THE DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN MIDDLE CLASS

World Wide Middle Class Unrest

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  Do you notice our crumbling and outdated infrastructure?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

http://www.bbc.com

Weapons of Mass Instruction

The Corporation”

http://www.storyofstuff.com

Time magazine – article on shrinking middle class

“Killing Us Softly 3”

 

 

 

AMERICAN REVOLUTION

Are we in the midst of a New American Revolution?  The first was to gain independence from the British Empire.  Is the second to regain the liberties we’ve lost under our own government?  Are most of us even aware of liberties we have lost? Living day to day trying to survive without regard to the larger events happening behind the scene that shape our lives seems to be the general consensus of the public today.  Our only source of information is the corporate owned media who many claim skew that information to meet their own needs in swaying public perception on important issues.  According to Reporters Without Borders “the United States was ranked as having the fifty-third freest press in the world, tied with Botswana and Croatia” (http://en.rsf.org).  Wow!

What prompted me to think about all this, was my own experience with protesting Ohio Senate Bill 5.  In my previous post I described my experience at the Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio on February 22, 2011.  It was the change in rhetoric between that protest and the event held on March 1, 2011 on the Statehouse lawn that really made me think about the world around me.  Within the span of just one week the conversation changed from saving public sector unions to a call for revolution.  The call for the oppressed middle class (proletariat) to rise up came from a Latino man who spoke at the March 1st rally after pledging the support of the entire Ohio Latino community towards our cause.  I was more than just a little disturbed/concerned.  Could this really be happening?

After listening to the passion in that Latino man’s speech, I decided to do more research.  In an article entitled “Massive Austerity Budgets are Destroying America, While the Rich Get Richer, Everyone Else Suffers” by Kevin Zeese, he notes that “in the Midwest as unions shrunk, good manufacturing jobs fled and were replaced by poor paying service economy jobs” (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23452), thus lowering the standard of living amongst the middle class.

What I don’t understand is why anyone would want the middle class to shrink?  When big companies lobby our government officials to take away workers rights, doesn’t that only create a temporary increase in profits for those companies?  The middle class of the US pay the majority of taxes to support programs for the poor, keep our infrastructure in tact, etc.  The middle class also purchases the majority of all goods and services creating and sustaining the rich.  Regardless, it is clear that the middle class is indeed shrinking and has been for quite some time as explained in an academic lecture by Elizabeth Warren at http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=23452.  I also recommend her book The Two Income Trap.  Perhaps a shrinking middle class may explain why our infrastructure is failing, (http://articles.cnn.com/2009-01-28/us/infrastructure.report.card_1_drinking-water-infrastructure-aging?_s=PM:US), our public schools are failing (http://reason.com/archives/2006/01/13/stupid-in-america), etc.

What can we do about all this?  The first thing we must do is educate ourselves by seeking out reputable, confirmable information beyond our own mainstream media.  Read newspapers from all over the world.  Read academic studies on everything you can.  We can’t take action until we are informed.  Could that lead to revolution?  Perhaps, but what is revolution?  Does it have to be violent?  Is it possible to have a peaceful revolution?

Here are some links I found useful:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/the BBC news homepage

http://www.independent.ie/ – the Irish “Independent” newspaper homepage

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post//?source=dompost – New Zealand “Dominion Post” newspaper homepage

http://www.thelibertyvoice.com/ – “Liberty Voice” newspaper homepage based out of Powell, Ohio

http://www.wimp.com/immigrationpoverty/ – presentation on world poverty and immigration

http://www.storyofstuff.com/ – presentations about the “stuff” we purchase

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDZFcDGpL4U – presentation on education paradigms

Documentaries: “The Future of Food,” “Food, Inc.,” “The Corporation,” “The End of America,” “Sicko,” “Maxed Out”

Books:  The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America by Charlotte Iserbyt, Weapons of Mass Instruction by John Gatto, Death by Supermarket: The Fattening, Dumbing Down, and Poisoning of America by Nancy Deville, Nickle and Dimed or (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich

Of course, we must sift through this information and investigate what is truth and what is not.  I invite you all to share any additional resources or comments.

UPCOMING PROJECT BEGINNING IMMEDIATELY:  I will be removing myself from all public venues as well as disconnecting from all electronics (except for those necessary for school) for the next month or so, in order to reflect on my life and take care of some personal issues that have been building.  Yes, Folks, I’ll be pulling a Thoreau and writing about the experience just as he did.