Paul Krugman discusses Losing Our Way in the New Century: The Future of the Middle Class?.
Krugman brings a sharp political, social and economic analysis of what happened to the middle class of the 20th century and where America's social policy is headed in the future. Krugman is the most widely read economist of our time and was named Columnist of the Year by Editor and Publisher magazine- The Commonwealth Club
Paul Krugman has at least three jobs: he is professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, and, perhaps, his best-known job, as an op-ed columnist for The New York Times. In recognition of his influence The Washington Monthly called him "the most important political columnist in America."
Group of people within a society who possess the same socioeconomic status. The term was first widely used in the early 19th century, following the industrial and political revolutions of the late 18th century. The most influential early theory of class was that of Karl Marx, who focused on how one class controls and directs the process of production while other classes are the direct producers and the providers of services to the dominant class. The relations between the classes were thus seen as antagonistic. Max Weber emphasized the importance of political power and social status or prestige in maintaining class distinctions. Despite controversies over the theory of class, there is general agreement on the characteristics of the classes in modern capitalist societies. In many cases the upper class has been distinguished by the possession of largely inherited wealth, while the working class has consisted mostly of manual labourers and semiskilled or unskilled workers, often in service industries, who earn moderate or low wages and have little access to inherited wealth. The middle class includes the middle and upper levels of clerical workers, those engaged in technical and professional occupations, supervisors and managers, and such self-employed workers as small-scale shopkeepers, businesspeople, and farmers. There is also often an urban substratum of permanently jobless and underemployed workers termed the underclass. See alsobourgeoisie.
I was worried that when I saw this site and its lectures on hulu. I though the site would start to be less desirable to come to due to the pursuit of the $. I figured once funded by patrons that it soon would become more addtastical. I don't have to worry anymore because it's so bad now I'll just go else where.
He makes a few good points (Like the comparison of Unions in the US and Canada for instance.) but to give our government MORE money to squander is nothing short of asinine.
I think it's not going to far out on a limb to say that the average American can just as easily waste their own future health care money without having to use the government as an intermediary.
The good news is that with depressed real estate, a stagnant DOW and, I predict, a burst in the Exchange driven oil and energy price the rich are getting poorer. Meanwhile, there is upward pressure on wages in the last few years as productivity has increased, immigration has slowed, outsourced markets have matured (there is now a labor shortage in India).
To me, the inequality was a necessary evil. In 1970 we had a smokestack economy. Now we have a social network economy. The price was paying the lions to romp, tear up U.S. Steel and replace it with Hakia.com. But that time is over.
There is still a lot of stickiness and remnants, and the Old Guard is going out kicking and screaming. For example, I am writing this on the free Firefox browser. It was part of my free operating system, openSuse linux 10.3. And I'm sending it to you over the air, using Clearwire's WiMax technology (you mentioned the French being ahead in "broadband", well, we American's are still in the lead if you realize that our wifi and now WiMax penetration is much far ahead of others). So, one can ask why does anyone in his right mind pay money to Bill Gates for software that is available for free which is of equal if not higher quality.
One can see the handwriting on the wall. With so much information available, 6 year old Raju will soon be able to play "hedge manager" on his OLPC. I see not so much "inequality" in the economy as "individuation". We all have different needs and wants. For example, most of us could do with a lot less food, and walk more and drive less. Doing so gives us an instant boost in income, but also quality of life. How do you measure that in dollars per person...you can't.
