As pundits spend much time commenting about the factions dividing the Republican Party — Tea Party radicals poised in opposition to mainstream, old-guard, establishment liberals — the Democrats are suffering their own largely unreported symptoms of a serious new dividing line.
Look no further than Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. As the Washington Post reported on Sunday, “a more liberal and populist voice is emerging within a Democratic Party already looking ahead to the next presidential election.” And its candidate is none other than Senator Warren. The new movement is what journalist Zachary A. Goldfarb calls “both a critique of Obama’s tenure and a clear challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the party’s presumptive presidential front-runner, who carries a more centrist banner.”
Leave aside Goldfarb’s characterization of Hillary Clinton as a centrist (many would simply describe her as an opportunist who will shift to whatever stance the base wants in order to obtain their votes). While many conservatives see our current president as a man of the Left (which he undoubtedly is), his leftist critics see him as a man who bent to Wall Street, who keeps his private views to himself, and who only tries to achieve his social-democratic aims by stealth means.
Warren, to the contrary, is upfront about what she favors: taxing the rich in order to fund left-wing economic programs.
Warren would not even countenance any reforms to Social Security that might save the program by major fixes. Instead, as Jon Cowan and Paul Kessler write:
Sen. Warren wants to increase benefits to all seniors, including billionaires, and to pay for them by increasing taxes on working people and their employers. Her approach requires a $750 billion tax hike over the next 10 years that hits mostly Millennials and Gen Xers, plus another $750 billion tax on the businesses that employ them.
This is the program the new Democratic Party far left is calling “economic populism,” itself a misleading term masquerading the upfront socialist economics advocated by its proponents. Their new program includes calls for taxing the rich, demanding legislation that would create a giant increase in the federal minimum wage, and concentrating on programs they claim would greatly reduce “economic inequality.” Aiding them in this new propaganda offensive is, of course, the pages of the New York Times. A few days ago, the paper debuted a new series on the topic in the Metro section, which ended all pretense of separation of the news pages from those of the editorial section and the views of its editors.
As Ira Stoll wrote at Smartertimes.com yesterday: “The Times metro section as propagandist for the de Blasio administration’s grim class warfare focus is off to quite a start.”