The Committee for Managing the Common Affairs of the Whole Bourgeoisie

With President Obama withdrawing from the spotlight, he increasingly seems to have been uniquely suited to act as a unifying force for the sprawling and fractious Democratic coalition.

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President Obama, approval among Democrats (Huffpost Pollster Average)

 

This is not to say Hillary can’t (or even is likely to) win, but that it will be out of opposition to Trump rather than real unity around her as leader.

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This isn’t about her deficits as a politician so much as the intrinsic tensions in a coalition that is increasingly ideologically incoherent.

That is, while Democratic policies are more and more redistributionist, at a geographic level liberal identity is strongly correlated both with living in a higher income and a more educated region.

Democrats are dependent not just for votes but for organization and funding on educated professionals, with whom they have an increasing advantage.

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Bernie pushed Hillary to the left (as part of a long-term secular leftward turn) and showed how much traction “socialism with a human face” can get in 21st century America.

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But sooner or later, the real policy contradictions between being the party of “sunny socialism” and the party of suburban professionals will become inescapable.

Under current law, deficits already will soon become unsustainable without large increases in revenue, and Democratic proposals would significantly increase those deficits.

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Democratic proposals necessarily entail large increases in revenue, and there simply aren’t enough hedge fund managers (and they’re too good at dodging taxes) for that revenue to come from exclusively from the top 1%. So the middle class professionals who form the critical Democratic constituency would need to sacrifice. For example, the mortgage interest & state/federal tax deduction  – plausible sources of revenue for future programs- are great for middle class suburbanites.

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As Marx put it, “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” In post-WWII America, the wealth of the society has been great and widely distributed enough that it’s hard not to see Marx’s quip as an endorsement rather than an attack.

 

Median Income 4-Person Families

Liberals have taken to seeing internal conflicts as about identity politics vs economic politics,and Hillary vs. Bernie encouraged this view.

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But differences in economic circumstances by race,particularly within the Democratic coalition, will make the divisions *harder* to resolve.

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This would become very obvious the moment interest rates on government debt increased and greater expenditure without greater revenue becomes impossible. image

 

5 thoughts on “The Committee for Managing the Common Affairs of the Whole Bourgeoisie

  1. I always thought it a delicious irony that in one of the rare instances when Marx was elegantly, exactly right (his description of government as As Marx put it, “but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie”), he was still wrong, because he took that to be a bad thing.

    Liked by 2 people

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