“If an obscure senator gave this speech, he’d be famous overnight,” Kyle Smith, a critic at large for National Review, wrote the next day. “Carlson scores some major points, and like most great speeches this one can’t easily be dismissed as either left or right-wing.”
Carlson touched nerves well outside conservative circles. I asked Dean Baker, co-founder of the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research, for his response to the monologue. He replied: “It’s a bit scary to me how much of this I agree with.” Baker quibbled with some minor points, but
ignoring these off the mark comments, he is absolutely right that the leadership of both parties has largely embraced an agenda that serves the rich with little concern for average workers.
Edsall is great. I'm loving his quote finding, fact gathering, and insight generating columns.
First off, I agree 100% with Massing, quoted by Edsall:
Carlson's main thrust is pretty on-point, based on the excerpts I read here (I've been so tuned out of the news that this is completely new to me). However, his argument that the reason is... illegal immigrants is too clever (and Fox News) by half. For sure, unskilled immigrant labor depresses those wages, and certainly a lot of middle and lower class America is unskilled. But why are they unskilled? That's hardly the fault of immigration policies. I'm not familiar enough with the relevant history to assign the blame of an uneducated, unskilled workforce to Democrats or Republicans, although both surely contributed.
I'm really interested in the idea of an expanded EITC and a wage subsidy. Couldn't a lot of means-tested welfare programs be rolled into a wage subsidy, ameliorating some of the concern right-wingers have about welfare queens, but also providing exactly the support that Democrats campaign on? I forget the numbers, but I recall that social spending--i.e. cash benefits, direct in-kind provision of goods and services, and tax breaks with social purposes--makes up almost a third of US GDP (we can thank employer income that's tax-exempt if contributed to healthcare for a significant portion of that amount).
Where's the imagination? Where's the ingenuity, the A/B testing, the experimentation?