I have been waiting all day to read a diary about the death of the American middle class on kos today. Surprisingly no one has written it so I guess I am forced to do some work and write about the reported death of the middle class by the Census Bureau today. I was walking by my local news stand and glanced at the headline. In big black letters the Wisconsin State Journal reported "Half either poor or low income" More below the squiggly catfight.
I didn't read the article in the Wisconsin State Journal, and assumed they were talking about the local population. Imagine my surprise when I read online that HALF OF THE POPULATION IN THE USA IS EITHER POOR OR LOW INCOME. Wow. I mean WOW. So half the population is poor or low income according to the United States Census from 2010.
The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.
So goodbye Middle Class. How can there be a middle class when half the population is poor? Is the middle class defined as say a third of the country? A third being poor, a third being middle class and a third being well off? Sorry, that can't be the definition if HALF the country is rated as "poor".
Of course this is a bunch of hooey according to the Heritage Foundation.
Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the conservative Heritage Foundation, questioned whether some people classified as poor or low-income actually suffer material hardship. He said that while safety-net programs have helped many Americans, they have gone too far. He said some people described as poor live in decent-size homes, drive cars and own wide-screen TVs.
The census states that a low income was defined as a family of four with an income of less than $45,000. Two income families with each adult working and averaging about $11.00 an hour would be below this threshold.
I myself am middle class and consider myself lucky to be middle class. I earn more than the average family of four by about $10,000, that is by myself and does not include the salary of my significant other. I have been extremely lucky as I have just a high school education and only a couple of post high school education classes.
So how can a guy without a college education be making over $25 per hour? The answer is easy but scary. I am a proud union member. I know, a dwinding breed. In 2010 the union rate in the USA is a dismal 11.9%. This is down from approximately 25% of workers in 1970. Is it a coincidence that real wages, adjusted for inflation, have remained stagnant since 1970? Union leaders used to say "A rising tide raises all ships" and it was true, as union wages rose, so did non union wages. Now with lower union membership I guess the new saying should be "A subsiding tide lowers all ships."
RIP Middle Class.