Why Is a Strong Middle Class So Essential for Everyone Else?

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?

4 comments on “Why Is a Strong Middle Class So Essential for Everyone Else?

  1. quinersdiner says:

    Why don’t you ask Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi, and Harry Reid? They are the ones who have dominated the levers of power in this country for up to 6 years. Their solutions have not worked, they have made things worse.

    • This has been going on for awhile, in terms of wages stagnating and upward mobility declining. It’s a problem of the last few decades, not just the last few years. But it’s been accelerating lately, since the meltdown.

    • harris jordan says:

      You are wrong and should review the political reality that has existed since the moron George W. Bush took us into Iraq to kill Hussein and rid the world of the WMD that didn’t exist.

      Singlehandedly, the puppet Bush accomplished the decline and fall of America at a far more accerated rate than the decline of the Roman Empire.

      • I wasn’t justifying the Iraq War, I was saying that the middle class there was used as a justification for why the war would succeed in accomplishing our goals of spreading democracy in the Middle East.
        The existence of a middle class isn’t enough to keep people together. In Iraq, as in the break-up of Yugoslavia, we saw many middle class families either leave the country or succumb to sectarian/ethnic/religious loyalties and join the violence. My point is that creating and strengthening the middle class abroad is touted in our foreign policy, while the middle class at home languishes.

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