Features, Law and Politics, Municipal Government, New York

The Destruction of the Middle Class

May 29, 2018

By Neal Tepel

NEW YORK, NY – The shift of workers from more highly paid  unionized factory jobs to lower paid mostly  non-union service jobs has caused a massive loss of wealth by the working middle class. In the 1950s unionized jobs reached an all-time high of almost 30 percent of the labor force. By 2010 only 11 percent of the labor force was unionized.
The rapid decline in union jobs with defined pensions is endagering the living standards for most workers reaching retirement age. Because the 401 and the 403 IRA options are a poor substitue for defined pensions,  the entire country is moving towards a crisis  of record proportion.

In 2016, the bottom 10 percent of our population was actually in debt, with no net worth, while the top 1 percent have more than $10 million each. In 2013 1 percent of our population had 43 percent share of all wealth. In other words we are destroying our middle class.

The tax cut recently enacted only worsens the situation.  Billionaires are paying a lower income tax rate than their secretaries. Congress has drastically cut the federal estate tax, depriving the government of  revenue and allowing increased concentration of wealth by the already super-rich. As the United States cuts taxes for the richest Americans it provides a massive transfer of wealth to the top 1 percent.

Providing tax incentives for the wealthy increases the tax burden on the middle class. We have fallen behind almost every other industrialized nation in economic, educational and health rankings.  We are near the bottom, compared with all Western European nations, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan in student math and reading scores, in infant and maternal mortality, and in crime,. The nations infrastructure is at a disasterous state.

As we reduce taxes paid by the richest one-percent the nation reduces critical services to its communities and citizens. We are moving towards a nation of rich and poor without a middle class. This must be addressed before its too late.

May 29, 2018

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