Ever wondered what America looked like heading into the Great Depression?

Have you ever wondered what America felt like on the eve of the Great Depression?

I don’t know for certain, but I can guess that we had wealthy heiresses who dabbled in fashion pontificating on politics, based on what they’d learned at society dinners and maybe some tortured conversations with the servant-class surrounding them.

Kinda like this society heiress here:

The heiress here is calling the GOPTaxScam a “middle class tax cut”. So does the president and the entire Republican caucus. Isn’t it strange though, that when HuffPo asked 18 Republican house members what the tax rates for the middle class are going to be after the bill is enacted, 17 of them had no idea. Strangely, many of them could rattle off the new tax rate for the top earners and corporations. Could it be that the Republicans have been lying about a “middle class tax cut” and this is in fact a Tax Scam to benefit their donor-owners?

To be clear, we were just looking for seven figures: 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 35 percent and 37 percent. We were not looking for congressional representatives to display some savant-like ability and provide the income thresholds for each bracket. We just wanted to see if Republicans knew this one simple element of a bill they were rushing into law.

They didn’t.

Among the GOP lawmakers who were shaky on those specifics were members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, the chairwoman of the House Budget Committee (Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee) and the lead author of the bill in the House (Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas).

House Republicans told us, time and again, that they were “very familiar” with the details of this legislation. When we suggested they didn’t have much time to read the final legislation after it was released Friday night, they said they had plenty of time. “We’ve had several weeks! I read it on the plane two weeks in a row!” Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) told HuffPost.  — www.huffingtonpost.com/…

Guess Brady’s cluelessness shouldn’t come as a surprise since the “lead author” didn’t actually write the bill, that was the job of 6,000 lobbyists on K Street. My uneducated guess is that the “middle-class” doesn’t employ all those lobbyists?

While the Republicans are huddling with thousands of lobbyists for the richest people and corporations in America, something else has been brewing. Income inequality remains at levels not seen since the 1930s.


Just as in the late 20s and early 30s, average Americans were under no misconceptions about the Republican party’s priorities: a compliant workforce paid starvation wages, weak/non-existent unions, and a relentless attack on benefits for the poor and infirm.

Here’s another thing about the 1930s, they involved a great debate on what the role of the state was in ensuring workers had some level of security, in old age, and during their careers. We saw enormous protections for working-class Americans enacted under the New Deal. The Republicans have relentlessly attacked these programs for decades, and they continue that assault, hoping to create a fiscal crisis that allows them to privatize or kill social security, and undermine Medicare/Medicaid.

The 1930s also saw a series of man-made environmental disasters befall the US in the form of the dust bowl. We are almost certainly beginning to see the impacts of man-made climate change. The 1930s were also part of an enormous shift in the US labor force, from farms to industry. This created new forms of insecurity for workers, unions fought to deliver security to workers. A similar shift is underway today, as traditional jobs covered by worker protections that were hard-fought, are being replaced by contracting work. Incidentally, the GOP Tax Scam creates incentives for workers to work on contracts, a mode of employment corporations find especially lucrative.

So on the eve of the Great Depression, America faced many of the same tensions we do today. They came to a head with the Great Depression. In response, FDR and Democrats were ready with a political platform for the times, highlighting the contrast between the lives and prospects of the rich and poor in America. Americans responded to FDR’s message like a duck takes to water. They made him president by a landslide (472 out of 531 electoral votes). By 1934, Democrats controlled 69 seats in the Senate, to Republicans’ 25. Democrats held 322 seats in the House, to the Republicans 103.

If we can produce the right platform, we can win similar electoral and legislative victories. It sounds fantastical, but prior to 1932, Republicans had controlled the Senate for 32 years out of 38. After 1932, Democrats would control the Senate for 58 of the next 62 years.

So a sea change is possible and we have the conditions to make it happen. Ordinary Americans know they’re getting a raw deal. We know income inequality is at unsustainable levels. We know the Republican Tax Scam is a massive give-away to billionaire heirs and heiresses with scraps left for the middle-class. Scraps that will be more than taken away when Republicans try to gut Social Security and Medicare next year as they’ve already said they will want to do.

The ground is set, if Democrats can deliver a convincing message, as FDR did, massive electoral victories are possible. On that note, the thread below discusses what is going on with polls in individual House races.

— @subirgrewal