Squeezed In America: The U.S. Middle Class Underperforms Its Peers

Editors note:  A very insightful editorial by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette folks.

A new analysis that shows the U.S. middle class is no longer the world’s richest should alarm more than just those in the nation’s dwindling middle.

Decades-long trends that have shifted the nation’s wealth to the top and widened the gap between rich and poor have undermined democracy. They also have weakened the consumer-driven economy.

No one understood the importance of a healthy middle class better than Henry Ford. In 1914, he more than doubled the wages he paid his workers. The $5, eight-hour workday was a bold strategy to lower employee turnover and enable them to buy Ford cars.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/editorials/2014/05/03/Squeezed-in-America/stories/201404290020#ixzz30ffKoORh

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Have We Lost All Desire To Vote?

Editor’s note:  Apparently yes!

While other row offices were eliminated, Luzerne County’s home rule charter kept the controller to independently scrutinize its $260 million in spending, 1,400-plus workers and more than 50 departments providing services from tax assessment to 911 dispatch.

The public — not county employees or officials — pick the person who fills this $64,999 elected post for the next four years to be the fiscal watchdog.

Although an estimated 256,800 residents are eligible to vote on this decision, the number who narrowed down the controller finalists from four to two in Tuesday’s primaries was 31,000 — only 12 percent of the over-18 population.

“When you break it down and see the percentage of the population making the decision, that’s pretty troublesome,” said Barry Kauffman, executive director of the nonprofit citizen advocate group Common Cause Pennsylvania.

Read more: http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/539857/Have-we-lost-all-desire-to-vote