T-Rex. The Dodo bird. The middle class?
According to many CNN anchors and reporters, the extinction of the middle class is looming, and “In the Money” advanced the theory on October 21.
The financial program devoted just under five minutes to what amounted to a free advertisement for United Professionals (UP), a new organization co-founded by “Nickel and Dimed” author Barbara Ehrenreich. Ehrenreich is also author of “Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream.” She said the organization’s current function is “providing a way for people to come together, share their experiences and talk about what they’ve been going through” at a cost of $36.50 in annual dues.
Jennifer Westhoven, business anchor for Headline News and contributor to “In the Money,” opened the segment stating that “from Capitol Hill to the board room, the middle class is getting squeezed” and said that the mission of UP is to “take a stand for unemployed, underemployed and anxiously employed white-collar workers.”
No one explained what “anxiously employed” meant, and CNN’s panel didn’t question Ehrenreich’s assertions about a shrinking and suffering middle class. Instead, Westhoven asked for clarification about people talking to one another: “when you say people are meeting and telling stories. Are they meeting in person? Are they meeting on the internet, how does it generally look?”
In fact, as the author pointed out, CNN’s journalists have been pushing the idea on their own.
“We hear every day on CNN that the middle class is getting beaten up and that it’s eroding,” Ehrenreich said.
The segment was long on talk, like Ehrenreich’s new organization, but short on relevant facts. Facts like:
· The low unemployment rate of 4.6 percent.
Host Jack Cafferty chimed in asking, “What about the fact that the forces that are driving the middle class out of business are all emanating for the most part from Washington, D.C.?”
Cafferty continued to push Ehrenreich’s liberal talking points, suggesting “that the government in collusion with the big corporations are seeing to it that there is no increase in the minimum wage, that illegal immigrants are allowed to drive down wages overall in this country, that corporations are allowed to do away with their health insurance plans?”
Ehrenreich said her group will represent people who “could be a marketing executive one day, and you could be working in Wal-Mart the next day.” She did not offer statistics on a segment of the population that supposedly was making such extreme transitions.
Ehrenreich also said she wants the group to be an advocacy organization to lobby Washington on issues such as “health insurance, unemployment insurance which is almost non-existent right now, it only covers about a third of people who get laid off. And the whole problem of credit and debt.”