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Redneck Economics

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Swallow that Silly Middle-class Pride

Just Hope to God You Can Get a Double-Wide

As the majority of Americans are finding themselves helpless and adrift in the rising waters of economic chaos, they may not be aware that their fall from the middle class is only connected to the present economic crisis peripherally, since they are both due to a failed economic policy. But there is an important difference; the current crisis may change and things could improve, but without fundamental changes in the American economic system, the decline of the middle class will continue unabated. Anybody not stressed by that prospect is blissfully ignorant or not affected by economic realities.

Along with a few others, I recently predicted dire economic events [See Jan '08 OpEdNews articles on the economy by Rob Kall, Ed Martin, et. al.] Quick actions by the Fed may have forestalled the events we anticipated, and I hope it is more than a placebo.

One thing will continue, however, and that is the decline of the middle class in America, because there are forces and conditions at work that ensure we will find our ‘proper niche’ in the global economy, which, trust me, is a place we do not want to go.

Whatever spin is put out by the government, we are seeing a breathtakingly rapid degradation of our standard of living. This goes hand in hand with fewer good jobs, inflation, decline of the dollar and trade imbalance, for starters.

Writers on OpEdNews take no pleasure in bringing to light America’s multitude of political, economic, social and environmental challenges, or in exposing wrongs and failures in our government’s stewardship of the nation.

We are not the “Blame America First” crowd the Ann Coulters of the world love to hate; if we didn’t love this great American Experiment, we wouldn’t bother trying to save it. As the American people are telling the Bush Administration on every issue from torture to warrantless wiretapping, “We’re better than this.”

I keep hearing terms like, “The dumbing down of America,” (one thing you can’t blame on Bush unless he is averaged in); most agree we have had a decline of skills, intellect, literacy, morals, national purpose, work ethic, and on and on, ad infinitum.

I've variously thought that worship of wealth, the need to win above all else, or failure of leadership across the board could be blamed for America's decline.

How did we become a third world country while nobody was looking?

And what American does not bear some responsibility? Only those with no power and no voice.

One’s perspective on this devolution tends to depend on the eye of the beholder. Some look for someone to blame, others are in denial; some even may see the truth and try to fix things.

Bluntly, we think what we’re told to think by the movers and shakers that own us in terms of debt, livelihood and social status. Church, The Bank, City Hall, the School Board, the CEO, the Board of Directors, the Commission, the Congress, the President. It’s no accident that this is the same list of leaders who have failed us.

It is speculative, but makes sense to say that at least economically, the middle class is in for a change in life style if not in its standard of living. Keeping up with the Joneses, a middle class dream, may involve following the Joneses to the nearest trailer park.

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Fulbright in 1966-67; Visiting Lecturer in American Literature with Baghdad University/Texas University Exchange Program. Guest Lecturer for the American Authors Lecture Series for the United States Information Service in Iraq. Co-authored with (more...)
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