Independent Christian Voice

Monday

Columnist: Anxious working class is largely overlooked by Congress

Atlanta Journal-Constitution editor Cynthia Tucker says Congress is missing what's really troubling America's working class:
…there is also a profound anxiety over the economy that neither Democrats nor Republicans have fully understood, much less tried to answer. It wasn't just the quagmire of Iraq that prompted a stunning 68 percent of respondents to say they were dissatisfied with the country's direction, according to a recent Gallup poll. Despite unemployment rates that remain relatively low, many Americans are anxious about their bills, uncertain about their retirement prospects, and worried that their children won't fare as well as they did.

Slowly, stealthily, globalization is taking a toll throughout the American middle and working classes, shutting down factories, decimating unions, even threatening the Southeast's cotton farmers, who fear competition from cheap fiber grown in Africa and South America. The crosswinds of free trade have achieved hurricane force, battering factories and offices, rendering them unsteady spheres where a worker with 10 years of good performance reviews can walk in any morning to find he's out of work.

Add to that health insurance costs, which have left millions of parents stranded in a scary place where they ignore a child's hacking cough unless it persists for weeks and put off their own checkups indefinitely. Even families with medical insurance have discovered that a major illness can lead to bankruptcy.

You'd think Congress would be working hard to ease the burdens of average working folks -- police officers, plumbers, paralegals. You'd expect Washington politicians would have devoted the past few years to helping parents who are still working to pay for their prescriptions, to demanding more energy efficiency in automobiles and household appliances, to funding more college aid for working-class students.

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That's what happens when you elect the wealthy class to be our representatives. They are out of touch because they are a victim of "Beltway Blindness" and because they don't spend enough time with all their real constituents — not just the high-roller contributors from your district along with the deep-pocketed special interests (few of which actually concerns their constituency directly), but also the working and poverty classes.

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