In my lifetime

Tuesday, February 22, 2011
I ranted last week about how the cry that liberals are destroying the country is disingenuous since they (Republicans) have been in charge of this country more often than not in my lifetime. There are two other things that have changed in my lifetime.

One, deregulation in the US is done on behalf of the industry, not the consumer. Two, and by extension of the first point, the middle class is no longer important to the economic growth of our country. By outsourcing private sector jobs to allow companies to be "competitive" private sector union and non-union jobs are being destroyed.

Removing the rules that force an industry to play within it's assigned playing field allow corporations become flush with money, which they can now spend as they wish in the political arena. Money represents free speech. Corporate America has it and, increasingly, middle class America doesn't.

I am not of the opinion that what is going on in Wisconsin is just a 'budget crisis' where the public unions are unwilling to work for the good of their state. No, something much greater is at stake. I just couldn't put my finger on what it was.

Yesterday, I was reading a brilliant commentary by E.D. Kain over on Balloon Juice titled The Death and Life of the Great American Middle Class and I realized that E.D. had expressed something I had been feeling for quite awhile. When he writes:
The truth is, the middle class is simply less necessary to the flow of commerce in an economy dominated by a super-rich elite investor class. So policies that favor the middle class in America have slowly been weeded out in favor of policies which tilt toward investment banks and multi-national corporations. Consciously or not, these policies are designed to replace the middle class with a low-paid service class (which nevertheless has access to long lines of credit). This service class has very little political clout, and will have less and less as whatever good service jobs are outsourced or, in the public sector, stripped of collective bargaining rights.
I thought, bingo! That's exactly is going on.

I came of age in the late 70's and 80's, when the whole balance of power was beginning to be tipped towards the corporation. The invention cheap credit created a willing market that ignored the greater issues. Meanwhile corporate America consolidated it's power in Washington DC. States and large cities became complicit in this credit rich, resource poor power grab and we all have become poorer for it.

This complicity is not a right side or left side issue. Both sides are guilty. While the Republicans may be less apologetic about it, many Democratic representatives are in bed with the same financial institutions. The citizenry bears it own responsibility in this matter.

Walk down the street and ask the average person on the street about unions and the responses you will get will be largely negative, in spite of the fact that unions have taken the brunt of concessions as well as becoming nearly non-existent in the country.

This is a great example of how a meme becomes fact. People believe that unions are the problem, because they have been told they are. This is in spite of the fact that the great American middle class was built largely because of the unions. The money will continue to move upward and we will continue to be told we must make sacrifices. To quote E.D. Kain's article once again:
Many of us will accept this unblinkly, never stopping to consider that maybe it’s all backwards, a convenient narrative, a sleight of hand used to turn the middle class against itself.
Bingo.

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