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(Politico)   "...Americans' alienation from our political system and its leaders has been building for more than a decade. This extended period of dissatisfaction has had an extremely corrosive effect on the nation's social fabric"   (politico.com) divider line 348
    More: Obvious, Americans, real income, political lines, disaffection  
•       •       •

1178 clicks; posted to Politics » on 26 Nov 2013 at 10:09 AM (34 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-11-26 08:58:47 AM
Proof that the only things worth reading on Politico are taken from former Clinton administration members

/seriously though, this is a fascinating read
 
2013-11-26 09:17:01 AM
Power corrupts so we need a new cabinet-level department to deal with that.
 
2013-11-26 09:20:29 AM
Are the peasants revolting yet?
 
2013-11-26 09:25:35 AM
Grab your gun; run out into the street.
Are you the only one out there? Go back inside, the revolution hasn't started yet.
 
2013-11-26 09:35:20 AM
While my opinion is not worth a cup of coffee, every time I trace back some crisis point to its beginning, it nearly always takes me back to 1983.  Our country fundamentally changed that year and has suffered one crisis after another because of it.  IMHO, the key indicator is the stagnation of wages and family income even as productivity and GDP continue to rise.

This lead first to the two income family being a necessity, then once that extra income started to become insufficient to maintain the middle class lifestyle, you saw a tremendous increase in personal debt  (credit cards) and the evaporation of savings and retirement accounts.  Finally, you saw the wholesale raiding of home equity that was a hallmark of the housing bubble.

The middle class is no more... at least as we have come to understand it.  Most people are paupers/peasants.  They have been systematically divested of all assets as well as political power.  The chickens are coming home to roost.
 
2013-11-26 09:38:55 AM

gunslinger_RG: While my opinion is not worth a cup of coffee, every time I trace back some crisis point to its beginning, it nearly always takes me back to 1983.  Our country fundamentally changed that year and has suffered one crisis after another because of it.  IMHO, the key indicator is the stagnation of wages and family income even as productivity and GDP continue to rise.

This lead first to the two income family being a necessity, then once that extra income started to become insufficient to maintain the middle class lifestyle, you saw a tremendous increase in personal debt  (credit cards) and the evaporation of savings and retirement accounts.  Finally, you saw the wholesale raiding of home equity that was a hallmark of the housing bubble.

The middle class is no more... at least as we have come to understand it.  Most people are paupers/peasants.  They have been systematically divested of all assets as well as political power.  The chickens are coming home to roost.


You think the fair/reasonable thing to do would be the class that benefited the most while the debt was created, to pay off the debt and/or invest in the future (education, infrastructure, research).
 
2013-11-26 09:41:21 AM

UberDave: Are the peasants revolting yet?


Yes the peasants are quite revolting!
 
2013-11-26 09:43:37 AM

mrshowrules: You think the fair/reasonable thing to do would be the class that benefited the most while the debt was created, to pay off the debt and/or invest in the future (education, infrastructure, research).


don't be a commie!

though it makes you wonder if the anti-communist movement was really just a push to keep the economic status-quo
 
2013-11-26 09:44:38 AM

Which Side of the Barricade Are You On?



Stupid question for an article that argues apathy or people not showing up on either side of the barricade.
 
2013-11-26 10:07:02 AM

UberDave: Are the peasants revolting yet?


Yeah, they stink on ice.
 
2013-11-26 10:08:50 AM

hinten: Which Side of the Barricade Are You On?



Personally, I'm on the side that has  pie.
 
2013-11-26 10:12:04 AM

UberDave: Personally, I'm on the side that has pie.


well aren't you just a pie in the sky hippie, man :D
 
2013-11-26 10:12:37 AM

UberDave: hinten: Which Side of the Barricade Are You On?


Personally, I'm on the side that has  pie.


"Land!  Peace!  Pie!"

Well, I'm sold.
 
2013-11-26 10:14:11 AM
Maybe Americans wouldn't be so alienated from their own political system if they actually participated in it every once in a while.  If you don't vote in primaries and local elections, you have no excuse for being alienated.
 
2013-11-26 10:15:40 AM

The Name: Maybe Americans wouldn't be so alienated from their own political system if they actually participated in it every once in a while.  If you don't vote in primaries and local elections, you have no excuse for being alienated.


As a counter, I'd say the amount of money influence that's allowed has made many feel like their participation is irrelevant.
 
2013-11-26 10:16:33 AM
Let's not forget that the top 50% pays 155% of America's taxes. We need to have more people with skin in the game.
 
2013-11-26 10:20:03 AM

somedude210: Proof that the only things worth reading on Politico are taken from former Clinton administration members

/seriously though, this is a fascinating read


Thanks for the heads up, I've become increasingly leery of Politico links for all the concern trolling they've been engaging in over there. It's getting tiresome.
 
2013-11-26 10:20:53 AM

Diogenes: The Name: Maybe Americans wouldn't be so alienated from their own political system if they actually participated in it every once in a while.  If you don't vote in primaries and local elections, you have no excuse for being alienated.

As a counter, I'd say the amount of money influence that's allowed has made many feel like their participation is irrelevant.


Doesn't matter.  The old adage still holds true: politicians are single-minded seekers of reelection (paraphrased).  It still comes down to one person one vote, and as long as that's true, there's no excuse for alienation.
 
2013-11-26 10:21:12 AM
actually the real culprit is the 30+ year media campaign to turn "liberal" into a bad word
 
2013-11-26 10:21:23 AM
"...about the sluggish economic recovery"

I don't think it is going to get better any time soon.


"what if the world we've been living in for the past five years is the new normal? What if depression-like conditions are on track to persist, not for another year or two, but for decades?  ...

 Economics is supposed to be about making hard choices (at other people's expense, naturally). It's not supposed to be about persuading people to spend more.
But as Mr. Summers said, the crisis "is not over until it is over" - and economic reality is what it is. And what that reality appears to be right now is one in which depression rules will apply for a very long time. "


http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/opinion/krugman-a-permanent-slump. ht ml?ref=opinion&_r=2&
 
2013-11-26 10:22:08 AM

The Name: If you don't vote in primaries and local elections, you have no excuse for being alienated.


I would add that you cannot be a party-line chump. Unless you put the fear of God into elected officials, they will (if you voted for them) take your support for granted and shiat all over you, or (if you didn't) figure there's no talking to you and ignore your needs.

Don't like gerrymandering? Make it impossible for them to figure out what you're going to do. If a pollster calls, tell them anything EXCEPT what your true intentions are.
 
2013-11-26 10:22:53 AM

Diogenes: The Name: Maybe Americans wouldn't be so alienated from their own political system if they actually participated in it every once in a while.  If you don't vote in primaries and local elections, you have no excuse for being alienated.

As a counter, I'd say the amount of money influence that's allowed has made many feel like their participation is irrelevant.


As a further counter, I'd say that the mask is beginning to slip and it's becoming obvious that the political system is a distinct group that has and continues to set up the rule of law for the benefit of the ruling class and not the people generally.  And by "ruling class" I mean that very broadly, including your local Department of Environmental Management inspectors and Regional Supervisors of Veterans' Affairs.  And by "benefit" I mean not only direct benefit (regulations require enforcement personnel, after all!), but also the indirect benefit of conforming the legal system to their world view.

It's often said that elections have consequences, and that certainly can be true.  But day in and day out, appointments and bureaucratic hiring - cumulatively - have far more profound consequences than any election at all.  Even 2008.  Maybe even 1860.
 
2013-11-26 10:23:20 AM

The Name: Diogenes: The Name: Maybe Americans wouldn't be so alienated from their own political system if they actually participated in it every once in a while.  If you don't vote in primaries and local elections, you have no excuse for being alienated.

As a counter, I'd say the amount of money influence that's allowed has made many feel like their participation is irrelevant.

Doesn't matter.  The old adage still holds true: politicians are single-minded seekers of reelection (paraphrased).  It still comes down to one person one vote, and as long as that's true, there's no excuse for alienation.


Oh, I'd say there's plenty of reason to feel alienated.  But it would be wrong to give up on participating.
 
