I think most Americans are aware that wealth and income have been redistributed upward in the last 30 years. The video posted above presents some powerful infographics that bring our hunches into stark light.
It makes it clear that (1) the middle class can’t afford any more pain and (2) our economy is basically in the same situation as our climate – if we don’t do something to bolster the middle consumer class we can kiss our economy as we know it or would like to know it goodbye.
I’m really concerned that the next grand bargain is going to require some more “shared sacrifice,” and we can’t afford to contribute even one thin dime. For instance, what if they go for the biggest middle class deduction of all, the mortgage interest deduction? Whether or not you think we should have one, millions of families have structured their whole financial future around this deduction. It will gut the middle class. Or, what if they raise the social security age for people younger than 55? Twenty-seven percent of the U.S. population is between 40 and 55 years old. Those workers at the older end of that range are already finished with their retirement strategy; that is, whatever approach they were going to use to save for retirement, they’ve already set that plan firmly in motion. It’s pretty much too late to change it without extreme hurt in their elder years. Those workers at the younger end of that range may be able to shift gears, save more, but they are also at the height of expenses in terms of childcaregiving. Again, it will be a significant impact on the middle class as a whole.
I really think a redistribution of wealth downward is in order. I wouldn’t have said that 30 years ago, but it’s gotten out of hand and the current distribution is a severe threat to our economy.