Editorials | Issues
|The Financial Raid Against the Middle Class|
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June 12, 2010
9 of the 10 largest occupations in the U.S. have median wages between $8 per hour and $14 per hour. The middle class is inheriting a new serfdom drowning in mountains of debt. The new two income trap.
The war against the middle class is silent and has grown since the recession started. We don’t hear much about this because in large part, those falling out of the middle class don’t have the funds to purchase airtime with the media who is wedded to Wall Street. 40 million Americans now receive food assistance. How often do we hear about this? Each month we add tens of thousands to this number yet we are somehow in a recovery? A recovery for which group of people is the question we should be asking. Clearly the middle class isn’t feeling this recovery. Nearly 17 percent of our population is underemployed. But then we add 20 percent of those who are employed who are part of the working poor. If we look at the top 10 occupational sectors in the U.S. we start to realize that many in the middle class are giving up higher paying jobs to service the needs of a tiny elite class.
Take a look at the top 10 occupational sectors in the U.S.:
Keep in mind this group is part of the “fully employed” class. When we think of those who are employed we tend to think that most work in sectors that offer them a decent wage. That is not the case at all. In fact, when we look at the median household income of $52,000 we realize that most people are working in the service sector with lower wages and only boost the stat higher because of the two income trap. 9 out of 10 of the above jobs from cashiers to janitors make median wages from $8 to $14.
|To even reach the middle class median income, someone would need to make $25 an hour. So even looking at the higher end of the above pay scale for these jobs, you would need to have two people making the top $14 to squeak out the necessary $25 per hour to make the $52,000 median income figure. Keep in mind the above is the top employment sectors in our economy. In the past where we had a bulk of our population working in manufacturing making the median income wage with one job, now we have given that up for two jobs in service sector work. I’m not sure many in the middle class wanted to make that trade off.|
Wall Street wouldn’t mind if most Americans were part of the working poor so long as they can keep their exploiting ways going. In fact, these banks want to sink these people even further by creating this large class of middle class debt serfdom. Enormous mortgages, student loan debt, and credit cards are the new chains to keep the working and middle class stuck in financial purgatory. Keep in mind the money the banking industry funnels out is largely taxpayer dollars so the prison we are creating is largely with our own money. Wall Street investment banks and the too big to fail financial sector is broke. They would be nonexistent if it weren’t for the complete and generous handout from the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve. How do they repay the people for this? They begin by squeezing every ounce of productivity of those still working:
Now this is a fascinating chart. Even in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression somehow, we are able to become more productive. Interestingly enough labor costs have fallen at the same time. Of course the above translates to middle class workers having to put up with stagnant or falling wages while the bottom line keeps getting better. But better for who? The banking industry is juicing this game by gambling on Wall Street and not lending money out to the public. This money was given to them under the pretense of keeping the loan channels alive for American workers. So we have record foreclosures and bankruptcies while banks keep making billion dollar profits. The raid on the middle class is like pirates taking the loot in broad daylight.
Yet the spin is out in full force. Last month the rise in employment was largely from the government sector:
In fact, we can say that the entire rise in employment last month came because of temporary government work. These Census jobs fall into the trend that we are seeing. The middle class has to deal with transient work with no security and in order to have access to any semblance of a middle class lifestyle, must enter into a deal of debt serfdom with the banking elite. We can see that we have hit an absolute structural tipping point in our society with the amount of long-term unemployed:
This is the largest percent of long-term unemployed in modern record keeping history. What has happened is essentially the last hit against the middle class. Without any security whatsoever, many are now unable to find work in a highly service oriented world. The playing field is not level. The banking sector fills the air with propaganda of the “free market” yet received trillions of dollars in handouts. The hypocrisy is incredible and many Americans realize this. This is why satisfaction with both Democrats and Republicans are at all time lows. Both parties are beholden to the banking and Wall Street elite that work as a leech and are siphoning off every ounce of productivity from the American working and middle class.
The youth of our country are feeling this deeply:
The above chart would seem positive. More students are taking summer school as opposed to working. Yet this trend isn’t happening by choice. It is happening by force. There are little jobs for teens since they are competing with adults for low pay service sector jobs! This is the idea of recovery in the new America. A banking sector that is swimming in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck while middle class Americans find themselves competing with their own children for lower paying service sector jobs.
So what is the solution then? How the argument is framed is completely false and the Federal Reserve is merely a protector of the banks. They want to force austerity on the majority of Americans while banks and their predator executives still manage to keep their taxpayer subsidized yachts. There is money but it went to the banking sector. The game is fixed for most in the middle class. Until we break up the too big to fail banks and have a government that truly represents the people’s best interest, there is little reason to believe that the overall trend will reverse. The fact that 9 out of our top 10 job sectors are from the low paying service sector is not good news.