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It Is Time to Begin the Process of Rebuilding Our Middle-Class Economy


It Is Time to Begin the Process of Rebuilding Our Middle-Class Economy

Bill Moyers, David Bly

In The New York Times recently, the paper’s former Washington bureau chief, the veteran journalist Hedrick Smith, asked an important question:Can the States Save American Democracy?Smith, who traveled the country to write his latest book, Who Stole the American Dream?, also serves as the executive editor of the Reclaim the American Dream


First key insight, no doubt of many:

"Wilkinson and Pickett make a solid case that it is not so much the average income of a society that matters. More important is how that income is distributed. Countries that have the most equal income distribution do best on health and social indicators."

A visit to India, Mexico, or many of the nations of South America would reveal this without any required further studies. The reason is that it's a VERY old blueprint:

"Ours is the oldest modern democracy, but present-day policies and court decisions are undermining our basic democratic principles. Immense power has been ceded to a cadre of financial elites who have figured out how to buy their way into control of our government. The past 30 years have seen two related trends: (1) an unraveling of benefits and opportunities for the vast majority of Americans, and (2) a massive increase in wealth for a relative handful of people."

A few keynotes are missing from the analysis. One is how efficient results become (to elites) once control of the mainstream media is accomplished. Through the Messaging Engines, the elites have a monopoly on all of the "adult" serious narratives and shape them to accord with their own nefarious interests. Knowing that lies told often become the currency of that which passes for what's true, they pay their word masters to spin deceptions that convince a lot of people to work and vote against their own best interests.

Nonetheless, the fail-safes to the 1% include control of voting places, vote counts, voting machines, poll numbers that end up published and whatever else it takes to satisfy the Necessary Outcomes (to their continued hegemony).

In typical Gemini (the Zodiac twins') fashion, Mr. Moyers presents the case for too much influence by those empowered forces that shape government positions in ways that damage the Middle Class; but then he falls back on the uniform WE frame which suggests that it was We, the citizenry, that rolled back the regulations that at one time separated banking from speculation and reined in campaign financing (a/k/a legal influence peddling and/or bribery) rather than granting it carte-blanche:

"Instead of moving forward on clean energy and correcting harmful practices, we continue to rely on fossil fuels and to live with the economic and environmental consequences."

Who is constituted by the WE that made decisions preferential to Big Oil?

"The fifth foundation of a middle-class economy is living-wage jobs. Generations before us took for granted that hard-working Americans would share in our prosperity. We have abandoned that understanding."

No. WE have not abandoned that understanding. What happened is the following:

  1. Reagan demonized government to turn people against it
  2. Clinton knee-capped all regulatory government agencies to grant Big Business free reign
  3. Lobbyists moved by the hundred to K-Street in Washington, D.C. By financing candidates' campaigns, POLICY was purchased.
  4. The Koch Brothers, ALEC, Pete Peterson and other influential billionaires' clubs financed think tanks which created their own pedigree and pushed their own pro-business (the 1% club) ideology
  5. The corporate capture of mass media provided venues for the dissemination of the False Story lines that benefited the 1% at the expense of everyone else (including both the Middle Class and the working poor)
  6. Key pundits (from the Left) buy into the existing status quo and attribute its flaws and weaknesses to the great amorphous ocean of WE...

In reality, there is a comprehensive blueprint that was devised to re-engineer the direction of wealth and WE, as in The Citizenry, had as much to do with it as we have influence over TPP and TIPP.

These are New World Order protocols that pretend to represent the interests of citizens whereas in reality, they are stepping stones to a global oligarchy in a position to control everything from what people read to what they eat to what they will be paid, etc.

AND also missing from this analysis, is factoring in the very real ordeals contingent upon climate change and what these will mean--in the way of losses, job insecurity, dangers to peoples' domiciles--to increasingly large groups of people.


From the article:

"The story of how government has gone from limiting greed to encouraging it is chronicled in several recent books. Kim Phillips-Fein in Invisible Hands: The Businessmen’s Crusade Against the New Deal; Paul Pierson and Jacob S. Hacker in Winner-Take-All Politics; and Hedrick Smith in Who Stole the American Dream? tell much the same story in different ways. When the Supreme Court determined that money was speech in 1976, things began to change quickly. The super-rich suddenly gained an advantage in their campaign to silence the power of people and weaken our democracy. Today, with the Supreme Court decision on the Citizen’s United case, corporations are “people,” and even misinformation and lies spread by these strange new “people” are protected speech."

Other books that broaden the case by showing the influence of private entities which became instrumental to government policy include:

  1. "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer
  2. "Shadow Elites" by Janine Wedel
  3. "The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and Rise of the Shadow Government" by Mike Lofgren
  4. "When Corporations Rule the World" by David Korten

I never saw the term "Globalism" used in the article, yet it's germane. And towards the end of the article, at last THIS shows up (which works a lot different in actual practice from the generic "we" frame used elsewhere):

"The last 30 years have seen a corporate war against American workers. Corporation after corporation shipped middle-class jobs to Third-World countries. Now, politicians across the country invariably meet out-of-work industrial workers who ask them what they can do about the sell-off of jobs in America."

