What is Happening to the Middle-Class?

15 Aug

Today, I’m linking to an opinion written by William Galston in the Wall Street Journal last week.  He speaks to the decline of the middle-class in America and why that is dangerous for everyone.

Presciently, he says “If we cannot restore a vigorously growing economy whose fruits are widely shared, the struggles of the middle class will persist, and our democratic distemper will deepen.”

Lately, I’ve been on this same thought train.  Being someone who favors capitalism over socialism, someone who thinks society functions better when people make decisions rather than governments, I don’t think the middle-class can be revived by governmental programs.

But it can be revived.

Last week I read a story that was a good example of the immense greed and avarice of today’s modern corporations.  It was about Bob Mansfield, who made $85 million last year working for Apple. I like the word avarice. It is defined as an unreasonably strong desire to obtain and keep money.  That is today’s modern corporate executive, avarice-filled.

I mean Mr. Mansfield no harm and certainly he is entitled to whatever Apple pays him. But couldn’t this fellow do quite well on $20,000,000 a year instead of $85,000,000? Sure, it means one less island or Bugati for him to buy.  I know how socialist and populist that sounds.  But it is also an easy problem to fix. It isn’t political or gender-based, or religious. It is, however, a systemic and dangerous problem for our nation. The stockpiling of wealth with too few. Couldn’t the average, over-paid American executive take less and therefore pay their company employees a tad bit more? Costco, for one, has proven this a very successful formula.

Corporate greed is self-defeating. This is a consumer driven economy full of Americans who refuse to save. If given more salary, doesn’t it follow they’d spend that extra cash on the very things these companies make?

If our corporate leaders continue to pretend that they bring so much more value to their companies than their rank and file employees to justify such ludicrous payouts, it is only a matter of time before that old French refrain plays out on American soil.   Historically, poor people have also become angry and violent ones.  If French aristocrats hadn’t their heads severed by guillotine, they might share that history lesson with today’s greedy execs.

 

Wall Street Journal Article

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