Wednesday, September 19, 2012

unless you're poor, in which case education is everything...,


NYTimes | How different would the nation’s politics be if either party, or at least the Democrats, added the concept of economic exploitation to its repertoire?

Not only would doing so risk inflaming the issue of race, but it would put at risk existing sources of campaign finance on which both parties are dependent. The finance-insurance-real estate sector is the single largest source of cash for the Democratic Party, $46.3 million in the current election cycle, and for the Republican Party too, at $67.7 million.

This dependence on moneyed interests effectively precludes exploitation as a theme for either major party to develop. These sources of campaign cash would dry up if they became the target of policies or positions they found threatening.

Even as polarization poses more sharply defined choices to the voter, pressing issues remain off limits. Poverty and hunger have been dropped from the agenda. The range of policy and electoral choices remains confined to what fits comfortably into a world of muted ethical concern, a world in which moral relativism has permeated society not so much from the bottom up, as from the top down.

The unshackling of moneyed interests — in the name of first amendment rights — from restraints on campaign contributions has, in fact, constrained the free speech of the disadvantaged. It empowers those whose goal is to hinder consumer-protection legislation, to forestall more progressive tax rates and to quash populist insurgencies.

This skewing of the odds in favor of the rich comes at a time when the Democratic Party is already inhibited by accusations that it likes to foment “class warfare” and to play “the race card.” The result has been a relentless shift of the political center from left to right. The two most recent Democratic presidents, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, have pursued agendas well within this limited terrain. There is little reason to believe that Obama, if he wins in November, will feel empowered to push out much further into territory the Democrats have virtually abandoned. Fist tap Chauncy de Vega.