Senator Cory Booker explains the problem with stock buybacks, walks us through his Workers Dividend Act, and offers Goldy some much-needed counseling.

Cory Booker is the U.S. Senator from New Jersey and a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Twitter: @CoryBooker

Further reading: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/3/6/17083398/booker-buyback-populist

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/02/kill-stock-buyback-to-save-the-american-economy/385259/

 

Speaker 1:                    00:00                Do you have a question or idea for us? Email us at pitch@pitchforkeconomics.com and we might use it.

Speaker 2:                    00:08                IBM authorizes $4 billion for a stock repurchase.

Speaker 3:                    00:11                84% of all stocks are owned by the top 10% of households, and the top 1% of households own about roughly 40% of stocks.

Speaker 4:                    00:19                Investors are sweeping up shares in MasterCard today. That comes after the credit card company approved a $1 billion stock buy back.

Nick H.:                         00:27                From the point of view of Wall Street, we could literally enslave those people, and if the profits went up, that would be righteous for everyone.

Speaker 6:                    00:37                Huntington Bank shares announcing a $1.07 billion buy back.

Speaker 3:                    00:41                We make moral and value decisions with how we structure our tax code, and this is yet another example where we’re short changing workers. We’re adding to the wealth disparities in our country, and ultimately weakening the strength of our democracy as a whole.

Speaker 8:                    00:56                You know it’s a big year for buybacks as well. Goldman Sacks estimates that buy backs could hit a record $1 trillion this year.

Speaker 9:                    01:08                From the offices of Civic Ventures in downtown Seattle, this is Pitchfork Economics with Nick Hanauer, a conversation about how capitalism actually works.

Nick H.:                         01:27                I’m Nick Hanauer, founder of Civic Ventures.

David G.:                      01:30                I’m David Goldstein, senior fellow at Civic Ventures.

David G.:                      01:39                So Nick, in the last episode, we started a conversation about the purpose of the corporation. We talked about stock buybacks, about shareholder maximization, and about corporate governance. In this episode, we’re going to move on a bit to policy solutions, and you’ve got a friend who can help us in that area.

Nick H.:                         01:58                That’s right, I’m super excited today to get to talk to my friend Senator Cory Booker.

Speaker 12:                  02:04                A headline grabbing former mayor with a love of social media who says he’s the only vegan in Senate history.

Speaker 13:                  02:10                So he has a story to tell of how he fought from the bottom and kept going. He knows the people on the ground.

Speaker 14:                  02:17                On Friday, another Democrat entered the race. New Jersey senator and man trying to pass universal healthcare with his mind, Cory Booker.

Nick H.:                         02:30                Who has done a lot of thinking and work on these topics, and in fact has just dropped a bill that he calls the Workers’ Dividend Act that attempts to address some of these issues, so it should be really fun to talk to Cory about those things.

David G.:                      02:47                Hold on. This is the second part of a two parter on the purpose of the corporation and stock buybacks, so if you haven’t already listened to the previous episode, stop. Go back. Download it. Listen, then come back. Ready? Okay. On to Cory Booker.

Nick H.:                         03:12                Hey Cory, it’s Nick. How are you buddy?

Cory B.:                        03:14                Hey man, I’m really psyched that you’re doing a podcast. More than you know, that’s just great news.

Nick H.:                         03:19                Thank you. Thank you. And I know you do one too.

Cory B.:                        03:19                You were one of my initial professors when it came to economic justice issue from a perspective of somebody who actually has been a captain of industry, so I continue to savor you. Still your greatest contribution to my development as a leader was True Patriot.

Nick H.:                         03:38                Thank you so much. That’s so kind of you to say.

David G.:                      03:41                Let me just start, interjects the other voice. I’m David Goldstein. I may interject with a question. We’ll see how this goes.

Cory B.:                        03:48                David, how was it having to work with Nick there?

David G.:                      03:52                Well, we’ll have a private conversation about that some day.

Cory B.:                        03:55                I offer counseling sessions. I used to be a crisis counselor, if you ever want …

Nick H.:                         03:57                Goldie, tell the senator how you refer to me as?

David G.:                      04:01                My plutocratic overlord.

Nick H.:                         04:03                Yes, benevolent plutocratic overlord.

Cory B.:                        04:09                That’s very important. If you’re going to be stuck with plutocratic overlord, thank god they’re benevolent.

Nick H.:                         04:13                So we’re super excited today to talk to you about one of our favorite subjects covering one of the worst excesses of modern capitalism which is stock buybacks. You have been at the center of that fight, and we want to talk to you about your bill, the Workers’ Dividend Act. Can you tell us about it and why you did it?

Cory B.:                        04:37                Can I just take a step back? This is [inaudible 00:04:40] I’ve talked about for over 10 years. The economy of my dad’s generation that built out the largest expansion of the middle class on the planet earth, we have seen a massive warping of the economy my father grew up in that has resulted in the largest stratification of income we have ever seen historically in this country and a shift towards what I call sort of a pernicious short termism as opposed to a long-term view of creating real growth and opportunity. Expanding pathways to prosperity for most Americans. So this is a massive shift, and it’s shifted because we’ve changed the rules and have created what I think are incentives that work against a fair, just economy. Buybacks is just one way.

Cory B.:                        05:29                Stock buybacks were illegal. It was considered market manipulation before 1982. What a stock buyback is is a corporation using its profits to buy back their stock, this making the price of the stocks to jump up because you’re creating more scarcity. More demand causes the cost to go up. It’s a basic economic principle, and so that raises the stock price and benefits the corporation, short-term benefits. Remember, these are things that were illegal before 1982, but also we’ve changed how CEOs are measured for their success.

Cory B.:                        06:05                One of the things we now look at, CEOs often benefited from, it’s the price of their stock, what their quarterly earnings are. By doing that, what was once market manipulation is now also benefiting that CEO, who’s like most us, we are incentivized by what our incentives are. Their pay is often pegged towards their stock price. That’s created a very dramatic shift in the American economy. For example, between 2003 and 2012, companies on the S&P 500 dedicated 91% of their total earnings to stock buybacks and corporate dividends, which left us 9% for investing in things like, hey, raises for their workers. But before the 1970s, remember when these things were illegal, this kind of market manipulation, the split was like 50/50 between dividends for stockholders and things like increasing worker pay.

Cory B.:                        07:04                Remember, stock buybacks driving up the cost of stocks, it’s a part of that shifting wealth in our society because 84% of all stocks are owned by the top 10% of households. The top 1% of households own about roughly 40% of stocks. So if I can give you just one real-life example of this.

Nick H.:                         07:23                Yeah, love it.

Cory B.:                        07:24                Which just puts things into perspective, and that’s what happened with American Airlines. This was all done without apology, with sort of shamelessness. You basically saw last year, American Airlines had a great quarter. They pulled in about $234 million in earnings. Bravo for American Airline for doing that. They announced to do the right thing that they were going to give long overdue pay raises to its pilots and its flight attendants.

Speaker 16:                  07:51                It’s a long overdue wage increase that brings us up to slightly above the industry, comparable to Delta and United.

Cory B.:                        08:01                But America’s decision, which was basically an acknowledgement that we want to fairly pay our workers and that’s important to our long-term success, we made a prudent decision, unfortunately it was immediately derided by Wall Street and by financial analysts. One analyst for Citi Group literally complained, and I’m going to quote the analyst. It said, “Labor is being paid first again. Shareholders get leftovers.”

Nick H.:                         08:25                Amazing.

Cory B.:                        08:26                Yeah, and Morgan Stanley literally downgraded American Airlines shares, and they went as far as to argue that it, “Establishes a worrying precedent, in our view, both for American and the industry.” We know and we remember corporations were formed by American law. They were seen to have to be loyal to their constituencies, such as the towns and the cities which they were their workers. We’ve seen a perversion of corporate ideals and corporate ethics to now their sole loyalty according to Wall Street, which is actually providing the incentives for those CEOs, those CEOs are now looking to their quarterly earnings and to their stock prices.

Cory B.:                        09:10                They’ve perverted the system now away from those ethics of old where corporations were formed, and by the way they’re given that certain tax status by Americans, by American government. It’s now perverted their focus from communities, from the common good, from their employees now to just those short-term stock reports and quarterly earnings. That’s why we’ve tried to find a fix for that to balance out the incentives to get the focus back to those people that are increasingly, we’ve seen 60 years of stagnant wages while corporate profits now have been driven up to an over 80-year high.

Nick H.:                         09:47                That was just a terrific explanation of where the country has gone wrong. There was not one thing that you just said that I thought I disagreed with. I think you’re dead on, and I also observed the Wall Street reaction to American Airlines and was just appalled by the naked greed of it all and in particular, the lack of self-awareness. Just the astonishing assumption that the only thing that mattered was making rich people richer and that the employees actually didn’t count at all in the equation, that there was no social or political or economic utility created by fairly compensating them, and that, from the point of view of Wall Street, we could literally enslave those people and if the profits went up, that would be righteous for everyone.

