Let’s not beat around. Barack Obama was wrong. There are two Americas. Not red states and blue states or racial divides of Black and White. The two Americas are 1) the rich and 2) everyone else.
This is the subject that should be discussed and debated in the next presidential election. Even before that date the subject of the declining size of the middle class and the growing numbers of poor should be discussed by every candidate in both political parties.
Mario Cuomo, the just deceased former governor of New York State, speaking at the 1984 Democratic convention in San Francisco told us the truth about America. Unfortunately the things he said are even truer today.
“While the press and politicos would thrill to the speech’s metaphors about the ‘Tale of Two Cities’ and wagon trains heading west, Cuomo himself would note years later that the part of the speech that ordinary people mentioned to him more than any other by far was the moving description of his family’s immigrant experience” 1 which matches a story that many immigrants to America can tell.
So here we sit at the beginning of 2015 with 30% of the unemployed still looking for work for more than half a year. Many people have been unemployed for years rather than months. Considering those that are “marginally attached to the work force” the unemployment rate is over 11%. These are numbers from the last (November 2014) Labor Department report.
Some are whining that half of the population pay no income taxes. Are they upset that their pay is so low or that the burden is too high for the nation’s wealthy population? That there is a population that receives special treatment for their dividend and interest earnings? The wealthy are taxed at a lower rate than the family that works for their income. There are wealthy that pay no income tax because they own nothing but municipal bonds.
Will Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, or any of the other candidates discuss the great economic divide that haunts this nation? My guess is that this is a subject that won’t be discussed. The reason is quite simple. No one wants to alienate their backers who are mostly the very rich.
So what will they discuss and debate? Iran, Iraq, ISIS, Cuba, immigration, taxes, education and everything else you can imagine. There won’t be one word spoken about America’s economic divide.
1 Andrei Cherny, “The legacy of Mario Cuomo’s 1984 ‘Tale of Two Cities’ speech”, Yahoo News