Monday, February 1, 2016

The Reverse New Deal: Rich Democrats Hurting Poor Democrats

Above: WPA laborers having a meal on a work boat. These men helped create the Delta National Wildlife Refuge. When the unemployed needed work, New Deal policymakers created programs like the CCC and WPA. Today, Corporate Democrats would never propose such a thing - their interest lies more in protecting their wealth and serving their Wall Street backers. Indeed, today's Corporate Democrats have become the "Organized Money" that FDR so disliked. Photo courtesy of the National Archives and the New Deal Network.
 
Lately, I've been seeing a lot of rich Democrats promoting Hillary Clinton and/or belittling Bernie Sanders and his supporters. Paul Krugman wrote a piece about Sanders' supporters being impractical and starry-eyed; rich celebrities have written about their love for Clinton; the corporate Democrats of the "Third Way" have been spreading lies about Sanders' policy proposals; and billionaire George Soros has just pumped up Clinton's run for the presidency with $8 million dollars.

These rich Democrats must surely know that Clinton is militaristic, voted to make bankruptcy harder for struggling Americans, doesn't want to reinstate Glass-Steagall to keep the big banks from gambling with taxpayer-backed money, is not interested in expanding Social Security (despite the nation's ever-growing retirement crisis, i.e., poverty), and is receiving gobs of money from Wall Street - a Wall Street that has recently engaged in massive amounts of mortgage & securities fraud, money laundering, illegal tax evasion, manipulating the world's interest rates & currency, and so on. In fact, there can be little doubt that much of Clinton's funding (and speaking fee income) is the product of fraud and criminal activity. (See "$128 Billion In Bank Fines, In One Chart," Huffington Post, August 8, 2014.)

Whether Clinton's rich Democrats know it or not, they are hurting poor Democrats. Are they doing this to protect their own private fortunes from increased taxation, or are they just oblivious to the death of the American Dream for so many? Is it the desire to see the first woman elected president? If so, I would say, "but can't we wait a little longer, for an Elizabeth Warren-type candidate? You know... someone who will actually work hard for the middle-class & poor, as opposed to just saying it because the other candidate is saying it?"

During the New Deal, the Democratic Party began to help the poor with great energy. The WPA hired the unemployed, the Rural Electrification Administration powered up rural communities, the Securities and Exchange Commission demanded more information be given to small investors, the worst aspects of child labor were gotten rid of, African Americans were given more opportunities, etc. It was the beginning of a great shift in attitude that would, over time, motivate racist Southern Democrats to peel away from the Democratic Party and join the Republican Party.

Today, Bernie Sanders offers hope for change - hope for people who have little or no representation in the federal government; people who have been, in effect, excommunicated from the political process. As Dr. Brian Leiter of the University of Chicago puts it: "Sanders embraces the old Roosevelt consensus with a vengeance, and echoes Roosevelt's own campaign against 'government by organized money,' a power which, as Roosevelt famously said in 1936, was 'unanimous in their hatred' of him--to which Roosevelt famously replied: 'I welcome their hatred.' The Clintons, with their long track record of commitment to the Reagan consensus, could never be as bold as FDR, which explains, of course, why they too are beloved by 'organized money'..."

Rich Democrats are now part of "Organized Money." And they remind me of why I left the Democratic Party halfway through the Obama presidency. They offer little hope - just continued plutocracy, continued white collar crime, and continued mass poverty. Welcome to the Reverse New Deal: Rich democrats hurting poor democrats.

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