— Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old advocate for girls’ education who was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan last year, on starting classes in England today (via latimes)
“A series of self-imposed, unfocused cuts went into effect yesterday, impacting a wide array of government agencies and services. From the Social Security Administration to national security to education, the austerity ax is coming. These wrongheaded and indiscriminate cuts will harm the public and the future capacity of the government. Worst of all, it will undermine the economy’s already-meager growth.
We must not allow the sequester to be used to force unpopular cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid benefits through the Congress. The only responsible thing to do is to completely cancel the sequester through legislative action.
Representative John Conyers understands that and released “The Cancel the Sequester Act of 2013 (HR 900).” It is a simple one sentence bill that, if passed, would completely eliminate the sequester.
- Social Security Works newsletter
America’s stark class divides are a product of its ongoing economic transformation. As the ranks of the working class have shrunk due to the devastating one-two punch of automation and globalization, two other classes have swelled. On the one hand, there is the creative class of scientists and engineers; business professionals and knowledge workers; artists, entertainers, media workers and cultural creatives. Numbering more than 40 million, they account for almost a third of the American workforce. With average annual earnings of more than $70,000, they collect almost half of all U.S. wages and salaries and control some 70 percent of the nation’s discretionary income.
But in parallel, another much larger class has arisen. More than 60 million Americans belong to the service class. These are some of America’s fastest-growing job categories, such as food preparation, personal care, and retail sales, but on average they earn just over $30,000 in annual wages, and many quite a bit less than that.
The math is terrifying. Add the ranks of the unemployed, the displaced, and the disconnected to these tens of millions of low-wage service workers, and the population of post-industrialism’s left-behinds surges to as many as two-thirds of all Americans. This is a much larger, and perhaps more permanent, version of the economic, social, and cultural underclass that Michael Harrington long ago dubbed “the other America.” In fact, it is our majority.
Yes, it’s that many and it’s that bad.
Worse yet, the ranks of the 66 percent are a product of the very structure of post-industrial capitalism. If the top third of America’s workers are navigating and prospering in the knowledge economy, the other two-thirds are disconnected and sinking. And if things continue to go in the direction that they have been, their children and their grandchildren will be too…
…Doesn’t this part suggest that Democrats are not “just as deep in denial” as Republicans like Romney: “We’ll need to tap the creativity of our entire workforce, make serious investments in education and in the social safety net. It’s the only way we’ll ever bring the American dream back to life.”