Somehow through the rhetoric of the contemporary media machine wealth inequality has turned firmly into red vs. blue issue. What should be a cut and dry argument where an overwhelming majority of the working class people have been shorted for over three decades by those with the most money and subsequent clout to rig the rules for themselves.
What is most striking about the Republican constituency biting on the idea that the wealthy deserve their money and henceforth they deserve to be paid less is that their parents and grandparents would have never settled for such thing. In fact they tirelessly worked and protested via union participation to preserve their rights as workers, and to keep getting a fair share of the wealth they generated for business owners.
Today, it’s astounding to watch the conversation on right wing media paint the argument that wealth inequality is a symptom of mass indolence and entitlement. They play up the angle that somehow it’s the fault of the impoverished that the investor class and executives have more, and somehow the young, minorities, and the downtrodden have brought their failure upon themselves by not working hard enough, when in fact the opposite is true. Americans are putting in more hours now, are more productive, and are more skilled than the prior generation, and have far less to show for it.
I would ascribe attitudes of the baby boomer and older republican constituency to be in part due to their lack of perspective. In their generation, if you put in your time, kept your head down and worked, it would soon pay off. However, now wages for many jobs aren’t close to the equivalent of what starting pay was 30 years ago, and coupled with the cost of living going up substantially beyond standard inflation. Four decades ago it was largely the indolent that were responsible for their lot, because jobs were plentiful, and labor was valuable, however that does not hold true today. The older generations need to understand this, and stop biting on this idea they’re being fed that this is the same world in which they grew up. It isn’t, and the same rules no longer hold true.
The real shame here is this blatant manipulation by right wing media has convinced their audience to actively fight against their ability to have a better life for them and their children, to fight against an opportunity to be less stressed, to have access to education and health care, and to simply have time to enjoy their lives. The left should also do their part to not make this about left vs. right, and try to reach out and make the republican constituency understand this is about greed and corruption at high levels over many years. This is a fight of the proletariat against a plutocracy. This is not an attack on conservative values.