Either it was a slip of the tongue, or some conservatives finally get what progressives and many urban community leaders have said for years: Reaganomics or trickle-down economics doesn't work. Despite the rhetoric, it doesn't “lift all boats.” (Don't ask what happens if you can't afford a boat.)
Michael Steele, Maryland's former Republican lieutenant governor and a conservative political strategist, said as much this morning on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” when the panel assessed
the recent looting and disturbances in Baltimore. Host Joe Scarborough, a Republican and former member of Congress, concluded that there is ia “permanent underclass” in America.
“When you create that tide of prosperity, not everyone has the boat to rise with it,” Steele said. It was a big admission for a fan of the Gipper. As the discussion turned to failed policies of the past, Steele seemed oblivious to his own complicity in some of those policies.
Even by Morning Joe’s standards, it was an odd exchange of ideas. The rioting in Baltimore follows years of economic isolation for many residents of that city. Have the lessons of hurricane Katrina already been forgotten? Did Detroit’s bankruptcy register at all with Scarborough or Steele?
Scarborough and many of his conservative guests regularly dismiss the problems caused by years of economic inequality, the declining resources of the middle class, and the consolidation of economic and political power in a permanent upper class. Some advocates in the free market crowd may be realizing that Reaganomics has worked exceptionally well for some Americans and hurt many, many others.
Couple that with a justice system that isn’t trusted, and the situation can be explosive.