Welcome to our meeting of the Commonwealth Club. I am Ralph Baxter and it is mypleasure to welcome that all of you to tonight's program. This is the first in a series ofprograms that we and Orrick are sponsoring with the Commonwealth Club. As series wecall the Aha speaker series in which we will bring our speakers here to theCommonwealth Club from all over the world with different perspectives from thisdifferent disciplines to share with us their thoughts about developments and events in theworld events and developments that are shaping out future and we will shape and are shaping our present.Tonight we are delighted to have as our first speaker in the series Paul Krugman. Pauldoes not require much introduction, but let me say a few things before I turn the podiumover to him. Paul Krugman was educated at Yale as an undergraduate and got his PhDfrom MIT and he is now the Professor of Economics in International Affairs at Princeton.Of course he perhaps better known for his Op-Ed columns in the New York Times, buthe writes much more broadly than that. Paul Krugman has written twenty books. He hasauthored more than 200 papers in professional journals and of course now has his mostrecent in "The Conscience of a Liberal" in Publication. And tonight Paul will talk aboutthe book and his views of Economic Inequality and Political Change in America. Paul.Hi all, good evening and I may cough at some point during here, I think allergic to thesetimes we live in I think something anyway so even hear some of that sorry, but that wasnot stays that was real. Okay - okay as I am really going to talk about the book "TheConscience of a Liberal", and it's a it's a book that's newly out, its I was last time Iwas on book tour it was a book that was the most part a collection of columns and theywere reactions of the time we were in, this time I have try to figure out how we got towhere we are and is there a way out? I guess it's the way to put it, I have actually hadsome I know there is some disappointment in in reviews or comments by relativelyconservative people saying there isn't a whole lot of Bush bashing in this book, I guessthe answer is saying when they have done that and I am trying to figure out where wego next. And so let me let me tell the at the core of of what is on my mind and that is in my book.There are I would say two from my point of view two great puzzles about America.Now I am I am a baby boomer grew up in the society of you know, the 50s and 60s.And it was we thought that society was in many ways that sort of end state, we arewe are a mature country god, it was a broadly middle class society, it was a poverty problemthat which which actually getting a great deal of attention but they weren't are a lot ofvery rich people and there was a broad equality of economic conditions among veryamong most of the population. It was also a society which had a relative despite all theterm of the 60s and into as a politics there was a there was a - a strong center. Therewas a lot of agreement about basic principles about what what our government was for.What the shapes of society are to be? And there was a real possibility of bipartisan action,so if you look at the major legalization of the time, something like Medicare was createdwith a lot of votes from both parties next with some oppositions from both parties but itwas really a there was a there was an ability to co-operate to get things done, and it all went away.And there are from my point of view these two great puzzles one of them is economic,what happened to middle class America, the other is political, why have the politics gonethe way they have and let me just talk for a second about the the economic puzzle firstand then which then least to the political puzzle. So the economic puzzle is this, there isa debate among economists about whether the typical family, the median family hasexperienced again in a standard of living in income since the since the early 1970swhere you can you can cut it back in four various ways. Median income is up but that'sentirely because more spouses are working, and you can go back and forth and we aremeasuring prices right, they didn't have DVD players you know, so on the out come ofthat debate is not important. What's stunting is the fact that it's even debatable.Go back and we are talking about 35 years. The the end of the great Post-War Boom isusually dated to 1973. In 1973 there were no personal computers, no internet, faxmachines were extremely expensive things that basically only major news organizationshad. There were the ships were unloaded by guys toting big bags of stuff, no freecontainerization, no barcode scanner, they were vastly richer, more productive society wewere then we were in a in the early 70s and yet we are not sure its within the realm ofargument, where the typical family has has gained any thing. How is that possible? Theanswer of course is that there were huge, huge gains at the top of the income distribution.A few people got much, much richer and that took all or almost all of the gains.We talk about second Gilded age referring back to the era of the Robber Barons, and thatis not a metaphor, its not hyperbole, its not exaggeration by the numbers the distributionof income in the United States in 2005 almost exactly matched what it was in the 1920s.So it may be not quite the the age of J.P Morgan although but but certainly the greatGaspi we are certainly fully back to levels of inequality that was not been seen sincesince the the 1920s, it's a it's an extraordinary thing.So first question is how