Robert Reich, President Clinton’s former Labor Secretary, and current political economist at U.C. Berkeley does a pretty good job at skewering David Brooks on separating income inequality from the rest of the “social issues.” Ezra Klein made the same mistake in his Wonkblog column.
Dr. Reich has a propensity for over stating the obvious when it comes to political economy, but that doesn’t make his message any less valid. Basically, he goes on a Marxian rant, which at times can be pretty bombastic, while others produce the science to back up his rants. Backing up Dr. Reich’s rants however, is rather easy.
But Dr. Reich makes a couple of points that I’ve been doing my own ranting about for the past couple of years. Whether it’s income inequality, jobs, social safety nets, or political power, they are all parts of the same animal. They have to be treated as ONE social issue, not many.
And Dr. Reich poses this idea in his column, which I’ve also been writing about for the past couple of years: that this all-encompassing social issue is traumatizing to the majority of society; social trauma.
Sometimes I think that Dr. Reich believes that if he simply screams it long enough, and loud enough that someone, somewhere will hear it. After reading his blog on David Brooks and seeing all of my own writings/thoughts in there, now I believe the same thing.