THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Karen Kisslinger Headshot

The Re-New Deal, The Palin Effect and Spreading the Wealth Around

Posted: Updated:

Making America Work For the Middle Class is Redistribution of Wealth and the American Dream

Boy, have Americans been duped. Right now, redistribution of wealth in American means that taxpayer money is funneled into a "bail out" and then, in part, shuffled off to give rich people even more money in the form of bonuses. This mornings news reported 6.8 billion put aside for bonuses this year at one of our largest financial/investment institutions.

If what is left of American middle class working people knew what goes on in Social Democratic/Somewhat Socialist countries like those in Scandinavia, they would hopefully be justly outraged at how little they have been asked to make-do with and how little our society really supports families and community health. If American working people really understood how almost every other so-called advanced industrial or post-industrial society in the world supplies paid parental leave for new parents because the societies value family bonds, breastfeeding and early nurture by the parents, they would be justly saddened and confused by how little our society really supports children and community health. Our medical system supplies disease-care and drugs to the insured or very poor, but the maintenance of health and well being, for which you do not need expensive doctors, drugs or medical machines, is not given priority in American Health Culture. War is given priority, including wars against diseases which pit money against nature and eschew prevention.

Every one is talking about change, but I doubt that there is enough widespread understanding (I hope I'm wrong), that the change we are talking about goes against a long tradition of anti- worker, anti-labor, anti-fairness sentiment and behavior in this society. "Making it work for the middle class" IS "spreading the wealth around," which of course includes keeping wealth in this country instead of in Iraq and other centers of profit for "disaster capitalism," as Naomi Klein calls it. These are not new trends, it's just that globalization and the bleeding out of American funds to support our oil habit have literally left much of the middle working class without sensible lives. McCain accuses Obama of promoting class warfare by mentioning "spreading the wealth around," while we all know that class disparity is enormous. It isn't widely called "warfare" because for one thing, class warfare is truly a taboo subject in this society, and because the working class and the unemployed usually have no effective weapons in any such duel. Right now they have the vote. It's a start.

We're supposed to be class free and infinitely upwardly mobile, but downward mobility is the order of the day and only radical change in the form of a "Renew Deal" can turn it around. If a new greener economy, along with many other changes, could really be created quickly, retooling America's unused manufacturing infrastructure, a true "renew deal" or maybe "renewable deal" could be achieved. We are talking radical... another naughty word in America.

When I was a child first learning about the McCarthy era, I felt proudly sure that nothing like that could ever happen again in America. I am frightened anew at the specter of the rhetoric of the right against common sense public provision of support for basic human needs. How did "the common good" or "making society more fair" or even "spreading the wealth around," which Adam Smith specifically supported long ago, become really really bad things in America? Those things were made synonymous with Communism, Socialism and defined as evil long ago during the most vicious of the anti-union campaigns via the propaganda machine and power of the elite and wealthy. There is pervasive derision against the very forces that might actually help working people survive and thrive in a system that inherently leaves a certain number of them needy and wanting at the bottom. Well-being of most people is threatened by a built-in bias to favor corporations over basic life support in the form of health care, housing and education for all. The irony is that providing for these has historically been both a Christian and an American ideal. It's not a corporate ideal, and it's corporate needs that have us in their stranglehold.

Too few people understand that this is built into the system, which lets a few common Joes make it every once in a while to prove it's possible. Talking about real change is talking about not only spreading monetary wealth but the parallel wealth of power around... an almost impossible thing to get the already rich and powerful to agree to. What stumps me is how any but the very wealthy can support the current McCain-Palin campaign with their sniggering derisiveness at ideas that paying taxes is patriotic or that spreading the wealth around is a good thing. This while they know that wealthy people and corporations hide money "offshore" from their tax obligations to our country, while calling themselves patriotic.

How can any but the very rich support people who support these things? McCain and Palin haven't to my knowledge used the word socialism or national socialism to describe the infusion of our hard earned money into the banking system to help keep the global economy afloat. I'm counting on more people understanding very soon. I'm counting on a "Palin Effect" that will go down in history, a well known effect that creeps into people's conscious as they stand at the ballot box on election day, about to vote Republican yet again, and just suddenly knowing that they can't vote for a woman who's beliefs and statements are truly antithetical to the best of all American ideals, whether they relate to social justice, conservation, constitutional integrity, or a myriad of other subjects. We could call it Palin-McCain effect, but I think Palin is a magnifying glass focused on people's needs, and the light shown on her ideas is burning a deep hole in any hope that non-rich, every day working people would benefit from McCain-Palin policies. I see lots and lots of these people pulling the lever for Obama because they really do believe that "America is better than that."