email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Angry Voters

I have been hard on Donald Trump (and rightly so).  But I haven't discussed his supporters much.

I sort of understand them.  They are angry.  They are desperate.  They aren't living the life their parents enjoyed.

In a general sense, we all know that some people succeed in life better than others. And the others don't.  The reasons are not my point here.  My point is that they know the world is somehow passing them by, they are not succeeding,  and they are angry.  There are few emotions stronger than anger.

Hate is usually directed, anger is diffuse.

Trump has activated the angry people.  He wouldn't have gotten the Republican nomination for President if anger and fear wasn't a real thing in significant part of the population.

I do not fear Trump.  He will go down into crushing defeat on Election Day.  It is the angry people who concern me.  Their anger is justified.  They used to have decent-paying jobs putting headlights on cars, collecting coins from parking meters, loading luggage on airplanes, etc.  There used to be jobs you could just learn to DO without having to work on a computer, make decisions, or attend meetings and argue with people.  Some people are just not good at those things.  And they have fewer places to do work now.

And I understand because in the 1st 10 years of my adult life, I had cruddy jobs too.  I pushed a lawn mower in the hot sun for 2 Summers on an Army Base.  I spent 2 Summers pumping gas at a full service station where the owner dipped his sticky fingers into the till and charged us workers for the "losses". 

I worked at minimum wage in several department stores while the rent went up faster than my wages.  I even got to where I was in charge of a 1/4 of the department store and my hourly pay was 25 cents above minimum wage.  And the store managers cheated us every chance they could get because every dime they took out of our pocket went into theirs!

But I took a competitive exam for Government work and scored 100% in 5 categories of jobs.  That was because *I* spent my time in high school studying while "other" kids were goofing off.  I learned "stuff".  I practiced general skills.  I did well.  I was promoted regularly.  I retired well.

But not much better than the middle class in the US did in the 50s and 60s.  The high point of the US economy was when unions were strong (but not overly strong), when the percentage of the total wealth held by the top 1% was low, and when a college education for children was withing reach of most middle class families. 

There was a chart in Scientific American magazine a month ago that showed the percentage of national wealth held by the top 1% of Americans. 

In the 1920s, it rose to 20%.  At the end of The Great Depression, it was down to 15%, and the end of WWII, it was down to 10%.

In 1970, it was down to 8%.  After the Republican Tax Reform act of 1986, it rose rather suddenly to 16%, and after the 2000 Bush Administration, it went back up to 18%.  That is wrong.  The trickle down theory of wealth only means every one below the top 1% gets peed on.

The Republicans are doing it very very wrong, in pay to their super-rich supporters.  But the Democrats are doing things a whole lot better.

What we need is a Centrist-Union party dedicated to recreating the middle class.  No industrialized nation can survive without a strong middle class.  That is what makes democracy work.

Democracy works best when the poor have a path up, the middle class has some basic stability in life, and the rich are accepting a lower level than "outrageously fabulous".

I'll give a sports example...

Say you are a farmkid in Kansas and you have a choice between driving a tractor around cornfields for $20K a year vs earning $100K a year catching balls in the outfield.  Of course you would take the $100K.  But is it worth $50M.  No, you would do it for $100K. It is idiodically super-rich people playing their own game, competing with each other.

If they weren't, the seats would cost $10 and they would all still make a fine profit.  THat's what a generally middle-class world would look like...

1 comment:

Megan said...

I too understand why there are so many people in USA and in Australia who are angry about 'the world', their particular circumstances and politicians in particular. It would be lovely to be able to think that Trump would just fix everything - that being strong, standing up to people (well, actually, being a bully!) would work. But it doesn't, so it's terribly sad and worrying that so many people are/were prepared to support him in the vain hope that he would make things better. I wonder what they're going to do now?

Sydney, Australia