Months ago it was “the defining issue of our time” today it’s a hazy memory of a dreamy talking point. According to the Washington Post, President Barack Obama has “largely abandoned” talking about wealth inequality in America to appease corporate Democrats worried about losing support from the wealthy contributor class.
So instead of taking on the plutocracy that owns and operates the country – aka hope and change – Obama has talked about “raising the middle class” with policies such as a minimum wage increase and pay inequality between men and women. Of course, the middle class was almost entirely destroyed by the financial crisis given many had their net worth heavily linked to the value of their homes. In other words, there is an argument to be made the middle class no longer exists anyway.
A modest increase in the minimum wage to $10.10 or greater pay equity will have little to no effect in raising living standards for the working class, though it may prevent some from complete descent into poverty. Perhaps Obama can pay some of the 99% to move the goal posts for him.
During the first half of this year, Obama shifted from income inequality to the more politically palatable theme of lifting the middle class, focusing on issues such as the minimum wage and the gender pay gap that are thought to resonate with a broader group of voters.
The pivot is striking for a president who identified inequality as one of his top concerns after his reelection, calling it “a fundamental threat to the American Dream, our way of life and what we stand for around the globe.”
Not surprisingly, the Wall Street lobbying group known as “Third Way” tried to claim this shift away from economic populism was correct due to the results of polling – something they claim no matter what the polling says. The WaPo reporter, Zachary Goldfarb, seems to have bought their premise without much consideration.
Chalk another win up for the cynics who never bought for a moment that Obama was going to betray the people whom he has been serving loyally for the last five years. Even if Obama really desired to change things – something there is little evidence for – the game is rigged. As long as money dominates American politics moneyed interests will be dominant.