Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Sudden, Sharp Decline of the American Middle Class

This Rolling Stones article is about the sharp, sudden decline of the American middle class. I read that with tears in my eyes. Compared to that we Indians are better off, we have our families to fall back upon. Imagine living in a car in a parking lot. Our people would rather construct a slum in the parking lot. Hehe. Joking.

I had thought of the U.S. as a prosperous country that offered social security. But this sentence sent a chill down my spine:

"Most of the social-service systems in the United States function not to help people like Curtis and Concita Cates get back to where they were, to a point of productive stability, but simply to keep them from starving – or, more often, to merely reduce the chances that they will starve. Millions of middle-class Americans are now receiving unemployment benefits, and many find themselves compelled by the meagerness of the assistance to shun opportunity and forgo productivity in favor of a ceaseless focus on daily survival. The system's incoherence and contempt for its dependents fluoresce brilliantly in the wake of a historic event like the Great Recession. When floodwaters cover our homes, we expect that FEMA workers with emergency checks and blankets will find us. There is no moral or substantive difference between a hundred-year flood and the near-destruction of the global financial system by speculators immune from consequence. But if you and your spouse both lose your jobs and assets because of an unprecedented economic cataclysm having nothing to do with you, you quickly discover that your society expects you and your children to live malnourished on the streets indefinitely. That kind of truth, says Nancy Kapp, "really screws with people's heads." 

Heaven isn't perfect anymore, is it? It won't be after you read this. And what about those rose-tinted stories brought back by brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, and aunts? Don't believe them. Period.

I am @johnwriter on Twitter and John.Matthew on Facebook. I blog here. View my Youtube Channel Page. Read about my novel Mr. Bandookwala, M.B.A., Harvard.

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