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posted: 8/3/2013 5:00 AM

Middle class better wake up

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Americans need to stop fighting each other and wake up to what is happening to the middle class in this country.

The middle class used to have good jobs that enabled them to support their families and have a decent standard of living. First, the factory jobs were shipped overseas so corporations could make more money from the cheaper labor. Then, white collar jobs disappeared in the crash of '08. The public employees were next: Teachers, firefighters, police, nurses, and state workers either lost their jobs as part of "cutbacks" or were demonized as part of the problem.

When the crisis occurred, many homeowners lost their homes, their primary source of wealth. In 1980, 84 percent of Americans who worked in companies of over 100 workers had a pension. But 2006, that number fell to 33 percent and it's even lower today. Companies have lobbied Congress to change the laws allowing them to use employee pension funds as part of the assets of the company -- to be sold off when the company is sold.

Lobbyists have given us usurious credit card fees, student loan debt that cripples our young people, bankruptcy laws that let corporations out of legal contracts, but not individuals. Our tax structure is riddled with loopholes for the wealthy. States fight to give tax holidays to corporations then cannot pay their bills because of lowered tax revenue. Other corporations keep billions off shore to avoid paying their fair share.

We are selling off our infrastructure too, piece by piece.

Throughout all of this, Republicans and Democrats fight each other over more trivial things and fail to realize that the American dream was abandoned years ago by the country's leaders. The middle class needs to wake up before the country becomes a ghetto where we are fighting over the scraps.

M. Gorun

Libertyville

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