Monday, August 19, 2013

Week of 08/19/2013

The Precious Middle Class
– by David Matthews 2

If you need further proof that former U.S. Senator and presidential wannabe Rick Santorum is truly the frothy fecal matter that his last name now is associated with, you only have to look at his latest crusade to purge “The Middle Class”.

Mister Santorum has it in his head that the idea of a “Middle Class” is a “Marxist” one and that he wants conservatives, neo-conservatives, and the GOP in general to stop using the term.

“Since when in America do we have classes?” he told attendees at a GOP fundraiser in Iowa. “Since when in America are people stuck in areas or defined places called a class? That's Marxism talk.”

Except that the idea of the Middle Class predates even Karl Marx by a few generations.  The idea of an intermediary class of people separate from both nobility and peasantry started in 1745.  Some even credit this intermediary class for helping to drive the French Revolution.

Karl Marx himself wasn’t even born then, Mister Santorum, much less the idea of “Marxism”.

And “since when in America are people stuck in areas”, you ask?  Maybe you should research the history of our immigrants.  Look up when the Irish started coming in, and the Italians, and even the Cubans.  Did they instantly “assimilate” themselves into America?  No, they huddled together in certain neighborhoods, so you would have a “Little Italy” area, and a “Little Greece” area, and a “Chinatown” district.  And guess what?  Many of those little areas still exist today!

By the way, Mister Santorum, if you abhor the idea of a “Middle Class”, then why were you so hell-bent on giving them tax breaks in your failed 2012 run for the White House?  Why was your website dedicated on “rebuilding” a class that you think shouldn’t exist?  Why were you trying to defend a class that you think shouldn’t exist when you criticized Texas Governor Rick Perry’s tax idea in South Carolina?

Oh, but, wait… Mister Santorum did say in 2012 that maybe there is a “group” for cons and neo-cons to pander to: the “middle-income people”.  You know, the people that aren’t in the “upper-income” category but also aren’t in the “poverty” level.  Right there in that “middle” category that fight hard to avoid the latter but somehow can’t make it into the former.  But don’t call it a “class”… because that’s “Marxist talk” according to Mister Santorum.

Sir, you truly are full of “Santorum”.

Let’s get brutally honest here… not only is there a Middle Class in America, but it is the one class that has been both doted on and pandered to and also preyed upon and screwed over by politicians and by Big Business since at least the Cold War.

The very idea of suburbia is something that would not exist if not for that “middle group” that Mister Santorum thinks we shouldn’t refer to anymore.  The so-called “American Dream” of moving out of the cities into little neighboring towns and getting your own home in a nice and quiet neighborhood and then driving to and from work… that was custom-made for that so-called “middle income” group.  It didn’t exist before World War II!  The very idea of high-volume highways is a Cold War concept.

And who do you think Santorum’s buddies in the GOP pandered to in order to get elected all this time?  Who do you think Richard Nixon pandered to in order to get elected and re-elected?  Who do you think Ronald Reagan and both generations of Bush pandered to?  Who do you think was the focus of the “Morning in America” commercial?  The poor?  No, that group belongs to those “filthy liberals”.  The wealthy?  Sort of redundant, don’t you think?

No, the group that the GOP needs in order to get elected and stay elected is the Middle Class.

And I should also point out it is the same group that Mister Santorum failed to reach when he was voted out of office in 2006 as a U.S. Senator, and also failed to reach when he tried to get the GOP nomination in 2012.  And he’ll need to reach out to them as well if he expects to try again in 2016.  It doesn’t help voters much when they’re being told by people like him that their demographic is a “Marxist” concept.

At the same time, I’m not really a fan of the Middle Class.

First of all, it’s always “under attack” according to one group or another.  If it’s not Mister Santorum’s friends in the religious crowd screaming about “rampant immorality”, then it’s under economic attack according to both liberals and conservatives.  Either they’re paying “too much” in taxes or they’re not getting paid enough to keep up with the cost of living.

The Middle Class is convinced to put their names and their money into getting homes at any cost, then they’re left to blame when the banks screw them out of those homes.  Then they’re convinced to give up trillions in taxpayer money to bail out those same banks on the promise that the banks would then work with them to save their homes, only to turn around and be screwed yet again.  They’re told to support tax breaks for the wealthiest on the promise that it would “trickle down” to them, only to find the wealthy keeping the saved money because “it’s too unstable to invest”.

They just can’t seem to get a break, can they?

The Middle Class are suckered into the myth that they can someday be like the wealthy.  They’re convinced to spend money beyond their means so they can appear to be successful.  They’re told to buy the newest and the latest goodies and gadgets and clothes.  They “need” that new car, the latest cellphone, and to go on vacation.  They shell out whatever they can for “wealth secrets” that only make them poorer. 

“You too can buy stock like the rich,” they’re told.  “You too can buy gold like the rich,” they’re told in TV commercials.  “You too can buy a foreclosed home and flip it and make money like the rich,” they’re told through TV programs.

And yet no matter how hard they try, no matter how much they spend, and no matter how much they risk, they can never seem to make enough, can they?  They can act like the rich and spend like the rich and try to think like the rich, but they can never be rich.  The bar is always being raised that much higher.  The cheese is always being moved to a new location.  Like fanboys for a centerfold model, they will give everything they have for something they will only see but never have themselves. 

It’s like they’re stuck in a particular stratified socioeconomic segment, always pushed to move up with the fear of being downgraded to that despised lower segment, and yet only going just so far before hitting a glass ceiling and being knocked back down.

Almost like a… class. 

A “precious” Middle Class valued only for their numbers and their willingness to be suckered into whatever scheme can be dreamed up to avoid being branded as “poor”.  A stratified socioeconomic class that is placed up on a pedestal and then secretly thrown rocks at by the very elite that placed them there.

Of course I would like to believe that one day we could do away with the “Middle Class” as a frozen social stratified level and be in a society where one could truly succeed without hitting a socioeconomic ceiling.  Unfortunately that would require we eliminate the Predatory Parasitic Philosophy of Plunder that has become so pervasive in the business world and has been responsible for screwing over that segment of the populace.  that’s not going to happen anytime soon, especially given who is in Washington today.

A more likely scenario would be the elimination of the “Middle Class” in this country in ways that you currently see in countries like Saudi Arabia; where the gap between the “haves” and the “have-nots” is so wide that there is no intermediary group.  Then Mister Santorum would get his wish, because then there would be no socioeconomic classes for people to worry about or for politicians to pander to.  There would only be the super-rich and the super-poor, and nobody would be confused as to where they stand in that kind of society.

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