Nick H.:                         10:45                It’s just a remarkable expression of this sort of super concentrated form of neoliberalism that permeates our culture and our politics.

David G.:                      10:55                I don’t know how you get through life, Nick, when labor is always being paid first.

Nick H.:                         11:00                I don’t know. I don’t know.

Cory B.:                        11:02                But it’s also misguided. It actually doesn’t make better companies. It hurts the well-being of that corporation, and we have countless examples of if you focus on people, if you invest in folks, if you pay them fair wages, not only does your corporation do better, but the society in which that corporation operates thrives. Right now, we are choking our democracy by shifting away the balance of power in this country that focuses on people, broad middle classes, and we’re actually creating a dangerous system where the system itself is being delegitimized. I see that by the rise of corporate power in America by things like Citizens United. You see a concentration of power, a rise of economic power, a rise of political power that then they come down and double down on that momentum that is turning and turning our society more and more away from workers and working people. Literally stripping the dignity away from work, which ultimately undermines the security of our society as a whole.

David G.:                      12:02                Let’s turn to solutions, Senator. How would the Workers’ Dividend Act address this?

Cory B.:                        12:09                The Workers’ Dividend Act basically says, “Look, if you are going to buy back stocks, what was just a matter of decades ago something that was market manipulation. If you’re going to engage in those practices, when you make those stock buy backs, you have to give a commensurate share of that profit to your employees themselves.” If you don’t buy back stock, you can continue to pay your employees what they are, but if you do go for stock buybacks, then your workers have to see a benefit from it. It has to benefit the whole community constellation of interests that are part of the corporation.

Cory B.:                        12:41                The best thing I can do, again, is give you a real-life example with a company that we often talk about for what it pays its workers, which is our nation’s biggest corporate employer which is Wal-mart. They have over 1.5 million employees. This is the example of what our bill would do. Wal-mart’s starting wage is just $11 an hour, which is $19,448 a year for a full-time worker. By the way, I’m a New Jersey senator. You can’t live in, let’s say, the New York metropolitan area and raise a family of four, like my grandfather did, who raised his family, my mom, on a factory worker’s salary.

Nick H.:                         13:18                You can’t even afford an apartment for $19,000 a year.

Cory B.:                        13:21                This is how much America has changed, again, in one generation where jobs had dignity, jobs had security, and we’ve now taken that away. That’s why I live in airport town in Newark, and I see people who work full-time jobs, catch extra shifts, and still need to live on food stamps and subsidized housing because a lot of these corporations outsource their labor costs onto society. And worse than that, onto the children of those families who now have more economic insecurity, which often translates to them doing worse in school, them doing worse in terms of their economic life outcomes.

Cory B.:                        13:54                But let’s get back to the bill. It’s less than $20,000 for a full-time worker. Now Wal-mart saw, in 2017, $9.8 billion in profits, which again is revenue minus expenses. Wal-mart’s board decided that they were going to use, out of that $9.8 billion in profits, they were going to use $8.2 billion of it in stock buybacks in 2017. Again, driving up their stock prices. But if my bill was there, if the Worker Dividend Act, if it was law, every worker would have seen a dividend of $3,266 added to their annual pay. They, too, would have the benefit from the use of that money for a stock buyback.

Nick H.:                         14:38                Cory, if I could just interject, the way in which you just framed this is both accurate but very conservative, because that 9.8 billion in profit was after tax profit.

Cory B.:                        14:46                Yes, yes.

Nick H.:                         14:48                That was the profit after tax, so to be clear, if they had used some of this money to pay their workers, they would have increased their expenses, lowered their pre-tax profits, and therefore lowered their tax bill. So the net impact would really be lower. It’s actually cheaper for them, in a way, to pay people.

Cory B.:                        15:15                Exactly, absolutely. I talk to folks all the time who won’t want to call themselves sort of free-market people, and I give countless examples. And we’ve all had these arguments with folks about how our tax system, as we know it right now, has changed dramatically and is constantly shifting the collective resources of this country. We call them here in Washington tax expenditures, is shifting those tax expenditures to the wealthiest of people and creates decision. Why is it that we, as a society, a 55-year-old, public school teacher … and we know these teachers … who reach in their own pockets and spend on kids’ school supplies. I know teachers in Newark that spend for food and for sanitary products for their teenage kids, and they have a very paltry tax break to be able to write off those expenses that they’re doing, but they do it anyway.

Cory B.:                        16:08                Yet, for a 25-year-old kid that works in a hedge fund, we give them better tax treatment, and in fact, they’re paying less in taxes because of carried interest than their secretaries are. We make moral and value decisions with how we structure our tax code, and this is yet another example where we’re shortchanging workers, we’re adding to the wealth disparities in our country, and ultimately weakening the strength of our democracy as a whole.

David G.:                      16:33                Let me just play devil’s advocate for a moment. Wouldn’t your bill just take money out of the pockets of shareholders, and thus reduce investment in the economy and slow economic growth? It’s going to hurt the people it’s intended to help, right?

Cory B.:                        16:51                I love this because I know Nick and I have had these conversations for over a decade. I remember that same argument was against raising the minimum age. “You’re going to weaken these companies if you pay people more,” and I know that Nick is out there in Seattle. As a result of raising people’s minimum wage, putting more money in the pockets of working people, it has actually a multiplier affect in the economy where you have folks who are getting those resources and actually spending more. Working people who are often living pay check to pay check will be spending that money more, and will create a multiplier effect that ultimately helps businesses as a whole.

Cory B.:                        17:27                As you said, Nick, to me when you started fighting the minimum wage battle, you predicted that that’s what was going to happen. It’s actually going to help restaurants in the community, and that’s what had happened. I just get very frustrated when people seem to have this misguided view, which I saw with the last Republican tax bill, which is if you just create more and more wealth at the top reaches of our society, that somehow that’s going to trickle down and benefit us all. It’s just a failed economic theory that doesn’t hold water.

Cory B.:                        17:53                I just want to add one thing that’s sort of insult to injury. When you buy back stocks, please understand that foreign investors, people outside of our country, one third of all of our corporate stock is owned by foreign investors. As opposed to paying American workers more, if you’re shifting your investments to stock buybacks, you’re benefiting significantly people outside of our country making them more wealthy as well.

Nick H.:                         18:14                You know, I never considered that. That’s a fascinating point, just a fascinating point.

David G.:                      18:19                Senator, I have maybe a difficult question to ask. Why haven’t Democrats done more? I mean, your proposal sounds great, but are Democrats stuck in this neoliberal mindset as well? Why haven’t your colleagues done more to address this issue?

Cory B.:                        18:36                I want to give Tammy Baldwin some credit who has a bill. She’s trying to ban them all outright, go back to pre-1982 and just get rid of stock buybacks. I’m the only United States Senator that lives in a low-income, I think the median income according to the last census of where I live is about $14,000 per household. These are conversations I have in my community all the time about … I consider it the boiling of a frag where we have not been paying attention to all the things as the temperature’s being turned up on working Americans and creating a lot of understandable resentment and anger. Remember, 90% of baby boomers did better than their parents. We’re down to about 50%, and there’s a lot of demagogues coming along trying to say that this is Muslims and Mexicans, Chinese, and so on as opposed to things that are fundamentally changing in our economy shifting it towards what I call a short-term economy.

Cory B.:                        19:30                I just want my party to be the party that starts standing up for and calling out these new practices in our economy and offering up substantive solutions to bring dignity back to work and to bring pathways back to work. I always say that my father … If you were in heaven around the time my father was born, even if you were a black guy like my dad, and you were going to pick a country to be born in, the United States would be at the top of your list because we were expanding middle class at a rate that was creating opportunity. Now, if you are going to be born poor in the planet earth, United States of America is not going to be, necessarily, if you’re just looking to get out of poverty, that’s your only metric, this is not necessarily the top country if you’re going to be born poor to get out.

Cory B.:                        20:12                That’s actually an assault on the very idea of the American dream. I think we need to be the party of reclaiming the dream. We need to be the party of reimagining this nation to create great pathways of prosperity, and this is just one of those bills that my team and I are sitting down and saying, “Okay, how is this being rigged? How are the rules changed? How can we address those changes?”

Nick H.:                         20:32                Yeah, I think that the best thing the Democratic party could do for itself, could do for the nation, is to redefine for people what’s possible. To assert with confidence and clarity a bunch of policies that will make a giant difference in the lives of ordinary Americans, and by so doing, stand for something that’s meaningful and useful.

