Y'see, the real problem with America is that the poor just aren't poor enough
The Washington Post ran a very revealing online chat yesterday with one of their business columnists, Steven Pearlstine. He was quite open that what the "economy" [business leaders, I guess] needed now is a working class with a reduced standard of living that will compete with third world labor.
He was using the Delphi, and the automotive industries' debacles, as his example. The answer to all the problems is to knock back the workers' wages below "middle class" standards, and reduce their benefits, particularly health care.
To all comers who brought up the facts that Delphi managers had deliberately underfunded pensions, had stolen funds from the company, had managed it poorly, and, finally, had awarded themselves bonuses even as they demanded that workers take wage cuts, Pearstine responded: But that doesn't matter. The basic truth is that the workers, all workers, must work for less pay so that their companies will still be competitive with overseas labor. (About the bonuses, all he could bring himself to say was that it was bad PR).
He said (I'm paraphrasing here) that citizens who don't complete college or earn a trade skill must not expect to live a middle class life, and that the middle class itself will shrink further, but not disappear.