By David A. LOVE
The American middle class is losing ground fast, and the Republicans are not offering serious help.
A new report by the Pew Research Center reveals the slippage over the last decade. A whopping 85 percent of people surveyed who described themselves as middle class said it is harder than it was a decade ago to maintain their standard of living.
No wonder! In the last decade, median household income decreased from $73,000 to $69,500, while net worth dropped 40 percent between 2007 and 2010.
The Republican Party is offering little but rhetorical support to the shrinking middle class. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan want to extend the Bush tax cuts, which disproportionately go to the wealthy. And the Republican platform vows to do away with the estate tax, even though it already exempts estates under $5,120,000 from any tax. Meanwhile, the platform knocked out a major middle-class tax break: the home mortgage interest deduction.
These are not the policies the middle class wants. In the Pew study, 58 percent of those polled say the rich need to pay more in taxes. And more than 60 percent believe the Republican Party favors the rich.
The Romney campaign seems to believe that it can mollify the white middle class through color-coded attacks on welfare recipients.
But this diversionary tactic may not work this time, as more Americans of all colors are descending into poverty. Whoever wins in November must address this critical issue, not with rhetoric but with real programs that put people back on their feet.
David A. Love is a writer for Progressive Media Project, a source of liberal commentary on domestic and international issues; it is affiliated with The Progressive magazine.
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