Monday, February 18, 2008

Is The Middle Class Already Gone?

I started this website to highlight the plight of the American middle class. It was obvious to me that the average family now needed two workers just to afford the same lifestyle that had been common just a generation before. Why is this happening and how can this alarming trend be reversed? Now there are statistics to show this very dangerous slide.
Except for the late 1990s, pay has been stagnant for more than a generation, barely keeping pace with inflation. In 1973, the median male worker earned $16.88 an hour, adjusted for inflation. In 2007, he earned $16.85.

For many families, the stagnation has been moderated by the addition of a second paycheck as more women went to work, and their pay rose over the same period.

But the largest gains went to workers at the top of the pay scale. Now, economic worries are rising fastest in households with smaller paychecks, and that chasm is widening.

"Over the past decades, whether inflation was much higher or lower, or incomes grew faster or more slowly, there has never been such a wide divergence in the experiences" separating richer households from poorer ones, Richard Curtin, the director of the University of Michigan's consumer survey said in summing up the most recent figures.
How can any Democracy flourish when the middle class is being eliminated? The answer is that it can not. The biggest problem is educating the population on political matters. This didn't happen by accident. It happened as a result of middle class Americans voting against their own best interests. Just the other day I was driving about 90 miles north of NYC and spotted an older car with wheel wells that had been rusted through. On the back of the car was a bumper sticker "Vote Republican" and I thought this dumb ass can't even afford a semi decent car and yet he is voting Republican. It is the economic policies of the Republicans since Ronald Reagan that have caused the greatest redistribution of wealth in our history and his inability to afford a safe car.

The Republicans count on people like this fool being too politically stupid to make a reasoned choice and unfortunately many in the middle class fall into this trap.

No comments: