Some good news from Pew Research. Americans are finally starting to get it.
A new Pew Research Center survey of 2,048 adults finds that about two-thirds of the public (66%) believes there are “very strong” or “strong” conflicts between the rich and the poor–an increase of 19 percentage points since 2009.
Not only have perceptions of class conflict grown more prevalent; so, too, has the belief that these disputes are intense. According to the new survey, three-in-ten Americans (30%) say there are “very strong conflicts” between poor people and rich people. That is double the proportion that offered a similar view in July 2009 and the largest share expressing this opinion since the question was first asked in 1987.
This is a very good start. For years American society has pooh-poohed the very idea of even thinking that everything might not be equal for the rich and everyone else. As soon as anyone questioned income disparity the right wing shouted “CLASS WARFARE” and that was the end of it.
It seems that America is starting to realize that there has been class warfare for the last several decades, but not in the direction the Republicans claimed. It takes no special effort or skill to see that the upperest class has been parasitically feeding off those below it for years; it only requires one to ignore the Right’s orders not to look behind the curtain.
Part of this is the fact that the economy is so dire right now. Unemployment is crazy high (by US standards), wages are stagnant while employees are asked to do more for the same (or less). Meanwhile, profits are at an all-time high, corporate taxes are quite low, and CEO pay continues to balloon.
In fact, you might count yourself lucky to be living in a singular American moment, a time that not only hadn’t occurred but wasn’t even though possible to occur. A moment in which a Republican candidate for President is being criticized for being a successful businessman! And by — if you’re not sitting down, please do so, as I won’t be held responsible for injuries resulting from this — other Republicans! I know, the party of, “America, despite being nothing at all like a business, should be run like a business” is suggesting that business tactics are not what this country needs?
Of course, it’s all a lot of puffery and nonsense. Already the wealthy overlords of the GOP are calling for this to stop. And let’s face it, any one of the current Republican candidates, none of them strangers to the board room or country club, would have done the same. In fact, just about any of them will, after criticizing Romney for buying up businesses and shedding workers, happily tell you about how many government departments (and workers) they want to eliminate in the name of fiscal responsibility (all the better if those departments also sometimes inconvenience our corporate overlords), as though that’s any different.
(The Democrats claim they’ll keep hammering on this point should Romney get the nod, but come on. Does anyone expect the DNC to do anything that might cost them the nonexistent votes of people who wouldn’t vote for them anyway?)
Meanwhile, Romney has responded to this whole farce with some hot buttered sameoldshit straight from the Republican playbook, citing “envy” as the only reason anyone would question the distribution of wealth and power in this country.
Should Romney get the nomination, it will be interesting to see if the research results above exist enough to make trouble for him. He’s exactly the candidate that a population who is getting tired of wealth and power inequality should reject wholesale, assuming he isn’t tarred and feathered.
My prediction is that he’ll get the position, not despite this situation, but because of it. I think he’ll be viewed by the people in charge who know that shoving more money into their pockets is way more important than anything involving gay people as a way to take on the Occupy movement and America’s flirtation with calling out true class warfare head-on, Karl Rove-style. I think right now the GOP wants nothing more than someone who will relegate Corporatism to its deserved throne in Heaven, and Romney is that man.
And if that happens, and if he should somehow win because of it, then we’ll know for sure what the future of this country is. I’ll give you a hint: if you’re reading this, you won’t like it.