Herman Cain’s marriage

I honestly do not know and do not care if Herman Cain had a 13 year consensual affair.  That said, I do care that he seems to think I’m stupid.  Am I honestly supposed to believe that he was making major financial payments to a woman who was “just a friend” and his wife didn’t know about it?

Herman Cain said Thursday he was helping Ginger White with her “month-to-month bills and expenses” and that his wife did not know about the payments or the friendship with the woman, who has alleged that the two had an extramarital affair…

He said White told him “that quite frankly, I was the only person who was a friend at the time –and I underscore ‘friend’ — that was in a position to help her.”…

Cain has been known to financially help friends and family, said Maurice Atkinson, a friend and founder of DraftCain.org. He said he knows of a family member of Cain’s who the candidate is assisting with house and car payments.

I don’t doubt that last bit at all.  But, I’m betting Cain’s wife already knows about these.  What kind of married man gives money to a female “friend” and hides the fact from his wife if it is truly innocent?  Seems you would bend over backward to make sure your wife knows, lest she (rightly) suspect any impropriety if she found out.  Thus, either Herman Cain thinks I’m stupid, or that his wife is stupid, or he’s just a horrible husband.  Honestly, I expect it’s all three.

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The inefficiency of the super-rich

Busy day, but the least I can do is basically copy from, Kevin Drum, this great explanation of why having so much wealth concentrated in so few is just so inefficient.  And, thus, really demands that we have higher taxes on the wealthy:

Zillionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer says his marginal propensity to consume is lower than mine:

Since 1980, the share of the nation’s income for fat cats like me in the top 0.1 percent has increased a shocking 400 percent, while the share for the bottom 50 percent of Americans has declined 33 percent. At the same time, effective tax rates on the
superwealthy fell to 16.6 percent in 2007….In my case, that means that this year, I paid an 11 percent rate on an eight-figure income.

One reason this policy is so wrong-headed is that there can never be enough superrich Americans to power a great economy. The annual earnings of people like me are hundreds, if not thousands, of times greater than those of the average American, but we don’t buy hundreds or thousands of times more stuff. My family owns three cars, not 3,000. I buy a few pairs of pants and a few shirts a year, just like most American men. Like everyone else, I go out to eat with friends and family only occasionally.

….I can’t buy enough of anything to make up for the fact that millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans can’t buy any new clothes or enjoy any meals out. Or to make up for the decreasing consumption of the tens of millions of middle-class families that are barely squeaking by, buried by spiraling costs and trapped by stagnant or declining wages.

If the average American family still got the same share of income they earned in 1980, they would have an astounding $13,000 more in their pockets a year. It’s worth pausing to consider what our economy would be like today if middle-class consumers had that additional income to spend.

Yep.  There is a very real and very negative impact from having so much concentrated wealth.  Our economy and society and simply much more healthy if we have 10 people each earning $100,000/year than one person earning $1,000,000 and the other nine out of work. It’s not that difficult a concept. Unless maybe you are a Republican member of Congress.

Are the naysayers ever right?

So, my Gender & Politics class this week discussed women in military.  Since 1994, women’s roles have been dramatically expanded and the only area they are not allowed now is ground combat (they can kill the enemy directly all they want from air and sea).  I don’t think there’s going to be any changes here particularly soon, but my guess is that those who are all concerned about womens’ upper-body strength and privacy and “hygiene” issues will discover they are wrong when this change does come.   It seems to me that whenever there’s a change that is going to upset a tradition-bound status quo, the naysayers go on and on about how it’s just going to ruin everything, but it never actually seems to after the fact.

The same day we discussed women and combat, there was this AP report that the Marine Corps is adapting to the end of DADT just fine, and lo and behold, the Marines remain an effective fighting force.  This case is particularly notable as the Marine Commandant just months ago was arguing about how difficult this would be for the Marines:

Marine Gen. James F. Amos, the face of opposition in the military to lifting the ban on gays serving openly, now acknowledges his concern has proven unfounded that repeal would undermine the war effort. In fact, he says, Marines have embraced the change.

In an Associated Press interview, Amos called the repeal in September “a non-event.”

That is in contrast to his cautionary words to Congress in December 2010, shortly before President Barack Obama signed the repeal legislation. The ban was not lifted until this year to allow the Pentagon to prepare troops for the change.

“Successfully implementing repeal and assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption at the small unit level as it will no doubt divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus on preparing units for combat,” Amos testified. Still, he said at the time that if the law were changed, it would be faithfully followed by Marines.

He now sees no sign of disruption in the ranks — even on the front lines.

So, obviously Amos was wrong.  Kudos to him for stepping up and admitting it.  But, in thinking about this in the context of the earlier racial and gender integration of the military– not to mention the opposition it seems that any major progressive change always receives– I started wondering: are they naysayers every right?  Seriously, think about all the gloom and doom predictions that always occur when we first allow women to do X.  These days, the gloom and doom seems to come from allowing gays to do X (e.g., somehow my traditional marriage will be devalued– and maybe even crumble apart) if gay couples are allowed to get married.  Even more broadly, I’m sure that some times those who predict all sorts of bad things will happen from a new social policy are right, I just cannot think of any actual examples.

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