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Amy Traub

Letter to the Editor of the Week!

In DMI's latest Middle-Class Scorecard grading members of Congress, the very first line of the introduction notes that despite the Bush Administration's trumpeting of a strong national economy with growing productivity, strong consumer spending, and soaring corporate profits, polls suggested most Americans were skeptical.

Our conclusion?

"The American people aren't stupid."

"The official optimism did nothing to obscure the increasingly harsh economic climate in which ordinary Americans found it harder than ever to hold onto a middle-class standard of living..." Those words referred to 2005, but they're just as true, if not more so of 2006 so far. And the administration is similarly stuck in a rut, continuing to insist that "Things are good for American workers."

But now it looks like the media is starting to catch on. An unsigned editorial from the New York Times last week responded to President Bush curtly: "the comment is preposterous."

Which brings us to today's letter to the editor of the week, from John Viteritti, who notes that declining union strength, government power, and a corporate attitude combine to create an increasingly difficult and pessimistic climate for American workers.

To the Editor:

"The Falling Paycheck" (editorial, Aug. 28) points out that "American employees have not shared in the wealth they've helped to create."

This is true at a time when membership in labor unions has declined and the government in power is favorably disposed to advancing the interests of large corporations at the expense of workers.

During the post-World War II period, what we saw was a corporate attitude that made benefits like pensions, health care, educational opportunities and career longevity available to employees; stronger labor unions; and a government that instituted one of the most successful attempts by any society to provide those who served their country with mortgage loans and educational and small-business opportunities, the G.I. Bill of Rights.

Perhaps these contrasts between then and now help explain the optimism of the 50's as compared with the pessimism of today that permeates much of our society.

John A. Viteritti
Southold, N.Y., Aug. 29, 2006

John Viteritti, we salute you!

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Posted at 10:20 AM, Sep 05, 2006 in Congress | Economic Opportunity | Economy | Labor | Letter To The Editor of the Week | Middle-class squeeze
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