The missing middle


Outsourcing-offshoring-resized (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The middle is missing in both our economy and in our politics. One is linked to the other and that is the problem. Both must be restored to correct the changes that have occurred over the past 30+ years. The middle class must be revived in an economy polarized between the rich and the poor, the 1% and the 99%. The polarization between the Right and the Left, Democrat and Republican, must also be lessened so that compromise is again possible. Without a vibrant middle class and political compromise, our democracy will fail. It is showing signs of failing now.

Outsourcing and offshoring jobs lead to a temporary increase in profits which finds approval on Wall Street. Over a period of years, outsourcing and offshoring destroy the middle class and reduce the number of customers who can afford American-made products. As the middle class shrivels away, we are left with the rich and the relatively poor, the 1% and the 99%, and that leads to political polarization. And political polarization leads to government policies favoring the wealthy at the expense of everyone else.

My solution to the problem is twofold: much higher taxes on the 1% and government policies discouraging outsourcing and offshoring. It is current government policies which have encouraged the outsourcing and offshoring of jobs that have decimated the middle class and led to our current polarized politics. If current government policies have done that, they can and must be reversed. Confiscatory tax levels for the 1% will dampen their desire to monopolize the fruits of the economy. Some might even desire to emulate Gérard Depardieu of France and seek Russian citizenship to escape high taxes. Let them.