|A third of a century ago, all of us economists confidently predicted that America would remain and even become more of a middle-class society. The high income and wealth inequality of the 1870-1929 Gilded Age, we would have said, was a peculiar result of the first age of industrialization. Transformations in technology, public investments in education, a progressive tax system, a safety net, and the continued decline in discrimination on the basis of race and sex had made late-20th century America a much more equal place than early 20th century America, and would make early 21st century America even more equal — even more of a middle-class society — still.
We were wrong.
America today is at least as unequal as, and may be more unequal than, it was back at the start of the 20th century when Republicans, such as President Theodore Roosevelt of New York condemned the power wielded by “malefactors of great wealth,” and Democrats such as perennial losing presidential candidate William Jennings Bryant of Nebraska denounced shadowy conspiracies that had somehow manipulated the financial system to rob the typical family of its proper share in America’s prosperity. [...]
A more equal economy would be a happier economy. The time and energy and work devoted to making, toasting and serving a $40 bagel at the Four Seasons Hotel on 57th Street in Manhattan would, in a more equal America, buy a full dinner for four at Sizzler Steakhouse for a family for which going to Sizzler is a once-a-month treat — and produce more human happiness thereby. A more equal America would be one in which claims that America has or is approaching equality of opportunity would be less of a sick joke.
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009—Lieberman's bluff:
|When my daughter was born, my then-3-year-old son clearly felt neglected, as first children always do in such situations. And as always happens, my son started acting up in a play for attention. In his case, he regressed on his potty training, crapping his pants. In a bid for attention, that certainly worked.
Enter Joe Lieberman, and his successful bid for attention yesterday, promising to screw Democrats for the umpteenth time by joining Republicans in a filibuster of the Democratic health care plan. Whatever.
As much as our favorite boogeyman loves the limelight, there's one thing he loves even more—being Senator.
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