Like the UK, you are gently doomed
Put simplistically, there are two options on the ballot form:
Starve The Poor Party
Keep You Poor Party
The first one is more likely to lead to revolution.
My American brother explains the GOP two-step dance like this: cut taxes, and when that creates a budget deficit, cut benefits. In the ‘shining city on a hill’ for which they aim, the rich will pay no tax at all and the poor will simply die and cease to be a burden.
Until then, American billionaires are happy with funding think tanks, universities and lawyers’ associations to spread fear of ideological opponents, to bend the Constitution to their ends and condition ordinary people to see the game as one of opportunity and themselves as ‘temporarily embarrassed millionaires.’ It’s the proposition of State and national lotteries: it probably won’t be you - but it could be, surely your luck is better than average!
Meanwhile the financial extraction continues.
It’s a systemic thing: Adam Smith tackled this in 1776, discussing (among other things) the then ‘present state of Bengal’ (Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 8.)
Not very long before, in 1757, the British East India Company defeated the rulers of Bengal at the Battle of Plassey and took over. As a commercial company it was determined to ‘maximise shareholder value’ and did this by raising the tax on agricultural produce from 10 per cent to 50; and forbade the farmers from laying up stores (not that they could now afford to do so); and pushed them towards growing cash crops for trade, such as poppies and indigo.
This resulted in a shortage of grains for the people.
There was a minor shortage of crops in 1768 which was not an alarming situation.
But in 1769, there was a monsoon failure followed by severe drought. Starvation deaths started by 1769, but the company officials ignored this situation.
By 1770, the death count was increasing and almost 10 million people fell victim to this man-made devastation.
‘John Company’ responded to the revenue shortage by raising the tax rate further on those farmers who could still pay.
In a fertile country where a third of the population had recently starved to death, you might expect a rebound, an end to the hunger years. But no, said Smith, because the British ‘vampire squid’ continued to suck out profits:
… three or four hundred thousand people die of hunger in one year [because]… the funds destined for the maintenance of the labouring poor are fast decaying. The difference between the genius of the British constitution, which protects and governs North America, and that of the mercantile company which oppresses and domineers in the East Indies, cannot, perhaps, be better illustrated than by the different state of those countries.
Today in America, if the people could see avoidable death coming to them and their families because of oppressors, they would be able to do more than could the rural peasants of Bengal, but the Democrat FDR saved the system in the 1930s with (amongst other measures) the introduction of social security, so deplored by the wealthy.
Nevertheless, there is still an analogy with Bengal, in that those at the bottom end cannot lay up stores of wealth. They will be poor while they work (if they have work at all) and poor when they cease to work.
But they won’t die, not straight away. They won’t live quite so long - maybe 10 or 12 years less than the top tenth of society - and they will have worse health; medical and welfare costs will be expensive, even if grudgingly funded. Their children won’t starve either, and will be entitled to schooling and other support.
So one way to look at the underprivileged is as ‘useless mouths’ or ‘surplus population,’ a ball and chain on the legs of successful workers and entrepreneurs.
Another way is to see how the system works, and this is where Trump came in. Now Donald Trump was possibly the worst imaginable advocate for the ideas he was pushing - what was needed was an oily professional politician of the kind that we affect to despise but still vote into office.
Yet what he saw was the use of immigration and foreign outsourcing to keep down the wage rates of the indigenous working population - and as a side effect, cementing millions more into under- or un-employment, with further expensive multiple consequences for a society that has not yet become so hard-hearted that we just step over the bodies in the street.
Trump’s become almost an asset for the Dems, a bogeyman to scare up their supporters into turning out and voting. Yet this maverick (and crook etc.) is just a surfer; we need to look at the wave that carried him into the White House. Who voted for him? What are they like?
Ignorant? Maybe America should invest more in decent schooling. Resentful at economic precarity? Maybe America should do more to increase permanent employment and improve wage rates.
Maybe if the ordinary people of America had more jobs and more money and better education, their health would be better and so they would be able to work more years and pay more taxes but not at such high rates, and save more and retire in relative ease, and be happy (as far as people can be) and free, and neighbourly.
You would think that the Other Party - the Democrats - would, like the British Labour Party, work towards those goals.
Except the British Labour Party has long since ceased to represent the interests of the labouring classes; the class struggle has become one between the people and those who are supposed to speak for them. What Labour wants is to carry on winning elections, and to do that it has to maintain its client base. It does not want the proles to be better educated, climb up the ladder into the middle class and get notions of self-sufficiency. Labour was kicking away the ladder even in the 1960s - here, according to his wife, is Labour’s Education Secretary in 1965:
If it's the last thing I do, I'm going to destroy every f****ing grammar school in England. And Wales, and Northern Ireland.
And for all the schemes and handouts promised and provided by the Democrats, isn’t their approach much the same?
It can’t go on forever. The American middle class will be squeezed and squeezed, the underclass will feed and breed (why are the Right against abortion? Adam Smith noted the Chinese custom of drowning the babies they didn’t need); and the Welfare State will rot and collapse.
The Right won’t stop - they seem to imagine that they will be forever immune to the social disruption they are stoking; but where are the rich Mayans today?
So it’s down to the Dems, if they can get off buying votes with grubby handouts; if they can stop warmongering and endangering everybody; if they can protect the workers against unbeatable competition from ‘free trade’ and lower-wage labour forces.
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