Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Incredible Shrinking Middle Class

America’s middle class neighborhoods are shrinking. Rich and poor neighborhoods are expanding.

In 1970, middle-income neighborhoods comprised 58% of America’s 100 largest cities. By 2000 that figure had shrunk to 41%.

Is this what we want?

We’re getting closer and closer to a two-tier society (the “Two Americas” that Jon Edwards kept warning us about). I don’t think most Americans want this, other than the nutcases on the Far Right.

The Right Wing has been drooling, wetdreaming about a two-tier society, and their twisted vision is getting closer. The Right has always envied the military juntas we used to prop up all over Latin America. Two percent of the population lived in splendor that would make Marie Antoinette look like a peasant, and the other 98% were struggling to survive.

America’s robber barons have dreamed of bringing these third world conditions to this country. We don’t have debtors’ prisons yet, but last year’s bankruptcy “reform” law comes close. The minimum wage hasn’t gone up in over nine years.

The Paris Hilton Protection Act (repealing the estate tax) hasn’t happened yet, but it will probably be passed any day now. The lost revenue will drain trillions from our treasury. It will also create a permanent aristocracy in America — something that’s always separated the United States from most other countries. Most Americans believe in a meritocracy — payment on performance — not a class of idle rich whose only accomplishment was choosing the “right” parents.


Blogger Mike V. said...

Well, it's taking about a hundred years, but it seems that we could easily slip right into a 21st century Gilded Age, after many decades of good times for working people.

What the masses (particularly those in the middle of the country, blinded by hate of gays and evolution in schools) seem to forget that it was the "progressives" and the "liberals" that helped them to achieve middle class status by fighting for good wages, working conditions and benefits.

In the last 25 years, we've seen CEOs go from making 20 or so more times than their average employee to 400 times more.

Two tiers. Not a good thing at all..

June 22, 2006 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Mike: Yeah, it's unreal how many working-class people vote Republican just because Republicans hate fags, wayward sluts and welfare recipients; and they spout Bible quotes.

Because of their ignorance, we're all having the clock turned back. This 2-tier society is not a good thing.

June 23, 2006 at 12:15 AM  
Blogger frstlymil said...

I may be remembering my history lessons wrong - but isn't this extreme haves vs. have nots situation what originally prompted Russia to revolt, hence the start of the Soviet Union?

June 23, 2006 at 5:24 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Frstlymil: Yes, I'd say we're getting closer to the kind of conditions that created communist overthrows of governments. We're nowhere near that point yet, but if the Far Right keeps getting everything they want...

June 23, 2006 at 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Closer to home the depression was in trouble in resulting in a have/have not revolt that resulted in Hoover getting bounced out and Roosevelt in. What they don't realize was that the New Deal was to keep some sort of equity so that the have nots would not revolt again. There was still PLENTY for the rich to have.

However it made the right wing so mad that 60+ years later, they are still trying to dismantle it and give the rich even more money.


June 23, 2006 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remarking on the middle class, I was reading a story in which the INS came to Nebraska to bust some Meat Packing Plants full of Illegals and almost shut them down. They were banned from coming back- seems not only are the Meat Packers large contributors but the surrounding towns depended on the meager income.

A report from the Meat Packers Union says that over 10 years ago the average wage of a Meat Packer was around $15.00 a hour, now since they moved the plants elsewhere and imported immigrants, the average is $6.00.

My Point here is I remember when Meat Packing, Like Auto worker used to be a good middle class working job where workers had the possibility of living the american dream, getting a house, a car and sending their kids to college.

Now it has gone the way of Customer Service/Tech Support (outsourced overseas) and Engineering (H1B visas) Jobs - for example.

Business has been eliminating the middle class with help from congress.

Those of us who are left are seeing their tax dollars spent to build a big wall on the border.


June 23, 2006 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Yup, there's a hardcore fringe on the Far Right that's been around since the 1930s (probably earlier). They've been determined to dismantle the entire safety net ever since FDR created it. They were pretty much below the radar until 1980 when Reagan got elected. Their power and influence now are way out of proportion to their percentage of the population. We need to put them back under the radar where they were up until the late '70s.

Illegal immigration: the main culprits are the employers who hire them. Republicans direct all their anger at these icky people streaming over our borders. Meanwhile some of Congress' biggest donors are corporation who hire illegal aliens. Like you said, a lot of jobs have gone from $15 an hour to $6 an hour.

Business and the government -- it's hard to tell which is which these days -- are working together to create these conditions.

June 23, 2006 at 1:59 PM  

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