Setting the Agenda

When we talk about income inequality, we often focus on the individual rather than the regional aspects of the problem. That means that most Americans aren’t aware of how much our government used to intervene in order to ensure that opportunity was available to all of us across the heartland, and not focused in the elite coastal cities like New York.

That is the subject of Phillip Longman’s lead article in the latest edition of the Washington Monthly titled Bloom or Bust, as well as his recent interview with Scott Simon on National Public Radio.

In that interview, Longman uses the example of what happened when the government stopped regulating the airlines.

We now live in a world where depending on where you live your access to airline travel, your connectivity to the world economy, is drastically different. So in the ’60s, if you lived in Memphis or Cincinnati or something, your air service was equivalent in price and in quality to what you would find in elite coastal cities like New York…

Today, you know, we live in a world where there’s only four airlines left basically, right? And if you happen to live in a city that hasn’t been completely monopolized so that there’s only one airline then you might get really good air service. But if you live in a city where it is monopolized, then you’re kind of out of luck. And what that means is if you want to have a corporate headquarters in your town – can’t do that.

Longman ends the interview by talking about how these changes particularly effect red state America – where there is a deep distrust of government generally. Some of that is because the people are completely unaware of how government deregulation has affected their lives. They hear a lot about our “food stamp” president and how our government gives away free stuff to those “other” people, but not so much about the bigger picture.

The other thing this article by Longman reminds us of is that much of our media is consumed today with the latest outrage from Donald Trump and his fear mongering. In other words, we are so busy reacting to the Republican agenda that we fail to be proactive on the real issues that actually affect most Americans.

That is why what we do here at Washington Monthly is so important. We regularly bring you stories about what is/isn’t working in our government and what we can do to make it function better. Here’s how that is expressed in our mission statement:

We don’t chase news cycles, or obsess over the endless political horse race. We care about how the government can be improved, and why it hasn’t; who’s a fraud and who isn’t; which ideas ought to be banished from the nation’s capital and which ones deserve to be championed.

Phillip Longman’s article and interview are a perfect example of that.

If what we do to set the agenda rather than chase the latest news cycle is important to you, please take a moment to make a financial contribution to the Washington Monthly. We can’t do this without you. Thanks.

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Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.