The Daily Walk with Love
— While we see that the middle class is shrinking
both in terms of numbers and income, actually, most of those
who leave are going into the upper class. But did you
know that in America the entire lower 40 percent of us
own only 0.3 percent of the wealth, while the Walton family
alone owns 42 percent of the wealth? Could this be healthy?
But basically, like my dad, I absolutely HATE pigeon-
holing a person, or their worth as a human being,
into some damn “Class” based mainly on Income.
It’s part of what’s wrong with America today.
May 2, 202o
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America’s Shrinking Middle Class
Asking America’s Elite Where They
Are Going to Take the Common Man,
with a Request to Make Upward Mobility
Just a Little Easier
The Daily Walk with Love, republished May 2, 2020, first published January 4, 2018, by Paul Evans, with primary (featured) video of The Death Of The American Middle Class, Journeyman Pictures and YouTube — 27:59; and included video of Working Class Home Or Middle Class Home: Some Root Differences, Mass. School of Law at Andover and YouTube — 4:50. Featured photograph of a multi-generational, middle class family is courtesy of Quizzle Wire.
See America’s Jubilee: We Are In a Bad Depression Right Now & Political Dynamite is About to Ensue, The Daily Walk with Miracles, January 8, 2018, by Paul Evans: “Here is much evidence, supported by major players in the market, facts, resources, and documentation, that we are on the verge of economic collapse. Some 78 percent of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck. It’s gotten so bad, 73% of Americans now die with debt… with an average total of more than $60,000! A Jubilee is the only thing which has been thought of which might fix it.”
In discussing America’s middle class, what’s happening to it, it’s values, and political identity, first we have to define what is middle class in America. There is what I might call a “cultural definition,” and (of course) a definition based strictly upon income. I’m going to go cultural first: According to Wikipedia, sociologist C. Wright Mills in 1951 made the infamous “white collar vs. blue collar” distinction, with white collar people being those considered middle class. Apparently a college education is generally considered a badge of entrance into the middle class, sociologically speaking. Also one can think in terms of business people versus workers, which is more typical in a left wing sort of political analysis.
Politically, according to Dictionary.com, “middle class” is about the same thing as “bourgeois,” which it defines as “a person whose political, economic, and social opinions are believed to be determined mainly by concern for property values and conventional respectability,” or, a shopkeeper or merchant. This is as opposed to an hourly wage-earner. I would guess by that second definition, most Americans are now lower class, but NOT in terms of income:
CNN Money gives the best concise summation of the cash on the barrel-head definition of what it is to be middle class: “we define middle class as two-thirds to two times median income for the county. In counties where two-thirds of median income would fall close to the poverty line, we set the lower end of middle class at $28,500, which is 1.5 times the national poverty level for a three-person household.” Most economic measures of middle class status are quite similar to this. I was told that in 2005 Goodwill determined that for a family of three, two wage earners would have to earn well over $13 an hour, full-time, to live at all comfortably by middle class standards. But if some 50 percent of Americans are middle class, how can this be? Most Americans are wage earners, not shopkeepers, and are not making money equivalent to the Goodwill standard just mentioned. So there is a disjunct I just wanted to mention.
As far as CNN’s analysis and the traditional dollar definition of what it is to be middle class goes, if you were a family of three, do you think you’d get along very well on $28,500 a year? The definition seems slanted. NPR gave the Pew Research Center’s own definition of what it is to be middle class, which was somewhat different (and more realistic):
‘Middle-income’ households have an annual income between 66 percent and 200 percent of the median U.S. household income, according to the Pew Research Center. As of 2014, that falls between $24,000 and $73,000 for one person and $42,000 and $126,000 for a family of three.
The Washington Post’s Wonkblog asked the question, “Is $100,000 middle class in America? (October 25, 2017, by Heather Long). Personally, I really wouldn’t know. In America we seem to have gone beyond gaga over money into the realm of pure crazy. It’s “screw you Mac, I’ve got mine,” or do anything you have to to live comfortably, corruption, crime, really America, I hardly know you. And it really was a lot better when I was a kid. Now I see BOTH parties as terribly corrupt, and neither as representing the hopes, dreams and needs of ordinary Americans (including the middle class). See Time for a Revolution in Politics?, The Daily Walk with Love, December 15, 2017, by Paul Evans, which calls for a responsible third party movement.
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Another CNN Money article I looked at told the story of America’s shrinking middle class, with most states showing a decline in median income between 2000 and 2013. According to CNN, that’s not all bad, since “the share of upper-income households grew from 14% to 20% in that time period. Low-income households, meanwhile, narrowed from 29% to 25%.” The middle class used to care and often voted to help the lower class, now it identifies with the upper class. CNN mentioned that a “Pew Research Center study shows that the share of adults in middle-income households has fallen from 61% in 1970 to 51% in 2013.” So the middle class is indeed shrinking in size.
((But God Help you if you’re in that lower group. Another study found that most people questioned felt that someday they were going to be a millionaire. Meanwhile, upward mobility in America, which used to lead the world in this category, has fallen to near the bottom of all industrialized western countries. Like the song says, “once you’re down that’s where you’ll stay,” barring a lucky break.))
This is to say nothing directly about the sheer pain and suffering caused by inequality in America, but let me give you just a couple statistics from Inequality and The American Dream (Updated), The Daily Walk with Love, December 10, 2017, by Paul Evans:
(Citing Scientific American): “…The top 20% of US households own more than 84% of the wealth, and the bottom 40% combine for a paltry 0.3%. The Walton family, for example, has more wealth than 42% of American families combined.” Can a society which legislates that sort of inequality be anything other than morally sick?
Also watch Poverty in America Documentary 2017, First Documentary and YouTube — 52:01.
The Death of The American Middle Class
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