How Americaís Middle Class Dug Its Own Grave
|August 19th, 2014, 02:58 AM||#1 (permalink)|
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How Americaís Middle Class Dug Its Own Grave
A very leftist, blame the Republicans in the last 30 years, blame people for voting for GOP etc., but some interesting opinions about the middle class "tolerating" because of hope of getting "rich".
How America?s Middle Class Dug Its Own Grave
One important lesson about life ó that many of us never quite seem to grasp ó is that when it comes to assigning blame, we should always look to ourselves first to see if our own actions had any part. Chances are, no matter what has happened to you, there is at least a portion of the blame that can be redirected back at your actions. True, some things are completely out of control, but there are always lines that can be traced back to either action or inaction that could have prevented a unwelcomed outcome.
For example, the vast majority of people in the United States sit idly by while our government and defense industry casually wage war across the world. This leads to all kinds of resentment aimed at everyday, average Americans who had absolutely nothing to do with it. In turn, we might see oil prices spike, or perhaps an attack on an American military base or embassy. Tax money, and sometimes the lives of American soldiers, are then spent to right the wrong.
Now, most Americans are not responsible in any way for this. But if we can look at what we did ó or what we did not do, in this case ó itís clear there was an opportunity to speak up against the actions being taken out in our names. War is a tricky example. There are definitely a million different situations that can affect geo-political relations, and sometimes even speaking up against those actions wonít have any real consequence.
But the economy is a different story. The fact is itís easy to point the finger and blame others for things, especially economic woes. Since there are so many complex factors that go into making society and the economy run, there is almost always a big business or individual policymaker that blame can be tossed at. While there may be a nugget of truth to such accusations, individuals need to first take a look at themselves and their own behavior and ask what kind of effect they are having on the system at large.
Yes, we are all just individuals with very little influence on the larger picture. But by believing that everything was outside of its control ó and therefore a problem somebody else would fix ó the American middle class has effectively dug its own grave.
Nobody likes to be told they are responsible for some kind of wrongdoing, but as a collective, itís hard to argue the American public has had nothing to do with the economic troubles of the past few decades.
What it all boils down to is voting, and how the choices we make in the ballot have led to the fostering and incubation of a system that is not only unrealistic, but also completely unsustainable. The middle class, unfortunately, has to take on the most blame. As the median wage-earners in the country ó and also the largest segment ó the middle class acts as a buffer of sorts between the rich and the poor. If it werenít for the middle class, there would really be nothing stopping the poor from engaging in massive protests and acts of civil unrest. Itís the promise of a better future through hard work and education that keeps people more or less in line.
For the middle class, itís the hopes of one day entering the ranks of the rich that keeps people on the straight and narrow. The idea that we will all be rich one day has deeply permeated American society, despite the fact that it will happen for very, very few of us. But itís those ideas ó that one day weíll all be on top ó that keep people voting for policies and politicians, that do enormous harm to us economically. Why are the nationís poorest states, like Mississippi and Alabama, constantly voting for the most conservative politicians? These are people who want to institute policies that keep wages low, cut back on public assistance, and only shift money toward the rich. Citizens of those states would be much better off voting for more liberal and socialist policies and lawmakers, but they donít.
Itís because they think, in the long run, that they will benefit from those policies that favor the rich. After all, theyíre only a few years of hard work or one big idea away from being rich. While that idea has marinated and become commonplace among the lower and middle classes, the rich have slowly but surely eaten away at the foundations of the country. Wages have stagnated, jobs are disappearing, and the cost of living has skyrocketed. But people continue to support policies that only seek to hurt them, and make the climb up the economic ladder more difficult.
There are other things to blame for the state of the economy, like globalization and technology. But even those factors donít reverse the damage people are doing to themselves in the voting booth. The Economic Policy Institute recently released a study shedding even more light onto the subject, and its findings more or less confirm that idea.
ďFocusing on technology as the cause of rising wage inequality over the last thirty-five years diverts attention away from the real, underlying causes of inequality: conscious choices about economic policy, which have consistently undermined the bargaining power of workers at the middle and the bottom,Ē the study found.
Moreover, the EPI says that a major shift in the way Americans vote is really the best solution to solving our economic woes. Namely, Americans need to put power back in the hands of workers, for starters.
Other ways to do it? Stop voting for politicians who want to cut public assistance and safety-net programs, keep increasing the costs of education, go to war at the drop of a hat, and keep wages at rock-bottom levels. These are all policies that hurt the economy and society at large, despite what political beliefs and supposed tenants about the economy individuals may hold.
If people really want to help themselves and the people around them, then it all starts in the voting booth. Every American does have a say in guiding the country, itís simply a matter of gathering enough voices together. Thatís the prime remaining option for a middle class thatís desperately trying to lift itself out of the dirt.
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