Middle Class

The First Shots in the Climate Wars

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In launching their now successful protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s gas hike, the French gilets jaunes (yellow jackets) have revived their country’s reputation for rebelling against monarchial rule. It may well foreshadow a bitter, albeit largely avoidable, battle over how to address the issue of climate change.  read more »

The Benefits of Homeownership Mean We Should Still Believe in the American Dream

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In 2004, President George W. Bush announced the aim of promoting a broader “Ownership Society,” in which more Americans could benefit from owning a home, retirement accounts, and other financial assets. “If you own something,” he declared, “you have a vital stake in the future of our country. The more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America.” President Bush’s premise echoes ideas advanced by virtually all presidents since Franklin Roosevelt.  read more »

Jeff Bezos Is Right at Home in the D.C. Swamp, but Amazon Might Have Bit Off More Than It Can Chew with the Big Apple

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It turns out that tech oligarchs aren’t much better than old dogs at learning new tricks. By splitting his much coveted supposed second headquarters between New York City and greater Washington D.C., Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is repeating what worked for him in Seattle while saying “yes, sir” to power.  read more »

Lurching To A New Weimar

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America seems to be heading inexorably toward a Weimar moment, a slide toward political polarization from which it could be increasingly difficult to return. Weimar — that brief, brilliant and tragic German republic of the 1920s — was replaced by Hitler’s murderous regime in 1933.  read more »

The Mines

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There’s a literary trope in which an ambitious young man goes to work in the mines for a few years to earn an income with which to go back home. In the US it’s bundled into narratives of the Wild West (where incomes were very high until well into the 20th century), but it also exists elsewhere. For example, in The House of the Spirits, the deuterotagonist (who owns an unprofitable hacienda) works in the mines for a few years to earn enough money to ask to marry a society woman.  read more »

Welcome to Park Forest

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Recently a follower sent me an interesting e-mail. He said he recently re-read The Organization Man by William Whyte, originally published in 1956. The suburban Chicago village of Park Forest, IL, about 30 miles directly south of the Loop, figured prominently in the book, as an example of the kind of Levittown-style suburban development that was taking America by storm at the time. In checking in about Park Forest today, he found that yesterday’s model of white middle class and middle management homogeneity is now a black-majority community.  read more »

Ten Years After Lehman Collapsed, We’re Still Screwed

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The collapse of Lehman Brothers 10 years ago today began the financial crisis that crippled and even killed for some the American dream as we had known it. Donald Trump might be starting to change that, at least for Americans who aren’t determined to remain in our bluest and priciest cities.  read more »

America Is Moving Toward An Oligarchical Socialism

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Where do we go after Trump? This question becomes more pertinent as the soap opera administration seeks its own dramatic demise. Yet before they can seize power from the president and his now subservient party, the Democrats need to agree on what will replace Trumpism.  read more »

The Triumph Of Trumpism Will Outlast Trump

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Given the endless scandals swarming around him, Donald Trump’s presidency may prove, to quote Thomas Hobbes, to be “nasty, brutish and short.” But even if Trump ends up out of office sooner than planned, we will continue to live in a world shaped by him for years to come.  read more »

The Hollowing-Out of the California Dream

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Progressives praise California as the harbinger of the political future, the home of a new, enlightened, multicultural America. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has identified California Senator Kamala Harris as the party leader on issues of immigration and race.  read more »