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The New Working Class Is Not Part of the Middle Class Anymore.

Updated on June 30, 2020
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don is a retired engineer and shares his experiences and knowledge with his readers to help them as technology gets more complicated.

The Mythical Money Tree

Money isn't Free, and It really doesn't Grow on a Tree, it is Earned through Hard Work.
Money isn't Free, and It really doesn't Grow on a Tree, it is Earned through Hard Work. | Source

An Epidemic and our Middle Class

We, as a World; as a global population of Humans; are all experiencing a deadly enemy. At first everyone thought this was just another VIRUS and ho-hummed the news reports.

Specifically, this is a new strain of the common CoronaVirus labeled CoVid-19 that it turned out was virulent and deadly, We all watched those first weeks as it spread in areas of the World, and we were in awe as its death toll grew, rapidly.

What no one wanted to admit is that we are a World economy now and no longer separate isolated nations who could manage their problems on their own.

Over the past several decades, we redesigned our international travel and business systems to allow pretty much anyone to get into and out of any nation with such speed and ease that once we needed to close our borders to this disease the disease had already spread worldwide.

And by the time our different governments were scared enough of this Virus to implement the necessary restrictions that would allow the appropriate examination and care systems to be put in place, this virus was already killing people nearly at will.

As these restrictions were put in place, it also became obvious that the group of Americans that were most affected were those we once called the Middle Class.

Sure, as with all diseases, this one has struck down people from all segments of our population without bias, but the ones most affected has been the lower paid sectors of Middle Class of Americans.

Why? Well, it quickly became obvious that what the most affected portion of our population were those who work in service-related jobs; where they interface heavily with the public. And, as with almost all such transmittable diseases, there are the aging, the ill, and those with existing health problems who are also highly susceptible.

Working Class, Not Middle Class

One thing this virus has begun to show us is fact that our famous Middle Class has been fractured and now we have a new and very large group of our population that we can call our Working Class.

The existence of this Working Class of people should be obvious to anyone who looks closely at the vast numbers of people who are performing certain jobs in our country and around the world.

This Working Class of people often makes the designated national minimum wage or only slightly above this artificially designated pay limit.

Their employers often do not allow them to work a full 40-hour week because our federal and state governments crafted special laws that blocked their rights to the benefits a full-time worker receives, such as; health insurance, 401k plans, and of course, higher salaries.

The people who work as waiters and waitress' are paid a very small salary, or no salary at all, and then they must actually depend on their tips to survive, and even these tips are taxed.

Many Working Class people are laborers that work for contractors who again pay the lowest hourly rate they can get away with and the crazy thing is that they often work under dangerous conditions most of the time.

Many of the lucky ones, will start their own small business where they may have a product or service they can provide for others, often online or locally. They don't make very much money and their income is totally dependent on the public's needs, literally from week to week. Any income they have is demand driven and relies on a strong economy for them to be profitable.

This list of what I am calling our Working Class actually includes numerous other low paid jobs, but the reality is that we have changed out laws so much to the advantage ort the companies that this new group of Working Class people, the one's who keep our nation's wheels turning continually make very little money doing their jobs.

The Lower End Workers in America

Our Working Class needs to be looked at separately from the broader group we used to lump them in with our supposed Middle Class.

You see, we remember our Middle Class as those people who lived in those nice communities with the nice houses and schools, and who may make a much higher hourly wage, or may even be designated as low end salaried workers.

These people drive nice cars and typically they have a healthy 401k savings plan, and they put away enough money to feel they're working towards a comfortable retirement one day.

These Middle Class people are still out there, but they are paid for their special skills and training, that together makes them more valuable to the business' they work for.

On the other hand, the Working Class usually has no special skills other than being healthy and willing to work.

The Working Class doesn't run to the beaches during spring break, we don't fly to France for "a little getaway" and we don't get on our friends yacht for a big sunset cruise party.

No, we go to Applebees, or McDonalds, or maybe Dominos for our weekly dinner out and our entertainment is usually at a lower cost than what people with excess money might enjoy. We often go to these places with our kids as a treat, most often at places where we can have a decent dinner together for a reasonable price.

