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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Class Inequalities Should Be Examined, Not Derided

“Since when do we in America accept this alien and discredited theory of social and class warfare? Since when do we in America endorse the politics of envy and division?” — Ronald Reagan, 1982

When Ronald Reagan spoke those words, the American economy was still a colossus astride the globe — its workers unchallenged by the Chinese, undaunted by the Japanese and South Koreans, barely aware of low-wage Mexicans. American factories still hummed with the hustle of well-paid workers assembling automobiles, stitching garments and making reams of silver halide film.

  • rustacus21

    … in fact a class war going on, those who complain about it the loudest (the wealthy & their media enablers), are in fact, the side that’s winning! Sounds much like that confederacy victimology crap where, like the confederacy, the wealthy see enemies on all sides. Enemies, I might add, w/no weapons, no strategy, thus, no power. Yet, once again, their supporters (conservative voters) have it twisted, if only by virtue of believing they will someday get rich. U conservative tax-code experts? Post up some of the figures on to whom & how the very best benefits are issued, via the IRS & see if U qualify for loophole strategies to get U rich as well…

  • freethinker

    We have been fighting this war for the last two generations. Has the Democrat model, which has been mostly in control during that time, been working? I do refuse to concede that this is not a nation where anyone can get ahead. You can’t do it just by working hard. You also have to work smarter. You have to be willing to take a risk that may not pan out. The percentage of those getting ahead in the U.S. is still way above any place in Europe. Yet European style socialism seems to be the goal of the Democrat party. The model seems to be: don’t worry, government will make sure you get by, you don’t need to take a risk.

  • 1olderbutwiser1

    What got middle class as a middle class was the union movement, where wages were not truly competitive on a world-wide scale. We exported a lot of things where other undeveloped countries and underdeveloped counties paid a very dear price for our goods. Now, the explosion of knowledge and technology has overwhelmed our ability to pay an artificially high wage for skilled labor. How high of skills does it take? Robots and machines have replaced the jobs formerly done by men and women. It was usually grueling work, and emcompassed various noise, dust, physical dangers, and chemical esposures. With the explosion of graduated lawyers and government regulators, To make sure the displaced workers could continue to survive, we developed a system where lawyers become politicians, make laws to allow employment of more lawyers, who arrange lawsuits against companies for doing what was necessary to employ only moderately educated and moderately skilled workers at that time in the history of industrial development. Everybody who was willing to do the dirty work suddenly has “rights” and “entitlements”, because they need to be rewarded monetarily as a way to keep up with those who chose to use their brains rather than braun. Along came the manipulators who had become organized well enough to get us into VietNam, and take us off the gold standard. Having succeeded in manipulating the logically most powerful nation in the world, these people working behind the scenes, even managed to get Carter, the inflator, as president….forming the “tri-lateral commission”. They wanted to have the whole world become as prosperous as the united states, to the betterment of the whole world. Unfortunately, it hasn’t quite worked that way. We still do, however, manage to pay all the government non-competitive wages, also due to regulations and unions. Between the lawyers suing companies for being in business (which at the time was a healthy business) using products, processes, labor rules, etc. which were all acceptable at that time, we now have decided to become a pacifist nation where anybody who has ever made a profit doing any industry is suddenly a death-inducing culprit of sorts, who needs to be punished badly. While companies paid good money to have the work performed, this sleazy element was sneaking up on them, by cranking out rule after rule to enable the less skilled to just sue the pants off their former employers, with “rights” never contemplated by the employers who paid them good money. One man working was expected to be paid all of his expenses of life…..the new cars, the new house, if he had six kids, well, the employer had to pay to keep six kids, all their housing, food, clothing, all the kids’ cars they wrecked as teenagers, all the insurances,most to all of the whole families health care, the kids college educations, all of this, because the man who spent a couple weeks to a couple months learning to do his job, simply demanded this much for working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week….unless he was sick, allowed a dy or two every month for that, and of course unless it was another “holiday” or vacation time, or some relative died, or some emergency at home required their presence…..and if the “company” disagreed with any of these stupid benefits as being a paid-for workday, right away here comes the regulators and lawyers to be sure the company must pay them, sometimes a fine as well, and of course the companies legal coste for their own pocketful of lawyers to fight the other lawyers the workers are using, and the worker also gets paid of course, for the time he spends in court demanding payment for work he never did. Did I mention, the schoolteachers needed a raise, so the workers are justified in another pay raise since their cost-of-living has increased….wait a minute, the district attorney and judges want raises too, so it’ll be that much more the worker needs to be paid….wait a minute, here come the firemen and police, hat in hand, they want more as well…..meantime, while the company is losing it’s pants, the unionized police find they have more than their hands full trying to arrest the dope dealers who have addicted the workers kids to drugs while they were at work for the company or watching baseball or football in front of the TV and the misses watching soap operas….the schoolteachers where the kids all learn to associate with each other are held back from corrective action by the lawyers who are on the “superior” courts, or “supreme” courts, so paddling a miscreant is unallowed, so the bad apples can destroy the good, under the guise of “public education”. Maybe the goal is for every child to have their own lawyer, to stay with him for life…Who the hell knows. At any rate, when we got out of viet nam, we carried drug habits with us and it is now coming home to roost….let Demi Moore be a good example. How can anyone question why the middle class has failed? It has been a self-induced failure. You vote for every big-spending politician who can only inflate the currency to do that big spending. You want more “rights” for everybody. You despise anyone who has been a success in life. You bitch about imports, while you run to Walmart for chinese goods. You bitch about the 1% being wealthy. You bitch about high taxes. The reality is that 40% of the taxes paid are by the rich. Only 20% are paid by the whole 99% who are doing the bitching. The other 40 % are either borrowed for the chinese, japanese, etc., or are printed out of thin air by the federal reserve……..called “monetizing” that debt. It is still money owed, we simply owe it to faceless bankers. How stupid that all taxpyers should be at fault monetarily for these people who don’t have the common sense they were born with? Unrealistic expectations are your downfall, including overpriced housing for which you felt you could forever get more and more borrowed against with “home equity loans”. How idiotic can people be? And to think it is the governments fault? It is your own fault, middle class. You and your insatiable quest for immediate gratification. Get a dictionary and learn the meaning of the word frugality ……

