Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Middle class facing crisis says UK Labor leader Ed Miliband, 'no one saw this protracted squeeze on the middle coming'-BBC

1/13/14, "Labour leader Ed Miliband: Middle class facing crisis," BBC

"Labour leader Ed Miliband has said middle class families are facing a "crisis of confidence" over falling living standards.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Miliband said the economic essentials that once drove and sustained the middle classes had all been undermined.

Their children's prospects must also be urgently addressed, Mr Miliband added.

The Conservatives said Mr Miliband had no plan, and offered only more spending, borrowing and taxes.

Mr Miliband, characterised by his opponents as an old-style left-winger, wrote that Labour would "rebuild our middle class".

Fundamental threat
The Labour leader said the country could not succeed unless that middle class was strong and vibrant.

He said his long-standing message about a cost-of-living crisis did not just apply to those on zero-hour contracts and the minimum wage, but also to millions of families who never dreamed that life would be a struggle. Among their concerns, he highlighted access to further education, good-quality jobs and secure pensions. He said: "Our country cannot succeed and become collectively better off unless Britain has a strong and vibrant middle class.

"Indeed, the greatest challenge for our generation is how to tackle a crisis in living standards that has now become a crisis of confidence for middle-class families."

Mr Miliband said that as well as falling real wages and rising costs for items including food, childcare, energy and transport, the middle class was facing a more fundamental threat.

"The motors that once drove and sustained it are no longer firing as they used to," he said.

"Access to further education and training, good quality jobs with reliable incomes, affordable housing, stable savings, secure pensions: they have all been undermined."

Major speech
There is little detail in the piece about how these problems might be corrected, although more announcements are promised in the coming days.

Mr Miliband is due to give a major speech on the economy later this week.

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps said: "Many people who work hard are facing tough times today because they have been made poorer by the worst recession in a century - a recession presided over by Ed Miliband and the Labour government he was part of.

"The only way to ensure a better and more financially secure future for hardworking people and for their children is to stick to David Cameron's long-term economic plan - reducing the deficit, creating jobs, cutting taxes, giving young people the skills they need to get on and fixing the welfare system so that it pays to work.

"But Ed Miliband has no plan. He has opposed every difficult decision we have taken to start turning our economy around.

"All he offers is more of the same old Labour policy that got us into a mess in the first place - more spending, more borrowing and more taxes.

"That would mean a less secure future for hardworking people and their families.""


1/13/14, "Ed Miliband: only Labour can rebuild our middle class," UK Telegraph, Ed Miliband

"No one saw this protracted squeeze on the middle coming. My own party’s politics changed in the Nineties to surf a wave of aspirational self-confidence. But the task facing the next Labour government will be far different from the one we faced in 1997. Indeed, the greatest challenge for our generation is how to tackle a crisis in living standards that has now become a crisis of confidence for middle-class families....

It now takes 22 years for an average earner to save a deposit for a first home, compared with just three years at the end of the last century. So many families feel a gnawing anxiety about what the future holds. Middle-income earners in their thirties and forties already know their pension entitlements are set to be less than those of the previous generation. More people are worried about losing their job than at any point since records began. Fully half of British employees are worried about being downgraded."....  


Comment: Congrats, Mr. Miliband! The left has always been about removing the middle class. Patience and cash from billionaires around the world finally got rid of the annoying strivers. It's like saying you didn't think single payer health services would mean maggots.]

An electorate predominantly reliant on government has been "long awaited" by the left:

4/1/2010, "The Obama Coalition," The Atlantic, Thomas Byrne Edsall

"Over the last two years, there has been a massive increase in the number of people who have no place to turn except to the government. Enactment of the Obama administration’s health care reform legislation demonstrates the growing power of this burgeoning constituencya constituency which will reap a disproportionate share of the $1 trillion in new health care spending over the next decade....

Constituencies strongly supportive of government intervention in the economy to provide a much stronger safety net are expanding. In the 2008 election, three previously-marginalized groups—unmarried women, Latinos, and African Americans—made up 43 percent of the total electorate and just over 62 percent of the voters who backed Obama.  ...

As each of these left-leaning constituencies grows, they transform the Democratic Party....

While these trends have been in evidence for decades, last year, for the first time, public sector union members outnumbered those in the private sector. The consequences of this shift are profound. A majority of the American labor movement is now directly dependent on tax dollars....

The fundamental economic issue in post-Great Depression American politics, the issue that dominated politics from the start of the Great Depression into the mid-1960s, has renewed salience....

Health care reform marks a significant milestone in the restoration of the American progressive tradition....

Obama has taken major risks. He could go down in flames; he could blend into history in the manner of Fillmore, Arthur, and Harding; or he could effect—as promised—the long-awaited transformation of American politics."



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