I talk to strangers. I can’t help myself.
Yesterday, as I was checking baggage before boarding a flight back to Dallas from Nashville, I stuck up a conversation with a “sky cap” at curbside check-in.
“Do you work for American or are you a contractor,” I asked the gentleman who took my bag.
“Oh, I am a contractor. That all changed awhile back,” he informed me.
“Is that good for you or bad?” I replied.
“Bad, real bad,” he answered quickly.
“I lost all my flight benefits when I lost American and I lost all my benefits, including health care,” he volunteered.
“I buy my own health care coverage now,” he continued, "And I make less money."
“It seems like everyone is working harder these days and earning less,” I said.
“You got that right,” my new friend agreed. “We work harder and longer and have less to show for our efforts.”
The middle class is losing power. It is distracted by shrinking wages, declining benefits and the day-to-day stress and press to make ends meet.
All the while, class becomes increasingly important in our nation. The competition and the strain on working families contributes to the declining interest in the rapidly expanding underclass.
The gap between those at the top and those at the bottom continues to widen, as more families in the middle class fall off into poverty.
Here’s an idea.
If you want to talk about tax cuts, instead of continuing to drive all the benefit up the economic food chain to those at the very top, let’s have an “industrial tax cut” so that corporations like American Airlines can pass on benefits to their hard working employees.
What if Congress passed tax reduction legislation for all corporations that agreed in advance to use the increased revenue to rehire their former employees and to restore their lost benefits?
It has been interesting in the wake of Hurricane Katrina that Congress has postponed a vote on eliminating the estate tax. Congressional leaders have also delayed extending the life or making permanent current legislation that cuts taxes for the wealthiest Americans. I guess it is a bit embarrassing to do so with so much human suffering and need iright up in our face as a nation.
What affects the middle class affects those at the bottom and vice versa.
It is time for a new strategy.
My new friend at the curb and I agreed on that without debate.
My faith tells me that the prophets of the Hebrew Bible would have added a hearty “Amen!”
My experience tells me that some of my readers here will offer strong protests about my ideas. Ironically, many will do so against their own self-interests.
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