A political movement fueled by resentment of “elites” is elitism’s best friend. Bob Herbert writes,
One of the reasons so many conservative Republican absurdities became actual U.S. policy was the intellectual veneer slapped upon them by right-wing think tanks and commentators. The grossest nonsense was made to seem plausible to a lot of people â€” people who wanted to believe in a free lunch. When Mr. Reagan told the country that â€œgovernment is the problem,â€ the intellectual handmaidens of the corporate and financial elite were right there to explain in exhaustive detail why that was so.
The result, in addition to the terrible consequences of Iraq and Afghanistan and the damage to Americaâ€™s standing in the world, was the tremendous (and tremendously debilitating) transfer of wealth from working people in the U.S. to the folks already in the upper echelons of wealth and income. The elite made out like bandits â€” often literally.
But, hey, at least we’re not those squishy socialist Europeans, right? See also Frank Rich.
Update: Via Ron Beasley, See Thom Hartmann’s “Two Santa Clauses or How The Republican Party Has Conned America for Thirty Years.”
But Wanniski had been doing his homework on how to sell supply-side economics. In 1976, he rolled out to the hard-right insiders in the Republican Party his “Two Santa Clauses” theory, which would enable the Republicans to take power in America for the next thirty years.
Democrats, he said, had been able to be “Santa Clauses” by giving people things from the largesse of the federal government. Republicans could do that, too â€“ spending could actually increase. Plus, Republicans could be double Santa Clauses by cutting people’s taxes! For working people it would only be a small token â€“ a few hundred dollars a year on average â€“ but would be heavily marketed. And for the rich it would amount to hundreds of billions of dollars in tax cuts. The rich, in turn, would use that money to import or build more stuff to market, thus increasing supply and stimulating the economy. And that growth in the economy would mean that the people still paying taxes would pay more because they were earning more.
There was no way, Wanniski said, that the Democrats could ever win again. They’d have to be anti-Santas by raising taxes, or anti-Santas by cutting spending. Either one would lose them elections.
Be sure to read the whole thing.