1% to Middle Class: “Stop crying, you’re better off than ever!”

Friday, January 25, 2013

Some economists on the Right are now trying to convince the middle class that we are actually doing better than ever! By using cherry-picked figures and unfounded assertions, two conservative economists wrote in an op-ed that because Americans spend less on “basics” than we did in the 50s, we should stop whining and be happy with the scraps we are receiving. Unfortunately, they fail to account for what really counts as “basics” in today’s society (gas, health care, and education), while also neglecting to mention that Americans are working longer and harder than ever for the same flat wages. Finally, they make the assumption (without citing any figures) that because some “ordinary” Americans have iPhones, we are enjoying many of the same luxuries as the 1%. We will believe that line of reasoning when we aren’t living pay check to pay check and all have car elevators installed in our homes. 

Yes, the middle class really is falling behind - Washington Post

Unions are critical to the survival of the middle class, driving up wages not only for their members, but historically for the entire work force. The unions badly need the President’s active involvement in the struggle against [anti-union] G.O.P. initiatives, many of which are being helped along by the right-wing’s most prominent donors. 

What Can Obama Do for the Labor Movement? - The New Yorker

This quote about sums it up: “If you don’t believe that this vanishing act is connected to the fact that wage income now constitutes the lowest share of both corporate revenues and Gross Domestic Product since World War II, you probably shouldn’t keep pretending that you know something about the economy.” Working Americans need to stick together to ensure the wealthiest among us can’t annihilate our right to organize in the work place. 

Labor, and Middle Class, Still Shrinking - American Prospect

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The great American middle class wasn’t something that just happened – it was built brick by brick. It was built by soldiers returning from war and a government that repaid them by giving them a shot at college.