The Great Debate
Once upon a time, during a brief egalitarian period in postwar America, people of different classes did not live in separate worlds. The promise of mobility and prosperity was alive throughout the land. In 1950, Walt Disney Productions was saved from bankruptcy with its smash hit Cinderella, which audiences cheered at a time when the future looked bright and it was still possible for the dream of marrying up to come true.
President Barack Obama is laying down his marker Tuesday with his State of the Union Address. He told a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats last week, “I’m not going to spend the next two years on defense. I’m going to play offense.”
Get out your pitchforks, Democrats! A showdown over populism is coming.
The core of the problem is the decline of Democratic support among white working-class voters. White voters without a college degree made up 36 percent of the midterm electorate this year. They voted nearly 2-to-1 Republican.
Economic inequality, accelerating since the late 1980s, is shaping American lives in every dimension — and finding a partner is no exception.
What will it really take to give America a raise?
A lot of well-credentialed policy experts have been writing nonsense about why Americans can’t be paid more.
The economic debate is now sharply focused on the issue of income inequality. That may not be the debate Democrats want to have, however. It’s negative and divisive. Democrats would be better off talking about growth — a hopeful and unifying agenda.