Stewart Acuff

May 6

Creating a More Just America

My good friend Ed Martin just sent me an important article from Reuters reporter Chrystia Freeland analyzing a poll that shows more and more Americans fear falling out of the middle class. The middle class is no longer aspirational, but worried.

For those of us with a vision for a more just economy and a more just America, this may be bad news, but it is news we can work with. It has always been tough to organize the poor, the working poor, and a middle class that sees only upward mobility together. But a middle class driven by fear – especially for their children – is much more likely to drive the kind of change in America that can make our country and our economy much more just and progressive.

59% of Americans polled felt worried about falling out of their economic class. 68% of those who described themselves as lower middle class are worried about falling into poverty.

As I have documented here time and time again, this new fear reflects the new American economy – 35 years of stagnant wages, unaffordable college, all the favorable results of productivity increases going to the top 7%, the worst inequality in history. Meanwhile, the top 2% percent, the “job creators,” are refusing to invest and create new jobs. Instead they are investing in a paper economy again, the stock market that continues to climb while we all fall behind.

Freeland writes, “Most economists think the anxiety articulated in this survey is a reaction to a real and new peril.”

Now it is up to us to push harder and engage many more people in the struggle against inequality. Together, we must fight for the right to organize and bargain collectively, fight against any cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and battle to raise the minimum wage, to ensure healthcare for all, and for government spending on sustainable energy and infrastructure.

Now it is time to move with passion, vigor, and confidence that we can create a much more just America.

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