The Death of the Middle Class

My friend Jonathan Larson has an interesting blog he calls “Real Economics.” I visit it frequently but found today’s entry on inequality, worth sharing. It includes a video report on how the middle class is at its worst position in 100 years.  You’ll find a link to the whole blog entry and video.


Friday, August 5, 2011

The markets go nuts

One of the main reasons I don’t pay much attention to the Gold Bugs is because they actually believe that if you cannot exchange your money for something like Gold, the money isn’t “worth anything.”  Of course, the idea that Gold is “something” is really pretty silly.

On the other hand, those of us who believe that money becomes valuable because of the hard work and ingenuity of the Producing Classes are obviously less concerned with the form money takes.  Rearranged electrons on the back of a piece of plastic is just fine so long as it represents Producer energy.

The big problem is that not enough of the money has made it to the wider public.  If financial markets are supported by anything, it is by the ability of Producers to purchase their output.  But in the last 35 years, the money validated by Producer energy has wound up in fewer and fewer hands.

The final act of the Predators has been to loot governments so that there now remains almost no one to purchase much of anything.  Along with the other austerity measures taken around the world to prop up tottering banks, the recent debt ceiling deal accomplished almost nothing except for severely damaging governments as final consumers.  So now that the prime pillar supporting the very existence of the markets has been crippled, it is really no surprise that around the world, the bourses are in near panic.

Inequality Between The Top 1% And Middle Class Worst In Almost 100 Years 

The richest 1% of US Americans earn nearly a quarter of the country’s income and control an astonishing 40% of its wealth. Inequality in the US is more extreme than it’s been in almost a century — and the gap between the super rich and the poor and middle class people has widened drastically over the last 30 years. (more)

Michael Moore makes the argument that the death of the middle class occurred August 5th, 1981, the day that President Reagan fired the PATCO workers:

From time to time, someone under 30 will ask me, “When did this all begin, America’s downward slide?” They say they’ve heard of a time when working people could raise a family and send the kids to college on just one parent’s income (and that college in states like California and New York was almost free). That anyone who wanted a decent paying job could get one. That people only worked five days a week, eight hours a day, got the whole weekend off and had a paid vacation every summer. That many jobs were union jobs, from baggers at the grocery store to the guy painting your house, and this meant that no matter how “lowly” your job was you had guarantees of a pension, occasional raises, health insurance and someone to stick up for you if you were unfairly treated.

Young people have heard of this mythical time — but it was no myth, it was real. And when they ask, “When did this all end?”, I say, “It ended on this day: August 5th, 1981.”

Beginning on this date, 30 years ago, Big Business and the Right Wing decided to “go for it” — to see if they could actually destroy the middle class so that they could become richer themselves.

And they’ve succeeded.  (more)



Comments are closed.