Big Tent Ideas

DEMINT: The Left Vs The Working Class

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Jim DeMint Former U.S. Senator from South Carolina
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The Left likes to speak for the working class, but that’s about all it ever does for them.

Because when it comes to policy, progressive ideas don’t just deprioritize working families. Progressive policies are actively harmful to anyone besides the rich and urban elites who craft them. This has always been so, but never truer than it is today.

Consider education.

We are now two months into the new school year, and both medical research and practical experience with COVID-19 show that schools are safe to open. Closing schools six months ago may have been prudent or not — we didn’t know much about COVID-19 then. But now we do. There is literally no scientific evidence supporting school closures. Yet around the United States, progressive teachers unions have pressured school boards to keep schools closed. (RELATED: School Reopenings Haven’t Led To COVID-19 Outbreaks Yet, According To Early Evidence)

They don’t seem to care that child abuse could be going unreported, or that closures have been linked to student depression and suicide. They don’t care that private schools are open and rich kids are pulling further ahead of the kids stuck in closed public schools. They don’t care that poor children in poorer school districts, without the same kind of access to the internet, are falling further behind. Of course they don’t. For decades, the same teachers unions and progressive elites have opposed school choice for less affluent students. During the pandemic shut downs, they have even opposed neighboring families working together to educate each other’s kids — so called “school pods” — because they think they are the only ones who should be allowed to teach.

The Left’s education agenda is to trap less fortunate families in worse schools, deny low-income families the right to choose better options, and, now, demand their full salaries not to teach despite scientific consensus against school closures.

Now consider the issue of immigration. As usual, liberals defend their preferred policy as compassionate, generous and geared toward lower income workers and communities. But it’s exactly those workers and communities hurt most by the Left’s open borders politics. Illegal immigration, in particular, is very good for affluent people in dense cities — it keeps down the costs of child care, housekeeping, landscaping, and other low-skilled work consumed by high-income earners. But what’s good for urban elites is bad for lower skilled workers — native-born and legal immigrants alike — who lose their jobs or see their wages stagnate or fall. Illegal immigration does little to inconvenience rich people, their million-dollar neighborhoods, or their kids in elite schools competing for slots at exclusive universities. It’s poor communities that bear the burden of open borders’ lawlessness, the overrunning of government services, and suppressed wages. (RELATED: Corporations Use The ‘STEM Shortage’ Myth To Abuse Guest Worker Programs)

Finally, consider health care. As with education and immigration, wealthy liberal elites can always afford to buy their way out of the consequences their policies impose on the poor and working class. Progressives love Medicaid, but the people who are forced to use it know it’s second-class health care. More and more doctors refuse to take Medicaid patients because the government reimbursement rates are so low. Obamacare coverage may pay doctors a little more, but it’s so ludicrously expensive in premiums and in taxes that it’s worth less and less to the uninsured every year. This is irrelevant to elites who all enjoy private health insurance through their privileged jobs. Poorer Americans, however, are permanently stuck in second-class programs that either restrict their access to doctors or eat up so much of their income that “affordable care” becomes a cruel joke.

The Left spins these narratives through the allied educational, media, and entertainment establishments to create false “truths” to consolidate their own power. Teachers unions, open borders advocates, and fans of socialized medicine don’t care about you — they care about themselves. All of the above polices allow liberal elites to pull up the ladder of success behind them, leaving poor and working class communities stuck on the ground.

The elitist Left talks a good game, but that’s all it is: a game. A game where they win and America loses.

Jim DeMint is a former U.S. Senator from South Carolina, and the author of They’re Lying To You: 10 Lies That Shape Your Truth. You can follow him on twitter @JimDeMint

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.