Friday, March 25, 2011

The New Order

Despite the recession having ended, the permanent loss of so many jobs has made a full recovery painfully slow. The truth is that some people will never recover their former earning power and others will not be able to attain as high a level as they desire. What has happened in my lifetime is that for the first time we see one generation doing worse than their parents. Incredibly some college graduates are unable to buy a home after working for many years although they were raised in a home that was bought by parents who never went beyond high school, if that far. The middle class is eroding, and the figures that have come out indicate that a very small percentage of our citizens control most of the money. Or, perhaps we can say they sit on it.

Most Americans seem unaware of the great disparity between the haves and the have-nots, but as the great power of those at top multiplies exponentially, the more vulnerable and powerless the rest of us feel, for never before in our lifetime have we seen so few people with essentially all the money and the rest of us scrambling for some piece of the pie. And meanwhile we are lied to constantly.

Lip service is given to the lie that all we need to do is get more education and we will earn more. Ah, but how much more? Despite graduate degrees, many still earn less than parents with significantly less education, sometimes less than high school. We can gauge this by what they accomplished with their incomes that their children cannot. The American Dream has become elusive to this generation. Whenever we mention it, someone points to someone who “made it.” My goodness, someone made it! The truth is that almost no one today makes it. In the 1950s almost anyone who worked hard could essentially “make it,” in the sense of being in a comfortable middle class life. And while so many struggle in this life of quiet desperation, many of the very richest continue to lobby for more.

No one gives up power voluntarily and with our Congress made up of individuals who essentially have given themselves everything they could want out of life, they will neither give it up nor make their rich sponsors give up any power by allowing a more equitable system of taxation. Even during Reagan’s presidency, rich people paid significantly more taxes. We can’t continue to serve the rich by taking from the poor. This is the road to the downfall of us all, for without a middle class, democracy no longer flourishes.

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