Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich has a plan for Democrats to become relevant again: reverse the decades-long tax and economic polices that have seen an overwhelming amount of the nation's wealth and political power handed over to the nation's super wealthy.
These policies not only mean more wealth races to the top: they have anti-government political impacts as well.
Then came the Great Recession — and with it, lower tax revenues. That means all levels of government are squeezed. Obviously, the middle class can't pay more in taxes. But because the Democrats seem to lack the intestinal fortitude to suggest the obvious – that taxes need to be raised on the super rich — we're left with a mess.
Teachers are being fired, Pell grants for the poor are being slashed, energy assistance for the needy is disappearing, other vital public services shriveling. Regulatory agencies don't have the budgets to pay the people they need to enforce the law. Even if it wanted to the Securities and Exchange Commission couldn't police Wall Street.
All of which is precisely where Republicans want the nation to be. It sets them up perfectly to blame government, blame public employees, blame unionized workers. It lets them pit workers against one another, divide the Democratic base, and promote the false idea that we're in a giant zero-sum game and the nation can't afford to do more.