Welcome to America, Where the Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer

Yesterday, I wrote of my frustration with this nation’s apparent inability or unwillingness to unite — left vs right, Republican vs Democrat.  Today, Robert Reich’s column in The Guardian shows us that the divide is a calculated one, a manipulation by those with billions of dollars in their portfolio, aided and abetted by the GOP.  Reich proposes that the real division is the 1% vs 99% and that a middle ground no longer exists, nor can it.  Take a look …

Trump’s refusal to concede is just the latest gambit to please Republican donors

Robert Reich-4by Robert Reich

Millions who should be ranged against the American oligarchy are distracted and divided – just as their leaders want

Leave it to Trump and his Republican allies to spend more energy fighting non-existent voter fraud than containing a virus that has killed 244,000 Americans and counting.

The cost of this misplaced attention is incalculable. While Covid-19 surges to record levels, there’s still no national strategy for equipment, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates or disaster relief.

The other cost is found in the millions of Trump voters who are being led to believe the election was stolen and who will be a hostile force for years to come – making it harder to do much of anything the nation needs, including actions to contain the virus.

Trump is continuing this charade because it pulls money into his newly formed political action committee and allows him to assume the mantle of presumed presidential candidate for 2024, whether he intends to run or merely keep himself the center of attention.

Leading Republicans like the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, are going along with it because donors are refilling GOP coffers.

The biggest beneficiaries are the party’s biggest patrons – the billionaire class, including the heads of the nation’s largest corporations and financial institutions, private-equity partnerships and hedge funds – whom a deeply divided nation serves by giving them unfettered access to the economy’s gains.

Their heist started four decades ago. According to a recent Rand study, if America’s distribution of income had remained the same as it was in the three decades following the second world war, the bottom 90% would now be $47tn richer.

A low-income American earning $35,000 this year would be earning $61,000. A college-educated worker now earning $72,000 would be earning $120,000. Overall, the grotesque surge in inequality that began 40 years ago is costing the median American worker $42,000 per year.

The upward redistribution of $47tn wasn’t due to natural forces. It was contrived. As wealth accumulated at the top, so did political power to siphon off even more wealth and shaft everyone else.

Monopolies expanded because antitrust laws were neutered. Labor unions shriveled because corporations were allowed to bust unions. Wall Street was permitted to gamble with other people’s money and was bailed out when its bets soured even as millions lost their homes and savings. Taxes on the top were cut, tax loopholes widened.

When Covid-19 hit, big tech cornered the market, the rich traded on inside information and the Treasury and the Fed bailed out big corporations but let small businesses go under. Since March, billionaire wealth has soared while most of America has become poorer.

How could the oligarchy get away with this in a democracy where the bottom 90% have the votes? Because the bottom 90% are bitterly divided.

Long before Trump, the GOP suggested to white working-class voters that their real enemies were Black people, Latinos, immigrants, “coastal elites”, bureaucrats and “socialists”. Trump rode their anger and frustration into the White House with more explicit and incendiary messages. He’s still at it with his bonkers claim of a stolen election.

The oligarchy surely appreciates the Trump-GOP tax cuts, regulatory rollbacks and the most business-friendly supreme court since the early 1930s. But the Trump-GOP’s biggest gift has been an electorate more fiercely split than ever.

Into this melee comes Joe Biden, who speaks of being “president of all Americans” and collaborating with the Republican party. But the GOP doesn’t want to collaborate. When Biden holds out an olive branch, McConnell and other Republican leaders will respond just as they did to Barack Obama – with more warfare, because that maintains their power and keeps the big money rolling in.

The president-elect aspires to find a moderate middle ground. This will be difficult because there’s no middle. The real divide is no longer left versus right but the bottom 90% versus the oligarchy.

Biden and the Democrats will better serve the nation by becoming the party of the bottom 90% – of the poor and the working middle class, of black and white and brown, and of all those who would be $47tn richer today had the oligarchy not taken over America.

This would require that Democrats abandon the fiction of political centrism and establish a countervailing force to the oligarchy – and, not incidentally, sever their own links to it.

They’d have to show white working-class voters how badly racism and xenophobia have hurt them as well as people of color. And change the Democratic narrative from kumbaya to economic and social justice.

Easy to say, hugely difficult to accomplish. But if today’s bizarre standoff in Washington is seen for what it really is, there’s no alternative.

26 thoughts on “Welcome to America, Where the Rich Get Richer and the Poor Get Poorer

  1. Now you have to pardon me for being Euro-cynical on this, but after a couple of thousand years of this kind of shenanigans there are some of us who are inured to this and tend to look for the least worst outcome.
    So Trump is attracting money to the Republican Party’s coffers…That’s nice for them. Looks like ‘Trump Sells’….OK, so when the brand starts to tire out, they’ve still got the money, but don’t need Trump, right? Thus he gets booted out, becomes yesterday’s news and the professionals get back in charge and start to damp down the temperature and get back to ‘business as usual’
    Hey I didn’t say this was a perfect solution I said Least Worse Outcome, ie no Trump and his creators get brought back into line by the professionals.
    Stability first folks, the rest can folk:
    Meanwhile, the Republican Party new theme song…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CkcrndYye60 .

