Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Middle Class Is Committing Suicide



By Timothy N. Stelly
Sept. 30, 2011

Pay attention, people! If you have the right to vote, then you have a duty to become as informed as possible before casting that vote. Sadly, most people in this country simply follow their party’s line. Take note of registered Republican who decry the erosion of the middle class, and then casts their votes for a member of their party who is a participating in the middle class’s further destruction.

When Ronald Ray Gun fired the PATCO workers (air traffic controllers) in 1981, that sounded the bugles announcing the arrival of the corporate Calvary who were set to charge on the middle class. Labor battles are now at the forefront of political battles in Wisconsin , Connecticut and Minnesota . The nation’s largest employer, Wal-Mart, has a reputation for stringent anti-unionism and is currently being sued for its alleged discriminatory policies.

In 1952 the percentage of union workers was at 32.5%. Now it is estimated at 11.9% down from 12.3% in 2010. (2) This despite the fact that between 1950-2000 the work force more than doubled. In 1975 there were 22.2 million union workers in America , the highest level ever. Since 2009 there have been nearly 1.4 million jobs lost. (1)

Why is it that the American electorate can’t see that they’re digging their own graves? Unions have been good for America . According to one source:

Unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and raise compensation, including both wages and benefits, by about 28%;

They reduce wage inequality by increasing the rate of pay more for low- and middle-wage workers than for higher-wage workers, more for blue-collar than for white-collar workers, and more for workers who do not have a college degree.

They provide benefit packages that oftentimes include paid leave, more vacation time and paid holidays, health insurance, lower healthcare deductibles and greater pension packages on average 28% higher than non-union workers, and have been good for black workers, who are more likely than any other group to have a union job. (1,2)

People are walking around with blinders on. When Democrats say they want a tax increase on the richest 1%, they’re not speaking of the 1950’s leve;s whe3rn the richest paid on average 62.5%. (This according to the O’Reilly Factor, Sept. 22, 2011 ). They want to raise the level to where it was during the Clinton years, to 29.6%. A lot of billionaires have agreed with the President, including Bill Gates and Warren Buffet— America ’s two richest men.

More telling, 71& of voters are in favor of such a tax hike, and 57% of Republicans are. Their representatives, however—elected to carry out the voters wishes, mind you—are staunchly against raising taxes on the wealthy, and in fact want to cut them! Meanwhile these corporations are sitting on more than $2 trillion in profits overseas and do little, if any, domestic hiring.

More telling, In 2010, the top 20% of Americans earned nearly half (49.4% ) of the nation’s income. The 15% who lived below the poverty line generated 3.4%. The top 1% of income earners bring in 24% of all income. (3,4)

Politicians lie blatantly, apply euphemisms and codewords to their platform and slip it by voters like a hard breaking slider. Look at these Tea Party misfits. They say they want their government back and want to restore the American way of life, and what could be more American than a union job that pays a living wage? Instead, they cut union jobs—starting with public entities like school districts. They claim teachers have contracts that are just too expensive.

Americans hunger for a return to “The Good Old Days,” but the Tea {Party takes that to the extreme. The fact that they call themselves the Tea Party tells you just how far back they want to go. The fact they use archaic slogans at their rallies (“Don’t tred on me”) shows that they are frightened by the literal changing face of America, from white to a much darker (and in their eyes, frightening) color.

It’s like our elected officials are saying, “Just because we’re sneaky doesn’t mean we’re up to something!”

Pay attention, dammit! You owe it to yourself, your country and to future generations.

Sources:

1. CBS News, Unions Membership Continues Decades-Long Decline, January 21, 2011 , http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/01/21/national/main7269628.shtml

Lawrence Mishel and Matthew Walters, How Unions Help All Workers, August 26, 2003 , http://www.epi.org/publication/briefingpapers_bp143/

Hope Yen, Census finds record gap between rich and poor, Associated P{ress, September 28, 2010, retrieved from http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/09/28/us_census_recession_s_impact_1

Timothy Noah, The United States of Inequality, Slate, September 3, 2010, http://www.slate.com/id/2266025/entry/2266026

Bureau of Labor Statistics (January 25, 2008). "Union members in 2007". Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Labor, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/ union2_01252008.pdf

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Union Members Survey, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm

Jerry White, Union Membership In U.S. At Lowest Level in 60 Years, February 26, 2001 , http://www.wsws.org/articles/2001/feb2001/afl-f26.shtml

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About the author: Timothy N. Stelly is a poet, essayist, novelist and screenwriter from northern California. His novel, HUMAN TRIAL 2: ADAM'S WAR, is available from Amazon.com, allthingsthatmatterpress.com. Is the HUMAN TRIAL trilogy far-fetched? Check out the article on alien encounters at www.stellyhumantrial.com.
Would you like a FREE copy of HUMAN TRIAL 2: ADAM'S WAR? Be one of five people to request a copy and agree to post a review at amazon.com and/or goodreads.com. Email me for details.

See the You Tube trailer for HUMAN TRIAL here.

Visit me at: http://www.myspace.com/pittwit

Email: stellbread@yahoo.com

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