Post title is from Marlon Brando taxi cab scene in 'On the Waterfront' (link below).
7/29/11, "Behind the DC slugfest," Victor Davis Hanson, NR
"The agenda of the poorer and lower-middle classes is championed mostly by an affluent elite located on the two coasts, who find power and influence in representing “the people,” and are themselves either affluent enough, or enjoy enough top government salaries and subsidies, to be largely
- exempt from any hardship that would result from
- their own advocacy
- of much higher taxes and
"...the Democrats’ newfound strength among “knowledge workers.“ These Democrats are relatively well-off and socially liberal."...
4/1/10, "The Obama Coalition," The Atlantic, Edsall
Title of this post is from Marlon Brando in "On the Waterfront" where he tells his big brother he kept him from realizing his potential and much greater success:
"Charlie (Rod Steiger): You coulda been another Billy Conn, and that skunk we got you for a manager, he brought you along too fast.
Terry (Marlon Brando): It wasn't him, Charley, it was you. Remember that night in the Garden you came down to my dressing room and you said, "Kid, this ain't your night.We're going for the price on Wilson." You remember that? "This ain't your night"! My night! I coulda taken Wilson apart! So what happens? He gets the title shot outdoors on the ballpark and what do I get? A one-way ticket to Palooka-ville! You was my brother, Charley, you shoulda looked out for me a little bit. You shoulda taken care of me just a little bit so I wouldn't have to take them dives
- for the short-end money.
Terry: You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it.
- It was you, Charley."...
"On the Waterfront" (1954) dialogue from IMBD
The death of the middle class, long awaited by many.
4/1/10, "The Obama Coalition" 4/1/10. The Atlantic, Edsall
"The ranks of those who identify with either the “haves” or the “have-nots” are swollen, while the number of those seeing themselves as
- in the middle, centrally positioned,
- has declined....
- boosting the ranks of the “have-nots.”
Constituencies strongly supportive of government intervention in the economy to provide a much stronger safety net are expanding. In the 2008 election, three previously-marginalized groups—unmarried women, Latinos, and African Americans—made up 43 percent of the total electorate and just over 62 percent of the voters who backed Obama....
Single women voted by better than two to one for Obama over McCain (70-29 percent). ...
As each of these left-leaning constituencies grows, they transform the Democratic Party....While 16 percent of the entire population received some form of public assistance, the percentage was much higher for the following constituencies: 28 percent for unmarried women, 36 percent for African Americans, and 26 percent for Hispanics....
The potential or even incipient shift in the balance of power from “haves” to “have-nots” is not purely demographic. The shift stems from a combination of economic developments, especially the army of long-term unemployed and stagnant incomes at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder....
In 2009, a key constituency of the liberal coalition, organized labor, reached a critical turning point. Overall, union representation of private sector workers continued to fall to an almost insignificant 7.2 percent, or 7.43 million out of a total workforce of 108.07 million. Conversely, union representation of public sector workers continued to grow, reaching, in 2009, 37.4 percent, or 7.9 million out of 21.31 million employed by government entities at the state, federal, and local level.
While these trends have been in evidence for decades, last year, for the first time, public sector union members outnumbered those in the private sector. The consequences of this shift are profound. A majority of the American labor movement is now directly dependent on tax dollars. In terms of political orientation, these workers can now be described as tax consumers as well as tax payers. For these workers, a tax increase may result in a slightly smaller paycheck but, more importantly, the hike means more money is available to pay for raises and new benefits.
Union representation of public sector workers has, in turn, paid off. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in December, 2009, that the average wage of state and local government employees was $39.83 per hour, $26.24 in salary and $13.60 in benefits. Conversely, private sector employees made an average of $12.34 an hour less, or a total of $27.49 ($19.45 in salary, and $8.05 in benefits).
The strength of the public sector unions is reflected not only in their superior compensation packages, but in the continued superior growth of those pay packages. From the four years between December 2005 and December 2009, total pay (salary and benefits) of private sector workers grew by 10.4 percent while government employees saw their pay rise by 14.1 percent. A 3.7 percent difference may not appear significant, but it translates to the fact that public sector pay is growing 35.6 percent faster than private sector pay. Those who are skilled at computing compound interest can figure out what this would mean over a work life of, say, 45 years.
Public support for labor unions has been plummeting. Pew found that from January, 2007 to February, 2010, the favorability rating of organized labor fell from 58 to 42 percent. Gallup, in turn, found in September 2009 that approval of labor unions had fallen to its lowest level, 48 percent, since the polling firm first asked the question in 1937.
What all these trends—the growing strength of minorities and single women, the conversion of organized labor from private to public sector employees—mean is that the fundamental economic issue in post-Great Depression American politics, the issue that dominated politics from the start of the Great Depression into the mid-1960s, has renewed salience."...
" (Obama) could effect—as promised—the long-awaited transformation of American politics."
Taxi Cab scene, from IMDB
Hanson piece via Instapundit