Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Unstable Coalitions And The Question Of Pain


I ordered Throes of Democracy but haven't started it yet. You are onto something quite important about the disparate strains holding the two dominant parties of the eary18th century together, and the fact that most of those strains exist today. What's remarkable is how the vehicle of the two parties endures even as their constituents rearrange themselves. Once the party of slavery and the white working class, Democrats are now the party of college educated professionals and technocrats, single women and minority Americans. Republicans combine businessmen, fiscal conservatives, religious traditionalists, married women, and high school educated men. Go figure.
But the enduring irony of this rearrangement is that at the top of both parties sit elites that share more similaritiy with each other than with the other members of their political alliances They may be divided  by ideology but not by status. You and I are an archtypal example.

As far as the pain required to restore the nation to fiscal integrity, there's no question of that. The question is how that pain, whenever it inevitably arrives, will be distributed. Many argue that the economy will be harmed by increasing marginal tax rates for top earners. Since I have decided henceforth to remain agnostic on all matters economic, I won't ventrue an opinion about that argument. What I do know is that the quality of my life will not be affected one whit by the decline in my household income that would result if we returned to Clinton era tax rates. Could the millions of Americans affected by the budget cuts in Rep Ryan's proposal say the same?

BTW, know anywhere I can place a bet on Greece leaving the Euro by September?


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