Florida senator Marco Rubio struck a familiar chord on Monday when, in a speech announcing his candidacy for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, he argued that too many Americans were starting to question whether the “American Dream” is still within their reach.
Those Americans include “hard-working families, living paycheck to paycheck, one unexpected expense away from disaster,” Rubio said; “young Americans, unable to start a career, a business or a family, because they owe thousands in student loans for degrees that did not lead to jobs”; and “small businessowners, left to struggle under the weight of more taxes, more regulations and more government.”
In a speech in Detroit in February, Rubio’s most formidable contender for the Republican nomination, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, similarly lamented, “Tens of millions of Americans no longer see a clear path to rise above their challenges.”
Jeb Bush and Rick Perry, two former Republican governors who are considering presidential runs in 2016, presented themselves this week as eager to tackle issues such as stagnant middle-class wages and income inequality that have been mostly dominated by the left. Read more “Bush, Perry Learning from Mitt Romney’s Mistakes”
In what the political news website Politico described as a “Robin Hood-style proposal,” American president Barack Obama called for $320 billion in higher taxes for banks and the wealthy over a period of ten years on Tuesday in order to finance benefits for the middle class.
Vice President Joe Biden last month said the American middle class had been “buried” in the last four years. While Republicans were quick to frame Biden’s comment as a repudiation of President Barack Obama’s administration, the collapse of the middle class has more to do with the financial and housing crisis that started before the Democrats took office. Read more “America’s Middle Class Has Been Buried”
The rising middle classes in Brazil and India, two major emerging markets, are stepping up the fight against corruption in their governments. Politically empowered by their education and financial independence, students, young urban professionals and entrepreneurs are speaking out against the graft that is so endemic in both countries’ myriad bureaucracies. Vested interests are moving slow to respond however. Part of the political class, so accustomed to profiting from positions of privilege, won’t change ways unless forced to. Read more “Middle Classes in Brazil, India Protest Corruption”
Arianna Huffington complains about what she calls “the real Wall Street crime” at her online newspaper today in an entry entitled, “Shorting the Middle Class.”
According to Huffington, big banks, for decades, have been “selling” the American people a promise of unending prosperity while in truth, they facilitated the transfer of wealth from America’s middle class to the richest segments of society. “The results,” she notes, “have been devastating: a disappearing middle class, a precipitous drop in economic and social mobility, and ultimately, the undermining of the foundation of our democracy.” And it’s all Wall Street’s fault. Read more “Shorting the Middle Class?”