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Edward Conard, former Bain Capital managing director and author of Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You've Been Told About The Economy Is Wrong, makes the case for inequality and defends the one percent.
"The one question that neither the right or the left asks or answers is whose profits are they anyway? A public corporation like Apple, or Microsoft or Berkshire Hathaway ought to be distributing the profits to the shareholders and not measly 1, 3, 3% dividends but robust 6, 8, 10% dividends."I have yet to encounter an American born who can go deeper than that. Somehow nobody told Americans that employees have to be paid. The conversation is limited to GODS (CEOs) and other more or less divine or at least demi-divine creatures, such as customers and shareholders. Employees (3/5 humans) don't deserve a minute of thought, a second of discussion. Not to mention the decent pay or conditions of employment. They there (somewhere in the basement) to produce wealth for Gods and demi-gods. Period.Hopeless.
The one question that neither the right or the left asks or answers is whose profits are they anyway? A public corporation like Apple, or Microsoft or Berkshire Hathaway ought to be distributing the profits to the shareholders and not measly 1, 3, 3% dividends but robust 6, 8, 10% dividends. That would help many working and middle class families who have pension fund and mutual fund investments. It would also help governments and businesses that fund pensions. JP Morgan's dividend in 2011 was $1.20 = 3.2%. Most public corporations overpay their executives and boards and under pay the real owners - the stock owners.
This guest made my skin crawl. He lied repeatedly.
It's odd that in defense of the art-history-major critique, Conard makes an essentially communitarian argument: "Don't study art history. Study engineering or computer science so that you can innovate and create jobs." From a selfish standpoint, the person who would excel in those other fields will probably also have a lot of success in art history if that's what they really love. The person who chooses art history because "Hey, you have to pick a major" might not end up with a related career. But that person probably wouldn't have been a very good engineer or programmer either, and there are plenty of office jobs that require a BA regardless of major.
The scary thing about Conard is that he sounds so normal, with a reasonable tone of voice. The National Socialists sounded very reasonable too when they were proposing their new "train system." So reasonable that many people went along with it.
fuva, that plain language ctr. sounds like a good thing. Thanks for the link--I'll check it out too!
I see a ship sinking. Our kids can't find the science jobs they were trained for let alone the arts. There are too many MBA's manufactured during boom years. He's one. He is on the loosing side of history.
superf88: A profitable sector of banking investments may be driven by art history majors, but that doesn't mean there are that many jobs for them. It's not that big a sector.
On the other hand, my best friend's daughter is about to graduate w/an art history degree--& she has a job *in her field* waiting for her after graduation, at a museum. So ya never know.
@ck from Yorktown:
Lets be clear here. When we say "redistribution" it doesn't necessarily mean that the rich should pay more taxes. What the American people want is for the 1% to pay themselves just a little bit less and pay the working the 99% a little bit more.
93% of the INCOME GROWTH in this country is concentrated at the richest 1% of income earners. Which means that while the 99% of us are stuck with wage increases of 0-3%, the richest few enjoying income increases of anywhere between 8-25%. That's crazy.
I agree, that there should be a path to employment (that will lead to a career, not cleaning up parks that will leave people in the same situation)However, the examples you put forth are just canards (couldn't resist, sorry the guest's name could not be more appropriate)
I'm not sure who you know..perhaps you only know lazy people or really wealthy people. But everyone I've known (including myself thank you very much) who were laid off when the recession hit did not feel that they did not "need" to look for"the first year" while trying to live on the small amount of unemplyment you are given. Uh yeah...that was not my situation at ll. That's insane to me since it is not an amount one can live on...especially in NYC so i do not see how ANYONE could feel that unless they were rich. It's just the usual right-wing canard argument.
It's not one extreme or another. I don't buy the throw the baby out with the bathwater argument. Reform the saftey net, don't get rid of it. It's very easy to say you don't believe in "handouts". It's a simplistic, dsimissive, black and white Randian argument.
Again, without any kind of safety net, this meltdown would have been much much worse. People sometimes need help, deal with it. In the end it helps society as a whole.
