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The Percentage Of Americans That Consider Themselves To Be “Lower Class” Is At An All-Time High

Urban Decay In BuffaloDo you consider yourself to be “lower class”?  Most Americans wouldn’t dream of thinking that way.  Even at the toughest times of my own life, I always considered myself to be “middle class”.  Traditionally, the vast majority of Americans have described themselves as either “middle class” or “working class”, but now we are witnessing a huge shift.  According to survey results that were just released, the percentage of Americans that identify themselves as “lower class” is now at an all-time high.  It is still only 8.4 percent of the country, but the fact that this number is rapidly growing shows that something is changing on a very fundamental level.  In America today, less people than ever believe that they have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves, and according to a brand new Gallup poll that was just released, 20 percent of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food that they or their families needed at some point over the past year.  We have 47 million people on food stamps and we have more than 100 million Americans enrolled in at least one welfare program, and that does not even count Social Security or Medicare.  We have gone from a “land of opportunity” to a land where tens of millions of people are being crushed by the system.

When I mentioned above that “less people then ever believe that they have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves”, perhaps you doubted that statement.

And I wish that it was not true.

But according to the Los Angeles Times, that is exactly what one new survey shows…

Last year, less than 55% of Americans agreed that “people like me and my family have a good chance of improving our standard of living,” the lowest level since the General Social Survey first asked the question in 1987.

And even those that are “educated” are becoming more pessimistic…

From 2002 to 2012, the “lower class” among Americans with one to four years of college more than doubled — from 2.6% to 5.8%.

So what about you?

Would you describe yourself as “lower class”?

Not that there is anything wrong with that.  It can be very hard to be optimistic about your economic situation when you are trapped in poverty and everyone around you is trapped in poverty.

Even as Barack Obama boldly proclaims that we are in the midst of an “economic recovery”, poverty continues to grow.  In New Jersey, poverty hit a 52-year high in 2011, and when the final numbers for 2012 come out it is anticipated that they will be even worse…

Poverty in New Jersey continued to grow even as the national recession lifted, reaching a 52-year high in 2011, according to a report released today. The annual survey by Legal Services of New Jersey found 24.7 percent of the state’s population — 2.1 million residents — was considered poor in 2011. That’s a jump of more than 80,000 people — nearly 1 percent higher than the previous year and 3.8 percent more than pre-recession levels. ”This is not just a one-year or five-year or 10-year variation,” said Melville D. Miller Jr., the president of LSNJ, which gives free legal help to low-income residents in civil cases. “This is the worst that it’s been since the 1960 Census.” And it may get worse: The report warned Census figures for 2012 to be released this month may be higher.

There are two Americas today.  In the “good America”, stock values are soaring and almost everyone has a job.  People from that America openly wonder why everyone is so concerned about the economy.

In the “bad America”, unemployment is rampant and poverty is everywhere.  At this point, low income households have an unemployment rate that is over 21 percent, and there is not much help on the horizon.

In the old days, if the wealthy wanted to get wealthier, they needed the rest of us to run their businesses and work in their factories.

But today, they have figured out that they can make much larger profits by replacing us with computers, robots and machines.  They have also figured out that they can ship millions of our jobs to the other side of the planet where it is legal to pay slave labor wages with no benefits.

This is putting a huge squeeze on average American workers.  For most Americans, the only thing that they have to offer in the marketplace is their labor.  Unfortunately, that labor is not valued as much as it used to be.

Yes, the elite still need us to do service jobs for them.  Those are not easily replaced by technology or shipped overseas.  So they still need us to cut their hair and flip their burgers.

But without a doubt we have a structural problem with unemployment.  As the Brookings Institution recently discovered, it would take 8 million more jobs before we could say that we have “recovered” from the last recession…

Last month, the unemployment rate fell to 7.3% from 8.1% a year ago. That might signal progress, but the share of workers with jobs was 58.6%; it has remained close to that for several years. The unemployment rate is inherently flawed and isn’t the best measure of economic progress; it counts only those with jobs or actively looking for work.

And in a frustratingly slow economic recovery that has discouraged countless workers, it risks ignoring these missing workers — an estimated 6 million, according to the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project.

