The Trump campaign may be based on xenophobia and fear of those less fortunate than his followers, but the rationale under his argument, and much of the frustration of his followers, is that the middle class is shrinking. A new report, though, shows that even that is wrong. Over the last three years, middle class jobs have actually been on the rise.
The report, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, paints a much rosier picture of the state of our economy than Trump would like his supporters to believe. Of course, the Great Depression is rosier than the economy Trump describes. Still Trump isn’t alone in talking about the demise of the middle class. It was a common theme in Bernie Sanders’ campaign as well.
The decline of the middle class began during the Reagan administration, when, not coincidentally, the unions became enemy number one to the Republican agenda of cheap labor, high profits and low taxes on the wealthy. That was the crux of Trickle Down Economics – take money right from the pockets of the middle class and give it to the wealthy, who will, in theory, somehow give it back. We all know at this point that that never happened. The rich hoarded their new found riches while the middle class found themselves having to work harder to obtain the same lifestyle they had before Reagan took office.
For the first time in decades, though, the middle class seems to be on the return:
Today, our economists will show that the tide has begun to turn. For the first time in quite a while, gains in middle-wage jobs actually outnumber gains in higher- and lower-wage jobs nationwide. These middle-wage jobs include teachers, construction workers, mechanics, administrative support personnel and truck drivers, just to name a few. I believe this is an important development in the economy, because, if it were to continue, it would create more opportunities for workers and their families who have been struggling up to now.
Most of the jobs, as noted in Fortune Magazine, come from historically middle class fields, like construction, education, transportation and social services. All of this, despite Republican obstruction of infrastructure spending and the demonization of traditionally middle class government jobs.
Imagine where we might be today if Republicans hadn’t blocked nearly every bill that was designed to put Americans back to work.
Republicans have blocked every effort since the stimulus to maintain infrastructure, hire teachers, raise the minimum wage, give equal pay for women, stop special tax breaks for millionaires corporations (especially oil companies), stop tax breaks for sending jobs out of the country, provide student loan relief, help the long-term unemployed, and more. Instead they insist on even more tax breaks for oil companies and billionaires, on cutting environmental protections, deregulating oil companies, and so on.
Source: Campaign for America’s Future
While it might be tough to prove that Obama’s policies were directly responsible for the increase in middle class jobs, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that if Obama had been allowed to enact his policies, the middle class would be in even a better place today. In other words, we might be able to partly thank Obama for the new rise in the middle class and we can CERTAINLY blame Republicans for the fact that it’s not even better.