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We’re Number Two!

The American middle class is no longer the world’s richest. What a relief! The guilt of belonging to the greediest bunch in the history of the world was starting to get to me. 

How did we let our society get so out of control? How did a free people allow our government to insinuate itself into our lives so thoroughly, mandating a minimum wage, a 40-hour workweek and workplace safety rules? It was painful to watch my boss struggle along on only 360 times my salary so that I could enjoy a comfortable home, two cars, the ability to educate my children, and a decent retirement.

How on earth were we convinced to create a progressive tax code that redistributed wealth from the richest Americans to programs that benefited the rest of us? How were we gulled into funding overreaching government-controlled programs like Social Security and Medicare with our own hard-earned tax dollars? Sure, not being destitute and without health care in our old age might sound good, but at what cost? 

For too long we were persuaded by politicians that taking care of each other was in our own best interests, that the common good was more important than amassing wealth. Thank goodness we no longer believe that nonsense! Fortunately, we’ve come to our senses and stopped electing people who put the so-called well-being of the American public ahead of narrow partisanship and rigid ideology.

That said, there is still much to undo. Yes, we’ve turned our backs on the long-term unemployed, who’ve been allowed to bleed the treasury for way too long. Get a job, people! Congress is finally talking seriously about destroying what remains of the insidious social safety net that has undermined personal initiative and made us so dependent on each other.

Even with the recent decline, our middle class is proving to be so resilient that almost thirty years of relentless assault have only reduced it to number two in the world. We know that Republicans in Congress and their allies in the business world (and a few frightened Democrats) will continue the noble fight to destroy it once and for all, but victory is hardly assured.

We let our president impose government-controlled health care on us, and unless we can repeal it, we’re going to be paying forever for sick people who have no business getting insurance. There’s even a foolhardy attempt to raise the minimum wage once again. You’d think we’d know better than to go down that road by now.

This November, we have another chance to vote against our own narrow self-interest and elect an unprecedented slate of politicians dedicated to rolling back our misguided experiment in prosperity for all.

Let’s not let this historic opportunity pass.

RIP Newsweek

Tina Brown has announced that venerable but long-troubled Newsweek will cease publishing its print edition next year, going all-digital instead. After which it will quietly fade away, unless it has a business model nobody else in publishing has thought of yet. The digital destruction of print media continues, with nothing credible out there to replace the hard news coverage and investigative reporting essential to a democracy. There’s a direct correlation between the demise of print and the decline of our politics to its current level of dysfunction. Newsweek hasn’t been a player for some time, but its loss is further evidence of this depressing trend.

Nation of Whiners

When did politics become one long offended whine? Poor little Mitt getting beat up on his taxes by the big mean Dems. Poor little Barack, inheriting a bad economy because of those nasty old Republicans. Poor little Paul Ryan, had to grow up without a daddy, so everyone else should have their benefits cut and be self-reliant like him. Poor little minority and elderly voters, having to produce picture IDs to vote. Hey, guys, this is politics, remember? A full-contact sport. Hardball. Get over it. Are the campaigns really going to spend a couple of billion dollars to tell me why I should elect the most victimized candidates?