Income Inequality

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Income Inequality

Postby Skywalker » Thu Nov 03, 2016 3:58 pm

Income Inequality in the United States (and I am sure in other places of the world) is only getting worse. This is due to the decline in factory jobs and other jobs as they are replaced with service related position. This can be seen in Panam City Beach, FL where the news and others have touted about the increase in jobs. In a news article by the Panama City News Herald, they list all these hotels that are coming, Best Western, a new tower at the Calypso (Garman, 2016). These jobs they do not pay well, they pay normally just above what is federally required of employers, it is even worse if you are a condo cleaner at the Calypso, in which you may get paid 40 dollars to clean a 3 bedroom 3 bath condo unit. That may sound like good money, but two people are cleaning it, so you, in fact, may actually make below the federal standard, if one takes too long.

The aspect of income inequality, there is also a geographical aspect to this as well, that divide is getting less and less as the years goes on. In a map, that is provided by ArcGIS, which shows average income in the United States for the year of 2012. Map of Income - US Census Data In addition to this, there is "Jacksonville [NC] was listed among the 10 metro areas with the lowest average weekly wage in the United States at $660 per week, the Durham-Chapel Hill area made the 10 highest list at $1,179 per week, according to previous Daily News reports (Whidden, 2016)." This number is skewed just due to the large military base, as there are currently over 35k active duty military. I wonder what the actual numbers are like?

This was brought on by two news stories, one in which a woman passed away because she lacked the money for proper medical care because she was too poor for subsidies on the ACA exchanges (Nichol, 2016). North Carolina has refused and will continue to refuse to expand Medicaid to those who are the poorest in the nation. The second is a news story about single parents in Maine fueling poverty (Naomi Schalit ©Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, 2016). These are just two stories of thousands across the United States on just how bad income inequity has gotten since I say the 1980s, it I have listened to my parents correctly.

One has to wonder where will it end? The war on poverty is not a war on low wages and increasing the upward mobility of the lower class, the war on poverty is a battle to keep those who are poor, staying poor. There has to be a breaking point, being one paycheck away from total poverty, is not a solution.

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References
ArcGIS. (n.d.). 2012 USA Median Household Income. Retrieved from https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/view ... 1dc2c48049
Garman, V. (2016, April 17). Growth spurt: Several major projects on the rise in Panama City Beach. Retrieved from http://www.newsherald.com/news/20160417 ... city-beach
Naomi Schalit ©Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting. (2016, October 29). 500% rise in single parenthood fueling family poverty in Maine. Retrieved from http://pinetreewatchdog.org/500-rise-in ... -in-maine/
Nichol, G. (2016, October 27). Poor die without N.C. Medicaid expansion. Retrieved from http://www.charlotteobserver.com/opinio ... 00762.html
Whidden, N. (2016, September 05). DoD, Board of Education among top employers in Onslow. Retrieved from http://www.jdnews.com/news/20160905/dod ... -in-onslow
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby ink » Fri Nov 04, 2016 7:00 pm

hmm.. ive some thoughts on this..

i will return
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby NaranjaRa » Fri Nov 04, 2016 9:51 pm

since the research on this show is so excellent:


and some examples of how the system keeps poor people poor:



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Re: Income Inequality

Postby NaranjaRa » Sat Nov 05, 2016 3:19 pm

[4:28:34 AM] Psy - Back from the dead.: problem is Sky that you're not accounting for the largest factor of youth employmeny (ignoring the transition from manufacturing to service to the educational and economic development of said nation) OLD PEOPLE ARENT FUCKING DYING OR RETIRING.
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[10:44:47 AM] Skywaker: I understand that old people are not killing over or leaving their places of employment, but the jobs that are replacing the factories are service related jobs. This is from first hand experience, both of my parents started out working in factories, when my mom let the work force she worked for the Salvation Army and when my dad passed away he worked for an apartment complex. When they both worked in factories, they were paid well.
[11:16:07 AM] nannabot (NaranjaRa): not to mention the destruction of small businesses as retailers like Walmart move into towns. I watched it destroy my hometown. they put one on each end of town, north & south, so the town center and all the mom & pop shops died since people stopped coming in anymore. that leaves Walmart as the only big employer as well. so those one-time business owners now greet folks going into the 'mart.
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby Feydakin » Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:48 pm