The goal of the elites is to have U.S. workers competing with low-wage workers in India and Mexico... but grateful to have any job at all.

And how many Trump supporters in this forum looked past Trump suggesting that the minimum wage was TOO high or how the likes of Scott Walker would like to further decapitate minimum wages in their particular choke-hold zones?


There's such an underlying "I bring thee the good news" New Testament ring to the following:

"The five foundations of that economy have this in common: they are all “we” concepts. We all benefit when they are in place, and we all suffer when they crumble. When we work together toward our common good, we grow a middle-class economy. When we work against each other as individuals, we are on the road to becoming a Third World economy. As much as I hate to say it, this is exactly the path we are on."

By what agencies would the Collective We bring all these goodies about?

Mr. Moyers is a smart cookie and he's interviewed some of "the best of them."

Did he miss David Daley's book on the corrupt way districts were drawn up to ENSURE Republican strongholds over the U.S. Congress?

How about the influence of the think tanks, lobbying organizations, and wholly captured mass media?

How about the armed guards who often view Environmental and/or Labor activists as domestic enemies?

It's fine and dandy to speak in terms of this ONE FAMILY--"we" ideal, but in practice it's bogus.

Many of Trump's supporters--and there ARE millions--have no interest in sharing with Black citizens, Latino citizens, Muslim citizens, or many women.

And by what agency would those rights and privileges allocated to corporations under the treasonous Citizens United or through all sorts of should-be felonious secret dealings be taken back... to, for, and by The People?

Also, these lofty ideals are moot if TPP and TIPP pass as our chameleon-like Presidential CIA asset intends to accomplish.

Jesus brought all that good cheer, too. But mostly, his followers spend time murdering one another. For the most conservative from this camp, freedom is viewed as the right to control others and dictate very narrow forms of morality (and lifestyle choices) to them.

Good news alone won't fly.

A different paradigm is required now and using terms like WE mostly normalize what was, is, and has been. This is conveyed by subliminal suggestion: that there is NO alternative. We, by its nature, simulates uniformity when dynamic contrast could not prove more vital.

It's time for more people to distinguish themselves by recognizing that the old frames no longer apply; and no one who fosters policies of ecocide, spreading wars, and financial graft (and the misery it leads to for so many) has the right to apply MY name or MY consent to what THEY do.

Disown the false label and it starts the process of tossing off the Controls.


It is time to begin the process of rebuilding our lower class economy. I say this with self-interest in that I feel a need to be able to opt-out of the middle-class economy and yet survive with some dignity. We had that in the 60's and 70's but no longer have it.

Further, those on fixed and low incomes, whether pension, aid, bursary, poor wages or what ever need to be able to survive with some dignity. We still need housing, food, clothing, transportation, education.

By all means rebuild the middle-class economy, but the lower-class economy is in some desperate need of some serious rebuilding work on its foundations.


Thank you Bill Moyers, one of my favorites.
There are not many that would argue the points in this peace, it's all true.
We know, the problem is clear. What to do about it is not as readily written about.
When both houses and the president are the one's writing the rules and the courts back them up, what is left to us to do? Vote? We just saw what happens when the country votes progressive, they rig the election.
I'm in favor of a third party but even then, when you have so much money in opposition how effective can they be?
That leaves protests in the streets as we've seen, and more of them, and
Jill Stein 2016.


Not one mention of the almost total destruction of unions is here.

Corporate lawyers, the pentagram, and their clients own this country, and will probably do so until it is driven into the ground. The "working class," whatever that is,
are incessantly at each other's throats.

Who has ever been elected saying, " . . . what I am going to do for our hard-working lower class families"? " . . .what I am going to do for the working poor"?

No one.


There have been recent reports of an increase in middle class jobs and wages but I am largely pessimistic because of reports that we are on the verge of computers and robots soon being able to do many jobs that middle class workers do. Much of the working class has already been replaced in factories by robots and now we are seeing that even fewer lawyers are needed as some jobs that lawyers do have been replaced by computers. How we will deal with this apparently oncoming wave of automation looks like a real challenge. How many jobs will be lost to driverless cars and trucks? What kind of work should colleges and vocational schools be preparing students to do. Will it even be typical in the near future to have a job?


no, it's time to secure economic justice for ALL classes, Moyers. Every time you guys try to revitalize the middle class, you leave th people who need the most justice back in the dust as always.
Maybe one time consider striving for justice for someone besides your own class. That sure would be swell.


We should just have a classless economy/society. Wall Street buying and selling the same securities round and round does not produce a single morsel of food, nor a square foot of cloth, nor a shingle on a roof. A garbage hauler performs more necessary work than a stockbroker. We (yes, the dreaded we) need to internalize that idea at the societal level, the rest will follow.



The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to make us believe that representative government is the answer.

Direct democracy


Just a thought - To do that you need two items together. One is Get rid of more than 100K of BAD Governance. Two, develop Industrial Ecosystems...an Advanced one that is better than the Basic Industrial Ecosystems that China has since 1983. And we have the Knowledge to get there.


