The connection between the destruction of the middle class and dwindling Democracy here in the U.S. is almost certainly a complex one. However, there is no doubt that the national condition of poorly distributed wealth has been thoroughly aided and abetted by a Federal Legislature and Executive that are, for all intents and purposes, owned and operated by corporate interests. The jury is in, and Globalization, and its progeny, NAFTA and GATT, to name a few examples, have done nothing to sustain, let alone elevate the coffers of our once solid and sizeable middle class. Rather the opposite has occurred, as the spawn of our new economic world order has, for the most part, only elevated the accounts of the heretefore wealthy. It is they who have seen the value of their holdings vastly increase. This is due in no small measure to companies that make everything from cell phones to sneakers being able to easily employ dirt cheap labor overseas. This, in turn, has allowed those business interests to raise their already profitable bottom lines. The Global village has been and is being pillaged, and now, glory be, members of the investment/trust fund class have an even bigger slice of the pie than ever before.
Karl Marx may have been dead wrong about the ultimate evolution of Communism into the dictatorship of the proletariat, but he was most certainly correct about the existence and nature of what is often snarlingly referred to by some members of the better off as, "class warfare." Now, as in Marx's day, class warfare is being vigorously waged in the U.S., but far more successfully by those at the top who have managed to insure that the much ballyhooed ownership society is, instead, one where the vast majority are owned, lock, stock, and barrel. The evidence for this is plain. Witness the very handy changes in the law making debt forgiveness, less, uh, forgiving. At the same time, not surprisingly, (though no less sickening for not being so), the Legislature has done nothing by way of providing necessary oversight of a rapacious banking sector thereby insuring that the number of citizens requiring debt relief in the coming years-see the ongoing housing debacle- will be steady and more probably steadily high. Well somebody got what they paid for, but it sure wasn't the middle class who most recently gambled on the Democrats to deliver a bit of Democracy. To date, however, the ever shrinking middle class seem to have lost that bet big time. Which brings me to the next subject in the next installment in this series, namely, our casino culture.