Time For Candidates To Have Middle-Class Experience

Just to be clear, this isn’t aimed individually at either of the big two political candidates running for president — it’s aimed at both.

Any candidate who claims the recession is over is welcome to come live in the post-economic downfall, double-layoff reality that is our household.

I’m sure we’d welcome either Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney to come live on the basement futon for a month or two, so they could learn first-hand the lessons of middle-class, penny-pinching, Walmart-shopping, thrift-store bargaining, health care delaying that has become the new normal.

I heard the other day that Obama raised $180 million in September for his campaign. I’m sure Mr. Romney’s numbers are about the same, give or take a couple of million one way or another.

At a time where unemployment is so bad that people have given up looking or run out of benefits, just think how much good $360 million would do for the economy.  Adding insult to injury is the fact that the candidates will spend this money like pocket change, and at the end of the day, one person and his party.

It feels a little bit like TARP money for the rich.

Let’s just do some really simple math. Suppose a school teacher costs his or her district $60,000 a year to pay and provide benefits for. So for $186 million, you could fund 3,100 teachers for a year or 310 teachers for 10 years. And that’s just one month’s take.

The alternative? I don’t have any an alternative when it comes to financing campaigns. I just know that while the candidates spar back and forth in their make-believe debates, Americans are spending their evenings choosing between health care and feeding their families.

And while we all rail at one time or another get up on a soapbox and against the machine, it seems like a good time to stop worrying about Big Bird, Rihanna and unruly sports fans and focus our attention on out-of-control political spending.

It’s time to direct our efforts at getting the candidates to really focus on what is happening to the middle-class and how it continues to have its resources eroded. How many families do you know that are one medical catastrophe away from losing their homes? Or how many people are playing a shell game with the credit card companies just to keep their household cash flow afloat?

If in fact all politics is local, then we’d better change the sheets on the futon because I’m sure either Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney will be coming for a sleepover sometime soon.

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