Go Back  British Expats > Usenet Groups > rec.travel.* > rec.travel.europe
Reload this Page >

The myth of the "vanishing" American middle class

The myth of the "vanishing" American middle class

Old Feb 11th 2007, 10:42 am
  #1  
PJ O'Donovan
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default The myth of the "vanishing" American middle class

America's No. 1 Endangered Species

Is the middle class losing "its place at the table?"

Published February 9, 2007

"Who will speak up for the middle class, that endangered species of
American vanishing more rapidly than Joe Biden's presidential
aspirations? Who dast care about the forgotten 90 percent of citizens
who classify themselves as neither upper nor lower class?

Oh, that's right: Everyone, especially if you're a millionaire
politician or pundit. Which should be proof enough that the middle
class--and you know who you are--is actually doing pretty well. They
go where the votes and the viewers are.

There's Lou Dobbs, the CNN host, self-described "lifelong Republican,"
War on the Middle Class author, and free enterprise fan who has never
met a U.S. industry he didn't want to protect or a foreign worker he
didn't wanted to deport. He ponders daily why it takes so many
families two incomes "just to get by."

There's Sen. James Webb (D-Va.), who in his response to President
Bush's State of the Union address asserted that "the middle class of
this country, our historic backbone and our best hope for a strong
society in the future, is losing its place at the table."

And there's George W. himself, who frets over "income inequality
[that] has been rising for over 25 years" and recently issued a rebuke
to the fat cats who sit on corporate boards: "You need to pay
attention to the executive compensation packages that you approve."

This trio--and a cast of thousands ranging from conservative Pat
Buchanan to liberal Paul Krugman to Fed chairman Ben Bernanke to View
host Rosie O'Donnell--point to indicators such as the growing share of
national income held by the top 0.1 percent of households to sell a
narrative every bit as cliched and unbelievable as, well, a State of
the Union address that promises more government for less money:
Regular, decent folks can no longer afford the American Dream because
plutocrats scarf up all the lobster and filet mignon at the all-you-
can-eat buffet that was the U.S. of A. We haven't just lost our place
at the table, we've been sent to the kitchen to wash the dishes.

The rich are indeed getting richer (the bastards). As Steven Lagerfeld
points out in the Winter 2007 issue of The Wilson Quarterly (not yet
online), those 130,000 households at the very top of the earnings
pyramid have increased their share of pretax wage and salary income
from 2 percent in 1973 to just under 7 percent in 2004. Folks in the
top 5 percent of households--those making more than $166,000--have
seen their inflation-adjusted annual income jack up by a hefty two-
thirds since 1970.

But everyone is getting richer. In real dollars, every quintile has
posted significant annual increases over the past 35 years, ranging
from $3,000 for the lowest quintile to $13,000 for the middle quintile
to over $25,000 for next-to-highest one. And the individuals in those
quintiles change all the time, something even The New York Times,
which wrings its hands on class matters like an obsessive-compulsive,
admits. Urban Institute economists Daniel P. McMurrer and Isabel V.
Sawhill estimate that between 25 percent to 40 percent of individuals
switch quintiles in a given year and that "rates of mobility have not
changed over time." Research tracking individuals in the lowest income
quintile in 1968 found that 23 years later, 53 percent were in a
higher quintile and that half had spent at least a year in the top
income quintile.

More important, basic indicators of wealth and opportunity drive home
the reality that the middle class' place at the table is pretty
secure--maybe not the best seat in the house, but arguably better than
ever. A historically high 70 percent of Americans own their homes (see
table 956). And two-thirds of high school graduates go on to college
(up from half in 1970) [see table 265]. That wouldn't be happening if
the U.S. was fast turning into the Brazil of the North.

But don't expect the "vanishing middle class" storyline to itself
vanish. Pols and pundits will use scare stories to drum up business
and push minimum wage hikes, tax breaks to pay for the wage hikes,
prescription drug coverage, and on and on. We in the middle class like
the attention (and the more-than-occasional entitlement). More to the
point, there are more of us and we've all got more to lose than we
used to. Which also means we've got even more to worry about..."
 
Old Feb 11th 2007, 2:35 pm
  #2  
asclero
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The myth of the "vanishing" American middle class

"Pajamas O'Donovan" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:
[email protected] m...
> America's No. 1 Endangered Species
<snip>

February 8, 2007
CBC News

A Nicaraguan man facing deportation next week says the Immigration and
Refugee Board denied him asylum in Canada because they didn't believe
he's gay.

Alvaro Orozco, who has lived in Toronto for two years, based his
refugee claim on fears of returning to his home country where sodomy
is illegal. He says his family beat him because of his sexual
orientation.

"My father told me, 'If one of my sons became gay one day, I will kill
him with my hands,'" said Orozco. "I was so scared. And that is why I
escaped."

Orozco, now 21, ran away from home at age 12, hitchhiked across
Central America and Mexico, and then swam across the Rio Grande into
the United States, where he was arrested and put into a detention
centre for a year.

When he was released on a promise to return to Nicaragua, he fled
again, this time to a church. He made his way to Canada in 2005.

Board adjudicator Deborah Lamont, who heard the case from Calgary via
video conference, questioned whether Orozco was homosexual because he
wasn't sexually active while in the U.S. She also said he was unclear
about his sexual orientation when he left Nicaragua. "I found the
claimant's many explanations unsatisfactory for why he chose not to
pursue same-sex relationships in the U.S. as he alleged it was his
intention to do so and he wanted to do so," she wrote in her decision.

But Orozco says he decided not to reveal his sexual orientation to the
church for fear they'd refuse to help him.

Orozco's lawyer, El-Farouk Khaki, says the ruling shows a lack of
understanding about the difficulties the young gay man faced in a
homophobic culture, as well as his tough journey to Canada. "You've
got a kid who's run away from home because he's had the crap beaten
out of him by his dad because he's different, because he looks gay,
because he doesn't behave like the other boys or his brothers, gets
help from Catholic churches and then from a Seventh Day Adventist
Church," said Khaki. "He's 19 years old at the time of the hearing
and the board wonders why he hasn't been sexually active? [That's] a
bit problematic for me."

Orozco fears the backlash he may face in his native country,
especially since his homosexuality has been splashed across Canadian
newspapers and is now making news in Nicaragua.

Orozco is scheduled to be deported Tuesday.
 
Old Feb 11th 2007, 2:47 pm
  #3  
PJ O'Donovan
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The myth of the "vanishing" American middle class

<<...The rich are indeed getting richer (the bastards). As Steven
Lagerfeld
points out in the Winter 2007 issue of The Wilson Quarterly (not yet
online), those 130,000 households at the very top of the earnings
pyramid have increased their share of pretax wage and salary income
from 2 percent in 1973 to just under 7 percent in 2004. Folks in the
top 5 percent of households--those making more than $166,000--have
seen their inflation-adjusted annual income jack up by a hefty two-
thirds since 1970.

But everyone is getting richer. In real dollars, every quintile has
posted significant annual increases over the past 35 years, ...

PeeJay>>


<February 8, 2007
CBC News

A Nicaraguan man facing deportation next week says the Immigration and
Refugee Board denied him asylum in Canada because they didn't believe
he's gay......

ASScl>

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPcB5DV4lIQ
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.