“Defining Prosperity Down” by Paul Krugman (TIMES, 8/2/10)


          That a “governing elite just doesn’t care” that unemployment is likely to rise “in the months ahead” seems beyond doubt. It is the result of the slow but steady disfranchisement of working people that has been taking place for decades. The beginning point was the passage of the Taft-Hartley Act in 1946, a major setback for the union movement.

          Today, the USA has two major parties who continually speak to the American middleclass, an amorphous mass of people that includes very rich folks at the high end and the destitute at the low end. This ludicrous depiction of U.S. society does acknowledge a small class of the super rich who are above the middleclass but often there does not seem to be anyone below it. 

          Imagine, the wealthiest country in the world does not have a workingclass! Those sort of people can be found throughout the world but not here in the good old USA. Having made the workingclass disappear, there is no strong obligation to administer to its needs. This is part of the strategy of the wealthy elite in the class war it has been waging since Taft-Hartley. 

          Sadly, this insidious ability to make workers disappear (especially when they are unemployed) has been helped along by those pathetic workers who deny their class identity even when they are on the brink of destitution. Never mind that the rent can’t be paid or a decent meal put on the table, if they bathe everyday , speak moderately and are courteous at all times, they are middleclass.

          Once upon a time, the Democratic Party had room for workers who had the temerity to raise their voices against the travails they suffered. Not anymore. Now the best of the Democrats can only shed copious tears for the “oppressed” middleclass. You know, the ones who can’t afford a new yacht or a Mediterranean villa.

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