“…In the Downton Abbey world, the basic premise of the landed aristocracy’s privileges parallels the “trickle-down” approach to economic growth promoted by the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation, the Koch brothers and other propagandists for what they view as today’s downtrodden rich. Lord Grantham honestly and earnestly feels a responsibility for the economic welfare of his tenants and staff, and understands his duty to carry out those responsibilities primarily by providing them employment (but not at any particular minimum wage). Instead of unemployment benefits, the social “safety” net of Downton’s time was the workhouse. Today, advocates for trickle-down economics deny that extending unemployment relief is necessary, propose to turn schools into workhouses for the poorest children so that they could pay for their hot lunches and learn the benefits of a free-market economy.
Lord Grantham laments the hit to his estate caused by the English death tax due on his son-in-law partner’s demise, just as Stephen Moore rails against today’s estate tax on CNBC as an excruciating burden on those with accumulated wealth of over $5 million that somehow was left out of the various family and other trust structures that avoid death taxes altogether on billions of dollars of capital gains — recently highlighted in the Wall street Journal.
The Downton women (both upstairs and downstairs) still lacked the right to vote, but the Downton advocates in U.S. state houses like Texas busy themselves passing voter ID laws that create voting roadblocks for any woman who has changed her name due to marriage — a strange strike against conservative values in a state known for embracing them politically. Downton lived by an ethos that denied employment to homosexuals and forced those on staff with such inclinations to live in stifling secrecy and fear. Today — despite much progress on extending basic human rights to the LGBT community — many states still legally permit employment and other discrimination based on sexual orientation. Forces in American society continue to fight on talk radio and other forums for a sort of Restoration of Downton values: just as the Abbey’s one Irishman must overcome routine, blatant anti-Irish bigotry, today we hear the star of another TV show about a Dynasty (“Duck,” in this case) speak out on how the blacks he knew were better off when they were officially segregated from whites.”
America’s Downton Abbey Economy | Terry Connelly.