Cory B.:                        20:56                I now see a country where working Americans, whether they’re working on farms, working at airports like in my community, we have all of this common pain, but we’ve lost our sense of common purpose. We need to have a purpose to get this country back to the dignity of work and pathways to prosperity where everybody has a fair shot. If you labor and work hard, America will work for you. That’s where I think we, as a party, have to go to because there’s a lot of folks in America that don’t think our party speaks to them anymore. They’re either checking out of the system or being pulled in by a lot of the, I think, lies that President Trump tried to feed factory workers or coal miners, a lot of the lies that he told them because, “Look, no other party’s working for me, but at least this guy is telling me that he feels my pain and is going to try to address the hurt of my family.”

Nick H.:                         21:44                That’s right. Senator Booker, what’s next? What else?

Cory B.:                        21:47                We have a bold legislative agenda. We’re coming out to this new Congress just swinging. By the way, for me this is not just thought pieces that are just being thrown out for messaging. We have a lot of policies that we think are about balancing the scales in this country, derigging the system. We’re doing everything from baby bonds to attacking the cost of healthcare in this country. We have an array of things focusing on pharmaceutical prices. I’m really, really focused on … We’d have 20% less poverty in America, 20% less poverty in America if our incarceration rates were the same as our industrial peers. People don’t often link economic empowerment to the criminal justice system, so we’re going after hard after the things that have rigged the system, that have made low-income people have a harder time being successful. Working people having a hard time making a living, and that includes everything from housing to other economic justice bills like Workers’ Dividend Act. It includes definitely things that are often not talked about enough, which really hurt low-income communities.

Cory B.:                        22:53                Because this is what motivated me into politics in the first place. Where your soil is toxic, your air is toxic, where your criminal justice system is savagely unfair, where you have a school system that could be failing your genius, where the jobs that are available to you don’t even pay a living wage. We need to start having policies in this country that speak to the economic pain of people, restore dignity to work, and make sure that no matter where you’re born in America, that we’re still a country that no matter what your zip code, no matter what your race, no matter what your background, this is the nation that the American dream is real where you can, if you work hard, America will work for you and you can find prosperity.

Cory B.:                        23:30                We’re going to continue to push legislation addressing these things. Even the things that are unpopular, the things that folks aren’t talking about, because I still believe that in one generation we can correct for how off course we’ve gotten from where my grandparents’ generation was.

Nick H.:                         23:43                I love it. I love it. Cory, you have been with us for longer than you promised you would be. We are so grateful that you took the time to do it. I must say, I was very impressed with force of logic and the command of detail that you have around these subjects. Very impressive, I must say.

Cory B.:                        24:04                Can I just say to you guys, you guys cast yourselves as radicals in the language of pitchforks. The reality is the kind of things you’re talking about, FDR talked about. The kinds of things you talk about, Martin Luther King talked about. It’s not radical to say somebody who works a full-time job in America should be able to have a decent wage, be able to raise a family, should be able to retire with dignity. Please don’t cast yourselves as radicals. Where you stand is at the bedrock of what people’s idea is of America, and by the way, that’s what conservatives want to say. I can’t tell you how many times I read about myself or hear myself on Fox News trying to be painted as an angry radical, when the reality is, no, we represent, right or left, if people call themselves Republican or Democrat. The kinds of things you guys are talking about are common sense, bedrock American values.

Cory B.:                        24:53                We have a crossroads as the Democratic party. We can take on the darkness and the hate kind of rhetoric and vilifying individuals, or we can try to have a message that is really inclusive, that speaks to those farmers in the Midwest. I’ve talked to you about those factory workers, those coal miners. We have the message for those folks. The Democratic party was that party because this was the party of working people. We are the party of security, social security, Medicare. We are the party of equality and inclusion, women’s rights, civil rights. We’ve got to get back to those basic things that show that this is a country where we’re all in this together, and we need to create a fair system that empowers human potential. That’s what we stood for. We spoke to all working people across the spectrum.

Cory B.:                        25:41                Now I’m tired of hearing people trying to slice and dice us and talk about white Midwestern men versus a Latina inner city … We all have the same ambitions and same desires, and what you all are talking about on this podcast cuts down those illusions of separateness and shows that we are in this together. We have common pain. Let’s come back in America to that sense of common purpose again.

Nick H.:                         26:05                Love it. Love it. All right, sir. Thank you so much. More to follow. We got to get some stuff done, dude.

Cory B.:                        26:15                Amen.

Nick H.:                         26:16                Rock and roll.

