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Robert Reich writes: "Democrats have become irrelevant. If they want to be relevant again they have to connect the dots: The explosion of income and wealth among America's super-rich, the dramatic drop in their tax rates, the consequential devastating budget squeezes in Washington and in state capitals, and the slashing of public services for the middle class and the poor."

Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)
Portrait, Robert Reich, 08/16/09. (photo: Perian Flaherty)



How Democrats Can Become Relevant Again

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

02 March 11

 

How Democrats can become relevant again (and rescue the nation while they're at it).

epublicans offered Democrats two more weeks before the doomsday shut-down. Democrats countered with four. Republicans held their ground. Democrats agreed to two.

This is what passes for compromise in our nation's capital.

Democrats have become irrelevant. If they want to be relevant again they have to connect the dots: The explosion of income and wealth among America's super-rich, the dramatic drop in their tax rates, the consequential devastating budget squeezes in Washington and in state capitals, and the slashing of public services for the middle class and the poor.

It is not a complicated story. Begin with what's happened to the typical American, whose wages have been stagnant for thirty years. Today's typical 30-year-old male (if he has a job) is earning the same as a 30-year-old male earned three decades ago, adjusted for for inflation. (Although women are doing better than they did 30 years ago, their wages still trail men's.)

The bottom 90 percent of Americans now earn, on average, only about $280 more per year than they did thirty years ago. That's less than a 1 percent gain over more than a third of a century. Families are doing somewhat better but that's only because so many families now have to rely on two incomes.

But wait. The American economy is more than twice as large now as it was thirty years ago. So where did the money go? To the top. The richest 1 percent's share of national has doubled - from around 9 percent in 1977 to over 20 percent now. The richest one-tenth of 1 percent's share has tripled. The 150,000 households that comprise the top one-tenth of one percent now earn as much as the bottom 120 million put together.

Given this explosion of income at the top you might think our tax system would demand a larger share from them. But you'd be wrong. You're not taking account of the power of the super rich. As income and wealth have risen to the top, so has political power. As a result, their taxes have plummeted.

From the 1940s until 1980, the tax rate on the highest earners in America was 70 percent or higher. In the 1950s, it was 91 percent. Even if you include deductions and credits, the rich were paying a far higher share of their income than at any time since.

Under Ronald Reagan the top rate dropped to 28 percent. Under Bill Clinton it rose to 39 percent and then under George W. Bush dropped to 36 percent. As you recall, Republicans have managed to keep it there. Their avowed aim is to keep it there permanently.

Meanwhile, estate taxes (which hit only the top 2 percent) have been slashed, as have taxes on capital gains - which comprise most of the income of the super rich. In the late 1970s, capital gains were taxed at well over 35 percent. Under Bill Clinton, the capital gains rate was 20 percent. Now it's 15 percent.

So who's going to foot the bill for everything we need? Even before the Great Recession, the middle class's share of the nation's total income had shrunk. Yet their tax burden had grown. They were paying a bigger chunk of their incomes in payroll taxes, sales taxes, and property taxes than decades before.

Then came the Great Recession - and with it, lower tax revenues. That means all levels of government are squeezed. Obviously, the middle class can't pay more in taxes. But because the Democrats seem to lack the intestinal fortitude to suggest the obvious - that taxes need to be raised on the super rich - we're left with a mess.

Teachers are being fired, Pell grants for the poor are being slashed, energy assistance for the needy is disappearing, other vital public services shriveling. Regulatory agencies don't have the budgets to pay the people they need to enforce the law. Even if it wanted to the Securities and Exchange Commission couldn't police Wall Street.

All of which is precisely where Republicans want the nation to be. It sets them up perfectly to blame government, blame public employees, blame unionized workers. It lets them pit workers against one another, divide the Democratic base, and promote the false idea that we're in a giant zero-sum game and the nation can't afford to do more.

It diverts attention from what's happened at the top - so no one sees how well CEOs and Wall Street bankers are doing again, no one views the paybacks and tax giveaways engineered by their Republican patrons, and no one focuses on the tide of money flowing from the likes of billionaires Charles and David Koch into Republican coffers.

Where are the Democrats? Shuffling their feet, looking at the floor. "Please oh please give us four weeks before you shut us down," they ask. "No," say the Republicans, "you'll get only two." "Well, alright then," say the Democrats.

Here's what Democrats should be saying:

Hike taxes on the super-rich. Reform the tax code to create more brackets at the top with higher rates for millionaires and billionaires. Absurdly, the top bracket is now set at $375,000 with a tax rate of 35 percent; the second-highest bracket, at 33 percent, starts at $172,000 for individuals. But the big money is way higher.

The source of income shouldn't matter - salary, wages, capital gains, other unearned income - all should be treated the same. There's no reason to reward speculators. (Don't penalize true entrepreneurs, though. If they're owners who have held their assets for at least twenty years, keep their capital gains low.)

And while you're at it, raise the ceiling on income subject to Social Security taxes. And bring back the estate tax.

Do this and we can afford to do what we need to do as a nation. Do this and you prevent Republicans from setting the working middle class against itself. Do this and you restore some balance to a distribution of income and wealth that's now dangerously out of whack.

Do this, Democrats, and you have a chance of being relevant again.


Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet," "Supercapitalism" and his latest book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future." His 'Marketplace' commentaries can be found on publicradio.com and iTunes.

 

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-8 # Jim 2011-03-02 09:24
If the rate is 35% then why does Warren Buffet say he pays 16%?
 
 
+24 # BradFromSalem 2011-03-02 10:40
Much of his income is from capital gains, which are very generously taxed at 15%
 
 
+25 # JazBing 2011-03-02 11:03
I watched the interview the Buffet on 60 Minutes. He said he got enough breaks (a.k.a. loopholes) that he ended paying that, and made the point that is was way less than most of his employees.

Wouldn't billionares like him also have the best tax accountants/spe cialists in the country too, to find them ways to keep even more money?

In that interview, he said he personally finds it immoral to hold onto more money than he and his family will ever use in many generations.

Why isn't THAT message getting out as well? Why aren't progressives protesting on the streets, like we have been about union rights, about being continually bullied and trounced on?

Democrats receive corporate and special interest $ too - not as much as the extreme right, but they do. Until we have a publicly-funded campaign finance system, Democrats will not be speaking up for us. 1/3 of Congress are millionares. You need a lot of money to get into office with our current system, so being a public official attracts the rich. If the rich are deciding on who gets the money, why are we so delusional to think that they give a rat's you-know-what about the unwealthy?
 
 
+15 # DaveW. 2011-03-02 11:05
Jim, I would assume Mr.Buffet is claiming the vast (really vast!) amount of his earnings as Capital gains. And Professor Reich, if you read the article, addresses that issue by saying "the source of income doesn't matter...all income should be treated the same." To paraphrase.
 
 
+12 # Isaiah J. Poole 2011-03-02 11:49
Delaware Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse recently ran the numbers based on ORS data, and they were recently verified by PolitiFact.com: "According to calculations by Whitehouse’s office -- which match our own -- when you include Social Security and Medicare taxes, the effective tax rate for the wealthiest 400 Americans would have been 16.72 percent in 2007; the tax rate for a worker earning $29,000 a year would have been 16.79 percent." Thus Buffett actually pays a slightly lower percentage of his earned wages in taxes than a lower-middle-cl ass earner. And, of course, when unearned income is factored in, the disparity between the percentage of total income the wealthy pay in taxes and what the rest of us pay grows even wider.
 
 
-7 # DaveW. 2011-03-02 14:51
Jim, Hypothetically speaking...is anything "stopping" Mr.Buffet from paying "more" in taxes if he so desires? Or Gates, Soros, Spielberg or any one of a number of "extremely" wealthy progressives?
Just wondering.
 
 
+11 # BradFromSalem 2011-03-02 10:16
And while we are stuck in Professor Reich's fantasy world, lets close the tax loopholes that encourage corporations to send jobs and $$ overseas.

I personally am looking for the train, boat, road, or airplane that will take me there. Or, we could build it here.

Go to the Right Wing blogs and explain how foolish they are. This taqlking amongst ourselves is not helping.

Inch by inch, step by step, slowly we turn them around.
 
 
+18 # DaveW. 2011-03-02 10:59
LiberalLibertar ian, "This talking amongst ourselves is not helping." Then what are you doing here? I don't believe Professor Reich is promoting a "fantasy world." I think he's trying to pound away at the stone of ignorance that constitutes much of the voting electorate of America and compel Democrats to start acting like Democrats once did. Your referencing "tax loopholes" and "jobs sent overseas" are sound observations. I'm looking for the same transportation device or its philosophical/p olitical equivalent to take me to a place where I can do more than "talk amongst ourselves." I'm hoping I might find that on these posts. I'm assuming, despite your statement, you are too.
 
 
+13 # JazBing 2011-03-02 11:07
@liberalLib: I agree about getting off these comment posts/FB, etc. - I tell people that all of time - quit talking to me, and write your congressmen!

Re: going on right wing blogs - not sure how helpful that is. I've tried it, and personally feel that most of them appear as if they are brainwashed/rat ionalizing beyond any impact I can currently make.

Plus, I've been trashed enough that it was starting to affect me. After last week's rally, I decided that it is more productive to organize progressives (and the majority of the country, who really do agree with progressive beliefs) to speak up louder.
 
 
+19 # m 2011-03-02 13:13
Blogging is just a pastime pressure releaser...
The real and necessary action is in organizing and taking to the streets loudly in the faces of the Elected Lying Corporatists audaciously, and arrogantly calling themselves Public '''''''''Servants''''''''

LOOK TO WISCONSIN..!!!!
 
 
+9 # Pat Gray 2011-03-02 19:00
Jazbing says we should "Write your Congressmen!" What a waste of time that is!! Our democracy is dead and those corrupt paid lackeys of the rich in Congress do the biddings of their paymasters. Time to get out on the streets and INSIST that our reps listen to their constituents. Do this on Saturday March 16th on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq based on lies. Stop the war, tax the rich and our deficit problems are solved and all of our domestic programs can be fully funded---but you got to get mad and insist that this is done. Only if they are scared of us will they listen---so get out and get mad on March 16th.
 
 
+15 # MarkMcLeod 2011-03-02 10:59
Reich hits nail on head!
 
 
+24 # BishopAndrew 2011-03-02 11:06
What the Democrats need to do is this. Ask Obama not to seek a second term, get a new leader who has the guts to lead, notify the Robber Baron Republicans that "it is on!" rally the progressives and spend every penny educating the Amcerican people on what these Tea Pary Fat Cats are really up to, denounce the so called "blue dogs" and all others who have capitulated to the Republicans as the Judas they are and restore the Bill of Rights and the Constitution to the people. Tell the banks and the corporations the orgy is over!
 
 
+4 # DaveW. 2011-03-02 14:43
BishopAndrew, I applaud your ideas but would go a step further. The Constitution is an antiquated piece of legislation that was drawn up by wealthy, white men for the sole purpose of creating a Utopian environment. FOR THEM! And them alone. We need to take the altruistic elements of that document, retain them, and dump the rest in the waste bin of history. Imagine for a moment how eagerly the script writers at Fox News would be to "rewrite" The Declaration of Independence. How long do you think phrases such as "Liberty and Justice for All" would last? The same goes for the Bible. Lets keep what applies for a sane and egalitarian world in the true "spirit" of Jesus Christ, whether one believes him the son of God or not, and dispose of the blood-letting/s acrificial/miso gynist passages that have led man to impose inequalities and worse upon fellow human beings. There are certain "constants" in our universe. There are also many things that change. The "progress" of the human race cannot be solely dictated by antediluvian documents. And you're quite correct about Obama. Much to many's disappointment. ..he is simply not the man to lead the way out of this morass.
 