The Washington-based think tank has come up with what it calls the “jobs gap,” or the number of jobs it would take to offset the effects of the Great Recession. Factoring in the millions of jobs lost during the Great Recession and the number of jobs needed to absorb new workers, the nation needs 8.3 million jobs to fully recover from the recession.

And of course the quality of our jobs continues to decline as well.  In America today, only 47 percent of adults have a full-time job, and one out of every ten jobs is now filled by a temp agency.

Unfortunately, thanks to Obamacare this trend is going to get a lot worse.  Millions more Americans are going to be forced into part-time employment.  For example, just check out what Trader Joe’s is doing

Trader Joe’s, the grocer once lauded for providing health care coverage to its part-time workers, is about to push those employees off its plan.

According to a memo obtained by the Huffington Post, the company will stop covering employees who work less than 30 hours per week.

The change is set for the start of 2014. Instead of insurance, workers instead will get a check for $500 in January.

“Depending on income you may earn outside of Trader Joe’s, we believe that with the $500 from Trader Joe’s and the tax credits available under the [Affordable Care Act (ACA)], many of you should be able to obtain health care coverage at very little if any net cost to you,” said Trader Joe CEO Dan Bane in the memo.

I wish that there was better news to report, but we have to be very honest about where we are at as a nation.

In order for there to be a thriving “middle class”, there needs to be lots of middle class jobs.

Sadly, the number of breadwinner jobs that the middle class depends upon is shrinking.

Unless a miracle happens, the percentage of Americans that consider themselves to be “lower class” is probably going to continue to grow.

So how would you solve this problem?

Please feel free to share your ideas by posting a comment below…

  • Rodster

    Detroit = AmeriKa

    • Mondobeyondo

      “Don’t go to Mexico. Mexico is coming to you!”

      • XSANDIEGOCA

        Is it ever. Yesterday I was in a WalMart in Escondido, CA. I could have been in Juarez!

  • markthetruth

    Laws of Physics !!!
    You can’t solve a Problem that has No Constant Except the Max Wealth of the World of Hard Assets.
    Wealth isn’t Created it’s Transferred from one Person to another , in the world we live in today Hard Assets are constant but the Population now at 7 Billion. Now with a global economy the Amount of Resources of the world are shrinking due to our doing (pollution, demand exceed supply) the world cannot support and increase in Population. The answers are ones no one want to talk About but will be the only solution .

    the end…

    • davidmpark

      So, which is your solution: we need to open more resources, or we need to use eugenics on some people to make more wealth available?

  • Mondobeyondo

    The lower class is the new normal.
    The old normal is the Nouveaux Miserables.
    Sing yourselves to sleep with “I Dreamed a Dream..”.
    (ugh. I want my country back!!)

    • davidmpark

      Do you hear the people sing? It is the song of ANGRY MEN! It is the music of a people, who will NOT be slaves again!…

    • seth datta

      NWO in operation. Economic destruction. Police state. NSA sponsored organised stalking and electronic harassment.

  • Louise in MO

    The first thing I would do is REPEAL Obamacare. I would deeply cut EPA regulations. I would open the Keystone Pipeline. I would impose high tariffs on imported goods that were once made in the USA and were moved overseas.

    I definitely would raise the minimum wage to ten dollars an hour. Definitely reign in the unions. They are part of the problem and have been for the past fifty years.

    I could go on and on. I’m old enough to know what worked before and would work again.

    • Gay Veteran

      I’m sure the people at Love Canal would agree with you. Oh wait, they can’t live there because of the pollution.
      Repeal ALL “free trade” agreements, destroy the Big Banks and the Federal Reserve and you won’t have to raise the minimum wage

  • MeMadMax

    I got turned down for an IT job because I said “I am not interested in any benefits” when I was asked the question…

    I was so bewildered, mad, confused… But most of all, sad… I just wanted to work… why does being an honest worker make me a bad choice for a job? WTH is going on???

    • Makati1

      Once, in the 80s, I had a family to support and was unemployed for 9+ months. I was desperate and even applied for a job as custodian at IBM and was turned down as ‘over qualified’ because of my previous education and experience. Now that would likely not happen today, but, maybe it would.

    • JoeD

      Why would you decline benefits? Are you invincible? Do you not have a retirement to fund? Could’ve been they didn’t take you seriously as an applicant because your willingness to voluntarily accept of a lower standard of living than what they intended to offer came across as desperation.