And just because there is a certain minority of people who may take advantage of that help, does not mean you throw out the baby with bathwater.
This guy describes a world that I would never want to live in.
Beware of Investor Intellectuals.This is why we must be careful of these so-called investor intellectuals. They are not intellectuals: they are depicting the world as it is and extrapolating futureward that it will continue that way. Real intellectuals look at the world as it is, IMAGINE the world as it should be, and points the way forward.
In the Conard model, we'd have not cars but superfast horses (financed by the superwealthy of course).
This is the most unintelligent monologue I've heard in years.
it is against the rules of this blog to post links and quotes from that link, according to BL producer when I used to do that.
but then my posts were pro conservative. Yours are liberal. That may be why you posts have not been removed.
At this moment, Conard is slinking out of the studio with his tail between his legs. He's on his cell phone cursing his PR firm for booking him on a radio program that made him look like a fool. Fox news from here on in!
Why don't you have Mr. Conard back"What? I was actually wondering about a society which creates such monsters and gives them a platform. His victims are not invited. There is nothing to discuss there.
I can't wait for Jon Stewart to get ahold of this guy. It's going to be a classic! (I'm assuming that Stewart won't let this one get away.) ;-)I have a friend who, whenever she comes across an obnoxious man, says "Well, at least I'm not married to him and I don't have to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family." My sentiments exactly on Mr. Conard.
I really dislike the Art History Major remark. Maybe i should call him a Hollow, Clueless Philistine. The rest of it sounds like repetitive gibberish to me. The words, "Fatuous Horse's Ass" also keep coming to mind.
Okay Brian, admit it - that was a parody right? He's a Colbert-style performance artist isn't he? I was expecting him to talk about the "truthiness" of his education argument at one point. I was actually laughing out loud.
Why don't you have Mr. Conard back and let him debate my fourth grader? That would be an interesting show...
Georgie"Ok, so everybody switch from art history to finance, computer science, engineering. Wait, there aren't enough of those jobs to go around. Next question?"
This is essentially the premise of Vonnegut's "Player Piano." A great read.
Its easy for people like the guest and Mitt Romney to take bigger risks because they have the money and resources to absorb risky decisions. The rest of us don't. I really would like to go back to school for an MBA, but I'm paying down the first $30K in loans from Undergrad and I don't know if risking another $20K of debt to get a Master's will pay off given the state of the economy.
So? (I didn't listen - a "delicate" stomach) Did he talk about eating cake?
Well that thoroughly depressed me for the day.
Why don't you have Mr. Conard back and let him debate Robert Reich? That would be an interesting show...
ck from Yorktown: Your argument is tired. It is a canard. You must love the guest.
I happened to learn the other day that of the big investments made by major banks, the most profitable secotr is driven by ART HISTORY MAJORS.
Turns out buying and selling Van Goghs (as part of financial institutions' art collections) is more profitable than inventing random financial instruments then perversely gambling them.
Clueless!!!!!! Universities do not set their tuition rates based on loaning levels. Brian, please bring some experts in to explain. This guy is irresponsible with his comments..
I don't agree with the guest's outlook on Germany. The German economy is much different from the US in that most of Germany's businesses aren't publicly traded. Companies in Germany make long term investments while American companies are publicly traded and make business decisions based on quarters.
Instead of innovation, why not promote bringing manufacturing jobs back to America? Why not the innovation of highspeed railway, the tunnel voted down by Gov. Christie or simply building up our green resources like air turbines? Should we really take the advice of a Bain Capital executive on how to spur the economy?
I'm not fond of this guy at all.
Ok, so everybody switch from art history to finance, computer science, engineering. Wait, there aren't enough of those jobs to go around. Next question?
BrianStudent aid has NOT gone down. Grants have gone down. Loans have increased, especially private loans for college.
How dare anyone study anything other than making money and getting an MBA!! What an obnoxious 1% Randian tool..
This is great. I hope that he is reflecting the tack that Romney will take - because if they push ideas this clueless ("I don't know the numbers" - ha!) they'll be making life much easier for the Dems and others who must hold our noses and support them, against this Republican tide of grasping self-justification.
Give 'em enough rope!
