Washblog

Wealth vs Democracy

I've recently read The Quiet Coup and There Was a Class War. The Rich Won. I'm reminded of Kevin Phillips' book Wealth and Democracy. Among other things, I learned:

  • war (profiteering), deficit spending, and deregulation make select people very rich
  • the middle class was explicitly created, as social policy to boost democracy, and not the result of capitalism
  • the United States has had a populist revolt every 60 years

In 2006, Phillips was in town on a book tour. During the Q & A, I noted that we are overdue for our scheduled populist revolt, and asked if he thought it was eminent. Phillips' shocking answer:

Not any time soon. It won't happen so long as the money people are in charge.

Sure, we're all disappointed by the Obama Administration's impotence against Wall Street. Sure, the budget coming out of Olympia is hard to accept.

But I gotta say, I'm not mad. I heard Phillips' warning. I expected this.

The problem isn't Obama, or any other person. The problem is the structure of our political system. And it's our job to fix it.

Alas, I don't have any advice for others. For my part, I'm focusing on election reform and election integrity issues.

< King County gubernatorial results, by LD | 1 Percent Income Tax Proposed for Washington Millionaires: SB 6147 >
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An Italian friend, quoting the journalist Michele Salvati, recently asked me if I thought Obama would be more like Roosevelt, a President of  change ("svolta"), or more like Clinton, a President of continuity. My friend was speaking specifically of the huge inequality in the distribution of wealth.

I think the answer is that we don't know yet. We will see. Obama can't do it by himself. At some point populist anger has to be channeled into populist action.

by DWE on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 07:30:28 PM PST

* 1 none 0 *


So now I will rant.  Is anyone going to mount a campaign for income taxes in Washington State?  All these advocacy groups happy or sad because they got two crumbs versus none, when our spending on the HUMAN capital is behind many other states and has been since before this crisis.  More lives are at stake.  

The way to deal with the crisis is to invest in people. To money in the pockets of people who will use it, not squirel it away. We cannot do that while we are a tax haven for millionares.

This discussion happened at Adam Kline's meeting last weekend.  The scenario is being discussed on Pubicola as a theory that the legislature is giving everyone the bad news so that there will be a willingness to vote for taxes.  We need to create that groundswell.  And it has to be outside of Seattle.

by ktkeller on Tue Mar 31, 2009 at 10:09:51 PM PST

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  • Tax Reform by zappini, 03/31/2009 11:58:34 PM PST (none / 0)
  • Kline Said by ktkeller, 04/01/2009 01:10:04 AM PST (none / 0)
  • And yet, by DWE, 04/01/2009 07:25:34 AM PST (none / 0)
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