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Hullabaloo


Monday, December 02, 2013

 
Time to throw a tiny bit of chum to lower middles? How nice.

by digby

Fabulously wealthy political celebrities Robert Rubin, Robert Altman, Peter Orszag and bunch of other elites are getting together to talk about what it's like to make less than 60k a year. If anyone knows about that they do, right?

More than half of American families earn $60,000 or less a year -- outside of poverty but with limited economic security. Indeed, many of these families rely on government programs for support and one major setback could throw their lives into chaos. On December 4th, The Hamilton Project at Brookings will host a forum to highlight two new proposals for aiding America’s lower-middle class.

The forum will kick off with introductory remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin.

Joel Berg, Executive Director of the NYC Coalition Against Hunger; James Ziliak, Director of the Center for Poverty Research at the University of Kentucky; and Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, will join a panel with Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of Northwestern University to discuss her proposal to strengthen the food stamp (SNAP) program. Roger Altman, Founder and Executive Chairman of Evercore will moderate the panel.

In a second panel, Kevin Hassett, Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Policy Studies at AEI, and Peter Orszag, former director of the Office of Management & Budget and the Congressional Budget Office, will join Melissa Kearney and Lesley Turner of the University of Maryland to discuss their proposal for a secondary earner tax deduction to help “make work pay” for both spouses in low income families. Glenn Hutchins, Co-Founder of Silver Lake, will moderate the panel.

The forum will conclude with a discussion between Jason Furman, Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and David Leonhardt, Washington Bureau Chief for the New York Times, on the challenges facing America’s lower-middle-class families.

If any of these people want to know what the central problem here is, it's very simple: these folks don't have enough money.

And I would just add that part of the reason they don't have enough money is that the Robert Rubins and Robert Altman's have successfully tilted the playing field to benefit others like themselves. A clever new "tax credit" and more food stamps kind of elides the real issue, don't you think?

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