Dec, 3 2010 Volume 20, Issue 42
Butte College Online Library
Oct 7, 2011
For the first time in American History, one generation firmly believes it had it worse off economically than their parents had, and we are that generation.We are also pretty bleak on our kids future as well. The economic data supporting this bleeding of the American middle class is overwhelming. From how much we earn to how much we get for our dollar has been shrinking drastically since the 70's. Face it, America is in decline. Regardless if your Conservative or Liberal, all economists agree upon this, you can't have a healthy and robust middle-class without it being at the expense of the upper and lower classes. Both the upper and lower classes get drained by a burgeoning middle-class. In Marcia Clemmitt's piece Income Inequality, she paints a picture of the rich getting richer exponentially and the middle class becoming the working poor. She believes this raises serious questions about what public policy should be and how to achieve a more fair and just living for Americans. Also, she looks at some of the reasons that caused us to get here. Mainly, an unfair tax code where millionaires commonly pay little to nothing in taxes, never raising the minimum wage, unfair subsidies to fat corporations, and union busting were identified as the root causes. In other words, the rich are screwing the American Middle class by manipulating our political system by means of paying off our politicians. Rich people are never apathetic towards politics, they know how important it is to take part politically and they do, in many many ways. Only dumb poor and middle-class people say shit like " My vote don't count anyway" or "they never listen to what I want to do" Rich people take part for a reason, every voice matters and counts.
When I dove into this article, it grabbed me and lit me up like a Roman candle. Marcia Clemmitt's even handed depiction of the plight of working class Americans under assault economically from unfair social practices moved me greatly. These are hard working honest Americans that end up getting squeezed financially, where their forefathers with the exact same job didn't! The American middle-class is being hung out to dry so the top 1% earners can have more. Everyone knows when it comes to making money for the greedy, enough is never enough. Just like with crack heads and alcoholics, same mentality, different arena. In 1949 the top 1% earners controlled 10% of Americas wealth, now they control twice that amount at 20%. According to the CIA fact book where they compare and measure economic equality, America is way down on the list. We are surrounded by third world developing nations like Ivory Coast, Malaysia, and Jamaica on the GINI coefficient scale. We suck when it comes to taking care of our own. Today that " dog eat dog " mentality and it's o.k. to step on your competitor or co-worker's neck to get ahead is alive and well. But it makes good sense from a business point of view. If you keep labor costs down that directly increases production efficiency. If people are coerced into working harder for less (and we are I just learned this in econ-8) then they have to work harder and longer just to break even. If people are so busy working, they won't have time or energy to follow the political system that is allowing this gutting of America to happen. I don't think there is some great conspiracy of rich people plotting away. It's more like a vast sea of lobbyists in Washington drowning any hope for the hard working little guy in America today.
This article has taking me down a whole new path. I'm going to research the history of American middle class, it's formation, waxing and waning etc.. also, the political vehicles used by the wealthiest few to try and makes us working class slaves. They really don't want to make us slaves. The slave thing is just residual by-product. They just want perpetually more, for an appetite that is never ending. I want to more accurately measure our middle-class, then compare and contrast it with other countries to get a better view. I want to find out more on how political apathy and income inequality are very related.