      • Rodster

        Maybe MadMax thought by declining benefits the company would consider the hire as more favorable as the company would be in a position to save money.

        With HIGH unemployment as it is today some companies will find any excuse to not hire as there are more workers looking for work than there are jobs.

        The benefits thing could have been an excuse as to why the company did not hire. It could have been something else and they used that as the excuse.

      • MeMadMax

        Incorrect.
        I think of benefits as something nice to have but not necessary for me to consider a job. This is IT work, not mining or some factory job where getting hurt is much more common. Besides, in the IT world, the average “lifespan” of most jobs is only 4 years… Hardly worth considering as a career in one particular company unless you are extremely lucky…

  • davidmpark

    Well… I can’t consider myself as belonging to a class. I’ve never “belonged”, and I have no class :P.

    Don’t think it can be poverty that I’m in, the more it’s thought about it. Didn’t choose the lifestyle. Can always find or grow food, build a home, make needed items, and can work any raw materials (so long as gov doesn’t find out). When the Lord sees fit, He provides for us what we can’t for ourselves as we have faith in Christ, hope in the atonement, and are charitable when we can be.

    Right now, I am getting back into home production and working as a DBA since local government has acknowledged that they need to scale back some laws prohibiting home production. Tomorrow, I’m building 8 new chairs and a couch. How can that be poverty?

    My in-laws put it best: You’re an Artisan and Smithy. You forge and break the chains of men.

    • sherry762

      my stepmom recently got a nearly new red Land Rover Range Rover Evoque
      Convertible by working part time off of a macbook air. you can look here w­w­w.J­A­M­20.c­o­m

      • davidmpark

        Um… okay. Good for her. Am I the only person that gets spammed in this forum?

        • Alasha

          lol

        • Mr Obvious

          lol!! No that’s funny right there!

  • Tommy Knockers

    While we have structural problems the only possible hope is to quickly scale back taxes and regulations. We will enter catastrophic times if we do not do this and soon. So people can at least try to start new businesses and industry. I want to leave this country for good.

  • Colin

    I wouldn’t be able to solve the problem for there is no immediate solution. When the people went to the streets to protest working conditions and to ask for reform, they became the victims of corporate blowback. It took a gargantuan effort, and the persistence and determination of a strong leader, like TR and FDR, to bring about change. I believe that we witnessing the seeds of a future labor revolution being laid in the ground.

    I see myself as being in the non-working class. I am over 40 years old who is mentally disabled, who doesn’t have marketable skills, and who doesn’t have references, either professional or character.

    • erheault

      That means that you are fully qualified to be in government. Apply for a department head any department it don’t matter just say you are a Democrat and you will be a employee.

  • Makati1

    After spending most of my life in the middle class, I now consider myself lower class due to age and income. Nothing wrong with that. I am still able to provide myself with what I need and some of my ‘wants’. I am like most retirees today.

    But, as for the future, I expect the Western middle class to shrink to zero or the low single digits over the next 10 years or less. The world cannot afford the Western lifestyle and it is ending. I’m just ahead of the curve this time.

  • Ralfine

    Basically there is wealth enough for everybody. The problem is just the polarisation of the wealth into extremes. The extreme rich who will never be able to spend all their money on hamburgers to eat, and the extreme poor who don’t even have enough money to buy one Mercedes.

    • Rodster

      Money = CONTROL and POWER, that’s why the Rich get RICHER. It’s never about hamburgers and BMW’s.

      • Ralfine

        So they buy control and power as other people would buy hamburgers?

        • Mr Obvious

          yep! Exactly…that’s the way it works friend! Think you got the president elected? Think again! While it might be slightly partially true that you did, or I did, or he or she did, it’s mainly the lobbyists who get people into office. Why do you think they never really do what they say they’re going to do? Not because they can’t…it’s because the people who paid for them to get into office don’t want the same things you and I do!

  • JoeD

    Hey, low class is better than no class at all…

  • chilller

    Look at what we have for a president…
    The skills of the worlds best community organizer can’t come close to comparing to the worlds worst president….unless he IS the president.

