The Populist Moment Has Finally Arrived

The Populist Moment Has Finally Arrived
The Nation
Robert Borosage

We live in an Occupy moment. Inequality has exceeded the extremes of the Gilded Age, while most Americans struggle merely to stay afloat. Leaders in both parties now serve up dueling populist appeals. President Obama calls inequality the “defining challenge of our time.” Jeb Bush echoes that statement, proclaiming that “the opportunity gap is the defining issue of our time.” Even Mitt Romney, before he gave up on another presidential run, decried a country in which “the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty in America than ever before.”

But extreme inequality has been growing for years—indeed, working people have been losing ground for more than three decades. Moreover, bad times come and go, while poverty has been with us forever. So why has populism become the coin of the political realm now?

 

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