On almost every left-right issue that divides Democrats and Republicans -- as well as Republicans themselves -- there is a neglected populist constituency. The result is that populist politics are largely caricatured as Tea Party extremism -- and a voice for the middle class is largely absent.
The problem with Obamacare is that its well-connected and influential supporters -- pet businesses, unions and congressional insiders -- have already won exemption from it. The rich will always have their concierge doctors and Cadillac health plans. The poor can usually find low-cost care through Medicaid, federal clinics and emergency rooms.
In contrast, those who have lost their preferred individual plans, or will pay higher premiums and deductibles, are largely members of the self-employed middle-class. They are too poor to have their own exclusive health care coverage but too wealthy for most government subsidies. So far, Obamacare is falling hardest on the middle class.
Consider the trillion-dollar student loan mess. Millions of young people do not qualify for grants predicated on either income levels, ancestry or both. Nor are their parents wealthy enough to pay their tuition or room-and-board costs. The result is that the middle class -- parents and students alike -- has accrued a staggering level of student loan debt.
Universities are of no help. Their annual tuition costs have usually gone up faster than the rate of inflation. On too many campuses, vast increases in well-paid administrators, and lower teaching loads for tenured professors -- as well as snazzy new campus recreation facilities -- were all predicated on students obtaining more federal loans and going into astronomical debt to pay for those less accountable and far better off.
Illegal immigration also largely comes at the expense of the middle class. The supporters of amnesty tend to be poor foreign nationals who desire amnesty. Corporate employers and the elites of the identity-politics industry do not care under what legal circumstances foreign nationals enter the United States. Instead, the two kindred pressure groups seek cheap and plentiful labor and plenty of ethnic constituents.
Lost in the debate over "comprehensive immigration reform" are citizen entry-level job seekers of all different races who cannot leverage employers for higher wages when millions of foreign nationals, residing illegally in the U.S., will work for less money. Likewise, few worry about would-be legal immigrants without political clout who have played by the rules and are still waiting in line for a chance at U.S. citizenship.