I don't believe in coincidences in politics. When I see the Wall Street Journal and New York Times both running big front-page stories within two days of each other on a subject that isn't remotely time sensitive, I know that something is going on. More than likely, it signals the beginning of an organized campaign by the liberal media to gin up an issue for the Democrats.
When a team is on a losing streak, the best thing the coach can do is line up a game with a cream-puff opponent. Even if the victory doesn't mean much substantively, it can go a long way toward helping restore his players' confidence and, hopefully, lead to victories against tougher opponents.
When liberals are on a losing steak, two of the issues they come back to time and time again are racism and inequality. In the late 1980s, for example, they all ganged up on South Africa to make its system of Apartheid the No. 1 issue in American politics. It wasn't that Apartheid had gotten any worse or that we had anything to do with it. It was just an issue on which the left knew it couldn't lose because Apartheid was indefensible. In short, Apartheid was the cream-puff opponent that every coach wishes for in order to give his team that easy victory they so desperately need to turn themselves around.
The left is on another losing streak today, and so their intellectual leaders in the liberal media have gone back to the old playbook for an easy win that will get their team out of its slump. This time, it is the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, which has been working for them since the days of Karl Marx. But it's getting harder and harder to milk this cow.
On Friday, May 13, The Wall Street Journal began the first of a series on challenges to the American dream with a page-one piece entitled, "As Rich-Poor Gap Widens in the U.S., Class Mobility Stalls." The essence of this article was that few people rise above the economic class to which they were born. And compared to the socialist nations of Europe, class mobility is no greater here than there.
On Sunday, May 15, The New York Times began a series saying exactly the same thing, often quoting the same sources and citing the same data. What do you think the odds are of that happening independently? Zero, I think.
Bruce Bartlett is a former senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis of Dallas, Texas. Bartlett is a prolific author, having published over 900 articles in national publications, and prominent magazines and published four books, including Reaganomics: Supply-Side Economics in Action.
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