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Short Views

The Battle for the Middle

American politicians love to pretend that they care about the middle class, because they know that the middle class generally determines who gets elected.  But once elected, politicians tend to serve those who finance their campaigns, and the interests of large donors seldom align with those of middle-class Americans.  This game has been played for a very long time, but there are signs that ordinary Americans are beginning to see through it.  In January, Pat Caddell released a poll of those who had voted Republican in November’s midterm elections.  When Caddell asked, “Is John Boehner for average Americans at heart rather than for special interests?” only 44 percent of these Republican voters said that Boehner favored average Americans, while 43 percent said he favored special interests.  Similarly, as noted by Rick Newman of Yahoo Finance on January 16, Barack Obama’s lowest level of support is among Americans earning between $5,000 and $7,499 per month.

Newman’s article also explored some of the sources of middle-class dissatisfaction.  College costs have gone up 5.2 percent per year during Obama’s presidency, while student debt jumped 58 percent.  The cost of medical care has increased five percent per year during Obama’s tenure.  These soaring costs have accompanied stagnating wages. As the Washington Post noted in a series on “Why...

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