Friday, July 16, 2010

The American Middle Class

Being a student of American history has really helped me understand the political atmosphere of America better, where we came from and where we are heading. We are currently facing a crisis bigger than anyone expecting; worse the Great Recession of 2009-2010 and Hurrican Katrina. The crisis is the squeazing and disappearnce of the once great American middle class, the social class that makes up the majority of Americans who drive the economy and are the predominant force when it comes to electing those who shape national policy. But in the last ten years we have seen the middle class starting to shrink; those at the upper end try to push into the upper class while the rest create a new subclass of the lower class, the struggling.
The middle class has been a driving force of America since the early years of this great nation. The middle class started out as the merchant class, hard working people who kept shops in town or were the in the trading industry. These people were the movers and shakers of the young nation and helped keep her going, even in troubled times. The merchant class made up the House of Representatives as there were the voice of their fellow citizens in their towns. They were educated but kept their town's and state's interests at heart. Industrialization brought the mighty working class, a group of hearty individuals who worked hard and were able to provide a decent life for their family. It was through them that the work ethic of the middle class was instilled and continues to thrive today. In the post war years of the 1950's the business sector boomed with lower white collar jobs being added to companies, further growing the middle, giving them the buying power that helped create the economic boom of the 1950's.
The middle class stayed strong, even through the years of Reaganomics, in which trickle down economics failed to help the middle class, instead lining the pockets of the rich. The boom of the 1990's once again helped bolster up the middle class. The G. W. Bush came to office and once again brought with him the theory of trickle down economics, even though everyone knows it did not work under Reagan. And once again they did not. Couple that with the worst ecnomic downturn since the Great Depression and record high unemployment, and we are the seeing the middle class struggle, all over the country. People are out of work, declaring bankruptcy, and losing their homes. And they are angry about it. So angry that a certain political movement is capitolizing on this anger and using it to their advantage, even though they do not care about the people and their conditions.
We need to clamp down on corporations and the rich. We need to, dare I say it, spread the wealth. The rich are not doing anything substantial with their money, why should they not give it to the government so that it can be given back to people, who will turn put it back into the economy? Why should they not carry the burden of our national debt? Afterall, it was those tax cuts under President Bush that created the debt. The middle class is struggling as it is, they should not have to pay for the rich to get richer. This might sound like socialist rhetoric, which it is, but so what? While my views might be centrist, I am still a social Democrat. You can throw the proverbial rocks at me all you want, but that is my view.

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