American Middle-Class Abandons All Hope

I'm -- umm -- avowedly not a Republican. I assume most readers are aware of that. I remember joking, some years ago, with a friend that my escalating tax burden sometimes made me want to become one. A Republican I mean. He thought I was serious. I wasn't. Not even a little bit. The GOP's anathema to me. That's how you know you can trust me when I criticize Democrats: It's tough love, not derision. In "The Divide," I noted that Democrats have increasingly become the party of the college-educate

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18 thoughts on “American Middle-Class Abandons All Hope

  1. Seems to solve this politicians would be advised to consult some phsychologists on how to talk with constituents.

  2. I’ve asked this before… what’s more important? Having 200K (at most) American auto workers or new cars from abroad that save tens of millions of Americans hundreds of dollars each month? Protect jobs/industry/national “security” or allow Americans to enjoy a lower cost living?

    Protectionism strikes me as a conservative stance but what do i know….

  3. “A hodgepodge of social issues” – as in getting all riled up about transgender bathrooms just before the 2016 presidential campaign. No doubt it was an issue of great concern for most of the people in that poll.

    What the pollster and you point to is a mass of people willing to at least listen to the promises delivered by snake oil salesmen.

    1. Monied people who are publicly or scrumptiously funding Trump here might benefit from some advice I received almost forty years ago.

      Around 1988 I looked into jobs in Jakarta. I liked the place and thought it would be cool to work and live there for a bit. A friend put me in touch with an expat who had lived there for years. What he told me sounds eerily prescient:

      “You will be living in a walled compound within a walled compound of expats and a few wealthy locals. You will have a driver ferrying you back and forth to work. A gardener/guard living in a shed will take care of the property and maids will come to tidy things up whilst you are at work. It’s a actually a very insulated life.

      But there’s one thing to remember – if there is another period of violent rioting, your guard and the compound guards will abandon their posts and go protect their families.”

      1. As an expat somewhere, I asked a local about getting a security guard. He said: “that’s an excellent idea … if you run faster than him”.

  4. Met Kyla Scanlon, who I believe coined the term “vibecession”, this weekend at the annual Epsilon Theory conference (year two of that). I enjoyed listening to her take on things. Haven’t read her book just yet though… Incidentally, I started reading Epsilon Theory thanks to Heisenberg Report.

  5. “Democrats become party of the college educated”. This is what I am concerned about with respect to that group and why I think that this group may not have as deep of a commitment to the Democratic Party, post graduation, if their political party of choice is not supporting them economically, once they enter the “real world”, where one has to work, buy food, pay rent, pay taxes snd generally be self-sufficient.

    In college, the vast majority of professors are Democrats and their political views are often expressed/intertwined with lectures and studies – without the counterbalance of alternative political views and/or their merits- to their students, who are generally of the very impressionable ages of 18-25. (As an aside, studies of cognitive development indicate that the human brain is not fully developed until around the ages of 26-28.).

    It would be far better if a more balanced presentation of various political views and their various merits and deficiencies was made available for students to debate and discuss, so that students can align themselves politically, based upon a deeper understanding and conviction.

  6. H. This poll depicts a situation that reminds one of the first decades of the Industrial Revolution when workers got poorer despite what was called “the progress”. The solution then was a combination of private company prop-worker initiatives (raise wage), social security program (Bismarck), labor laws, worker security laws / insurance and unions. However, these didn’t stop the occurrence of the first world wars. I bet the solutions to our times would be a new combination of these and new ideas adapted to the new technologies. Let’s avoid wars.

    1. I would just add antitrust enforcement to Hugo’s list.

      It’s been widely reported or remarked upon how poorer and blue collar folks tend to vote against their own self-interest. While curious or even vexing, it is at least understandable to me since the self-interest in voting for the President may be seen as distant, peripheral or so attenuated that they might, say, vote for Trump merely because of how he “sounds” without following the trail all the way to their doorsteps. (Alternatively, they might be inclined not to vote for someone like Al Gore or John Kerry because of the way they “sound,” again without following the trail much farther than that).

      But I have much more difficulty rationalizing the often strong anti-union sentiment among this same cohort, because the self-interest is much more direct and immediate, and yet these workers often view unions to be essentially partners in crime with their employers. I’m not exactly sure how we got here, and even less sure how to get out. But I do believe that if the middle and lower classes don’t at least stick together, they aren’t going to stand much of a chance against the ever-concentrating wealth and power that is amassing against them. Sadly, I suppose that is the point.

  7. So much wasteful government spending has made citizens this country so divided and so mean to one another. We used to set a good example for the world. No more. Now we are just like everybody else.

    1. Yes indeed, we need to slash government spending. But what do you suggest be cut? The largest expenditures are for defense, Medicaid and Medicare along with interest payments on the debt. Even die-hard Magalytes don’t want THEIR benefits cut.

      1. US effective tax rates on corporations and highest-income individuals are low relative to history and to most other Western countries.

  8. “I live in Eastern Europe and graduated from a university in Germany. The education was quite decent and it was free, even for foreigners. After I graduated in 2006, they reintroduced tuition fees, although it was still less than €1,000 per semester. Several years later, they reversed that decision and made higher education free again. The government noticed a significant drop in the number of first-generation college students and decided to make education more accessible.

    There’s clearly no silver bullets here, but that seems like one sensible policy if you want to address this issue.

    The other thing I wondered is why are German tax payers paying for my education (I always planned to go back home after graduating). I got my answer several years later – most foreigners who graduated in our class stayed in Germany and had careers and families there. That’s probably the best kind if immigration you can get.

  9. And what exactly have the Republicans done for the undereducated and working class folks besides preying upon their bitterness and ignorance / naivety …?

  10. Not directly on point, but apartment rents in some markets in the over-supplied Sunbelt are tentatively starting to bottom (May rents rose in Austin, Raleigh-Durham, Nashville). Declines were very modest (Phoenix -0.1% MOM). Nationally rents +0.3% MOM in May.

  11. “I can hire half of the working class to kill the other half.”
    If Jay Gould were alive today, he would surely be a Republican.

  12. The American state was born of a rebellion, but not the one American children are taught about in school.
    In 1786, one year before the Constitutional Convention, farmers in Western Massachusetts organized a resistance movement against the state legislature in Boston. Most of the men were veterans of the Revolutionary war. Heavily indebted, overtaxed and facing foreclosures of their homes and farms, they petitioned their government for redress. No help was forthcoming.

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