Mar 23, 2015

March 23, 2015: Malignancy of Swine, Turning of the Screws, Marrow of the Republic

The malignancy that is the modern conservative movement has been growing and mestasticizing for over 30 years now. The country, once strong and prosperous, has become weak, fragile and, increasingly poor. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in my beloved state of Michigan.

Susan J. Demas is Publisher and Editor of Inside Michigan Politics, a nationally acclaimed, biweekly political newsletter. In an essay published yesterday on mlive, a Michigan website hosting all the state’s major newspapers, Demas graphically illustrates the state of malignancy.

"If you're not basking in the warm glow of Michigan's economic

"Comeback", you’re not alone", she writes.

"The median income in Michigan has shrunk by a startling $13,278 this century, according to data newly released from the Pew Charitable Trusts. In 2000, the median income was $61,551, but that tumbled to $48,273 by 2013.

That's a staggering drop". Indeed it is.

"There are certainly some visible signs of an improving economy here.", she adds, "Unemployment is down from 10.7 percent in January 2011 to 6.6 percent in January 2015 (although it remains well above the national rate of 5.7 percent)." And, according to the Tax Foundation, Michigan is the 13th best business climate among the states in their collective ‘race-to-the-bottom’ to see who can best shine the shoes of their corporate paymasters. But, she rightly concludes, when median income takes such a big hit and thousands of families fall from the middle class, it takes awhile for people to feel an economic recovery."

Michigan, alas, is not alone for "All 50 states have seen their middle class ranks shrink, Pew reports". "The percentage of middle-class households dropped in Wisconsin by 5.7 points, in Indiana by 4.4 points and in Ohio by 5.2 points." None, however "saw such a dramatic drop in median income as Michigan did, however".

The trend is, indeed a national trend, with states that are doing relatively well like North Dakota where unemployment has been the lowest still reporting a 5.1% decline–higher than Michigan’s–in median household income.

" The number of people calling themselves "middle class"(nationally) has dropped significantly. A January 2014 Pew Research study found 44 percent identify as middle class, compared to 53 percent in 2008, at the start of the recession." (1)

America is beginning to perceive in measurable terms what has been the economic reality for some time now. We were informed about this, over a quarter of a century ago, with Kevin Phillips’ work "The Politics of Rich and Poor" in which the fallacies of Reaganomics were laid bare, but the country, governed by swine, paid no heed.

This is beginning to change, as the polling by Pew, here reportedly demonstrates. What this translates into politically is another matter; for we have learned from the fascist experiments in Europe that not all middle class political revolts are liberal or, for that matter, democratic. And, nowhere has this been better illustrated than electing and then re-electing a hedge-fund vulture capitalist governor. Snyder rewarded the ‘populist’ revolt by waging war on organized labor and the workingman, raising taxes on the middle class, and cutting taxes on his rich friends. None of this is new but with each ‘turn of the screws’ the middle class shrinks just a little bit more.

The cancer has spread from the delusions of a Russian emigre, and the scribbling of truculent economist to the stink-tanks funded by the billionaires across the airwaves of their paid minions into the halls of every corridor of power. The cancer that is the modern conservative movement is now spreading through the body politic into the very marrow of the republic itself. This is the legacy of the "Generation of Swine".

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