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Breaking News Forum Obama touts middle-class task force lead by Biden at News Forum - AP - President Barack Obama signed a series of executive orders Friday that he said should "level the playing field" ...

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Old 01-30-2009, 11:52 AM   #1
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Default Obama touts middle-class task force lead by Biden

AP - President Barack Obama signed a series of executive orders Friday that he said should "level the playing field" for labor unions in struggles with management.




Obama touts middle-class task force lead by Biden
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Old 11-01-2011, 12:42 PM   #2
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Many who used to feel secure in “middle America” now feel left behind...

Can America survive without its backbone, the middle class?
Tuesday 01 November 2011 - As the gaps within the classes widen, American society is starting to fracture.
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My friend J grew up in Chicago, but spent his summers in a small town on a Michigan lake. His family, because they came from the city and because they were “summer” visitors, were slightly more privileged than those who lived in the town. Nevertheless, the town considered itself “middle class” and the children observed no social distinctions playing together. J told me recently that he had been back to that town and found it utterly changed: shops were boarded up, houses were being repossessed, cars were old. He no longer had much in common with people he had known as children, some of whom were now unemployed, all of whom had far lower incomes than he.

J isn’t a hedge-fund manager or a plutocrat, but he is a member of the American upper-middle class, a group which is now sociologically and economically very distinct from the lower-middle class, with different politics, different ambitions and different levels of optimism. Thirty years ago, this wasn’t the case. A worker in a Detroit car factory earned about the same as, say, a small-town dentist, and although they might have different taste in films or furniture, their purchasing power wasn’t radically different. Their children would have been able to play together without feeling as if they came from different planets.

Now they couldn’t. Despite all the loud talk of the “1 per cent” of Americans who, according to a recent study, receive about 17 per cent of the income, a percentage which has more than doubled since 1979, the existence of a very small group of very rich people has never bothered Americans. But the fact that some 20 per cent of Americans now receive some 53 per cent of the income is devastating.

I would argue that the growing divisions within the American middle class are far more important than the gap between the very richest and everybody else. They are important because to be “middle class”, in America, has such positive connotations, and because most Americans think they belong in it. The middle class is the “heartland”, the middle class is the “backbone of the country”. In 1970, Time magazine described middle America as people who “sing the national anthem at football games – and mean it”.

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