By Dennis Marker / Santa Fe Resident on Mon, Sep 24, 2012
Reprinted from Albuquerque Journal
The U.S. middle class has been in decline since the election of President Ronald Reagan. The radical economic policies introduced by the Reagan Administration, called Reaganomics, have been implemented. The result has been the near extinction of the middle class.
The combination of media ownership changes, the elimination of the Fairness Doctrine, union busting, privatization, deregulation, global free trade, waging unnecessary wars and filling the Supreme Court with conservative politicians in black robes has done its job.
In just 30 short years we have gone from the greatest middle class country on earth to a two-tiered economy where one family, the Waltons, own between 30 percent and 40 percent of the nation’s wealth, and many Walmart workers can barely be called middle class. Millions of other Americans have no way to earn a living or even feed themselves adequately.
A Pew Research Center report released a week ago demonstrates clearly that the self-described middle class knows they are in trouble with many believing the U.S. middle class will never recover. What is certain is that both the wealth and income distribution has moved consistently from the middle to the top since the election of Reagan.
Many middle class people including (those in) the tea party have forgotten that the U.S. was started by people who wanted to escape the two-tiered economic system in Europe, where the rich controlled all the resources and everyone else was left to fight over the relative crumbs. But that doesn’t change the fact that the U.S. is moving rapidly away from a middle class democracy and toward a corporate feudal republic where a relative few control all the nation’s wealth and power.
This new system of concentrated wealth is quite similar to the one our forefathers and mothers fled when they journeyed across the wide Atlantic. The difference is that our forefathers and mothers came to this new land to escape the two-tiered economic system that was of, by and for the rich, while in today’s United States much of the middle class has been convinced to embrace the vary policies that are leading the U.S. back to this system.
One only need look at the non-rich conservatives who unknowingly fight for the policies and politicians that will lead to their own demise. They have been conned into believing that the giant multinational corporations and their owners are on the side of regular middle class people.
They believe that if we could only get the meddlesome government off the backs of the giant corporations and their owners, these corporations would surely hire millions of Americans and share their wealth voluntarily.
The overriding theme used consistently by every conservative and far too many moderates since the election of Ronald Reagan is that rewarding those at the top with tax cuts and other incentives will lead to middle class prosperity. The overriding reality is that the continuation of these policies will lead to the end of the U.S. middle class.
For 30 years we have tried the policy of favoring the rich in the hope that somehow the prosperity would trickle down to the rest of us. What we have (received) in return is a crumbling middle class… and an economic plan that calls for even more tax cuts for the rich to be paid for by a reduction of services for everyone else.
So by all means, let the rich decide. They’re already buying our political system with unlimited campaign contributions.…
In old style feudalism the feudal lords lived in castles and taxed the poor to pay for their extravagant lifestyles. In the new style corporate feudalism conservatives are pushing us toward, the lords live in multiple palatial compounds scattered around the world and the poor and failing middle class pay the taxes so the rich don’t have to.
If what you want for yourself and your children is to become the modern day version of serfs and peasants, by all means let the rich decide. If the rich no longer need a middle class, why should you?
Dennis Marker has worked on Capitol Hill for the Environmental Protection Agency and is the author of “Fifteen Steps to Corporate Feudalism: How the Rich Convinced America’s Middle Class to Eliminate Themselves.”