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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/13/10

The Rich Get Richer, the Poor Get Poorer, While the Middle Class Gets Decimated

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The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. That should be the theme that best describes this "great recession." Only the poor are expanding in numbers with members of the middle class (that have been treading water since the late 1970's with flat incomes that barely kept up with inflation) now being decimated with job losses, expiring unemployment benefits, depletion of savings, foreclosures and bankruptcy; some falling so far and having to rely on food stamps just to survive.

Meanwhile the rich have remained whole, thank you very much. Wall Street tycoons were bailed out. The stock market has recovered with the Dow now over 11,000 so all is well with the investor class. Of course the big corporations, having moved their labor operations to 3rd world countries are quite profitable, as are the private health insurance behemoths, their brother pharmaceutical giants as well as all the defense related industries (with their huge government contracts) that never had it better.

But for the working men and women (on whose backs made this country the envy of the world) have seen their fortunes go with the globalization of manufacturing and outsourcing of their once good paying jobs.

Small towns have withered and died with the loss of their manufacturing plants while the town's small businesses got decimated and replaced by the likes of Wal Mart and big corporate franchising of the stores, businesses and restaurants that were once owned and operated by local entrepreneurs.

And where has the government been in all of this? It's been subsidizing the corporations that pulled up stakes with tax breaks and NAFTA type agreements. Where were the governmental incentives, the tax breaks and infrastructure improvements to help keep those corporate outfits in this country?

But with this "great recession" (more like a depression for many) where are the 1930's depression era WPA's and CCC's? Where are the giant government sponsored infrastructure projects of roads, bridges, schools, railroads and the like?

Is it just nostalgia when one thinks about FDR and the Depression of his time where there was a commonness of purpose (even in the face of Republican Congressional resistance) of initiating huge government programs to get people back to work, regulate the fat cat financial interests and have government act to the benefit of its people?

Instead, what are most loud today are the "tea party" activists, bankrolled by the likes of the ultra-conservative Koch brothers and other behind the scene corporate sponsors that underwrite the anti-government, ant-tax, fear mongering rants (which depict all governmental action as "Socialism") by these misinformed and misguided fools.

There ought to be a middle class rebellion in this country to demand our government initiate policies that benefit the majority of people in this country.

But the upper middle classes, traditionally the ones who are best able to articulate the sufferings of the downtrodden masses and mobilize them into action have separated themselves from the middle and working classes. These upper middle class professionals, doctors, lawyers, university professors, school teachers and clergy et al (many of whom came from lower middle class origins) have lost their connection with the greater working class population. Presumably, the former, too scared or worried of losing what they have attained, preferred to acquiesce and thus enable the larger injustices to be rained down upon those less fortunate than themselves.

This may reveal (as much as anything) why there has been a collective passivity exhibited by the majority of people in the face of the worst economic calamity since the 1930's, instead of the massive collective demand by the people that would have spurred effective governmental actions similar to what was enacted during the 1930's, the time most akin to our own.

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