On a special occasion, we might even go to the local Pub for a beer or two if someone is having a birthday, or is pregnant, or whatever other event we deem worth the money we will be spending.

What this Working Class Needs

Sure, these global restrictions which our governments are putting in place are what seems necessary to control this Virus situation. You know, just make everyone stay inside for the next two (3, 4 ,6, ?? weeks) until the Virus goes away.

The politicians already know that the Middle Class has evolved into these two sectors of workers and if you look back over the past couple of decades you will see that they have passed the laws companies wanted so they could use these people in their business' and make more money, riding on their backs.

And because now these politicians are so desperate over the devastation the world foresees on our horizon, their simple solution is to give everyone a check.

This knee-jerk reaction of handing out checks doesn't change the fact that our Working Class people need more recognition and better security in their jobs, not a temporary fix like a check.

They need jobs that not only pay enough to allow them to survive right now, but they also need such things as;

  • Skills training programs for those who want to learn new jobs and eventually have a profession that is in demand,
  • Benefits like Savings and Health plans that go with them regardless of how many jobs they may work over time,
  • and they need strong world-class Education systems for their children.

The Middle, Working, and Poor Class people

You see, I want to make a point that we now have three IMPORTANT Classes of people who do the Work in our Country, as well as in the majority of of other countries.

I'll not speak to the Wealthy Class who have enough money to do whatever they wish and never worry about what it costs them during this open-ended Virus evolution.

Once we had a large class of people called the Middle Class who were able to save enough money to afford many of the luxuries you might now see when your drive through one of their restricted communities of half-million dollar homes.

They too can afford these restrictions you see our President and State Governors talking about; or at least for a while!

Even though the Middle Class was once in the Middle, between the Wealthy and the Poor, the many protective laws of today have fractured us into multiple groups of people.

Where we could all hope to; buy a nice car, play Golf on a public course, and maybe even buy a small fishing boat, todya only the upper end of the old middel Class can do so.

You see, at some point, and I propose that it was during the Great Non-Depression, ergo, Great Recession, of 2008 was when so many professional and semi-professional and even skilled workers; who had made good money for years, suddenly lost their jobs.

It was a time when people with college degrees had to work as waiters, or truck drivers, or whatever low pay jobs they could find. It was a time when the concept that "any job was better than no job". It was a time when, rather than have a national training and re-education program for these highly skilled people, we let our major industries be shut down as we allowed other nations to literally steal the jobs.

I do not mean to imply that the Working Class should be treated in a special way, only that they are different from what we now call the Upper Middle Class, And without assistance they can quickly drop down and over the economic edge of being called POOR people.

The Poor, Who are they?

Have you ever noticed that noone wants to recognize that we have a growing POOR CLASS of people. No, it's not as embarrassing if they're just lumped into a group of people who are just POOR.

You might ask, just what is a POOR person? Well, they're not in a "Class", per se. Having been one of these "Poor people" in my youth, I feel I can speak to what it's like to be Poor.

Again, I am no economic guru, with years of global financial and social studies under my belt. I am just your average Poor kid who graduated from High School, joined the Navy, and afterwards go married and started taking college classes. I have a degree in Engineering and that's pretty much all you need to know about my credentials.

So, let's talk about what it is like to be poor, but before we do, let's accept that there is another section of the world's population that we can call, not just Poor, but Indigent. These people are starving, they have no homes and they have no buying power, so they are largely ignored by all of the governments of the world.

It sounds simple, but if you don't have "Buying Power" then you don't really exist as far as politicians are concerned. Sadly, the truly poor of the world who receive any organized help, including food and health care, are helped by volunteer organizations.

Rather than get into an argument with someone about what I think is a poor person, just let me list a few of those we poor people know are living on the financial edge and cannot afford these stretched out financial restrictions that are being imposed on us.

Waiters and Waitress'

In most states they get no salary or the get a very low salary because, as the political logic goes, "Look at all of those tips they get". Well, Let me ask you; how many people have gotten their degree in waiting tables? If that were true then it would make me think being a wait person might be lucrative profession.

Supermarket Clerks

I will tell you that there are three groups of these hard working people; the teens, the retirees and those people that can't get any other job. That's right, a teen or college student will apply, work a few months until they go back to school and then they're gone.

