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Forum Post: The reality of our economy

Posted 2 years ago on July 31, 2013, 3:39 p.m. EST by Riley2011 (110) from New Britain, CT
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

I read an article in the New York Times on Sunday in which the president claimed that he is now focusing on the middle class. I personally do not know who is middle class anymore, it feels like there is either rich or poor. The media jumps on the bandwagon and claims that jobs are coming back, yet the Sunday news in our area only has two pages of jobs, and the average under 10.00. I agree with Girl Friday, the housing numbers are a sham as well as the stock market. Does everyone feel that we are better off than we were three years ago?



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[-] 3 points by beautifulworld (21451) 2 years ago

I was very disheartened that he doesn't focus on the poor especially since 80 percent of U.S. adults face being at or near poverty at some point during their lifetime.


[+] -4 points by Narley (272) 2 years ago

The middle class is the bulk of the population. From lower middle class that scrimp to get by to upper middle class who have a somewhat cushy life. The middle class are the people who buy thousands of $25K cars every month and millions of big screen TV’s. The middle class is who keeps Walmart, McDonalds and Chucky Cheese afloat. The middle class are the people you stuck in stop and go traffic every day trying to get to and from their jobs.

Make no mistake, most of us are middle class. We’re not starving, not homeless and rarely seek public assistance. The middle class is the backbone of our society and economy. I think most middle class folks are right leaning. They don’t understand why so many people receive welfare and government assistance when they’re busting there butt trying to pay for day care. They don’t understand why the politicians can’t do something right for a change, like maybe get the budget under control.

In short, the real 99% is the middle class.

[-] 2 points by OccupyNews (1220) 2 years ago

I disagree Narley. The middle class is being eroded through a dangerously simpleton plan. Reverse mortgages that rip off the elderly, and credit card debt tactics that have been meticulously constructed to slowly erode main street's wealth.

Then factor in that judges view main street and their involuntary credit card defaults as being equivalent to a wall streeter strategically defaulting, and the result is middle class erosion.

[-] -2 points by Narley (272) 2 years ago

I don't deny the middle class is shrinking. But I don't think at the rate which is inferred by the OP. Yes, the crooks running the financial system try every trick in the book to separate you from your money, and even in light of that we're still mostly middle class.

For the record, We (my wife and I) am old and live on SS and retirement; and our house is paid for. The reverse mortgage companies are like wolves at the door. Fortunately we don't need to re-mortgage our home. But I digress.

The financial companies are predatory, and seem to get away with it. But part of the problem is the people have such a sense of entitlement. They expect a new car every three years, they think big screen TV's are a staple of life and they impulse buy every shiny thing they see. So yes, the credit companies are at fault. But don't forget you're also to blame.

[-] 2 points by OccupyNews (1220) 1 year ago

I'm not to blame. I lead by example. I believe that there can only be economic growth if it occurs while reducing the use of non renewable resources, and I live by that credo.

If I encounter a problem, it is exactly because of the "wolves" at the door with patently unfair rules that completely favor them.

Be careful about reverse mortgages.

Two horrible things about reverse mortgages, only one person can remain on the deed, when that person passes, it's either pay up what was taken, or the surviving spouse must sell.

Secondly, the mortgage insurance requirement is a scam in my opinion. M.I. should not be required if the person taking the reverse mortgage agrees to a pre-determined, modest draw every month.

[-] -1 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 2 years ago

The middle class ain't what it used to be, Narley. You and your wife might just be some of the luckier ones.


[-] 0 points by Narley (272) 2 years ago

I agree we were fortunate. But even with being layed off twice and having to relocate we were able to survive and retire early.

I think this whole shrinking middle class is caused by all the same issues OWS tries to confront. Corrupt government and greedy corporations. Fix government and get corporations under control and things will improve for everyone. Still, I'm haunted by the idea that the people themselves can do a lot to keep themselves afloat. I mean , Do you really need a new car? Do you need Starbucks twice a day? Do you need a $500 phone? Do you need the coolest clothes?, and the list goes on. Seems to me it's easy to blame someone else when you can't have it all.

[-] 1 points by OccupyNews (1220) 1 year ago

The people who "need that" are the ones writing computer code, they can afford it.

[-] 0 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 2 years ago

Agreed, and I think one of the biggest problems, although it's just a guess, is that most people in this country, middle-class and otherwise, don't really realize how precarious things are right now, financially-speaking. It wouldn't take a whole lot to go from bad to worse in this country. I don't mean individually, of course. I mean the country in general. Like, what would happen if some major players had to start laying off massive amounts of workers? Or what if millions of people were kicked off the Food Stamp program? What if there was a widespread failure of huge portions of the power grid?


[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

Hey Narley-is this your personal opinion or can you back any of that up?

[-] -1 points by Narley (272) 2 years ago

Hmmm, I thought I was stating the obvious. Just look around you. Surly you don't deny most of us are middle class?

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

No, Dear. Middle Class income is $200,000-250,000 a year. Lower middle class starts around $100,000. While I know that there has been a desperate attempt to alter the definition to be based on values rather than on income...............that shit don't work. The reality is that most people are actually working class and this is also broke down.

[-] 1 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

There isn't much official agreement on what "middle class" actually is. For that reason it's one of those terms that are safe to throw around because they can mean a lot of things.

If you use incomes, the middle quintile from the Census Bureau is $36,000 to $57,660. Some economists and politicians expand the group and use the middle 60% of the population and call them middle class, without consideration for their income.

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

The problem is that we did at one time have a firm definition. You don't have to like it. It is certainly beneficial for those that would love to obscure the issue. Can you think of any reasons of why those people might want to do that? I can think of a few. Would you like to hear them?

[-] 0 points by JPB950 (2254) 2 years ago

What is your definition? I'm not offering any criticism of you or anyone else. I simply was curious and googled it after reading your comment to Narley. The only common element is that the term is somewhat ambiguous.

As far as why people use such a term, it would seem obvious. Each person employing the term will use a definition that supports his or her position.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago


'Zactly what I said. Now, the funny thing is that I had originally come across this definition at the White House website under Bush.

[-] -1 points by Narley (272) 2 years ago

The middle class and the working class are the same people. That's the generally accepted belief.

[-] -1 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

No. It is not. Nor has it ever been.

[-] 2 points by Phanya2011 (908) from Tucson, AZ 2 years ago

That's like middle aged -- Postcards from the Edge, Meryl Streep plays Shirley McLaines' daughter. She refers to herself as middle aged, and her mother says, "You can't be middle aged; I'm middle aged." Meryl Streep says, "Really? How many people do you know who are 120?" "Old" on the other hand, is 20 years older than you happen to be. :) But, if you are saying "middle class" and "lower middle class" -- that is another level of middle class, so middle class would start at the bottom of the middle and end at the top of the middle. How many sections we choose to divide it into does not change anything.

[-] 0 points by GirlFriday (17435) 2 years ago

I can't stand that movie.

It actually matters quite a bit of where you are on the socioeconomic scale because it is the relationship to the system and often determines what services and/or assets can be acquired. It isn't about how one defines themselves via feelings. Which in the past couple of years has become the most idiotic controversy stirred up. (How do you self identify on the economic scale?)

So, there seems to be this automatic rejection of associating oneself with the working class. Those that are upper middle class or upper class are caught in a rejection of the Paris Hilton/Kardashian twits AND those in the lower classes. The whole anti-fop thing and yet, recognition that the middle class is the buffer between the lower classes and the elite.

It works both ways. We see some working class is enamored of middle class and will try to claim it. Because the class below is always scary. Consider an individual that rents a mobile home and makes 35,000 a year. Is this individual middle class? No. The individual may have a degree and may like the name tag---but they aren't middle class.

I find this topic fascinating. I like watching how people react. I like watching people go through great lengths for both inclusion and exclusion and to hide very real problems that are occurring.

[-] 0 points by Narley (272) 2 years ago

Au contraire my dear, It has always been that way.

[-] 0 points by gnomunny (6819) from St Louis, MO 2 years ago

Check out Wikipedia's definition. Although definitions vary, it looks to be fairly consistent that the "middle class" is the class above the "working class," although Wiki says citation is needed in some areas:


Edit: But according to the GF link below, the "working class" is defined as the "lower middle class," below that being the "poverty class:"

"At the bottom of the middle classes is the working class, also known as the blue-collar class or as the anxious middle. This class is the most dissatisfied and downbeat of the middle classes, and don't have as much education, meaning that they may have gone to college, but have more technical or vocational training. They are also usually paid by the hour, and have a variety of jobs, including: police officer, truck driver and factory worker. Salaries in this class fall between lower middle class and the poverty level, with a range of $23,050 to $32,500."

[-] 0 points by shoozTroll (17632) 2 years ago

Who's us and what qualifies these days?

You should watch this.