HopeTracker | We join a long list of perplexed readers trying to understand what David Brooks is thinking, writing Ben Franklin’s Nation in his NYTimes op ed piece. The always intelligent Brooks makes a significant argument that American can no longer measure its stature in the world by ‘top dog’, with the development of a burgeoning global middle class.
It’s our middle class values that have won the global economy day, argues Brooks.
Nowhere in this op ed piece does Brooks acknowledge that middle class values may be strong in America, but our own middle class is in danger of extinction. The financial realities of America are that we are moving faster to be a two-class society than most nations of the world.
The redistribution of wealth in America in the last decades is profound. In the 1950s, the richest 20 percent of Americans controlled 42.8 percent of the wealth. Today the richest 20 percent controls about 85-93 percent of the wealth, based on 2007 statistics and whether one is looking at total net worth (85%) or financial wealth (93%).
All we hear is that the rich pay too much in taxes, while we embrace the argument that lower taxes create jobs, when in the last 10 years they haven’t. Enough rhetoric. Let’s get down to reality. Let Conservatives get out the old economic blackboard and clearly demonstrate how giving the rich yet another tax break will help the country, based on statistics, not rhetoric.
I am clueless at this point. We are a nation of slogans and flag wavers, but not one focused on the economic realities of how America has changed in the last 60 years. Brooks calls this progress. I do not.
We expect a fine mind like David Brooks, a centrist Conservative with values we respect, to address this reality of American economic life, when he is discussing the future of America. Anne