does that happen? How was it possible for inequality to grow thatmuch? And I will talk about that in a moment. Second question is why hasn't the politicalsystem had a bad clash against that? If you if you have told somebody just in theabstract look we are going to see a tremendous concentration of income at the top of theof the spectrum, stagnation of wages from most workers over a period of several decadesobvious explosion of great wealth. You might have expected in fact standard politicaltheories which lead you to think that that there would be a demand for you know, therewould be a pressure to raise taxes on the rich and provide stronger social safety net, thatyou know, that might even have expected to see here we long make a second coming youknow, soak the rich but at least you would have expected some kind of political back clash against that.In fact on the contrary, the trend of our politics at least until very, very recently has beentowards in the opposite direction that the Republican Party has become increasingly aparty of lower taxes lower tax rates on on the people with high income, deregulation,privatization of parts of the of the social insurance system and has by and large onemore election than it has lost, so the political trend is actually went to the right when youmight have thought that growing inequality would post to the left so, how did thathappen? Okay when I argue in "The Conscience of a Liberal" is first of all that a lot of theincrease inequality is in fact a political at its root the politics drives economics.Now this is not the way economist run I am a card carrying economist may be therevoke going to license here. But this is not the way economist are supposed to thinkexcept that most economists will looked hard at the long term developments in inequalityare driven in this direction. And let me give you a few things that people may not beaware of. The first is the middle class society I grew up in did not evolve gradually. Youmight think that there was a - you know, there was the era of the Robber Barons and thengradually America turned into the America of Ozzy & Harriet what ever. That it graduallyevolved into this middle class society. That is not what the data or you know the availablestory tell us. What they tell us is in fact that far as we can tell the Gilded Age lasted rightthrough the 1920s. America on the eve of the new deal was very nearly as unequal as ithad been in the 1890s. And that the middle class relatively egalitarian society was createdin a very short period of time between the late 1930s and the end of World War II.The economic historians call that the great compression as the income difference gotcompressed. And its its as important a story about 20th century America is the greatdepression if we all know that, that was much less told and you look at what happenedand it was the Roosevelt Administration to the whole set of policies but all of themequalizing, much higher tax rates on the wealthy higher corporate tax rates approve unionorganizing environment who had a explosion in union membership tripling of of theshare of the work force, the minimum wage, social security, unemployment insurance. Allof these things and then the process accelerated because during the World War II, therewere extensive government controls on the economy which were used in a way tended toequalize incomes. All this created a middle class society in a period of not more thanabout seven or eight years.Now you might have thought well okay but you know, this all artificial especially thestuff during the war so you know, we go away as soon as peace time return, but it didn'tturn out that once you create institutions, norms expectations are relatively equal societythat tends to persist. So the income distribution is relatively middle class society that wascreated by the new deal persisted for more than a generation after World War II. Then itstarted to come apart, and you see this dramatic increase inequality not quite as fast as thegreat compression but its just dramatic increase starting around 1980 which in itself iskind of an interesting date because that's Regan come to the White House and it turns out,that the well the increase in inequality in the United States is unique to the UnitedStates. So other advanced countries have not seen anything like it. The closest thing youcan seen to the US to this un-equalization that has taken place in the United States is inBritain during the Thatcher years which again it's self a little bit revealing.And nothing remotely, just look at the charts and we are you know, we are off the chartsin terms of the languish in equality and many of the things that we take for granted aswell this is the way the things work in the modern the late 20th early 21st centuryeconomy, turn out to be special to the US. So one example I would like to use is thedecline of the union movement. We all know that unions are out molded and you cant youknow, it's a global competition and all that, except well here is a comparison peopledon't know, in the 1960s Canada that's about the country there they we tend to theyalmost speak the same language, but anyway they in the 1960s Canada and the UnitedStates had roughly the same percentage of their workers in Union by 30 percent in bothcountries today Canada still has almost 30 percent of it workers in Unions.In the United States its sound to by eleven percent and much less than that its in theprivate sectors its heavily and public sector thing left so the de-unionization was notsomething that happened because the