 
+5 # BishopAndrew 2011-03-03 06:52
Dave my thanks to you sir. Do you think there is a possibility of starting a new Democratic Party and dump the apeasement so-called centrist Fifth Column Republicans who claim the mantle of the Democrats? As to the Constitution you are absolutely spot! As for the Bible or any other Sacred Text I always tell people the wonderful line in "To Kill A Mockingbird" "The Bible in the hands of some people is far more dangerous than a loaded shotgun in the hands of a drunk!"
 
 
+4 # DaveW. 2011-03-03 09:13
BishopAndrew, And my thanks to you sir for your candid and sound responses. I'm looking at Russ Feingold's activities in trying to do what you imply. I can only hope it comes to fruition. Far to many Democrats are nothing but Republicans in cheap suits. I'm not a particularly religious person but am frightened by the level of acrimony that often is generated by organized religion, principally Christianity and Islam. I realize both religions offer great comfort to many millions but there can be no denying that both are used for control and other nefarious purposes,war, of course, being the most egregious. I realize I'm flailing at the wind here. People really have changed very little in thousands of years. We all need "something" to hold on to. I'm still looking. Thanks for your kind and insightful response my friend.
 
 
+6 # soularddave 2011-03-02 21:28
Quoting BishopAndrew:
What the Democrats need to do is this... Tell the banks and the corporations the orgy is over!


And start putting the lawbreakers in JAIL!
 
 
+5 # WilliamC. Johnson 2011-03-03 10:25
Everyone should watch Inside Job! Ferguson, when he accepted the Oscar for his documentary noted that not a single person has been prosecuted and that's frankly obscene!
 
 
+14 # tswhiskers 2011-03-02 11:16
I have not understood why the Dems seem so afraid of taking on the Republicans on class and economic issues. I pulled my hair during the Bush Admin. because it was so obvious then that the Republicans' main agenda was to cater the very wealthy and leave the rest of us in the dirt. The media, now the corporate media, will say nothing about the Republicans' love of big money since their owners and editors apparently love it too. The middle class is nearly dead and even in 2008 with majorities in both houses the Dems were still frightened of the Reps. Obama gave in to continuing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. Unless the Dems, incl. Obama, can find their spines very soon, the corporate class will have successfully taken over the country. Mr. Reich's suggestions are obvious and sensible. But the Dems. are working against the majority of Americans almost as much as Reps. and big business are. Thank God for Scott Walker's naked arrogance and stupidity.
 
 
+8 # giraffee2012 2011-03-02 11:24
I agree with Reich. Fighting the GOP on their attack on the middle/poor is useless. But how does a minority pass tax reform. Clearly the lack of revenue for the last 30+ years as the rich get richer and pay less taxes has added to tthe deficiet. Clearly the GOP and the TAX CODE is supported by BIG MONEY (Hello Kock brothers + connection to Scalia/Thomas has to be exposed for what it is == stopped)

But, learn from the GOP: Repeating the mantra (Dems: TAX REFORM + "wars") will eventually awaken the people who actually vote.

DEMS who did not vote in 2010 - (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE) -- be sure to vote in 2012 - else we lose the only democracy in the world that has a chance. We deserve your vote. PLEASE
 
 
+20 # Barbara Humphrey 2011-03-02 11:47
This is a simplistic analysis, but...Democrats acquiesce to Republicans because they have become Republicans. With relatively few exceptions, most Congressmen and women (and the President) are either rich or have access to the rich because you can't get elected otherwise. And rich people, including rich politicians, don't want to pay their fair share of taxes or offend their friends/donors, who also don't want to pay their fair share. Waiting for Democrats to act like the party of the people (aka that 80+% of us who aren't rich and are paying everyone's share)is about as productive as watching paint dry or as as likely to happen as hell freezing over. Time to seek other options.
 
 
+21 # m 2011-03-02 11:48
The Democratic Party is BOUGHT AND PAID FOR and nothing more than a 'GET-ELECTED' Franchise Operation. A Corporate funded operation which engages in the sale of a recognizable Party Logo for those wealthy enough and wanting enough to run for office according to their Franchise Missions Statement... which is little more than---
1. Raise more money for the Party Franchise..!
2. Always try to get along
3. Don't make Waves
4. Always compromise
5. Pay very very close attention to the poll of the moment
6. Go with the flow of the poll of the moment
7. NEVER EVER TRY TO LEAD..!
8. Be the first to apologize
9. Always wear an expensive suit and hairdo
10 Raise more money for the Party Franchise..!

