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Thread: What is Middle Class?

  1. #1

    What is Middle Class?

    A term we are all familiar with- and most of us consider ourselves to be part of it- but what does it really mean? Who is middle class? How do you determine it? How much you make? How much stuff you have (our current standard of living would have been upper middle if not upper class 50 years ago based on stuff). There is an arbitrary number for "poor" but there is nothing to say where the middle is. Also costs of living vary considerably across the country- a lot of money in Alabama won't get you very far in San Francisco or New York.

    Is the Middle Class worse off than it used to be? Life is a struggle these days. But we sometimes forget that it has always been a struggle. Our parents worked hard too and made sacrifices to get us the things most of us took for granted. Now it is our turn.

    Or are our expectations higher so things only seem worse? Thoughts?

    We are all someplace in the middle- there are always those richer and poorer than us.

    http://money.usnews.com/money/person...le-class-today

    There is no universally recognized definition of middle class. There are federal poverty level guidelines, so if you happen to wonder if you're poor, you can consult the Department of Health & Human Services (not that you likely need guidelines to tell you if you're poor). But after that, you're on your own to decide if you're lower middle class, middle class, upper middle class or in the fabulously wealthy territory. But to get us started thinking about financial status, a U.S. household with four people living off $23,850 or less is considered poor. (Hawaii and Alaska, with higher costs of living, have different guidelines.)

    One helpful yardstick to judge whether you're middle class: Median household income was $51,017 in 2012, according to the most recent U.S. census data. Robert Reich, a professor of Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor, has suggested the middle class be defined as households making 50 percent higher and lower than the median, which would mean the average middle class annual income is $25,500 to $76,500.

    If you're in the middle of the middle, however – not lower or upper-middle class – that would be an income range between $39,764 and $64,582, says Aaron Pacitti, an assistant professor of economics at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y.

    Again, it isn't official. Nobody gets a membership card to the middle class.
    But there's really another reason even the rich enjoy identifying themselves as middle class, suggests Kate Ratcliff, a professor of American studies at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vt. It's Hollywood's fault. "The reality created by the commercial mass media is one in which everyone is middle class. Advertising, television and movies all convey a world in which middle-class affluence is an American birthright," Ratcliff says.

    Why the rich often see themselves as middle class. Another reason the wealthy sometimes think of themselves as middle class is that they can always point to someone better off than them, Love adds. "It could be that to the extent that there are people in America like Bill Gates, Ross Perot, Mitt Romney – I think many wealthy people use that as the standard: 'Well, I'm not in that group – and if I'm not in that group, I must be the middle class.’"
    "It almost feels like we're seeing a lot of Willy Lomans, like there's maybe the death of an American dream," says Joe Buhrmann, referring to the famed play "Death of a Salesman." Buhrmann is the manager of financial security support at Country Financial, which sponsored the survey in which 59 percent of respondents said it isn't or may not be possible to live a middle-class existence and be considered financially secure. "In my mind, though, that flies smack in the face of a lot of good news that we're hearing about the economy, with continued improvements in the job market, housing and the stock market," he says.

    But it may be that being middle class seems like more of a struggle than in previous generations, in part because how we define middle class is different. Perhaps our expectations are higher.

    "I think we've somehow lost perspective in what we consider middle class," says Theodore Sarenski, CEO of Blue Ocean Strategic Capital LLC, an investment management and financial planning firm in Syracuse, N.Y., who also worked 20 years at a small accounting firm. So Sarenski has encountered many rich – and not-so rich – clientele. He didn't grow up wealthy – or at least by today's standards.

    "I grew up in a family of four kids, and we lived in a small house and had one car, which Dad took to work every day," Sarenski says. "One car, one TV and one phone, and if you think of what people have in their homes today – a TV in every room, everyone has a cellphone – we've gotten to expect more and more, and we're struggling with that."
    Last edited by Zippyjuan; 03-28-2015 at 08:02 PM.



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  3. #2
    Good post. The "class" system is pretty arbitrary and relative. I understand the word to mean "a class that is bourgeois enough to afford to buy things simply for comfort, enjoyment, and other frivolous reasons, but not wealthy enough to easily obtain 'big ticket' items" outright with cash or with consumer credit.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  4. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Is the Middle Class worse off than it used to be? Life is a struggle these days. But we sometimes forget that it has always been a struggle. Our parents worked hard too and made sacrifices to get us the things most of us took for granted. Now it is our turn.

