A very astute commenter, Maureen Holland from Whatever Works blog, posted the following remarks related to a recent piece I posted, Social Security and Journalism’s Failure to Inform“:
Duane, I think Dem’s huge failure at messaging is almost as much to blame as a corporate owned media that’s too lazy to even get it right.
Today’s big issue (and what will be a giant campaign issue) is the matter of income distribution. I think all the Dems, from the Prez on down, use the wrong argument. They talk about ‘rich people’ and ‘fairness’. Those words don’t win them any votes. What they SHOULD be talking about is the danger to our country, to our stability, to our future. They should be talking about the abundant lessons of history. They should be talking about how loss of income mobility is a recipe for a failed country. They should be right out there – in everyone’s faces – about how this threatens us.
While liberals agree on the moral aspects, that’s not what makes the argument in media or the electorate.
To which I replied:
I couldn’t agree more. My main argument over the last three years on this blog is the one you are making. Apart from the moral issue of fairness or the philosophical issue of societal justice, there is the pragmatic issue of survivability. Will our country endure as an island of stability and prosperity in the world, if we continue to ignore the (increasing) inequalities that exist among us?
The point is that we (Democrats and the like-minded) have to save capitalism (a proven engine of general prosperity when regulated) from the capitalist extremists among us. I think the argument framed that way is a winner even among some Republicans, and certainly a clear winner among independents.
Somewhat surprisingly, even Saturday’s Joplin Globe editorial—this coming from a mostly conservative newspaper—acknowledges the problem (the editorial was republished from the Mankato Free Press):
Cheers to the American public for increasingly recognizing that the yawning gap between the wealthiest and the rest of the country is dangerous and unsustainable.
In a new Washington POST/ABC poll, which was mostly gauging Americans’ feelings about presidential candidates, this question was asked:
“What do you think is the bigger problem in this country: unfairness in the economy that favors the wealthy or over-regulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity?”
By a solid 52-37, respondents chose the “unfairness that favors the wealthy” answer.
The Census Bureau reports that income inequality has risen 18 percent since 1967. It climbed every year between 1998 and 2006 before dropping the following year and has been rising since.
Many critics chided the Occupy Wall Street movement as an aimless endeavor with ill-defined goals. But the movement taps into Americans’ unease with too much wealth in too few hands.
Whatever political rhetoric flies, Americans have an innate practical sense about when the pendulum has shifted too far.