  • peterzielenski

    We need to tax imports and introduce regulations on off-shoring. In Brazil and even England, you have to live there to work there; even if you connect remotely. Maybe a million upper middle class IT jobs have shifted from the US to China with the Introduction and more recent stability of the Internet. Companies like IBM are no longer required to publish their employee demographic(no surprise) so I can only guess but I’ve seen number up to 12,000 jobs per month leaving for foreign countries. I myself trained my Chinese replacements. So long as politicians continue to receive huge campaign contributions to allow it, the big companies of the US will continue to hire Chinese over Americans. A cap on campaign contributions might fix that, but none of these issues are ever discussed. I suspect that any would-be politician who has similar suggestions is threatened with bodily hard to him and his family if he doesn’t cheese it. If you as President or Presidential Candidate and know that there are thousands of jobs leaving the country monthly while Americans are going hungry and there are 500,000 new unemployment benefits applicants weekly, how can you avoid the topic of tariffs and off-shoring during the primaries or any other speaking engagement unless it was previously agreed that these subjects are not to be discussed? How can Obama talk about creating jobs while there are no regulations on outsourcing? Bush once said that we have to educate ourselves to be more competitive! OUTRAGE!

  • rudel

    Freethinker,you may want to take a look at the following study (see link below): Economic Mobility: Is the American Dream Alive and Well? According to this study, a project of the Brookings Institution and the Pew Charitable Trusts, the U.S. lags behind Denmark, Norway, Finland, Canada,Sweden, Germany, and France in measures of relative upward mobility. We Americans are prone to believe everything we think, but it turns out that one of out favorite myths about ourselves may not be true.

    Also, before condemning the “nanny state” meddling of the Democrats, you may want to take a look at the conditions under which the elderly and the poor lived before Social Security,
    Medicare and Medicaid. Was all really well under the system of Social Darwinism you favor, or are you hanging on to another myth?

  • Charles Higgins

    Democrats fight for the middle class while Republicans fight for the rich…what a shame!The economy will not recover until the middle class start doing better.While wages are stagnant and home are prices down,everything else keeps going up(food,gas and host of other things).The middle class is the driving force of our economy.Companies will not hire unless there is a higher demand for their products(supply and demand).There is a lack of consumer confidence because the middle class are not doing as well as the rich.Until home prices stabilize and income increases this economy will continue to drag.This is not class warfare…its reality!