  • K

    From what I can see, we are resuming historic norms. Before there was the great middle class, the American dream. Normal used to be 1% super rich, 9% well off, 20% middle class, 70% poor. In most third world countries, this has never changed. Being retired I would put myself, in the top end of poor. Not as bad as it sounds. No debt is the key. You can really live on much less without debt. However lower class or low class, has some very negative connotations Let us just call it poor, there is still some dignity in that.

    • Gay Veteran

      historic norms from the Gilded Age

    • jaxon64

      this is true–the American middle class in the perspective of history is an aberration.
      The middle class in America has been living at the comfort levels of the VERY wealthy of those in the past.
      The middle class in America lives at almost royalty levels of some third world countries.
      The middle class in America throws away in trash or wastes more than most of the world’s population possesses or uses.
      The middle class in America is shrinking to the size that is more the norm throughout history and the current world. The current administration, Fed and both houses of Congress are expediting the process with VERY poor management and decisions. I believe this to be intentional for a speedier transition to globalism–but whether bad governing or intentional, it is our future.
      The final part of the equation though is a scary one—without the middle class tax contribution, the standard of living and freebies for the poor will end. This quite probably will result in a period of unrest.

  • Tobias Smith

    5 years of gary, 3 more to go will finish the job

    • XSANDIEGOCA

      Followed by 8 years of Queen Benghazi!

      • Tim

        Scary thought!

  • FounderChurch

    DEMONCRATS have literally eliminated the very word Lower Class because they want to be seen as only giving Freebies to the Middle Class. They further pander to the scum of society by giving them a Freeby promotion into the “Working” Middle Class as opposed to the horrible evil upper class.

    They have thereby created full blown class warfare by creating by fiat only two classes and pitting one against the other. This leads throughout human history to dictatorship. Examples are Hitler and Stalin representing dictatorships of the Right and the Left respectively. This is what you always get when you create just two classes. Google “FounderChurch”

  • FounderChurch

    The Lower Class knows it is the Lower Class, but Democrats in their demagoguery pander to them by calling them the Middle Class. It is a joke just between the Pond Scum and those Democrats that feed on it.

  • Marc

    less jobs because of technology. but the Population rises on the world. thats not working

  • FounderChurch

    We fix the growth in poverty by expanding freedom to start your own business. America is intensely ANTI SMALL BUSINESS. We need to do the following:

    1. Abolish ALL Zoning and Licensing regulations Local, State, and Federal that interfere with small and home businesses,

    2. Abolish all Child Labor Laws: Children have the God given, and Constitutional given, Right to Work.

    3. Abolish all Minimum Wage laws, State and Federal.

    4. Abolish Education Monopoly by the Public Schools, Colleges and Universities, and allow for a total Choice in Education, to include Home Schooling on a equal footing with Monopoly Government Schools. Stop subsidizing Public Education while refusing to subsidize Private Schooling and Home Schooling.

    5. Make English the official language of this country. No exceptions.

    6. End all illegal Immigration, and make heavy penalties for anyone who employees an illegal so they will all self-deport.

    This is only a partial list of reforms that will bring us out of poverty and allow us to compete effectively with foreign countries on an equal footing.

    • davidmpark

      Much to my bewilderment, I have to agree with you on most of that.

      Number 1, we need some basic zoning laws to ensure that what is done on one property doesn’t interfere severely with the neighboring one. Such as one neighbor wants to grow crops, but his neighbor set up a 30 foot wall that constantly shades the first guys property. I agree that current zoning has become tyrannous.

      The child labor would be a hard sell. Originally, child labor laws were put in place to prevent parents from living off their child’s earnings. It’s better they be educated first, and nothing dangerous or political. Some local guy sent his kid to our door to garner our support for his candidacy. I gave the kid $5, told him to go to an arcade and be a kid, then berated his father for such actions.

      Number 5, we don’t need to subsidize private and homeschooling, but that’s probably just an example; I understand your point of why should only one entity get it.

      Number 6, we need fortification walls to ensure that one.

      • FounderChurch

        1. Zonning & licensing are used stop competition from outsiders. We have plenty of laws to protect everyone from everyone.

        Child labor laws were to protect union jobs not to protect children. We have plenty of laws already to protect children.

        5. We already subsidize Government schools. You can’t have competition w/o a level playing field.

        6. Both partied support illegal immigrants. Rep for cheap slave labor. Democrats for cheap slave voters.

        You need to dig into these issues to understand them.

        Google “FounderChurch”

        • 2Gary2

          1. Zonning & licensing are used stop competition from outsiders.–especially for doctors lawyers etc.

    • Mr Obvious

      Abolish all zoning laws? Really? Umm…no…I don’t want a pawn shop or chicken factory going up in my neighborhood thank you very much. Sure..they could be relaxed, and made clearer, but, just abolished…no. And, you’re asking for trouble in abolishing child labor laws…don’t even want to touch that one. As far as illegal immigration…umm.. “end it”…lmao…yeah, because it’s something you can just stop! There already are heavy penalties for one, and two, no Americans want to work the kind of jobs they do, for the amount of money they do, and three, if we just made it easier for people to get citizenship, it’d fix a lot right off the bat. As far as making english the official language…I can be behind that one..altho, it’ll do nothing to fix any of our economic woes. Abolishing minimum wage laws would be a complete disaster. People are already paid too little for what they do…you think companies are just going to pay people fairly out of the goodness of their hearts? Right. I suspect you’re corporate America with idea like this.

      • FounderChurch

        Mr Obvious is Obviously a Left Wing Bleeding Heart Liberal Democrat that hates America, and is trying to fake it as a Moderate.

        • Mr Obvious

          Always the phrase uttered by a man who has no actual answers. I love it! lol! I think you spilled some pabst on your wife beater Bubba!

    • Whatever

      You forgot to include the 2a. Legalize the oedophiles. Right?

  • DrLexus

    Wait until immigration “reform” is passed by our wonderful leaders in D.C. The “lower class” percentage will skyrocket.

    • Tim

      Yeah. I don’t recognize this country now. I can’t imagine what it will look like in a few years.

      • xander cross

        I want my country back.

    • XSANDIEGOCA

      Oy

  • Jackie Milton

    I might be middle class if it wasn’t for the government extorting taxes from me in order to provide for others. People just can’t seem to grasp the simple concept that the government will not allow a working man to get ahead because they will always tax him in a way that prevents him from getting ahead in life. We are a collectivist society but the sheeples are to stupid to see it.

  • SafetyViking

    Said it a million times & will say it a million more…

    The problem is & always will be: overpopulation & greed.

    • Rodster

      The problem isn’t over population as the world can handle many times the population that’s currently alive today. I read and was shocked when I found out you can comfortably fit the entire world’s population in the State of Texas. Google it.

      I do agree about the greed part. There is also massive corruption and mismanagement as well. Food that should be going to the poor in most cases never gets to them because of a countries political greed and corruption to control their citizens.

      We as a species are our own worst enemies which is why the Bible states “Man Cannot Rule Himself”. Not trying to be preachy btw.

      A very true and wise statement even today and explains why pain and suffering still exist in 2013 and will continue to be a problem.

      • Gay Veteran

        “The problem isn’t over population as the world can handle many times the population that’s currently alive today….”
        Sheer fantasy. We live on a planet with FINITE resources. For example clean drinking water is increasingly becoming a problem.

        • davidmpark

          Not really. Most of the natural resources were locked up. And a lot of what we use is renewable. Can prove that just with raising rabbits: we got Fresh Meat (standard meat cuts, hearts, kidneys, sweetbreads, and liver), Canned Rabbit Meat, Sausages, Rendered Fats, Glycerin, Gelatin, Soaps, Candles, Pet Food and Treats, Fur Pelts, Leather, Raw Hide, Rabbit Skin Glue, Fur for Bedding/Stuffing/Insulation, “Lucky” Rabbit’s Feet, Methane (Natural) Gas, Charcoal, Fresh Manure, Compost, Liquid Fertilizer, Feed for Night Crawlers, Potassium Nitrate (Saltpeter), Ammonia, Bone Handles (Tools and Jewelry), Bone Meal, Blood Meal, Bile Acids (anti-inflammatory, used for gall stones), Pepsin (digestive aid), Chondroitin Sulfate (blood clot dissolution), Fibrinolysin (blood clot dissolution), Chalones (anti-cancer therapy), Phosphoric Acid, Calcium, Magnesium, Glucosamine, Blood Plasma, Prussian Blue, Lapinized Brains for Animal Vaccines, etc.

          As for the water – it’s simply mismanagement. It can be extracted from the air in your home these days.

  • jox

    “the percentage of Americans that identify themselves as “lower class” is now at an all-time high. It is still only 8.4 percen…”, on the other hand “20 percent of all Americans did not have enough money to buy food”. So even the americans that can’t buy food don’t like to consider themselves ‘low class’.

  • XSANDIEGOCA

    A couple of years ago it was reported 9K people a night slept in their cars here in San Diego County. Special car parks are set up in some church parking lots. The cops look the other way. Wonder what the figure is now?

  • El Pollo de Oro

    As pessimistic as I am about the future of La República Bananeira de América (the Third World slop bucket that used to be Los Estados Unidos), I occasionally meet people who are even more pessimistic. I say that the BRA is going to end up like much of Latin America, where you have a rich minority leaving with bodyguards in gated communities, a poor minority and not much of a middle class. And they respond that I’m being optimistic and that the BRA will end up like Sub-Saharan Africa. But I don’t think the BRA’s decline will be that extreme. No, you’ll still have upscale places like Beverly Hills, Manhattan’s Upper West Side or Lincoln Park in Chicago, but you’ll also have widespread poverty, a dying middle class, shantytown slums galore, a decaying infrastructure, political unrest and violent crime galore. Many Americans will resort to drug trafficking, carjacking, kidnapping and violent home invasions.

    • 2Gary2

      maybe its time to revisit the dreaded DPDDT tax for the benefit of the new readership…

  • Daisy

    The more voters lured in for free cares, the less quality jobs for middle class, which the health of this country’s economy is heavily depend on.

    Nobody who works hard through his or her life would like to pay for somebody’s free housing and free phone who spend most of his or her time lazy around!!!

  • Richard

    “…less people than ever…”
    Michael, do try to respect the difference between “less” and “few” (or “fewer”). You make this mistake all the time. The above words should, of course, read: “…fewer people than ever…”

  • http://www.displayad.com/ California Architect

    One of the things government can do is to get out of the way. There are plenty of restrictions that prevent businesses from expanding. People make the mistake of thinking that added government requirements will make things better. But all they do is add to costs and, at some point, businesses will conclude that they are too expensive to tolerate.

    • squashpants

      Yes, I tend to agree, but I am confused because, if like many of the readers here say, the government is owned by the corporations, why do the corporations allow them to pass all the regulations and other restrictions. Since a lot of the regulations do not come out of Congress, but from lower level organizations and czars, maybe the corporations can’t get at them to apply pressure. I dunno. Anyone care to explain?

      • Joe

        When so many large corporations aren’t paying taxes anyway? Let the government force small businesses out. Why not? It was fine when it started with large chain stores. Government does a great job of keeping workers in abundance. That’s good for the employer but not the employed. All too often people turn a blind eye to the hardships of others but when the threat of hard times comes knocking at their door it’s a whole different deal.

        In short corporations are showing record profits and anything they’re losing to regulations is more than compensated for by loopholes and other benefits. Let the government appease the people with welfare. Who cares? Obviously the corporations aren’t paying for that either because if they were we wouldn’t be borrowing from other nations to prop up our failing system.

    • Adrian

      Business and corporations have never had it so good. Government HAS gotten out of the way, that’s why the rest of us are getting treated like slaves by the corporate state.

      • http://www.displayad.com/ California Architect

        Perhaps your talking about the large corporations that use lobbyists to secure special perks for themselves. But the rest of the businesses are clearly being harmed by government regulations. I can see it in my business. The government has all these new rules that benefit absolutely nobody; they just add to my cost.

        • Adrian

          Yes, I was mainly referring to the big corporations. I know small businesses have it much tougher. What are some examples of regulations you face?

          • http://www.displayad.com/ California Architect

            The green building codes really add to construction costs without benefiting anyone or the environment. Mandatory recycling for demolition for example. We were already doing that prior to the requirement. But now we have to weigh the debris that is recycled to calculate the percentage of the demolition that is recycled. An extra trip with the debris to a scale; just silly.

  • RarefiedSnotress

    Lower class can be defined in many ways. Is it necessary to go by income only?
    If someone owns a mansion and/or has a fat wallet, but little income, is that lower class?

