John Edwards, when he wasn’t fixing his hair or cheating on his wife, liked to talk about “two Americas.” In one America, things were pretty bad, somewhere between The Grapes of Wrath and Thunderdome. In the other America, where Edwards himself lived in a McMansion, things were going swimmingly. It’s been a popular talking point for years. Socialist intellectual Michael Harrington helped to inspire the Great Society with his book The Other America.
As serious analysis, this bifocal vision of America has always left me cold. The American economy is too dynamic, the American people too optimistic, to talk so glibly about haves and have-nots as permanent classes