As he listed the long list of his accomplishments last night during the State of the Union, it sounded as if President Obama wasn’t aware that he was speaking to a nation that is trapped and suffering in the midst of the greatest income inequality in human history.
It’s like bragging about your jump shot when you’re in the middle of a game of chess. The stuff Obama was orating about has very little to do with the everyday angst of Americans in 2015.
For American households, it is the threat of joblessness that tops the list of the most pressing concerns, according to a poll released this week by Al Jazeera America/Monmouth University. Asked to describe the biggest concern facing their family, 16 percent of poll respondents said either job security or unemployment. The second most-cited concern was health care costs, followed by everyday bills.
Interestingly, it was the middle-class who cited job security and unemployment more than the poor. For poll respondents making over $50,000, it was the biggest worry, the thing that keeps them awake at night.
President Obama last night called it “middle-class economics,” the push to make changes that will ease the minds and clear the path for the middle-class. But unless he can change the basic nature of the predatory capitalist model that has substantially enriched a few while the rest of us suffer, then his proposals are just tinkering around the edges of the problem. They will not change our lives.
It’s great to offer free community college to Americans, as the president proposes, but once they leave community college and secure a marginal job, where their wages will remain stagnant for decades, where the company will decide to slash jobs to increase revenue and improve its share price so that the billionaires can buy more yachts, the crippling fear of a pink slip will be an ever-present reality gnawing at the edges of that worker’s sanity.
Read more at Atlanta Black Star.