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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More thoughts on the Occupy Movement

Above is an excellent interview with Ellen Schultz regarding another way large corporations are ripping off the middle class.

The Clueless Generation article in The Daily Beast.  I disagree with his premise in part.  He states that the Baby Boomers had it so good that they don't understand the current plight of the middle class.  As someone who's at the end of the Baby Boomer Generation, I and many like me can attest to feeling affected all along the 30 year ride of policy changes that got us here -- rise in education costs, deregulation, runaway debt and a flattening of wages to name just a few.  This didn't happen overnight.

Opinion piece by former Labor Secretary Robert Reich addressing the seven biggest economic lies
I don't know how many times we've stated these exact statistics and truths but they haven't sunk in enough yet.  So we'll keep on pointing them out.

From this excellent Vanity Fair article on Elizabeth Warren:"In those speeches, sometimes using slides filled with numbers and graphs, she would, as she did at a speech in Manhattan in early June, outline the impact on middle-class Americans of rising health-care costs, burgeoning debt, and the depletion of not only their savings but also, with the rise in joblessness, their confidence. She spoke of “the Wild West” conditions deregulation had created, where banks could sell virtually any product they wanted, on any terms: mortgages they knew consumers could not pay off, credit cards whose rates they could raise at whim, products that came with a mind-boggling array of penalty fees, many of them not fully disclosed. But it was her final remarks that brought down the standing-room-only house in June. “We cannot run our country without a strong middle class. We cannot run a democracy without a strong middle class,” she said, her voice quavering slightly. “If we hollow out the middle class,” she said, “then the country we know is gone.”

Did you know that Warren was originally a Republican?  (You must read this Vanity Fair article)  But to quote the article again:
It was in 1979 that Warren had her Damascene conversion—the experience that would lead her to become the nation’s top authority on the economic pressures facing the American middle class, and trigger her passionate advocacy. In 1978, Congress had passed a law that made it easier for companies and individuals to declare bankruptcy. Warren decided to investigate the reasons why Americans were ending up in bankruptcy court. “I set out to prove they were all a bunch of cheaters,” she said in a 2007 interview. “I was going to expose these people who were taking advantage of the rest of us.” What she found, after conducting with two colleagues one of the most rigorous bankruptcy studies ever, shook her deeply. The vast majority of those in bankruptcy courts, she discovered, were from hardworking middle-class families, people who lost jobs or had “family breakups” or illnesses that wiped out their savings. “It changed my vision,” she said.

The only way we're going to change things for the better is to continue the momentum of the Occupy Movement by being angry and unafraid to stand up for the truth, and then to vote.  The moderates and the liberals outnumber the right in this country; and if we all show up at the polls, it doesn't matter how much they lie and how much they spend or who's on the dole.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you. I don't see a middle class anymore. You either have everything you need or you don't. There is no in between and no gray area. The middle class is dead.

Carolyn said...

Well, I too would have to disagree with the Daily Beast article... this might be indicative of most of the older boomers... the ones who were in college in the mid 60's... but not the rest of us... we were just starting jobs when the assault on the labor unions and the middle class began... When companies started merging and firing the duplicated workers, when companies started to export jobs to ...Asia....I worked 3 minimum wage jobs when my child was under 2.. 14-16 hour days... I cannot relate in the least to the smugness he speaks of....I spent my first 15 years out of high school... even after going to college... before I got a job that paid what would be consider a decent wage... Even in the financial and credit industry, the pay sucked.... Not only am I jumping for joy that the young people have taken to the streets, I also very much understand them... I think there are many of us "early victims" of that new economy.. And we >do< understand....