Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Conservatives Harm Middle Class Finances

We've learned to survive the last 5 years of middle-class baby-boomer employment insecurity and rising prices by paying off all debt, no longer using credit, buying and using less and....gasp....having one car, a sacrilege and an oddity for Southern Californians. My husband takes public transportation to work, an even weirder oddity for people in our neck of the country.

(And by the way...we've never been happier. Life is much simpler.)

From the Center for American Progress.....

Today's papers bring more bad news for America's workers. The Financial Times reports that "[r]eal wages in the US are falling at their fastest rate in 14 years" meaning take home pay for workers is buying less and less and many will have to work longer hours just to keep up. On other fronts, the New York Times reports that United Airlines has dumped billions of dollars of pension obligations on the federal government, with other airlines and businesses sure to follow. The conservative economic legacy is becoming increasingly grim: stagnant wages, lower living standards and unstable retirements.

Conservative management of the economy has been a disaster for America's workers. Five years of consistent conservative control of the economy has done severe harm to America's middle class. Anemic job growth coupled with stagnant wages and purchasing power has left American families working harder and harder for less and less. As prices for basic needs like health care, education and housing have risen sharply, the ability of American workers to keep up has fallen.

Their solutions only make matters worse. Massive tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy; Social Security privatization; and huge cuts to Medicaid and other vital programs are not the recipe for a strong and growing middle class. Rather than taking steps to expand economic opportunities for workers, conservative leaders have squandered America's prosperity for the sole gain of a few well off Americans.

Under progressive leadership, America's middle class grew and workers enjoyed rising living standards and greater economic opportunity. With progressive leadership in the 1990s, economic growth was widely shared and opportunities to get ahead touched everyone. Poverty and wealth inequality declined. Budgets were balanced. Family income increased 17 percent after of two decades of stagnation and America's workers enjoyed the fastest and longest real wage growth since the 1970s. The right priorities and right choices on the economy helped everyone to succeed.

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