Two quick hits.
Oklahoma stands out for the velocity with which districts have turned to a shorter school week in the past several years, one of the most visible signs of a budget crisis that has also shuttered rural hospitals, led to overcrowded prisons and forced state troopers to abide by a 100-mile daily driving limit.
Democrats helped pass bipartisan income tax cuts from 2004 to 2008. Republicans — who have controlled the legislature since 2009 and governorship since 2011 — have cut income taxes further and also significantly lowered taxes on oil and gas production.
“The problems facing Oklahoma are our own doing. There’s not some outside force that is causing our schools not to be able to stay open,” said state Sen. John Sparks, the chamber’s top Democrat. “These are all the result of a bad public policy and a lack of public-sector investment.”
@matthewstoller Thus, they think there is a trade-off between growth and fairness and cannot articulate an economic story distinct from R’s except with pity
— Nick Hanauer (@NickHanauer) May 26, 2017
I’ve been thinking about the latter since first reading it, because it articulates so perfectly what we’ve lost in the last 60 years (lost, never forget, at the hands of racist rich men who found the GOP eager to provide a political “philosophy” to sell their hate and selfishness). We’ve lost not the idea of kindness but the ability to clearly articulate the benefits of community. Not that helping others is some abstract good for which we will be rewarded in heaven, but that it directly benefits us right now today.
White Male America didn’t succeed in the 1950s as a result of keeping black men and women down. White Male America succeeded because of public policies designed to enhance the lives of many. The GI Bill, robust and widespread public schooling, infrastructure improvements that started before WWII and affordable public college provided by land grant universities all lifted vastly more people than tax cuts ever would have. Wild amounts of government spending, union jobs, pensions, and honest-to-god public assistance without ponderous and intrusive means-testing bullshit, all provided a framework for everyone to succeed.
And then a bunch of people came along and said this can’t continue, because it’s starting to benefit black and brown people, and if they win you lose. If you talk about the collective good you’re a commie. If you want to be fairly paid you’re a feminazi. If you criticize foreign wars you’re an egghead elitist SJW coastal fifth columnist who loves terrorism and hates America. If you’re different in any way, you’re a threat.
Who did that? Who’s responsible? Who sold that line, and who bought it? We still can’t identify the perpetrators in public. We talk all day long about how “Washington” is “broken,” how “politics” is “broken.” We talk about “the age of Trump” like it’s a tornado that just descended from the clouds. Someone MADE US THIS WAY and made money from it, and we can’t even bring ourselves to name the force that did it.
If Democrats are going to articulate a policy that is about helping ourselves, instead of helping “others,” because of course they’re the same thing, then they need to get real about what they’re fighting and why. A return to New Deal/Great Society rhetoric isn’t going to cut it in the face of the GOP puke funnel. I don’t think the concept of pity is the main problem here.