One of the more annoying libertarian shticks to us lefties is the “increasing poverty and inequality don’t matter because consumer spending is going Up! Up! UP! ! !” three card monte routine. I think it must surely have reached its apotheosis in this failed November hack job on Edwards by Jeff Taylor in Reason Online which I didn’t see until Nick Gillespie linked to it today.
However, the slapstick of the Edwards misstep should not obscure the really big picture, the fatal flaw in his “Two Americas” spiel. Many thousands of Americans evidently have $600 to spend on a video game machine. What’s more, this Christmas is expected to usher in the year of the flat-panel. With price points dropping below the $1000 mark, high-end TVs are moving down-market fast with Wal-Mart leading the way. Contrary to the Edwards’ pitch that labor-hostile companies are leaving American workers destitute, somebody is making some money out there in America. More importantly, they are making it in many, many cases without a union card. This reality will very hard [sic] for union-funded Democrats like Edwards to ignore as the 2008 presidential campaign unfolds. Hewing to the union rules, clear evidence of prosperity, like perhaps a shortage of $600 game machines, will have to be swept out of the campaign.
It isn’t hard for me to believe that someone would make the hilariously cackleheaded argument that because “many thousands” can afford a Playstation 3, economic inequality is a non-issue; I see this kind of guff in the comment sections of blogs all the time. But it is rather surprising that it’s being published by a sometimes quite interesting website as a purportedly serious contribution to political debate.
(As an aside, Taylor also introduces us to the interesting sounding concept of ‘Pythonseque depravation one-upsmanship;’ a spelling error trifecta unless depravation is a portmanteau term indicating Taylor’s opinion of the moral qualities of those wicked enough to be poor. Someone really needs to be proofreading the contributions to Reason’s website a little better).