Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Now That We've Solved The Problem Of Giving Everything The Proper Political Label,

Can we please try to deal with a few substantive issues?

Cory has an excellent post about the dangers of labeling every government act "socialism" and the logical fallacy inherent in equating socialism with totalitarianism.

Blogger, political gadfly, and label attacher extraordinaire, Steve Sibson responds:
Just because communists like Obama haven’t completely implemented their communist plan does not excuse them from being communists. Communism evolution style, versus revolution style, is Fabian socialism. And this is not happening in America as a nation. It is happening in America on an international basis via the United Nations…Agenda 21, UNESCO, etc. It is happening in South Dakota via the 6 planning Districts, International based education standards, economic development for a global economy, and now RomneyCare/ObamaCare/DaugaardCare.
Sibson is extreme but not unique in his effort to label opinions and opinion holders. A cursory search of most Madville Times comments threads will find one of his comments contending that some person or idea is "Masonic," "New Age," "New World Order"-ish, or crony socialistic capitalistic fascism.

Sibson, talk radio hosts, and an an avenging horde of political leaders have engaged in an epic struggle to discover and assign political labels to every noun on the planet. They have won! TV news even covered the event:


Now that that little problem is taken care of, can we move on to the minor issue of inequality?

Writing in The Atlantic, Eliot Gerson points out:
America is moving toward the kind of bifurcated society we used to deride in banana republics--rich getting richer in gated communities, while the poor grow poorer, barely seen in segregated urban ghettos and hidden rural decay. Over 20 million Americans live in extreme poverty. One in 50 Americans' only income is food stamps. Add the poor and the near-poor--that is under $44K for a family of four--and you have more than 100 million people.
The richest country in the world now has the highest rate of child poverty in the developed world. The U.S. has gone from being relatively egalitarian to one of the most unequal countries in the world.
And mobility from the poor to the middle class is not as open to anyone of talent and ambition as it once was; demographers and sociologists all agree on this. Americans now have less upward mobility--and those born privileged have less downward mobility--than in many of the formerly aristocratic countries our ancestors fled from.
 The inequality and lack of mobility is likely to worsen. A Pew Study finds:
At all levels, Americans are likely to exceed their parents’ family incomes, but the extent of their income growth varies by quintile. Americans raised in  the bottom who surpass their parents' incomes do so by the smallest absolute amounts, while Americans raised in the top who surpass their parents’ incomes do so by the largest absolute amounts . . . .
The rungs of the income ladder have widened during the past generation, reflecting
economic growth at all levels, but especially at the top. Median income in the bottom
income quintile increased by 74 percent between the two generations, compared with
126 percent in the top income quintile
  
The results of the income disparity are predictable:
During the past generation, the amount of wealth held by people at each rung of the ladder has diverged: Wealth has decreased at the bottom and middle and has increased at the top two rungs of the ladder. The wealth compression is especially notable at the bottom: Median wealth for those in the lowest wealth quintile decreased from just under $7,500 in the parents’ generation to less than $2,800 in the children’s generation. Conversely, at the top of the wealth distribution, median wealth increased from just under $500,000 in the parents’ generation to almost $630,000 in the children’s generation. [Emphasis mine]
Most people are making more money than their parents, but the poor and the middle class are lessable to create and hold wealth.

Finding a solution to the wealth gap has been hampered in no small measure by the fact that those who attempted to offer solutions were automatically called "socialists" or "fascists" or "class warriors determined to destroy the fabric of American society."

Now that all the nouns have been labeled, the country should start looking at ways to help Americans fulfill the promise that those who work hard and play by the rules will get ahead not fall behind.

2 comments:

caheidelberger said...

The inapplicability of stereotypical political labels to real issues is the theme of my column at South Dakota Magazine, too! http://southdakotamagazine.com/madison-thrift-store

LK said...

I understand that one needs labels to make sense of the world, but not everything needs to be labeled, especially pejoratively.

I don't know what it was, but Sibby just sent me over the edge with his comment.

Good to know someone else is thinking along the same lines.