My apologies to those very few Democrats in Office who still devote their lives to the service of American Citizens and Our Country.

My contempt goes out to ALL Corporatist Politicians who serve the MONIED, The GLOBAL Corporate Class and Themselves before all else..!!!
 
 
+30 # jon 2011-03-02 11:57
There is NO Democratic Party.

The strangulation death was started when Reagan did away with the Fairness in Broadcasting act, and the last shovel full of dirt on top of the coffin was done by the Citizens United decision.
 
 
+18 # nimbleswitch 2011-03-02 12:05
The real agenda of the super-wealthy whose money controls the Republican party is to get as much money in as few hands at the top as possible.

The sooner the working class wakes up and realizes this, the sooner they'll stop shooting themselves in the head by voting Republican.
 
 
+15 # DPM 2011-03-02 12:29
Demonstrate and boycott! Talk to people. I have been talking about Wisconsin with everyone I know and some I don't. It is absolutely amazing at how many of them have no clue as to what is happening. As for the ones that want to argue, I find that once I denounce Democrats as vehemently as Republicans, most agree that we are in a mess do to corporate abuse and big money in politics.
Don't buy Sparkle glass cleaner, Northern tissue, Dixie products and Brawny towels. They are Koch products you can do without. Take all of your business from BofA. Use credit unions. Tell everyone what you did and ask them to do the same. Small steps take you far. Your drops can start a flood.
 
 
+7 # m 2011-03-02 20:09
Someone said we could also perhaps boycott corporate sponsors who advertise on Fux Snooze and all the Rightwing Anti-American, Anti-Republic Media Enterprises.
They were talking about Herr Beck and how some corporate sponsors pulled their commercial sponsorship because they fear consumer backlash over the stuff he's been pulling out of his butt and spewing through the airwaves.
 
 
+5 # Jawbone Grouch 2011-03-02 12:41
This is the net results of Prostitution in Government.
The Pimp PAYS the worker.
The worker takes his/her Seat and Speaks for the Madam of the bordello.

That is Democracy in America.

It wasn't meant to be....but money talks.

And Americans lose their jobs; families lose their homes. And their self-respect through no fault of their own.....
ACCEPT.....did they take time to inform themselves and vote?

Or did they listen to Fox News and let the dumbest segment of American citizenry do the "job" for them?

Every Action {inaction} has a result.
Rock hard truth.

So: Who's to blame? The Pimp? The prostitute? Or The Citizen?

Which are you?
 
 
+5 # Gary Epstein 2011-03-02 14:50
The poet Carl Sandburg wrote, "Money-talk is bigger than talk-talk."
 
 
+7 # Tee 2011-03-02 12:58
The problem with democrat's is that they are so compromised by corporate intangalment that they gain more for siding with corporations. Both parties are breaking down the door of the corporations to please them.

Remedy; get the corporate money out of politics. This will not happen because precedents have been set by Clinton and Obama to hold the corporation sacred. As a result Clinton recieved a 100 million dollar parachute and Obama is headed for a similar parachute.

This guy, Reich, is just spinning. He is stating the obvious the needs to be done, but he dare not expose a truth regarding his former boss, Clinton, and Obama.
 
 
+7 # jlohman 2011-03-02 13:55
I've heard virtually nothing from Reich -- today or ever -- on what the problem really is: politicians taking cash bribes (campaign contributions) from Fat Cats that want in the taxpayer's pockets. Only a 100% turnover will fix it, until we get public funding of campaigns. Don't even waste your time on other issues, as they are ALL affected by this one.

Jack Lohman
http://MoneyedPoliticians.net
 
 
+14 # granny 2011-03-02 13:56
But remember how this country became a country - the colonists rose up against the tyranny of a country that was taking from the workers, the colonists, and giving it to the rich, the land corporations that had sent settlers here in the first place to steal the resources from the Indians and send them home to the king. Today's Kock Brothers and other would-be kings, and their minions like Scott Walker et al, are just following historic precendent.
 
