America’s identity is its middle class. What makes America different than every other country that has come before it? The economic middle class…..guns, and obesity.
For real tho, it’s the middle class. We invented it. Before the United States of America there was no middle class. There was rich and there was poor.
What the middle class literally is, as well as what it metaphorically represents are both why people immigrate from all over the world, not just from the third world, to be in America. A country with an economic ladder for all people who work hard as opposed to caste systems? That concept is worth risking life and limb to millions of people each year. Legally and illegally people want into America.
Freedom/democracy is great too, but what good is freedom if you’re poor? What good is living if you live under literal oppression or economic oppression where there is only the super rich and the super poor? America, the land of opportunity; where ordinary people can simply work hard and be rewarded monetarily in a manner that enables not just animalistic survival, but also comfort, upward social mobility, and land ownership.
The socioeconomic middle class is Americana. Baseball, apple pie, barbecues, two week vacations, two car garage homes with a white picket fence. The images created by those words are the America middle class; the great reward for all born or adopted citizens who buy into the concept of American exceptionalism by giving their blood, sweat, and tears to a job for the middle two quarters of their life.
Without a middle class, America has no true identity. Freedom? Democracy? Those both existed before America. Flags? Bald eagles? Sports? White people oppressing minorities? Those all existed before America too believe it or not.
There is a saying; Don’t tell me about the labor pains just show me the baby.
One can look at that chart and say there are still plenty of people in the middle class. One can point to the people who have improved their income status over the past ten to forty years. Both are valid points. There is still a middle class in America and people have moved economically upward out of the middle.
Want another valid point? Both democratic and republican presidential candidates are dedicating equal time to talk about the erosion of the middle class. In this polarized political era, for both sides, to completely agree on a non national security/terrorism issue?
How can the erosion of the middle class be immune from political party polarization? Sure they’ll disagree on how to fix it, but to be in complete agreement of the present moment problem? Sounds like what happens when a person reaches a midlife crisis. And a midlife crisis is nothing more than an identity crisis.
The erosion of the middle class is America’s identity crisis.
Are we a caste system? Are we an oligarchy? Are we a republic? Can our economic and political systems ACTUALLY co exist? Should we just buy a sports car?
The real questions always start with Who/What/When/Where/Why and How?
Who; has benefited from the erosion of the middle class?
What; exactly has been happening over the past thirty years to lead to this erosion?
When; was the middle class the most robust?
Where; specifically did the wealth lost by the middle class go?
Why; was the middle class so vibrant at its peak?
How; can the economic principles of then be adapted to modern time?
If one asks these questions, and does a few basic Google searches, the answers become pretty obvious pretty fast. But the answers to these questions don’t actually require searching the internet do they? Deep down inside, we all already know what’s been happening. We know where the middle classes’ money has gone. We know whose benefiting from the loss of the middle class. We would like to tell ourselves we don’t know why because we want to see and believe the best in people.
Have you heard the phrase, the rich get richer and the poor get poorer?
How about; All is fair in love and war.
Class War has been the new Cold War for about thirty years, which wouldn’t ya know, is about how long the Cold War has been over, and is how long the middle class has been eroding.