That is the one thing the guest has said that is right. Colleges will charge as much as they think students will indebt themselves for.
Student loan numbers...scmumbers...eh, Ed?!?!
Number just seem to confuse things, don't they?
What a joyless human being.
Yes, and Germany, liked many developed countries, also has something called the Free University.
Canard keeps talking and saying nothing. Eg Germany, his answer to the caller who cited Germany was that US wages were comparable or better so therefore we have equitability of lifestyle completely ignoring the differential in govt benefits, ie UHC, support for higher education and in prices etc.. A ridiculous man.
Almost all of the "innovative" companies cited by Mr. Conard earlier are internet companies, and a good amount if not most of those are "entertainment" sites -- geared towards amusing ourselves as a society.
My questions are where are innovations that are more substantial? How long can we survive as a society when more and more "innovation" is aimed at celebrity and entertainment, and more & more money is concentrated in the hands of those who created those frilly sites.
On the widened differential btwn. CEO/upper management salaries & those of the workers they manage, there seems to be no recognition that the profits that pay those inflated salaries come out of the work those workers do, & that the upper-level salaries depend on them. The larger issue is that the workers aren't getting paid in proportion to the value of the work they do.
YOU'RE NOT AN EXPERT ON ANYTHING!!!
This guy is talking about a finance-based economy. That doesn’t create jobs, makes nothing and yet enriches the few.Look at London/England, a finance based economy on the edge.
The myth is thinking that the US government,including the President, can do anything significant to improve our economy. The sluggishness is in response to the WORLD economy, specifically the eurozone, and until that plays out, businesses are sitting on their money for fear of losing it. Multiple guests on this very program have said as much.
US businesses must also get used to the fact that the pre-recession consumerism is not going to bounce back very quickly, if at all, and given that the economy relies heavily on consumer spending, we as a country may need to come up with a better game plan.
For years I wondered when the "Middle Class" would call chicken -- in 2008 we found out.
It took .... a dollar bump in gas prices!
Here's the link for the On Point program and comments BrettG mentions below:
From a quick skimming of the comments, I liked this one:
Tracy Hinckley, Ct
The theory put forward is, massive inequality is good for the economy? Then how is it that third world countries are plagued with it? By this theory the world should be upended, Africa should be on top, not in poverty.
I propose that the economy is like a good ecology. I would propose it is like the Spanish fish farm discussed during the Ted radio hour. That a healthy ecology; wherein algey (or in our case the lower-class), fish (middle class), birds (upper middle class), and harvesters (upper class) live in balance, resulting in the best of ecologies (economies).Inequality destroys the environment, why would the economy be any different.
Dark Symbolist: how about something different than hand outs? How about working for the money, which would give job experience instead of welfare. Isn't that how roads and parks were built back when? Do you really think 3 years of unemployment is causing someone to get up every day and look for that job in year one? I happen to know people who were laid off and felt that there was no need to really look for the first year. Should we support people in need? Yes. For generations? Nope. If you're living in the free housing that your grandmother first got years ago, the system aint workin.
"Trader" talk, "economist" talk should be discouraged, with these critical socioeconomic issues. The citizenry should be able to understand what's going on. I'm checking out this organization: http://centerforplainlanguage.org/
Did he really say individuals don't matter very much? The US economy is a consumer economy. The consumers have run out of money to spend, and the behaviours that enabled post war growth- cheap education, women entering the workforce, credit card and home equity spending are over. The 1% have it all!
He's right about the Silicon Valley, which is still the innovation and private investment powerhouse, but the overall the economy and jobs have suffered in the US. Germany's biotech and manufacturing industries are way ahead of the US in producing competitive value, jobs and ROI.
Amazing to hear your guest admit the dependency of the 1% on... gov't? He noted that once the implicit guarantee of government backing of debt dissipated, we (private industry) had to "dial back risk-taking." I won't call it risk-taking if the government, i.e. tax payers, continue the job of removing first-loss and other risk for private business. On the other hand, I'm not against government cooperation with business in the interest of the country. However, the supermen of business we have now are all flying on bailout fuel and taxpayers' strings. The picture he paints is of a feeble and cowardly-dependent but voracious private sector. If we could come to some accord recognizing that bailouts, loan guarantees, (honest) job-trading, etc are gov't tools that are to be compensated, we would be better off.
