May 2, 2006

TOO FEW TO MATTER AND IT'S THE GOP THAT SERVES THEIR INTERESTS:

The Trouble With Class-Interest Populism (Stephen Rose, April 25, 2006, Progressive Policy Institute)

Editor's Note: In this paper, labor economist Stephen Rose uses income and employment data to show why Democrats have failed to build a majority coalition using class warfare themes. Rose's analysis finds that less than one-quarter of "prime-age" U.S. workers (adults between 26 and 59 years old) can rightly be characterized as having a direct, class-based interest in the policies most commonly associated with the Democratic Party, such as social safety net programs for the poor and strict business regulations.

Rose also argues that "class-interest populists" like Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas?, "cling to an outdated concept of workers' interests -- a holdover from the New Deal-to-Great Society era, when a large blue-collar class was fighting for a fair share of the industrial economy's rewards. Today, most people work in offices or high-end service jobs, and they believe their economic interests are more closely aligned with the companies they work for."

Rose's conclusion is not that Democrats should abandon the interests of the poor or working families who are struggling to get by in today's tumultuous economy. Instead, he argues that the party needs to modernize its economic and social programs so that it speaks to the aspirations of a larger constituency -- the working poor, America's broad middle-class, and people in long-term economic distress.


Note that he offers no ideas about how to help that quarter develop wealth, because the ideas are the President's--health and retirement savings accounts that the individual would own.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 2, 2006 8:15 AM
Comments

If class-interest populism was going to work William Jennings Brayn would have been president.
Americans really aren't interested in it.

Posted by: Mikey at May 2, 2006 9:20 AM

The Republicans want to redirect all of my money into Wall Street; the Democrats want to redirect all my money to the social service parasites (not the actual poor people). I guess that makes the Republicans preferable.

Posted by: ted welter at May 3, 2006 11:08 AM
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