Posted by: Ray Brescia | July 8, 2014

Do Democrats Agree on Tactics for Addressing Inequality?

Matt Yglesias’s new post on Vox suggests that Democratic leaders agree on strategies for combating inequality, but argues also that disagreement does exist over whether to promote an anti-inequality message.  Yglesisas posits that Democratic leaders don’t all agree that an “inequality agenda,” like the one President Obama touted last year, is really something the party should get behind.  While he may be right that Democratic Party  politicians don’t agree that inequality should be at the center of the party’s message, I’m not so sure all Democratic party leaders agree on the range of tactics that could be deployed to combat economic inequality.  Raising the minimum wage?  Repealing the carried interest tax loophole?  Overturning Citizens United through a constitutional amendment?  While Democratic voters probably support all of these measures, would one find unanimity on all of these issues among elected officials in the Democratic Party, either at the federal level, or in the executive mansions and state houses across the country, where some of these tactics–like increases to state minimum wage laws–could be deployed, and in which any constitutional amendment would have to pass?  I’m not so sure.  There may still be some fissures on the substance after all.   There’s certainly lots of agreement, to be sure, but the inability of Democratic elected officials to fully embrace some of these items at the federal and state levels may reflect more than just a failure to get on the same page in terms of messaging.  Untangling the inequality knot will not be easy, and will require bold tactics and an aggressive strategy.  Getting agreement on such tactics among Democrats would appear to be one essential step towards reducing income inequality.  Then the inequality agenda can move on to recruiting Republicans.

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