Thursday, June 22, 2006

Where'd The Middle Class Go?

All across America, the middle class is disappearing, says the Washington Post. Why is this bad news? Well, before there was a middle class... the world was run by fiefdoms. The world was divided into Aristocrats and serfs. Only with the rise of the middle class did the world suddenly become a fairer place.

Evidence shows a stable middle class is essential to a stable country. If there's only rich people and poor people, the gap between proves a harder one to jump.

The Drum Major Institute For Public Policy released a report detailing how Congress performed on economic issues facing the middle class. On nearly every issue, Congress as a whole voted against the interests of middle class Americans.

On the Bankruptcy Abuse and Consumer Protection Act, which made it harder for individuals to declare bankruptcy and clear credit card debt, only 25% in the Senate and 30% in the House voted against it.

On the Fair Minimum Wage act, which would raise the minimum wage, only 48% in the senate voted for it.

And the Democrats haven't exactly done well on voting in the economic interests of Middle Class Americans. Only 44% of House Democrats and 20% of Senate Democrats received A grades from the institute.

Republicans believe if you give to the rich, that money will filter down to the poor (Reaganomics!). Democrats tend to believe the opposite. In the 20+ years of Reaganomics, we've seen two major recessions, interrupted by a huge sustained period of growth from 1992-2000. What happened in 1992-2000? Why did the middle class grow during that time? Why did we have more money? Why did the deficit become a surplus?

What was the difference in those 8 years?

Could it have, maybe, just maybe been the fact that, oh, I don't know... Bill Clinton was President? And his economic policy made sense?

Hate him for the BJ if you will, but it's no coincidence exactly 8 years of economic prosperity matched up with his tenure as Commander-in-Chief.

But I'm digressing. The point is, Congress and the administration, has let the middle class down, widening the gap between rich and poor and causing more economic hardship for those families in between. Is it any wonder Bush's and Congress's approval ratings are so low? They may boast a growing economy, but clearly, whatever economic rise they detect is leaving out the group of Americans which form the backbone of our stable democracy.

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