The answer is skilled labor. Learn a trade. Working the floor at Walmart =/= career choice unless you have some upward mobility and want to become management. Neither is working at Hot Topic, McDonalds, Dunkin' Donuts, or as a cashier at the local supermarket. Those types of jobs aren't and were never meant to provide one person with what people like to call a "living wage". Go to a trade school, apprentice, something, learn a trade skill and you'll break over that 30k barrier and have good benefits and a future. Go spend 30k plus a year on a degree in gender studies or philosophy or some other useless BS degree and you're going nowhere but into debt for the rest of your life and/or into the entitlement system. You can still be a philosopher, or whatever else you want, but you'll also be a productive member of society and be able to take care of yourself and your family.
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby ink » Sun Nov 06, 2016 10:01 pm

that piece john oliver did about civil forfeiture was brilliant as well.
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby Skywalker » Tue Nov 08, 2016 6:45 pm

Feydakin wrote:The answer is skilled labor. Learn a trade. Working the floor at Walmart =/= career choice unless you have some upward mobility and want to become management. Neither is working at Hot Topic, McDonalds, Dunkin' Donuts, or as a cashier at the local supermarket. Those types of jobs aren't and were never meant to provide one person with what people like to call a "living wage". Go to a trade school, apprentice, something, learn a trade skill and you'll break over that 30k barrier and have good benefits and a future. Go spend 30k plus a year on a degree in gender studies or philosophy or some other useless BS degree and you're going nowhere but into debt for the rest of your life and/or into the entitlement system. You can still be a philosopher, or whatever else you want, but you'll also be a productive member of society and be able to take care of yourself and your family.


I like how you state that skilled labor is the answer. In reality, it is not always the answer. My dad owned his own handyman/painting business for years he did alright with it, but even when he worked with others he would only be paid about 10/hr. He painted, many think that anyone can slap paint on the walls.

With Walmart being one of the largest employers behind that of the federal government, they better pay a living damn wage. If not then you and everyone else is subsidizing their workforce, because almost all of them qualify for Food Stamps and Medicaid. It is really sad that someone can work for 30+ hours and still qualify for Medicaid and Foodstamps.

You know, I have a BSc in Social Science, an MA in Public History and currently working on an MS in Higher Education. I went to college because I was sold the dream that if I went to college I could get a good paying job. I graduated high school in 2004, so there was a large push for many of us to go to college. I wanted to go into the Navy, but due to a car accident my senior year of high school, I was unable to complete that dream. So college was sold to me as an alternative. I went, I wanted to be an airplane mechanic, cause I like planes and I think they are cool. There are not many schools in the United States that are willing to teach you how to fix planes, I lived near none of them. I went to college to major in many things, because neither of my parents went to college. I had no direction and not help, just go and get a good paying job. I could understand their logic, my mom worked for a guy who ran her department and had a degree in history, he made an easy 90k a year.

Now that my niece, that apple of my eye, the reason I do a lot of what I do. She will be a firefighter before she leaves high school, she really enjoys the classes and the line of work. She will still go to college, as she wants to run a firehouse one day. She plans to study forensic science or arson investigations or something of that nature. She and her firefighter teacher have a few schools and majors picked out.

The thing is that skilled trades is not always the answer. What are we going to do to help stop and improve income inequality when the only jobs that are left are service industry.
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby NaranjaRa » Tue Nov 08, 2016 9:33 pm

i don't even see as many jobs for skilled trades anymore. i also don't think some people take into account how much of the workforce gets sent overseas. basically, almost ANY job can be sent to a lower-wage country.

prime example:

i went to a college for art, but i knew that i wanted to be able to actually work out of school and not become the "struggling *insert medium*-ist". so i went into photography and was able to start climbing through the ladder in professional labs, when they still existed. graduated in '97 so i hit on the cusp of the digital photography boom...how could i have guessed that as soon as i started my career it was on its way out? so i taught myself photo-restoration and manipulation and started fixing people's old images. it was awesome, i got paid close to $50/hr for some of them, and was building my own business on the side while i did the same thing for a local lab.

all of a sudden, the local lab stopped filling my schedule with work. i mean like, overnight.

