The Amazing Disappearing Middle Class

America is the only country on the planet where the poor have cars and cable TV. If you’re listening to the so-called “99%”, better known as Occupy Wall Street, the middle class in America no longer exists. They say it was decimated by the financial crisis. If the middle class is truly no more, though, then I’m about to have a serious identity crisis.

I’m pretty sure I’m not poor. I’ve seen what poor is and it ain’t me. I have two good jobs, I make decent money, and I have a great little apartment where my only complaint is my noisy neighbors. I have uninterrupted electricity, clean running water, a washer and dryer, a refrigerator, and air conditioning in the middle of the desert. I have a nice little Ford pickup truck that I can take up to Sedona or Crown King when the mood strikes me. I have a big TV, a PS3, a sizable movie and game collection, a custom computer, high-speed internet access and three guitars – including my dream guitar, a Taylor. I have a cat who only gets Iams or Science Diet. I’m a TAM (Tammy Army Member) and I make donations to the ASPCA, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, the 100 Club, and the Anthony Holly Foundation. I’m certainly not hurting.

On the flip side, I wouldn’t consider myself wealthy, either. I can treat myself once in a while to a good steak, but it isn’t at Donovan’s. I don’t wear designer clothing (unless you count Black Helmet and RangerUp). I have a Taylor (top-of-the-line, hand-made guitars built right here in America by a fantastic capitalist named Bob Taylor), but it’s not made of solid koa and I can’t afford one of those in the near future. I’d love to have a fully restored ’67 Shelby GT Mustang and a Harley-Davidson VRSCDX Night Rod Special, but both are a pipe dream. I can’t just blow money on whatever my heart desires no matter how much I drool over these things.

So we’ve established that I’m neither poor nor rich, not by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not alone; the majority of my friends and relatives don’t fit into either category. If I’m not middle class, then what am I?

I’ve said many times that the liberals in this country are masters of misinformation. 9/11 happens and patriotism ends up being warped into Islamophobia. After eight years of tacit refusal to obey the terms of his 1991 surrender, we go take out Saddam Hussein and we’re called murderous warmongers who need to give peace a chance. An economic crash brings us to our virtual knees and it’s all the fault of the president who warned that it was coming – and the career politicians who blew him off are swooping in to rescue us. A Tea Party movement finally stirs to combat all of these lies and they’re pegged as racist, hatemongering bigots who goose-step to a capitalist beat – never mind that the REAL Nazis were actually cut from the same socialist cloth that today’s liberals are (hence the Nazi party name, in English: National Socialist German Workers’ Party).

The Occupiers are typical emotional Americans who have no idea what “poor” really is. Even when I was making half what I make now, pinching every penny to make ends meet and find some way to save something, I wouldn’t have called myself poor. Not being able to go to the movies, have a smartphone, carry a Coach purse or get your nails and hair done does not classify as poor. Go to Mexico, Jamaica, or Haiti, where you have to know someone or have money to get a job – qualifications be damned. Nobody earns anything on merit in those countries; if you’re not connected or greasing a few palms, you’re doomed to a life without plumbing or electricity. Basic education is spotty at best. College? Yeah, right.

The reality is that this movement isn’t about “the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer”. It’s not even about equality of opportunity. It’s a group of people who feel they’ve been cheated out of an equal outcome with those who are wealthy. It’s being funded and supported by avowed communists and union thugs – and like the Bolsheviks and Nazis before them, many are getting paid to make this statement. Buy a revolution and lie enough to the right people and eventually the truth is lost.

The middle class is, believe it or not, thriving. Don’t buy the hype. I am among the last of a dying breed, but that breed ain’t the middle class, and I can be proud enough to say that I have earned what I have and didn’t take it from anyone else.

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5 thoughts on “The Amazing Disappearing Middle Class

  1. I’m also flabbergasted by the lack of attention to what is behind the cost of higher education. I saw an article with a girl complaining that her family’s situation meant she came out of college with more student loans than others in her major.

    Okay.

    First – Not my problem. You chose that major. You chose those loans. I don’t have my MA yet because I don’t want to pay so much for it. The return on my investment in my current occupation would not be worth it. Do I want my Masters? Yes. And eventually I will get it. When I find the cost worth it.

    Second – the government doesn’t need to step up with more money. We need to stop paying tenured professors so much for what is less than a full-time job. They can argue about the value all they want- it’s not a time sink. And colleges don’t need all the bells and whistles – you’re there to learn, not to party. The party mentality that accompanies college today is ridiculous. While we’re on the subject – there are way too many side departments that have nothing to do with the actual learning that is supposed to be going on. Trim that fat, and I guarantee the price of higher learning will go down.

    And yet, the protestors don’t seem to make that connection. It’s just, “Give us more money for college!”

    I don’t have a lot of sympathy. I worked midnight shift at Denny’s and took 18 unit semesters to get through college – and I was a mother at the same time. I took student loans. And I’ve paid them off. And I think I’ve earned the right to be proud of having accomplished that. I had my eldest daughter my senior year in high school. If I can finish high school and get my college degree, anyone can.

  2. AFW, you make a very good point. In five years in EMS, I have treated college kids for all kinds of unnatural ailments and injuries. Alcohol poisoning is a big one. Drug overdoses take a close second, I think. After that would be injuries sustained during stupid stunts (read: drunken genius) and even injury caused by inserting foreign objects into orifices they were never meant to grace. If I had a dollar for every college kid I’ve seen in the past five years for crap like this I could pay off MY tuition.

  3. Occupiers have, but they want more…yet they are anti-greed. Because, in their minds, only people with the most are actually greedy. And those of us who are not burning with rage knowing that there are other people richer than us, we’re supposedly “sheep”, and “pro-greed”. Right.

  4. In the past 37 years, the median income for the bottom 90% has risen by 10%, whereas the median income for the top 1% has tripled. Think of the US economy as a pie. The one percent has had a larger slice of pie than the rest for quite a while now. What used to happen was that, when the pie grew, the pieces remained the same respective sizes. The rich get richer, AND quality of life improves for everyone else as well. This has not been the case for the past 40 years. This is what OWS is saying: since mass deregulation, when the pie grows, the slice for the 99% gets smaller by comparison. The protesters just want real democracy where the most powerful entity is the vote, not the dollar. One way to attain this is by making distributing that dollar so that it becomes less important. When 1% has enough money to create and destroy entire industries overnight and to fund entire political campaigns and news networks, they have too much power. Once power is in the hands of the people, we can solve real issues. If you want gay marriage to become a reality, you will need to get the power to decide your pursuit of happiness out of the hands of a few rich folk and into the hands of all of the real people.

  5. Please don’t trot out the tired old “if you want gay marriage to become a reality” comment. It is in remarkably poor taste and is very irritating.

    That said…you are blatantly ignoring certain factors. You’re giving the so-called “1%” more power than they actually have. Their income has grown more, but this isn’t the first time it’s happened. It happened back in the 1920’s as well, but as I understand that issue, the government didn’t bail anyone out and the uber-rich lost a lot of money. A crash can be a great equalizer (though painful at first) if you don’t get involved in forcing equality.

    That “slice for the 99%” has grown smaller BECAUSE of attempts at redistribution, not in spite of it. You are espousing ideas that are not compatible in any way, shape or form with our Constitution. You’re ignoring inflation, which accounts for a lot of what you’ve mentioned. You’re ignoring the users who helped the subprime juggernaut get to where it was prior to the crash. A free country cannot allow anyone to determine who has too much and who has too little.

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