2013-11-26 10:24:51 AM

The Name: The old adage still holds true: politicians are single-minded seekers of reelection (paraphrased)


Someone can make unpopular votes on the promise of a sweet job in the private sector if he/she loses the election because of those votes. I'm with the guys saying it's pretty much rigged against middle class and poor people.
 
2013-11-26 10:26:30 AM

UberDave: Are the peasants revolting yet?


Yes, they stink on ice.
 
2013-11-26 10:28:04 AM

Gulper Eel: Don't like gerrymandering?


Since you mention it, this is something that needs to be stated early in this thread:  GOP gerrymandering is no excuse for the rash of regressive legislation that's been passed in the states in recent years.  The people of those states gave the power to gerrymander to the GOP, and at the time it was no secret that the GOP would indeed gerrymander and use its majorities to pass regressive legislation.  Again, it comes down to the voters and their decisions and foresight.
 
2013-11-26 10:30:47 AM

Diogenes: UberDave: Are the peasants revolting yet?

Yeah, they stink on ice.


In keeping with the Brooks theme...

You know who else was on ice?

www.nahc4.com
 
2013-11-26 10:31:40 AM

Headso: The Name: The old adage still holds true: politicians are single-minded seekers of reelection (paraphrased)

Someone can make unpopular votes on the promise of a sweet job in the private sector if he/she loses the election because of those votes. I'm with the guys saying it's pretty much rigged against middle class and poor people.


Which is why primaries and local elections are so important.  That's where you have the opportunity to weed out, very early in the game, people who would perpetuate that system.
 
2013-11-26 10:33:00 AM
While the president has been generally supportive, he hasn't given [Progressives] everything that they have asked for during the last five years.


Wow, that's missing the point. "Everything?" Try "anything." Oh, but thanks for killing bin Laden, and reminding everybody that, so the Red State flyover sister-farkers would remember you ain't no limp-wristed effete lib'rul, naw, yer a MAYIN!!! And, that really won them over, didn't it? Just like giving John Boehner 98% of what he wanted did. And letting the Bush crime family skate did. And allowing your economic policy to be Jamie Dimon's fluffer did.

But please, Mister President, stop doing so many favors for the progressives!!
 
2013-11-26 10:34:11 AM

www.washingtonpost.com


Yeah the libs need to wake up and get on America's side

 
2013-11-26 10:35:09 AM

somedude210: mrshowrules: You think the fair/reasonable thing to do would be the class that benefited the most while the debt was created, to pay off the debt and/or invest in the future (education, infrastructure, research).

don't be a commie!

though it makes you wonder if the anti-communist movement was really just a push to keep the economic status-quo


Are you not paying attention? Every single military thing we did from 1946 to 1989 was to fight the idea that the common citizens deserved a cut of the pie.

/2000 years ago they nailed a guy to a cross for suggesting that the rich should help the poor.
 
2013-11-26 10:35:18 AM
neoliberalism can not and will not deliver the American dream.  Unfortunately, we live in the most neoliberal age ever.  That disconnect is the problem, and I don't see any way out.
 
2013-11-26 10:36:31 AM

The Name: Which is why primaries and local elections are so important. That's where you have the opportunity to weed out, very early in the game, people who would perpetuate that system.


Color me skeptical.  That's where the basic rules of the system are established.  Elect a mayor (or, as my town does it, hire a council, which appoints a manager); his re-election prospects (or approval) is usually tied to getting stuff done.  So what's his first move?  Make sure the chief of police is happy, and the fire chief, and the building inspectors, and, and, and...  Those are the people that actually interface with the people, and who make or break the reputation of the elected officials.  They're the ones driving the train, the ones the elected officials rely on.  Find a mayor who's willing to take them on, and I'll find you a one-term mayor.

The system is far too resilient to be subject to serious damage from such a paltry thing as the will of the people.
 
2013-11-26 10:38:25 AM

gunslinger_RG: The middle class is no more... at least as we have come to understand it.  Most people are paupers/peasants.  They have been systematically divested of all assets as well as political power.  The chickens are coming home to roost.


The middle class are independent merchants and tradesmen capable of contracting out their labor independently or semi-independently either because of the high value of their skills or because they outright own their business (but aren't operating an actual corporation with multiple invested stakeholders).

Your problem seems to be that you don't understand what the middle class actually is: interchangeable assembly-line workers never were part of the middle class.  The distinction isn't really income, it's the source of the income: the upper class gains income (primarily) from property, the middle class from skills or craft, and the lower class from raw labor.  This goes all the way back to the late medieval system of lords (owners), burghers (craftsmen/traders, usually in lordless cities as the name implies), and villeins (laborers) who were once literally distinct classes with no inter-mobility, short of the lords freeing/promoting you.

Not that this changes your general "people are in more debt, and that's bad" point, but people being largely self-deluding idiots regarding economics in general and especially social economics is kind of the root of the issue, so I figured it was worth correcting anyhow.  People basing their financial decisions on fairy tales they  wanted to believe, like a house always being a good investment with a positive return or that with a bit of work they could easily become rich so they'd best prepare by voting for tax breaks for rich farks... that's the kind of shiat that brought us potential government defaults and housing crashes.  So if you're a waiter or a line worker or something, accepting the reality that middle class =/= you is one of the first steps to fixing shiat, wishful thinking is not proper public policy.
 
2013-11-26 10:38:27 AM

The Name: Since you mention it, this is something that needs to be stated early in this thread: GOP gerrymandering is no excuse for the rash of regressive legislation that's been passed in the states in recent years. The people of those states gave the power to gerrymander to the GOP, and at the time it was no secret that the GOP would indeed gerrymander and use its majorities to pass regressive legislation. Again, it comes down to the voters and their decisions and foresight.


And when the shoe is on the other foot, a Democratic legislature will gerrymander just as enthusiastically. In New York there's Democratic and Republican gerrymandering going on at the same time.

One simple way around this is to register as a member of the party you can't stand so you can fark with the parties' primary process AND their gerrymandering.
 
2013-11-26 10:40:14 AM

hinten: Which Side of the Barricade Are You On?

Stupid question for an article that argues apathy or people not showing up on either side of the barricade.


Yeah. The article did a great job of laying out the problems within each party, then ends with a fantasy wank of epic proportions: "The country is moving toward new types of leaders, those who will be problem-solvers and build institutions that are capable of making a difference in people's lives." This ends with guillotines and riots, not candy and rainbows, dude. You spent four pages detailing the systemic and entrenched failures of Republicans, Democrats, and America. You don't solve that with a ballot historically. You solve that in blood.
 
2013-11-26 10:40:47 AM

Gulper Eel: they will (if you voted for them) take your support for granted and shiat all over you,


I think this is way overblown. I think Representatives and Senators are mostly doing exactly what their constituents want them to do. The problem is that what their constituents want is stupid and/or in direct opposition to some other guy's constituents' desires.
 
2013-11-26 10:40:54 AM

Dubya's_Coke_Dealer: /2000 years ago they nailed a guy to a cross for suggesting that the rich should help the poor.


Meh.  The rich helping the poor is an idea that's been around forever.  What JC suggested that was really upsetting to the system was that just because you're rich you're not special.  Singling out the rich for doing good deeds is antithetical to much of his teaching, and merely helping the poor is not enough.

Check out the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector.
 
2013-11-26 10:42:32 AM
and then there's the right wing populists in this thread, that are all about action for action sake.  "Pull the system down on our own heads" they say.  There's nothing about policy in their posts, and they never do post about policy.  They're in it for the struggle, and it's people like that who frighten me the most.  Their goals are myopic and purely cynical.
 
2013-11-26 10:42:40 AM

Gulper Eel: And when the shoe is on the other foot, a Democratic legislature will gerrymander just as enthusiastically.


What historical evidence suggests that Democrats will effect an undemocratic state legislative takeover to the extent that the Republicans have done so?
 
2013-11-26 10:42:43 AM

HotWingConspiracy: www.washingtonpost.com

Yeah the libs need to wake up and get on America's side


That guy's t-shirt seems to be promoting rectal cancer.
 
2013-11-26 10:44:02 AM

gunslinger_RG: While my opinion is not worth a cup of coffee, every time I trace back some crisis point to its beginning, it nearly always takes me back to 1983.  Our country fundamentally changed that year and has suffered one crisis after another because of it.  IMHO, the key indicator is the stagnation of wages and family income even as productivity and GDP continue to rise.