    Or are our expectations higher so things only seem worse? Thoughts?
    Three classes...those who borrow money, those that lend money, and those who neither borrow nor lend.
    All modern revolutions have ended in a reinforcement of the power of the State.
    -Albert Camus

  5. #4
    "middle class" defined for you.

    people who produce things.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough." - Albert Einstein

    "for I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man. - Thomas Jefferson.

  6. #5
    Does the guy making burgers at Micky D's make things? Burgers are things. At $5 an hour is he "middle class"? Egon Musk makes cars. He is worth about $12 billion. Is he "middle class"?

    Not a particularly useful definition.

  7. #6
    I suppose you could just use median income for each county if you felt the need to really have a starting point for the category . It will not catch all , as some will have inherited assets etc.
    Last edited by oyarde; 03-28-2015 at 10:38 PM.

  8. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Does the guy making burgers at Micky D's make things? Burgers are things. At $5 an hour is he "middle class"? Egon Musk makes cars. He is worth about $12 billion. Is he "middle class"?

    Not a particularly useful definition.
    Nah , Musk runs a company , he does not assemble vehicles .

  9. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Does the guy making burgers at Micky D's make things? Burgers are things. At $5 an hour is he "middle class"? Egon Musk makes cars. He is worth about $12 billion. Is he "middle class"?

    Not a particularly useful definition.
    Musk has a number of income sources, including investments. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elon_Musk Not really a fair comparison. It would be more honest to use Eric Fischl as an example. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Fischl#Career
    Last edited by heavenlyboy34; 03-28-2015 at 10:40 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12



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  11. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Who is middle class? How do you determine it? How much you make?

    Originally Posted by George Carlin

    The upper class: keeps all of the money, pays none of the taxes.
    The middle class: pays all of the taxes, does all of the work.
    The poor are there just to scare the $#@! out of the middle class.

    ....
    Last edited by Natural Citizen; 03-29-2015 at 04:27 AM.

  12. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Zippyjuan View Post
    Thoughts?
    It's funny how Democrats like you and your boy Obama don't see middle class as an issue when you're in office. It then becomes an issue to you people when Democrats are out of office.










    .
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCount View Post
    ...I believe that when the government is capable of doing a thing, it will.
    Quote Originally Posted by Influenza View Post
    which one of yall fuckers wrote the "ron paul" racist news letters
    Quote Originally Posted by Dforkus View Post
    Zippy's posts are a great contribution.




    Disrupt, Deny, Deflate. Read the RPF trolls' playbook here (post #3): http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthr...eptive-members

  13. #11

  14. #12
    What is Middle Class?
    A 3-4 br house in either a nice calm burb or on a farm with less than a 20yr note, most modern conveniences of the day, money in savings and bills up to date, ol'lady and kids in good sturdy clothing and shoes, medical and insurance easily paid for, all out of one salary.

    Any other twist or deviation is deceitful to the term as it was originally coined...

  15. #13

  16. #14
    Middle class has little to do with income- much more to do family structure, social attitudes and the method by which the family earns its income. Someone who trades their grunt physical labour for a wage no matter how generous is not middle class.

  17. #15
    Well, let's see. 50 years ago my grandpa could work, be the only source of income in the home, pay for a car, a house, take his family on vacations, and retire after X number of years working for the same company and moving through the ranks without even holding a college degree.

    Can we do that today? No.

    "What is the middle class?"

    As carlybee so abruptly and succinctly stated:

    "Disappearing."
    Last edited by nobody's_hero; 03-30-2015 at 04:51 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by timosman View Post
    This is getting silly.
    Quote Originally Posted by Swordsmyth View Post
    It started silly.
    T.S. Elliot's The Hollow Men

  18. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by NorthCarolinaLiberty View Post
    It's funny how Democrats like you and your boy Obama don't see middle class as an issue when you're in office. It then becomes an issue to you people when Democrats are out of office.
    Hell, if they can't maintain it, or don't get bribed to maintain it, they either claim that everyone who has a gadget that wasn't invented yet in 1940 is middle class as a result, or deny a middle class ever existed. Or both in the same breath.
    'I prefer someone who burns the flag and then wraps themselves up in the Constitution over someone who burns the Constitution and then wraps themselves up in the flag.'--Molly Ivins

    'Well, you can get no more liberty than you give.'--Will Rogers



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  20. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by nobody's_hero View Post
    Well, let's see. 50 years ago my grandpa could work, be the only source of income in the home, pay for a car, a house, take his family on vacations, and retire after X number of years working for the same company and moving through the ranks without even holding a college degree.

