An Unhappy Median

An Unhappy Median

– Although there isstill a debate between those who say “Happy Median” and “Happy Medium,” despitethe latter being in the overwhelming majority, there is no doubt that intoday’s parlance “median” is the topic of conversation; but, it is definitelynot a happy median. To the contrary, the topic on the minds of many in thiscountry is the decrease in median income and net worth, and that’s making a lotof people very unhappy. The latest depressing article came fromthe Pew research Center, titled, “The Lost Decade of the MiddleClass”. To no one’s surprise I am sure, it pointed out the dire straits ofthe so-called middle class, citing that median household income had dropped 5percent, but even more important was the fact that median household wealth hadgone from $129,582 to $93,150, a startling 28 percent decline. Where do you fitin this statistical dilemma? {{more}} All of this talk about the “middle class”leaves me wondering what politicians and statisticians think about the poor orlower tier people in this country. All of the conversation and concentrationare on the middle class. Of course, the upper class is well taken care of and,according to folks like Paul Ryan, it’s only significant when poor people getfreebies from the government, not Wall Street bankers and major corporations. Mitt Romney’s assertion about the poorhaving a safety net, therefore, he was “not worried” about them, paints a verygraphic picture of the antithesis of what this country should be about. Who wasit that said we should be judged on how we as a nation treat the least amongus? I wonder if the folks in charge think that by ignoring the poor they willjust go away. We will hear much about the middle classand how both parties plan to help that group of people, but I’d like to knowwhat their plans are for the poor, some of whom were pushed out of the middleclass due to loss of jobs, housing foreclosures, or a reduction in the value oftheir homes. A story in USA Today in September of 2011, titled, “TypicalU.S. Family Got Poorer During the Past 10 Years”, stated, “Theshare of people living in poverty hit 15.1 percent, the highest level since1993, and 2.6 million more people moved into poverty, the most since Censusbegan keeping track in 1959.” The article went on to say, “Median income forblack households fell 3.2 percent to $32,068” The term “Unhappy Median” points to theseriousness of the problems facing this country, especially among Black and poorpeople. And right now no one is addressing this ever-expanding group ofcitizens. President Obama “can’t” say anything in support of Black people, andMitt Romney doesn’t “care about the poor.” Where does that leave us? Well, asusual, it leaves many of us on the sidelines, watching the game and evencheering for one side or the other, in spite of our unhappy state of affairs.As for that “safety net,” chew on this statement by the Center on Budget andPolicy Priorities: “While the increase in poverty primarily reflectsdevelopments in the economy, weaknesses in the safety net particularly in thetemporary federal unemployment benefits program also contributed to it.” A great deal of the crime in this countryemanates from an economic position. I suppose only when we have seen enoughkilling among young folks, who are willing to get money or things they value byany means necessary, will we see a significant change in how we address theissue of poverty. Statistics and rhetoric obviously will not solve the problem.To show how silly we are when it comes to our own economic security, wevehemently complained about the Shackle Gym Shoe, so much so that it was takenoff the market. But that $315 pair of LeBron James gym shoes will surely be therage of the marketplace, mainly the Black marketplace. Determining median household income andnet worth are great exercises for the statisticians, economists, andpoliticians; but to those at the bottom of the economic spectrum things are ina most unhappy state. Regardless of what happens in November, we will wake upthe next morning and find ourselves in the relative same situation, and it willpersist until we decide we have had enough. Then and only then will Blackeconomic empowerment move to the forefront of our psyche and take theprecedence it deserves and should have had for decades.