Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let's Get Clear On Something

Thomas Frank has said that, for a purportedly rightist party, the Republicans talk an awful lot about class resentment, but in a strangely inverted way: they define the elites in terms of cultural preferences rather than economics - "elitist, Volvo-driving, Latte-sipping, gay-loving liberal snobs in their big cities, sipping lattes and looking down their noses at the humble, hard-working common folk out in 'flyover country.'"

Thomas rightly points out that the one thing never mentioned by Republicans is the role of economics in the class structure.

The reason Republicans get away with this is the Democrats changed from having their policies grounded in economic fairness, and instead increasingly defined themselves by cultural issues. As the Republicans started defining themselves as champions of working people (a definition that, if you look at their economic policies, is ludicrous) the Democrats stopped talking about economic fairness and went along with defining themselves more along cultural lines.

One of the most disheartening things about the Democratic Party's haplessness is that it has allowed the Republicans to incrementally dismantle the hated New Deal, which they want to do because the New Deal costs Our Reptilian Corporate Masters power.

Our Reptilian Corporate Masters hate New Deal style policies because what they desire is a frightened, submissive, and most of all low-wage workforce, because that will allow them to Make More Money, And Thus Have More Power. The New Deal was absolutely hated by the oligarchy because it took away a lot of means of asserting absolute dominance over working people.

This is why single-payer health care represents such a threat to the Republicans' real constituency (the Oligarchy): fear of losing medical benefits keeps people from daring to step out of line and demanding better wages or working conditions.

This is why Our Reptilian Corporate Masters absolutely love crippling student loan debt: it is a potent tool to hold over folks to keep them from threatening the system. They want a population that is "educated" along the lines of vocational training (the knowledge that one is incurring a large debt tends to focus one's mind on the income potential of one's major...) rather than what used to be considered an "education" before the rise of Our Reptilian Corporate Masters in the late 19th century.

This is why raising taxes, and especially making our tax system more progressive (i.e., raising the tax rates as one goes up the income scale) is spoken of as That Which Must Not Be Done, if you listen to Republican rhetoric.

The thing is, actions have consequences, and the tiger the Republicans rode to success in the 2010 mid-terms will eventually start asking awkward economic questions of the Republicans, and then their venal fraud will be made plain. I pity them when that day comes.

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