global economy because Canada faces the sameglobal economy we do was same that happened here, and how did they happened? Wellwhen you look into it closely discover that it was political basically Ronald Reagan aboveall though it started before him to clear to open season for union investors, if you duringthe during the 1980s about one in every 20 workers who voted for union was illegallyfired. And the reason sure we are less of an industrial society but there is no one knowthe reason why giant service sector companies, you know, the iconic corporation of the60s was General Motors, the iconic corporation of today is Wal-mart, there is inherentreason why this company should not be unionized in fact similar enterprises are in the restof the world but because the shift was service economy took place in a environment inwhich politicians the dominant political forces said it was okay to bust unions in the waythat we had in people had in the 1920s, we have we have the dramatic decline inunionization in the united states so it is not and you know, and intern has all kind oframifications for the income distribution. So I can talk about it and some link but butthere is a lot of reason to believe the politics has driven this dramatic increase ininequality. Sure technology is there, globalization is there but its it is very largely political.I should say one more thing there is a view on inequality that you hear all the time, whichis what's all about the increase demand for skills for education in the modern worldeconomy. You know, and there is no doubt something to that but if you actually look atthe numbers the huge growth in depravities has not been between the college educatedand the non-college educated. Yes people with college these have done better than peoplewithout, but most of the increase is among people with a lot of education, so that mostdramatic statistic high school teachers tend to have post graduate degrees and so do Hfund managers. And thus we all know the highest last year the highest paid H-fundmanager in the United States made an amount equal to salaries of all 80,000 New YorkCity School teachers for the next three years. So this is its not education that is drivingthis its not it's not that simple.Politics, why haven't we had a back clash, well or part of this way how was it been thatpeople how was it been that that during this period of rapid increase inequality we haveseen the top tax rates for in a back when that socialist Dwight Eisenhower was presidentthe the top tax marginal tax rate was 91 percent and it was 70 percent too much of theof the 60s and 70s as now 35. Our capital gains tax rate is being cut from 28 to 15, and soin down the line. That the tax rates that apply most heavily to the people who have beenbeen the big beneficiaries who are going inequality have been cut, social programs havebeen eroded where was possible although social security and Medicare are there. How isthat possible - but why has politics moved to the right?Well that is a two part story. The first is the change in the Republican Party, you canactually measure positions, democrats are not or have not be until the recentlysignificantly to the left where they have been to start. Was Bill Clinton to the left of JohnF Kennedy not not that not in a visible way. And Republican Party has moved a longway to the portrait as because it was in effect captured by something that I call movementconservatism was not actually my name - it was the movement conservatism themselves callit. You know, there is a conservative yes Virginia there is a vast right wing conspiracy, butbut its not its not hidden it's not secret. It's a just a overlapping set of institutionsthat create a lot of incentives to follow what announced to a party line.So what that's institution in the whole range from the Heritage Foundation to Fox Newsyou can various see - you are very clearly sees what cohesive, you look at a lot theseinstitutions you asking where does the funding come from. And in the same five or sixlarge right wing foundations come up again and again, it's really you know, there it iscohesive movement. They wont really tell you otherwise, but although I I have alwaysthought that the obsession with George Soros on the right comes partly from the fact thatthey think there must be a sinister billionaire organizing things because after all that theway things work on their side, but the okay- the how does it take over well a lot of ityou know that the personal incentives are quite strong. So you look at a what - look atthe tale of two republican senators who lost their seats last year. Lincoln Chafee I believegot a one year teaching appointment at Brown and he would you know Lincoln Chafeewas an old was a an Eisenhower republican essentially. Go back EisenhowerEisenhower said if to people who are he have wrote a famous letter to his brotherrevealed after his death that talking about people who fought to roll back to new deal,people would thought that you can get rid of social security and unemployment, insurancein all that and he said they have a tiny minority and they are stupid.But in fact today we have a republican party most or the the key institutions movementconservatism actually believe and try to do exactly that so had fund raising letters fromthe Heritage Foundation will say that you know, you will never forget connect the dots.The the our goal is to undo the new deal on the great society in other words its basicallyself security and Medicare that these these are these are early and these are badinstitutions like they