WASHINGTON (AP) — A sense of belonging to the middle class occupies a cherished place in America. It conjures images of self-sufficient people with stable jobs and pleasant homes working toward prosperity.
Yet nearly five years after the Great Recession ended, more people are coming to the painful realization that they’re no longer part of it. They are former professionals now stocking shelves at grocery stores, retirees struggling with rising costs and people working part-time jobs but desperate for full-time pay.
Such setbacks have emerged in economic statistics for several years. Now they’re affecting how Americans think of themselves. SOURCE: More Americans see middle class status slipping – Yahoo Finance.
Looking back on my life I can see now that I had it pretty good compared to many around today. I managed to work for one employer for thirty years and then retire with a fixed pension as well as a 401K. That along with Social Security has allowed me to live without much financial worries. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t live a life of constant vacations or $100 meals. My life is pretty frugal and that is the way I want it.
I personally know one friend who was, like me, an IT (information technology) guy. He had a good paying job that is until he was laid off after 15 years of service. He went from there to managing a computer system for a small not-for-profit until that job also disappeared. He now works in a gas station as a “manager” at less than a third of his previous income. I’m sure he no longer considers himself middle class. Given that he has no pension or much ability to save he will likely have to work his entire life.
Living today is much more of a struggle than it was in my working days. Of course a big part of that is because of all the wealth is now concentrated at the very top of the income ladder. Most people have gone a decade or more without any pay raises. Many now struggle with two and sometimes even three jobs to pay the bills.
As I mentioned in a recent post I believe that the time is coming where the “common man” will take back the power from the wealthy elite. When that happens I pray that calm and sensible minds are somehow able to restore the middle class that has evaporated without a lot of turmoil.
We must face the fact that our country will soon be driven by a much more diverse population. Those who presently control the masses with their rhetorical spin will lose their control. Hopefully, like many of our previous transitions, this will occur in a gradual manner. But with the American Dream so quickly disappearing that time will likely be sooner than many of our current leaders could ever anticipate.