The Middle Class Is Dead

Historians tell us that the United States of America once boasted a fabled "middle" class of residents. They were not too poor; they were not too rich; they were just right. Crazy—but allegedly true.

That all seems so distant now. The socioeconomic distribution-of-wealth curve has gone from being a smooth one-hump camel to a gnarled two-hump camel. The idea that the bulk of the benefits of our nation's political and economic policies should go to a large group, rather than a small group, is distinctly foreign now. Why did we ever think that would work? I can't remember.

The mushy middle is boring. Unambitious. Non-trepreneurial. Downright unAmerican. America is about extremes—of ideology, of policy, of class. By catering to the extremities, we can starve the middle of its sustenance, and watch it disappear. The middle class is America's belly fat. Get rid of it!

Middle-class public schools educate the majority of U.S. students but pay lower teacher salaries, have larger class sizes and spend less per pupil than low-income and wealthy schools, according to a report to be issued Monday.

Sticking the middle class with shitty schools is a good first step. Combined with the complete collapse of the American industrial and manufacturing sectors, we're shrinking the middle class and its attendant sense of opportunity quite nicely. The complementary step is for corporate America to stop marketing products to middle class consumers. Why would they? It's all about the "long tails" at the very top and the very bottom now. We're all tail and no rat! Go, WSJ:

P&G's roll out of Gain dish soap says a lot about the health of the American middle class: The world's largest maker of consumer products is now betting that the squeeze on middle America will be long lasting...

A wide swath of American companies is convinced that the consumer market is bifurcating into high and low ends and eroding in the middle.

Oh, you might be able to point to the extant remainders of the middle class now, but just give it a little time. We have become and will become ever more so a nation in which a vast economic underclass caters to a tiny upper class that possesses the lion's share of the wealth, which it gains to selling goods with built-in obsolescence to that underclass, which still believes, wrongly, that it can approximate the middle class lifestyle by falling into debt in order to purchase consumer goods which create the shared illusion of superficial prosperity.

In the Middle Class Museum rests the sarcophagus of a mother and father with public high school educations who raised a family and sent their children to college and retired at 65 and did not die in debt. History is full of wonders.

[Photo: AP]