Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Two Americas

Wichita Eagle | 10/23/2005 | Economic recovery, or slump?:
Businesses nationwide snapped back nicely from recession, with average profit growth of 17 percent a year since 2002, but that money never fully reached the average Joe.

Workers will feel good about the economy when jobs are so plentiful they feel they can tell off the boss and find another job, Goldstein said. People don't feel that way now, even though the national unemployment rate is 5.1 percent -- close to what is considered full employment.
John Edwards's "Two Americas" speech was not about "haves" and "have nots," it was about this divide. Wichitans are doing alright, and the economy is doing fine over all. It's just that there's a part of the country that's getting more and part that's stuck in a rut.

"Have vs. have not" is a fight that puts the middle class in the balance, and the aspiration to be a "have" leaves them siding with the people who are already "haves." What John Edwards does and did in the campaign was talk about the things the middle class aspires to, and the things that hold the back.

Clearly, that's a message that can play in Wichita.