The Middle Class Has Been Saved – Or Has It?January 8, 2013
President Obama is basking in the glory of having averted the deepening of a crisis that is more structural than political and hardly resolved.
The markets are cheering, it is said, because markets love stability, unless there is money to be made off of volatility of their own making.
Forget the working class. The term is passé, as is the so-called and usually undefined great mushy middle class moves into its rightful place at the center of everyone’s concerns.
(When asked what class they are in—or aspire to be in—workers, and even the poor say Middle Class. Unless survey questions include the choice of working class that they usually don’t.)
Analysts who looked closely at the big deal so hysterically pushed through Congress as the dramatic end-piece of a year of political warfare, say that there will be very little gain for the middle class with income taxes down but payroll taxes up, insuring that it will be more, at best, of a wash than a redistribution of wealth on any level. Many Americans, not just the rich, will be shelling out more, not less.
Economist Lambert Strether calls it the “fecal cliff,” noting, “cuts and tax increases (especially on the rich) are not commensurate. A “sacrifice” where some give up luxuries and others give up necessities is in no way “shared. A marginal sacrifice for the rich is not commensurate to core sacrifices for the rest…