Moral behavior. Affluence for all. That’s what we want.
We dang liberals don’t really care all that much that there are rich people. There have always been rich people. What we care about is that there are far too many poor people, and increasing numbers of them, with decreasing income. The fact that this is happening in the richest country in history should give anyone with an IQ above that of a fern a hint that something is dreadfully wrong. But that’s not how conservative Republicans see it. The way they see it is that they and their rich friends are getting richer and richer, therefore all must be well.
All is not well. The problem is that the rich people have created the excessive poverty and the erosion of democracy we see now. They have done so by their lack of moral behavior.
Let us be clear: the lack of moral behavior we speak of does not mean that any particular person is an amoral scumbag—although there are a few of those. What it means is that the collective behavior of the rich, and their governmental factotums, have led to immoral consequences. It is the way the rich control the government for their own benefit. It is that increasing numbers of workers are unable to sustain a decent level of wellbeing because of declining income. It is that poverty is increasing, not decreasing.
It is this that the “Occupy” people rail against.
Everywhere the conservative ethos becomes prominent, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer. In the developing world, ironically, this ethos is known as neo-liberalism. The big banks always recommend that a country impose hardships on the people, make new rules for government, and take on a big loan. (There must be a big loan because it is a capitalist imperative that capital must grow, and it can’t if there aren’t big loans. But that’s another topic.) Everything always gets worse, and there is never a payoff, either in national improvement or in ending the loan. The only way this comes out well is if the victim government simply throws off the yoke that has been imposed on them, refuses to repay the loan, and invests in the people, whereupon the country is set upon the road to recovery and the lot of the people improves.
This has happened in a number of Latin American countries. It has diminished the US hegemony, but improved life for everyone else.
Back at home, each person’s share of the Gross Domestic Product is $47,200 per year. That means a family of four would have $188,800 per year, if that money were perfectly distributed. Of course, it is not perfectly distributed, nor should it be. It’s perfectly all right that there are rich people. But should there be families of four living on less than half of a single person’s share of the GDP, $22,000, to be exact? Should someone who is working full time get only $22K, or even less?
This is why labor unions are so important to working people. In a crappy labor market, like we have today, an employer can fire anyone he wants to, knowing that there will be dozens of applicants to take his place, no matter how poorly they are paid. On the one hand, this is mighty inspiration for the worker to be worth his pay. On the other hand, it is a situation ripe for exploitation and abuse. Good labor unions work against abuse, and work for decent wages.
It doesn’t matter whether Republicans are nice people. What matters is that the collective result of all their political actions over the past four decades has led to increasing levels of economic injustice in a country where there is enough money that nobody should ever suffer from poverty.