Archive for Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Middle class trend

February 22, 2006


To the editor:

Almost every morning I find in this space another letter expressing outrage about President Bush. Without comment on the merits, I note that the man is a lame duck and unimpeachable given his party's majorities. More importantly, I believe there to be serious unexplored issues.

Each passing year exposes data that show that more of the nation's wealth is concentrated in fewer hands. Income for the middle class has been stagnant for a decade while the top few percent see double digit increases. Our tax levies extract a nearly proportional toll from the middle class and the super rich. The concept of personal responsibility justifies cuts in aid to the less fortunate, ignoring our broader responsibility to others. Longstanding middle-class programs are labeled unsustainable while we squander the monies already collected to fund them. Higher-income, skilled work moves offshore while we laud millions of new low-paying service jobs. We import cheap labor rather than pay our own unemployed citizens a living wage.

Where is the outrage at these trends? Should we not be challenging all our leaders to reverse them? Are we so distracted by bashing Mr. Bush that we are blind to the accelerating erosion of the middle class? Let's hear some outrage!

George Lippencott,



Jamesaust 9 years, 7 months ago

"I note that the man is a lame duck and unimpeachable given his party's majorities."

From what I hear, you shouldn't say this to Arminius. As I understand it, impeachment may be retroactive. What's more, if Bush doesn't cure his port security deaf-ear soon, I think the potential of a Democrat house in Congress may become reality this Fall.

That said: "the nation's wealth"

Sir! This "nation" has no wealth. I assume you meant sum of the wealth of individual citizens of this nation. Each citizen possesses 100% of their own wealth the last I noticed. Please keep your thieving hands off other's wealth. I remind you stealing is a SIN.

"erosion" of the middle class? No. They got rich.

"Longstanding middle-class programs are labeled unsustainable..."

If you believe the only problem is one of nomenclature, I don't see where you can be helped. The fundamental flaws in these programs are well documented. Except for extremists, the only issue is how we adapt to those flaws.

KsTwister 9 years, 7 months ago

Outrage is waiting for the people who vote these people into office to begin with to wise up---and you can include local seats at city hall too. You would think citizens would be livid when they put the issues on the table,hear the outrage,then your officials do what they want anyway. We need more restrictions on our government,local,state and national because the criminal is what citizens must tolerate when officials force their laws and taxes on you in spite of what is right and just. The protests of the past need to return,and soon.

mefirst 9 years, 7 months ago

The outrage is palpable, though some are in complete and utter denial. I am outraged and have been for some time. Forget Bush Co., my outrage is directed at those who elect and defend people like Bush/Cheney at their own peril.

I'm from southeastern Ohio, one of the poorest parts of this country. When I go home to visit loved ones, I see Bush/Cheney signs and stickers everywhere. It completely baffles me that some of the poorest people in this country support this administration. Why do they support it? Abortion, gay issues, war, and contempt for people on "welfare. The funny thing is that most of these folks are reliant, in some way, shape or form, on public assistance. We all are. No one in this country is 100% independent of the government.

I used to work in a VA homeless shelter and residential drug treatment facility. This guy (a client) would always talk about his contempt for people who relied on the government for assistance. This guy did not have two sticks to rub together and failed to realize that by using the VA services, he was RELYING on the government for assistance. HELLO!!!

Yet, no one ever complains about corporate welfare or the exorbitant amounts we spend on war:both inefficiently and ineffectively. In defense of his recent budget cuts, Bush proclaimed that he bases his decision to cut programs on whether a given program is performing. Perhaps he should apply the same standard to his war on terror. He keeps asking for more and more money, but is anyone measuring the results? IS anyone being held accountable for this spending? $8.8 billion in war money remains UNACCOUNTED FOR.

George, no worries my friend. There's plenty of outrage to go around and it runs deep.

