A good one sentence summary of contemporary American from E. J. Dionne:
The American ruling class is failing us — and itself.
An enlightened ruling class understands that it can get richer and its riches will be more secure if prosperity is broadly shared, if government is investing in productive projects that lift the whole society and if social mobility allows some circulation of the elites. A ruling class closed to new talent doesn’t remain a ruling class for long.
I believe that the health of the American economy depends on the health of the American middle-class. I don’t mean this philosophically, I believe that historical data shows this to be true in reality.
The American ruling class does not believe this. They believe that the American middle-class are lazy, worthless rubes, strapping young bucks buying big screen tvs with their ill-begotten union wages and gubmint hand-outs.
The ruling class is deserving because it creates jobs. If they don’t create jobs here, they create them for the Chinese, who are harder-working anyway. The members of the ruling class who don’t create jobs — media elites, trust fund babies — are deserving because they have higher IQs, which is all that matters in a Bell Curve world. If they don’t have higher IQs, they did better on those all-important marshmallow tests Bobo is always blabbering about. Failing all of that, they have a better primal scent than plebes like you and me. Even if they’re not deserving or genetically superior at all, that doesn’t matter, because they can get their kids into good colleges and high-paying jobs, so there’s no chance that any of their descendants will ever be middle-class. It’s Luke Russert’s world, we’re just living in it.
If you follow this to its logical conclusion, there is no reason for the ruling class to support policies that help the American middle-class. They don’t believe that their own financial well-being is related to that of the middle-class. They don’t believe that the middle-class deserves anything. They don’t believe that anyone important to them will ever be in the middle-class.
So why support Medicare, Social Security, progressive taxation etc.? There’s no reason to, none at all. To the contrary, those things are all drags on your own income.
It’s not just that the desires of the ruling class have become delinked from the desires of the middle-class. The desires of the ruling class are now in direct opposition to those of the middle-class. There’s a class war going on, it’s that simple.