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Monday, December 2, 2013

The poor rich people

     The rich are deeply concerned about the well being of the struggling middle class, they talk about their concern relentlessly, every panel on TV cable news media, every panel on the Sunday morning talk shows, filled with commentary by people doing very well about the sad state of the middle class. Since the start of supply side economic theory (also called Trickle Down) the wage increases for the middle class has been flat or slightly down, a 30 year trend. The average retained wealth of a middle class family has decreased from (inflation adjusted) $100,000 to $30,000, again a 30 year trend. A few more 30 year trends, more part time jobs, decreased minimum wage (inflation adjusted), no company pension programs, higher employee health insurance premiums, down sized employee numbers, the temporary to permanent hiring program were so many never seem to become permanent.
     In all these trends the middle class has consistently lost out. In the same 30 year trend the rich have done exceedingly well, the millionaires being pushed out by the billionaires. Now for the icing on the cake, America’s social mobility is lower than that of Europe. America’s youth has less financial potential than their cohorts in many foreign nations. The social mobility of Europe hasn’t really increased; America’s social mobility has been drastically reduced in the last 30 years.
     This data is rarely referenced by the panels discussing the squeeze of the middle class and the correlation to supply side theory in never mentioned. We hear how well America is doing without reference to how badly Americans are doing. We are told that if we work hard we will become rich, well, I worked pretty hard for 50 years, 98% of my fellow employees worked pretty hard, yet none of us became rich. Bill Gates worked hard and has $60 billion dollars; did Mr. Gates work 60 billion times harder than me? Did Mr. Gates work 60 billion hours more per week that I did? Clearly the answer is not how hard someone works.
     The policy makers that gave us supply side financial policies want more. To make supply side theory start the magical trickle down of wealth we need to further reduce the taxes of the wealthy and then reduce our Social Security benefits to pay for it, we need to end Medicare, stop Veterans’ benefits, end food stamps, and just to make certain defund public education. This is the prescription to make us all rich and defeat socialism. The right wing ultra free market purist dominant the air waves and media, you never hear someone state that we should do something to help the middle class. The poor are really left out, the poor are stupid, lazy and immoral. We are told that the sainted job creators pay all the taxes, create all the good things and are the unfair victims of greedy employees. Oh, the poor rich people have it so hard; all they want is a little love.
     I hear the cable TV panel talking about our great financial rewards. The panel has no member of the middle class; there is no representation the middle class, all the representation is biased to the rich. All the comments are self serving for the rich, only the largest winners of capitalism have a voice. Every panel member agrees that the rich getting richer is the best answer to middle class problems. If the middle class has no seat at the table, what is to be expected? In our government the middle class has no representative at the table; all the power players belong to the rich and to the mega corporations. Name a lobbying group that represents the middle class and you will find a group demonized by the cable TV panel of talking heads. Employee unions are demonized as corrupt and anti capitalist. The employees are best represented by whom? The standard answer is the employee is best represented by oneself, all by yourself you can negotiate better and safer work conditions with Goldman Sachs or General Electric. How well has that worked over the last 30 years?
     The sixties hippies have morphed into today’s Teaparty enthusiasts, led to a false reality by the apologist of the rich. The baby boomer generation that created this problem insists it is due to a black President and Latino immigrants and lazy 19 year olds. Having just noticed a 30 year trend they now claim it all happened in 4 years. Yes we have problems, I am grateful that the old folks finally noticed, but given how well the baby boomers have handled the pass 30 years, do we really want to keep listening to people living in a fabled past? Personally I will be listening to the lazy 19 year olds; at least they are looking to the future. Even more encouraging, the youth I talk with don’t seem to buy the free market extremism.


Anonymous said...

Well said. Health care premiums have been going up drastically long before Obama took office. And my newly degreed daughter, that is looking for a decent job (over 50% of grads are unemployed or underemployed), at least gets to stay on my coverage for 4 more years now thanks to ACA.

Meanwhile, I've been working for 40 years, not sure when I will be able to afford to retire..

Shirley said...

It is admirable how you cut through all the platitudes to reveal the truth. The poor and the middle class are the work horses of the wealthy upper class, in my view.