It's not about redistribution. It's about the taxpayer getting what he or she has paid all these supermen for.
Re: a possible Romney presidency, what's Ed's opinion on Norquist's statements that the GOP only needs a president who has 5 digits on one hand so he can hold the pen needed to sign all the laws they're going to pass?
Well of course the American, European and Japanese economies are slow growing - those are the areas in which corporations have removed jobs. Once big business realized they can pay people in other parts of the world $0.50 an hour, it was the death knell for labor in the US, Euro and Japan.
Your guest may think a future for the US as a 2nd World nation like India, China, or Brazil, where the elites live in guarded compounds with helicopter pads and everyone else lives in vast shanty towns without basic services is a healthy economy--especially for he and his helicopter owning cohorts--but he doesn't ask whether this is politically tenable in this country. If the masses start to disagree, they will take apart the compunds, and probably set up something less desirable than a liberal democracy. It has happened before...
At the end of the day, he'd rather be the king of a small, sick mountain than merely a privileged member of an equitable, healthy society.
How many times can this guy dodge Brian's redistribution of wealth question?
As if the "market will solve everything" route is working????? That attitude has led us to the brink of complete disaster. Can you imagine how bad this meltdown would have been with NO safetynet at all? Come on!
canard- a : a false or unfounded report or story; especially : a fabricated report b : a groundless rumor or belief. 2. : an airplane with horizontal stabilizing and control ...
If the shoe...er....name fits...........
Link to the Dean Baker commentary on Conard's book,"Mitt Romney's Partner in Crime: Ed Conard's Unintended Consequences":
There is much in this book to infuriate those who don’t get their kicks from firing people. To start, Conard has a tale of the housing bubble and the ensuing crash that places all the blame on government efforts to promote homeownership.
Making this case requires serious abuse of the facts. In arguing that the banks did not know that they were passing along fraudulent mortgages, Conard asks why they would hold so many mortgages on their own books if they knew they were trash. The obvious answer is that they couldn’t sell them. This was the whole point of the collaterized debt obligations and later the second generation collaterized debt obligations. The goal was to hide the garbage.
(Ladies and gentlemen, what we are listening to here today is a very polished huckster.
Which, I finally realized, is what I find uncomfortable about Romney, the hucksterism. Endless patter, all to gain his own private agenda.)
Smooth talker. Snake oil salesman. He's trying to snow us with a whole lot of trader talk.
He still hasn't realized that without consumers with $$ to buy goods & services, it doesn't matter how "innovative" your financial engineering is.
We need real engineers now, not financial engineers.
No customers = no $$$ for VC.
Risk taking, really? All the risk taking in US has not lead to zillion of jobs. It has brought wealth to few, jobs to a few technology technician and lots of jobs in China and other parts of Asia.So here is the up shoot of your risk taking: low paying jobs that leave many Americans in poverty. So let them eat cake.
Aren't we living in the debris of the 1%'s idea of how to run an economy? The concentration of wealth in the hands of the few means less innovation and less capital flowing to innovators. They take less risk and seek to preserve capital. Only when middle class workers have access to capital, and are willing to risk their OWN capital, will innovation reenergize the economy. There is more cash sitting on the balance sheets of corporations -- and they don't know what to do with it.
Why should we give more money to the few who do not seek to innovate?
YES!!! MORE RISK!!
That's exactly what Khase® has been saying!!
Nothing new under the sun. The most ruthless grab and grab and grab, then they or hired scribes rationalize their insane wealth: it's divine, it's cultural or whatever. Usually, revolutions bring some sense to this nonsense.
"unreal investment opportunities" That says it all....
come on, the guy's name is Canard. enuf said. he's over compensating for his name, but is really just underscoring that he's living the very definition of his name.
But Brian: how's the redistribution going? Do those social programs really help or just make the situation worse. Has the welfare state been a successful program? I think not.
