Not too long ago a friend said I had “drunk the kool-aid” by voting for Barack Obama for president. “No way”, I said, “He’s the candidate of The Little Man!”
That’s what my father used to call Democratic politicians. He had been a young man during the Depression, and he had plenty of direct reason to know how much The Little Man needs help under capitalism.
The reason for that need is obvious: Capitalism works by Capital paying for and organizing the work of Labor. The two social classes are symbiotic. But there are very few people around who are wealthy enough to be important capitalists, and there are many millions of laborers. It’s easy for the few capitalists to reach and enforce a consensus among themselves about wages, working conditions, etc., and extremely hard for the millions of working people to do so.
So capitalists have a terrific bargaining advantage when they go looking for labor. They set the terms of employment essentially single-handedly. If you don’t like the pay they’re offering, there’s always another person around the corner who will. And if you turn down x job at pay $y, chances are you won’t find it paying more anywhere else.
In the 1930s unions, aided by a Democratic federal government, balanced the power levels a bit more equally, but that has long gone by the wayside. Republicans have been elected and re-elected, and have indeed gotten “the government off our backs”. So for decades people who are not wealthy have been losing assets and income. The increasing ability of business over the last decade to export jobs to the cheapest possible foreign labor markets has greatly exacerbated this problem.
Against that background I, a lifelong worker, can be excused for hoping that a Democratic president would redress the imbalance. What I forgot was MONEY. With American labor unions moribund, there’s now nowhere for Democratic politicians to get all the money it takes to run for office except from wealthy people — and that is what the Democratic Party has been doing for the last twenty years.
The Little Man, in short, can no longer finance a whole campaign, so now we have government by and for the rich. Sure, Democrats when in power improve things a bit for workers on the margins, but they always know which side their bread is buttered on. This is gradually being made obvious to me by such sources as this:
and finally this:
I thought I’d found the edge of the desert. In fact all I’d found was an Obama oasis.