A Democratic Party Realignment is Underway

Most in our media are talking about the coming blue wave in November. It is going to happen, because there is anger against Donald Trump. This election has been nationalized, and has become a referendum on this presidency. Off year elections see these kinds of waves on a regular basis. 2006, and 2010 are two recent examples., The question now is just how deep the shellacking will be.

There is an aspect of this dynamic that the media is avoiding. This is the now obvious realignment of the Democratic Party. When they do, it is in the midst of some fine red baiting. Many in the professional commentariat are part of the right wing in the country, and they are painting many of these young Democrats as radicals. However, they rather avoid the whole discussion on what these young people are running on. They prefer to say they are part of the far left, and that the party is drifting dangerously to the left. This avoids the whole discussion of what these young Democrats are running on.

Ayanna Presley’s victory is yet another sign of that realignment. She is young and she is progressive. She upset a ten term incumbent: Micahel Capuano. Granted, Capuano is also a progressive. So the argument has been made that this is just a generational shift. In that particular district this may very well be true. However, it is more than just a new generation taking power from older politicians. This means the party is about to have a heart to heart with itself and what it wants to be when it grows up.

We are going to continue hearing the term far left for a while. This is part of a fear campaign that works with the over forty crowd, but those using it forget that the bellow forty does not care much for these tactics. Moreover, candidates are running on progressive policies, such as health care for all, or free, or almost free college, are advocating moderate policies. None of what they demand is out of any political norm. These are things that are quite standard around the world. It is not as if they were proposing policies that nobody has ever heard off, or even implemented. One line often heard is that they like socialism because they have never lived under it. True, but these young people are not thinking the Soviet Union, which is what this fear tactic is all about. They are thinking Sweden or Norway, which are hardly failed states, or hobble places to live in.

However, these policies are radical in the United States, because of how far to the radical right, our politics have drifted to. It is to the point that the political class advocates for the lowest tax rate in seventy years, while also promoting the reduction, and ultimate elimination of the meager safety net. We have even had Speaker Paul Ryan tell us that social security is the reason for the deficit he was warned about.

Ryan could not be cleaner than this:

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday that congressional Republicans will aim next year to reduce spending on both federal health care and anti-poverty programs, citing the need to reduce America’s deficit.

“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit,” Ryan said during an appearance on Ross Kaminsky’s talk radio show. “… Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt, so we spend more time on the health care entitlements — because that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”

Cutting these programs, which are seen as socialist, and even Communist, by the far right, is a holy grail. It has been since the New Deal was enacted. It was socialist, even communist, Powerful forces have fought against these programs for decades. Tax cuts is one way to get there. Americans have been trained for a couple generations to not just distrust the government, but also to distrust taxation. In particular to hate progressive taxation that forces the very wealthy to pay their fair share. Propaganda has taught generations of Americans that this is theft, pure and simple. So here we are, at a moment when saving Social Security means privatizing the program.

One thing these young politicians will have to deal with is the out of control deficit created by Republican fiscal policies. So Democrats, once they take power, will have to raise taxes. This is at this point and old song and dance, and they will be blamed for it. After all, what good are taxes for, and they are tax and spend liberals. Why is this effective? Because Democrats do not like taxes either, at least one faction of the party. My advise to your young office holders, start educating your constituents on what those taxes pay for. It is not just new fighter jets, or even Social Security. People need to point to local roads that are fixed with federal dollars, meaning the local interstate. They also need to point out to the severe state of disrepair of these roads, and the bridges on them. In fact, it is a rolling disaster, and we will see more bridges collapse as years pass. They need to be fixed, and that costs money. They cannot be paid for with pixie dust.

It is harder to explain how federal money matters in things like the Centers for Disease Control, or for that matter how NASA research benefits us all. The CDC is essential to monitor disease, and to act when pandemics break out. They also are essential in helping to set public health policy. NASA, if you use a Teflon skillet, you are using a product of the space program. Your computer is in very direct ways also a product of the space program. It was that program that encouraged the faster development of these things, And every time you use your GPS, you are using NASA satellites, incidentally they need to be replaced.

But if we are to defend taxation, we must assume Americans are toddlers who do not know any of this. None has cared to reach Americans where the money goes in over two generations. This also means, I do not expect many of our newly minted representatives to know much of this either. They are a product of their age. So they will have to burn the midnight oil to learn how fiscal policy comes to be, and the consequences of both bad and good policy.

So here are some of the things that the federal budget pays for, and increasingly will not be able to. It is simply hard to pay for things beyond very essential things, like national defense, if there is no money,. These out of control deficits are by design.

  • Healthcare, in many forms. These range from Medicaid, to Medicare to the children health care programs.
  • Education: The Budget funds some limited primary, secondary, but in particular university programs.
  • Basic Research.
  • Infrastructure
  • Foreign Affairs (A really tiny sliver of the budget)
  • Energy, and environment
  • Housing
  • Food and agriculture programs.
  • Veteran Services

Realize, most of these programs are discretionary. This means that we can increase or decrease how much we spend in them every year. Social Security and Medicare are not discretionary. Meaning, the spending on these is set before everything else is discussed.

The only way to default on these non-discretionary programs, Social Security and Medicare, is to bring the country as close to default as possible. If we go bankrupt, then we can finally cut off, or greatly reduce these programs. Or better yet, do what they have tried to do for years. We can privatize them. This is the kind of nuts and bolts that new representatives will have to educate themselves in.

The consequences of the recklessness of current tax policies could be severe. They may even include a default on debts, and a depression. Whoever is in power at that moment will get the blame. Never mind that the seeds of that are clear to those of us who follow these events as closely as we can.

We need programs that will stimulate the economy. And yes, we hear the economy is doing fantastic, and it is if you are in the upper reaches of the economy. The top earners in the country are doing fine because they are getting great benefits from this fiscal policy, as well company earnings, However, middle and working class has not seen an increase in their pay for years. (When one accounts for inflation)

Some of these policies include colleges that are mostly free, because young people coming out of school with $37,172 in debt means they cannot afford a new house. They also cannot afford a car, nor can they afford rent in places like San Diego. In order to serve that debt, at times they have no choice but to go into fields that are profitable, but not necessary what they wanted to do. It is very obvious with medical school, where medical students choose well earning specialities instead of things like family medicine. This leads to an imbalance, and a lack of primary care and family doctors. And the total amount of debt is $1.5 trillion dollars, This is money that is speculative, and away from any ability to buy and consume.

Incidentally, this is one of the top issues for younger voters, because they can’t make it in this economy. They are starting out of the gate handicapped.

Historian by training. Former day to day reporter. Sometimes a geek who enjoys a good miniatures game.

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