NEW YORK (MainStreet) Discourse in America is imperiled by the Bruce Springsteen Effect: the lyrics are injected with a blue-collar sensibility, but the main act will cater to a multi-million-dollar lifestyle at day's end. In rock music as in the U.S. economic outlook, there's a separation between letter and spirit.
It's to this paradoxical tune that the metonym "Main Street" has been employed of late with politicians and economic authorities attaching themselves to the phrase in seeming solidarity with the common man. This strategy, time and again, proves ill-begotten no matter the guttural, working class warble of the tone.
Case in point: at the end of March, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen spoke at the 2014 National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference in Chicago to present the palatable theory that the central bank has the goal "to help Main Street, not Wall Street." Yellen discussed her advocacy for the Fed's continued support for the U.S. economy in the aftermath of the Great Recession in order to alleviate the financial hardships faced by the everyday American -- unemployment, mounting debt, diminished savings. In her examples of specific Americans suffering various employment challenges, Yellen invoked a rousing conclusion: "They are a reminder that there are real people behind the statistics, struggling to get by and eager for the opportunity to build better lives." This call for improvement is certainly a road paved with the best intentions but one with no clear endpoint.