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August 13, 2013
The Dismal Science
The Forgotten People
by Adam Smith

During the recent presidential election, Mitt Romney was ridiculed when he said that he “was not concerned with the very poor.” This quote was mocked and used very effectively by his opponent to help portray Romney as an out-of-touch and not-caring rich guy.

Let’s consider the other things Romney said at that speech. He was not concerned about the very poor because we have social programs that provide a safety net for them. He was not concerned about the very wealthy because they have the money to care for themselves.

What he was concerned about was that vast group in the middle that is called the middle class. He was going to focus his attention on them and try and get the economy growing again so they could get jobs and provide for their families.

Romney’s opponent portrayed himself as the candidate for the working class. A warrior fighting for the middle class. Excuse me while I go retch.

The truth is that it is hard to find many recent economic policy decisions that help the middle class. Middle class, how do I loathe thee, let me count the ways.

The federal government is determined to drive up the cost of higher education as fast as possible. There is no tuition so high that they will not loan the money for tuition to an incoming student. Five thousand a semester, ten thousand a semester, no problem. All the student has to do is just sign their name, collect the money and then wonder how they are going to pay the money back only after they graduate.

Amazingly, colleges have learned the racket. Keep raising the price of the education and the students always have the money to pay.

And who does this hurt the most? The rich have so much wealth they do not care about cost. The very poor get a subsidy to pay for their education. It is the middle class that gets hit the hardest. You see lip service given to the rising cost of higher education but no action.

I could write a whole column on the cost of higher education and probably will.

Food is one of the necessities of life. The federal government is determined to help everyone in the food cycle except for — the middle class.

There are tens of millions of people that are on food stamps. The poor get food given to them for free. This is good. The rich farm corporations get free money given to them in farm subsidies. Not good. Hey, let’s give Bill Gates some money!

And who can least afford to pay for these give-aways? The middle class.

The current energy policy of the United States can only be described as insane. We eschew all the vast energy resources that are available within our own country in favor of some mystical renewable energy source that is going to magically appear if we just spend a few more billions of dollars.

The cost of gas is $2/gallon higher now than when Obama took office. There is no market structural reason for the price to remain this high. This inflated energy cost is crushing to the middle class and the poor.

The ward I live in covers a large area. Members that live in the outer edges of the ward and have modest (not poor) means have to pick and chose ward activities that they will attend. They cannot afford to drive around at such high gas prices.

We should all remember that the pain and misery created by these high energy prices is a choice of the government, and the people that the government are willing to make miserable are reasonable sacrifices to be made at the altar of the recently organized global warming religion.

Communication is important in the fast pace of today’s world. The rich always have the newest and best that the phone companies have to offer. The cost is low enough they do not notice the price tag. The poor get them for free. It is the middle class that worries about rising rates and those pesky additional fees that get added onto a cell phone bill.

A real concern about the middle class is what made Romney’s statement so unique. He was not going to focus on the poor and try creating a new society. This is what most politicians say that are doing but really spend little time addressing. He was also not going to listen to and pander to the rich. This is what most politicians never say they are doing but really spend most of their time doing.

The president’s approval rating has been dropping. The approval rating for Congress is so low that it looks like only their families and just a few (not all) of their friends think they are doing a good job. Maybe that vast group we call the middle class is noticing that no one cares about them.

It is unfortunate that someone that would have dedicated his time to helping them was so easily pushed aside.

So we go on with a lousy economy week after week, month after month, year after year. There are 22 million still unemployed or underemployed.

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