Thirty-six point six percent of Californians fall below the cutoff. A strong middle class is what made this country so successful. How did we get a middle class? Mostly by collective bargaining, like a 40-hour workweek, living wage, child labor laws. As the middle class seeps away, we become a Third World country with a few ultra-rich and masses of poor. Since our beginnings, we have had an ascending graph of national productivity—and still do. Wages have closely followed this upward trend, reflecting our increased productivity.
But for the last 30 years, since Reagan, we’ve had a flat wages line. If you don’t have a job or a living wage, you disappear from the middle class. One of our political parties has laid out a plan to allow the rich/corporations to rule our country (Google: ALEC). What amazes me is that so many people I consider to be smart and thinking human beings are taken in by this. “Privatize everything. I stand by myself; I am not my brother’s keeper; no taxes on the ultra rich. It’s ‘socialism’ to have citizens sharing the cost of building and maintaining bridges and roads, an army, fire departments, schools, police, airplane safety, homeland security, safe air and water, Social Security, and Medicare.”
It is not socialism; it’s American democracy. Like it or not, you are part of the 99 percent.