I think pretty much everybody in America is aware of the statistics that show that in the last 3 decades or so, the poor have gotten poorer, the rich have gotten vastly richer and the middle class has pretty much gone nowhere. I think a lot of people however, don’t realize that the middle class has gotten significantly poorer too. At this point, I’m not going to place the blame anywhere, I would just like to list all the ways I can think of in which the middle class have gotten poorer and may have not even realized it.
Let me start by letting you know that the financial instability of the last few years has actually benefited me. My company downsized (i.e. laid off a bunch of people) because they had a harder time getting loans and needed to become more profitable so that they had more cash on hand and could operate with fewer loans. The result, is that for the second time since I’ve been with the company, in 11 years, I got a bonus based on our profits. However, the first bonus was kind of a joke. This one, on the other hand, was the maximum I was allowed to get. So if you’re a middle class person who’s struggling and wondering where all your money is going; You should know that some of it is going into my pockets! But you know what? I’m scared. I really believe there’s a strong possibility that we’re headed for a depression. So I’m not spending that money and boosting the economy, I’m saving it. And that’s not helping you!
And you know what else? I’m not ashamed of it. Do you want to know why? Because I’m working 6o to 80 hours a week! I deserve it! I’m also really good at my job so I find creative ways to reduce the amount of work that our company’s computer department has to do. My CIO and CEO are also quite good at helping me to do that. And I have a really big advantage over you guys. I have no family and no desire to get any. So I can work 80 hours a week! Plus my health insurance costs less than yours. I’m the guy that helped our company eliminate your job! Sorry about that, but I have to survive!
Yet after having come across as flippant and callous, I want you to know that I’m actually not a heartless, greedy person. I utterly despise the position that our economy has forced me and my company into. It makes me angry and sad. It makes me sad that I’ve helped my company put people out of work. It makes me sad that some of my friends are going to be leaving soon. It makes me sad that they will most likely have a difficult struggle ahead of them. It makes me furious at the people who have created this situation and tricked the average middle class person into believing that it’s the “others” who have caused it. It makes me cry that our country is becoming a country in which you have to have the kinds of innate advantages that I have in order to survive. You should be able to raise a family without having to worry about where you children’s next meal is coming from. Why should I, a guy who isn’t even going to pass on his genes, have such a huge advantage over you? It’s wrong!
So here’s my list of all the ways we, the middle class, have gotten poorer too. These are just my observations about my own life and the lives of people I know. If these things haven’t affected your life, then congratulations! You must be one of the elite rich who are causing this!
1. Increased unemployment.
2. Declining wages. When you’ve lost your great job with the pension as an engineer and can only get a part-time job as a bartender. Your wages have declined!
3. Increased health-care and health insurance costs.
4. Spikes in the prices of commodities such as oil, corn, wheat and soybeans.
5. Increased interest rates on loans and credit cards.
6. Decreased interest rates on investments and savings.
7. Increases in higher education costs.
8. A breakup of families which creates more single parent families that have to get buy on a single person’s income and pay more than they can afford on child care.
9. Less social structure and cohesion which causes more people to live alone.
10. Deteriorating infrastructure (i.e. blowing out tires on pot holes, more accidents due to decreased snow plowing, having to take longer routes to work due to dangerous bridges, more power and telephone outages which interrupt business, etc.)
11. Higher taxes.
13. Increased housing prices and the loss of our homes due to real estate bubbles.
So let me know the ways in which you’ve become poorer while productivity in the last few decades has increased significantly. Ask yourselves if it’s fair. Ask yourselves if this is the way Capitalism is supposed to work. Next time, I talk about who I think is primarily responsible and how.
- 30 Statistics That Prove The Elite Are Getting Richer, The Poor Are Getting Poorer And The Middle Class Is Being Destroyed (businessinsider.com)
- The Necessity of a Middle Class in Societies Today (socyberty.com)
- Bill Quigley: Socialism? What a Joke! The Rich Are Winning the US Class War: Facts Show Rich Getting Richer, Everyone Else Poorer (capitolhillblue.com)