Thursday, November 16, 2006

Is our work done?

The answer to that is HELL NO!
Mind you, America rejected GOP ideology big time on November 7. Besides the House and Senate, a total of 16 of 20 Governor seats in races are now held by Democrats, and 9 new State houses were placed under Democrat control. However, that doesn't mean we sit on our haunchs and gloat. There are several issues to deal with. For example, the Democrat view of what Middle Class is.
But I would rather focus on what I see as a continuing problem in Washington, and that is their disconnect from reality, regardless of the party. I point this out after listening to Charlie Rangel on the radio.
I'm all for the Democrats taking over not only Congress, controlling 28 Governor mansions and nine new state houses. Supposedly they will take care of the needs of Americans. But I was shocked to hear what Rangel classified as Middle Class. To Mr. Rangel, the bottom line of the Middle Class starts around $70K a year, and runs up to $200K a year. He did state that he wouldn't be held to those numbers.
I was stunned. Between my full time job, and my wife's full time job, we'll still need another full time job between us at Washington state's minimum wage just to make it to the bottom of the Middle Class!
According to the Census Bureau, the median income in the United States is just over $46,000. That's roughly a combination or sole earner wage of $23 an hour. And one would think that the mass of the workers of America are the ones that this wage represents. But where does that leave them according to Charlie Rangel? That leaves them squarely in the lower class. At $23 an hour. They are in fact in the 65th percentile of the lower class!
Let's look at how statistics can work. Let's say that eight of us working for that $23 an hour are sitting in McGinty's Friday night enjoying a cold one. Our median income is roughly the national average, give or take a few bucks an hour depending on the work we do. In walks Bill Gates to have a beer. Suddenly, based on statistics, our median wage just shot up past the Middle Class, and not one dime has filled our pockets with this new wealth.
Now let's look at the real picture for a minute. How many jobs in America are paying Middle Class wages? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 7.7% of the jobs in this country pay Middle Class wages. Another 80.5% of the jobs pay less than the median wage as reported by the Census Bureau. The gap in the middle are those jobs that pay between the median wage in America, and the Middle Class. In other words, a little over 10% of the jobs in this country, to say nothing of their availability, pay between median wage and Middle Class. A whopping 92.3% of the jobs in America pay less than Middle Class wages. And the "Middle Class" is where they want to aim the tax cuts. Dare I say that the Republicans aim their tax cuts at the top one percent, and the Democrats at the top nine percent? Where does that leave most Americans?
According to the Census Bureau, the poverty threshold for a family of four is less than $20,000 a year. Basically, two non-working kids and two adults at minimum wage. So what do we classify those as who are between poor, which I take it then are referred to those who are beneath the poverty level, and the Middle Class that have $70,000 a year as their lower rung? Is this the working poor we continue to hear about?
I think it is. And this is where I see some Democrats are little different than Republicans. These hybrids will consistently vote to erode what the Middle Class actually is. They will do nothing to make health insurance available to all. They may lower the prices on drugs for seniors, and make some program that the better off of the working poor can perhaps afford some relatively expensive medical plan with few services. What these moderate democrats will do though is balk at the idea of a national health care plan, like every industrialized country in the world has. Never mind the fact that America at this point in time has almost a million citizens a year that lose health coverage. That means 2740 people every day lose their health coverage. That equals roughly the population of twenty four of the fifty United States. Forty six million people and growing. That isn't helping the "Middle Class" at all.
I've already mentioned that Mr. Rangel thinks we should give tax breaks to this "Middle Class," which seems much closer to the top than the middle. Since the ousted Republicans have given massive tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations, that means that the current national deficit is owed by those in the "Middle Class" and below. That number as of November 29, 2006 was over $28,000 per every citizen in the United States. That number grows every day at an incredible rate, the burden of which, if it doesn't bankrupt us, will fall on those who make up the bulk of the wage earners in America. And it isn't the Middle Class!
It is now our responsibility to make ourselves loud and clear on this issue. Those who represent us need to hear that they are out of touch. That those of us who are working need to be insured, we need jobs with livable wages, we need regulation to stop greed, we need fair economic markets, we need tax responsibility and fairness, we need savings for retirement.
So besides the at least 40 we put in every week, this is the work we need to do. And we need to do it until we are heard.


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