April 28, 2015

Watching Dr. Phil pontificate over matters of parental responsibility is confusing, to say the least. He even admits that Millennials of Baltimore have to face huge obstacles, like a poor school system and a crumbling economy. Yet, he attempts to lay blame on people who are the victims of a three decade's-old economic debacle. The inner city region of Baltimore is a classic example of the gentrification of our large East Coast cities, where Reaganomics has devastated the poorest of neighborhoods. The looting and riots that occurred follow a very similar pattern to the gentrification of Baltimore.

Gentrification in dark blue
Credit: Baltimore Business Journal
Where the violent protests occurred Credit: Baltimore Sun

Dr. Phil and the rest of the couch sociologists ponder the question, 'where are the parents?' Those parents are struggling, and their children have grown up with the hopelessness that accompanies the perpetuation of poverty. MacGraw and the friends fail to first consider what has happened to cities like Baltimore due to the ever-growing concentration of wealth at the top. The neighborhoods where there was once affordable housing have virtually disappeared, their residents displaced.

Once in proximity to decent-paying jobs, these 'absent parents' struggle to find transportation and child care. Instead of mom and pop stores, check cashing and pawn shops line the streets of these neighborhoods, while multinational chains employ residents, usually paying minimum wage. These businesses that prey on the poor by charging insane fees make matters even worse.

Thom Hartmann explains what Dr. Phil and his Fox News buddies never even ponder: how did we get here?

How did we get to a point in our history where our nation has record levels of wealth, but millions of people are still struggling with hunger, poverty and homelessness? It’s all thanks to Reaganomics.

The income gap in America has widened exponentially since Reagan took office and implemented the so-called “Reagan Tax Cuts.” Between 1947 and 1980, income gains were shared fairly equally between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else. But then Reagan came to Washington and everything changed.

The wealthy elite began to take home more of our nation’s income gains, while income gains for everyone else began to stay relatively stagnant. In 1980, the top 1 percent of Americans controlled 10% of annual U.S. income. In 2007, the top 1 percent controlled 23.5% of annual U.S. income; the highest it’s been since the Great Depression.

Still, every Republican praises Reagan as if he's a deity, yet the evidence couldn't be more blatant that he was anything but a good president. Perhaps only George W. Bush was worse for America. Reagan changed American economics from an era where one salary could support a family and pay for college, to today, where minimum-wage earning citizens face a certainty of life among the working poor. It truly is time to repudiate Reaganomics and stop blaming the victims of that disastrous philosophy.

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