want to roll this back. The so if you are not a - if you are republicisn't in the movement conservative well there is much there if you are so the other one isRick Santorum and merely there was a program created for him to head at a right wingThink Tank the New America's enemies program and so there you are with you know,this is the - some of my progressive friends called "wing-nut welfare" but anyway the youknow, this is a whole set of incentives very strong, Now its none the less. This would notthis kind of hard line right position seized the republican nomination for BarryGoldwater but then went down to terrible defeat and and when the republicans dig atthe White House under Richard Nixon Nixon was not actually in many ways goodNixon governed as a liberal. Its not clear Nixon didn't seen to had much of any ideologyexcept that he should be running things and then it was a it wasn't until but what Nixondid what made it possible of this to who to change America it was the ability to winelections and so the question it has to be if you have what is essentially an anti-populist aelitist economy philosophy that is taken over one of America's two great parties duringtime of rising inequality, how it that can win elections?And the answer actually is that it has never done so by running on the economic ideology.Economics is what it's about, you actually ask what this Heritage Foundation care about,what do the - what does management really want? It is about economics is about trying toroll things back. It is a Grover Norquist do people know the Grover Norquist, Americansfor Tax Action the the we like him in a way he is the great anti tax cut enforcersomebody pointed out that that Grover Norquist is sort of like a James Bond villainwho explains that length in evil plans so we could like to quote him the quote everyoneuses the one about getting the government down to the side where you can drown it in abath tub but the one I was liked as he one asks what he wants he said he wants to getAmerica back to the way it was before Teddy Roosevelt and socialist came in so unduethe 21st okay but this is and this you know this is this is but we are not talking aboutsome crank we are talking about somebody who actually until - until last November waspart of the republican process of debting people got lobbyist appointments you knowwhere a central part of the whole mechanism.Okay, how does this win elections? The answer is by running other other things? So insome ways the 2004 election was a perfect illustration, Bush wins the election by beingAmerica's defender against gay-married terrorists. And then you know, barely have thenetworks called the elections and he says and now our first priority is to privatize socialsecurity, which came as kind of shock to lot of people who have voted for him, but that'sfairly typical. All right and when I looked in some detail at the political history it turnsout that although there are chapters telling weapons of mass destruction, but the but itturns out that the core of it although national security clearly swung the 2002 and 2004elections, and actually the tough much less important. The enduring source the ability ofa move in conservatism to win elections has in fact not been that it has been raised. Thecentrality of race to the American political story was not something I expected to findwhen I began working on this book but it just becomes overwhelmingly clear once youstart to do the do the work so let me give you a story on a statistic and then we will talkabout it bit more the story is as when Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act heturned to his Bill Morris who was then his young of the age and he said we just give inthe south to the GOP for my lifetime and yours and that appears to actually had been rightthat a sort if you look to an extraordinary extend on what is happened in Americanpolitics can be see as the success of Richard Nixon southern strategy amazing amountthat once you take account of just five words southern white started voting republicanthere isn't much left over to explain.So here is my statistic, from Larry Bartels in the in the politics department, the we allanother white males have turned on the democratic party have left a democratic party andthere is whole list of reasons given for that but its not exactly true unless you add aadditional word which is its really just southern white males who have left the democraticparty. In 1952 of non southern white males 40 percent voted democratic in 2004 39percent they are all I have heard about alienated work in class borders and in the countryonce you take it account great southern switch there is nothing left to explain nothingmuch happened to destroys you seen about evangelicals are very large they are not entirebut they alert the just about the southern switch. Because there are lot more evangelicalsin the south almost everything else boils away.Now I said southern wise switch might not be might not be about race, thank you.Yeah, this is - I am sorry that the you may never get the end of the story, we willwhether I can get there. One of the reasons for thinking that it is aside from sort of thethe obvious timing, and the answer actually of course is to the politicians very clearlysought to use race as a way to win elections. So that when in some ways Nixon famouslyhad the southern strategy and it is a lot of in it they hadn't the legacy of the NixonAdministration in our politics remains very strong often in in terms of the individuals, soDick Cheney gets started in Nixon administration. People