The Disappearing Middle Class Continues to Struggle to Survive


The middle class is becoming extinct in New Jersey. Current policies have diminished the quality of life for those with disabilities and the non-disabled, alike.

During his first year in office, Governor Christie eliminated many programs and teaching positions that served blind children in New Jersey. Later, he formed a taskforce to close two centers serving adults with developmental disabilities. More recently, he has spearheaded a movement through the State Board of Education that will weaken Special Education services to children with disabilities in New Jersey’s Schools.

Parents of children with autism and other developmental disabilities have complained that the Governor has privatized some services that were delivered by the Department of Human Services and case management for their children has all but ceased to exist. Parents of adults with developmental disabilities have questioned the implementation of services for their disabled loved ones. Moreover, the families have complained that they have been denied the opportunity to provide input into the development of these programs. In addition, the parents of adults with disabilities have complained that the Administration has failed to investigate reported episodes of abuse where their sons and daughters have suffered life-long injuries and death.

This current phenomenon weakens the very core of our State. If our disabled citizens are considered to be expendable, virtually every family in New Jersey is impacted.

Current policies have lessened the quality of life in New Jersey. At present, more than four-hundred thousand workers are unemployed, with no relief in sight. Thousands have lost their homes to foreclosure. Thousands of policemen have lost their jobs in the name of fiscal restraint. The result is a significant rise in violent crimes, especially in inner-city areas.

Tuition at our public colleges has skyrocketed, preventing many from pursuing a college education. Those who manage to complete their education via student loans face a life-time of poverty. Many will never be able to own their own home because of insurmountable student loan debt.

The coast of medical care has also skyrocketed, with many individuals unable to afford prescribed medication.

Yes, the overall quality of life has diminished in New Jersey over the last few years. If the goal of fiscal restraint is to save the tax-payers money, who will benefit if those same taxpayers cannot afford appropriate health care, cannot escape from a crime-ridden environment, cannot afford to send their kids to college, or properly care for their loved ones with disabilities?

Certainly, the ever-disappearing middle class will continue to struggle to survive.

 The Guest Column is our readers' opportunity to write about a given issue or topic in an in-depth and educational manner.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of or anyone who works for is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

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