Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Change: Obama's Newest Class, the Precariat

We Now Join the U.S. Class War Already in Progress

More Americans see themselves as belonging to the lower classes today than ever in recent times. In 2000 some 63 percent of Americans, according to Gallup, considered themselves middle class, while only 33 percent identified as working or lower class. In 2015, only 51 percent of Americans call themselves middle class while the percentage identifying with the lower classes rose to 48 percent.

The bulk of this population belongs to what some social scientists call the “precariat,” people who face diminished prospects of achieving middle-class status—a good job, homeownership, some decent retirement. The precariat is made up of a broad variety of jobs that include adjunct professors, freelancers, substitute teachers—essentially any worker without long-term job stability. According to one estimate, at least one-third of the U.S. workforce falls into this category. By 2020, a separate study estimates, more than 40 percent of Americans, or 60 million people, will be independent workers—freelancers, contractors, and temporary employees.

This constituency—notably the white majority—is angry, and with good cause. Between 1998 and 2013, white Americans have seen declines in both their incomes and their life expectancy, with large spikes in suicide and fatalities related to alcohol and drug abuse. They have, as one writer notes, “lost the narrative of their lives,” while being widely regarded as a dying species by a media that views them with contempt and ridicule.

In this sense, the flocking by stressed working-class whites to the Trump banner—the New York billionaire won 45 percent of New Hampshire Republican voters who did not attend college—represents a blowback from an increasingly stressed group that tends to attend church less and follow less conventional morality, which is perhaps one reason they prefer the looser Trump to the Bible-thumping Cruz, not to mention the failing Ben Carson.

Also marginalized are the minorities, blacks and hispanics, whose lot has not been improved by Obama, but has degenerated with illegals pouring into the USA to take scarce jobs previously available to citizens. Asians, on the other hand, tend to fight their way into the competitive capitalist system and to produce their own margins of success, rather than to accept any Victimhood classification. Still, the designated Victimhood Classes remain victimized, and more than before Obama.

No comments: