In the beginning there were no fixed prices. Every transaction involved a negotiation between buyer and seller. Then in 1861, as Guardian reporter Tim Adams informs us, Philadelphia retailer John Wanamaker introduced price tags, along with the slogan, “If everyone was equal before God, then everyone would be equal before price.”
Private splendor and public squalor has never been more evident. While the recent election gave federal power to those who would widen the gap, state and local governments, the governments closest to the people, are where increasing needs, the perilous state of public services, and the growing disparity between the super-wealthy and the rest of us may offer fertile ground for progressive strategies that largely benefit those who voted for Trump.
On November 8th, citizens in 35 states vote on 163 ballot initiatives. Initiatives in three states stand out as having a potentially broad national impact — California on reducing drug prices, South Dakota on revamping its political system, and New Mexico on the inequitable use of bail.
It may be an historic election, an election in which many states will be operating under rules adopted only in the last half dozen years. These rules affect the value of one’s vote and the ease of voting. All of this is occurring in a setting where fewer and fewer federal races are even competitive.
During the next four years, the new president will likely nominate not only Scalia’s replacement but also an additional 3 new justices. The new justices will set the direction of the Supreme Court and the values that guide it for the next generation.