Democrats are determined to convince voters that they care about the middle class.
In March of this year Senate Democrats unveiled the “A Fair Shot for Everyone” agenda – a grab bag of populist policy proposals designed to win the votes of middle class voters.
“These are not just Democratic agenda items – this is an agenda for the middle class, policies that will help ensure a fair shot for everyone,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said at the launch.
Never one to miss a political trick, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi jumped in on the game as well, announcing a “100 Day Action Plan” to give a “jump start to the middle class.”
If only their actions while in office or the results that followed matched their lofty election-year rhetoric. As Phil Gramm and Michael Solon write in the Wall Street Journal:
With his party’s Senate supermajority, President Obama achieved a series of historic political victories. But the question most voters will have to answer on Nov. 4 is whether this program has been good for working Americans. We think the answer is clear. As is well known, the Obama recovery is the weakest in postwar history. If the Obama recovery had been as strong as the average of the previous 10 postwar recoveries, 13.9 million more Americans would be working today and the average real per capita income of every man, woman and child in America would be $6,308 higher.
Gramm and Solon go on to show how the Democrat-led recovery has been bad for nearly everyone. America’s middle class has seen its average income fall by more than $3,000, and more than half of the decline came during the so-called recovery. Moreover, the median income has fallen the most for groups that Democrats specifically promised to help. For instance, the real median income of African-American households has fallen more than 9.5% and the incomes of middle-class Hispanics has fallen every year since 2008.
And don’t for a minute think that median incomes is the only metric by which voters should judge the Democratic agenda a failure. After all, a whopping quarter of American households say their “just getting by” and 34 percent say they are actually worse off than they were before the Great Recession even hit! As the Associated Press reports:
As the economic recovery enters its sixth year, a number of factors help explain why many Americans don’t feel better off: Income hasn’t rebounded. Millions are working part time even though they want full-time jobs. It’s taking longer to find work. People are still struggling with mortgage debt. Most people don’t feel free to spend as much as they once did.
It’s little wonder then that the share of Americans who describe themselves as middle class has fallen by 9 percent since President Obama took office., while the percentage who consider themselves lower class has soared by 15 percent.
If Democrats are so keen to reverse these trends and help the middle class why are they only introducing their agenda now, just months before the crucial mid-term elections? And why, given the damning results above, should voters trust them at their word now, when the welfare of the middle class is at its lowest ebb following years of Democrat policies?
Heck, not even Mother Jones—the most liberal blog around—supports the notion that Democrats have done anything to help the middle class.
“Democrats simply don’t consistently support concrete policies that help the broad working and middle classes,” wrote Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum in March of this year.
Perhaps that’s why President Obama was able to admit that “[m]idle-class families and working-class families are stuck,” in an interview earlier this year. “Their wages and incomes are stagnant,” he added.
Democrats’ ideas simply aren’t working. Hopefully voters won’t allow their cynical election-year messaging pitch to work either. It’s time for a change in Washington. It’s time to vote Republican.