Thursday, July 13, 2006

Disappearing the Middle Class...

...and all roads to it.

The economy, we are assured by the Emperor and his minions, is healthy and growing. The problem as I see it is that the economy may be healthy, but the only people who are benefitting from that health are those whose annual incomes exceed six figures. Wages for the rest of the country are fairly stagnant, while the cost of such essentials as food, housing, medical care, fuel and transportation costs are skyrocketing. Congress, of course, hasn't noticed. They, of course, have annual incomes that exceed six figures, and they've just given themselves another pay raise. They had neither the time nor the inclination to give the rest of us a raise in the form of a hike in the minimum pay scale. Molly Ivins noticed the same thing. From her July 11 column.

I don't get it. What's the percentage in keeping the minimum wage at $5.15 an hour? After nine years? This is such an unnecessary and nasty Republican move. Congress has voted seven times to raise its own wages since last the minimum wage budged. Of course, Congress always raises its own salary in the dark of night, hoping no one will notice. But now it does the same with the minimum wage, quietly killing it.

... According to the current issue of Mother Jones:

-- One in four U.S. jobs pays less than a poverty-level income.

-- Since 2000, the number of Americans living below the poverty line at any one time has risen steadily. Now, 13 percent -- 37 million Americans -- are officially poor.

-- Bush's tax cuts (extended until 2010) save those earning between $20,000 and $30,000 an average of $10 a year, while those making $1 million are saved $42,700.

-- In 2002, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, compared those who point out such statistics as the one above to Adolph Hitler (surely he meant Stalin?).

-- Bush has diverted $750 million to "healthy marriages" by shifting funds from social services, mostly childcare.

-- Bush has proposed cutting housing programs for low-income people with disabilities by 50 percent.

A series of related stats -- starting with the news that two out of three new jobs are in the suburbs -- shows how the poor are further disadvantaged in the job hunt by lack of public or private transportation.

Compassionate conservatism?

Ain't no such animal on this planet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you need to put haloscan on here. this word verification crap lost my long comment twice now.

4:30 PM  
Blogger cabearie said...


I know the word verification is a hassle, but I was inundated with commercial spam, and this was the easiest way around it.

4:38 PM  

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