By Paul L. Thomas, Ed.D.

Is the pushback we’re seeing against Chicago’s striking teachers just another symptom of the demise of the American worker?

Children and adults in poverty, the working poor, and the working class are increasing; the middle-class is eroding; and the pooling of capital among the 1% is expanding, forming the anchor stalling the progress of the USS Democracy.

In The State of Working America (12th ed), Mishel, Bivens, Gould, and Shierholz identify the disturbing trends that signal the approaching death of the American worker:

America’s vast middle class has suffered a ‘lost decade’ and faces the threat of another (p. 5)….
Income and wage inequality have risen sharply over the last 30 years (p. 6)….

Rising inequality is the major cause of wage stagnation for workers and of the failure of low- and middle-income families to appropriately benefit from growth (p. 6)….

Economic policies caused increased inequality of wages and incomes (p. 7)….

Claims that growing inequality has not hurt middle-income families are flawed (p. 8)….

Growing income inequality has not been offset by increased mobility (p. 9)….

Inequalities persist by race and gender. (p. 9)

In 2012, the American worker—like those trapped in poverty and the working poor—have no political party because, ironically, the democratic process in the U.S. has been bought by Corporate America and democracy has been left in that wake.
Public school teachers also have no political party, and with the Chicago teachers’ strike, teachers now more than ever represent the political and public failure to appreicate and recognize the importance of the American worker.


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