At the end of the Summer I had two lines of thought on some events. One the recent evidence piling up that the middle class is under going significant changes The second "Great Contraction" Global Public Square - CNN.com Blogs. What I call the Doughnut Hole of the quintiles. It is nothing less than the back half of the middle class falling out Can the Middle Class Be Saved? - Magazine - The Atlantic:. It may be as much a sociological phenomenon as an economic one. In either case are there long term consequences to this. The other part of this is wondering what the Tea Party army sees (wants) in the future of their imagining, after they have "saved" America from itself.
If you could point to just one thing to describe this and give an idea of the dynamics of it. It would be the concentration of wealth into the upper reaches of American Society. The top 1% even to the top 400 or so households have more money than the remaining 99%. Possessing with that more influence: political influence, financial influence, more shaping influence than any possible coalition however formed than the remaining vast majority can possibly counter. This one percent has the money and power to own the policy it desires.
For the general population the only thing assuredly moving up is the US's Gini index. The Gini index Gini coefficient - Wikipedia is a measurement of income equality (or inequality. Where "0" represents all households in an economy having equal income and "1" indicating that a single household has all the economies wealth and the remaining households none. The US's Gini index has risen steadily over the last twenty years. It is measured as of 2006 at .45. It matches China in this and both countries mark similar levels of inequality, the upward trajectory matches India or Brazil. countries where a growing elite is leaving the rest behind. Significantly it is well above the Gini coefficients of Japan, South Korea, any of the larger Western European nations. Higher that any other OECD country Growing Unequal? Income Distribution and Poverty in OECD Countries. One of the noteworthy things about this imbalance in the US is that the overrepresentation of the top quintile (and top slices therein) is reducible to incomes in a handful of geographically contingent counties Income inequality in the United States - Wikipedia.
The reduction of the Middle Class is occurring across the middle income level quintiles, in the joints between the upper and lower middle class, and between minority and non-minority households American middle class - Wikipedia. It is occurring where a middle class stance was maintained through two income households over one income. Here if one income is lost the household assumes a more working class position Household income in the United States - Wikipedia. It also splits at Return to Education, increased education was always statistically significant. The difference was formerly diffuse and spread over a lifetime. It is now sharp; separating the professional, the white collar, from the gray and pink collar workers where the jobs and job categories are fewer and increasingly not paying as well comparatively. Statistical inspections of these populations indicate that the upper middle - professional class are holding their place while the lower middle-class is becoming indistinguishable from the working class and all associated social travail. Income inequality movement upwards over the last twenty-thirty years occurred almost entirely under republican executive regimes .
Some speak of the three middle classes. The lower upper and both taken together. The broad middle class (that part of the US population that does not represent extremes) is where political power and the bourgeois (not intended as a pejorative) center lie. These people in whose interest the nation functions and in whose trust its institutions were vested. It is mainly the upper middle class that is the cultural wellspring of the US, to which pop culture holds the mirror and shows us nearly the entire vision of ourselves we have.
Small Government equals no government. That's an overstatement of course, but less so than you might think. Once other institutions within a society carry more authority than government proper, or wield veto power over the society's activity; they are the government. Officials acting in the name of their office, politicians agents of the people in whom power is said to be vested vested, are ancillary to them. They are a government, the true government. A controlling element with options on the law, on the conduits of wealth, and machinery of coercion. But they are a government with a purpose and mission statement that includes only their own interests. To the people they are a parasitic and predatory force. Small government is a vacuum, and nature abhors a vacuum.
The disparaging of government marks a doubt in the social fabric. A disbelief in ourselves as a national construction. We are left with the vague diminished idea that an individual automatic consumption is progress. To the free market system as it is channeled for us our binding as citizens is through our identity as consumers alone. Rather than as producers or laborers or wage earners. Only through constant consumption can our economic system hold course, only through pervasive marketing is demand for material and service goods not directly involved with the rhythm and challenges of everyday life. When this cycle of consumption and material identity cannot be maintained, when it only applies to a narrowing few at the top. A increasing sense of displacement and instability will replace it.
The course of the last century the path is generally regarded as the path of progress and good government. It has been for that the path out of gilt. The slow evolution out of the injustice and inequalities of the gilded era. the discontent and instability those days wrought. This movement culminated in the roughly forty year period that contained the New Deal programs through to the Great Society programs, Social Security, Mortgages, Banking insurance, equal opportunity housing, and voting rights legislation. Programs that were more directly beneficial to the average person than earlier and equally important Anti Trust Laws. These pieces of legislation nurtured even largely created the expanded middle class which was viewed as the ballast of the nation. They were the process by which the wealth of the nineteenth century grudgingly bought itself peace in the twentieth with a quilt of social justice.
At some point in the last generation or so wealth and its attendants have considered the labor and socialist parties that developed as countervailing force to plutocratic elsewhere watched them mature and fade. Further, they noted It didn't happen here, and decided history had ended and it wouldn't ever return. The ambition to form dis-enfranchisment into party and policy were not part of the true American psyche. So they concluded they were safe and undertook consideration of a rollback of their excessive precaution: a great unravelling of the Great Society, the New Deal, Gilded Era, Era of the Common man, the Enlightenment if they could reach that far.
