06/06/2005: We're all Up that Creek....
Bob Herbert (NY Times) discusses in this Op-ed piece: The Mobility Myth about the vanished “Class Mobility” which has accelerated to warp speed under Mr. Four-More-Years:
”….Put the myth of the American Dream aside. The bottom line is that it's becoming increasingly difficult for working Americans to move up in class. The rich are freezing nearly everybody else in place, and sprinting off with the nation's bounty.
Economic mobility in the United States - the extent to which individuals and families move from one social class to another - is no higher than in Britain or France, and lower than in some Scandinavian countries. Maybe we should be studying the Scandinavian dream.
As far as the Bush administration is concerned, the gap between the rich and the rest of us is not growing fast enough. An analysis by The Times showed the following:
"Under the Bush tax cuts, the 400 taxpayers with the highest incomes - a minimum of $87 million in 2000, the last year for which the government will release such data - now pay income, Medicare and Social Security taxes amounting to virtually the same percentage of their incomes as people making $50,000 to $75,000. Those earning more than $10 million a year now pay a lesser share of their income in these taxes than those making $100,000 to $200,000."
The social dislocations resulting from this war that nobody mentions have been under way for some time. But the Bush economic policies have accelerated the consequences and intensified the pain.
A big problem, of course, is that American workers have been hurting badly for years. Revolutionary improvements in technology, increasingly globalized trade, the competition of low-wage workers overseas and increased immigration here at home, the decline of manufacturing, the weakening of the labor movement, outsourcing and numerous other factors have left American workers with very little leverage to use against employers.
Many in the middle class are mortgaged to the hilt, maxed out on credit cards and fearful to the point of trembling that all they've worked for might vanish in a downsized minute
The privileged classes, with the Bush administration's iron cloak of protection, avoid their fair share of taxes, are reluctant to pay an honest dollar for an honest day's work (the federal minimum wage is still a scandalous $5.15 an hour), refuse to fight in their nation's wars, and laugh all the way to their yachts.
The American dream was about expanding opportunities and widely shared prosperity. Now we have older people and college grads replacing people near the bottom in jobs that offer low pay, no pensions, no health insurance and no vacations.
A fellow named Mark McClellan, who was bounced out of a management position when Kaiser Aluminum closed down in Spokane, Wash., told The Times in the "Class Matters" series: "I may look middle class. But I'm not. My boat is sinking fast."
Just goes to show we’re not “all in the same boat” - let alone with enough paddles to make it up that creek.
Karen on 06.06.05 @ 05:32 AM CST