is envy among us, it is envy that we can no longer participate equally in a system that has been gamed. There is only one candidate who addresses this issue, and that candidate is Ron Paul. I urge listeners and the WNYC organization to begin taking him a bit more seriously, as he is the only candidate who might begin to eliminate the means with which the affluent (including Romney) abuse the system every day.

Jan. 16 2012 10:48 AM
ChayFols from NYC

A video that sarcastically highlights a miss use of resources by the federal gov't and a potential explanation for the high incarceration rate and possible widening of the margin btwn the wealthy and those without.

To Brian's question: are there aspects of the conversation that are not highlighted and are more to the root of the inequality question in America?

Jan. 16 2012 10:42 AM
Joe Mirsky from Pompton Lakes NJ

Does he have health insurance? Can he afford it? I'm envious.

Jan. 16 2012 10:37 AM
Tim Snyder from Jersey City, NJ

It is not envy, it is the fact that people in the 99% are losing their ability to make decisions about their lives, they are unable to influence goverment in ways that fundementally affect them because the 1% not only controls a massive amount of the assests, but they also are runnning our government.

So people are more fed up with Policticians than the Corporate Moguls? In so many cases, the "Corporate Moguls" are the politicians. We live in a corporate oligarchy where the only thing the 99% seems to be able to influence are a small number of meaningless social items--like the whether or not to bear arms (Please, how does this right have any major bearing on our freedom when compared to economic freedom?).

Jan. 16 2012 10:36 AM
David from New Jersey

My question is... Is a nation wealthy because most of the people of the nation are wealthy, or is it that a nation is wealthy if a small percentage of the population of a nation is wealthy.

I have watched since the early 1970s that those who have wealth, garner more wealth through their wealth with no intention of making others wealthy too.

I think they call this greed.

Didn't something like this happen in French history? What was the result of that?

Jan. 16 2012 10:35 AM
Meghan from Jersey City

I'm a public school teacher in the Bronx. I interact first hand with people struggling to make ends meet every day. It's insulting to suggest that they are simply envious of people better off than they are or that they look forward to accepting help from the government (as I've heard candidates insinuate). I wonder if any of the Republican candidates have ever heard of generational poverty. It would be interesting to see Romney and other candidates spend a day in an inner city area, listen to its residents' stories, and see if they change their tune at all. Also does these candidates' fortune really come from their own hard work and "pulling themselves up by their bootstraps"? Or, were they born into circumstances that put them at an advantage, just like some of my students are born into circumstances that put them at a disadvantage?

Jan. 16 2012 10:34 AM
Amy from Manhattan

And yet again, *talking* about existing divisions in society is treated as *creating* those divisions. The 1% didn't have many times more than most of us until the Occupy movement started saying so, or maybe not until non-hard-right politicians picked up on it. Class warfare consists of pointing out that policies benefit the rich over the poor & middle class, not of putting those policies into effect. These problems only exist when they're spoken of publicly! That's why they should be discussed only in quiet rooms.

Jan. 16 2012 10:34 AM
Regina Ryan from Manhattan

I think Romney's comment about people being jealous of those with wealth is a kind of code for religious folks who believe that God rewards good people with wealth and punishes evil or bad people with poverty. There has been a lot of scholarship on this belief which I believe started with John Calvin. IT's all fate - it's all in God's hands. This is resonsible, they say for a lot of the punitive laws dealing with poor folks.

Jan. 16 2012 10:33 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Historically one can go all the way back into ancient history and see that civilizations AND income inequality were both basically due to TRADE! After man (more likely women) discovered agriculture, and the ability to store grain in granaries, it was possible now to TRADE excess food for other things with other peoples. Roving merchants, like Abraham and other nomads, began to travel with their sheep and clan between Mesopotamia and EGypt, and trade! Sometimes it was trade in food, other items, and human slaves. So such merchants prospered because they could move from place to place and make a profit. That was the origin of wealth.

The more trade, the more income inequality. The less trade, the more equalized poverty.

Jan. 16 2012 10:33 AM
Fred from Brooklyn

What does "one nation under God" have to do with the fact that the rich are richer than ever before and still pay a great deal less in taxes when compared to the 99% of us? Envious? Not so much, try pissed off.

Jan. 16 2012 10:31 AM
Lauren from Bed-Stuy

Don't forget that class is not altogether about money! It is a perfect display of Romney's new-money class that he doesn't want to talk about class (#1) and that he thinks it is about his money and the access to power and privilege it gains him (#2).

Jan. 16 2012 10:31 AM
ceedee from Mt.Vernon,ny

"Jealous"? Nah,that's not the emotion that comes to mind. When I see images of Romney and his young cronies with bills coming out of their suitpockets,or a more recent photo of Romney sitting on a runway having his shoes shined next to his private plane,the only word that comes to mind is "disgust"-or more to the point,nausea. NOW we're supposed to see him as a fighter for the common man? I think not...

Jan. 16 2012 10:29 AM

The "envy" term distacts from the issue of significant shift in income disparity. The rich have always been with us, and some of us are envious. But the real issue is why there are so many more of them and why they are so much richer.

Jan. 16 2012 10:27 AM
Bill from New Rochelle

Hannah, I call myself middle income rather than middle class, because I earn wages rather than own a small business.