i would later find out that the owner literally found someone who set up a SWEAT SHOP FOR PHOTO RESTORATION down in Costa Rica where they charged 50 cents an hour. /62

i mean...come ON.
but this shit happens all the time. i was lucky to be young and just starting out so i was able to shift my focus without a huge change. but it often hits people in the prime of their lives, so all they are left with is service positions.
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby NaranjaRa » Wed Nov 09, 2016 2:15 am

Feydakin wrote:Go to a trade school, apprentice, something, learn a trade skill and you'll break over that 30k barrier and have good benefits and a future. Go spend 30k plus a year on a degree in gender studies or philosophy or some other useless BS degree and you're going nowhere but into debt for the rest of your life and/or into the entitlement system.


also - and sorry this is off topic but i have to say something - using the term "entitlement" is really, really charged. and unfair.
just my personal example: i worked since i was 15 years old paying my taxes into the system. as i hit age 30 i started getting extremely ill, affecting my ability to work full-time. so i started my own business....two of them actually. did really well the first couple of years, still paying into the system, etc. my body continued to deteriorate over time making it more and more difficult to keep a steady schedule, meet clients...basically do anything. i should have filed for disability back in 2010, but i kept wanting to try to work. i tried to sell dog food part-time, even, until i developed a chronic foot and knee issue and had to quit. i tried working from home as a Verizon support tech until one day i puked over the line with a customer. i got my dream job of 20years running the web site for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and then lost my pain care, which led to me being fired for the first time in my @3 decades of working. i finally filed after that mess and am basically applying for all the help i can get.

so now i ask: am i asking for a "handout"?

i mean, maybe i AM "entitled" to some help after paying my share into it all this time.

my main point however is that there are always exceptions, and sweeping everyone under one rug can be hurtful...
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby Feydakin » Wed Nov 09, 2016 4:09 am

The alt-right made "entitlement" a dirty word, but it's really just a descriptor... I personally think that entitlements are a good thing, but the system is terribly broken and needs reforming, as with so many other things. People like you Anna are not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the fuckers who are perfectly capable of working but would rather live off the system and the way the system is it perpetuates this rather than doing things to truly help people get out of the system and become self sufficient.
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby NaranjaRa » Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:59 am

i appreciate that Feyd, and agree that the system could use some tweaking but completely disagree with the idea that it's "terribly broken". because there is just too much bullshit out there trying to convince the public that 'most' people on assistance really could be working but are just lazy. that everyone with food stamps is out there buying up lobster and chocolates. oh, and let's not forget about the classic "Welfare Queen"...the PROVEN MYTH that just doesn't seem to die, ever.

the problem is the way that people (mostly the Right) want to "fix" the system is to employ invasive, restrictive, practically-policing measures that assume everyone is conning the system and needs to be treated like the bad little lazy children they are. there's the movement to restrict what people buy with their food money (like Rush Limbaugh said, if you're poor, you can always live on rice & beans!). there are the folks who want to fucking DRUG TEST everyone getting help - which has already been tried and FAILED, as it produced the tiniest percentage of actual "offenders" while costing the states that tried it even MORE money than they were trying to save by denying all the supposed addicts further help. oh and there's my favorite...where you are basically put on a type of "probation" when you receive help and have to prove each week that you're looking for work by turning in applications and a paper-trail of your job hunt. yeah because that's awesome if you have serious health problems but are still going through the awfully long process of waiting for actual disability assistance. they tried that on me when i was in Baltimore. trust me, it's infuriating if you are on the other end of this crap, already suffering, and have to jump through even MORE hoops that you don't have the time and energy for.

it's just so sad...sure there are folks gaming the system. BUT THIS IS NOT THE MAJORITY. i don't give a shit how many stories you've heard your more affluent friends repeat, stories they're likely been told from others, who have passed them on from some talk-radio nutjob. i have literally lived in the inner-city ghetto. i was blocks from ground-zero of the Baltimore riots. every other house on my block was boarded up. and everyone still living there was getting some kind of help. i got to know these people. i got to understand their unique situations. and yes, there were a couple of very unfortunate families where the parents were addicts and they didn't even have the electric on to keep their kids warm in the winter. but the majority were good people who were stuck in shitty circumstances and doing all they could to try and lift themselves out. no one WANTS to be so poor that you're living on financial assistance. remember, once you earn a certain amount of money you get kicked off, and you have to be earning like, NOTHING to get help in the first place. no one WANTS to be stuck on that level. no one. and i really get tired of the general idea that folks like this are just living it up on "hand outs". it's a fucking myth that just furthers the divide...
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby NaranjaRa » Mon Nov 21, 2016 8:27 am

the other thing i want to add is that a lot of the low-income people i meet are stuck because the system itself is literally built to keep them that way. those John Oliver vids i posted are just a few examples of how this tends to happen. it's easy to dismiss these folks as "lazy", and before i found myself in the same position i was a lot more likely to do this myself. but it's just not always as simple of an explanation as a lot of folks tend to believe.

