Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich stated last week that, while a national unemployment figure of roughly 10 percent nationally is alarming enough, the figure is better than double that figure for those Americans without college degrees.
While America stands at a dangerous crossroad with a disparity between the super rich and the rest of Americans having reached the level at which revolutions occur, we see a situation where Rand Paul is elected to the senate in Kentucky, then promptly declares himself to be an advocate of the rich. He states that they create jobs and as a result Americans should be kinder to them.
Paul's senior colleague from Kentucky, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, recently appeared on "Meet the Press" and needed to be schooled by the program's host, David Gregory, on what constitutes a tax increase. McConnell posited the idea that if a tax cut that those Americans making over $250,000 per year and up is not extended that the result is a tax increase being imposed during a turbulent economic period.
Gregory refused to let McConnell off the hook. He pointed out the difference between the lapse of a tax cut and a tax increase. The removal of a tax cut, while increasing the tax burden of the payer, encompasses what a person would have been paying but for the lessened amount. Hence, removing a tax cut means that a former decreased status has been removed and the obligation level that would have otherwise been payable is now in vogue.
In Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, who made an unsupportable statement about headless bodies in the desert as part of a Mexican immigrant bashing election year strategy, has converted the previously baseless Republican allegation about death panels being a part of Obama health care legislation into truth under current Arizona law. Organ transplants, without which patients will die, were under an Arizona law supported by Brewer listed as an option rather than a necessity as a means of saving money.
Meanwhile, with corporate profits up and bonuses in vogue, at the same time that patients are put at death's door and Republicans balk at the extension of unemployment benefits, in the other America vanity cosmetic surgery is up, as are, one would imagine, poodle pedicures in upscale locations.
While it has been revealed that Marie Antoinette never made the comment attributed to her regarding the hunger of eighteenth century Parisians of "Let them eat cake!" the fact that the misattribution lasted so long is indicative of sensitivity that reached the boiling point. This in turn was followed by bloody revolution.
The tragedy of revolution by the supremely angry is that it does not know where to stop. Charles Dickens revealed this point movingly in "A Tale of Two Cities" and Edmund Burke, the father of conservatism, wrote about it eloquently in "Reflections on the Revolution in France."
What was the singular act of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt that halted potential revolution during the Great Depression? It was his dismantling of trickle down economics, which was the hallmark of earlier Republican administrations.
Roosevelt was a pragmatist and a leader of action. Meanwhile a later breed of Democrats speak of compromise in this critical area to move a current process forward.
This surrender in the name of compromise would ultimately push more Americans into the ranks of poverty while the haves would enjoy ever expanding luxury levels at the expense of society's have nots.