Gingrich promises that we’re going back to the Gilded Age, and for once, his unctuous boasts are justified.
(Sorry for the lack of posts over the holiday. Have been largely unplugged, and have had some routine-disrupting work transitions. Getting back into it fulltime next week.)
Off-blog, I’ve been having some interesting discussions with friends about how much Trump actually believes, how much of a worldview he has. The argument that he has one is that it is too much of a coincidence that he’s managed to pick the hardest-right and most morally unacceptable people for essentially every position save for SecDef. I personally feel it is more a product of his entire outlook being ego and grudge, and having smart people around him who can manipulate that to get what they want (essentially: this’ll really piss off the liberals and the snooty NYTimes, boss. Won’t that be great?).
But the consistency of his selections may prove me wrong, and it is something I’m trying to work out. However, to some extent, it doesn’t matter. Whether this is all Trump’s design, or whether he is so intellectually checked-out that the beheaders have all the power, kind of doesn’t matter. We’re going to get a government that looks like Newt Gingrich’s speech to the Heritage Foundation in December.
Referring to this specific moment in history, when Republicans are about to take control of all three branches of government, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told an audience at the Heritage Foundation that “this is the third great effort to break out of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt model.”
The first, see, was Reagan in 1980, and the second was the Gingrich Revolution in 1994. His placing himself as a great man of history is par for the course, but in this case it was accurate: the ’94 victory helped push Clinton even further to the right, and solidified the consensus that “the era of big government is over.”
So this is the goal that Newt has for Trump, and based on every relevant appointment, it’s one that they’ll be able to accomplish, as it lines up perfectly with Paul Ryan’s main goals of dismantling the social safety net, rolling back the “entitlement state”, and ending union power for good.
So what are these Rooseveltian horrors our leaders are fighting, and have been fighting since 1980? Well, there is income equality.
Or, to start the chart at, say, 1979:
Let’s look at a few more. The rest of these stats are from the EPI, and their “Top Charts of 2016” (but I am unable to paste the graphs here).
- Productivity has gone up 62.7%, while hourly median wages for white and black men have decreased by 3.1% and 7.2%, respectively.
- Non-union workers have paychecks that are anywhere between $13 (for women) and $52 (for men) less a week than if they had kept their unions.
- Salaried workers guaranteed overtime pay has dropped from 12.6% to 3.5%
All of these assaults will continue, and increase. The policies that have, in part, destroyed the white working class will be enshrined. The policies that have decimated the black working class will be ramped up (along with an assault on other basic civil right). Even if Trump somehow “brings back the jobs”, his administration is poised to destroy unions and facilitate the “Race to the bottom” where every worker should be thrilled they have a job, regardless of how low it pays or how dangerous it is.
You know when we had American jobs in America? The 1800s and the early 1900s. Sure, workers were constantly being killed and owed their soul to the company store, but so what? They were working, dammit. And yes, there were American jobs in America after Roosevelt, and sure, we created a thriving middle class during a time period that every Republican pretends to long for, before beatniks and LBJs ruined it, but let’s ignore that period. That’s somehow wrong and un-American.
So we’re not going back to that. We’re proudly and chest-thumpingly running back to Upton Sinclair’s world. I don’t know if this is Trump’s ideology. I don’t know if he’s smart enough to understand the vast disconnect in what he says (jobs!) and what is going to happen (jobs, maybe, but no comfort or stability or dignity for workers). In the end it almost doesn’t matter. Three million more people voted for a progressive candidate, but we’re heading backwards in time.