The Real Story Of The Two Americas

The Real Story Of The Two Americas

By Stephen Moore |

For the past thirty years or so the left has invented a narrative that there are two Americas. A group of very super-rich people (the one percenters) who have prospered over the past several decades, and everyone else who has gotten poorer. It’s a fairy tale narrative because almost all Americans have seen financial progress. The median household income adjusted for inflation rose by more than 40% since 1984.

Prosperity isn’t an “us versus them” zero-sum game. A rising tide really does lift all boats.

But there really are Two Americas today. First, there are the cultural and over-educated snobs – the kind of people who religiously read the New York Times, drive EVs, wear Harvard or Yale sweaters, and have never even heard of NASCAR or eaten at Popeyes or ridden a John Deere tractor.

And then there is normal main street America. The snobs thumb their collective noses at the unrefined working-class Americans. The elites believe they are intellectually, culturally, and morally superior to the working class and rural America. You won’t see too many elites at a Trump rally with 30,000 people.

A group I helped found, the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, just published a study entitled “Them Vs. U.S.” examining how America’s cultural elites (defined as at least one postgraduate degree, $150,000+ annual income, high-density urban residence, and attended an Ivy League school) are hopelessly out of touch with ordinary Americans. Pollster Scott Rasmussen did the research.

Here are some of the key jaw-dropping revelations from the survey:

  • Financial Well-being: Nearly three-quarters of the elites surveyed, believe they are better off now financially than they were when Joe Biden entered the White House. Less than 20% of ordinary Americans feel the same way.
  • Individual Freedom: Elites are three times more likely than all Americans to say there is too much individual freedom in the country. Astonishingly, almost half of the elites and almost six-of-ten ivy leaguers say there is too much freedom.
  • Climate Change: An astonishing 72% of the Elites – including 81% of the Elites who graduated from the top universities – favor banning gas cars. And majorities of elites would ban gas stoves, non-essential air travel, SUVs, and private air conditioning. That means no air travel with the kids to Disney World.
  • Education: Most elites think that teachers unions and school administrators should control the agenda of schools. Most mainstream Americans think that parents should make these decisions.

Oh, and about three-quarters of these cultural elites are Biden supporters. Surprised?

The Grand Canyon-sized divide between the elites in America and ordinary Americans is so profound that it is as if they live in two different countries. Silicon Valley, Manhattan, and Washington, D.C. have become bubbles that have lost contact with everyday Americans. This explains why the political class – which is a big part of the elite group – is confused by poll numbers showing that voters are feeling financially stressed out. The elites are doing fine, so they believe that everyone is prospering. I suspect that most don’t want radical change in the public schools because their kids attend blue-chip private schools. They are fine with abolishing SUVs because in big cities Americans generally don’t drive those cars – if they drive cars at all.

Crime, illegal immigration, inflation, fentanyl, and factory closings aren’t keeping the elite up at night because in their cocoons they don’t encounter these problems on a daily basis the way so many Americans do today. Not too many main street Americans are losing sleep about climate change or LGBTQ issues.

The elites in America tend to work in the “talking professions” – university professors, journalists, lawyers, actors, and lobbyists. They keep talking and normal Americans are more than ever not listening to them.

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Originally published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Stephen Moore is a contributor to The Daily Caller News Foundation, co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, and chief economist with FreedomWorks.

Arizona Should Conduct an Audit on Mesa Public Schools’ Hidden Spending

Arizona Should Conduct an Audit on Mesa Public Schools’ Hidden Spending

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

For years now, we’ve heard the same old talking points from the left when it comes to our state’s schools. It always goes a little something like this:

    • Education is underfunded in Arizona…
    • Teachers aren’t paid enough…
    • We need to raise taxes to pay our teachers more…

Do these lines sound familiar? They should. Anytime a new proposition is rolled out to voters, teachers’ unions and other liberals push this same narrative. We heard it when they campaigned for Prop 208 a couple years ago. And despite the fact that the Arizona Supreme Court struck down Prop 208 because Arizona is already funding schools at historic levels, we continue to hear it from Red4Ed and others as they target the state’s $1.8 billion tax cuts.

