Monday, September 06, 2004

Happy Labor Day

David Sirota and John Podesta have published an op-ed piece in the LA Times:
...Since his inauguration, the president has delivered more than 1,000 major addresses, news conferences and short public remarks. Yet he has uttered the phrase "middle class" in only 34 of them. On Thursday night at the convention, he kept the pattern going — the phrase never passed his lips.

Maybe it's just an oversight, but in such a highly scripted White House, is anything left to chance? Omitting references to America's most critical demographic is surely no accident — it's evidence of a tectonic shift in philosophy. No longer part of a bipartisan consensus that government should work to expand opportunity for ordinary Americans, conservatives are instead eliminating those opportunities. Bush's words — or lack thereof — simply punctuate the effort.

Consider, for example, decent wages. The gateway to the middle class is considered to be a salary of about $35,000 a year. Yet the Bush administration has refused to support a serious increase in the minimum wage, which at $5.15 an hour provides a salary of less than $12,000 a year — well below the poverty line. At the same time, the White House has worked to strip workers of federal overtime pay protections, and in budget after budget it has tried to cut billions out of job training programs...

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