The Washington Post tells us inequality is now a non-issue as far as the White House and the Democratic leadership is concerned. Never mind What Digby Says, or Krugthulu explaining why we can't have nice things. Americans should just accept that the economy which fails to deliver for the vast majority of us the way it once used to, is - like the mysterious unknown force - something we should neither expect to understand or question - just accept.
Or maybe, as Krugthulu says here, it's not really a mystery.
There’s an important lesson here — but it’s not what you think. Yes, the Kansas debacle shows that tax cuts don’t have magical powers, but we already knew that. The real lesson from Kansas is the enduring power of bad ideas, as long as those ideas serve the interests of the right people.emphasis added
There's a couple articles over at Salon that show the power of bad ideas in action. More below the Orange Omnilepticon.
Keeping Those Darn Kids In Line
Let's start with the shorter piece by Peter Lunenfeld, a professor in the UCLA Design Media Arts department. Luenenfeld lays out why and how we're sticking it to our young people, following a deliberate betrayal at the hands of Ronald Reagan back in 1984.
As we progressed in our careers and raised our families, the Class of ’84 acquiesced to a world in which students who wanted to better their situation chose between private colleges that built staggering debt into their aid packages, and public institutions that have had their state funding slashed to the bone, incentivizing them to make up for shortfalls by raising tuition and, just like their private counterparts, piling on the loans.The Reagan Revolution began the implementation of policies that have turned getting a college education from an empowering experience and generator of mobility into a mechanism for perpetrating class differences and shackling the majority of graduates into decades of debt-imposed peonage. Read the whole thing. It wasn't always the way it is today, and it's the result of deliberate choices.
The God That Sucked
It's hard to improve on a headline like that, from Thomas Frank's reprise of a 2001 jeremiad from the Baffler. To take just an excerpt from his intro,
...my setting was the tail end of the “New Economy” boom of the 1990s, during which the worship of “free markets” had become a kind of mania, a millennial revival, even. It was an age of extraordinary consensus on matters economic; everyone believed they had seen the light, that history’s great problems had been solved. And nothing could persuade them otherwise. The market god would punish us again and again as the years passed, but its followers could not be shaken from their simple faith. Today the situation is different, of course. The financial disaster of 2008 put a permanent dent into the reputation of the deity. The public came to despise Wall Street and the One Percent. Weirdly, however, our leadership class still chatters on as happily and obliviously as before. For them nothing has changed, the god’s benevolence has never dimmed, all’s still right with the world—and the stern accountability of the marketplace only applies to others.emphasis added
Read the whole thing. While Republicans have been playing culture wars, denying science, and making government the enemy, Democratic 'leaders' have been (and still are if the Post is to be believed) triangulating themselves into irrelevance when push comes to shove. Between them, we've shackled ourselves into an economic machine that exalts the few at the expense of the many. As Frank concludes:
These are the fruits of 30 years of culture war. Hell-bent to get government off our backs, you installed a tyrant infinitely better equipped to suck the joy out of life. Cuckoo to get God back in the schools, you enshrined a god of unappeasable malice. Raging against the snobs, you enthroned a rum bunch of two-fisted boodlers, upper-class twits, and hang-em-high moralists. Ain’t irony grand.What Needs to be Done is Not Rocket Science
This White House weekly address from June 28, 2014 is a step in the right direction, but it is still a long way from questioning the God that Sucked. If the White House and Democrats at the top are going to be backing away from even this, November is not going to be pretty, no matter how much the GOP overreaches.
One answer is this. The Democratic Party needs pressure from the left if it is ever going to stop chasing conservatives over the cliff. We need the 50 state strategy again. We need to turn out for primaries and get progressive candidates onto the ballot AND get the party to support them. We need to turn out in November - because when we do, we win. We need to keep the pressure on Democrats already in office. (A Democrat who runs as "business-friendly" should be asked if that means they're not "people-friendly", and be able give a credible answer.)
Another is this. The recent bus tour by Nancy Pelosi had an economic plan that the whole Democratic Party needs to get behind. They're making a mistake if they think it's just about appealing to women. These are things the God That Sucks has failed to deliver:
• A minimum wage that's a real living wage,
• fair pay for women (a boost for ANY household where women are job holders),
• work & family balance (the REAL family values),
• affordable, quality child care and early education, and access to higher education as the right it should be (and the rest of the developed world knows it is.)
Any Democrat who can't support these goals is no Democrat at all. A party that won't work for them is a party headed for irrelevance and defeat. It's telling just how far we are into cloud-cuckoo land that corporations as religions, money as speech, science denial, and guns everywhere 24/7 are treated as mainstream positions, while the above are considered too radical for Democrats to run on. The world we find ourselves in today didn't just happen - it is the result of deliberate policy choices. We can choose differently.
As class wars go, we need to be on the offensive - and we need leaders who will lead.