You’d probably never know it, but in a recent Bloomberg poll of public attitudes on candidates and issues, the single most unpopular idea for fixing the budget deficit was to cut Medicaid. People oppose doing that by a 76%-21% margin. People don’t hate the poor. And they don’t want to coddle the rich either. The most popular ideas were to reduce Social Security benefits for high-income earners (64%-32%), repeal the Bush tax cuts for households earning more then $250,000 annually (54%-40%), and to raise the amount of salary subject to Social Security tax (52%-35%). Returning income taxes to the Clinton levels (48%-42%) has the support of the people, too. When it comes to the Supercommittee, people prefer that they focus more on raising taxes on rich people (51%) than on slashing benefits for poor people (35%). So, why don’t these ideas win out?
It’s simple, really. Rich people are powerful people. Rich people have their own cable news channel (Fox News) and they have almost total control of the radio airwaves. They contribute more money to politicians. They band together and hire lobbyists. They own almost all of our newspapers. They fund think tanks and actually pay people to spread their message on the internet. Through conservative organizations and the Republican Party, the rich are pretty much able to get their way, even though many rich people are more than willing to pay their fair share. As a result, income disparity hasn’t been so stark since the Roaring 20’s.
That’s why we need to support the progressive blogosphere. It’s the one place where we can actually compete, and often beat the Republicans at their own game. Yet, as you all have seen since the election of Barack Obama, the progressive blogosphere is not united. Many progressive voices spend as much, or even more time attacking the president and the Democratic Party as they do fighting back against the corporate media and the rightward onslaught of America’s right-wing. The balance is all out of whack.
That’s why I think Booman Tribune serves a valuable niche. We’re willing to criticize the president and the Democrats, often harshly so. But always in the spirit of constructive criticism, and without ever losing sight of who the opponents are and what the alternative is. I know a lot of you value this approach because I read your comments and emails. But, if you’re honest, you’ll admit that there is a shortage of blogs that take this balanced approach to covering American politics from a progressive point of view. Some blogs are more concerned with issues than outcomes. Others are grotesquely unfair, while still others lack any detailed understanding of how our government actually works. You can’t do anything about the fact that progressives are pulling in different directions and diluting their strength, but you can make sure that the voices at this blog remain part of the conversation.
I’ll be honest. We’re hanging on by a thread here, and we’re at real risk of shutting down. So, please consider making a contribution to the Frog Pond. We’d like to keep going.
As always, I am tremendously grateful for your support.