The middle class in the US has been shrinking for years now due to several factors. Healthcare costs have skyrocketed, becoming the number one cause of bankruptcy. Manufacturing jobs have been moved overseas and information jobs are outsourced. College tuitions (a ticket to middle class status) have been steadily rising, placing higher education out of reach for more and more of our youths. Union busting that began in the 80’s resulted in lower average salaries for all. Now, the last vestiges of workers rights are being eliminated in the public sector. As history dictates, this too will lower the salaries of fire fighters, teachers, police officers, emt’s, etc. The divorce rates have increased leaving more women as head of household (women earn approx 30% less than men.) In short, the gap between the haves and have nots is rapidly increasing. We are a country in crisis! This generation will be the first in American history that will actually experience a LOWER standard of living than their parents!
The result of a shrinking middle class and lowered salaries? The middle class is the largest US tax base, funding schools, safety and emergency services, government, welfare services, and building/repairing roads, etc. Have you looked around lately? Do you notice our crumbling and outdated infrastructure? Do you notice our failing schools (FYI the states with the lowest test scores have eliminated teacher’s unions)? Do you know that of all the industrialized nations, our education system is the worst? Do you know that we have more people in our prisons that ANY other country? Do you know that we have the fattest (cheapest foods are the least healthy) population in the world? WAKE UP!
Why is all this happening? This is happening because “we the people” have become complacent and allowed it to happen! This is happening because there has been a corporate take over of America! Big business has more say in our government than we do. And folks, that is the definition of FASCISM! Our founding fathers must be turning in their graves!
Although our statistics are not on par with the rest of the “civilized” world, the disintegration of the middle class is not just an American phenomenon. The above photo was taken during a protest in the UK less than six months ago. Scenes like this are becoming commonplace all over the world due to economic stresses. Middle class workers have been stripped of their unions everywhere. Ireland was forced to actually reduce the national minimum wage. College tuition everywhere is rising. We all know what happened in Iceland and Greece. Retirement ages have increased in ALL of the major countries. This is worldwide!
And if you are not aware of all this, then you can blame our mainstream, corporate owned media.
What can we do? VOTE!! Be informed by seeking out more than what we are fed on tv. The internet is a powerful tool that we can use to our advantage, and you can access it free at your local library. Before voting someone into office, please do your homework on the candidates. Look into their backgrounds. What have they voted for in the past? Too many people just vote for a party because their parents did or because their church tells them to. Well, the parties have changed over the years so you can no longer expect the same values as your parents did; and big business has used the Christian far right to help promote their own evil agendas by hiding behind pro-life issues, etc. Just so everyone is aware YOU DO NOT HAVE TO VOTE FOR ONLY DEMOCRAT OR REPUBLICAN!!! We can support our local economies by buying local whenever possible. We need to see more “Made in America” labels and less “Made in China!” We can place our money in local banks and credit unions instead of the “too big to fail” banks. We can teach our children the importance of being active in their governments.
Here are a few places to look that back up my stats. Please do your own research and you will be surprised by what you find. GET INVOLVED!
The UK Guardian
The Irish Times
Weapons of Mass Instruction
Time magazine – article on shrinking middle class
“Killing Us Softly 3”