I woke up this morning to Steve Liesman on CNBC explaining the theme of the State of the Union Address. You see, since 1980 middle class wages have only gone up only 50% in inflation adjusted terms whereas for the top 1% of earners income has gone up by 210%. Something clearly must be done. How can such a disparity be? This is unfair. Can’t the government “solve” this?
The new narrative which has likely been crafted by John Podesta super crony capitalist extraordinaire, is that Congress (specifically the Republican controlled House) isn’t letting the president address the issue of income inequality.
“It’s those old guys who don’t care about you who are holding back the manna from heaven aka Washington DC. It’s their fault not mine. I’m not incompetent and way out of my league even after 5 years in the White House. Not my fault. It’s the selfish and rich Republicans. They want you to remain poor.”
Rally the base when times are bad is the old political wisdom, and times are very bad for this president. Shore up the folks who will defend you no matter what and change the conversation from Obamacare. Anything but Obamacare.
Given that the ACA is Obama’s chief “achievement” to date this is a particularly sad state of affairs. The president’s “pivot” (the word is right up there with “optics” in my book) toward income inequality is a cynical political move. The White House is desperate to regain at least some momentum in the face of a 2013 which was one failure after another.
But since Mr. Obama seems keen on bringing it up, let’s talk about inequality.
Despite what the establishment #oldmedia always say, the increased income inequality that we see is not the result of the “rich” taking advantage of unfettered markets and then making a mint at the expense of everyone else. Capitalism, free markets, free thinking, entrepreneurship, innovation, is not the problem. Capitalism is in most respects the cure. No, the problem is that business and government have increasingly partnered with one another to make some very rich and to shut out others. It’s too little capitalism which is the problem.
Let’s take a look at the most obvious example, Wall Street.
Has Wall Street reaped the windfall it has over the past 5 years because of the free market, because of capitalism?
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