My Eschaton buddy DWD does me the honor this morning of thinking this old post of mine of sufficient value as to have saved it:
Political rhetoric in both the USA and the UK, and almost all of corporate-owned media, consistently serves the interest of those who have money and power, at the expense of the bulk of the citizenry. 'Class warfare' is now only accepted usage when used to describe the alleged unwonted hardships exacted from the rich by, and for the benefit of, the poor, who don't really deserve it. When politicians and media analysts talk of the need for 'tough measures', for 'sacrifice', for 'unpopular but necessary' spending cuts, the poor and middle class, rather than the rich, or, for that matter, the politicians themselves; the poor are expected to bear the vast bulk of the burden with nobility and a sense of civic duty. Those government programs from which the rich benefit are never called 'entitlements'--the word itself implies illegitimacy and moral hazard--but, rather, incentives and stimuli, unlike measures that help those least likely to be able to help themselves Labor contracts arrived at through negotiations between two parties are construed as evidence solely of union malfeasance and unwonted union power at the expense of business and government.
Meanwhile, good jobs at good wages, especially in light manufacturing and in urban areas are vanishing, downsized or outsourced. Cities, states, whole regions, even whole nation states are abandoned to unemployment and poverty. Wealth is ever more concentrated in fewer hands, and productivity increases while real wages for most people stagnate. Job benefits are disappearing, and job security becoming a sick joke. It isn't surprising that there's a sense of abandonment and anger amongst much of the electorate. Meanwhile, a common trope of right wing politics holds government action itself nearly illegitimate, embodied in Reagan's oft-quoted statement that government help is viewed with fear rather than gratitude.
Politicians, business people, and the wealthy, in calling for toughness and fiscal austerity, display what Saki called the reckless courage of the non-combatant. They oft forget that in an economy like America's, where 60-70% of activity is driven by consumer spending, a confident, secure middle class is far more important, even for business, than another billion in Wall Street bonuses, or great wealth vested in Sam Walton's family.