Richard Heckler 9 years, 7 months ago

He 's right. George W. Bush cannot do so much damage to economy by himself. It's the republican party and a few democrats who actually control what can be done. Considering who is the majority as we week it's the republican party who is allowing " Reckless Spending George" to carry on as he does. Party line voting has little merit. More than "Reckless Spending George" it is the republican party.

This is the party that complains about big goverment yet gladly accepts paychecks and sticks around in order to accept very nice retirement plans. Forbid anyone else to retire so comfortably with built in cost of living increases complete with medical care not medicare.

Is it time to replace the republican bet. Pay attention and pick the new choices wisely. The party choice may be the wrong one. There is a lot a baggage on both sides of the aisle.

Primary elections are equally as important as the general perhaps more so if you cherish democracy.

Todd 9 years, 7 months ago

What does middle class mean these days? For example how much money do you have to earn in Lawrence to be middle class? Where do middle class people in Lawrence live?

My stab at it: these days middle class is sending your kids to preschool/daycare, 2 cars, newer house with 2000+ sq.ft., some vacation budget, some retirement savings, entertainment money, and a bunch of newish stuff. (dvd, mp3 players, clothes, etc...)

mefirst 9 years, 7 months ago

my gosh rightthinker--I agree with virtually EVERYTHING you're saying!

I get equally as frustrated with dems as I do repubs. They're both out for the power grab, and the American worker/family gets the shaft. That's what makes me angry.

I agree...concentrate on the U.S.!

BunE 9 years, 7 months ago

The democrats are as much to blame as the republicans however, at no time in history has so much power been vested in government, especially the executive branch. You all can support the 'dub as much as you want, but sooner or later there will be a democrat in the white house and (s)he will have all that power and it is a fact that the republican party will manufacture some sort of smear (Whitewater anyone?) the fact remains that they will reap what they sow.

Now, on to the really important things. The reason the poor and middle class vote for republicans sometimes is that they have been hoodwinked into believeing that the GOP leadership cares about them, their families and their morals. They have used the "Abortion" and "TRR-ism" platittudes to get everyone all lathered up so they can maximize shareholder value while real wages decline. "Activist Judges" are figments of the imagination unless you note that a conservative judge may get "active" to overturn Roe. "Death Tax" this little white lie doesn't apply until 5 million and a good accountant or lawyer makes it all go away. Doesn't impact the small farmer or business man at all. Yet this is a cornerstone of our longterm tax plan? Do the Hilton girls sleep over at the Lincoln BR?

The republicans have framed the argument and continue to whine about liberals and democrats in order to demonize them. They can feel their time slipping away...

The best part is watching the ridulous leaders of the GOP say "you see, liberals..." and then to watch all of you ditto heads drop it on us like it was some sort of gospel.

The middle class drives this economy. They are not getting richer and richer, they are losing clout. Their APR's will soon be heading north, the house they bought at a great introductory rate is stagnating in value, and that tax cut last year amounted to about dinner and movie. These are the people that buy the crap that keeps this economy cookin'. As the middle class goes, so goes America.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 7 months ago

I am not an economist, but I understand that there are "oddities" about the current economy which trouble some in the know.

For the first time in a very long time, Americans are in an average savings deficit (spending more than they are earning, let alone saving any). Spending beyond means is not unusual in individual circumstances. What is unusual is that the average savings is negative.

It also looks like the short and long term interest rates might flip-flop, which is very unusual and usually indicates a recession (or so I am told). Please correct me if I have gotten these facts wrong.

I don't know how these factors relate to the "middle class", but it seems that the strength of our economy is artificial. Middle class lifestyles without middle class incomes.

It is also true that wealth has become concentrated at the highest end, and not spread out among many. In this sense I might agree that the middle class is disappearing, but liberal spending habits are delaying the recognition of it.

yourworstnightmare 9 years, 7 months ago


We've been over this. We've already proven that you are an idiot. Do we have to go back and rehash the data that prove you are an idiot (although there is yet more on display here today)?

I must admit, though, one of your posts today was quite reasonable and measured. That second synapse must been a-firin'.

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