Friday, January 20, 2012

The Death of the Middle Class

The Death of the Middle Class

A new narrative came out giving the frightening statistics about a dwindling American middle class. Agreeing to Sherle Schwenninger, "middle-income jobs are disappearing from the economy. The share of middle-income jobs in the United States has fallen from 52% in 1980 to 42% in 2010." As a card-carrying member of the middle class, this concerns me a great deal. One of the things that has made America unique in the past is the fact of a strong middle class. Plentifulness of third world countries have a strong aristocratic class while most of their citizens struggle. That is not a good state. It's very undemocratic and not something that course makers should be article with.

Poverty is the seedbed of so many ills in society. It puts citizen on edge. It makes citizen less able to be efficient members of society. It leads to crime and drug trafficking. And, worst of all, it robs citizen of their dignity. When I volunteered at the soup kitchen, one of the things that the guests commented on was how nice it was to be well-treated. It, unfortunately, is not typical that poor citizen are well treated. When midpoint citizen go out to a restaurant, they expect to be well treated. And if they aren't, they'll take their company elsewhere. Poor citizen don't have that kind of leverage.

Middle class citizen now may not think this widening gap and the erosion of middle America matters, because they think it won't happen to them. But a whole lot of other middle-income citizen who are now poor didn't think it would happen to them either. Unemployment is increasing, and high paying jobs are being replaced with low wage jobs. America needs real jobs if it is to truly recover from economic hardship. Flipping burgers at McDonald's doesn't cut it.

Do course makers care about the middle class? On some level, course makers, at least, give lip assistance to how leading a strong American middle class is. But their actions speak to something else. Their free trade agreements decimate middle America. What happens with free trade is that good, high paying American jobs are outsourced to other countries at per hour. If President Obama were de facto serious about reviving, or at least not killing America's middle class, this would be illegal. These free trade agreements only benefit one group of people, and that is the super-wealthy. Meanwhile, middle America becomes unemployed and works at poorly paying jobs, becoming poor. Will this not only add to the coarsening of community and the vulgarity of people? Of course it will. It's something that needs to be taken seriously.

The Death of the Middle Class
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