    • squashpants

      I think you have a great point. The term is thrown around quite a bit nowadays, but one can’t assume that everyone knows what it means, and agrees on the definition. I might be classified as lower class based on income (actually I am retired, so income is not a straightforward matter), but I really feel like I am middle class. I don’t have many of the “perqs” of being a middle-class post-modern (I don’t own, or want, a cell phone, for instance). But I have everything I need to be comfortable, and never miss a meal (unless I want to). But, I would love to hear someone define what “lower class” means, so I can put myself in a nice, warm pigeonhole.

  • PJ

    THE SIMPLE TRUTH IS WE NEED POLITICAL WILL AND LEADERSHIP AT ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT. FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN UNDER THE CURRENT CAST OF DO NOTHINGS. HOWEVER, IF WE ELECT THE RIGHT PEOPLE (TERM LIMITS) WHO BELIEVE IN THE FORGOTTEN CONCEPT “OF THE PEOPLE, FOR THE PEOPLE”, THERE IS A SOLUTION. CUT THE “DEAL OF A LIFETIME” WITH EVERY COMPANY IN EVERY INDUSTRY IN THIS NATION. BIG AND SMALL. MOVE YOUR MANUFACTURING AND YOUR CASH BACK TO AMERICA. HIRE EVERY ABLE BODIED AMERICAN CITIZEN WILLING TO WORK. HIRE OUR COLLEGE GRADS TO MANAGEMENT TRAINING POSITIONS. RESULT: FULL EMPLOYMENT. IN EXCHANGE, A TAX HOLIDAY FOR THE NEXT 20 YEARS. THEN THE MOST COMPETITIVE TAX RATE IN THE WORLD THEREAFTER. BETWEEN THE TAX HOLIDAY, COMPETITIVE TAX RATE, AND THE TRANSPORTATION COST SAVINGS, COMPANIES CAN COMPETE WITH THE LOW LABOR COSTS IN CHINA, INDIA, MEXICO ETC. AND FULL EMPLOYMENT GUARANTEES MAXIMUM REVENUE FOR FEDERAL, STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS. LASTLY, UNIONS HAVE TO BE REALISTIC OR THEY ARE NOT PART OF THE EQUATION.

  • Akitawoman

    I have two Master’s degrees, am 61 years old and earning $10. per hour. What does that say about the current economy?

    • squashpants

      If you don’t mind me asking, what are you doing that earns you that pittance? When I was working as an X-ray tech (I took x-rays at a clinic), I made twice that an hour.

      • Akitawoman

        Librarian

        • mr obvious

          that’s unfortunate…last I looked, the average salary for a librarian was around 70,000

          • Akitawoman

            I wish that were the case. I serve in a rural library in Idaho. Pay is very low in the state in general. Only librarians in big cities who are directors make the kind of money you are talking about.

    • Mr. obvious

      It’s not just as simple as having degrees. You could have two masters in art history related fields. I’m not saying you do, but, you didn’t say what the degrees are in. If you had a masters in nursing, I highly doubt you’d be struggling in the 10 bucks an hour bracket.

  • SafetyViking

    Here’s a thought:
    DON’T SPEND WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE!

  • M W

    We’re in the beginning of the long ememrgency, and there is no fixing what we’ve broken. All we could possibly do is adapt to the new world we’ve made… it’s going to get a lot worse before it doesn’t get better… can you say feudalism?

    • Tobias Smith

      I like the term, “beginning of the long emergency”

  • jaxon64

    Michael, there was a period min my life where I didn’t have 2 nickels to rub together. I really did eat ramen noodles frequently. Tuna was 3 cans for a buck and so was kraft boxes of mac and cheese–that’s 3 meals of “tuna casserole” for $2. And yes, I even knew what it was like to make ” ketchup packet soup”–not a story, and not trying to boost up how tough the obstacles I overcame were–it just was what it was.
    My point is though, even during those times I NEVER felt as if I was a low life, living in poverty or lower class. I always knew that if I kept doing the right things, worked hard, had goals and persevered that my dreams would be realized.
    It is very saddening that so many of my fellow countrymen have lost this sense of belief in themselves. To become so disheartened that they have accepted their lot in life as “lower class” is truly heartbreaking.
    This is the death of the American dream–that no matter how much effort, conservative frugality, saving and perseverance…that one is still destined to remain in poverty.
    I wonder if I could have ended up where I am today if I had to do it all over again in our current environment. I am so grateful to God and so many others who believed in me along the way.