  • jimmyags

    When he was a comedian(before a talk show host) Miller had a great joke in the late 90’s. “In today’s economy, you are either driving the rolls royce or washing it’s window for spare change”. Now that it has become a reality, it isn’t so funny anymore.

  • Totenkatz

    ”Happily, Occupy Wall Street helped bring the conversation out in the open, where it belongs, and it will be a central theme of the presidential campaign, as it should. If this is “class warfare,” it’s a war that needs to be fought.” HAHAHAHAHA YEA RIGHT! Yep I’m glad the Dems have decided to throw in with the OWS crowd. You know those law abiding people. And Cynthia Tucker is the, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, and a visiting professor at the University of Georgia. Too bad she didn’t teach at my college back in the mid 70s, I’m sure it would have been an easy A, HAHA!

  • kurt.lorentzen

    “Democrats fight for the middle class while Republicans fight for the rich”. What utter nonsense. Do you believe everything you read on the far left blogs? It’s more like, “Democrats tax and borrow so they can buy votes from the middle class and Republicans can’t get over the fact that their policies have driven this country to a state of industrial bankruptcy”. Neither philosophy is good, neither is bad, They’re both well-intentioned and both flawed. I seldom agree with “1olderbutwiser1”, but there’s a lot of truth in his rant! We’re a nation of second class producers because we allowed ourselves to become that. We’re no longer the world’s only manufacturers so can no longer pay high wages and benefits while staying competitive. We export our raw ore and forest products like a third-world country, then complain about no jobs as our steel and finished wood products are all imported. But we buy them nonetheless because they’re cheaper than American-made products – to hell with the workers who lost their jobs when the factory closed. Democrats for some unknown reason believe that government is a replacement for industry – how sad. Republicans cling to the belief that American Industry will come home and resurect itself if given tax incentives, while at the same time rewarding them for shipping jobs offshore. Politicians haven’t a clue about business for the most part. They are the most gullible group of people (there are exceptions of course) and could be sold almost anything if packaged properly. And our system of super-pacs and corporate-funded campaigns makes it a lot easier to listen from the same direction the money comes from. Politicians will never fix this – it’s how they get rich! Democrats and Republicans are both rich and both vote for anything that grants them greater opportunity to increase their wealth and power. If we’re to fix the problem, it’ll have to be at the grassroots. If we treat our system of government with the same disinterested attitude we had toward corporations leaving our shores, we’re doomed.

  • 1olderbutwiser1

    The thing about the republican party is that romney, apparently taking florida, cannot begin to identify and understand the complexities of actually cracking a sweat in a factory setting. He lives in a world of number crunching, not sensibility of effort=reward. Not simply , not having the money to pay the bills necessary for bare survival, which is what most jobs are paying today…. not just entry level jobs, but experienced people as well. There are not enough dollars to go around after basic necessities are taken care of. Having much more cash in our society, though, would create inflation and all it’s evils….especially tax bracket creep. We have gone beyond any sensibilities of government taxation saturation, where government is taking far more that we should permit them to take…the problem being honesty on the part of the candidates, as they always have their own personal abilities of presenting half-truths as sancrosact promises while in their heart they know it’s all a series of lies solely for their own advancement of personal ego. Romney says he will get rid of Obamacare…he does not say what he will replace it with More than likely, Romneycare, same thing, different name. When he left massachussets, they started calling it taxachussets. Santorum, the jury is still out on, Newt can debate with the best of them, but can also lie with the best of them. He is probably the best manipulater of all of them, but with paul you actually get what you see, and I honestly believe that is what this country needs. With Paul, government finally comes under control….not just on an affordability basis, but as a servant rather than our master. With our military capabilities, we have little reason to fear a physical invasion by anyone en masse, but our debt to other countries must be eliminated, and with Paul, I think that is what we would be able to do.

  • dawnowens

    The man makes a reported 40K A DAY in investment income. Over 300K for speaking engagements, which he calls ‘not much’. And yet, you listen to him talk extemporaneously and the best he can do is declare he loves America and break into a badly rendered patriotic song. There’s no There, there…

    How did this guy get rich? Because he looks like an executive, the perfect Ken Doll to a plastic Barbie world?

    Add in the very odd Mormon religious beliefs (magic underwear?) and you have to wonder if the guy has a brain in that well shaped and coiffed head.

