2017: Whither Democrats?


Which I would argue that, to the degree it is true, is largely because of the rightward shift in the party.

And would not proposing policies to help make healthcare and college more affordable for the working class be listening to them? Because, unfortunately, the idea that we need to listen to them the way Trump ‘listened’ by proposing to bring back manufacturing jobs is a hopelessly naive and doomed to fail plan. And I know that is one of the big areas of concern, but it is also an impossible to achieve one. And it’s not because of trade, but rather automation.


Yes it would, but it’s not more affordable if you give me 200 dollars more in healthcare and charge me 1,000 dollars in taxes for it. The working class isn’t just the poor working class.

Put another way, while the ultra rich figure out ways not to pay their taxes for decades (see Trump)… the middle class pays.


Which is another reason that we need to be much more aggressive in pushing pay into the lower brackets.

If I were pie in the sky dreaming, and king for a day, one thing I would certainly do is place a cap at the maximum compensation. Not a hard dollar amount, mind, but rather make it so that the highest paid individual can be no more than X times the lowest full time employee. Even a generous figure would represent more money towards the middle and bottom. If that CEO wants to give himself that $10 million bonus, he’s going to have to hand out a lot more below. Which means that either a) the CEO does not get those obscene paydays or b) he gets his payday, but everyone else gets a nice raise as well.

Of course I’d also revamp minimum wage to make it tied to the CoL in an area, rather than a flat national set. It makes sense that Seattle or Chicago should have higher minimums than Nowhere Oklahoma.


Actually you don’t have to be king for a day to try this. Ben and Jerry tried to do this very thing because they’re a private company and can do that sort of thing. They went with a ratio between the top paid and the bottom. I don’t believe they maintained that policy though.

In this we are like mind sort of… but it’s dicey. If a company does well, and that’s assuming they actually have a CEO who cares about the long-term of the company and not the quickest payday and golden parachute, you’d hope the reward would be felt across the board. That doesn’t seem to be the case though. CEO’s rake it in, investors rake it in… and employees might be left out entirely but are you suggesting that the government actually take that much control of a private company? What if the CEO is also the owner… like I mortgage everything I have, put everything I have into debt to start this company and after years of suffrage, luck and leadership now I’m the next Amazon… you would say I am limited as if I was just hired off the street as a CEO? I mean if i failed… i would lose everything, but I succeeded and now i have 100 employees but my reward is heavily limited.


It could be done by using the existing policy levers if the political will existed. Not to the extent you seem to be imagining of shutting down non-complying companies, but just establish some sort of “Sustainable Domestic Prosperity Good Citizen Company” designation with favorable tax status to all companies that can show they meet whatever criteria are decided on.

This is a red herring – you’re conflating this person’s compensation qua founder and qua CEO. Even if the salary and bonuses that can be paid to a CEO are capped, if he started the next Amazon and maintained a 10% ownership stake in it, that wouldn’t be subject to this sort of restriction.


It’s not a red herring, and i don’t appreciate that label at all.

Remember when I mentioned Ben & Jerry. There was an issue when, I believe, the CEO wasn’t one of them for that policy. Owners take salaries. They might make their millions or billions via stock but they still take salaries and benefits… after all, if we say you can only make so much as a salary what prevents them from getting their compensation via non-salary perks instead… company car, company jet, company… you name it?


No offense intended, and I’d certainly never heard of that being considered a hurtful term. Pretend I said “This is something that initially appears applicable to the discussion but on closer examination turns out to be irrelevant to it.”

I’m not really following what the point of the Ben & Jerry’s example is. The restriction being discussed would put a cap on the total compensation the company can PAY to any of its employees up to and including the CEO. Whatever the cap is, Ben, Jerry, or your hypothetical house-mortgaging-next-Amazon-founder could still be rewarded far above that because they are a part OWNER of the company. If Ben wants to sell part of his ownership stake in the company for hundreds of millions of dollars to supplement the few million a year that he’s getting paid as CEO, that’s not the same thing as the company paying him, so it wouldn’t fall under this law at all.


And as far as ancillary compensation (stocks, vehicles, etc.), I absolutely 100% believe that should be included! The fact that these dirtbags use such loopholes as a means to increase their compensation without a commensurate tax hit is, to me, morally reprehensible, and one of the greatest flaws in the tax code.


Well the term means this:

something, especially a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.

Which makes it sound like I’m trying to distract from the real problem, but I’m not. I just think most people think CEO and they think of Walmart, Ford, and Amazon. Small businesses make up the majority of our employers and our work. We can’t forget them when we come up with policies. Small business are the majority.

Well you’re talking about a ratio right, a pay structure where the ratio between the top and lowest paid worker is only so far apart. It’s not a hypothetical situation. Ben and Jerry’s is being mentioned because they tried it, because they’ve attempted it. Why wouldn’t we not include them? We’re talking about salary here… I’d suggest looking up Ben and Jerry’s pay structure. It sounds like exactly what you’re talking about:

In addition to them trying to adjust wages to the actual cost of living where they’re at, not just the minimum federal wage, they attempted or may even still be attempting to do exactly what you’re talking about, on their own… to marginal success.

Right, but this is how it starts. Great sounding plans that don’t pass the muster. I mean how many people know why our healthcare system is set-up the way it is with it in the hands of employers, why benefits became such a huge part of our compensation back when… say salaries were frozen by the government but companies still wanted to compete.


Ah, gotcha. I was using it in the unintentional sense. From wikipedia:

the red herring is a seemingly plausible, though ultimately irrelevant, diversionary tactic.[3] According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a red herring may be intentional, or unintentional; it does not necessarily mean a conscious intent to mislead.[1]

But in any case, I think the point remains that you haven’t shown how this proposed rule would harm small businesses, or addressed the distinction between ownership versus compensation for work.

You mention that most people think of huge companies in regards to CEO pay, but as far as I’m aware, that’s where most of the truly egregious executive pay occurs, so that’s where this would actually have an effect. Are small local businesses hiring CEOs and paying them hundreds of times what they pay their average worker? And remember that the examples you used of founder/CEOs can still get fabulously rich by selling part of their ownership stake, irrespective of any restriction on CEO pay.

That said, I don’t necessarily think this is the ideal solution, and there would certainly be side effects, such as accelerating the trend to minimize full-time regular employees as much as possible by, for example, contracting out to a janitorial services provider rather than directly employing janitors.


You keep saying hiring but in same cases it’s the owners. Look at the restaurant business… full of low paid workers, one of the most likely to fold businesses in the small business realm. The owner of one or even a few restaurants is probably also the manager and worker themselves. They might take a wage, and they took 100% of the risk too. So if they pay themselves nothing and only take business income you would what… if they take a wage you’re going to limit them despite the fact they could have risked everything they have just to get the business running and they are very likely running in the red for a few years, at least… and even then might not make it.

I’m not saying we can’t pursue this idea but don’t oversimplify it. That’s political bullshit and how we got in this mess with Trump. You can’t soundbite your way through a policy… and right now the GOP has the small business group, for a reason.

If we get rid of what little of the middle class, the working class and the small businesses the Democrats have, do we really think the college kids are going to make up for that?


That’s the thing, there is potential flaws and loopholes in any ‘solution’. I mean, sure, by volume there is more people employed at small businesses, and in number they make the majority. However, just like with personal income, there is an accretion at the top. Large companies are taking an increased share of income. Also just like at the income level those large companies are also leveraging means not available to the small ones to pay less in taxes than they should.

So, yes, this means that, by intent, this should impact larger companies more than small ones. And measures would have to be taken to get ahead of creative methods for avoiding this (see: contracting and outside services).

And it’s always an arms race, as corporations would seek ever more Byzantine and bizzare means to avoid paying workers more. Certainly it wouldn’t take much imagination to see how a company could create a shell subsidiary that is ‘technically’ a separate entity and contract with them for something like janitorial work. It’s like the same kind of shell game that the ultra rich play with setting up paper companies in the Caymans, or Switzerland in order to hide who is the beneficial owner of an asset.

Which is another kind of thing I’d like to see curb stomped into oblivion.


I’m struggling to follow the problem here. Let’s say the policy says that no employee can be paid more than 50x the pay of the median employee. So the person who founds something like Amazon won’t be hurt, because they can get giant piles of money for their ownership share. Their pay for all the risk and hard work they put in is owning a giant company.

So maybe this entrepreneur doesn’t hit it big, and the business is too small or it’s just not practical for some reason to sell off a portion of the enterprise. How often is limiting her pay to 50x her median employee going to be a to be a practical constraint? Remember that all the profit that she doesn’t funnel into her salary only increases the operating capital of the business that she owns.

