Arianna Huffington on the Middle Class

Monday, September 20, 2010

Arianna Huffington discusses the plight of the middle class, why she sees it disappearing, and what it means for America. Her book Third World America: How Our Politicians Are Abandoning the Middle Class and Betraying the American Dream lays out the threats to middle-class stability: shrinking industry and fewer blue-collar jobs, a weakening education system, economic turmoil, and a loss of faith in our political system. She also addresses what can be done to restore and strengthen the middle-class.


Arianna Huffington

Comments [17]

Charles Burke from Howell,NJ

Near the end of the discussion, Ms. Huffinton mentioned in passing that she had become a geek. For some reason this brought back a childhood memory of my father talking about geeks but in a different form. This goes back to the 1930‘s when he worked as a bill poster for the circus and was responsible for lining up geeks prior to the actual arrival of the big tent.

The dictionary offers two meanings for this word and one is a far cry from the computer person with a pocket protector and a Microsoft technical guide at the ready. It is wondered how many people would embrace this moniker if they realized the other definition and what the reality of the situation was at that time. Drunks would be stripped and given booze to keep them from sobering up. Often sitting in their own filth they would be displayed in cages. Many probably had mental problems and they would be agitated to provoke wild reactions. So, who now wants to be called a geek, please raise your hand!

Sep. 20 2010 05:40 PM
jawbone from Parsippany

Obama did not pass health CARE reform; he achieved Big Health Industry Players Profit Protection -- aka HCR (High Corporate Revenues).

He put in some things which were bright shiny objects for the middle class -- well, the upper middle class, mostly. Keeping children on one's own insurance will be very, very costly and only parents 1) with insurance already and 2) who can afford the extra costs (or the kids can afford them) will benefit from this feature.

I just read yesterday that the high risk insurance which states can offer is running $600-800 a month in CA. Big help to the poor, but I guess even a few hundred less each month does count up over an entire year...

If Obama had worked for single payer, Medicare for All Improved, and cut the Big Health Insurers loose to try to compete, then people would be truly, madly, deeply in love with their health care, with Obama, and with the Democrats.

But, no, Obama took single payer "off the table" and then denigrated "the little single payer advocates."

Prior to passage, with little PR and no help from Obama or most Dems, single payer "like Medicare but for everyone" polled in the low 60's percent of the population. Repubs, not so much, but independents and Dems were for it in high numbers. Indies were highly enthusiastic; little wonder they're less inclined to support Dems now, eh?

But, Obama wanted to take care of big business more than he wanted to take care of all who need health CARE.

What a wasted opportunity, alas.

Sep. 20 2010 01:41 PM
Sandra from Astoria

I just wanna say that Andy Borowitz is great! He is by far the best of all the guest hosts so far. And I'm not just saying that because I'm from Cleveland too :)

Sep. 20 2010 01:33 PM
Jason from Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Looking at the Move Your Money website I did not see USAA mentioned. I was wondering how they fit into the ideal of a responsible financial institution?

Sep. 20 2010 01:32 PM
herenow from here in mnhtn

from what i understand there is no diff' between what big banks want and small banks want. A bank is a bank and small ones aren't "gooder" than giant big ones. Perhaps this should become a segment in future shows...

Sep. 20 2010 01:27 PM
Boxie from Manhattan

Yawn.. the financial and corporate elites in this country have been on a mission to undo most of the New Deal regulations and policies for decades. What else is new? It's simply a case of "Shut Up Slave", and take your medication...

Sep. 20 2010 01:26 PM

Ariana are you aware of the Slow Money movement? Some amazing things going on there - esp around agriculture

Sep. 20 2010 01:26 PM

What are Huffington's solutions. Can she list 10 solutions to the problems she is talking about.

And, how some she isn't running for a government post? She got toasted by Schwazzenegger in the debate for California Govenor. Did that sour her?

Sep. 20 2010 01:18 PM
John from New Jersey

These are the same class struggles that have existed for all of human history -- but what are we supposed to do about it?

Sep. 20 2010 01:18 PM
Unheard from NYC

I thought the American Dream was that your kids will do better than you. That's it. Not that I'll be rich over night. It seems to me we've lost the what the dream even is. Who doesn't want to be rich? That can't be our ideal though. It's reasonable to hope my kids do better than me. It's reasonable for everyone to think that but if the American Dream is to become think you'll be rich over night is absurd and untenable for our entire population. We need to understand better what the American Dream actually is. I may have been mislead and in fact the dream is to be rich. I would like the Dream to be better defined.

Sep. 20 2010 01:17 PM

How much must we dismantle the American Empire to in order to become "First World"

How much does our military contribute to our standard of living?

And, if we removed many of these bases overseas we could save that money and use them for entitlements and other things here. But what do you do with the unemployed military personnel?

Sep. 20 2010 01:15 PM
Ron Mwangaguhunga from Crooklyn

Arianna: Could you comment a bit on Howard Fineman coming to HuffPo? What does Fineman's moving to a web proerty say about the future of newsmagazines? And does the fact that Fineman will no longer write for mean that HuffPo sees it as a direct competitor?

Sep. 20 2010 01:13 PM

I had a Blind date maybe 2-3 years ago with a girl from India. She remarked on the places that she had worked in Indiana and California that looked "Third World"

I was shocked that someone from India would say that.

Sep. 20 2010 01:12 PM
peter from vancouver

she's good at exploiting discontent for her own gain, yet her 'solutions' are vague and evasive.

Sep. 20 2010 01:12 PM

What does Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington know about being a member of the American middle class? She certainly is a climber. She climbed out of the upper classes into the extreme rich mainly by using her male connections. Including Newt.

Sep. 20 2010 01:12 PM
paulb from Prospect Heights

Third world country--maybe a little bit of hyperbole. Children here will still be going to school, most people will still be getting medical care, businesses will start. Not quite third world. But I think she's correct in many details. I disagree that there's anything that can be done. Between still-multiplying religious fundamentalism and our leadership, executive, and managerial classes, which have become greedy, self-centered, selfish, and obsessed with privilege, there's no space for political reform. Emphasizing the ability of the individual to make changes in one's own life is very important.

The book sounds like another read like Larry Sabato's wonderful A More Perfect Constitution, which is optimistic and gives the reader a great feeling of enthusiasm, but unfortunately the ideas hit the wall of the realities I've mentioned above and fall lifeless to the ground.

Sep. 20 2010 12:30 PM
warrwim from Pasadena, CA 91105

Will you have a translator for Arianna?

Sep. 19 2010 03:02 PM

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