because what i've found instead are people who often actually DO work, and work hard, but don't get paid enough nor have any benefits...such as for places like Walmart that would rather pay people shit and then let taxpayers help support the rest of their needs since their income doesn't even begin to cut it. how a person can work full-time in this country and still need food stamps is a complete disgrace. THIS is what needs to be fixed. raise wages and see the burden of low-income support dwindle.

(btw not saying you specifically have these views, Feyd...i'm mostly referring to the stuff i have heard over the years in reference to the whole "entitlement" issue)
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby Skywalker » Mon Nov 21, 2016 1:15 pm

I agree with NaranjaRa :)

I do not know anyone who wants to be poor, I do not know of anyone, who enjoys not having money for the basics in life, screw Christmas, just trying to pay the light bill is a struggle.. wait that was my family last week! Hell, I was really hoping that I would be able to break the cycle of poverty, but as I near my 32 birthday, I do not see it happening. It is depressing, and that only leads to you guessed it .. even more poverty!

The sad part is, I had a job with the local school district, but they needed all of my college transcripts. I could not afford the 120 dollars I needed to pay to a loan company when UofL did not put my Perkins loan in deferment and I did not know that it was not in deferment and that loan went into repayment. For a lot of people 120 dollars is nothing, but for me, it might as well been a million dollars. I asked family members, all I got was a cold shoulder, no one was willing to help. When that happens, once again helpless and a feeling of loss tends to set in. That takes a mental toll on people. You want to give up, you want to just say fuck it and walk away. You can't because you need money, employment, to survive in this world. That is impossible if there are barriers in the way.

So I want those who are not poor, did not grow up poor. To sit back and think what they would do if they had no food in their kitchens? How do they rob Peter to pay Paul to make it another week!?
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby NaranjaRa » Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:26 am

but the sad fact is, because the far right keeps repeating the idea that people on assistance are just lazy, it has now become what folks tend to think. just like Joseph Goebbels said...if you repeat it enough people will believe it.

https://talkpoverty.org/2016/11/22/the- ... -underway/

We’ve already seen something of a blueprint for what’s coming: Paul Ryan’s wish list was in his 2015 budget proposal. Nearly 70% of its heart-stopping spending cuts would have come from programs designed to help moderate or low-income people. Last spring Ryan came up with another proposal—this one specifically addressing poverty. He recommended, among other things, cuts to unemployment assistance, a phase-out of the Head Start program, and rollbacks in the federal Pell Grant program, which provides desperately needed assistance to low-income students pursuing higher education.

Ryan’s poverty plans seem peculiarly designed to increase the hardships faced by the poor.

Drumpf’s approach will likely align with Ryan’s, since his fundamental take on poverty is that people are poor because they are not willing to work. In an interview with Sean Hannity last year, Drumpf was asked if he would be able to lift America’s 50 million poor people out of poverty.

“I would,” said Drumpf. “I would create incentives for people to work. People don’t have an incentive. They make more money by sitting there doing nothing than they make if they have a job.”

That, of course, was ominous. The man who is now president-elect did not seem to know that the majority of those who are poor in America are children, people with disabilities, and seniors. Nor did he seem to understand that many adults who are poor actually have jobs and are working every day. There are also millions of people in America who are jobless but frantically seeking work, and millions more who are working part-time but would much rather have full-time employment.


i think some people DO stay on assistance when the jobs that are available pay SO LOW that they'd be making less and/or STILL NEED TO BE ON ASSISTANCE. but god forbid we raise the minimum wage and give people a fighting chance.

and i love this take on "work" from a man who has been handed everything he's ever had and never had to work a REAL day in his life. sorry but sweating under TV cameras is not work, buddy.

For those concerned about the well-being of lower-income individuals and families, it’s dismaying to hear how falsely the right has portrayed the state of the economy during the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. Congressional Republicans have shamelessly bad-mouthed the economy at every turn, and their goal was not just to win elections. By trashing all things Obama, they have laid the groundwork for their campaign to undo many of the policies and initiatives that have helped so many Americans, including the poor, since the darkest days of the Great Recession.


ah, propaganda. well, good luck poor Drumpf voters. ya really did it.
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Re: Income Inequality

Postby NaranjaRa » Fri Jan 20, 2017 10:29 am

another great Counterpunch article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/20/ ... -election/
Divide and Rule: Class, Hate, and the 2016 Election

Listen and you can hear the sneering “elite” liberal left narrative about how the big dumb white working class is about to get screwed over by the incoming multi-millionaire- and billionaire-laden Drumpf administration it voted into office. Once those poor saps in the white working class wake up to their moronic mistake, the narrative suggests, they’ll come running back to their supposed friends the Democrats.

Drumpf Didn’t Really Win Over Working Class America: Clinton Lost it

It’s true, of course, that Drumpf is going to betray white working class people who voted for him in the hope that he would be a populist champion of their interests – a hope he mendaciously cultivated. But there are three basic and related problems with the scornful liberal-left storyline. The first difficulty is that the notion of a big white proletarian “rustbelt rebellion” for Drumpf has been badly oversold. “The real story of the 2016 election,” the left political scientist Anthony DiMaggio notes, “is not that Drumpf won over working class America, so much as Clinton and the Democrats lost it…The decline of Democratic voters among the working class in 2016 (compared to 2012) was far larger than the increase in Republican voters during those two elections” If the Democrats had run Bernie Sanders or someone else with “a meaningful history of seeking to help the working class,” DiMaggio observes, they might well have won.

Populism-Manipulation is a Bipartisan Affair

Second, betraying working class voters (of all colors, by the way) in service to concentrated wealth and power (the “One Percent” in post-Occupy Wall Street parlance) is what presidents and other top elected officials from both of the reigning capitalist U.S. political parties do. What did the white and the broader (multiracial) working class experience when the neoliberal corporate Democrats Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama held the White House? Abject disloyalty towards egalitarian-sounding campaign rhetoric and a resumption of (big) business (rule) as usual. An ever-increasing upward distribution of income, wealth, and power into fewer hands.

It’s an old story. In his 1999 book on Bill and Hillary Clinton, No One Left to Lie To, the still left Christopher Hitchens usefully described “the essence of American politics, when distilled,” as “the manipulation of populism by elitism. That elite is most successful,” Hitchens added, “which can claim the heartiest allegiance of the fickle crowd; can present itself as most ‘in touch’ with popular concerns; can anticipate the tides and pulses of public opinion; can, in short, be the least apparently ‘elitist.’ It is no great distance from Huey Long’s robust cry of ‘Every man a king’ to the insipid ‘inclusiveness’ of [Bill Clinton’s slogan] ‘Putting People First,’ but the smarter elite managers have learned in the interlude that solid, measurable pledges have to be distinguished by a reserve’ tag that earmarks them for the bankrollers and backers.”

True, the Republicans don’t manipulate populism in the same way as the Democrats. The dismal, dollar-drenched Dems don the outwardly liberal and diverse, many-colored cloak of slick, Hollywood- , Silicon Valley-, Ivy League-and Upper West Side-approved bicoastal multiculturalism. The radically regressive and reactionary Republicans connect their manipulation more to white “heartland” nationalism, sexism, hyper-masculinism, nativism, evangelism, family values, and (to be honest) racism.

But in both versions, that of the Democrats and that of the Republicans, Goldman Sachs (and Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America et al.) always prevails. The “bankrollers and bankers” atop the Deep State continue to reign. The nation’s unelected deep state dictatorship of money (UDSDoM, UDoM for short) continues to call the shots. That was certainly true under the arch-neoliberal Barack Obama, whose relentless service to the nation’s economic ruling class has been amply documented by numerous journalists, authors (the present writer included) and academics.

