Saturday, December 11, 2004

The New Class Struggle

To avoid remaining the opposition party, Democrats must do a better job of selling themselves to groups such as small businessmen and suburbanites. While there has been lots of talk about "moral issues" after this election, and certainly terrorism and Iraq determined many votes, in the long run the economy will always be a major issue.

We may be seeing a transformation, with the major division being not over class, but over religious issues. The Religious right is striving to tear down the separation of church and state, resulting in policies which many "country club Republicans" might not feel comfortable with. The question is whether they can find a new home among Democrats.

The prevailing view among the upper middle class is that the "class struggle" is one of them versus the working people, with the Republicans on their side. In recent years, GOP policies have been harmful to those of us in the upper middle class with the Republicans representing the interests purely of the super wealthy. The Republicans remain in power by mass deception, developing a coalition of the duped. This includes the upper middle class which is not paying enough attention to how things have changed, to less educated people in the lower classes who are easily deceived by GOP propaganda.

I've been fighting a difficult battle in convincing my Republicans friends that the GOP no longer supports their interests. Some recently published data (thanks to Political Animal) might help me present this case. Pay without Performance : The Unfulfilled Promise of Executive Compensation by Lucian Bebchuk and Jesse Fried notes that:

Aggregate top-five compensation was equal to 10 percent of aggregate corporate
earnings in 1998-2002, up from 6 percent of aggregate corporate earnings during
1993-1997 The top five in each corporation receive ten percent of corporate

That's an amazing statistic. Many people in the middle class voted Republican because they dream of making it big. This shows how few people really achieve the Republican dream. The Economist also points out that:

In 1991 the pay of the average American large-company boss was about 140 times
that of the average worker; by last year, it was over 500 times, and growing.
Last year's 7.2% rise in the average American boss's total compensation is worth
over $400,000?nice work, if you can get it.

The increase in compensation (not total pay) was $400,000. If they are making 140 times that of the average worker, they also remain in a league well beyond the typical suburban upper middle class Republican voter. These people, who now control the decisions of the Republicans, do not have the same interests of the typical Republican. As they increasingly use the power of government to transfer wealth from the middle and upper middle classes to themselves, it is time for new battle lines in the "class struggle." The upper middle class now has far more in common with the average working person than with those who dominate the GOP.


Blogger Bob Evans said...

Good information, Ron!

Yesterday, Indy posted a link on DCP ( to an article that points out how Democratic candidates are winning election on issues like this in "red" states and "red" communities:

The Democrats’ Da Vinci Code

From our January 2005 issue: How the path to nirvana is painted right on the 2004 electoral map.

By David J. Sirota

Web Exclusive: 12.08.04

As the Democratic Party goes through its quadrennial self-flagellation process, the same tired old consultants and insiders are once again complaining that Democratic elected officials have no national agenda and no message.

Yet encrypted within the 2004 election map is a clear national economic platform to build a lasting majority. You don’t need Fibonacci’s sequence, a decoder ring, or 3-D glasses to see it. You just need to start asking the right questions.

1:18 PM  

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