That’s what makes the latest news out of Mesa Public Schools (MPS) even more outrageous.


It’s Time to Move on School Choice Reform

It’s Time to Move on School Choice Reform

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

Teachers’ unions appear to have run into a buzz saw. On October 25, American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten tweeted enthusiastic support for a Washington Post article titled “Parents claim they have the right to shape their kids’ school curriculum. They don’t.”

By November 6, her message had drastically changed. “Parents have to be involved in their kids’ education. They must have a voice. At the same time, we have to teach kids how to—not what to—think.” Sure, Randi.

In the interval, there had been a reality shock: the Virginia governor’s election, this time with an electorate that had wised up. Parents had been appalled when they remotely observed the overtly racist curriculum their children were being taught and then shocked at the blowback, including being charged with “white supremacy,” when they protested.

Moreover, they now realized the unions were responsible for the damaging school COVID shutdowns. Weingarten herself pressured legislatures and school districts into closures. Unions influenced the Biden CDC into adding new and impossible conditions for reopening. They threatened outright strikes if school districts tried to reopen for the 2020-2021 school year.

Voters were not amused. When Terry McAuliffe vowed, “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach,” the damage was done. Polls showed challenger Glenn Youngkin gaining 15-17 points among parents in the last weeks of the campaign. Education-oriented voters swung from favoring McAuliffe by 33 points to a nine-point Youngkin advantage.

Weingarten’s response was that the reports had all been a massive misunderstanding, that it was actually the teachers’ unions that had tried to reopen the schools. Her pathetic gaslighting attempts were ignored.

The longtime symbiotic relationship between the teachers’ unions and the Democrats may be fraying. They both earn the other’s loyalty. According to OpenSecrets, 99.72% of the AFT contributions in 2020 went to Democrats. Fully 97% of AFT donations have gone to Democrats since 1990.

In Virginia, McAuliffe bagged $1 million from the unions. AFT ran ads for McAuliffe, and Weingarten personally stumped for him.

Their money isn’t wasted. As governor, McAuliffe had vetoed nine school choice bills. This year, he affirmed on CNN, “I will never allow [school choice] as governor.” Nationwide, Democrats have been able to stymie the movement for universal school choice in spite of growing majorities in favor.

The Democrats are in a sticky situation now. According to RealClearOpinion research, voters’ support for school choice surged from 64% to 74% in just the last year. Another poll showed 78% approve of Education Savings Accounts, the most comprehensive method for funding parental choice directly.

Voters have expressed particular contempt for politicians (and educators) who send their own children to private schools but deny the same privilege to less fortunate children. 62% of voters said they would be less likely to vote for such a hypocrite.

Terry McAuliffe, for one, got the message. The veto king sent his five children to private schools. When asked about it on NBC this year, his verbatim quote was “Chuck, we have a great school system in Virginia. Dorothy and I have raised our five children.” You’ve gotta love it.

Democrats are stuck with a policy that is not only morally and educationally wrong but is a political loser. Advocates for children and parents should seize the opportunity to not only win some elections but to fundamentally reform the structure of education in America into a system that serves students and parents, not bureaucracies.

Teachers’ unions must be publicly held accountable. These organizations which relentlessly pound a “for the children” theme have a wretched record of not promoting their educational interests.

In the 1960s, when the unions first rose to influence, about $3,000 (inflation-adjusted) dollars were spent per student. Today, that number is over $13,000. Yet academic achievement and the ethnic gap have stubbornly failed to improve.

Not all of the spending increase has gone to teacher salaries, and not all of the fault for academic failure is theirs. But as the dominant influence in education policy for the last half-century, unions must bear major responsibility for the dismal outcomes.

Parents’ rights advocates: take heart. This is our time.