There has been a lot written about the “War on the Middle Class, an unfortunate choice of words. Granted, the middle class is certainly under siege, but to call it a “war” is misleading. War needs a central command and a central strategy. What we have, instead, is an ooligarchical lynch mob, an example of monkey-see-monkey-do, all in the name of maximizing profits.
And the maximization of profits is the sole measure by which our oligarchs measure the economic health of America. They crow over the fact that productivity increased by 9.5 percent in the third quarter of 2009 and that 78 percent of the companies in the S&P 500 exceeded earning expectations.
All of these glowing reports of “better than expected earnings” are meaningless in light of the fact that a contributing factor to these increased earning has been a 5.2 percent reduction in unit labor costs thanks to the off-shoring jobs and the use of foreign workers. So, the increase in productivity has not seen a corresponding increase in wages. Had wages kept pace with productivity, the minimum wage would now be somewhere in the neighborhood of $18 per hour.
However, it must be remembered that our oligarchs would shed no tears over the demise of the middle class with its periodic outbreaks of reform mania that brought us an end to child labor laws, the civil rights movement, reforms in the treatment of the mentally ill, a regulated food and drug industry and scores of antismoking legislation, all of which have cut into to corporate profits.
It is true that the modern day reforms have become trivialized with the contemporary emphasis on such nonissues as second-hand smoke, childhood obesity and the elimination of transfats from restaurant menus. Of course, our oligarchs are four-square behind these reforms since they divert the middle class’s attention away from core issues such as the erosion of our civil liberties and the militarization of America.
The media loves to market the lie that we are the “richest nation in the world.” How can a nation be rich when its total corporate, private and public indebtedness equals 350% of it s GDP? Sorry fellows, but debt isn’t wealth as millions are discovering as their homes go underwater. Now American is suffering from “new-age” poverty in which one is poor because one does not have access to credit.
Some call the elimination of the middle class economic terrorism. I call it economic stupidity. The middle class has long been the backbone of the consumer spending that made up 70 percent of our GDP. The only thing that could possibly replace it is total war, which might give us a clue as to the direction in which we’re heading.
Our oligarchs have one unifying factor working for them that progressives don’t, and that is greed. Just as a lynch mob is an undisciplined collection of individuals focused on a single victim, so is our oligarchy an undisciplined collection of individuals focused on a single objective, the bottom line. The more labor costs are slashed, the better the bottom line looks. And if the middle class is destroyed in the process, it’s all the better. That means an end to pesky reform movements.
History isn’t planned; it just happens that way. And if we don’t like the way it’s happening then the solution is to make it happen another way. It’s kind of like herding cats. You never know where it's gong to end up.