Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Say Goodnight, Middle Class

So the tortured logic of the right in refusing to allow the raising of the minimum raise is this:

despite the continuing inability of such a wage to provide any kind of stairstep out of poverty, the right says no to a living wage because that would "hurt" businesses too much.

It would be so painful to the Scrooges of our modern times, that they would fire their minimum wage employees if they had to pay them something they could live on.

Taken to its logical conclusion, if we cut the minimum wage in half, we'd have full employment again! Happy times!

I guarantee you, if the neocons thought they had even a slight chance to pull that off, they'd support it in a heartbeat. And you know what? There would be 30 to 40% of the middle-class Republican dittoheads whole-heartedly supporting it as well.

Of course, the middle class would pay dearly for such a plan: further wage slides for all of the middle class (the real reason neocons suppress minimum wage hikes); increased payroll taxes hitting the middle class the hardest to pay for sudden increase in the working poor and related social programs, the inability of even more families to send any of their kids to college (which is becoming prohibitively expensive thanks to the bankrupting of state budgets by way of Dubya's tax giveaway for the rich,) etc., etc.

The only thing that gives me hope is the appearance of this theme (the killing off of the middle class and the removal of the lower rungs of the social ladder) in quite a few places. Nothing mainstream, mind you; the corporate hegemony keeps the major media on a short leash in that regard. But books, public radio and television, and of course the blogosphere, are sounding the alarm bells on this issue more and more.

If Bush wins a second term, it will take decades to turn this trend around. Your kids will find themselves living in a bankrupt nation with a broken scholastic system, unable to compete against third world labor for any jobs outside of Walmart.

And they'll be shopping at Walmart, because they won't be able to afford to shop anywhere else nor will there be any path to someday achieve Target shopping (anything upscale will be for the 1 percenters.)

It's an ugly vision, and half the country believes it could never happen; and that's what the Republicans count on more than anything else.

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