Yesterday, President Obama reaffirmed his undying commitment to the middle class by asking for an extension of the Bush tax cuts on their behalf, while proposing that the tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent be ended. It did not take long for conservatives to once again brand Obama's proposal as class warfare. When we look at the trend in America over the past several decades, it is ever so clear that the real victims of class warfare are middle class citizens who work hard everyday, struggling just to get by so that they can make ends meet for themselves and their families.
For the wealthiest one percent to even portray themselves as helpless victims of class warfare is both insensitive and cruel when considering the stories of every day working families who struggle to save and get by so that someday, they themselves may have accumulated enough to realize the American Dream. Such hopes have been dashed by the greed of wealthy business owners who have made a habit of laying off the employees who helped them build their empire, in exchange for low wage workers overseas. This has contributed to an ever-increasing income inequality in America. It is no wonder that Americans are now more than ever before losing any hope whatsoever in realizing the American Dream.
In November 1986, a Time magazine article by Stephen Koepp explored the question of whether or not the middle class was shrinking. A follow up to this article was published nearly 15 years later in June 2001. The article pointed out the fact that from 1970 to 1985, the percentage of Americans classified as middle class had shrunk from 65.1% to 58.2%. The middle class has been shrinking for the obvious reasons that wealthy business owners with their self-serving interests of accumulated personal wealth, have sought every means possible to unjustly undermine the labor of the American worker in exchange for cheaper labor overseas. This has led otherwise hard-working Americans to become disgruntled with the U.S. labor market, causing many to lose confidence in the American dream altogether.
When this article was published in 2001, there was perhaps still some small glimmer of hope in the American economy by which people would be willing to work hard and hold on to faith that the American Dream may be within reach. However, the Bush tax cuts , which overwhelmingly favored the wealthiest Americans, crushed those hopes once and for all. Now, America can be divided into two classes of people. One is made mostly those who were born with a silver spoon in their mouth with inheritances passed to them that they did not earn. The other is striving hard to make ends meet just so that they and their families may survive from day to day.
The sad reality is that in the 1990's the promise of achieving the American Dream was very real. Americans worked hard under a Clinton administration that realized that a strong middle class is essential to a growing economy in America. Then the new millennium dawned, and the Bush administration turned the control of the American economy back over to the corporate moguls, who like vampires sucked the blood out of the middle class once and for all.
When Republicans try to twist events to paint the wealthiest Americans as victims of class warfare, don't buy it for one second. Rather remind them that it is the corporate moguls which they have favored who have been freely engaging in "class warfare" for years, thus creating the division that is based on the ever-growing disparity of income inequality.