Unfortunately, the efficacy of slashing spending and taxes on the wealthy will become conventional wisdom now that Democrats have signed on to the program and the disaster capitalists will have won their war against egalitarianism and redistribution. The Democrats didn’t even put up a fight.
President Obama and most other D.C. Democrats are signaling that they’ll cave to Republican demands rather than risk the possibility of a government shutdown. We’ll see haggling over this or that provision, but Republicans probably will get what they want — huge cuts in taxes and spending that will keep the economy stagnant and dig an even deeper hole for those of us who aren’t wealthy.
In other words, it’s business as usual for the Democrats In Name Only.
Chris Hayes in Daily Kos recently noted that the D.C. area is booming and Democrats there are part of a ruling elite more alienated than ever from the experiences of ordinary Americans. Many of them probably aren’t even aware of how quickly standards of living are eroding outside their bubble of prosperity.
If they were, they wouldn’t be calling the new jobs data mildly encouraging. They’d take a more careful look, as Robert Reich did the other day:
…To get to the most important trend you have to dig under the job numbers and look at what kind of new jobs are being created… While the biggest losses were higher-wage jobs paying an average of $19.05 to $31.40 an hour, the biggest gains have been lower-wage jobs paying an average of $9.03 to $12.91 an hour.
The workforce is suffering a severe, ongoing decline in wages, part of a radical redistribution of income to the already wealthy. The mainstream media seem to be pretending that the drop in wages is the inevitable result of a stubborn recession; that it will eventually be reversed by a “recovery.” Most D.C. Democrats are pretending, too. They know Republicans are dead-set on making sure the gulf between rich and poor will never again be narrowed.
Liberal activists seem content to criticize Democrats for not trying to prevent this disaster, but few are seriously exploring what actions might be taken to counter it. We know by now that Obama’s weirdly passive style of governance amounts to a betrayal of voters who hoped he would focus on jobs creation rather than the health of big banks and corporations. We know he’ll be even more passive as 2012 approaches and he grows more wary of offending imaginary “independent” voters.
We should recognize that Obama has no intention of seriously challenging the right-wing agenda. That he would rather compromise to the point of enabling it, if that’s what he thinks it will take to be re-elected.
It’s time to start the search for a third-party candidate, or at least someone who will make a strong run for the nomination and maybe scare Obama into behaving like a Democrat. If you think this search might be counter-productive, remember the old Bob Dylan lyric: When you ain’t got nothin’, you got nothin’ to lose.
Footnote: Paul Krugman calls what’s happening to the jobs market a “hollowing out.” He does a great job of explaining the correlation between improved technology and the scarcity of decent jobs, but he doesn’t mention the effects of outsourcing, a word you’ll hardly ever hear from Obama.
What do you consider wealthy? And why aren’t you wealthy? Is your wealthy hero Bob Dylan part of the problem?