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Redefinition – “middle class”

September 7, 2011

AHA! In progressive speak, “middle class” = union job. That solves one mystery…

This article talks about Perry’s record of job creation in Texas & how other governors of very democractic states call it a “race to the bottom”.

In his piece, Gov. Markell says states must cultivate an environment of investment that provides innovators with what they need to create good middle class jobs. Like most critics, Markell simply suggests that the Texas model doesn’t do that. Yet Texas has over the last several decades attracted some $12 billion in investments in high-tech jobs and industries related to computer chip research and manufacturing… And Texas ranked fifth among the states last year in the volume of medical research dollars its institutions attracted,….By the way, Markell’s state, Delaware, ranks forty-third in U.S. in the amount of medical research dollars it attracts…

This isn’t the first one like it – “the jobs Texas created aren’t the kind of jobs WE like, so they don’t count because…’

  1. They’re minimum wage
  2. They’re not “middle class”
  3. They don’t tax high enough so services must stink’
  4. etc etc etc

I think that in many democratic minds, “middle class” still means “union, hourly wage” instead of what the rest of the world has defined it as. Salaried, office worker, within a specific salary range. Texas is a “right to work” state – meaning mandatory union participation isn’t dictated. Apparently, if you aren’t union, making $35k-100k in hourly plus overtime, you are one of the “rich who need to contribute more” or one of the “greedy, who should shut up and get to the back of the line”

NYT: “Yes, We Need Jobs. But What Kind?”….the median wage for adults in the Valley between 2005 and 2008 was a stunningly low $8.14 an hour (in 2008 dollars). One in four employed adults earned less than $6.19 an hour….

Labor standards have to be upgraded and enforced, particularly for those employers, typically in low-wage industries, who engage in “wage theft,” by failing to pay required overtime wages or misclassifying workers as independent contractors so that they do not receive the benefits to which they are entitled.

The days of unskilled, uneducated labor getting a union wage were over and done outside of Detroit (look up the origin of “living wage”). Now, Detroit isn’t far away from that reality. One point however – if wage pressure makes it hard to make ends meet, how about lowering gas taxes  so costs go down for people who have to commute longer distances to work?

Hospitality work, largely thanks to organized labor, was once a path to middle-class life in America. But downward wage pressures have left many workers in poverty…With little union presence, the hotel industry in Indianapolis has been particularly vulnerable to outsourcing

Welcome to the reality the rest of us have been living for the last 10 years.

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