David Brooks warns us that the "income inequality frame" is an ill-advised one, for it "needlessly polarizes the debate." It coughs up the old Marxist bugaboo of "class conflict," and this, being one of the thousands of socioeconomic realities that conservative Republicans can't tolerate, should be suppressed to assuage conservatives' sensibilities, which are of course enormously indifferent to income inequality. Thus the Brooksian square is circled: in his world the problem of income inequality can be better addressed by politely silencing talk of income inequality.
"If we’re going to mobilize a policy revolution," he continues, "we should focus on the real concrete issues: bad schools, no jobs for young men, broken families, neighborhoods without mediating institutions." I agree with Brooks, though Brooks is likely to disagree with himself. A genuine policy revolution would entail abolishing school-funding property taxes in favor of graduated income levies--the revenue to be evenly distributed to all school districts; a modern, urban Civilian Conservation Corps to allieviate youth unemployment; an end to depriving unmarried couples of various welfare benefits in the raising of children, as well as heavily government-subsidized daycare and amplified preschool programs; and the taxation of "mediating institutions"--read: churches and all their profitable spinoffs--everywhere, to help society pay for the foregoing.
One can "frame" this in any way one wishes. But having thus addressed the "real concrete issues"--absent, as requested, offensive talk of class consciousness--something tells me Brooks' sensibilities would still be offended.