 
+11 # sark 2011-03-02 15:18
Reich has some interesting points as do some of the above comments but for me the bottom line is the voting machines. Right now the vote count is easily hacked and manipulated and no state has enough regulations and laws to prevent the manipulation of the vote count. We can take all kinds of actions but as long as the vote count is controlled by Republican groups, they will still have the ability to make sure corporations continue to rule.
 
 
+6 # Realist 2011-03-02 15:23
The Democrats are following the example set by their "leader: Barack Obama. He started this type of compromise with the extension of the tax decrease on the highest wage earners.
 
 
+8 # disgusted American 2011-03-02 16:53
It has nothing to do with Democrats being irrelevant or what they can do to save the country. They dine at the same trough as Republicans and aren't interested.

They just make noises about caring but don't go any further than that because they are beholden to their money masters.

Republicans also work for the same masters but are up front about not giving a hoot.

Listen to Obama. Does he say anything of significance? No. He just puts forth a bunch of phrases and whatnot that means zip. They all do that to some degree, but he's more polished, or should I say slick? He's an advertising gimmick for the corporations which run this country.
 
 
+5 # futhark 2011-03-02 17:49
Democrats and their "leader" are just the prettied-up, more dishonest side of the Plutocrat Party that controls what does and what does not happen in America. Not much point in "compromising" with the Republic side of the Plutocrats, since the Plutocrats' hegemony will never be challenged. There is no leadership here, just more smoke and mirrors, the illusion of change, but no substance.
 
 
+11 # larry babitts 2011-03-02 17:55
As one Democrat who was raised as a "New Deal" (FDR-HST) Democrat I am devastated by the party's inability to STAND UP for what we, the party members believe - Perhaps we should consider a change (a real change) in party leadership without these damned pseudo-Republic ans who lead us now?
 
 
+9 # wfalco 2011-03-02 19:11
First job for Democrats is to define to their constituents (meaning the middle and working classes) how slashing of public services adversely affects them. Many in the middle class believe social services spending is only for poor people. It has always been about the message and the Dems have been way behind the Republicans in the whole "message thing."
Mr. Reich mentions how the right wing is so adept at pitting people against one another-a current example is the non-union worker versus unionized public employee. The radical right has always done this. Didn't they create the "southern strategy"? Social services, public spending, welfare-it all means giving money to blacks.
Again, define services to the public and explain how proper government social spending can benefit the majority. Hammer home this message until people are sick of hearing it-but at least they may finally understand us leftists.
 
 
+1 # Tee 2011-03-02 20:24
what Americans are thinking so he puts out these redundant articles wih no real solutions so his corporate bosses can decide what tactic to use against us.

Do you think he will still be invited to all these cable TV shows if he really sided with the American people?
 
 
+11 # CL38 2011-03-02 21:12
The solution starts with each and every one of us. Nothing will change until WE become active in whatever way we can.

Most people would rather sit at home watching TV, or become arm chair critics, instead of acting to create the change we desperately need.
 
 
+3 # Duffy 2011-03-03 06:53
We democrats really screwed ourselves, big time, when we elected this guy. He sounded like a liberal who was going to fix things and lead the party. And we all felt good that we'd elected America's first black President. Blacks were so proud and rallied behind him.

But now we see that we have elected "an empty suit." His motto seems to be "Can't we all just get along." Nothing will get done for the middle and working classes until we vote him out. And we have a chance coming soon.
 
