What might save the American Middle Class from enslavement?
Well, maybe nothing. In this age of globalization, our destiny may be to sink, as the Asian "middle classes" rise... all boats meeting at a new, lower level of lifestyle. That's certainly the strategy of the giant international corporations and the top one percent. Shear numbers across the globe will more than meet their profit margins as well or better than the Euro-American consumer class of the second half of the 20th century.
Can the decline be halted? The only hope I can conceive is if the Tea Partiers and the Occupiers come to realize that this is all about class, not ideology, and that they have much more in common than to the contrary.
Should all factions at the bottom --- the 150 million whose net worth just barey equals that of the top 400 Americans --- wake up and understand that united they might have the power to counterbalance the top .000001%.
Those still comfortably in the middle to upper-middle might then consider standing up for America --- the America of 1945-2000 --- shoulder to shoulder with the "other half." Possible but hardly probable, I would say.
But should the improbable happen (and, after all, Apartheid and the Irish Troubles and the Cold War all ended, as improbable as any of that once seemed), Americans might:
1. Raise the income tax on hedge fund moguls from the current 15% to something more reasonable, say 50%.
2. Close the loopholes that allow international corporations to often pay no US income taxes.
3. Reinstate a real graduated income tax system.
4. Overrule Citizens United and change the law to make clear that corporations are not "persons."
5. Make higher education a civil right, rather than a student/family burden that results in diplomas coming with mortgages.
6. Reform American labor law to make it easier for the bottom half of our citizenry to organize and force the giant retail companies and other large employers to pay low-level service workers a living wage.
Just a few ideas that are rattling around in my head on this Labor Day 2014.