Thursday, December 22, 2016

One Problem for the New York Times is

Here's a crazy mirror story from the New York Times. According to Carlos Slim's blog the Democrats represent all the economically successful regions of America, for a
huge portion of the nation’s globally competitive economic activity occurs in those blue places. Dominated by highly productive, export-oriented advanced industries, high-tech enterprises, and professional services including the management of companies[.]
And so naturally the voters of those regions are all in favor of free trade. Republican regions do not add much value, because of their old tired industries, and the voters of those regions are in favor of Donald Trump's protectionism.

This is curious, because it inverts the narrative of the last century or so. Used to be that progressives said that the whole point of a compassionate and just politics was to think about the folks left behind and try to help them. And Republicans and free market enthusiasts were excoriated for being deaf to the cries of the unprotected, believing that the market should be left to itself.

Now, the NYT guys seem to be saying to hell with the deplorables; we are the winners.

Allow me to introduce a different explanation of all this.

First of all, Progressives live in an over-under culture, as reflected in the priorities of the Democratic Party. On the one hand they are the educated ruling class and their educated supporters; they are globalists. The folks that manage and work for the high-tech economy are natural globalists, and that's fine. But then there are the Unders in the over-under culture, and they are tribalists. They belong to the single-women tribe married to the state, the racial minorities married to the racial spoils system, and the government employees married to the government pension system. None of these people give a damn about the economy or trade; they just want their checks.

You can see that the policies of the Democratic Party neatly reflect these realities. They are all for the globalist corporations and the government handouts, but they don't give a damn about the folks in between. In fact, as Hillary Clinton so obligingly said, the folks in between are the racists, sexists, homophobes, the deplorables of whom you've heard tell.

Now the Republican Party represents the broad middle of America, people that aren't cut out to be tech wizards, and who follow the rules, get a job, and obey the law. So they are people that don't rely on government handouts much beyond the mandatory Social Security and Medicare. On these people falls most heavily the weight of big government taxes and regulation. See, it's one thing to get into tech, which is not heavily regulated, and make a ton of money on some brilliant exploitation of the information revolution. It's another thing to try to get ahead in the ordinary economy where the taxes and the regulations represent a real headwind.

If you are a tech-head, the complexities of high marginal taxes on income, and high taxes on labor, and impenetrable regulations and complexities of employee fringe benefits, and interferences in the labor market like minimum wage laws and labor unions, all these things are not that important, not if you are shooting for billions with your high-stakes tech startup. So you don't worry about them. You can afford to locate in high-tax high-regulation California or New York City.

But if you are an ordinary mortal, the high taxes and regulations and labor laws are like a punch in the solar plexus. It is very hard to start and run an ordinary-mortal business if you have to lift the heavy weight of government as well as learn how to thrive in the market.

The New York Times writes that, despite the attempts of politicians like Bernie Sanders and Keith Ellison to gin up a populist surge in the Democratic Party, "the Democratic electorate has actually become less receptive to populism over the past two decades."

Well, yes. The upper side of the over-under coalition has become less economically populist. Although they don't seem to have any problem with raising the minimum wage. The point is that the under side of the Democratic coalition doesn't have a voice. Their "voice" is the voice of the ruling class that affects to represent them. And as far as we can see the under side of the Democratic coalition is quite happy being kept on the liberal plantation as long as the checks keep coming. But then nobody asked them.

The way that politics works in the United States is that, from time to time, a group that used to be the little darlings of the Democratic ruling class gets expelled from the party and finds itself in the political wilderness. After 40 years in the wilderness this group eventually finds itself a home in the Republican Party and the Republicans, being kind souls, adapt their party platform to accommodate the newcomers. That's how Southern whites became Republican; that's how the religious right became Republican. And that's how the white working class became Republican.

What I want to know is who will be next to be cast into the wilderness. Will it be East-Asian Americans? Will it be Hispanics? Is it possible that African Americans will at some point decide that they can't take it any more?

I can't wait to find out.

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