The growing support for socialistic programs within the Democratic Party has many traditionalists worried. They should be.
Data shows wealth accumulating ever more rapidly among the top one percent and growing ever more slowly among the bottom ninety percent. From 1946 to 1980 middle-income Americans saw greater income growth than rich ones. Since 1980, income growth for the bottom ninety percent slowed to less than one percent a year, while for the top one percent it skyrocketed. (Piketty/Saez/Zucman 2017)
A story in Barron’s last year said that the three richest Americans (at the time) – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett – together had more wealth than the 160 million poorest Americans, or half the U.S. population.
The story went on to cite Torsten Slok, the chief international economist at Deutsche Bank, who said that unchecked, rising income and wealth inequality “could cause social and political unrest.”
Indeed, history shows time and again that when the rich and powerful become too rich and powerful, the people revolt. In America, revolts usually occur at the ballot box.
Policies enacted by the Trump administration are accelerating income and wealth disparities. As tax cuts make the rich richer, cuts in social programs make the poor poorer. Despite low unemployment and a booming stock market, wages for the middle class and working poor have not moved. They have actually declined when inflation is taken into account.
The disruption, discord, and disdain emanating from the White House only cause more unrest. Perhaps as soon as this November, the risks of political upheaval may be realized.
The likely beneficiary of such upheaval is the Democratic Party. If they score heavily in upcoming elections, the move toward socialistic practices that traditionalists fear will occur.
Ironic isn’t it. The uncaring, bombastic anti-social agenda pushed by Trump and his Republican congressional allies may be the very thing that tips the balance and puts Democrats back in power.
You can get a sense of the shifting tides even here in Mississippi. How is it in this oh so Republican state that Democratic senate candidate Mike Espy and potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jim Hood are given decent odds to win?
It’s too bad that the common sense politics of conservative Republican governors is out of favor with the base. The spectrum of gubernatorial leadership from Mike Pence in Indiana to John Kasich in Ohio shows how conservative leadership can work for all the people, not just the rich and powerful.
“It’s not just the people at the top who ought to benefit in any society, it ought to be people throughout society,” outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich said last week. “And that doesn’t mean you play Robin Hood and take from the rich and give to the poor. But it means you give everybody an opportunity to be able to do well.”
Both governors were pro-business and cut taxes. But both also paid attention to the needs of their constituents. They even expanded their Medicaid programs modifying the programs to address what they perceived to be their state’s unique needs.
Republicans not providing ways for the poor, working poor, and middle class to do better while catering to the rich and powerful, opens the door to socialistic Democrats.
Crawford is a syndicate columnist from Meridian.
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