Working people: Slip sliding away

There is an underlying problem in our economy that cannot be fixed by slashing government spending, or even by raising taxes on the wealthy, although that would be a start.

The underlying problem is the lack of jobs and the stagnant wages for those who do have jobs. Paul Krugman is one of the few mainstream pundits emphasizing this point.

The ultimate effect of joblessness and stagnant wages is the death of our consumer-based economy. Imagine, if you will, a McDonald’s employee who has to work two hours to earn enough to treat a family of four to dinner at . . . McDonalds. That same worker must work an entire day to afford a tank of gasoline –three days for a doctor visit. When people who work full-time cannot afford to purchase the consumer products and services they produce, your free market is in flames, and will disintegrate before your eyes. Even Henry Ford, no bleeding heart but instead a fierce pragmatist, knew this was economic suicide.

Economic justice is not just about justice, it is about the sustainability of the system. Those who focused on making money by speculating on the failure of the middle class (and that is what happened) have won the battle. That was pretty easy, wasn’t it? Hobble the workers, and then wager that they will lose the race. They bet that the middle class would lose, and we have. You have won our retirement savings, frozen our wages, and now you’re betting you can win our investments in Social Security and Medicare. We are falling far, far behind this race. Soon you (Wall Street/Financiers) will have it all, and America will be a melting pot of misery. Who will be there to cheer you at the finish line, and how many bodies will you hurdle to get there? And when will you realize that you have been racing to the bottom of the hill (no wonder it seems so easy) when you should have been striving to reach the top?

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