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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Protecting American middle class while income disparity grows

Visiting Northern Maine's St. John Valley, my husband and I met a Canadian married couple who asked why Americans are so poor? Yes, that's right, she asked me why Americans are so poor?

This particular Canadian lady based her question on the observation of the differences in the quality of life she saw when comparing the American and Canadian communities along the international borders. She saw Detroit MI compared to Windsor Canada, and the differences witnessed by driving through the border at Niagara New York and looking across Maine's St. John River to Edmunston, New Brunswick Canada. On the US side of these crossings, the American side of the equation is bleak, when compared to the Canadian communities, usually located within a stone's throw of the border.

Obviously, I couldn't answer the unexpected comparison question.

Nevertheless, the lady's question raised awareness about the eroding American middle class. Canadian middle class are supported by the economic theory of income distribution while the US policy seems determined to take way from the middle class. Conservatives have somehow used a smoke and mirror gimmick to convince the middle class that it's somehow wrong to share in income prosperity, unless they personally earned every penny of their own money. Meanwhile, to earn enough money to live the American dream, young people are absorbing the burden of a lifetime of student loans while the minimum wage is an unsustainable income, especially if a family must pay medical expenses along with the cost of living.

What's more disturbing than the Canadian observation is how Americans are not making the same observation as the visitors. 

Americans must wake up and realize how income distribution through progressive tax policies will improve the quality of life for the deteriorating Middle Class.

Otherwise, international towns and cities on the Canadian and US border will be the quintessential comparison between governments. Canadians, obviously, care about supporting the middle class as compared to the US, where income disparity continues to grow and, sadly, it shows. 

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