HORIST: Are most Americans struggling … as Democrats claim?
There is a fundamental truth about American politics that needs to be understood. It is widely believed – and somewhat true – that wealthier people tend to vote Republican and those below the poverty line tend to vote for Democrats. Since political power depends upon increasing your base, there is an obvious truth that explains much of our political divide. Republicans tend to foster policies that increase individual wealth and Democrats undertake policies that expand poverty.
I can already hear the groans of those who think this observation is too simplistic and just … silly. I suppose it is somewhat simplistic, but not at all silly. It is predominantly true – although there can be exceptions.
It explains why the numbers of the designated “poor” go up under Democrat governance and down when Republicans take over. It explains why there is no improvement for the ghetto-ized and impoverished minorities in the big cities ruled over by Democrats for generations.
In the latter case, the Democrat’s urban political machines generate – with malice aforethought – the policies and culture that maintain a permanent segregated underclass as a means of controlling the vote. It is a political practice that was implemented as part of the racist policies of President Roosevelt’s New Deal.
There is a second means of producing more votes from the poor – and that is by convincing more people that they are poor when they are not. If you do a survey of Democrat language today, you will hear a lot about all of us struggling Americans. To hear them tell it, America is a re-enactment of the dismal lives portrayed in Charles Dickens’ Victorian novels. It echoes the same language that originated during the Great Depression when most Americans really were suffering.
In fact, by world standards – and even by historical American standards – we are a very wealthy society today. For political purposes, left-wing Democrats (but I repeat myself) claim that we have lost the middle class, but in reality, we have a huge middle class. What has diminished is the poorest of the poor – and those current pockets of oppressive poverty are ironically the responsibility of those aforementioned Democrat city administrations.
Democrats lament over those they say live paycheck-to-paycheck. For sure, living between paydays can be challenging. My family has had to do that for lifetimes. That has long been the case, whether politicians arbitrarily declared us to be living in bad or good economic times. Americans have never been great savers – whether by choice or circumstances. Still, there are more Americans with financial reserves than ever before. More Americans have retirement accounts than ever before.
Many Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck because they are paying for big homes, two cars, a boat, dining out, nice clothes, vacation travel, a range of personal electronics and just about everything their kids’ desire. Living p-to-p is not necessarily an indicator of “suffering.”
What is far worse than living from paycheck-to-paycheck is living without a paycheck. In today’s roaring economy, unemployment is at a record low. Since zero unemployment is impossible, we are at what economists refer to as “full employment.”
The American economy closed out 2018 with an increase in jobs that far surpassed economic predictions. We gained 310,000 jobs in December when the estimate was around 178,000. Even the fact that unemployment rose from 3.7 percent to 3.9 percent is great news because of the cockamamie way we compute unemployment.
There are two ways to get off the unemployment rolls. You either find a job, OR you are considered to be no longer looking for a job – even if you are. That is why during times when the number of people out of work — and needing work — is actually INCREASING, the number of unemployed goes DOWN. The folks in Washington just stop counting them.
Because the number of jobs is growing – yea! — the number of people who were considered to be “not looking” are now considered to be “looking” – ergo unemployed. Only government bureaucrats could develop a system that senseless.
Even more important is the fact that wages are increasing. THAT is the important statistic. More money in the hands of more people. Disposable income, as they call it, is what drives the economy. All that record spending we saw before Christmas is what creates jobs.
When you look at the economy in totality, it is awesome. And we the people are doing quite well. Even those trapped in segregated urban ghettoes are doing better than they have in terms of job numbers – despite the best efforts of the Democrats to keep them oppressed. For sure, more needs to be done, to address serious poverty, but the trendline is moving in the right direction.
There may be some exceptions on the margins. There always are and always will be. But, the vast majority of Americans are doing better than they were two years ago by a long shot. We are all enjoying one of the highest – and arguably, the highest – standards-of-living of any nation on earth.
Democrats know that it is human nature to want more. They are trying – and succeeding, unfortunately – at convincing a lot of people that most of us are going through some very tough economic times. Balderdash!!
Yes, there is serious poverty. And yes, there are people who are suffering. And yes, we need to address that problem in a serious manner. We are a rich and charitable people who are always ready to help those in need – the disabled, the elderly, children, the infirmed, the unemployed and all others who need economic support – but that is somewhere between five and eight percent of our citizenry. More than 90 percent of us are doing okay – and most of that 90 percent are doing far better than just okay.
Democrats take advantage of our natural tendency to want to take care of those in need, so they tell us about all those poor souls in need. BUT, it is a false narrative. Democrats won control of the House by making too many of us believe that there was massive suffering that needed to be addressed with more welfare. That there were millions upon millions of Americans without access to quality healthcare. That is a fraud on the public.
The vast majority of us enjoy high quality healthcare – and even those without insurance receive better healthcare than the poor in most other nations. We have free clinics, free medications and free emergency services. It is not disregarded for those who are not getting the medical services they absolutely need to note that their numbers are relatively few – and no reliance on socialized solutions has made their conditions any better. Quite the contrary.
If our middle class has shrunk, it is NOT because of the growth of abject poverty, but because of the growth of an UPPER middle class. Someone once said that “America is a nation where the poor live well.” There is a lot of truth to that.
If you look at poverty in those authoritarian nations that engage in economic central planning – communism and socialism, to be specific – you will find real suffering, real hardship and even real starvation. If we continue our big government flirtation with a centrally controlled economy, the left-leaning Democrats will have created a self-proving prophesy – a growing class of truly impoverished people that become dependent on a political redistribution of decreasing national wealth.
So, there ‘tis.