How the Middle Class Was Systematically Betrayed

Our 'land of equality' is now a 'bankers' utopia'
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2008 1:10 PM CDT
Francisco Chavez, right, owner of J. Chavez Harvesting LLC, cuts a broccoli stem in a field in Yuma, Ariz.   (AP Photo/Jacob Lopez)
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(Newser) – Thomas Frank tackles the decline of the American middle class in an outraged op ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal. He confesses fascination with "the mechanics of this huge social reconfiguration," which has, over several decades, shunted the nation's wealth into fewer and fewer hands, until the top 1% of the population takes home more than the bottom 40%. It's the kind of fascination, he adds, one might feel for "the industrial procedures of a slaughterhouse."

The worst part of it, Frank says, is that it isn’t the inevitable result of globalization or any other process. It’s a “man-made catastrophe,” a "political disaster, with tax cuts, trade agreements, deregulatory measures, and enforcement decisions all finely crafted to benefit one part of society and leave the rest behind. Few of the voters who gave Ronald Reagan his landslide victories, it is fair to say, intended for this to be the outcome."