Thursday, March 4, 2010

Question of the Week.....

Thursday, March 4, 2010....



I've decided to make Thursdays my "Question of the Week" day because I always have questions and am always interested in people's answers.


This Week's Question: Do you think with the current economic conditions in the US, we're becoming a society in which the 'middle class' will be eliminated?

If you've read my profile, you know I've been unemployed for a very long time (not going into the trials and tribulations of job searching here), but I know I'm not alone.

I hear and read all about the home foreclosures, layoffs and senator from Kentucky who holds up Congress with his 'no' vote on extending the unemployment benefits (luckily, he gave up - turd).

This all has to take a toll on the people experiencing the misfortunes of the economy and after draining their savings and 401ks do you think the US is becoming more a nation with just a rich and poor class with the middle class dying off?

25 comments:

Actual Scale said...

Just because there have been a lot of people who have lost their jobs & their homes doesn't mean there aren't an equal number of us out there still working hard & paying our bills.

We're a single income family & def. "middle class" but we've worked hard to pay off our credit cards (cash only now) & refinance our home to take advantage of the lower interest rate. We've always worked hard to build up our savings to create a safety net if a job loss were to occur. We cannot prepare for every event, but we've done as much as we can.

I think middle class will always exist. There will always be someone who doesn't make enough to be 'rich' but isn't 'poor' enough to qualify for government assistance either.

Charlie's said...

Maybe not eliminated completely, but it certainly is shrinking significantly. I'd say that the past 10 years or so have made it harder than ever for the American middle-class to be financially secure.

maria.palermo said...

Middle class has been eliminated as far as I'm concerned. This country is made up of the RICH and BARELY MAKING ENOUGH TO GET BY. Enough of partisan politics, we all need to reach a common ground and fix the mess this country is in. Stop shipping jobs out of this country and create opportunities here. I could go on, but why bother...no one listens....

Brian Miller said...

like actual, we worked hard early on to eliminate debt. glad we did, because we went from comfortable middle class to well below the poverty line. still work hard, but all that is in the area are part time jobs or others i dont qualify for, the housing market sucks and though we have a relatively new house, in a great area, with a good bit of land it wont sell, so we cant move. alternatives, let them take the house and figure it out from there, but then it mars my credit and could inhibit getting a job. so yes, we do get govt assistance, but only in the form of insurance for our boys. all that to say...we still live a happy life for the most part...but soon enough i will be forced to make decisions i never really wanted to...

Eyegirl said...

The country is in a tough situation, that's for sure. I guess I don't think the middle class will be eliminated in my life time. I know that there are a lot of people being horribly affected by what is happening with our economy, but I think that there is an equal number of people that are still doing ok. I hope things turn around for you soon!

Melanie's Randomness said...

Ohh this economy is insane. I agree with Charlie's answer. It won't completely disappear, but there is definitely no longer 3 distinct classes. I'm the middle class, so I know the difference. I can feel the difference in the economy because it's affecting the middle class the most.

TechnoBabe said...

It's hard to be a regular person in this country. From our perspective, we see the people with the health insurance and good incomes voting against those benefits for the people who do not have that much income or insurance.

Yankee Girl said...

I hope the middle class doesn't evaporate because I am in the middle class and KNOW I won't be getting rich any time soon.

It is getting harder and harder for us as well. I am hoping there is a light at the end of the tunnel soon.

Beckie said...

Sadly, I see the middle class dissapearing slowly. And I also see that as it dissapears, people are getting very highly discriminatory and judgemental as well.

Ever since my husband and I got married, I was working two jobs and he was working one. We were barely paying our bills and eating at the same time. Yes we had debt but it wasn't even in the 5 digits. So we got on government assistance, especially after I became pregnant. I then faced society and it's "I hate Welfare and the people on it" attitude. I was judged and criticized the entire time on it and the longer I was on it, the more I wanted off. Sadly, people have made it that anyone on Welfare would rather starve than be on it.

Now my husband has an incredible job on the railroad and we are classified as rich even if we don't see it that way. We pay all of our bills, new, current and old. And we put as much into savings as we possibly can. We don't go crazy and buy stupid stuff and we aren't on any government assistance anymore. But now we get judged and criticized on being wealthy. My husband worked hard for the job he has and he works extremely hard on keeping it as well, why should we be criticized for working hard and getting ourselves to where we are? Technobabe's comment upset me a little bit because that is purely an assumption. I fight for the "poor" just as much as I fight for myself because I was once there myself. Not everyone who is wealthy is a greedy snob and I wish people would stop making judgments like that.

