In this piece, The Death of the Middle Class?, Chris Larsen tries to make the argument that the middle class is over with this statement.
Unfortunately this middle class will not recover; the patient died.
For a person who got his first real job during the Carter administration I reject Chris’s reasoning on both a personal experience level and and a pragmatic level. On a personal level I got a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1976 but my interests were in computers and networks. I could of taken a job in the power industry but I pursued jobs in the practically unknown computer industry. Today I am maintaining a web site for an internet retailer. The words "web site" and "internet retailer" did not exist when I graduated and now it is part of my resume. I do not consider myself unique since I have met a lot of people whose career path has been equally diverse. Chris is asking me to believe that the middle class can not adapt to changes in the market place when my experience shouts "Yes, we can adapt because I have done it!".
Then Chris tries to make the following argument .
If you’re part of the rich elite, you’re also much better off.
Legislators from California to Washington D.C. are saddened by the hardships facing the poor and the middle class but the problems facing the "rich elite" is a disaster of biblical proportions. When the top 1% are paying as much taxes as the bottom 95%, the one group you really do not want to get sick is the rich elite. As California voters showed us the average voter would rather cut social programs than raise taxes on the stressed middle class. If the rich elite are so well off, why did Boone Pickens cancel his massive wind farm? A few months ago Boone was confident he would proceed with or without government support.
The plain and simple fact is that the drop in tax revenues at the state and federal level shows that the rich elite got clobbered with the recession. My guess is that the rich elite are also looking at massive unreported losses in their stock portfolio and real estate. The rich do not feel very rich right now! The real tragedy is when you combine the loss of income with huge paper losses on their investments and a Democratic party that is actively pursuing increased taxes, fees, and other penalties targeted at the rich, you have an almost impossible environment to create wealth. Without the lure of wealth you will have a very diminished base of willing entrepreneurs. I do not think I know a single entrepreneur who does not dream of making lots of money. Its not the only motive for an entrepreneur but it is a very important one. Although you may find if difficult to sympathize with the plight of the rich elite, the impact on our future entrepreneurs is a more serious problem. More than ever this country needs the a group of entrepreneurs to take the chance and start working on the "next great idea". Some of these entrepreneurs will fail and lose all of their money. The successful few will create businesses that will create lots of good paying jobs and become the heroes of future businessmen and women. Eventually our admiration and gratefulness for the successful few will fade and we will see them like the plantation owners in our country’s early history.
So what should the country do? A pragmatic Democratic party should be stealing a page from the Republican playbook and embracing policies for a more enticing business climate for investment. History shows that the Reagan and Bush tax cuts when combined with reduced government spending stimulated the economy and lowered unemployment. Since the administration’s plan is widely viewed as a failure at stimulating the economy and creating jobs, it makes sense to try something that has worked in the past. The time for increasing the tax on the rich has come and gone. Redistribution of wealth is so 2007. Now is the time to entice the next of group plantation owners out of their seats and get this country working again.