The economic crunch faced by America’s working poor is stark. Since 1979, U.S. housing costs have tripled. Some of that growth is the result of well-meant initiatives, such as slum clearance and rigorous building-code enforcement that forces rents upward. But governments have not compensated for the low-income housing deficit with more rent subsidies or more public housing. Both, in fact, have been gradually disappearing. Meanwhile, real pay, in dollars adjusted for inflation, went up just 1 percent from 1979 to 2003, the same period housing costs went through the roof.
They don’t adjust the change in housing costs for inflation, and they should have. But if you use the trusty-dusty CPI inflation calculator you will find that real housing costs, the biggest part of any working person’s budget, rose 20% while real wages rose 1%. This was during a period in which America as a whole got indisputably richer. Measured by the increase in GDP, America got 90% wealthier. Nearly double. But real wages went up one percent over the same period. That huge increase in wealth sure didn’t go to much of anyone in the bottom 60%. Ya know, the majority?
My question to any working person would be, don’t you feel cheated? Republican or Democrat, I don’t care. Don’t you feel cheated? Throw out the ideology, throw out the wedge issues, all I’m asking is, don’t you feel cheated? Because you should. Do you honestly think that the wealthy elite who collected most of that new wealth are really that much better than you? I don’t.
You could look at some of the abuse I’ve taken on this site, though I doubt you’ll feel like hunting for it. I will try to honestly summarize some of it. I’m an idiot because I used to be a janitor. Remember the days when there was no shame in honest work? I’m a mental defective because I’ve never risen above the working class. The same working class my great grandfather belonged to, and there was no shame in it in his day. The same working class that my grandfather started in, though he did rise to a high executive position eventually. The same working class that my mother, an LVN, was a part of. And there was never any shame in their being working class. Now I’m supposed to hang my head in shame for being a member of the working class because some Republican says so. If you’re one of those who think that, I got a little message for you: Sit on it and rotate, motherfucker. I’m at least as good as you and probably better. Money is not the measure of all things.
Like most Americans, I’m working class. Therefore I don’t deserve to make a decent living, not should I be allowed to reproduce. Who says? By what authority? It’s way past time working class people in this country started voting for their own interests. Yeah, I know, neither party truly represents our interests. The liberal elites don’t really give a shit about us, as right wingers love to point out, but the conservative elites, who seldom get mentioned, are downright hostile towards us. For better or worse, I think the Dems are where we have to start. If you strongly feel differently, I can understand that. If that’s the case, then work to change the Republican Party. Make them represent us. Someone should sure as hell be representing our interests. We are the majority.
Cross-posted at No Fear of Freedom.