“America was thus a special place. It had its cake and ate it, too: a combination of security with opportunity and entrepreneurship. It seemed that this was the natural order of things. Hence there was little pressure for government-sponsored social democracy: Why bother? What would it add?”
Then he added: “Now things are very different.” That was in 2004. And things today are far more different than then or as they have ever been, especially when you consider the state of poverty in this country. According to a new Census study, it is approaching 1960s levels, which prompted a national war on poverty. It was called the Great Society.
The poverty rate is 13.2 percent and is expected to increase to as much as 15 percent. That would mean 1 in 7 are poor or a total of 45 million people. The Census report from 2009 will also show that child poverty is over 20 percent; and Blacks and Hispanics are disproportionately hit. Yet Lawrence M. Mead, a New York University conservative, said: "Poverty is not as big an issue right now as middle-class unemployment. That's a lot more salient politically right now,"
TOMORROW: More on social democracy.
Read more about social democracy here.