I'm scared of the middle class dissapearing because it would only draw more of a line with society. The poor and middle class hate the rich because they have money and don't help out much that they can see. Yet the rich judge the poor and middle class for not having a better life and better jobs and more money. It isn't just an economical thing that is effected by classifications of "classes".

And completely off topic but anyone who is wanting a better job and willing to relocate sometimes, always check out the railroads. They are always hiring, they put you through a class to certify you for any job that needs it (such as conductor or engineers) and then you are set with great income, full benefits, and retiremnet for you and your spouse. Canadian Pacific Rail, Burlington Northern Railroad are two railroad companies near where we live. You should check them out :)

Herding Cats said...

I really have hope that things will eventually work out. I think this economy has made huge changes occur for this country, but I think we will bounce back.

Dan said...

No. I think the upper-middle and lower-upper strata are getting moved into the middle class and the former middle class is dropping a few tiers.

It will be interesting to see where things stand in a few years. I have some suspicion that our troubles will be persistent due to being non-competitive in the world markets (contrary to all the partisan political brew-ha-ha).

Sara Ballstaedt said...

I have no idea what is going to happen here...it makes me so nervous. My dad lost his job in Dec, my uncle did about 3 years ago...it's scary
Good luck!

Jane said...

I hope not. Lack of a middle class is really strongly associated with instability in society. I think there are definitely parts of the country that will lose much of their middle class, but I'm hoping it won't be a trend that continues or becomes widespread. It's frustrating - you need a LOT of education to get most decent jobs, and even then, you may be competing with 200 other people for one job.

DB said...

I don't think the middle class disappears per se but I do think it's gotten much less attention these days.

I think perhaps the only benefit of what this country is currently going through is that people are reevaluated what they think they need to be happy versus what they really do need. And that perhaps overall the savings rate in this country will be higher.

Hoping LMB and everyone else reading this blog who are experiencing tough times will see a turnaround soon.

Little Ms Blogger said...

I have to admit, I've enjoyed the comments for this post and last week's Question of the Week post tremendously!

However, I'm sorry to hear some people are really struggling as my heart goes out to you.

I am hopeful this economy picks up soon.

P said...

I don't really feel like I can answer this as the UK doesn't seem to have been hit QUITE as badly as the US in this respect (touch wood) but I have saw a lot of American bloggers I read lose their jobs over the past year or so, so I know how hard it must be. It definitely seems that NO ONE has a secure future at the moment, which is pretty scary!

Adrienne said...

This is such a good question...I certainly say no I just believe the middle class will be more geared towards the lower end of middle we both work but we have only bills we can pay with one salary so we enjoy some extras ans save too but in the event we are a one income family we can survive...I think once things come full circle and we can get out of war and the gloom and doom mind set America will be the beauty she has been for over 200 years ....I don't envy the rich nor pity the poor I am satisfied with what I have and people should live with in their means

Candice said...

No way. Obama would never let that happen. ;)

Green-Eyed Momster said...

I love your questions!

I'm going to comment and then go back and read all of the comments because I could be way off with my answer.

I have had numberous friends lose their houses and most of them moved away because they couldn't find jobs. I know some people who are on the verge of losing their homes and they were considered middle class.

Until construction comes back in this town, the town I live in is going to be poor. We've basically been poor since we've had kids. But, honestly, since the end of construction and growth in our town, we've really struggled!

I can see the middle class people changing. I think some people are becoming aware of what's really important. Money isn't always important but we can't live without it.

Hugs!!

JennyMac said...

Such a tough question and I think this administration started with a bevy of confidence from the American people. I think that has declined since then for numerous reasons. Scary..scary..scary.

Kathleen said...

I don't know. But I sure as heck am terrified of the direction we are going in!

Miss Yvonne said...

I'm not sure...all I know is my husband is been trying to find a job for over a year and we know so many others in the same boat as us...it seems like people are either prospering mightily or hurting terribly. Not much in between these days.

otin said...

I think that all of the classes will remain, but the definition of what is middle class will change. Hopefully things will turn around!

Unknown Mami said...

I think the middle class has been shrinking for sometime now. I also think that many people who identify with being middle class are not actually middle class, they just identify with middle class views, but in reality are upper-poor class.

restaurantrefugee said...

The middle class, and lower class too, have been hit with a double whammy the last decade or so:
1 - wages have remained stagnant, effectively lowering them because of the depressed buying power due to inflation;
2 - housing prices (which are not effectively included in inflation because the formula has not changed since the depression era) were artificially inflated by the increased earnings of the upper class - the only demonstrably provable effect of trickle-down economics

So, uhhhh, yeah the middle class has been substantively squeezed and contracted over the last 10 years in specific, and over the last 25 in general.