I’m trying to find a business that’s small enough that selling a share isn’t viable but a largish multiple is a serious constraint.


It’s not just the size, it’s the structure. There are rules about this and how you structure your business can sometimes be based on liability, or protecting the assets that are not a part of the business.



There are of course options, and maybe some rules there need to change in order for that above ideas to work… that’s a lot to tackle.

I’m just saying, don’t be like Bernie, talk about the ultra rich, aka talk about just the CEOs of giant corporations, and when you role out your plan people finally find out how little someone can earn to actually get hit with the Bernie tax. Bernie talked about the 1% paying for his plan, and then hit the middle class with his plan. Think about small business when you talk about pay structures seems like a simple request to me.


I used to agree with this kind of argument, that there’s a center that can be won and all electoral losses are about a failure in the center. Then Trump won WI, MI, and PA, and the reason is not that a bunch of moderates thought he fit their views better. You can lose the base, and that’s exactly what Clinton did, and Benghazi/EMAILS/Whitewater/etc was just how tribalism manifested itself with Clinton - it would have been some other set of things with someone else, but the tribalist justifications would still have been there. The group who voted Trump over Clinton because of Clinton’s “scandals” is not a group that a Democratic candidate can win. To win them, you have to wear their tribal markers, and to do that you have to abandon climate change, pro-choice, LGBT rights, and women’s rights at the very least. So no, I don’t think there’s any way a non-Clinton candidate with her same positions wins (even if we grant you all else about the candidate being equal, like experience, popularity, name recognition, etc., which obviously wouldn’t have been possible). If being pro-choice, pro-LGBT, pro-environment, and pro-women is going to lose you 60 million votes before you open your mouth, then you damn well better turn out more than 60 million of the folks who take those positions as a minimum threshold for sanity.


Not the relevant group, though. The relevant group are the ones the that didn’t show up because Clinton’s “reputation” or who put in an anybody-but-Clinton protest vote for Johnson or Stein instead. That’s all it would have taken to win the election. (And no, not all of those people who didn’t show up were secret revolutionary leftists; a bunch were dithering centrists scared away by But Her Emails.)


Here’s one of my fixes, to get around states that ban min wage hikes: the federal minimum wage in a city or county will be raised to whatever amount the local government wishes.

As for the policy failure: I really think a bunch of the WWC saw Sanders, believe he got screwed despite them liking what he was saying. Those folks, most of which voted Dem in 2008 and 2012, decided to stick it to the Dems this time- some even voting Trump out of spite. I really think there was a quiet Bernie or Bust that had nothing to do with the actual Bernie or Bust movement, and the quiet busters cost the Dems the election in those areas.

The areas Hillary underperformed the most were states Bernie did well in, including NC.


As I keep saying, the owners who risked everything they had to get the business running can still get rich by selling part of their stake in the business, on top of whatever salary they are paying themselves for managing it. I don’t see how this is a serious hardship for them.

For the sake of argument, let’s say the ratio is 20X, and the minimum wage kitchen workers make $25K / yr. That would mean that the founder can pay themselves a half million dollar salary. How many small local restaurants are successful enough to afford that? And when the founder wants to retire to Tahiti or something, they can still sell their stake for whatever it’s worth.

You do realize that this proposal is specifically targeted to help the middle and working class, right? The idea is to encourage additional money to be spread out among the bottom tier workers instead of huge bonuses to a few executives. And I don’t think you’ve made any kind of case that the number of small businesses that pay their executives enough salary to be affected exist in large numbers.


Did you look at the links? Do you even know that classifies a business as small business? Or put another way, just how big a business can be and still be classified as an small business?

I’m not sure why I bother since everyone seems to discuss this as a hypothetical… but Ben and Jerry’s actually tried it:



This is directly contradicted by a lot of reporting going on in those states. Many people have said, I don’t care about the wall, I don’t care about banning immigrants, I care that Mr. Trump said that he was going to fix issues in the middle class. He needs to focus on the economy.

That was it. Clinton just assumed she could rely on the history of the white middle class in those states would continue to vote democrat. She didn’t run on “Hope” like Obama did (who won those very same voters over) she ran on “Don’t vote for him, he is dangerous”

Now, why would people believe that a NY Billionaire who probably hasn’t paid taxes in a decade would have a plan to help the middle class?, I don’t know. The guy is a con artist. He is good at conning people.