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Forty years ago? Get real Mr. Reich, this problems goes much farther back than even I am willing to look right now. I would like to go back 70 years. I was only a few months old when a new term was added to the American language–McCarthyism. When Senator Joseph McCarthy led his minions to seek out and destroy those he called Communists, and Socialists, he brought a new focus onto the so-called enemies of America that still holds true today. It grew from Wobblie Unionists like Joe Hill, a union organizer who was railroaded into a murder trial guilty verdict and execution on November 19, 1915 in Salt Lake City, Utah, 105 years ago this Thursday. (Hint, hint, Jill.)


  3. . I think Mr Biden is going to have a problem going to raise a party of the 99%dispossessed if a good part of that group, the Republicans don’t accept they are dispossessed and tales of conspiracy theory convince them it’s just another Democrat trick. Joe needs to form a bond with them, maybe with the ACA and that’s going to need some of the better Republican Senators to come on board and I’m not sure they exist..

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sigh. I think you are right and that a good part of that group have allowed themselves to be convinced that the democrats are out to destroy the nation, to turn it into a ‘socialist’ nation, even though the majority of average citizens have no idea what socialism even is. I’m not even sure that forming a bond over ACA or any other issue will make much difference. What they want … what they think is just, is an all-white, Christian, male-dominated nation and if Biden is not promising them that, then they will fight against him tooth and nail. Sigh. Beam me up, Scottie. 😥

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Mr. Reich is spot on Jill. We know the game Republicans have been playing for decades now, pitting all of us against each other. But, I do want to caution one thing about him saying we should abandon the middle/centrism. Not yet. Biden must, in my view, legitimately try getting some R’s on board with some of his policies. This will, like Mr. Reich said, probably end in being pointless. But, he still must try. The question then becomes, when does he abandon the notion of bi-partisanship? That’s going to be his call, but he definitely cannot waste his whole first term trying to reason with these folks. Just make an honest effort for a year or so and see what happens. What do you think?

    Liked by 3 people

        • Dear Jeff (and Jill),

          Indeed, it is going to be a tall order. It would have been much easier if some Republican senators had been far most honest and incorruptible. I have been featuring an exemplar of a politician, statesman and chancellor so upright and unflinching in their integrity and honesty that if any of those senators had even just one percent of his goodness and decency to perform their duties and to go against the POTUS, the USA would not have sunk to such an intractable, dangerous and protracted quagmire.

          The upright character of this particular politician, statesman and chancellor has been immortalized in a poem, which is featured and explained in my newest post at https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2020/11/11/strong-wind-knows-tough-grass/

          Liked by 2 people

          • Thank you for this. Yes, a man or women with that kind of honor and integrity is gone from the current GOP. Surrendered to Trumpism, conspiracy theories, and disinformation. It’s a tragedy, my friend-and I do not think it’s going to be fixed anytime soon.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Dear Jeff,

              Yes, it is all quite a big mess in danger of getting bigger still. Even a global pandemic still cannot unite folks in the USA and wake them up. Perhaps it will take an even bigger crisis to do so, such as a series of climate change disasters.

              Given your expertise and insights, I would appreciate your giving me some feedback and suggestion at the comment section of my said post. Please be informed that you might need to use a desktop or laptop computer with a large screen to view the rich multimedia contents available for heightening your multisensory enjoyment at my blog, which could be too powerful and feature-rich for iPad, iPhone, tablet or other portable devices to handle properly or adequately.

              Liked by 1 person

            • Also, they are very uninspired, cowardly and lack criminal, moral and political accountabilities.

              If only they can learn from the upright character that I feature in my said post. In my own words, this historical figure is the personification of enduring loyalty, integrity, bravery and forthrightness achieved with benevolence and righteousness, but without favouritism and transgression. He was certainly not afraid of being fired half a dozen times.

              Thank you for liking my post. I miss your feedback there, though.

              Liked by 1 person

        • To whet your appetite even further, this particular politician, statesman and chancellor had been fired six times and rehired six times, and still he persisted in his upright approach and upstanding ideal. He even surrendered his own lands, real estates and military power!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, he is … and it is depressing to realize that … we are but pawns in a larger game … a game that we cannot see, cannot change. I’m with you, and as I first read Reich’s piece in the wee hours on Sunday, I thought the same. But, can Biden … can ANYBODY convince some of the republicans in Congress to step back from the big money donors and follow their conscience? At the moment, I’ve got my doubts. They have a base that is racist and religious, and as long as they pander to those two things, I don’t think they will change their ways, nor that the minds of their base will change. Sigh. I think Joe Biden has to try, for he promised it. But, I think he will find himself stymied at nearly every turn. Perhaps in the coming days I will see something that changes my mind on that — I hope so — but for right now, it seems that ignorance will doom us all.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, one way to look at it Jill is that Biden wanted this job. Now, it’s incumbent upon him to lead us the best way he can. I do have confidence in him. But, like you said, I have my doubts about any Republicans helping him in any way. Executive Orders are going to be his main weapon. There’s not much else he can do with all of the obstruction that will be thrown his way.
        2 more months of you know who…UGHHHH

        Liked by 1 person

  5. As always, his analysis is spot-on. The sad part is little to nothing is going to change. The rich will get richer, the poor will get poorer. So it is. So has it ever been.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I wish I could argue with you, my friend, but … I think you’re right. Congress, the Courts … they have made it such that we have little recourse against our legislators and even our president being bought and paid for by the big industries who have little or no regard for the future of this planet or the people on it. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

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