Live from Evans Hall: I would merely point out that the out-of-touch elite is not confined to the Republican Party.

There are substantial elements within the Brookings-Third Way wing of the Democratic coalition that would rather cut Social Security than establish a sensible retirement-income system, and that would rather cut Medicare than improve the efficiency of health care finance and delivery, after all. As all of the authors of the Brookings-AEI joint "consensus plan for reducing poverty and restoring the American dream" write:

there are reasonable ways both to cut spending and to raise revenue that are consistent with our core values. For example, Social Security spending is projected to consume over one percentage point more of national income in 2040 than it does today...

Why a one-percentage-point rise in the GDP share of Social Security is something that calls in any technocratic sense for cuts to the Social Security system is something that eludes me. What cutting Social Security has to do with reducing poverty eludes me. But it is something that all fifteen of the authors thought was so obvious as to require no explanation or justification whatsoever...

Paul Krugman: Empowering the Ugliness: "The story is quite different in America...

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...the Republican Party hasn’t tried to freeze out the kind of people who vote National Front in France. Instead, it has tried to exploit them... the essence of Richard Nixon’s ‘southern strategy,’ and explains why the G.O.P. gets the overwhelming majority of Southern white votes. But there is a strong element of bait-and-switch to this strategy. Whatever dog whistles get sent during the campaign, once in power the G.O.P. has made serving the interests of a small, wealthy economic elite, especially through big tax cuts, its main priority--a priority that remains intact, as you can see if you look at the tax plans of the establishment presidential candidates this cycle. Sooner or later the angry whites who make up a large fraction, maybe even a majority, of the G.O.P. base were bound to rebel--especially because these days much of the party’s leadership seems inbred and out of touch. They seem, for example, to imagine that the base supports cuts to Social Security and Medicare, an elite priority that has nothing to do with the reasons working-class whites vote Republican.

So along comes Donald Trump, saying bluntly the things establishment candidates try to convey in coded, deniable hints, and sounding as if he really means them. And he shoots to the top of the polls. Shocking, yes, but hardly surprising.... In offering these explanations of the rise of Mr. Trump and Ms. Le Pen, I am not making excuses for what they say, which remains surpassingly ugly.... What I am saying, however, is that this ugliness has been empowered by the very establishments that now act so horrified at the seemingly sudden turn of events. In Europe... the arrogance and rigidity of elite figures who refuse to learn from economic failure; in the U.S... cynicism of Republicans who summoned up prejudice to support their electoral prospects.... Now both are facing the monsters they helped create...

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