  • rustacus21

    … games R an old, pathetic habit Conservatives drag up from the slim during times of crisis to (as Thomm Hartmann often says) paint Democrats/Liberals/Progressives as “inept” or “incompetent” managers of government. In the 40 years that the Congress was under Democratic control (after the Depression), there was not a single incident of fiscal crisis. Since the Depression, every Democratic President has maintained the tightest, most transparent, fiscally responsible & broad-reaching economic environment, allowing the greatest benefits to reach the greatest number of Americans (from the very poorest to the ultra rich). The reverse IS THE NORM for Republican Presidents & Republican Congressional majorities. So, for Lorentzen, freethinker (there’s an oxymoron to end ’em ALL!), etc., it’s fine throwing out unfounded rumors, old, tired cliche’s & outrite LIES, but please, know just a LITTLE bit of what U speak B4 opening U’r self to critiques. Socialism is the antithesis of Democracy, but is a cute & “Foxy” catch phrase that plays well to the uninformed & plain ignorant! In any generation U choose, Democrats have opened the doors of opportunity & subsequently, PROSPERITY for every economic, racial & cultural demographic across America. The commonly known truth is that Republicans, i.e. & ESPECIALLY this most recent administration, went out of their way to LOCK OUT every economic, cultural & racial demographic across America – EXCEPT White males!!! People!!! Do U’r homework & PAY ATTENTION to FACTS so U don’t (at the very least) APPEAR as ill-informed as U really are. 4 this reason alone, I applaud Ms. Tucker for AGAIN bringing to light, issues, facts & realities that are otherwise BURIED by corporate media & would remain at the mercy of the same ill-informed, ignorant among us, who continually confuse other Americans w/information they could just as easily access on their own & gain the UNVARNISHED truth in the process… A truth Americans have ignored at their peril these last 4 years!!!

  • rustacus21

    … is an unfair accounting of the national (economic) crisis that’s been building over 20 yrs. I hate I don’t read thru all comments til after I post, but again, corrections help clear the murkiness that crosses some of these sites: many Americans, such as freethinker, are under the misguided perception that 4 = 20 (the Obama administrations length of term & the period of ABSOLUTE crisis). Like a tru Conservative, actual math is a severe challenge! I can understand their anxiety & confusion, especially since PTSD affects memory, as well as emotional stability. 20 years ago we were, thankfully, at the tail-end of the disasterous Reagan-Bush terms. Immediately, after taking office, President Clinton convinced Congress to end the catastrophic tax cuts (implemented under Reagan – NOT Clinton!), which were sapping the nations economic vitality & strength, but replaced w/another set of tax cuts (a few years later, once the economy stablized) aimed at the Middle & upper Middle class. & just as immediately, the economy took off, resulting in the longest sustained period of economic growth since the 1960’s & arguably, the entire 20th century (I may be wrong on the last point, but if so, we’ll deal w/it later). The point is, a Conservative followed Clinton & proceeded to destroy an absolutely perfectly functioning economy! It would be impossible to expect President Clinton to undo the damage in 2 terms, what it took Republicans 3 (1981-1993) terms to accumulate, or to anticipate the consequences of the calamity that would occur 12/12/00. Similarly, it would be miraculous to expect, given the hostilities & opposition, President Obama to do anything significant, especially if he’s not operating on Liberal/Progressive policy parameters, but rather, the VERY SAME economic policies of his Conservative predecessor. Had Obama followed the Clinton economic model (its still a mystery why, but my guess is the “Conservative-focused staff he brought to office w/him), the recession would be long ended. I would dare say we would again have witnessed an economic miracle b4 our very eyes! So, the moral here is that Democrats – including Obama, are the very best option, under any circumstance, at marshaling the nation out of any crisis imaginable, if only by virtue of being grounded in the same values & principles (Liberal/Progressive) the nation was founded upon. Why neither Clinton nor Obama have openly, heartily embraced their own legacy (a SELF-CORRECTION here: President Clinton has identified his administrations policies as “Liberal” in the Feb 2012 Esquire) as Liberal is mystifying, as opposed the the shameful, shabby & dreadful condition Conservatives have chronically left the country over the last 30 years (an even longer period to “get it rite!”), yet proudly proclaim their notorious “Conservative” legacy w/pride!!! So give credit where credit is due, but lets not waste time & energy debating the merits of failure – especially when so many Americans have been hurt by Conservative failures – now for the 2nd generation of Americans…