Drowned By The Rising Tide

5 comments August 2nd, 2010at 07:32am Posted by Eli

So much for a rising tide lifting all boats.  It seems like no matter which direction the economy is moving, the only people who benefit are the wealthy.  Bob Herbert writes about corporations taking advantage of increased worker productivity and the excuse of the recession to lay off and cut the wages of more workers than they actually need to so they can hoard their profits, while the Financial Times has a long story about America’s stagnating incomes and lack of upward mobility.

It is one of the greatest and saddest ironies of all that so many Americans are so passionately opposed to taxes on income brackets that they will never ever occupy.  They’re either outraged that Democrats want to tax their imaginary future millions, or they somehow imagine that they’re the ones whose taxes are getting raised, or both.  Whatever the reason, the conservative doctrine that we must cut all manner of social services in order to pay for military spending and tax cuts for the rich is still far more popular than makes any logical sense.  Hell, the Tea Party has actually managed to package tax cuts for the rich as populism.

Towards the end of the FT story, a member of one of the struggling middle-class families it profiles invokes the Tea Party mantra of “I want my country back,” but he didn’t mean from Barack Obama and the Democrats.  He meant from the corporations and wealthy who have done nothing but take without giving anything in return.  I want my country back too.

Entry Filed under: Economy


  • 1. shortstop  |  August 2nd, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I think part of it is magical thinking a la Joe the Plumber, “Okay, I’m not making $250K now, but I TOTALLY COULD BE SOMEDAY if I like increased my earnings by 800 percent,” and part of it is just knee-jerk defense of the trickle-down concepts they can’t let go of — because admitting they’re wrong ain’t their strong suit — but some of it is active vitriol at literally anything the dirty fucking hippies suggest.

    A big lesson for me over the last 10 years has been how much these people are willing to subjugate their economic self-interest to anything they think sticks it to the libs — sort of Thomas Franks with an extra helping of venom. It’s not just that they’re willing to vote conservative social positions over economic freedom. (They are.) It’s that they really do subscribe to a complete and total tribalism that requires actively hating anyone outside the tribe, and constantly make up outrageous stories about the supposed enemies’ crimes to “support” the hatred, which the media then dutifully reports as valid viewpoints. These are sick fucking people.

  • 2. Eli  |  August 2nd, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    I actually had a post at FDL precisely about Joe The Plumber’s magical thinking, and about how the same party that tricks their followers into identifying with the millionaires is also the party that makes it almost impossible for an ordinary person to become one.

    As for the tribalism, I’m not sure. I work with one of them, and he seems more animated by hate and resentment than anything else.

  • 3. shortstop  |  August 2nd, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    But that’s what I mean — tap into your coworker’s hate and resentment, and I’m betting you’ll find it’s all tribal-based. It’s just that they irrationally define the tribe as including people whose level of wealth and power they will never, ever attain, all magical thinking to the contrary, but who share other cultural markers with them. It *doesn’t* include liberals, brown people, people who are not Christians or compliantly conservative Jews, feminists, gays and lesbians, the decently educated, and so on. Non-tribe members are defined — sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly — as the enemy and the root of not just social but also economic misery.

  • 4. shortstop  |  August 2nd, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    And that should’ve been Thomas Frank, not Thomas Franks.

  • 5. Eli  |  August 2nd, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    Yeah, that sounds about right. It’s unnerving and creepy. He can’t even stand it that Chelsea Clinton got married.

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