Middle class is shrinking

In response to a recent letter to the editor, it’s no secret that many auto industry workers and some public employees used to be overpaid with many fringe benefits. That is not the case anymore, at least in Ohio. That is why foreign auto companies faced low tariffs and were invited in to the U.S. and thrived so much for a while – but the quality of U.S. auto companies’ cars has improved so much over the last several years. These employees’ salaries have stabilized and their employee benefits have been reduced to stay competitive. Ohio public employees have been reduced by attrition and added job duties and reduced pensions (pension are capped at 65 percent with reversion to spouse starting in 2015) assuming the employee is able to work at least 30 years and larger employee contributions to public retirement systems are being made.

How much more do auto industry and public employees need to give up? CEOs of many major corporations and banks have given up nothing and already make excessive salaries. There still are persons in other occupations whose salaries and benefits are inflated, but they have given up nothing as of yet.

Also, it is worth remembering that the public employees retirement system in Ohio lost millions of dollars in a poor investment that was recommended by the current governor and other persons a few years ago.

Elected politicians need to be paid a very modest base salary with a bonus based on achieving measurable objectives.

401(k) funds and Social Security retirement system as benefits are not going to attract the best and brightest students to want to work for the government or public schools. Teachers are expected to eventually achieve a master’s degree. It is already not a good investment to go into many of these fields beginning in 2015 with the major changes to the Ohio public employees’ retirement system including cost of living reductions starting in 2013 and the current cost of college tuition.

The state and federal tax codes should be overhauled to eliminate loopholes. Some state laws need to be re-evaluated such as state laws (probate court) that allow an incompetent executor or person designated as having a complaint process that would impose sanctions on the executor instead of wasting money from the estate. Eliminate off-shore bank accounts and limit foreign aid and then see how much money there is.

The middle class is shrinking now. We are becoming an oligarchy with the wealthier and the powerful controlling way too many things. They are taking the voice away from the ordinary working person. Read The A-T article dated Aug. 4, “Sweet Land of Poverty Signs of Declining Economic Security.”

Robert Holzhauser,