Easily, one of the best NYT op-eds I've read in quite awhile. Here's the final sentence in the piece...
...Progressives are now dependent on the fragile possibility that inequality and socioeconomic immobility will push the social order to the breaking point and force the political system to respond.
And, here's a little more; but, I hope--emphatically--that folks will take the time to read Edsall's entire column...
Is the Safety Net Just Masking Tape?
By THOMAS B. EDSALL
New York Times (Op-Ed)
December 18th, 2013 (edition)
It’s easy for liberals to explain away setbacks to programs and policies that they favor—ranging from infrastructure investment to food stamps to increased education budgets—as the result of the intransigence of the Republican Party, with its die-hard commitment to slashing government spending on nearly every front.
But that explanation is too facile…
…The economics of survival have forced millions of men, women and children to rely on “pity-charity liberal capitalism.” The state has become the resource of last resort consigning just the people progressives would like to turn into a powerful force for reform to a condition of subjugation — living out their lives on government subsidies like Medicaid, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and now, Obamacare.
In many respects, the safety net has worked to hold society together, and it has the backing, explicit or implicit, of Democratic elites. This system also has the support of much of corporate America, especially of major low-wage employers like McDonald’s and Wal-Mart. These companies are themselves subject to brutal market competition and use government programs that benefit their employees as a means of sustaining inadequate wages and fringe benefits.
The call of Konczal and his colleagues on the progressive left for an empowerment agenda — for structural economic reform — faces roadblocks far higher than many people realize. The loss of a political movement (economic liberalism) and its political vehicle (a stable progressive coalition) has put the left into a position of retreat, struggling to protect besieged programs that are designed explicitly for the poor and which therefore lack strong public backing.
The shift of the Democratic Party from economic to “pity-charity” liberalism has put the entire liberal project in danger. It has increased its vulnerability to conservative challenge and left it without a base of politically mobilized supporters...
If there's one particular line of thinking that I believe Edsall's leaving out of the equation--other than making one or two vague references to Democratic Party minions of their corporate overlords--it's the reality that the state has turned a technologically advanced, military-industrial-surveillance complex inwards to quash domestic dissent/social protest to successfully undermine the left. So, while I've witnessed many
ConservaDems here vacuously/falsely bitch and moan about the lack of a succinct agenda being the primary cause for the so-called failure of the Occupy movement, the reality was/is completely to the contrary.
Long story short, back in the mid-20th century (i.e.: when J. Edgar Hoover was running the FBI, etc.) the state didn't have the technological "power tools" and the militarized police force--let alone a consolidated media class whose primary business now is not to objectively deliver the news but to propagandize the egregious actions of the corporatocratic state--that they have today.
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I read Edsall's op-ed as I was taking a break in the middle of prepping another post for publication here. I'm going back to that for a bit, but I'll return in the comments.
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