Butter the edges, the middle will look after itself.

It is one of those old adages that you might have heard once or twice in grandma’s kitchen. We probably heard it wrong as research turns up no reference. It is just the simple idea that if you butter the edges of your slice of bread, you will find the middle has been buttered also. The thought has been nagging at us for some time as Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau keeps talking about Canada’s middle class.

The problem is that we have no idea of the size of this middle class or how it is defined. Is this a financial measure or just a state of mind? As one of six siblings with just mother trying to raise us our family might not have passed any middle class financial test. Yet one brother earned a doctorate at MIT and another made millions. Presumably the rest of us are satisfied with just thinking we are middle class.

But who gets to choose? Is Canada some brave new world of predetermined class structure? Are our politicians the dystopian rulers who decide? It might be easy for the Conservative Prime Minister as he only worries about the one per cent anyway. That leaves the rest of us to be divided up between the Liberals and the New Democrats.

And who gets the poor? Have they been left out? Does no one give a damn about them? They are certainly not top of mind. When you realize that minimum wages set provincially across this country are all set below the statistical poverty line, it appears nobody cares.

The largest swath of potential voters must be in the middle because the New Democrats are also trying to crowd in on the middle class with young Trudeau. If Tom Mulcair was not such a stuffy little man, it might be a fair fight. And has Mulcair really turned his back on the labouring class?

But it does not answer our question about which politicians would give a damn about mother and her six rug rats in this day. It seems everyone wants to cuddle up to the undefined middle class. Obviously mother would still be left to her own devices.

Is this just the new cycle of life that we are born into poverty only to struggle and brazen our way into the middle class? As we then cycle into our failing years, does the planned inflation return us to poverty? Are we once more ignored?

The more you think about it, the more the buttering of the edges makes sense. If we took better care of the very young and the very old, there might not be very much poverty for the politicians to worry about.


Copyright 2015 © Peter Lowry

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