Jan. 16 2012 10:26 AM
Hank from ny

I am very envious that certain individuals/interests are able to wring concessions out of our politicians. Tax breaks, subsidies and regulations stretch the limits of fairness to a credulous manner.

Jan. 16 2012 10:25 AM
Chuck from Brooklyn

One nation under God? Please.

'Our" government is owned by business and banks. It is run by the rich. It has been bought. It is not for the people. Romney will continue this tradition.

it's not about envy, It's about that the system being fixed. We 99% don't have a chance in this nation.

"I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." Thomas Jefferson

Jan. 16 2012 10:24 AM
Valerie from New York

Let's turn the argument on its head. We have the expression "keeping up with the Joneses" because someone always wants to be Jones - the person who delights -however subtly or even unconsciously - in inciting envy in others.

Additionally, and more importantly, people who get too much too easily drive up prices for everyone else. This is why, for example, no one could buy a house for less than $400k in Silicon Valley until the dotcom bust.

Jan. 16 2012 10:24 AM
lozie from Washington Heights

I don't feel jealous. It's more like being concerned for this guy, Romney. (Gingrich? Not so much...)

The 1% thing is a cleaver and effective moniker. No one has put it better than Elizabeth Warren. I'd like to frame the issue as just wanting the privileged '1%' to ante up the same percentage of their income as we less connected, less advantaged, less supported (though just as hard working) pay in support of all in our society.

Oh, and, that fantastic Downton Abbey is covering this very issue, aren't they?

Jan. 16 2012 10:24 AM
Hannah A. from Manhattan

Asking the audience if they're "jealous" merely plays into Mitt Romney's hand to deny the existence of class. Mr. Lehrer, can you and your producers please do better than this? How about a history of the notion of class? Is this a term that Marx invented/devised ? Is that how/why Romney et. al is trying to discredit it? Who else and how has tried to deny the existence of class and class struggle? Does this bring us back to the 1890s?

This notion of saying "middle income" rather than "middle class." What does this mean? Where does it come from?

Please bring some perspective to this debate rather than this kind of pandering, ahistorical debate.

Jan. 16 2012 10:22 AM
Sady from Brooklyn

Nope, not Envy - what I feel about the 1% is dismay, why don't people who have some luck and privilege feel a responsibly to the greater good: "to whom much is given, much is expected"

Jan. 16 2012 10:21 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Hey Mitt! Folks that aren't corporations are people, too, my friend. Use some of that money to buy a clue!!

Too much private money in politics has fixed the system. Let's fix this by getting serious about public campaign finance before there is nothing left for them to take.

Jan. 16 2012 10:20 AM
Bill from New Rochelle

I agree, except that Mormons generally do not have thee bad habits of smoking or drinking.

Jan. 16 2012 10:19 AM
Chriss from Montclair


If you're gonna enjoy taking things out of context, I can't wait for you to remind us that our Harvard Educated President thinks there are 57 States.

Or are we just going to do this with Romney?

Either way, LOVE your show.

(Oh, and I think only the Media cares about Colbert.)

Jan. 16 2012 10:18 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The Ten Commandments are clear, "You shall not COVET" your neighbor's possessions! However the same Bible makes it equally clear that weights and measures must be honest, and workers must be paid on time, and judges must be totally impartial to both the rich and the poor. Income inequality in and of itself should not be a major topic of frustration, except if it is due to criminality, injustice, bribery, thievery and other chicanery.

Income inequality is usually based on the fact that merchants and capital can go anywhere to take advantage of cheaper labor and cheaper costs, whereas most working people are stuck in place. But since immigration is such a difficult problem everywhere and countries do want to maintain their ethnic and racial majorities, the movement of labor cannot compete with the movement of capital. Hence the rich get richer while labor goes into labor and has children instead. Children are another form of wealth.

Jan. 16 2012 10:18 AM
dboy from nyc

What kind of nauseating rumination is this?? Jealous??? Really??

This is not a discussion of jealousy, it's an issue of gross immorality.


NO, I'm NOT jealous of these corrupt monsters!!

Yet, another one of many demonstrations indicating what a colossal, out of touch @sshole, Mitt Romney really is!


Jan. 16 2012 10:17 AM
Bill from New Rochelle

I guess Mr Romney wants to sweep the greed and grasping of the super rich into "quiet rooms" sponsored by tax lobbyists, no doubt.
What Romney is really saying is that the taxes that the rich decide to pay is not our business. I say no. We must talk about these issues. I'm not a class warrier, I'm a middle-income taxayer who will have to pick up the slack, and pay the taxes that Mr Romney's wealthy class will not pay.

And to catagorize those who wish to return to a progresive tax schedule as "envious" of "divisive" is a just plain lie.

Newt calls Romney a liar, and now so do I.

How will Dr Paul affect the Romney-Gingrich race? I now am starting to think that Paul is a stalking horse for Romney.

Jan. 16 2012 10:17 AM
Tom from Upper West Side

My reaction to Romney's idiocy is the same as my reaction to that of anyone who is running for office - I don't vote for them.

Jan. 16 2012 10:15 AM

Romney's comment brings to mind upper class gentlemen in well decorated sitting rooms with smoking jackets and brandy snifters. I would not be at all surprised if Romney was thinking similarly as well. If you can't afford such things, well, you're not really worthy of talking about it anyway.

This is the state of the republican party today. How is it that anyone votes for them anymore?

Jan. 16 2012 10:12 AM

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