Obama ascended to the White House with record-setting Wall Street contributions. He governed accordingly, from the staffing of his administration (chock full of revolving door operatives from elite financial institutions) to the policies he advanced – and the ones he didn’t, like (to name a handful) a financial transaction tax, the re-legalization of union organizing, single-payer health insurance, a health insurance public option, tough conditions on bankers receiving bailout money, and the prosecution of a single Wall Street executive for the excesses that created the financial meltdown.

Anyone who thinks that any of that might have changed to any significant degree under a Hillary Clinton presidency is living in a fantasy world. She gave every indication that a president Clinton 45 would be every bit as friendly to the finance-led corporate establishment (the UDoM) as the arch-neoliberal Cliinton42 and Obama44 presidencies. She was Wall Street’s golden/Goldman/Citigroup girl.

We are Not the 99 Percent

Third, elite liberals and left liberals often miss a key point on who white (and nonwhite) working class people most directly interact when it comes to the infliction of what the sociologist Richard Sennett called “the hidden injuries of class.” It is through regular contact with the professional and managerial class, not the mostly invisible corporate and financial elite, that the working class mostly commonly experiences class inequality and oppression in America.

Working people might see hyper-opulent “rich bastards” like Drumpf, Bill Gates, and even Warren Buffett on television. In their real lives, they carry out “ridiculous orders” and receive “idiotic” reprimands from middle- and upper middle-class coordinators—from, to quote a white university maintenance worker I spoke with last summer, “know-it-all pencil-pushers who don’t give a flying fuck about regular working guys like me.”

This worker voted for Drumpf “just to piss-off all the big shot (professional class) liberals” he perceived as constantly disrespecting and pushing him around.

It is not lost on the white working class that much of this managerial and professional class “elite” tends to align with the Democratic Party and its purported liberal and multicultural, cosmopolitan, and environmentalist values. It doesn’t help that the professional and managerial “elites” are often with the politically correct multiculturalism and the environmentalism that many white workers (actually) have (unpleasant as this might be to acknowledge) some rational economic and other reasons to see as a threat to their living standards, status, and well-being.

The Green Party leader and Teamster union activist Howie Hawkins put it very well last summer. “The Democratic Party ideology is the ideology of the professional class,” Hawkins said. “Meritocratic competition. Do well in school, get well-rewarded.” (Unfortunately, perhaps, his comment reminds me of the bumper sticker slogan I’ve seen on the back of more than a few beat-up cars in factory parking lots and trailer parks over the years: “My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student.”) “The biggest threat to the Democrats isn’t losing votes to the Greens,” Hawkins noted. It is losing votes to Drumpf, who “sounds like he’s mad at the system. So they throw a protest vote to him.”

The white maintenance worker is certainly going to get screwed by Drumpf’s corporate presidency. You can take that to the bank. He would also have gotten shafted by Hillary’s corporate presidency if she had won. You can take that down to your favorite financial institution too. And the worker’s anger at all the “big shots” with their Hillary and Obama bumper stickers on the back of their Volvos and Audis and Priuses is not based merely on some foolish and “uneducated” failure to perceive his common interests with the rest of the “99 percent” against the top hundredth.

We are the 99 Percent, except, well, we’re not. Among other things, a two-class model of America deletes the massive disparities that exist between the working-class majority of Americans and the nation’s professional and managerial class. In the U.S. as across the world capitalist system, ordinary working people suffer not just from the elite private and profit-seeking capitalist ownership of workplace and society. They also confront the stark oppression inherent in what left economists Robin Hahnel and Mike Albert call the “corporate division of labor”—an alienating, de-humanizing, and hierarchical subdivision of tasks “in which a few workers have excellent conditions and empowering circumstances, many fall well below that, and most workers have essentially no power at all.”

Over time, this pecking order hardens “into a broad and pervasive class division” whereby one class — roughly the top fifth of the workforce —“controls its own circumstances and the circumstances of others below,” while another (the working class) “obeys orders and gets what its members can eke out.” The “coordinator class,” Albert notes, “looks down on workers as instruments with which to get jobs done. It engages workers paternally, seeing them as needing guidance and oversight and as lacking the finer human qualities that justify both autonomous input and the higher incomes needed to support more expensive tastes.” That sparks no small working class resentment.