So, in order for innovative people to innovate, they must be promised economy-destabilizing compensation, that will decrease their consumer base, because no one can afford their product?
Conard is a 'job creator'...in China.
To ck from Yorktown:
Much as I dislike Bloomberg, I completely agree with you. Alec Baldwin, Mark Ruffalo — love 'em as actors — I wish they'd shaddup about fracking.
Ed!!! You're an idiot AND an A%%H*LE!!
So, it's us stupid people that caused the financial crisis?
Maybe lord butthead should be put in charge of deciding when & how much us serfs may be permitted to withdraw.
Brian , stop confusing him with facts and knowledge. It's very difficult for an intelligent man to juggle lies and nonsense to persuade us the 1% really are working for the benefit of society, not just themselves. You are not making it easy for him, and spoiling his desire to convert all us stupid Liberal public radio listeners.
"The loss has to be much larger for JP Morgan to suffer". Yes. And the point is that, with current practices (as exemplified by the 2bil loss) a future loss COULD BE much much bigger. The IMPLICATIONS of the 2bil loss is what is troubling and demands address.
What an appropriate last name for this clown.
For listeners information - see the comments @ On Point for this economic comic.
Rare unanimity reigned.
No one took this Conard=Canard guy seriously.
Does Mr Conard like to fire people too?
Hugh: at least Bloomberg had experience in running something and I think he's arguably done a good job of running the city. But by comparison, why do we let celebs talk about issues? Alec Baldwin on fracking? Because he's rich and famous?
I think it's fair to have those who have made money talk about what makes someone rich.
Wow - this guy has NO shame
To see the lies behind what Mr Conard is saying please read Dean Baker's article "Mitt Romney's Partner in Crime: Ed Conard's Unintended Consequences"
Did he say that sub-prime loans typically had 20% down payments? Really?
Mr. Conard is a perfect example of the poisonous thinking infecting this country. He has one and ONLY one qualification for being on Brian Lehrer's show — he's wealthy. Likewise, Michael Bloomberg appealed to one and ONLY one qualification for being Mayor — he's wealthy. Mark Zuckerberg is now treated as an expert on urban blight because . . . he's wealthy. Bill Gates is treated as an expert on malaria because . . . he's wealthy.
The US has arrived at a new Divine Right of Wealth. For centuries the British treated Lord This or That as sublimely gifted because of status. The US is doing the same now. Are we going to suffer as along as the British did?
This guy makes a strawman argument. No one is arguing that nobody should be wealthy. No one is arguing that the street sweeper should make the same as a C.E.O. What we're complaining about is that the inequality has gotten so much more extreme than in the recent past (and more like it was just preceding the Great Depression). The wealthy are just being asked to give something back to the society that enable their riches; to pay their fair share of taxes. And you know what - THEY'LL STILL BE RICH! (Maybe they'll only be able to afford 4 or 5 mansions, rather than 7 - boo-hoo.) I reject this ridiculous notion that people won't take risks or make sound investments, if they have to pay higher (even much higher) taxes. Investing would still be the main way for the wealthy to get richer, as opposed to putting it in their mattresses.
Conard is a snake oil saleasman who has to abuse historical fact to get any suckers to swallow what he's selling. He's also a front man delivering a message that his buddy Flip Flopney can't- a trial balloon gauging public opinion. I've no problem with successful people but a huge one with those whose success came after they rigged the rules in their favor...at our expense. He & his ilk have done nothing to contribute to our society, only to themselves & fellow investors. Vulture capitalists get a hefty tax break for interest payments on debt, so they load debt onto a target company, not caring if it goes under. E.G- my kids loved K-B Toys, but Bain destroyed it. Thanks a million Conard. Not to mention the millions he & Flip have siphoned off the 'carried interest tax deduction.' Conard is peddling a fantasy world. If he's measuring public opinion, he's an EPIC FAIL.
Message From the 1%"If a man has not made a million dollars by the time he is forty, he is not worth much."— Herbert Hoover
Message to the 1%“We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both." — Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941)
Message to the 99%“I Will Tell Off Your Boss for Free.”— Sign at an Occupy Wall Street demonstration.
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