Great Krugman piece today: Plutocrats Against Democracy. This is not just an American challenge, but a global one:
So we should be grateful to Leung Chun-ying, the Beijing-backed leader of Hong Kong, for blurting out the real reason pro-democracy demonstrators can’t get what they want: With open voting, “You would be talking to half of the people in Hong Kong who earn less than $1,800 a month. Then you would end up with that kind of politics and policies” — policies, presumably, that would make the rich less rich and provide more aid to those with lower incomes.
Krugman nails it in his conclusion:
The truth is that a lot of what’s going on in American politics is, at root, a fight between democracy and plutocracy. And it’s by no means clear which side will win. [emphasis mine]
It’s been interesting to watch Krugman’s views evolve on this issue. Just a few years ago, he saw extreme inequality as wrong, but not a critical economic issue. Now, he considers it existential.
And note well: This is not a Democrat vs. Republican thing. Pretty much all Republicans are on the wrong side of this fight, but plenty of Democrats are as well. Often, they call themselves Blue Dogs, or New Democrats. To tolerate them is to tolerate plutocracy.