 
+5 # Windy126 2011-03-03 08:53
Just make sure of who you elect. We got fooled once, don't be stupid and elect another one. A Republican in Democrat clothing is still a Republican. Contact your elected officials, write letters to the editor, talk to the guy standing next to you don't shut up. Keep hacking at them over every little thing like they do.
Stop criticizing bloggers spelling, grammar etc. Most people today don't know the difference. There will be plenty of time for remedial grammar later. Stay on track. The best advice I ever got was "Question everything that doesn't seem right to you." It has served me very well over the last 50+ years. It is amazing what people will do and businesses too when you look them square in the face and ask "Why". Tell them you don't believe them. That you will take your business elsewhere, and tell others to do the same. It is time for all people to know what the Koch brothers products are. Ask them to avoid buying them. Let's make Koch brother and Koch Industries a "bad word". A good glare works better than words with some people. You see Koch products in someone's shopping cart, just shake your head and walk away. Gets them to wondering what they did that upset a complete stranger.
Scott Walkers days are numbered. He is poison and will soon be dumped by the Koch brothers as ineffective.
 
 
+3 # hkatzman 2011-03-03 09:43
I agree with Reich's comments, however the fundamental philosophical differences that justify this and gives a working framework are missing.
Republicans speak with the pronoun "I" and talk about the power of the _individual_. Government is the problem because it counters the rights of the individual - to rob, cheat and do whatever free-market bankers do to sabotage the economy, but not their own individual assets.
Democrats should, but don't, speak about the community, the "we". As Lincoln (Republican) said, "a government of the people, by the people and for the people." Government is "us" working in ways that we as individuals could not, through security and roads and schools or helping after a disaster. Despite the great capitalist rhetoric, no great enterprise was created by individuals, but by the combined hard-work of groups.
The Right attacks the unions and government and other institutions where people do come together and marshal resources for their greater communal good and this is what Progressives should be fighting for.
We are in this together. When one suffers, we all suffer.
 
 
+3 # DPM 2011-03-03 11:22
Windy 126, good for you. More people need to start thinking and acting the way you describe instead of the way you mentioned. I always liked this "Murphy's Law: Never argue with a fool. People might not know the difference."
Stay on message. The message? Koch's need to be put in their place. Don't buy Sparkle, Northern, Brawny or Dixie products. Put the Koch's wallet on pike poles and parade them at every political rally. Make them hate their own names and make politicians avoid them like the plague.
Take your money out of BofA and tell people BofA received $145 billion tax dollars after paying NO taxes in 2009. Turn up the heat, but stay on message. Forget about spelling errors and other distractions. If that is all you have to do, join some other argument. There is real work to do. You are just playing.
 
 
+2 # fredboy 2011-03-03 14:49
What still amazes me is the converts to tea party/GOP thinking. Relatives, good friends, etc.--people who are otherwise quite thoughtful and caring--have turned almost fanatical in their tea party anti-government mindset.

The Democrats have so often missed the boat, unable to clearly frame beliefs, programs, challenges and the like so they "stick" in people's minds. I have repeatedly tried to help since 1999--this is one of my specialities--b ut have always been rejected or ignored. Don't even know how to contact them now. Thus I feel, like so many progressives, somewhat alone as I face the wolves. I am very savvy, focused, and strong, but would still enjoy being part of a party with clear messaging and, forgive me, kahunas.
 
 
+2 # WilliamC. Johnson 2011-03-03 16:09
George Lakoff, too, has tried to help Democrats and progressives reframe the debate that Republicans often dominate. I don't quite understand the inability, apparently, of Dems to get their message out. You shouldn't give up.
 
 
0 # rf 2011-03-04 07:29
I'm sorry! Democats relevant? They are the same prostitutes as the Repubes are...This administration has most decidedly shown that with their all to the rich economics team. At least they have kept up defense spending so there is an army to kill demonstrators!
 
 
0 # davidhp 2011-07-14 11:43
The two party system is in the pockets of the corporate robber barons. Democrats sell us out while telling us they are on on side. I am frustrated as a union member that my union keeps supporing these anti worker politicians because they are the lesser of two evils. It is time to say the hell with them and if a right wing fantic wins how much more are they going to hurt us - maybe it will make the working class people who support the right wing wake up politically and stand against the robber barons. The Dems cave day in and day out - three wars of agression, offering cuts in social security, medicare, and medicaid, allowing unions to be crushed, giving tax breaks to corporations, continuing the fascist homeland security act just to name a few. Until the working class says no and fights with everything it has against this creeping corporate oligarchy - we are lost whether the Republicans or Democrats are in control.
 

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