80% living on 20% leftover’s
I learned just this year that the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) publishes a report (link) on the Internet about the United States. I was reviewing the section on the economy that was updated on August 13, 2009. In the middle of the report is this statement, “Since 1975, practically all the gains in household income have gone to the top 20% of households.” Furthermore, “The onrush of technology largely explains the gradual development of a ‘two-tier labor market’ in which those at the bottom lack the education, and the professional/technical skills of those at the top and more and more, fail to get comparable pay raises, health insurance coverage, and other benefits.”
No middle class–no small business
For 34 years the American middle class has been steadily shrinking. Where will we be when the middle class is gone? Will we be safer, healthier, or wealthier? When you think about it, small business, the backbone of the American economy is in serious danger. As the split widens between the haves and the have nots, who will buy the products and services of small business? It won’t be the big corporations, that’s for sure. What will this country be like when the splitting stops and 20% of the population control 80% of the wealth, and 80% have to live on what’s left?
Americans slipping slowly down the drain
The CIA report also says, “Long-term problems include inadequate investment in economic infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable trade a budget deficits, and stagnation of family income in the lower economic groups.”
Printers probably the first to go
Why do I bring this up? My career has been spent in the printing business. Most printing firms in the United States are small businesses. When the middle class is gone, and small business owners disappear, what will happen to printing? The answer is obvious.
How can government help turn the tide?
- Educational Needs. Provide educational opportunities to all citizens who want it. A college education shouldn’t create a lifetime burden of student loans. Free education would benefit us all.
- Health Care. Make sure all citizens have access to good health care. We have the most expensive health care in the world and some of the most unhealthy citizens. One reason is because care is delayed until the need is critical.
- Ban Lobbyists. Cut access of corporate lobbyists and make sure they have only the same access to lawmakers as any other citizen. Our survival as a nation depends on fairness for all. Special interests cannot be allowed to rule. When special interests rule, the public loses.
- Regulate Compensation Packages. Create an Executive compensation commission to review and regulate public corporations. Companies who are vital to the national interest and deemed too big to fail have to be subjected to intense scrutiny. Just as the SEC requires annual reports, compensation must be examined and regulated if necessary, to protect our common interest.
- Recover Pension Funds. Create a collection mechanism to recover money from executives of corporations who raided or otherwise harmed vested pension programs. It is unconscionable that an employee be left penniless after working a lifetime for benefits, while the upper echelon retires comfortably.
- Banking Transparency. Make sure publicly held corporate executives cannot secrete their fortunes in secret accounts. Transparency in banking is necessary only for those who have the power to wreak havoc on the economy and cause recessions.
I know, some of these suggestions will strike some as being un-American. Maybe you are right, but when any sector has the power to harm the whole, it has to be considered a public threat. The demise of the middle class is a public threat and must be treated as such.