The New Deal is dead. Long live the Raw Deal! The far Right white one percent are using the psychology of disenfranchisement that they leveled against minorities for generations to scuttle the middle class and return America to its pre-Hoover "robber baron" roots.
For America's political bedrock middle class, Wednesday's New York Times affirmed the bad news: They are no longer the world's most moneyed mid.
The American middle class, long the most affluent in the world, has lost that distinction.
While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.
A healthy democracy depends on a strong middle class. Of course, the United States is not much of a democracy anymore, either.
[E]conomic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.
One percent of the world's population controls $110T of the world's wealth, 65 times the total wealth of the bottom half of the world's population, according to the latest report by OXFAM.
Before you write that factoid off as a third-world thing, the "Great Recession" should be correctly named the "Great Redistribution."
After 2009, when average Americans panicked and sold off their equities in retirement accounts and 401Ks, the top one percent saw their incomes grow 31.4 percent, while the other 99 percent of Americans' incomes improved 0.4 percent, below the rate of inflation, which means their net worth actually shrunk, according to OXFAM.
The Pew Research Center published a study in March which stated that income inequality in the U.S. was at its highest since 1928, the year before the start of the Great Depression.
How the heck did the one percent land themselves firmly in charge of America?
The Libertarian media machine orchestrated by Norquist, Fox's Roger Ailes, Rush Limbaugh, the legion of Right-Wing radio talkers, and their propaganda lyricist, Frank Luntz, have turned the psychology of disenfranchisement in the American political dialogue, once aimed at minorities, on to the white majority.
The psychology of disenfranchisement uses alienation, cynicism and perceived victimization to control a populace.
Alienation: The white American majority has always been spoon-fed oppressive racism since the nation's founding.
When African-American Barack Obama landed in the Oval Office, the Far Right stoked white America's generational paranoia of minorities and "others" with "birther" myths, and the fear of impending marginalization in a "majority minority" America.
The huge upturn in NRA lobbying and gun buying is also no accident. Guns are big "P" power to alienated lower to upper-middle class whites. Bloomberg notes:
Crazy talk has not been in short supply since Obama's first presidential campaign took flight. Talk-radio jocks, the gun lobby and others who invest long in hysteria may preach to the choir, but the choir appears to be increasingly well-armed. Despite survey data indicating a steady decline in the number of households owning guns, the overall quantity of guns keeps rising... [P]olitics -- in particular, a kind of politics that spreads fear -- is not incidental to the gun industry.
Cynicism: The 99 percent have become so cynical about institutions vital to their own financial, social and physical well being that they have walked away from them, and prefer ignorance to indignation and involvement.
42 percent. That's the record high number of American voters who self-identify as "independent." They make comment about how "both sides" are to blame.
The comment is a common, convenient ignorance of reality. The Manchester Guardian, the UK publication that does a better job covering America than American news outlets, was more brutally candid in 2013:
"Let us state this unequivocally: false equivalency, the practice of giving equal media time and space to demonstrably invalid positions for the sake of supposed reportorial balance -- is dishonest, pernicious and cowardly."
Gridlock, manufactured by the Libertarian Far Right of the Republican Party not only dismantles government from within, but has the added value of suppressing voter turnout in the young who are always agents of change. The Harvard Survey's Spring 2013 review of millennial voters, more than 3,100 voters under 30, found that their faith in major institutions, other than the military, is declining:
The hyperpartisanship and gridlock that has befallen Washington, D.C., is having a traumatic effect not just on our nation's status at home and abroad, but on the political health of tens of millions of once (and hopefully future) idealistic young people...
Victimization: One key tool in the Far Right's arsenal is the amplification of white, largely male, fear of improving socioeconomic conditions for minorities. In a study, "Whites See Racism as a Zero-Sum Game That They Are Now Losing" by the Association for Psychological Science (APS) researchers Michael Norton and Samuel Sommers found that whites' fear of "reverse racism" is on the rise since 2000, and that many white Americans see the gains made by racial minorities as a threat to their own place in the world.
For minorities to "win," there is the feeling for many whites that they must "lose," a zero sum game.
"Obamacare," Medicaid and "food stamps" have been successful messaging for the one percent's minions because these Fox/Far Right Radio noise machine code words trigger white angst.
Why did this angst start around 2000? The study makes no causality, but the rise of Norquist, who began threatening congressmen with his tax pledge and "grading" of their performance was the beginning of the system of purging the Republican party of moderates and Neoconservatives.As a piece of social engineering it is quite masterful:
- The careful "breeding" over 30+ years of highly dogmatic, largely ignorant politicos that take marching orders well;
- Ginning up white fear, of minorities and immigrants;
- Blaming the Great Recession, which the one percent caused, and financially benefitted from, on "big government" to prevent middle class whites and minorities from aligning against the one percent elites;
- Using that mis-directed white anger to generate landslide victories for Tea Party minions in state houses and the US Congress.;
- Having that minority generate gridlock, which both destroys New Deal government from within, and dispirits the young progressive millennials who can turn out to stop it by destroying their faith in government, the only protection they have against the rapacious one percent.
The Obama Campaign proved that this machine could be broken in a general election, where their base turns out. Democrats don't turn out well in mid-terms, though.
The answer to ending the Tea Party's reign of terror lies not in old-school turnout, but in developing a new narrative for America's fearful whites that breaks the Far Right's psychological warfare.
Until they do, the New Deal is on its way out the door, and the Raw Deal of pre-Hoover America is on its way back.
Happy days are here again. (If you're an old school Robber Baron like the Koch Brothers or the Coors)!
My shiny two.