The time has come for The National Razor to embrace its blog-ness. In a first for this site, I am devoting an entire entry to reposting an article with little commentary, which I have to say really cuts down on the turnaround time.
However, before making this inevitable leap and moving on to the main event – showcasing former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich’s latest commentary for The Huffington Post – a small prologue is equally inevitable.
For a while now, I and others have been talking about the desire of the Republican leadership to return the United States to the Gilded Age. This is not hyperbole – it is what the GOP envisions as America’s ideal future. President Obama was handed an amazing opportunity to reverse the course of public opinion in the past 30 years and harness populist outrage to finally, meaningfully, undo the ever-increasing influence of multinational corporate and banking interests over the minds and government of the American people. Unfortunately, he was either unwilling or unable to pick up the mantle that Theodore Roosevelt donned so proudly 100 years ago, and instead we were treated to the bizarre and confounding spectacle of angry citizens rallying around the very people and institutions that forced them into dire circumstances – i.e., the Tea Party.
If you watch Glenn Beck for a sufficient length of time, you will hear him inveigle against Woodrow Wilson and the progressivism of the early 20th century. Beck, who may be an intellectually empty (though certainly not stupid) wreck of a man who couldn’t hold a job as a “morning zoo” radio host (no really, look it up), is nobody’s fool when it comes to stating utter hogwash in just such a way that it makes sense to someone who doesn’t know better. When he’s attacking Wilson, he’s really attacking Theodore Roosevelt – but his audience is at least aware enough to know that TR is on Mount Rushmore for some reason, so Beck selects a more palatable target in Wilson. It comes to the same thing, though: Advocating the destruction of every system put in place to prevent a new class of robber baron overlords from making indentured servants of everyone else.
The Tea Party protests, the protests in the Middle East and now the Wisconsin protests all have the same root: A system tilting completely out of balance, leaving the “regular folks” to pick up the tab of the “fat cats” and being told they should be grateful to even have that privilege. In the case of the Tea Party, however, their prescription is to aid the disease.
How is this possible? How can otherwise decent, patriotic Americans possibly watch what happened to the U.S. economy and political system over the past decade (really, three decades) and decide that the solution is more of the same, to the point of threatening anyone who says different?
Robert Reich is far more educated and experienced than I, and I suspect far more intelligent to boot. That’s why they pay him the big bucks, and that is why I will let him explain what is going on here.
The Republican strategy is to split the vast middle and working class — pitting unionized workers against non-unionized, public-sector workers against non-public, older workers within sight of Medicare and Social Security against younger workers who don’t believe these programs will be there for them, and the poor against the working middle class.
By splitting working America along these lines, Republicans want Americans to believe that we can no longer afford to do what we need to do as a nation. They hope to deflect attention from the increasing share of total income and wealth going to the richest 1 percent while the jobs and wages of everyone else languish.
Republicans would rather no one notice their campaign to shrink the pie even further with additional tax cuts for the rich — making the Bush tax cuts permanent, further reducing the estate tax, and allowing the wealthy to shift ever more of their income into capital gains taxed at 15 percent.
The strategy has three parts…