Liberals’ Inequality Narrative Ignores Role of Free Trade, Unionbusting
The Occupy movement forcefully injected a long-taboo topic—America’s appalling “banana republic”-level economic disparities—into the mainstream political debate.
That inequality has immense implications, from falling wages, to deteriorating healthcare coverage, the overgrown financial sector, and the decline of America's productive base. Such sweeping inequality, deeply rooted in our economic and political system of legal payoffs and policy paybacks, has been intensifed by unionbusting and globalization.
But even many of America’s most liberal mainstream politicians and pundits have narrowed the debate over inequality, perhaps out of a desire to shield President Obama from any pressure coming from his left. The issue of tax inequities has soared in importance, exposing the privileged status enjoyed by CEOs and hedge fund and private equity executives like Mitt Romney. But other crucial dimensions of inequality painfully experienced by ordinary Americans have been crowded out.
For example, the liberal and likable Lawrence O’Donnell, host of MSNBC’s The Last Word, declares in a TV ad that all the talk about “class war” amounts to a battle over a proposed 4 percent increase in tax rates for the super-rich. Really, Lawrence?