Where has the middle class in the United States gone to? It has basically disappeared, and like some third world country, the gap between the wealthiest Americans and the poorest has never been greater….According to statistics gleaned from my Google sources: “A middle-class household is frequently defined as one with an income between 75 percent and 125 percent of the median household income.
If so, then the middle class – which fell into an income range of $15,100 to $25,200 in 1982 – has declined from 28.2 percent of the population in 1967 to 23.7 percent now. Even when slightly different definitions of income factors constituting a middle class are applied to the statistics, the trend is not reversed. The American middle class is disappearing.”
And it is disappearing fast! In San Francisco, where I live on a meager social security income of approximately $20,000 a year, that puts me in the very lowest income tier ….To be middle class in San Francisco, again according to my Google sources:“Technically, any household making from 50 to 150 percent of the area median income — roughly $73,000 — is defined as middle class.
The lower-middle class — for example, a construction worker making $45,000 and his wife, a part-time waitress, making $10,000 — has since 1990 been in slow decline, making up about 55,000 people as of 2010.” This is in San Francisco…
The majority portion of the middle class, according to The City, might be a single man who is a designer making $67,000. Imagine that! I am only $47,000 short of being middle class in San Francisco for a single man! This group’s numbers also have declined, hovering just below 60,000 in 2010.
The problem behind this huge disparity is because of the loss of so many traditional blue collar jobs like manufacturing jobs, factory jobs, repair shop jobs, gas station attendants etc…
These positions are all being eliminated, as well as retail jobs like store clerks, and entry level jobs like data entry and general office skills jobs, and telephone switchboard operators…. Even postal workers and transportation workers, like air lines service people, are being laid off, because everything is going automated and becoming do-it-yourself, like going on line and booking your own flights and printing out your own airline tickets…
The middle class, if defined as households making between $35,000 and $100,000 a year, has most definitely shrunk at an alarming rate in the final decades of the 20th century…..
And this lower income threshold of $35,000 to qualify for lower middle class status nationwide is defined as income for a family of 4! There is no way such a family could make it in San Francisco at that income level, and I seriously wonder how any family with such limited resources can make it anywhere else either…
The emphasis in the San Francisco area now is definitely on high paying high tech jobs, like in Silicon Valley, the mecca for the new age model of wage earners…Where again, according to Google sources: “High-tech employees in Silicon Valley remain the highest paid in this industry – while those in San Francisco are seeing the strongest wage growth in the nation, as firms compete for the best talents there.
In 2013, the average annual wage for high-tech workers in Silicon Valley was $195,815, according to a recent report from Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), a commercial real estate firm. The average wage includes salary, benefits, free meals and stock options.” Holy cow! Meanwhile, “San Francisco had the highest wage growth in 2013. The average salary grew 18.9 percent to an average annual wage of $156,518!” Jeez Louise, imagine that!
No wonder I’m worried! Never in my whole life was I ever able to even crack the $40,000/year salary barrier, and that was long after my prime earning years had come and gone, and it was at the very tail end of my 45 year sojourn through the treacherous twists and turns of work world that I was even able to come close to that ridiculously low figure…
To me, paying this kind of money, $195,815/year to the new age breed of techie workers in Silicon Valley, the new anointed ones, is the equivalent of driving a stake through the heart of the average worker…
Joe six pack is dead, the blue collar worker is becoming an extinct species, the labor unions have lost all their bargaining power and the white collar worker is reigning supreme….It is like the equivalent of the labor force work world evolutionary transition between the Neanderthals and the Cro Magnons, and we all know how that turned out….
It is the end of an era, and the beginning of a brave new world, but the significantly ever increasing gap between the high tech upper class wage earners and the rest of us, the economic bottom feeders, is destroying the American middle class as we all once knew it….
If this trend continues, we will soon become like every other third world country in the world, where the income disparity between the ruling echelon and the great mass of the lower classes will be unbridgeable…
The American middle class is becoming an anachronism, it is shrinking so rapidly that soon we will have only two classes in this country, the haves and the have nots….This is not what we baby boomers predicted, hoped for, or ever expected…
We are already spiraling downward ever more rapidly into the abyss of this calamity, and God only knows what the end result will be…Every single day, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and all the while the untouchables, the exalted 1% stand idly by and snicker and guffaw as their obscene profits grow even larger…
As R.E. M. once sang so eloquently, “It’s The End of The World As We Know It”….Only I don’t feel fine, just sick for what once was and will never be again…
It is the death knell of the once proud and prosperous American Middle Class…
“Never ask for whom the bell tolls,it tolls for thee.”
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