Thursday, March 09, 2006

Musings 121--Death of the Middle Class.Part III.finis

The single greatest thing that created the middle class in the United States was the labor unions. These created an avenue so that working class folks could have a standard of living that was good, and, in many cases, very good.

The United Mine Workers union took many under-educated hard-working people and allowed them to be paid a livable wage. Before the unions, coal miners worked 12-14 hour days for company script. It was not a living, but it was an existence.

The United Auto Workers helped to create a class of people that could benefit from the product they made. The automobile industry was a leader in this new class of people. They worked for good wages. With these wages they could buy modest homes and live the American dream.

The Teamsters were the haulers. They moved the goods from one end of the country to the other.

The Steelworkers Unions made the things that enabled the infrastructure of America to grow. Big business needed building and most of them were made of steel. It was another vocation that grew middle class folks.

The National Teachers Education Association was the teacher's union. These teachers taught the children of the millions of Americans who were doing all of these middle class jobs.

Before long we had a very strong middle class in America. In the mid-70's there were more folks in the middle class that all the other classes combined. America was a middle class country.

Then came the late 1980's and the decade of the 1990's. A thing called out sourcing happened. Big business decided that they were tired of doing business with the unions. They looked around and got the politicians to pass the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It was the beginning of the end for the middle class.

Ronald Reagan, the man who brought down the Berlin Wall, also helped bring down the middle class. When he fired the Air Traffic controllers, he signaled that you could break unions. It started a trend. Unions that would not budge on concessions found that companies just moved elsewhere--sometimes even to another country. Many large corporations found that they could operate in third world countries for pennies on the dollar. Plus, they found that Congress just did not seem to care. It was to busy chasing an intern loving President Bill Clinton.

It only took about twelve years for the U. S. To go from a nation that made things to one that bought everything. The good jobs dried up, and continue to do so to this day. Minimum wage jobs at large corporate Wal-Mart and McDonald's are now the rule rather than the exception.

when, the American work force and the unions that protected them disappeared, there was not much left for the middle class. Hence, it is shrinking and will soon disappear. It will continue to do so, since our elected leaders have long ceased to care.

Alas, the middle class will soon be but a memory. We will be left with the age-old truth of the haves and the have-nots. It was a good ride while it lasted.


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