A recent AP article, “Divided America: Rosy Economic Averages Bypass Many in US,: by Christopher S. Rugaber on June 9, 2016, utilized the typical economic stagnation found in Memphis TN to illustrate the lingering economic malaise that has dogged America’s slowest economic “recovery” in many generations. The recovery supposedly has been in effect for a couple of years now according to the economists’ indicators. But more and more these measures do not mean “squat” for the vast numbers of struggling Americans who are not wealthy, college educated and employed in professions favored by the emerging new information and technological age. Only a few weeks ago, the head of the Bank of England made a somewhat chilling speech in which he actually outlined and named broad categories of jobs that he predicted would be ELIMINATED almost entirely by robotic replacements, and automation of all sorts in the next 25 years or so. Although it was daunting to read, the kinds of jobs he enumerated were not surprised, those of the unskilled, undereducated, line production workers in all sorts of industries, customer services jobs etc. Much as this next industrial revolution might hurt the developed world, it could be truly catastrophic for the Third World economies so dependent on such modes of work and earning a living in the hundreds of millions, a demographic that dwarfs our own.
But back to the AP article by Mr. Rugaber in which he writes of one result of the poor economic rebound in the USA, that of the incredible political frustration that has surfaced in the current Presidential campaign season and new voting patterns that do not bode well perhaps for the two main political parties in this country. From my point of view, both of them have to address this issue, as well in my view, campaign finance reform in revolutionary ways for them. The Republican Party especially has to take leave of its overly patrician national view and stop exploiting the white middle class politically by appealing to its still potent prejudicial fears that grow worse with being overtaken by harder working, more highly motivated minorities and immigrant groups who are merely repeating the upwardly mobile aspirations of every new minority who has ever come to the USA in past decades back to the 1700’s. The Democrats have to do much as well, and revise their plans so that it does not stupidly play into the more canny–though more sociopathic distortions of the dirty tricksters of the Republicans since the days of Nixon and later Roger Ailes, and the late Lee Atwater. I must out of respect for Mr. Atwater, note that as he faced his mortality from I think it was brain cancer, he repented and recanted all his dirty tricks for which he was shunned by his so-called colleagues of the day, a sad chapter in the annals of the GOP.
To quote Mr. Rugaber in his article: “A key reason is that pay and wealth are flowing disproportionately to the rich, skewing the data used to measure economic health — and producing an economy on paper that most Americans don’t recognize in their own lives. That disconnect has fueled much of the frustration and anxiety that have propelled the insurgent presidential campaigns of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders.”
Everyone knows we have the largest gap in our nation’s history between the wealthy and the not so wealthy, lower middle classes, the poor, etc. And I would submit it began in the Reagan era, then called so accurately by Time magazine, The Age of Greed in one of its eponymous issues of that title. We can only work our way out of this with enormous economic and tax and political reforms that will be greatly resisted. If we do not, we may face having the less aware vote in droves for a strong arm near dictator President who would make LBJ’s strong arm tactics, though in the service of honorable and needed reforms, look like child’s play. And if that strong take no prisoners leader is not motivated by genuine concerns for this country, we could end up with a political economic landscape that might truly inimical to all of us.