sex and class

Max Sawicky sawicky at
Tue Dec 1 06:57:14 PST 1998

> . . .
> Not nearly as rich as Joe and Janet, most of them, but this class of New
> Richies is huge. Probably 20 percent of the country can now
> afford a second house or frequent European travel or Ivy League educations
for all their kids.>

In 1996, the top of the fourth family income quintile was $77K. That's a long way from a second home unless we're talking about something parked in the driveway. Ditto for "frequent" European travel that doesn't involve a backpack. The least likely is the affordability of Ivy League educations, unless we're talking about a family that is willing to live as poor as churchmice for 17 years and then go into debt.

> They may have to choose among these goodies, but the fact is that what 20
> years ago was the lifestyle of a minuscule elite is now within range of 50
> or 60 million Americans.


> In a reversal that would stun anyone who followed politics closely in the
> Reagan era, it begins to look like the Democrats are picking up these
> people. They deserve to. For one thing, they're addressing them
> specifically: Last week the PPI, think tank of the same DLC that produced
> Bill Clinton, started a new outreach program to high-tech entrepreneurs.
> For another, they've got a whole bundle of issues designed to appeal
> specifically to this very lifestyle-oriented class, like daycare and
> environmentalism and education.

This part I agree with in part, though most of the appeal hinges on social issues and centrist or reactionary economics. Nothing serious is forthcoming on day care or environmentalism. Higher ed is a bit of an exception.

> In 1996, Democrats, won 13 of the richest 17 congressional
> districts in the
> country, and that dominance spread even further down the social pyramid in
> the last election. The normal electoral strategy to follow when the other
> party becomes closely identified with the very pinnacle of society is to
> stoke envy by railing at their economic privilege. That's what Roosevelt
> did when he railed at the "economic royalists" (his word for small
> businessmen; the real royalists were in his back pocket, but
> that's another
> story) who opposed the New Deal. But that would imply raising these

More bullshit, this last.

> people's taxes, which is anathema to the GOP. So instead, Republicans take
> aim at the new class' lifestyle privileges. Unfortunately, almost every
> aspect of their lifestyle is built on money, and thus invulnerable to GOP
> attack.
> Except sex. Relying on an understanding of elite lifestyles that comes
> straight off of Ally McBeal, Republicans are hoping to sell the
> middle-class on the idea that they ought to vote against the Democratic
> elites because those bastards are getting laid all the time.

This last remark is a month out of date.


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