This lead first to the two income family being a necessity, then once that extra income started to become insufficient to maintain the middle class lifestyle, you saw a tremendous increase in personal debt  (credit cards) and the evaporation of savings and retirement accounts.  Finally, you saw the wholesale raiding of home equity that was a hallmark of the housing bubble.

The middle class is no more... at least as we have come to understand it.  Most people are paupers/peasants.  They have been systematically divested of all assets as well as political power.  The chickens are coming home to roost.


This is the way it has always been.  There is always class struggle, whether or not one class refuses to recognize.  The ruling class will give concessions, but it never intends to make good on them for the long haul.  The working class wins concessions and thinks they won a fair deal.  The problem is the working class never receives the fair deal.  What the working class experiences here is an illusion of a fairness.  It is not in the interest of the ruling class to hand over so many concessions that it jeopardizes their existence and their power.  It is always advantageous for the working class to gain as many concessions as possible from the ruling class.

We have two sides here and the gap is widening even more.  It seems now that the ruling class is pushing the enveloping and seeing how much they can get away with (and by get away with, I mean how much shiat is the working class willing to suffer for their "benefactors").  People need to start thinking in terms of their entire class rather than just thinking "How can I get ahead".  The ruling class works together in order to maintain their power.  It is only logical that the working class work together to dislodge the ruling class in favor of a more pro-worker society.
 
2013-11-26 10:44:16 AM
QFTA:

Across the political spectrum, there is an growing populist push for a retrenchment from global affairs, with a renewed focus on the problems here at home. Americans are worried about the struggles of the battered middle class, whose real incomes have not improved in more than two decades, the elimination of special deals for the wealthy and big business and the protection of the public's privacy from what they see as predatory companies and an intrusive federal government.

1. wages--we have to give corporations tax breaks for paying their lower-scale workers more wages and benefits. Nothing else will make business pay more because we have too many workers and not enough jobs. The federal government will get back those tax credits from higher income and other taxes from the workers.

2.  eliminating special deals for the wealthy--as above, we have to monetize noblesse oblige. if we make rich people invest their money in the American economy by giving them tax breaks and tax the crap out of them if they don't, then we'll have plenty of cash for business investment here.

3. predatory government--not much you can do to stop the government

4. predatory business--stop buying their goods and services. Cable TV is a wonderful example of a predatory business. If you are a sports fan, enjoy paying ridiculous prices for enormous amounts of commercials and very little sports. The SEC football teams can bite me if they think I'm going to get cable in order to watch their games. I'll find an alternative to paying to view commercials with a little sports sprinkled in

Buy store brands.
 
2013-11-26 10:45:16 AM

The Name: Headso: The Name: The old adage still holds true: politicians are single-minded seekers of reelection (paraphrased)

Someone can make unpopular votes on the promise of a sweet job in the private sector if he/she loses the election because of those votes. I'm with the guys saying it's pretty much rigged against middle class and poor people.

Which is why primaries and local elections are so important.  That's where you have the opportunity to weed out, very early in the game, people who would perpetuate that system.


If only we could get more honest people to join the Mafia. Then when they eventually rise to the top, they will turn it into the United Way, or Greenpeace.

Right?
 
2013-11-26 10:45:17 AM

Garet Garrett: The Name: Which is why primaries and local elections are so important. That's where you have the opportunity to weed out, very early in the game, people who would perpetuate that system.

Color me skeptical.  That's where the basic rules of the system are established.  Elect a mayor (or, as my town does it, hire a council, which appoints a manager); his re-election prospects (or approval) is usually tied to getting stuff done.  So what's his first move?  Make sure the chief of police is happy, and the fire chief, and the building inspectors, and, and, and...  Those are the people that actually interface with the people, and who make or break the reputation of the elected officials.  They're the ones driving the train, the ones the elected officials rely on.  Find a mayor who's willing to take them on, and I'll find you a one-term mayor.

The system is far too resilient to be subject to serious damage from such a paltry thing as the will of the people.


