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Breaking News Alert This Week In Lawfare Land: 'Deadly Force'

Are Intact Airplanes Too Much For The Shrinking Middle Class To Ask For?

middle class house with garage
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Things we once enjoyed have suddenly gotten so much worse. Not just a little worse, but way worse. You pay more, you get less, and it sucks.


Social media was on fire this week in the wake of the Claudine Gay incompetence scandal at Harvard, the 737 IKEA MAX airplane scandal at Boeing, and the ongoing scandal of fanatic, destructive DEI hiring rules at airlines, air traffic control towers, colleges, corporate America, and everywhere else that matters. Things got so wild that Elon Musk replied positively to one of my anti-DEI screeds, and Matt Walsh credited me for some of my airline tweets on his show. Thanks, guys!

All of these stories are closely related. They’re downstream from the source of everything that is ailing us, and that is the on-purpose, going-according-to-plan vanishing of the middle-class American family. All the viral news stories, especially the plane stuff, reminded me how lots of things I grew up enjoying, even taking for granted, have suddenly gotten so much worse. Not just a little worse. But like, way, way worse. You pay more, you get less, it sucks, and it’s scarce. Old woman yells at cloud? Guilty.

Decline Is Our Strength

Flying is a perfect analogy for the decline, as many have discussed. I remember cross-country flights home from college where I would be relatively comfortable in coach for six straight hours on a plane flown by a former Top Gun pilot who sounded and looked like Chuck Yeager, and who always got on the intercom to let me know he was doing his best to find some smooth air for me. American Dad Guy was in control, and I was going to get home safe.

I got to sit in a big cushy leather seat — in coach! — wrap myself in a cozy fleece blanket and pillow, and enjoy a hot, three-course meal, served on a tray with real silverware, plus dessert. In coach!

Grown-ups used to bitterly complain about the free hot meals they served on planes. Airplane food jokes made up 99 percent of all comedy routines in the 1980s and ’90s.

You really don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. I regret rolling my eyes at all those coach dinners of breaded chicken cutlets with gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans. Please come back! We’re sorry!

As I tweeted this week, the hollowing out of commercial air travel mirrors the hollowing out of everything else the middle class once got to enjoy with relative ease and safety: pleasant towns, nice neighbors, good public schools, and wholesome children’s entertainment. 

Middle-class things are vanishing as fast as the actual middle class. But as many times as you read an article about “the shrinking middle class,” watching it happen in real-time is quite something.

Goodbye, Middle Class America

In my case, the middle-class lifestyle of my childhood was not replaced by indigent illegal immigrants. It was replaced by the super-rich. Those of you born in sleepy burgs that later “got discovered” by hedge fund managers and A-list celebrities may have similar tales of woe. 

I grew up in an unspoiled little hamlet just north of Santa Monica called Pacific Palisades. In the mid-1970s, it was unfashionable, a vintage backwater frozen in time. The main drag was lined with mom-and-pop stores, greasy spoons, and geriatric clothing shops that sold frilly nightgowns and polyester golf pants. The hippest café in town was Baskin Robbins. It was Mayberry by the Sea. My parents had only been married a few years when they scraped together a down payment on a 1,300-square-foot, three-bedroom, single-story ranch house that cost something like $40,000 in mid-1970s dollars. 

Our next-door neighbor was a Mexican-American LAPD officer married to a white lady named Linda, who chain-smoked Pall Malls and barked at her kids from a Barcalounger.

My local preschool was run by kindly grandmas. They would make you open your mouth and say “ahhh” when you walked in the door and look in your throat with a flashlight each morning to make sure you weren’t sick. 

Once, the town was abuzz over the grand opening of a brand-new upscale grocery store. My mother, bless her heart, took me to the ribbon-cutting ceremony. What we didn’t know was that Gelson’s Market moving into town marked the beginning of the end. Now Ben Affleck sends his kids to my old preschool. The mom-and-pop stores on Main Street got torn down a few years ago, along with Baskin Robbins, so that billionaire developer Rick Caruso could build another gleaming Southern California outdoor mall like the Grove and the Americana. The old main drag is now filled with super-luxury stores I can’t afford to shop in or even park near. 

The Great Hollowing Out

I live far from the Palisades now, having fled to a more affordable, more out-of-the-way suburban corner of this crumbling metropolis. Nearby is a charming local public library, one of the neighborhood’s selling points. I have only been there exactly once. The time we went, three reeking homeless men were sitting at tables staring into space — and at my toddler daughter. That was the end of our enriching local library experience.

I once drove past it and there was a man unconscious, face down on the sidewalk outside. I called 3-1-1 to report this like a good neighbor and the female desk officer scolded me. “Ma’am, he has the same right as you to be on the sidewalk. How dare you assume he’s on drugs?” 

Close to this library is a beautiful public elementary school, built 100 years ago when it served hundreds of local children who lived within walking distance. No one in my neighborhood sends their children to this school now. This isn’t saying much, of course, because my neighborhood, like most blue-city suburbs, has suffered a Rapture of small children. In other words, they’re gone. My kids make up at least 50 percent of all school-age children within a four-block radius. Plenty of dogs, though.

One neighbor, a chubby white dude who still wears his Bernie T-shirt and who volunteered at the school, warned me not to go near it. “It’s like a prison,” he said, shuddering.  

None of the students who attend this local “prison” live within walking distance. The school is rated a six on the hilariously misnamed website. The student body is 85 percent low-income and 79 percent Hispanic. Representation may be a cornerstone of the new regime, but the local school my property taxes fund is not representative of the local community at all. 

Hey, at least its politics are correct! Every time I drive by the school, there’s a new mural or poster affixed to the fence with some lazy motto like “All Are Welcome” (in a dozen languages), plus bright illustrations of a BLM fist, the Earth, and a trans flag. Our Woke Trifecta. This is a red flag warning you to hide your kids from this place.

I could go on. Wholesome children’s entertainment? I grew up going to Disneyland and used to take the whole family once a year. Now only the people who live in Pacific Palisades are rich enough and have enough transgender children to enjoy Disneyland.

What about my old childhood cottage, you ask? The one my parents sold six years later for a mere pittance? When I cyber stalked my old house on Zillow, it still looked pretty much the same as it did when we owned it — oh, except for the price.

It’s now worth $4.4 million.

Things are so screwy that the black schizophrenic homeless guy who has lived at the corner bus stop for two years just got replaced by a white schizophrenic homeless guy.

I guess gentrification comes for us all in the end. 

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