Thursday, August 2, 2007

Personal Asides: State Sen. Dan Kotowski: They Call Him “Tiger” but He’s Really Meow…Are the Rich Getting Richer, the Poor Getting Poorer? Not Really.


Tiger Dan.

State Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), my senator, gets a lot of good press as a stalwart supporter of gun control. A first-termer in the legislature, he is one of those for whom the Democrats have great expectations…a veritable tiger. Tiger Dan is good at making speeches but he evidently shies away from debate…and has a media coordinator in Mount Prospect who was stumped at the media request. Not ever hearing of me is one thing (my next door neighbor pretends not to, either) but to diss WLS is stupid. Earlier Kotowski told a mutual friend “why should I meet with him [Roeser]?” But come, now, Tiger Dan, come on in, the water’s fine; not cold, not hot, just right. At WLS you will have a Republican co-guest and face a battery of questions, especially from the listeners. We just had Sen. Carol Ronen (D-Chicago) who defended Blago notably (against Al Salvi) and we’ve had other Democrats up the kazoo, Jack Franks and Ralph Martire. We’ve had Becky Carroll of the governor’s office. Surely now a big boy like you shouldn’t be afraid.

But by continuing to hide under the sofa, Tiger Dan, you are letting people think you’re a paper Tiger. Is that really what befits a young legislator whom the media picture as striding into the dawn of a new progressive age? And you let a girl like Becky Carroll march bravely into the studio, take every call that comes from the audience…while you’re afraid?

Tiger Dan is really one of the more able senators in the Democratic stable if he’d give us a break and get off the Johnny one-note gun control spiel which can be carried only so far. Indeed the Demcrats found out in the last presidential election that there is a cut-off point…which Kotowski doesn’t seem to get. The WLS audience is strongly 2nd amendment but Kotowski ought to…by now…find a few more strings to his bow—or the times will catch up with him.

A change should start when he comes out of hiding…behaves like a man…and takes questions on a give-and-take basis.

Rich and Poor.

Okay, this stuff will never resonate with populist Democratic campaigners who zero in on CEOs who are benefiting from skyrocketing incomes while the middle-class gets put in a vise. So called “mainstream media” stress that as well while giving a bum rap and an undeserved one to…guess who? George W. Bush.

First, average wages are rising sharply…real average wages rose by 2% in 2006, the second fastest hike in 30 years. Also according to the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) earnings for the poorest fifth of Americans are also on the increase. The Brookings Institution notes that between 1991 and 2005 “the bottom fifth increased its earnings by 80% compared with around 50% for the highest income group and 20 % for each of the other three groups.”

Another thing: income volatility is not moving upward. The CBO finds incomes are no more unstable now than in the 1980s and `90s. While not long ago it seemed that incomes for those with college degrees was flat, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says education as a premium is now on the rise.

Finally, rather than attack CEOs, a study by Steven N. Kaplan and Joshua Rauh finds that, despite some notable exceptions of undue greed, the truth is that corporate CEOs as a class aren’t raping and pillaging with their wages but hedge fund managers are. “The top 25 hedge fund managers combined appear to have earned more than all 500 S&P, 500 CEOs combined.” The hedge fund managers profit not because of a shift in social norms favoring the very rich: but that a few are handling so much capital.

None other than David Brooks of “The New York Times” says, “We’re in the middle of one of the greatest economic eras ever. Global poverty has declined at astounding rates. Globalization boosts each American household’s income by about $10,000 a year. The U. S. economy, despite all the bad-mouthing, is chugging along. Thanks to all the growth, tax revenues are at 18.8% of GDP, higher than the historical average. The deficit is down to about 1.5% of GDP, below the historical average.”

1 comment:

  1. As I recall from the 2006 election, living, as I do, close to Park Ridge, Senator Kotowski has fallen into lockstep with his fellow Democrats on the issue of supporting infanticide, oops, I mean reproductive rights, aka, abortion. This rather undercuts any posturing on his part regarding gun control, which is not an issue on the lips of constituents here in the NW suburbs, except to oppose it. Park Ridge once boasted Penny Pullen who provided some opposing balance to Party of Morlochs...but with Kotowski's lips being moved by the likes of Jan Schakowsky, well, Park Ridge might as well be Lincoln Park.