But if the chief of police, fire chief, building inspectors, etc. serve the people well, then a mayor who makes them happy would deserve to be reelected; and if they don't, then such a mayor shouldn't get reelected.

Again, it boils down to voter participation.  I realize I'm talking about a nearly unheard of situation in which voters at the local level are both involved and informed, but it's disingenuous to say that the game is rigged even at the local level.  The higher up you go, yes, the more rigged it becomes, but we still have mechanisms to change that.   The problem is that Americans are electorally extremely lazy.
 
2013-11-26 10:47:22 AM

thurstonxhowell: Gulper Eel: they will (if you voted for them) take your support for granted and shiat all over you,

I think this is way overblown. I think Representatives and Senators are mostly doing exactly what their constituents want them to do. The problem is that what their constituents want is stupid and/or in direct opposition to some other guy's constituents' desires.


Gulper thinks he's playing 3 dimensional chess when he's really just shiatting his own bed.    The only sensible way to vote is for broad party policy platforms.  Splitting your vote between various personalities is just sheer dysfunction.  It flatly does not matter who inhabits the suit, they vote with the  party they represent upwards of 90% of the time.

Indeed, many politicians know this, so they're more than happy to use populist wedge issues they can never deliver and their personas to get people to vote for them, whether it's in their best interest or not.
 
2013-11-26 10:47:39 AM

Garet Garrett: Diogenes: The Name: Maybe Americans wouldn't be so alienated from their own political system if they actually participated in it every once in a while.  If you don't vote in primaries and local elections, you have no excuse for being alienated.

As a counter, I'd say the amount of money influence that's allowed has made many feel like their participation is irrelevant.

As a further counter, I'd say that the mask is beginning to slip and it's becoming obvious that the political system is a distinct group that has and continues to set up the rule of law for the benefit of the ruling class and not the people generally.  And by "ruling class" I mean that very broadly, including your local Department of Environmental Management inspectors and Regional Supervisors of Veterans' Affairs.  And by "benefit" I mean not only direct benefit (regulations require enforcement personnel, after all!), but also the indirect benefit of conforming the legal system to their world view.

It's often said that elections have consequences, and that certainly can be true.  But day in and day out, appointments and bureaucratic hiring - cumulatively - have far more profound consequences than any election at all.  Even 2008.  Maybe even 1860.


Troll alert!

Lol trying to make it seem like government employees are the "ruling" class. I know those sweet sweet GS salaries given to highly skilled people looks huge, but it is tiny when compared to what those people can make on the open market.

In any case, both numbers are dwarfed by the real ruling class, the investment class. You know, those scum sucking crap bag lay abouts that have been stealing money from people who actually do an honest day's work.

Yupn those durn burycrats are the problem, not the scumsters taking money right out of your pockets and making you thank them for the privilege.

Until people realize that the non-working rich are the enemy, not people who for a living, we will be stuck in this same pattern. Stop being a victim and tell the investment class where to stick it (preferably with a torch and/or pitchfork.)
 
2013-11-26 10:48:43 AM
A rising political ruling class.


A declining middle class....
 
2013-11-26 10:48:43 AM

somedude210: mrshowrules: You think the fair/reasonable thing to do would be the class that benefited the most while the debt was created, to pay off the debt and/or invest in the future (education, infrastructure, research).

don't be a commie!

though it makes you wonder if the anti-communist movement was really just a push to keep the economic status-quo


Gee, ya think?

The status-quotists dodged a king hell of a bullet in the early part of the last century in the US. Today's fat cats ought to be thanking the labor unions instead of trying to shut them down, because unions were the safety valve that kept this country from going red. And I'll tell you another thing: if there is any country on God's green earth that could've done socialism right, it was the good ol' US of A.

Maybe we'll get another crack at it.
 
2013-11-26 10:49:19 AM

DarnoKonrad: and then there's the right wing populists in this thread, that are all about action for action sake.  "Pull the system down on our own heads" they say.  There's nothing about policy in their posts, and they never do post about policy.  They're in it for the struggle, and it's people like that who frighten me the most.  Their goals are myopic and purely cynical.


advanced democracy is not for people that believe professional wrestling is real
 
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