It’s striking that we are so focused on building a strong middle class everywhere in the world, that we see it as the magic bullet that solves threats and problems — except here at home.
When we invaded Iraq, we were assured that one of the things in our favor for building a democracy there was the existence of a strong, educated middle class. By contrast, we’ve been told over and over that one of the reasons for the tough, fruitless slog in Afghanistan is the lack of a middle class.
We’ve been told that one of the reasons the Islamists have been able to emerge strong from the Arab Spring is the lack of a middle class in the Middle East, that a tiny group of very rich people has ruled over an enormous group of very poor, uneducated people for so long.
We’ve been told that the emerging middle classes in India and China are a wonderful thing for the growth of world trade and prosperity and stability.
But here at home, our middle class is suffering and shrinking. And we’re told that the growing chasm of income inequality, that the falling back of so many families into poverty, that the failure of so many children to do better than their parents as they have historically, is nothing to be alarmed about.
Can someone explain this? Mitt? Reince? Paul Ryan? John Boehner? Anybody?