I perceive that the US has a welfare state mentality without actually having a welfare state. So whenever parts of the non-existing welfare state is threatened, the usual suspects rebel as if they have actually lost something. So I predict that the top income tax, within 20 years, will top out around 40-45% and we will become an appropriately two-tiered society. Free market mechanisms will collapse for the working class. There will emerge a minimally effective bog standard welfare state, and it will suck balls. Like whatever byzantine health insurance schemes survive Obama-Trumpcare, public education in Texas and civil infrastructure in Michigan.
When I say two-tiered society, I actually mean three, but we already understand that the wealthy exist in a world unto themselves, and nobody ever expects that to change absent violent revolution. So this is actually about what compromises can beset the affluent such that they are blunted into submissive acceptance of those curtailments of liberty necessary for the maintenance of an actual welfare state.
This requires three tricks to be pulled off.
The first trick is for all of the affluent to get enough money to say to hell with those lower than them, kind of the way NPR listeners never drink Budweiser, so long as there is enough craft beer around. Once this is established through a understood set of cultural signifiers, they can stare each other down from a distance. The difficulty with this trick is that affluent Americans also feel entitled to possess that which they can conceive. The affluent believe in upward mobility because of the readily observable examples of the rich in our heretofore open society. The solution is to eliminate all prosumer quality goods and services which might convince the affluent that they are as welcome as the rich and wealthy. IE no (affordable) Corvette will exist to actually compete with (unaffordable) Porsches. No affordable iPhones will exist to compete with unaffordable 4K movie cameras. And of course, Shock Top will have to taste good and Bud like piss.
The second trick is for the usual rebellious suspects to realize that their fetish clients (minorities) and their fetish sponsors (celebrities) both don't give two effective turds about their political solidarity. This will take some work because as alienated as Trump haters feel, the current president actually sympathizes with the common working class patriotic American. Therefore he might consequently stumble into an improvement in government that appeals to a broad majority. You cannot have a welfare-state that does this; the gap between the universally publicly funded and the private must appear as clear as the difference between inner-city public school and Hogwarts. This therefore must mean the establishment of a soul-crushing meritocracy where the affluent actually cannot predictably succeed. They will therefore resent and scorn those with affirmative action tickets to ride, as well as those who don't need it. Imagine Meryl Streep not bothering to make public speeches, but instead immediately donating her Oscar to the homeless shelter. Middle class solidarity goes to shit. This needs to happen in order for the affluent to take their own class interests more seriously, even Leftist affluents.
The third trick is for capitalists to create a sufficiently diverse marketsphere that is inclusive of every interest group that can support a cognizable political force. That is to say that if your constituency consists of the obscure demographic of Irish Catholic men of middle age, that you produce enough movies like Boondock Saints so that they feel like they are part of the American heroic mosaic, no matter how much the rest of America hates their guts. Since there will never again be an authentic working class Irish Catholic President, this and a host of other cultural smoke must be blown up their collective asses in order to sedate their violent human tendencies. In this way, people who realize they are being ignored politically will feel adequately attended to by those large and powerful entities who don't actually respond to their democratic needs, just to their material and psychic desires. This can be done through the miracle of marketing which in the US is already sufficiently advanced and verges on completion.
With the establishment of these three tricks, the permanent welfare state in America will be established in fact. Americans will tend to their class sensibilities and remain satisfied within their own ranks. It would help if we decommission the military and religion because these are two institutions that inspire people to become selfless and purpose-driven. This is incompatible with the aims of the welfare state, which requires no sacrifice other than the actual practice of the defense of liberty and justice for all. The political-correct language of multiculturalism and historical revisionism has been very effective in establishing an expectation of class-appropriate 'liberty' and 'justice' for each group. This simply needs to be actualized through the application of insurmountable economic class stratification.
This lies within the realm of possibility. We're on the right track.