Friday, July 27, 2012

Jon Stewart: hypocrite, stooge or progressive crusader?

Jon Stewart was ridiculed on Fox & Friends for making fun of Romney's income when, in fact, Stewart rakes in $15M/year:


Warren Buffet was ridiculed in the same manner for calling for higher taxes on the super-wealthy. It is suggested that wealthy liberals like Stewart and Buffet voluntarily give their money to their staff or to the government if they are so concerned with income inequality or not paying enough taxes. It's a ridiculous argument.

As citizens of the United States, we are each entitled to maximize our income and minimize our taxes within the legal boundaries of the country. It's called maximizing our self-interests. That's how free enterprise works. We rely on our government to set out the rules and regulations that create safe products and food, protect the air and water from pollution, protect workers' safety, pay workers a fair living wage and, in general, look after the well being of the country.

It works the same way as a consumer. We are entitled to purchase the product that is the best value and, all else being equal, the cheapest product. We rely on our government to make sure that the company treats and pays its employees fairly, that it complies with environmental regulations, pays its fair share of taxes and, in general, behaves as a good corporate citizen. It is too much for an average consumer to research the manufacturer every time we buy a product. Even if find out that the company has shoddy business practices but sells its product at a significantly lower price, as a consumer, we are still entitled to purchase the product that provides us the best value.

The analogy should be clear. How we act as an income earner, taxpayer or consumer is entirely different from what we ask of our government to do. There is no conflict and no hypocrisy.

Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz was on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Wednesday, July 25, 2012 to discuss his new book, "The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future." Stiglitz notes that:
Inequality has really become one of the major problems facing our country. I don't know if most Americans realize that we've become the most unequal of all the advanced industrial countries and we've become the country, of among the advanced industrial countries, with the least equality of opportunity; so different of the myth of the "American Dream."
In sum, income inequality rivals that of any banana republic and the "American Dream" is now a lie. Stewart adds to the equal outcome vs. equal opportunity debate: equal fairness. i.e. The game is rigged by those who wish to flex their muscle that wealth brings:

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Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have been accused of lulling activists to sleep in this interesting article:
And the take down:
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George Carlin on what is:

The on what can be: