The middle class in America is declining and no longer constitutes a majority, according to a Pew Research study, which found that “after more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number by those in the economic tiers above and below it.” Pew found that the “share of American adults living in middle-income households has fallen from 61% in 1971 to 50% in 2015. The share living in the upper-income tier rose from 14% to 21% over the same period. Meanwhile, the share in the lower-income tier increased from 25% to 29%.”
The fascinating thing? It’s bipartisan.
In the years since 1971, there have been both Republican and Democratic presidents. Congress has also been controlled by both parties, during this time. The middle class is wasting away under the rule of both Democrats and Republicans. So the question is: What do Republicans and Democrats have in common?
They both grow the government. Both parties usually raise taxes; they both add to the red tape of government regulations; and they both participate in expanding government control in areas such as health care, education, and finances.
Since 1971, government spending on items not provided for in the Constitution has mushroomed to an $18 trillion dollar debt (and counting).
Since 1971, government control over health care, in the form of Obamacare, has intensified; government control over education, in the form of Common Core, has intensified. Government regulations are through the roof.
Since 1971, taxation has overall grown, despite the temporary tax cuts of the Reagan years and a few of the George W. Bush years. Before long, tax cuts are always reversed. Reagan’s tax cuts were partially reversed by his two successors, and George W. Bush’s cuts expired.
Reagan’s term involved less taxation and a slower growth in government; interestingly, the economy did better during his time than any other period of 1971-2015. We could desperately use the 1980s back.
More government control, more government spending, more taxation, more regulation. These have been the norm of the last 45 years.
And what’s it getting us?
A shrinking middle class.
According to what the Democrats say, this should not be happening. At least since Obama, we should be getting a rising middle class, if Obama’s policies of intensified government spending, wealth redistribution and taxation were supposed to improve the economy.
Why hasn’t the middle class grown—or at least not continued to shrink—under Obama? Why are the poor, as defined by government statistics, growing in number? No answer is given, because this man never has to answer tough questions.
Many Americans are rightly fed up with both parties. They sense, correctly, that both parties are causing our economic stagnation. More than ever before, people (at least Republicans and Independents) want someone who’s not a career politician to run the government and set the legislative agenda.
I agree with them. However, the person we entrust with this task must understand that the problem with the economy is the government—and totally the government.
Margaret Thatcher, who famously took a big bite out of government socialism in Great Britain during the 1980s, reportedly said that before winning votes, you must first win the argument.
It would seem like common sense, but it’s also sound economics, to assert that government does not create wealth; only private individuals create wealth.
Politicians falsely believe they create wealth. They want you to believe it too, because it keeps them in power for decades at a time or, in the case of Obama, it advances their ideological agenda of “transforming” America away from freedom towards some form of fascism or socialism.
When America was a fledgling economy in the later 19th century, it did not have these problems. Society experienced an inventive and productive era, the likes of which human history has never seen (before or since). The standard of living rose and kept rising for everyone. While there were occasional brief “panics” or downturns, there were no Great Recessions or Great Depressions during this time. The government largely left the economy alone.
When we contrast this era with 1971-2015, we ought to learn something.
Capitalism not only works. It’s morally superior. Capitalism—consistently practiced (it isn’t today)—rules out the use of force in human relationships. It gets rid of the pressure group warfare, the power politics and the ugly spectacle of career politicians in both parties, as well as ideologically wrong “soft” dictatorships like the one we have now. Why? Because government, under capitalism, does nothing, other than protect the citizens from force and fraud, foreign and domestic.
Capitalism supports, requires and provides incentives for personal responsibility, individual self-determination, and excellence. It’s truly the American way, in the objectively best sense of that term. Capitalism focuses on pleasing customers/employees who can always take their business (or their labor) elsewhere in a growing economy, unlike the intimidating, dehumanizing depravity of government-run, command-and-control systems such as federal education and government Medicare.
Capitalism does not outlaw generosity, although private charity flourishes under capitalism. Under socialism, charity is nonexistent, because everyone is poor. The shrinking middle class is not good news for people who care about charities. Private charity is much kinder than the senseless and dehumanizing mentality of a welfare state. Talk to people who engage with the welfare state (I was trained as a social worker myself), and you will see what I mean.
Wake up, America. The answer to our problems was here all along. Ayn Rand was right. Capitalism is the unknown ideal.
It’s waiting for you.