From Pine View Farm

Blowing the Horatio Horn 0

My father had a number of Horatio Alger books, which he likely inherited from his father, as most of them were written in the Gilded Age.

In this new Gilded Age, Robyn Blumner wonders whether the endurance of the Horatio Alger myth has something to do with white men’s attraction to the macho “Let ’em eat cake” posturing of the Republican Party and its glorification of vulture capitalists.

Actually, here’s the story of today’s economy that blue-collar workers should take to the voting booth: Our striving Horatio Alger hero watches helplessly as his company is bought out by a private equity firm that then saddles it with debt, cuts wages and worker benefits, outsources jobs overseas and leaves the company foundering after having made a fortune for investors.

Americans are all about hard work. We’ve increased productivity by 80 percent since 1979, but with almost no corresponding income gains for average workers. It nearly all flowed to the top 1 percent. Shhh, don’t tell the working stiffs.

Obama does better among white women and minority voters because they never bought into the self-made-man myth. After all, for them, no matter their work ethic or ability, longstanding societal barriers stood in the way of climbing the economic ladder. It took antidiscrimination and fair-pay laws to wrench open opportunities. Government was an essential player in making the marketplace fairer.

Read the whole thing.


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