Let me correct the headline: "It's time to re-begin..." Since Obomber didn't do jack except make it worse, and if Clinton is elected we can have the same headline 4-8 yrs later, because she can't wait to be exactly the same or worse. Same with Trump. (end rant..)


The program is good, but the political mechanisms for securing representation that we can accomplish such goals with are deliberately rigged to protect the status quo and thwart such movements for change. Without reforming our anti-democratic electoral system, we fight with one hand tied behind us. So to this list of five foundations must be added the further foundation of a functioning democracy in place of our unresponsive pseudo-democracy. We have a broad diversity of political opinion in America, yet only two parties, both of them more or less captured by big money and functioning as herd dogs to keep us habituated to lowered expectations through the threat of "the other guys". We have allegedly representative government, but we have rampant gerrymandering, and even if we do not have overt gerrymandering, the way our voting system is structured disfranchises the majority of the voters: those who vote for losing candidates, those too disgusted by the two viable parties to vote, those who vote for "third" or intentionally marginalized parties, those who vote in excess of the votes needed to secure a seat in house races, and those who grudgingly vote for a winning candidate but would switch their vote in a nanosecond if other options were not suppressed by winner-take-all. We need to do more than get back to the welfare-state capitalism and two-party semi-democracy of fifty years ago. We need to convert a democracy which has never really been representative of the people into true representation and begin building an economy owned by the working people, who won't ship their own jobs overseas, won't poison their own families' drinking water with toxic chemicals, won't create unsafe working conditions to save a few bucks, won't seek to drive their own wages down to improve the profits of absentee owners. In short, we need to build real democracy to make possible the building of real socialism.



The article says:

"Things are changing, and not for the better. All too often, we hear stories of families evicted from their homes when unemployment runs out, or senior citizens who must choose between buying groceries and life-sustaining medications, or the single mother who can’t get a job because she must spend her time nursing her invalid son. We open the paper to read yet another story about the achievement gap in our schools. We watch the news and are shocked to learn that the United States is the world’s leader in putting its citizens behind bars."

I agree. I have a serious solution to go to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness...simply because i have done it before...But no one listens to my thoughts and work anywhere except China. Even Bill Moyers site said I can NOT post the following at his site under my name. Now you know what is at stake. The items I wanted to say is this.

For smart readers: You can talk about it for the next ten years, but the situation will go from bad to worse. OR you can DO two items. First, Get rid of more than 100K BAD Governance from USA and Western Civilization. (It is a CANCER - you die, takes a little time though). Second, Implement Advanced Industrial Ecosystems for USA and the Western Society (Including India and Australia) ...better than the Basic Industrial Ecosystems taught to China (from yours truly) in 1983, that caused China to be no.1 in PPP Economy now. Then you will have Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Will Common Dreams and Readers go for it? Time will tell...


There's a typo in the underlying link for Reclaiming the American Dream (in the first paragraph).


Can't. What are you going to rebuild it with? It's impossible to rebuild the middle class without creating enough jobs for all, and in the mean time, shoring up the poor. And we aren't going to do that.

We're a living example of what happens when a people forget their own history. From FDR to Reagan, the US had implemented policies and programs that actually took this country to its height of wealth and productivity (far from perfect, a work in progress). Then Americans decided to do the opposite, to reverse those policies, end the programs, bringing us to this point.

The US shut down/shipped out a huge number of jobs since the 1980s, ended actual welfare in the 1990s. The last I heard, there are 7 jobs for every 10 jobless people who still have the means to pursue one. We created an abundant surplus of job-ready people who are desperate for any job at any wage -- grateful for a chance to replace you for less than you are paid. Economics 101: The more people in deep poverty, the fewer the consumer purchases, the fewer products need to be made, the fewer wo0rkers are needed to make those products, the more people in poverty. The US ,maintains this downward spiral.


OK. How do you propose we do that? What do you mean with, "Get rid of 100k bad governance...?" Who has the money and the means to "implement advanced industrial ecosystems"? The US has pursued the longest, most expensive war in this country's history, and we are drained out economically and militarily. We can't rebuild because, since the 1980s, the US shut down/shipped out a huge number of our jobs. The fewer the jobs, the more people in deep poverty, the more tax revenues shrink -- and we remain stuck on this downward spiral.


On the other hand, we see a lot of focus on long-range goals and no will to actually do those things necessary to achieve those goals. Clearly, an economy owned by workers would be owned by the same people who decided that those who aren't of current use to the job market are undeserving of the most basic human rights (UN's UDHR) of food and shelter. Until everyone is able to work, and there are jobs for all, what should we -- this country -- do with our very poor?


We have BAD Governance in everything....you can visit my facebook site and learn a lot. One such case is the fact that people are in Pain (due to Back injury, Knee injury etc) and the Government makes sure you can not get pain pills...not the doctors. The doctor can not...plain and simple. Just one example.

As to Advanced Industrial Ecosystems...when there is a will, there is a way...like over four trillion dollars doing nothing at present...the projects would be private...China did it starting 1983...(just learn the old tricks with some new twist, it was my architecture and strategy ) so can we...been there, done that. But no one listens to ... going in engineering....and not in laws...thank you.

So Common Dreams can set up a group to carry this forward...and it would work.