His most recent Inequality shtick didn't even last a month before the Ruling Class began howling "Class War!" and he obliged them by hastily burying the Inequality word by shifting to the more neoliberally palatable "Equality of Opportunity" dump in his State of the Union speech.
And noticing that people are noticing the hastily buried doo-doo, the White House apparently enlisted trusty New York Times
Like so many political fights, the one between President Obama and Republicans over income inequality has become a battle over language. Is it about inequality of incomes or of opportunity? On this question, the president and his party have moved in Republicans’ — and voters’ — direction. (my bold.)Let's nip that lie right in the bud, shall we? Every recent public opinion poll has at least two-thirds of respondents howling mad over the most extreme wealth gap in American history. People didn't just wake up this morning, scratch their heads, and recognize "It's the Opportunity, Stupid," and that the poor billionaires are being unfairly maligned, and thus we need to stop the creeping threat of Marxism before Democracy explodes.
Obama is bending to the will of the voters, all right -- the voters who really count. He's simply continuing to bend over to voters who donate the big bucks to the politicians. The voters whose votes are weighted with gold. The voters of the One Percent. Calmes continues:
Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster, recently wrote a column in The Hill newspaper condemning the decades-long trend of worsening income inequality, then advised “banish that term.” (into the Bastille!)
“However salient reducing income inequality may be,” he wrote, “it is demonstrably less important to voters than any number of other priorities” — including reducing poverty.
The differences are not just a matter of politics, but of policies, too. For both parties, their emphasis in talking about opportunity over income inequality matters because it affects the outcome of what the government might do, and what Democrats and Republicans can possibly agree on. (Bipartishit always rules in the Beltway.)
And "over cocktails in the White House," Calmes continues, N.Y. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-Wall Street) urged the president to bury the Inequality crap. Because although it was never anything but a clump of plastic doggy-doo from a novelty shop in the first place, such talk from Obama was still making the sensitive patrician noses of Schumer's constituency positively wrinkle in fear and loathing.The president should “steer this debate” away from income inequality and “in a direction where we can find some unity,” said Vin Weber, a Republican strategist and former congressman from Minnesota. “I would not, if I were him, hit hard on income distribution, because everybody goes to their ideological corners right away and we’re at war.” (We millionaires in Congress are all in this together!)
Judging from the reader comments to Calmes's puff piece, people are just not swallowing the propaganda any more. William Neil of Rockville, MD. called her article "the intellectual equivalent of airbrushing." There is a class war, and it's being waged by the oligarchy against the rest of us. My published comment:
By euphemizing income inequality into "the opportunity gap," the rhetorical onus has been subtly shifted from the lords right back onto the serfs. The message from our politicians is clear: the rich shall not be taxed, nor corporations regulated, in order to narrow the gap. Rather you, the regular person, might also become rich someday, if you only work hard and "play by the rules." In other words, they want you to buy into the corporate cult of selfishness and "personal responsibility" rather than demanding justice and fairness for society as a whole. (Remember what Ronnie's partner in neoliberalism, Margaret Thatcher, said about "society" -- it doesn't exist!)
Instead of channeling Theodore Roosevelt and calling out the "malefactors of great wealth," and echoing FDR's "I welcome their hatred," President Obama is reaching out to the same coddled plutocrats who've caused the record wealth disparity in the first place. Among the CEOs invited to the White House last week to "voluntarily" consider hiring the long-term unemployed was the head of Bank of America. This bank is given the red carpet treatment at the same moment the Department of Justice is trying to extract a nearly $1 billion mortgage fraud settlement from it.
The elites get carried interest deductions and deferred prosecution agreements. The rest of us get bromides and platitudes interspersed with the regular beatings meant to improve our morale.