It comes with ballot box implications. Many white workers will “vote against their pocketbook interests” by embracing a viciously noxious and super-oligarchic Republican over a supposedly liberal (neoliberal) Democrat backed by middle- and upper middle- class elites who contemptuously lord it over those workers daily. The negative attention that dreadful Republican (Drumpf) gets from “elite” upper-middle class talking heads in corporate media often just reinforces that ugly attachment.

2016: Hate Trumped Hate

It doesn’t help the Democrats when their top candidates channel elitist contempt of the working in their campaign rhetoric. Here’s how the silver-tongued Harvard Law graduate Obama referred to white working-class voters in old blue-collar towns decimated by industrial job losses in the early spring of 2008: “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” Amusingly enough, these reflections were seized on by his neoliberal compatriot and rival for the Democratic nomination, the Yale Law graduate Hillary Clinton. She hoped to use Obama’s condescending remarks to resuscitate her flagging campaign against a candidate she now accused of class snotty-ness. “I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Senator Obama made about people in small-town America,” she said. “His remarks are elitist and out of touch.” Clinton staffers in North Carolina even gave out stickers saying “I’m not bitter.”

How darkly ironic is to compare that (failed) campaign gambit from nearly nine years ago with the campaign Hillary ran in 2016! Hillary’s latest and hopefully last campaign was quite consciously and recklessly about contempt for the white working class. As John Pilger recently reflected:

“Today, false symbolism is all. ‘Identity’ is all. In 2016, Hillary Clinton stigmatised millions of [white working class and rural – P.S.] voters as ‘a basket of deplorables, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it’. Her abuse was handed out at an LGBT rally as part of her cynical campaign to win over minorities by abusing a white mostly working-class majority. Divide and rule, this is called; or identity politics in which race and gender conceal class, and allow the waging of class war. Drumpf understood this.”

The “deplorables” comment was a great gift to Drumpf, whose staffers gave people buttons saying “I’m an Adorable Deplorable.”

Disappointed Hillary voters have chanted “Love Trumps Hate” while marching against the incoming quasi-fascist president. But, really, the 2016 U.S. presidential election was about one kind of hate – the “heartland” white nationalist Republican version – trumping another kind of hate, the more bi-coastal and outwardly multicultural and diverse Democratic version.

Let us not forget former Obama campaign manager David Ploufe’s comment to the New York Times last March on how the Hillary campaign would conduct itself against a Drumpf candidacy: “hope and change, not so much; more like hate and castrate.”

Meanwhile, the nation’s UDoM rules on, whichever party holds nominal power atop the visible state. Pardon my French, but the working class (of all colors) is fucked either way.

Goldman Sachs Wins Either Way

We might also think of the essence of American politics as the manipulation of identity politics – and identity-based hatred – by elitism. Reduced to a corporate-managed electorate (Sheldon Wolin), the citizenry is identity-played by a moneyed elite that pulls the strings behind the duopoly’s candidate-centered spectacles of faux democracy. As the Left author Chris Hedges noted three years ago, “Both sides of the political spectrum are manipulated by the same forces. If you’re some right-wing Christian zealot in Georgia, then it’s homosexuals and abortion and all these, you know, wedge issues that are used to whip you up emotionally. If you are a liberal in Manhattan, it’s – you know, they’ll be teaching creationism in your schools or whatever…Yet in fact it’s just a game, because whether it’s Bush or whether it’s Obama, Goldman Sachs always wins. There is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.” (We can update that formulation to say “whether it’s Drumpf or where it’s Hillary.”)

For all their claims of concern for ordinary people and beneath all their claims of bitter, personal, and partisan contempt for their major party electoral opponents, the Republican and Democratic “elites” are united with the capitalist “elite” in top-down hatred for the nation’s multi-racial working-class majority.

The resistance movement we need to develop cannot be merely about choosing one of the two different major party brands of Machiavellian, ruling class hate. The reigning political organizations are what Upton Sinclair called (in the original Appeal to Reason newspaper version of The Jungle) “two wings of the same bird of prey.” We must come out from under both of those two noxious wings and their obsessive and endless focus on the quadrennial candidate-centered electoral extravaganzas, which have replaced the recently closed Ringling Brothers show as the greatest circus in the world. We cannot fall prey anymore to the reigning message that meaningful democratic participation consists of going into a voting booth to mark a ballot once every four years and then going home to (in Noam Chomsky’s words) “let other [and very rich ] people run the world [into the ground].”

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