17 May 2016

Thomas Frank: What Happened To the 'Party of the People'

"Inequality is a euphemism, a kind of shorthand, for all of the things that have gone to make the lives of the rich so much more delicious, year on year, for the last three decades.  And also for the things that have made the lives of working people so wretched and so precarious in that same time.

This word inequality. It's visible in the ever rising costs of healthcare and college, in the coronation of Wall Street, and the slow blighting of wherever it is that you happen to live. And you catch a glimpse of inequality every time you hear about someone that had to declare bankruptcy because a child got sick, or you read about the lobbying industry that drives Washington DC, or the new political requirement, the new constitutional requirement that every presidential candidate has to be a billionaire's favorite, or a billionaire themselves.

Inequality is about the way in which speculators, and even criminals, get a helping hand from Uncle Sam, while the Vietnam Vet down the street from you loses his house. Inequality is the reason that some people find such incredible significance in the ceiling height of an entrance foyer, or the hop content of a beer, while other people will never believe in anything again."

Thomas Frank

Change is coming. It must come, because the status quo is unsustainable, and has been so for some time.

How many times will our 'very serious people' with access to the public information channels continue to miss the obvious dissonance of the common reality from the official story that they tell each other about everything from the economy to politics?

At the root of this inequality, hidden as it is in the fog of fine sounding theories and economic models, is simple injustice.

The longer that change is delayed, the longer that the professional class continues to insulate itself, looking down on the broader public with smug contempt from privileged perches, blinding themselves with hypocritical arguments that deny what is happening all around them, the more disruptive that change will finally be.

And, as always, 'no one,' or at least no one who matters in their world, will have ever been able to see it coming.   Because by definition no one who is an insider can ever publicly admit that the insiders have blown it completely, once again.

"People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason.  But the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich."

John Kenneth Galbraith