    Can we do that today? No.

    ................................
    Much the same would be possible today IF a family were satisfied with ONLY the goods and quality of goods available in 1965. Heck I went to high school in a prosperous Michigan rural community. Prosperous yet in 1965 one in ten maybe one in eight of those I schooled with lacked running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, telephone at home. My own folks paid AT&T $3/month for a partyline we shared with 3 to 8 other families. Dad took us on vacations....yeppers a WW2 surplus large canvas tent at a local lake for a week with other families we were tight with. Loved it as a kid and it was a 'vacation' (except for the mom's- cooking on camp stoves while our dad's talked about the Problems down in Detroit and drank beer) but not close to today's expectations.

  21. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by acptulsa View Post
    .............. everyone who has a gadget that wasn't invented yet in 1940 is middle class as a result, .....................
    The giant difference between Today and 1940 - 1960 is the existence of a huge underclass of utterly useless and often dangerous people. Likely 50 million fall in this category and it grows with each generation. If those 50 million were to just disappear one rainy night none would morn their passing and America would be a far better place the next sun rise.

  22. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by oyarde View Post
    Nah , Musk runs a company , he does not assemble vehicles .
    Marxism much?

  23. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by paleocon1 View Post
    Much the same would be possible today IF a family were satisfied with ONLY the goods and quality of goods available in 1965. Heck I went to high school in a prosperous Michigan rural community. Prosperous yet in 1965 one in ten maybe one in eight of those I schooled with lacked running water, indoor plumbing, electricity, telephone at home. My own folks paid AT&T $3/month for a partyline we shared with 3 to 8 other families. Dad took us on vacations....yeppers a WW2 surplus large canvas tent at a local lake for a week with other families we were tight with. Loved it as a kid and it was a 'vacation' (except for the mom's- cooking on camp stoves while our dad's talked about the Problems down in Detroit and drank beer) but not close to today's expectations.
    how dare you put expectations and context into this discussion!!

    watch out, somebody will say you're talking like me and/or you're paid to troll a liberty forum.

    the idea that today's poverty is the choice of consumers and not the fault of government is absolute heresy!

    government took away our choices, that's why we are poor. we used to have ipads when we were born, now we need to wait until we're 15 to have money to buy one. how do you explain that? we used to have 5 cent stores, now we have 99 cent stores, how do you explain that? we used to have 10 cars per family, now we only have 1 car per person in a family.

    look, I even have video evidence.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEvB_ZIWtAg

    Not one slave, not one person begging, not one police, not one protestor, not one woman voting, not one drunk driver, not one person using paper money.

    That all changed, guess how? GOVERNMENT.

  24. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by nobody's_hero View Post
    Well, let's see. 50 years ago my grandpa could work, be the only source of income in the home, pay for a car, a house, take his family on vacations, and retire after X number of years working for the same company and moving through the ranks without even holding a college degree.

    Can we do that today? No.

    "What is the middle class?"

    As carlybee so abruptly and succinctly stated:

    "Disappearing."
    Plus he had a flat screen TV in every room, 200 channels, wireless internet, iPads, new smartphone every year. His kids had cars when they were born, everybody had so many clothes they never had to wash them, they threw them away as soon as they wore it once. He vacationed every month for 3 days each.

  25. #22
    To me, middle class means you work full time, generally don't worry about your next meal, own 1 car per adult in the household; but you do worry about your monthly bills getting out of control, getting laid off, etc. Your immediate material needs are met, but you still have very real financial stresses in your life.
    I too have been a close observer of the doings of the Bank of the United States...When you won, you divided the profits amongst you, and when you lost, you charged it to the bank...You are a den of vipers and thieves. I have determined to rout you out, and by the Eternal, I will rout you out!

