Are we seeing the beginning of a divide and conquer strategy on wealth inequality?
I wonder if anyone else has been struck by the oddity of the president and other elite luminaries responding to Elizabeth Warren's populist message for the middle class with rhetoric and policies to help the poor? If one were the least bit cynical, one might think it was a strategy to divide the left along the usual lines --- by offering the only solution as being limited to taking from average workers to help the truly desperate. Leaving the very wealthy alone. Of course.
This is illustrated by the recent budget deal in which federal workers and veterans were forced to "sacrifice" even more than they already have, ostensibly in order to restore a small number of the discretionary cuts that are ravaging programs for the poor, especially children. (It should be noted that the veterans cuts are likely to be restored in some fashion in the Senate --- that constituency is just too valuable to the Republicans.)
I suppose I am being too cynical. Helping the poor is a bedrock progressive value and lord knows, we should be doing more of it. But Warren's critique is much more radical than that --- she's trying to rally the 99%, the vast middle class along with the poor, into seeing that they need to focus their attention --- together, in solidarity --- upwards. And that is very dangerous to the status quo.
If anyone doubts that the American middle class is in trouble this Bill Moyers Frontline that followed two families over the course of 20 years should bring them up short and make them recognize that the pressures that are being brought to bear on the middle class are no longer theoretical. They are clearly losing ground and it isn't getting any better. We shouldn't let the financial elites divide us from the central issue of wealth inequality --- that it's the rich who are hoovering up more and more while everybody else is paying the price:
This is a crisis. And it's going to take more than creating some tax credits for early childhood education and extending the food stamp program. It's going to take some radical solutions, solutions we are a long way from seeing in our mainstream political discourse.
This Frontline is a must see. Take the time to watch it if you can.