AUGUST 18, 2011 7:08PM

Where Did The Working Class Go?

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Something is missing in the current political lexicon.  In spite of the fact that, in academic settings, I can preface my name with Dr. with my state university PhD, I still think of myself as a working class person.  I am proud of that fact.  I didn’t inherit any wealth from my family—there was none to be had.  I never received spousal or child support (actually the misguided bastard paid one month’s worth—$333—for three kids before his quit his well-paying construction job rather than give ME any money).  Rugged individualism to a fault. 

Until I retired recently, teaching was my main love and means of support.  A worthy profession and one much maligned and mistreated of late by right wing governors.  I was a union president too, serving over 400 teachers in a county school district.  I stood picket lines after bargaining a contract all night long.  Power to the people.  I eventually crossed over and took a job as a school principal where some of the union’s weaknesses became more apparent. But I still see the value of both.  I eventually moved into higher education, but in all instances, I thought of myself as a worker.  Someone who got up every day, got to work on time, did the best I could within the parameters of my assignment, and expected decent income and benefits so I could provide for myself and my family.  

When I was a kid, I had friends in school who were middle class.  In most families, the mother stayed home to take care of the kids, and the father provided the only source of income for the family.  The family had a nice house, each child with a room of his or her own.   The family looked forward to an annual vacation and, without worry, saw the doctor and dentist as needed.  The family was able to put money aside in a savings account, and, with the help of reasonable tuition, the children could go to college and improve their lot.  That’s middle class, and certainly not the norm today for the masses oft referred to as middle class. 

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Unfortunately globalization and the advent of several third world nations has taken a lot of working class jobs overseas. There were still plenty of jobs around until the housing bubble and resultant 2008 financial meltdown. Corporate America has now bought and paid for the Republican party by way of the Tea Party and other entities. They are using this influence to write legislation in Congress and in newly Republican state legislatures to take away labor rights, social programs, and to destroy our revenue base. This is an organized assault on our working class and we need to fight back against it. Otherwise this ever widening gap between the wealthy and poor will leave just those two classes. They must be stopped especially at the polls in November 2012. Your analysis and impressions are spot on Beauty1947. It is getting very scary.
The top 20% own 84% of the wealth in America, and the bottom 40% have only 0.3%. In case anybody is keeping score..
the women stayed home because they were driven out of good jobs by returning servicemen.

but it's true a man could support a family. perhaps they still could, if tariffs had protected jobs in industry.
I hear you Howard, Mark, and Al... Unfortunately, the big money of Wall Steet and corporations now have a louder voice and more clout than both major parties. Individual voters taking action is the only resistance that can combat those forces. We can take action in the voting booth as well as working collectively. Like I said: Power to the people.
We move toward a new era of capitalism.This is not in the US only;it's everywhere.
Unless something very unusual happens,this trend is even becoming more forceful.
I wonder where it will end.
In earlier times,the only way to stop exploitation was to risk a revolution.At least this evaluates the contrast for some time before the winners gather the cash.No matter what the name of the game is:The rules remain the same.