Thursday, March 06, 2014

Ronald Reagan's Dog Whistle

This short clip describes how Ronald Reagan invented a story... in order to frame a war on black Americans...  which was leveraged into a war on government... for the benefit of Big Business.

The result:  median male American workers have not see a raise in the last 30 years.

Today big business continues to laugh at the "Free Dumbs" who wonder how the economy could have collapsed in 2008, how they could have lost their pensions, and why they have less job security than they once did.

Want more of that?  Then go ahead and drink the Tea Party Koolaid, as you can have all the dog food you want in your old age.


Daniel Winings said...

I would suggest that the political ecosystem may be more complex than your assault on Reagan or the Tea Party would reflect. Your description would appear to take the whole "I blame George Bush" thing to a new level.

Since 1980 we've had 20 years of Republican Presidents to 14 years of Democrats. Oddly my back of the envelop math adds up to both houses of Congress being in control of the Donks 20 years and the Pachyderms 14 years during that same period (These are estimates since 2001 - 2003 was, shall we say, complicated).

That they sprung up after the 2008 election does not mean we should ignore the historical impact of the ideas that have now coalesced and been named "Tea Party" but they, and the people who hold them, strike me as only one part of the broader Pachyderm coalition. Within that coalition they have not always been ascendent and have quite frequently been subservient to other factions.

At most we might blame them for the Gingrich years, but he was fairly effectively neutered, after a fairly entertaining struggle, by Team Clinton.

Your blog and the books you've directed me to have added to my appreciation of the complexity of our natural ecosystems. I would only suggest that in a nation of diverse and fairly equally divided political ideals simple attacks add neither to our understanding of the problems we face nor, going forward, build common ground for facing them in a united fashion.

redhorse said...

Excellent comment, Daniel.

PBurns said...

Daniel, what part of this post are you referring to? The post is pretty short and does not address who has been running the country in the last 30 years - clearly two parties. It does addresses how an IDEA was sold. Your analysis is somewhat flawed as it fails to give the slightest nod to the fact that in a closely-held two-party system (what we have) it does not take too much corporate payola to pull the needed votes on to one side of the equation or the other. That is done routinely on Capitol Hill. In fact, it has been the core business of politics for the last 50 years.

As for the Tea Party, I live and work in the Nation's Capitol, and my office building was next door to Dick Armey's "Freedom Works" which created the Tea Party and was entirely funded by big corporate donors whose modus operandi was to manipulate small minded small town people into supporting big business tax cuts and deregulation. The story of how Dick Armey was forced out and paid off with $8 million AFTER he showed up with a gun, is told here >> To read more about the shady beginnings and
continuing payola politics of Freedom Works, read this >>

PBurns said...

A little more here, in which I am interviewed for a documentary on the "Washington Influence Industry". >>

Daniel Winings said...

I am most confident in my skepticism. The economy is a complex system, an emergent order, with many interacting parts many, more likely most, are not observed.

Consequently, laying a big statistic (wage of the median male American workers) which may or may not be informative (quality of goods and benefits of increased efficiencies are not quantified) on the head of a man out of office for 26 of those thirty years suggests, in my mind, an oversimplification.

What we can know, or might know, and should try to address are smaller pieces of the whole. Even then, a degree of humility should be brought to the table both in our assessment and our prescriptions. We will have to stumble around in the dark a while before we find some light.

So does the "Second Machine Age" (the PC and robotics would appear to me to be more responsible for stagnating wages than Reagan or the Tea Party) bring with it a set of problems to the issue of human thriving? Yes, but also opportunities.

The thriving of wildlife with the rise of conservation efforts did not lie in returning North America to an aboriginal state; likewise i doubt our future thriving will be found by returning to the big state, union shop model of FDR - Carter.

As far as how we got where we are, I think there is enough blame to go around. In my home (I am somewhere in the Classical Liberal - libertarian camp) I have considered instituting a holiday where we burn Tom Delay in effigy; but focusing on the past may be personally cathartic it can make more difficult the building of relationships and community necessary to make a better future.

The way forward, in my vision, is not to storm the castle where both parties and their monied interests are holed up, but to not let them dictate how I interact with my Tea Party or OWS neighbor. We can disagree without being disagreeable. Then, in humility, we can find a pragmatic way forward on specific issues without the crusade/counter-crusade of dueling meta-narratives.

PBurns said...

I am SURE you are "confident of your skepticism." Not even sure what that means.

The good news is that there are real experts on history, politics, wages and employment structure for the world to look up.

You have vectored off into so many tangents here, I am not quite sure what your thread is other than to say it is all very complex and very confusing and that you are struggling to put a lot of very divergent threads together into a tapestry that makes sense to you. Fair enough. This piece, however, is about FRAMING. How frames are presented and then those frames form policy. Basic stuff.

Daniel Winings said...

My point being, if it were "basic stuff," then the nation would not be so divided and claims to simplicity should be met with skepticism.

PBurns said...

More dog whistling from racists, this time the guy who wanted to be VP in the last election cycle >>