Saturday, December 5, 2009

Middle Class Threatened

I am noticing a trend in my bankruptcy practice. That is more and more families who never thought they would end up in bankruptcy are finding themselves filing for bankruptcy. These are normal, middle class or often upper middle class families, just like you and me. These are people who have had great credit scores and who have always paid their bills on time. It seems like many people are facing reduced salaries or a temporary job loss that simply puts them behind.

Now I am not an economist but I did find Elizabeth Warren's recent article entitled "America Without A Middle Class" enlightening regarding this disturbing trend. No wonder normal families are having a hard time making ends meet. Especially in Southern California. Ms. Warren cites the rise in housing costs (which we all know about in Orange County), the rise in health care costs, child care costs and taxes. At the same time, a fully employed male's wages have essentially been flat.

It seems that we are in an era of the rich getting richer and the middle class is being squeezed. I don't think any of us want to have an America without a strong middle class. When I lived in New Orleans during law school, I loved that city. The one thing that was really bothersome though was the gap between rich and poor and the lack of a substantial middle class. Do you know what the result was? Rampant crime. Most of my friends had been mugged at one point or another in their three years of law school. One of my friends was even held up while jogging on St. Charles Ave. (a main thoroughfare) in front of a streetcar full of people. I hope this is not where we are headed.

Unfortunately, our Congress is too easily influenced by bank and big business lobbyists. Something needs to change to preserve the great country that we live in.

No comments: