Conservatives Use the Term "Liberal Elite" to Hide Their Disdain for the Working Class



These days, Republicans' favorite attack line is that Democrats represent the "liberal elite." By that, they mean that liberals are part of a coastal-based intelligentsia that is out of touch with the real needs of the people they claim to empower. Conservatives like Tucker Carlson, and Fox News generally, have created a distorted caricature of an upper-middle-class, highly educated elite working in the media, technology, entertainment, and academia that live in gated communities. They seek to convince working-class Americans that this "liberal elite', is out of touch with the struggles of the working poor and middle class.


Unfortunately, their argument is buoyed by some on the far left who spend more time discussing gender pronouns, the "green new deal,' and defunding the police than on the day-to-day needs of middle America. That group represents a small but vocal part of the Democratic Party, but they don't shape the Party's policy agenda at the state or federal level. You wouldn't know that, however, if you listen to Fox News or Republicans in Congress who focus on the extremes rather than the actual legislation proposed by the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress.


In contrast to this caricature, Republicans have tried to convince voters that they have reformed to become the party of the blue-collar working class. It's farcical, of course, but Donald Trump and his fellow travelers have pulled it off by focusing on divisive cultural war issues like critical race theory, abortion, immigration, and LGBT rights, rather than economic policies that would actually empower working Americans. They use the culture war issues to divert attention away from their refusal to enact policies to address the nation's growing income inequality or the needs of struggling families.


The reality is that Republicans continue to block Democratic initiatives to increase access to higher education, hike the minimum wage, tax the wealthiest Americans, and enact policies to bring down the cost of healthcare and life-saving prescription drugs. The GOP's entire economic platform is built on the wacky, self-serving notion that tax cuts for the wealthy will eventually trickle down to the masses. As we have demonstrated before, such initiatives don't help the middle class; they simply further exacerbate income inequality.


All of this came to mind recently while reading a new study released by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS). They found that the wage gap between chief executive officers [CEOs] and workers at many low-wage US companies grew even wider last year, with CEOs making an average of $10.6 million, while the median worker received $23,968.

Guardian: "A study of 300 top US companies released by the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) on Tuesday found the average gap between CEO and median worker pay jumped to 670-to-1 (meaning the average CEO received $670 in compensation for every $1 the worker received). The ratio was up from 604-to-1 in 2020. Forty-nine firms had ratios above 1,000-to-1."

And, at more than a third of the companies they surveyed, IPS found that median worker pay didn't even keep pace with inflation.


The recent jump in pay for corporate executives is directly tied to former President Donald Trump's sole legislative accomplishment in office; the largest corporate tax cut in history. When Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress passed that bill in 2017 they promised that corporations would use their newfound wealth to increase the salaries of average workers. Boy, was that a con job.


A few companies gave one-time bonuses to employees at the end of 2017, but that's not where the vast majority of the tax cut money went. Investors and company executives got most of it through increased stock dividends and stock buybacks.


Stock buybacks enrich wealthy investors, but do almost nothing to boost the economy or assist blue-collar workers who own very little stock. And, these buybacks are great news for executives at these companies whose compensation is tied to the stock price because it makes their stock more valuable.


Republicans' corporate tax cut did exactly what they knew it would do; it further enriched the wealthy and had little or no impact on average workers' wages. If Americans want to know who the GOP represents don't listen to their blather about representing the interests of blue-collar workers; look at what they do when they actually gain power.


#economics #politics

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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