Since I’m so cock sure about a Republican landslide a year from now (barring black swans), I’m always on the prowl for contrary indicators. I read a lot of articles by lefties, and try to see things from their perspective. I regularly consult 538 Nate for the views of the nation’s premiere number cruncher. I read everything that lefty gurus like Stan Greenberg have to say. They’re all counting on demographics, the politics of the simple minded.
And income inequality. If they have an issue, this is the big one. The economic wizard they principally rely on is Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. Back in April he issued his manifesto, “The Rules of the American Economy” in conjunction with the Roosevelt Institute. It’s just been released in book form, “Rewriting the Rules.”
I read the manifesto upon which the book is based, and am decidedly unimpressed. He wants more money spent on infrastructure. Yawn. No word on whether these projects will be shovel ready, or where the money comes from.
He wants to help the unions organize. That’s some real 21st Century avant garde thinking. It’s 2016, and everybody wants to join a union! Good God.
He wants selective minimum wage increases. That’s the ticket! The key to middle class economic anxiety is assuring them that when they’re at last reduced to working at McDonald’s, they’ll be getting enough for a single young adult to squeeze by on. We all feel so much better now.
He wants education! This is a truly amazing insight. No one has ever thought of this before. He’s liable to get another Nobel Prize for that one.
And he wants paid family and sick leave. If that doesn’t get the country fired up I don’t know what will.
That’s it. That’s all he, and they, have got. And it’s pathetic. Oh wait, I forgot, there’s one not on Stiglitz’s list — Hillary is going to take on Wall Street! She’s a social justice warrior, fighting for all those little people out there. If you want to know why people don’t trust Hillary, it’s because they know such talk on her part is complete B.S. Nobody believes her.
Another one Stiglitz didn’t mention was climate change. This is a donor issue, not one most people really care about, and won’t, until there is an economic recovery, if ever. But the donors insist, and it will be an issue with no real constituency.
Actually, there is an issue of economic inequality which should be a campaign issue. It’s generational income inequality, as described recently in Fortune. And it’s getting worse. In 2000 oldsters (65-74) had $48,000 in family income. In 2012 they had $58,000.
In 2000 youngsters (25-34) had $62,000 in income. In 2012 they had $53, 000.
Old people in this country are doing just fine, and young people are getting screwed. Think Social Security.
These numbers are a surprise, to me, and have political significance. The political class, Republican and Democrat, have delivered for the old people of this country, and the young are paying the price. It may simply be that old people are more effective politically, or are working more. But it is a very unhealthy trend, and one which serious public policy experts should put their minds to.
I ain’t one of those, but I’ll give it some thought myself. From the political side.
I like this guy Jeff Bezos. He’s a gazillionaire who doesn’t believe in charity. Instead he’s using his money to make more money, but in unusual and socially constructive ways. He’s going into space tourism. It’s like back in the day when airplanes were brand new, and people were trying to figure out how to make money with them. So they’d go to county fairs and charge people for joy rides. That’s Bezos’ idea, in a nutshell.
His company just landed a rocket for reuse, using reverse thrust. How cool is that. I was a science fiction nut when I was a kid, and this is the kind of thing we were all dreaming about.
What a brave new world we live in.