A lingering question in all this is what the republican party's long term vision for the country is. Especially given how desperately they want to regain power and how adamant that are that government accomplishes nothing until then. greatest evidence that republicans suspect that Keynesian stimulus spending has efficacy is how hard and how much energy they expend fighting it. I should say the Tea Party vision, given as how the republican party has seemingly capitulated to this noisome minority.
The primary ethos exposited by this group is their small government creed. Repeated endlessly as though this was an end in itself. Shrinking the lake so the yachts of bureaucracy cannot float. Charming as this desire is, this gesture towards a Jeffersonian yeoman farmer myth is a willful ignorance requiring belief in a vision of America a unique people endlessly moderate in ambition, incapable of avarice, or the sort of irrationality we're sure possesses others. Blessed as we may be that perhaps eludes us. It is a fantasy chased willfully foolishly deceptively. The ancillary lines of smallness: no taxes no regulation all turn on the thought that with America no government is needed. We are simple folk who can find our own way from the barn to pasture without help or hinderance ScienceDirect - Cognition : The mismeasure of morals: Antisocial personality traits predict utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas:. Their obsession with the debt is admirable at least as as any obsession can be. With every repetition; though, one is more convinced that the greater part of this is an exercise in sloganeering. The debt can be brought under control. It has been with in the last ten years. For both parties it is largely only a grave concern when politically convenient. This makes it tricky as a issue. It fills a need for a symbol of disfunction and political wedge, but leaves the idea it will replaced quickly as necessary the obsession when debt is driven down. The fixation on debt and balanced budgets draws power from soft suggestions to budgets of a family household, is designed to be familiar and appeal to the defensive crouch of hard times. It is hardly restorative fortune requires positive outlay of effort and money. The analogy rather ought to be to farm or factory where a certain amount of debt is a necessary element to a successful enterprise.
For all all supposed valuation of progress and prosperity. The deepest desires of this portion of the electorate seem to be for less, especially less change. They look back, a generation now, to Ronald Reagan and the dream of "turning back the clock". A campaigns image of the future as the past re-imagined. They ask for a repeal of the 20th century and for a reactionary demi-urge. Not Nixon nor even Goldwater, but an dispeptic fringe of the republic party is now on center stage. Those losing status, those with fear that those they disenfranchised will now disenfranchise them Study: Tea Party Members Cultural Dispositions 'Authoritarianism, Fear Of Change, Libertarianism And Nativism' | TPMDC .
Do they believe de-empowering the federal government will bring about natural law utopia? Bring about a natural order of the deserving. It would accomplish nothing more that a hand-over of power. A flow from public to private power. Small Government equals corporate/theological government. These are the remaining positioned institutional interests. The loss of a forceful federal government to restrain or guide corporate interests leads to a divergence of wealth and national interest. Wealth globalizes and flows away from the state. You are left with an ultra wealthy minority whose process of wealth is either immune from the rest of the economy or even actively thrives on unproductive chaos and flux. This press for smaller government is a diminishing of public spirit. It is aimed without accident largely at federal exercise of authority not state and local power. A drive to roll back federal egalitarian tendencies. Their disdain for multiculturalism and ecumenicalism and everything these stand for is carried as a corps banner. The future is a vacuum of power to be filled with local exercise with no federal interference. Freedom in this narrow vision means the freedom from law. Freedom equals freedom to oppress. To subordinate, to dominate. The hand that some see holds them down is holding us back from injustice. There are ears attuned to the consolation prize for the abandonment of democracy. The rich gain a regime free from regulation of manufacturing and financial industry. From any meaningful degree of taxation. Conservatives of a certain downstream rank and file gain a hegemony of the local sphere. With the privatization of government process charity will be sufficiently benevolent only when poverty is sufficiently hidden. Private safety nets private concern for social justice equals no justice. Social justice carried out only in the least and most socially visible part. The vast reality of the coming poverty will not be recorded or accorded public space.
No real event equates directly to the formation of a social compact. Some approximate it to greater or lesser degrees. A constitution or declaration of independence only ever follows at a dignified distance. A formalized echo of a given populations social compact. A social compact mobilizes the power and authority of a population, to regulate its actions, and dealings. It does so under the name government. It is in main the sense that a government is legitimate and represents the general will. A will which sharp or diffuse represents the conflicted desires of a people. A move to un-empower a government is a move to dissolve the social compact and return the population to the state of nature. If another institutional power center exists it either takes on an orientation to the general good, and by doing so takes on the role of legitimate government. If not what exist is not a social compact, but the state of nature.
If anything marks this new aspect of conservatism it is their simultaneous criticism of authority and alarming embrace of it. Whether social power or institutional bureaucratic power, they disparage its rights and efficacy, and champion it by turns. Two sides of the same coin. When power is in its preferred form, the tendency is towards absolutism with this new right. They profess to no doubts and claim all answers. Their instincts are retreat in age of diminished returns, an acceptance of impoverished, nativism, isolationism masked by industrious bellocausity. All of it at all end an exhaustion re-imagined as Restoration.
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