    Andrew Jackson, 1834

  26. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by paleocon1 View Post
    The giant difference between Today and 1940 - 1960 is the existence of a huge underclass of utterly useless and often dangerous people. Likely 50 million fall in this category and it grows with each generation. If those 50 million were to just disappear one rainy night none would morn their passing and America would be a far better place the next sun rise.
    Worthless? How do you go about determining the exact value of a human life?
    Quote Originally Posted by Torchbearer
    what works can never be discussed online. there is only one language the government understands, and until the people start speaking it by the magazine full... things will remain the same.
    Hear/buy my music here "government is the enemy of liberty"-RP Support me on Patreon here Ephesians 6:12

  27. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by willwash View Post
    To me, middle class means you work full time, generally don't worry about your next meal, own 1 car per adult in the household;
    At what point in time was an average American family able to buy 1 new car per adult debt free? (I added qualifiers to prevent anybody from saying used cars or cars that last 100 years)

    but you do worry about your monthly bills getting out of control, getting laid off, etc. Your immediate material needs are met, but you still have very real financial stresses in your life.
    I can take that. However, I think "real financial stresses" may better be worded as "optional financial stresses" if your immediate needs are met, the rest are not needs, they're choices.



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  29. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    Worthless? How do you go about determining the exact value of a human life?
    You can't determine the exact value =/= everybody is equal value =/= life has absolutely zero value =/= one life is worth more than a billion dollars

    So what were you getting at?

  30. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by heavenlyboy34 View Post
    Worthless? How do you go about determining the exact value of a human life?
    http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthr...70#post5810670
    "The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety."
    H. L. Mencken

  31. #27
    You know what the problem is? I'll tell you. America is living off it's laurels. Our middle class was a product of enginuity. Those days are gone. If you turn on the television or the radio or even log onto a web page anyhmore all anyone talks about is robbing this guy to pay the other one. Redistribution. But the slices of cake are getting thinner. And nobody is talking about building a bigger cake. Nope. In fact, many oppose it. But look at China and other nations. Their middle class is growing. Why? Because they are making bigger cakes. That's right. 90% of the PhDs in America are foreign born. These other nations are very clear about what they are doing. They understand enginuity. They understand that it is the very premise for prosperity. We've forgotten that. We're a nation of consumers. We produce nothing. Again...we're living off our laurals. Participating in class warfare among each other over the crumbs of yesterdays dessert. Until that changes, get used to it. Turn on the tv or the radio or open any daily bookmark. They won't be talking about the real drivers for prosperity. They'll be talking about wealth redistruibution. And we continue to produce a working force whose only worth, really, is to massage other peoples money. Look how that turned out. We want to sit around bitxching about this guy is a leech or that one is another kind of "ist" or "ism' but we don't want to acknowledge that the very model of our socity is doomed at the rate its going. Not just the middle class.
    Last edited by Natural Citizen; 03-30-2015 at 08:38 PM.

  32. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by PRB View Post
    Marxism much?
    That's funny, coming from a Marxist pretending to be libertarian here. Ha ha ha!
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCount View Post
    ...I believe that when the government is capable of doing a thing, it will.
    Quote Originally Posted by Influenza View Post
    which one of yall fuckers wrote the "ron paul" racist news letters
    Quote Originally Posted by Dforkus View Post
    Zippy's posts are a great contribution.




    Disrupt, Deny, Deflate. Read the RPF trolls' playbook here (post #3): http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthr...eptive-members

  33. #29
    It's a valid point that any definition of middle-class will be highly arbitrary but I don't know why people that supposedly believe in free market capitalism should be concerned about defining "classes", that sort of a thing is the province of communists/socialists; those who believe in free market capitalism should be more concerned about how free the markets are at any given point & how that affects the general level of prosperity.
    There is enormous inertia — a tyranny of the status quo — in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis — actual or perceived — produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable
    - Milton Friedman

  34. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by PRB View Post
    ...somebody will say you're talking like me and/or you're paid to troll a liberty forum.
    Things like this are not what make you so very obviously paid and also a Jewish Democrat. Nice try. Again.
    Quote Originally Posted by TheCount View Post
    ...I believe that when the government is capable of doing a thing, it will.
    Quote Originally Posted by Influenza View Post
    which one of yall fuckers wrote the "ron paul" racist news letters
    Quote Originally Posted by Dforkus View Post
    Zippy's posts are a great contribution.




    Disrupt, Deny, Deflate. Read the RPF trolls' playbook here (post #3): http://www.ronpaulforums.com/showthr...eptive-members

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