  • Jacob

    I consider myself lower class. Sometimes in ethics and social ideals, but mostly financial. I have never been middle class or lower class. I’ve had things that many poor wouldn’t and lacked many things the lower of the middle class would have. Is it my fault? Yes? Then one must ask the question why is it my fault?
    In a way it is my fault: I haven’t bought into an education system that requires me to go to college and be institutionalized. Ironically, regardless of one’s education – lest they’re the best – get jobs inline with being part of the “American Dream” or even “Middle Class.” It is hard to get into what people used to get into for the purpose of starting their own businesses without large amounts of money; let me correct myself: impossible to start.
    It is all about creating money streams on multiple steams. How can I get money without doing much? You need an idea. Perhaps I’m wrong, but the fact is – I’ve tried: didn’t work. I will keep trying. Money, however, is why I’m against government. Why I’m an avid reader of the blog Michael writes, and why I’m ready, on a meager basis, for the collapse of our dollar.
    We’re being depressed and it will go on until faith in that depression goes away. Good luck making your monies, it isn’t easy and made nearly impossible. The American Dream no longer exists.

  • Travis Landers

    Move to Billings Montana..EVERY business is hiring..McDonalds for example starts crew at $9.50..We have so many jobs. And it is a great place to live!

  • Bishop5

    I considered all possibilities and the only way I see going anywhere financially is relocating. And if within USA it doesn’t work out, I’m heading out of this country. I can’t change things myself and most of the time I feel like I am surrounded by idiots. The idiots won’t get smarter, so it’s me who has to get moving.

    • Adrian

      You’re right. NCLB was a slow-motion plan to privatize the public education system, while at the same time destroying the ability of students to think critically. People are easier to manage when they don’t/can’t think critically about what’s happening to them and are fed a steady diet of propaganda from the corporate-owned media.

  • Brandigo

    I keep hearing that while we talk about poverty in America – by the worlds standards most Americans still are rich because we have color tv’s, Air conditioners etc.

    Fact is (for us) most of the major purchases we’ve made like that were before the crash in 2008. We’ve made NONE since then. Now those things are getting older. We hold our breath in case something tears up or breaks down. It will be harder to replace those things now.

    • Nic

      fix it…!

  • Michael

    Free markets for free people.

  • Nic

    don’t ask what the country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country….

  • piccadillybabe

    If you are making good money these days, you better be saving some of it as, the trend is low wages for every job no matter how much education and experience you have. Nothing like going back to school and getting into debt over it and then making $10.00 per hour with no relief in site. The days of the big pay checks with good benefits with retirement plans are over. Who knew it would happen so soon?

  • 2Gary2

    Michael–the economic mobility in the USA is lower than just about every other country. We are no longer the land of opportunity where anyone can make it.

  • phillyfanatic

    Note that it is in the last 5 plus years that poverty, lack of economic progress has been shown in the Obama economic failures to produce free enterprise solutions to his own socialist introductions. The more this guy and the Dems pass laws to hype their type of economics, the worse the economy gets for all classes. Anyone who trusts any of this socialist baloney to restart our dynamic capitalist system is either a deluded Leftist or insane. And the definition of liberalism for many years is : insanity.

  • Piglet

    RE “less people then ever…” It’s “FEWER people THAN ever…”

  • Nick

    Facts are facts the politicians will keep doing what is best for “good America” while more people are cast off into “Bad America” to further enrich those in “Good America”. They have already said “Let them eat cake” in 2011 when they dumped huge amounts of funds into DHS instead of trying to alleviate the conditions that spurred large scale protests over America’s economic situation. These people just do not care how much “bad America” suffers and they are actually motivated to see to it “Bad America” suffers more to raise their bottom line. We are far from hitting rock bottom, when these people are done Mexico will look appealing.

  • Jean Moutea

    We do business in the “usa” and we are tired of RUDE and INSULTING people calling us every day. Looks like they do not use their brains at all. We are very honest and a busines with high integrity, but we are considering moving to another country, because of all of the unfair verbal abuse by extremely low class “americans”. In fact we are already moving in autumn 2014 to a country with CLASS and CULTURE.

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