Cory B.:                        26:16                Thank you.

Nick H.:                         26:17                I love it, okay. Cory, thank you so much.

David G.:                      26:19                Thank you for your time.

Cory B.:                        26:21                Thank you.

Speaker 16:                  26:21                Bye.

Cory B.:                        26:21                bye.

David G.:                      26:30                Nick, one of the takeaways I got is that there seems to be some confusion about the definition of capital. That when people talk about stock buybacks being good for the economy, they’re looking at all that financial capital that is sloshing about the financial markets. But you and I, when we talk about capital, we’re thinking more in terms of its productive use in factories and equipment, investment in worker training.

Nick H.:                         27:01                Correct, and there’s a really big difference between the capital in the sense of owning some shares in an existing public company and the paper value of those assets and selling or buying those, and the capital that one might take to actually dig a hole in the ground and build a factory to build something that would be of use in human societies. The truth is that the financial markets and much of the way in which modern capitalism is oriented has nothing to do with the latter and everything to do with the former. We allocate, in our society, very little capital to actually building new things or producing things, and a huge amount of what we think of as capital are paper assets that are simply speculated on or traded between institutions or people. I think it’s really important to remember that these two things are distinct, have distinct roles in the economy. It’s bad to confuse them.

Nick H.:                         28:11                But I think this discussion over the purpose of the corporation and stock buybacks in general teaches us some really interesting lessons as the investor James Montier points out. The first problem with shareholder value maximization, the idea that the only purpose of the corporation is to [inaudible 00:28:30] shareholders, is that when you actually compare how the companies that are run that way perform relative to companies that are run to benefit their customers and their workers, they actually underperform.

Nick H.:                         28:42                As a way to return more money to shareholders, it’s a terrible way to return more money to shareholders, in fact. When you focus on your customers, you tend to make a lot of money. When you focus on making money, you tend not to make a lot of money because you’re thinking only in the short term. Almost certainly, Peter Drucker was right in some way, shape, or form when he said in 1973 that, “The only valid purpose of the firm is to create a customer,” which is true, right? That’s what the purpose of the company is to go solve someone’s problem.

Nick H.:                         29:12                Finally, I think the lesson that citizens need to take away is that we get to define, collectively, what the purpose of the corporation is. We grant corporations limited liability, and if corporations aren’t run in the service of the public good, then we should eliminate them. We should take away the charter of corporations that don’t serve the public good. As I’ve said many times, capitalism is a good system, but good systems are robust to high standards. And we should raise the standards and force companies to do a better job.

David G.:                      29:48                Are you telling me that corporations aren’t people?

Nick H.:                         29:51                Corporations are not people. They’re institutions run by people, and we need to hold those people to a very high standard.

David G.:                      30:02                So hey, Nick. We’re already getting a lot of great feedback about the podcast. Mostly really positive stuff, but there’s some people who would like to know, “Who the hell are you to take on Nobel Prize winning economists like James Buchanan?”

Nick H.:                         30:19                It’s super interesting how strongly people feel about this stuff, and that’s because economics is mostly an expression of social and moral preferences, often of elites, and is used as a way to make sure that everybody does what they’re supposed to do. The purpose of this podcast, Pitchfork Economics, is to push back on that, is to let people know that a lot of the things that they’ve been told are the natural order are in fact the preferences of wealthy people. That neoliberalism, trickle-down economics, these neoclassical economics in many ways, is best understood as a protection racket. It’s a way for rich people to keep being rich. Not only do people like me and our listeners have a right to push back against those ideas. In fact, we have a responsibility to push back on those ideas because the economy is ours. The economy is people, and we get to define the terms of the debate. We get to collectively decide who gets what and why.

David G.:                      31:36                On the next episode of Pitchfork Economics, we’re going to talk about monopoly and its evil twin monopsony. Should be a great episode.

Speaker 1:                    31:52                Pitchfork Economics is produced by Civic Ventures. The magic happens in Seattle in partnership with Larj Media, that’s L-A-R-J media, and the Young Turks network. Find us on Twitter and Facebook @CivicAction, and follow our writing on Medium @civicskunkworks. And you should also follow Nick Hanauer on Twitter @NickHanauer. As always, a big thank you to our guests, and thank you to our team at Civic Ventures: Nick Hanauer, Zach Silk, Jasmine Weaver, Jessyn Ferrell, Stephanie Irvine, David Goldstein, Paul Constant, Nick Cosella, and Annie Fadely. Thanks for listening.