forget that Roger Ailes head ofFox News was Richard Nixon's media guru, so this is direct line to send that that CarlRove was Lee Atwaters disciple that the Lee Atwater had the famous late in life interviewwhere he said talked about using race in politics, and where we said there is somethingalong lines up you used to say nigger nigger nigger, now we say taxes and welfare,but - it's the same message.But more specifically one of the key figures in "The Conscience of a Liberal" is RonaldReagan who is a you know really I think probably we haven't figure in that changedAmerica but not in the way that the hagiography, you have seen Ronald has made. Thereal Ronald Reagan was a - certainly there was a harshness to it. If you read the famous1964 speech that made Ronald Reagan a national figure and that extraordinary thing toread partly because of the sheer means spiritedness of it so he makes fun of John FKennedy having said millions of Americans go to bed hungry every night and saying theywere probably holding a diet. But what he found what Reagan found was the waywithout being explicit to play to these racial divisions and fears. So he didn't talk aboutrace, he talked about welfare cheats, he talked about welfare queen driving her cadillacthat never existed but that became a central story in his campaign.And in 1980 when he began the Presidential campaign, he did not begin the campaignwith the speech on tax cuts. He did not can begin the campaign with the speech oncommunism he began the campaign by going to Philadelphia Mississippi where the threecivil rights workers have been murdered and giving a speech on states rights and it was youyou know it was a shot out to to as clear as could be. And now if continued to you willthink think about really wrote in 1988 campaign. This this strategy continued to workpeople have asked me do I think that Ronald Reagan was a racist do I think that George HW Bush was racist and the answer is no not at all there I think what they were about iseconomics where its about is lowering tax rates at the top and privatizing social securitybut race has been the way that elections had been won.Okay, so this is the happy book "The Conscience of a Liberal" is actually a happy bookbecause I think that this is very nearly over. That the that this whole process is in its lastthrow I guess that I would say and there are a couple of reasons one is that if you lookbroadly at how Americans think about about issues there is actually been thepronounced liberal trend in American public opinion over the past decade you can seethat in all kinds of issues but it was one of interesting things I used to - I shouldn't use theword liberal in the title of every book because people are not liberal and true. If you askpeople are you liberal, not very many people say they are, but if you ask people do youthink that the US government should guarantee health insurance to everybody?Overwhelmingly they say yes. You say would you be willing to pay somewhat highertaxes for that. And you only lose a few percentage points even there. So people actuallyare quite in favor of strong, safety in that, strong government taking care of people thatthe divisions that have exploited so well.I think on losing there I have more in that I think I think you can document that they arelosing their effectiveness not gone but those in their effectiveness. For one thing on racewe are becoming a more diverse country quite simply the Latino and to some extentthe Asian vote are just transforming the demographics of the electorate in the way thenthat means that you can play racial politics the way it used to, but that there is a morefundamental I think more uplifting reason we are just a better country, racism has muchdiminished. You look I like to look at some of the hot button issues calls they are notreally about politics may direct sense but give you a sense of how people think, so whatdo you think of inter-racial marriage?And in 1978 more than 50 percent of the public said no, it's unacceptable and not morethan 36 percent said it was okay. Today 77 percent think its fine. So we've changed inthat respect. I thought the defining moment of the 2006 campaign the - the real tell-tellmovement was the Macaque incident. George Allan actually California yuppie butreinvented himself as a as a southern good ol' boy burst into a a you know, a racial, anobscure racial slur against a young American man of south Asian decent, so there you getthe increase diversity who was you know, trailing him with a video camera for the forthe web campaign. That the racial insult that's nothing new in American politics. What isnew is that Americans won't stand for it, Virginians won't stand for it, we are not thatcountry anymore. So that's a a transformation in the kind of country we are whichsuggest that there is a huge opening now for a big change in direction. Where does thatchange in direction start? Well health care.Health care is the health care is the is the great unfinished business of social insurancethe Welfare State in United States, in no other advanced country do citizens worry thatthey may not be able to afford necessary medical care. And no other advanced country dothey worry that they might be bankrupted, destroy financially by expensive medicalneeds. And so we can afford that but then there is this amazing fact that United Statesmeasures to spend far more on health care than in any other advanced country and yetand yet not cover people and all of the things that you have heard about how terrible findhealth care systems are are almost entirely fabrications and particularly there werecouple of foreign systems that that are slightly more generously funded ones, Frenchsystem, the German system that are terrific, the quality is every bit as good as the best youcan get here and and they cover everybody and they do it at less cost. How is thatpossible our system is wildly inefficient.The system of you know, our goal almost everybody at least says that they thinkeveryone should have health insurance. And yet we have a private insurance system thatspends a great deal of money trying to find people was I put it you know, its not its anarchive trying to find people who really need health insurance so as to deny them thatinsurance it's a trying to you know, its business. You have to find the height you don'twant to cover the high risk cases, which is why Medicare has over head of about threepercent of its budget, and private health insurance companies have over head that's about14 percent of their budget. The truth is we are actually a little known fact. In the UnitedStates the Medicare and Medicaid already pay more medical bills than private insurancecompanies do. The reason you might say more the most people have private insuranceyes but think about who Medicare and Medicaid cover. The elderly who are much moreexpensive, so the fact is we are already in terms of the dollars and cents, more than halfway to having a National Health Care System but the trouble is we leave large numbers ofpeople uninsured and and it doesn't work. So we can if we can get the health carereform that in itself is a big plus for the for the American public, and it also has political implications.So one of the funny things I found is I am I am actually in total agreement with on onething with William Kristol the Weekly Standard. It during the failure of the Clintonhealth care initiative in the early 90s Kristol wrote a famous memo to republicans sayingour goal is not to improve this plan it is to kill it. And the reason was that if UniversalHealth Care plan of any form was passed that it would reinvigorate liberalism. Theywould reinvigorate that the the notion of Welfare State and he was right, and if we canget it then it will change it change the whole translation, makes a lot of other thingspossible. And and amazingly optimistic state of mind these days because I look at thepolitical scene and I see these possibilities. I will I will give you a dose of pessimism ina minute, but you know, just that just you know, I haven't completely lost my mind.And you look at the political scene and certainly the possibilities there is a much moreprogressive mood in the electrode than we are seeing for I become big on on politicalsize measure some of the the electrode appears to be more liberal than it has been sinceearly in the 1960s. And the the democratic on health care which I think the issuenumber one, the democratic candidates have all more or less converged on a anapproach that I think will work, which is not a immediate jump to Medicare for all, but isin fact a compromise of transition that is pretty good that would allow with a moderateamount of additional revenue revenue can get not by a massive tax increase but simplyby allowing some of the Bush taxes to expire would allow you to produce a system thatwould cover everybody and would put private insurance companies in competition with apublic plan that that would in fact go a long way. It's not the perfect system but good enough.So we actually I would sometimes I would have pinch myself because remember itsless than three years ago we probably going to lose social security seen like a desperateuphill fight to stop the privatization of of the core of the new deal. At this point the allof the leading democratic candidates present were actually pushing for a are at leastadvocating a possible serious well designed plan for universal health insurance, whichyou could imagine actually happening in the first term of the next president that's anamazing transition. Now it is a big there are also many big ifs, first of all you know,elections who know what will happen in the election. Anyone who is absolutely certainyou know, it hasn't it shouldn't be, in a bigger issue that I do worry about beyond that oror and certainly another issue is is we will if we do have a president a democraticpresident will he or she actually follow through.During the Gilded age and we are living in a second Gilded Age, the democrats who areliving near the white house tended to be what we were called at the time BourbonDemocrats which was democrats who were very nearly as much in the pocket of theRobber Barons as the as the republicans of the time, not quite but very nearly so Isometimes I say I actually wrote this some time in a time is that we hope we are aboutto elect another FDR. We might be about to elect another Grover Cleveland, which wewould be deeply disappointing if that's what happens. But it's a amazing turn we are weare not I think the last time I spoke to this group would have been probably four yearsago and it was for someone of my views I think for for everyone it was a really grimtime and it was terrible feeling that the things have gone wrong and of course many thingshave gone wrong but the but things are better and the the trends are going in what Isee as the right direction, the things we feared, the terrible wrong term we feared Americamight take didn't happen, this has in fact turned out to be the country that I I hoped itwas and I am feeling so optimistic that's probably I probably should see a doctor. Thank you.