There has been a lot of talk in the Canadian mainstream media and from the mainstream Canadian political parties about the middle class, but almost no discussion of the working class. Even the (slightly) left-of-centre New Democratic Party (NDP) keeps using the buzzwords “middle-class families” instead of “workers” or “working-class people”.
I understand they do it because the PR consultants told them it would help them attract potential swing voters, who are irrationally scared off by honourable but misunderstood terms like “socialism”, “labour movement” and “leftist”, but it’s still disappointing. It drives me nuts when Conservatives and Liberals spread the lie that the NDP is “far left”, “radical” or “socialist”. The centrist NDP only looks left-wing compared to the right-of-centre, pro-corporate, pro-globalization Liberal Party and the quasi-fascist, pro-corporate, pro-globalization Conservative Party.
Most Canadians consider themselves middle class even if they are not. Working-class people want to fool themselves into thinking their socioeconomic situation is better than it actually is, and upper-class people want to fool everyone else into thinking the wealthy are just like everyone else, working hard to pay the bills.
Many Canadians in similar financial situations as my peers consider themselves middle class, even though their annual incomes are tens of thousands of dollars lower than the incomes of the real middle class. When the media interviews typical middle class Canadians, those individuals admit to making a lot more money than many of us ever will, but they grumble that they feel like they are “just getting by” due to mortgages, kids, car payments, etc. Am I supposed to feel sympathy for them? Compared to many of my contemporaries, those people are rich and privileged.
We were promised for years that eventually we would get our piece of the pie once the older workers retired. Instead, the older workers stayed on longer than expected, sometimes going back to work while collecting pensions, and then – in many cases – once those workers retired, the jobs were either outsourced, turned into short-term contracts with no benefits, or eliminated altogether.
I’d rather become a champagne socialist than remain a cheap-wine commie for the rest of my life. There is no glory in being underpaid, overstressed and non-unionized. If I somehow eventually land one of those elusive high-paying middle-class jobs, I certainly wouldn’t fritter away my increased income on a big house, new cars, expensive entertainment or on raising children – thus falling back into the trap of “just getting by”. Wealth is wasted on the wealthy.
It raises the question, how do these people get their high-paying middle class jobs in the first place? I don’t mean the lawyerin’, doctorin’ or engineerin’ jobs and such. Obviously, careers like that require specific academic credentials and personality types. In today’s Canada, many such professions are difficult to break into even with the proper qualifications, due to the high applicant-to-job ratio and the extreme cost of starting up one’s own practice. I’m talking about the jobs that only require a well-rounded education, intelligence, flexibility and a good work ethic.
There are a lot of Canadians in those types of jobs, so obviously they had to find them somewhere. Those jobs aren’t often posted online or in the newspaper classified ads, so where do people find them? Career counsellors love telling people to “network, network, network,” but that only works if the people you network with have something to offer. Randomly contacting strangers in high places, hoping for favours, has about as much of a success rate as buying a lottery ticket or breaking into show business. Sometimes cold-calling potential employers or mentors can backfire. Keep in mind that “move to Alberta” is not, and cannot be, the one-size-fits-all solution for the whole country. The Harper-Conservative Economic Action Plan has been a complete fraud and scam.
Above image found at http://www.facebook.com/boycottsunnewsnetwork