The United States might be facing a two-class society

Published: Monday, January 19, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 19, 2004 at 2:00 a.m.

Writing from London in 1772, four years before the Declaration of Independence, Benjamin Franklin said:

"I have lately made a tour through Ireland and Scotland. In these countries a small part of the society are landlords, great noblemen and gentlemen, extremely opulent, living in the highest affluence and magnificence: The bulk of the people tenants, extremely poor, living in the most sordid wretchedness in dirty hovels of mud and straw, and clothed only in rags . . .

"Three-fourths of the people of Ireland live the year round on potatoes . . . (and) the common people of Scotland go barefoot . . . Scottish colliers and even British soldiers and sailors were not much better off than American slaves."

That was over 200 years ago. Now, in this country, we are facing a future of a two-class society in which our employers are outsourcing our skilled workers for low-wage workers offshore. And with President Bush's new Mexican immigration plan, the employers will hire unskilled labor for all the low-paying jobs.

Thus, we will develop into an overclass of wealthy employers with privileges and tax benefits, and an underclass of low-paid workers with no opportunity to move ahead.

Once we fought a revolution to separate ourselves from this type of society and now, it seems, we are bringing it on ourselves.

Seymour S. Block,


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