Power of Story Send a Tweet        
- Advertisement -

Share on Google Plus 1 Share on Twitter 1 Share on Facebook 2 Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend (4 Shares)  

Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites (# of views)   7 comments
OpEdNews Op Eds

The Rise and Fall of America's Middle Class

By       Message Jim Hightower       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; , Add Tags  Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 2   Interesting 2   Valuable 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H3 1/11/18

Author 8272
Become a Fan
  (39 fans)

From Other Words

- Advertisement -

The middle class was built by movements -- and can be rebuilt by movements.

From youtube.com: Middle Class decline. {MID-225678}
Middle Class decline.
(Image by YouTube, Channel: NowThis World)
  Permission   Details   DMCA

Ever since 1776, the "common yeoman" -- America's middle class -- has been hailed as the virtuous heart and backbone of our nation.

- Advertisement -

How ironic, since it took 150 years before we actually created a broad middle class. Before the 1930s, most Americans were poor, or near poor.

And, yes, "created" is the correct term for how our middle class came to be. It was pushed by two historic forces of social transformation.

First, the devastation of the Great Depression created a grassroots rebellion of labor, farmers, and others against the careless moneyed class that caused the 1929 crash. These forces produced FDR and his New Deal of union rights, Social Security, and other tools that empowered ordinary Americans to begin rising up from poverty.

- Advertisement -

Second, the government's national mobilization for World War II created an explosion of new jobs and opportunities for millions, opening people's eyes, boosting confidence, and raising expectations.

Striking workers in Gary, Indiana, 1919.
(Image by (Photo: Library of Congress / Wikimedia Commons))
  Permission   Details   DMCA

A post-war rise in unionism, the passage of the GI Bill, a housing program, and other progressive actions led to a doubling of the median family income in only 30 years, creating a middle class that included nearly 60 percent of Americans by the late 1970s.

Then -- phfffft -- Washington's commitment to a middle class suddenly fizzled.

In the 1980s, Reagan Republicans -- and many Democrats -- switched from supporting egalitarianism to backing the elitism of their corporate donors. Ever since, they've steadily disempowered workers and enthroned the rich, thus imposing today's abominable, un-American culture of inequality across our land.

- Advertisement -

Just as progressives deliberately pushed public policies to create the middle class, so are today's economic royalists deliberately pushing plutocratic policies to destroy it. That's the momentous struggle that calls us to action in this political year.


- Advertisement -

Must Read 2   Interesting 2   Valuable 2  
View Ratings | Rate It


Jim Hightower is an American populist, spreading his message of democratic hope via national radio commentaries, columns, books, his award-winning monthly newsletter (The Hightower Lowdown) and barnstorming tours all across America.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not about free trade. It's a corporate coup d'etat -- against us!

The Post Office is not broke -- and it hasn't taken any of our tax money since 1971

The plutocrats who bankrolled the GOP primaries -- and what they want in return

Citizens United Against Citizens United: A Grassroots Campaign to Restore Democracy

The Audacity of Greed

The Trans-Pacific Trade Scam