Thursday, January 7, 2016

Middle Class Isn't THAT Mad

Everybody knows that the middle class is mad as hell and it isn't going to take it any more. Monica Crowley has a piece going down the list: deficits, debt, immigration, etc. Including the failure to reform entitlements.

I don't think so.

The voters are mad, for sure. But they are mad in an unfocused way. They are mad because things don't seem to be working the way they should. The economy isn't growing like it should. The world isn't under control, like it should. The rulers don't seem to have things under control like they should.

I think the last item is the key one. The truth is we moderns are all subordinate peasants, and we expect our government to make things right for us; we expect our leaders to have things under control. If things don't go right then we start looking for someone to blame. Usually, the politicians are way out in front on this, and are leading the charge against greedy bankers or corrupt CEOs. But not this time, for some reason.

Really? What's wrong with our rulers? Don't they know how to play the scapegoat game any more?

But the real problem is that the scapegoat game isn't really working, because the rulers don't seem to have things under control. First 9/11, then the Iraq blunder, then the Crash of 2008, then the slow recovery, and now the spread of ISIS and Muslim shooters. Hey, ruling class, what's your plan to get things back under control?

Unfortunately, the old cry of shut up, you racist, sexist bigots doesn't seem to be working this time out.

Maybe the loss of control problem explains the rise of Donald Trump. He plays a guy on TV that bosses around kids on The Apprentice and seems as though he knows what he is doing.

Yes. But playing a smart guy on TV is not the same as being The Guy to set the world aright.

Of course, the middle class is not so mad that they are really willing to kick over the traces. We all still want the cops to patrol the streets -- at least everyone except Black Lives Matter. We still want the government to protect us from evil corporate fat cats. We still want our checks from the government.

But the fact is that the average man or woman in the street is clueless. All we know is what we learned in school and most of that is regime propaganda. If you are Democrat rank-and-file you look to the Big Man to make things right for you. If you are a gentry liberal you look for principled activists to advocate for ethical and just policy that will make things right. If you are a rank-and-file Republican you look for a government that doesn't tax and spend too much so you can take most of what you earn to the bank.

If you are a rank-and-file Democrat you must be feeling that something went wrong between Hope and Change and today's lousy economy. If you are a gentry liberal you are starting to wonder if the happy talk at NPR and the New York Times isn't missing out on something, but you can't quite put your finger on it. If you are a rank-and-file Republican you are mad as hell, mostly because you feel that President Obama has been sticking you in the ribs for seven years and you are not going to take it any more.

On top of that the average expert is clueless, and the average politician is clueless.

But that's democracy. All we the people get to do is choose who will rule over us. That's why there are only two types of elections. There is Four More Years, and there is Time for a Change. Democracy does not protect us from clueless experts and clueless politicians. It just gives us a chance to choose between This Lot of Clueless Clots and That Lot of Clueless Clots.

If you really pay attention to the candidates running for president they are not all that far apart -- except for the Bern, of course. The Republicans are all offering some sort of flat tax plan. And Hillary Clinton is offering steady as she goes.

So the Republicans will probably enact some tax reform, some rollback of Obamacare, and clean up some of the regulatory mess left behind by Obama.

Democrats, I suspect, are going to be asking each other What Went Wrong? I think that in 2008 they thought they had all the answers, and that they had learned their lessons from the Clinton years. This time they would really get their administrative model of health care enacted, and prepare the energy future with cunning green energy subsidies, and whack the economy into shape with a good robust stimulus plan. I suspect that the top policy circles are shocked at the mess their Baldrick Cunning Plans, incorporating their carefully learned lessons from the Clinton era, turned out to be.

Meanwhile, the middle class is mad as hell, and that does not mean they are not going to take it any more. It just means a Time for a Change election.

After that, we'll see.

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