Then there are retirees. You see them everywhere you shop; they are putting up stock, they are bagging your groceries, and they usually have a limp or a gimp arm, or bad eyesight or something, but they are all out there every day, happy to have a job that pays anything approaching a minimum wage so they can get by.

Why are they working? Well they're not there because they're ecstatic to finally get a job that they had dreamed of. No, they are working because their Social Security and their SAVINGS just do not cover their bills anymore mostly because here in the USA.

Our congress changed every law they could to take more away from the poor, (Middle Class) changes like;

  • Modifying the COL calculations to be ineffective in reflecting the true changes in the COL,
  • Constantly reducing the coverages and payments for treatments by health systems and doctors, and other selective raping of Middle Class income.

You see, for most of the old Middle Class, their savings were devastated by the 2008 Recession when our government decided Banks had to be saved and the Hell with the people.

The Banks took the money and sat in their boardrooms and laughed their way through the rules for being made even richer as they screwed the working class people paying for those enormous checks they received.

Ask these retirees what happened to them and their money? They watched their life savings melt away. Like myself, they weren't economic experts or financial lawyers, so they never really understood just what had been done to them and their money for a year or more.

These are just a couple of examples, and if you are honest with yourself, you can quickly come up with several other job categories who live at the knife's edge of eating versul just surviving.

The Nouveau Poor

Sorry, I'll not go into the sad and uncared for, hard core POOR in America. I could write a book just on what their world is like, and the many things we as a nation should do to support these people who are truly indigent and poor.

But I will say that their ranks have swollen and are continuing to swell.with the large influx of hard working Lower Middle Class (or working Class) people who have lost their jobs.

What has this CoronaVirus done?

OK, I have finished with my rant over what our government has done to our Middle Class. i had my say, and I hope you all take heed.

You see, a government cannot just keep writing checks to people. I learned i my Economics classes one simple fact; The More Paper Money a nation prints, the less each Dollar is worth. And the less each Dollar is worth, the less it will buy!

This is a simple undeniable fact, and at some point, the bill for this new money must be paid. And, just who do you think will pay that bill? Why, it will be the Middle Class, of course.

So right now, the CoVid-19 virus and its deadly spread has the world's attention, and rightly so.

And presently no one is really worried about this financial cloud over the worlds head to protest these checks that are being distributed. But people, prepare yourselves for a long recession as even more of our money is taxed at higher rates to cover this enormous bill.

As the famous movie line says; Live long and Prosper!

Comments

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    • Don Bobbitt profile imageAUTHOR

      Don Bobbitt 

      3 months ago from Ruskin Florida

      James - I can't dispute your data, nor to I want to.

      My point is this;

      Our specific Nation has people who were once just pushed into this "Middle Class" category and they were a more homogeneous group, but slowly the Working Class (not your Poor Class) is settling to the bottom of the financial spectrum and they are the sector that works from hand to mouth.

      As to your daughter, mine also worked as waitress' and they should be treated as independent business'. Sure, they may make a couple of hundred dollars in tips one night but the next two nights they may only make 50 dollars or less in tips.

      And they are like gamblers, they only brag when the are winners, and they tend to not remember or mention those bad nights of no customers and no tips. This alone is a reason for them not having a steady lifestyle.

      Thanks for the Comment.

      DON

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      3 months ago from Chicago

      The median wage in America is the highest in the world at nearly $50,000. In the rest of the world the median is $4000. You mention that "This Working Class of people often makes the designated national minimum wage or only slightly above this artificially designated pay limit." Only 3% of Americans work for minimum wage and virtually all of them live with their parents. My daughter routinely makes $100 for 4 hours work waitressing in a bar & grill.

      The Obama Administration claimed that 40 million Americans “live in poverty.” But the typical American defined as “poor” by the government has a car, air conditioning, and cable TV. “Poor” Americans have more living space in their home than the average non-poor person in Western Europe; and 42% of all “poor” households actually own their own homes.

      The Poorest 20% of Americans Are Richer on Average Than Most European Nations. The privilege of living in the US affords poor people more material resources than the averages for most of the world’s richest nations. After accounting for all income, charity, and non-cash welfare benefits like subsidized housing and food stamps, the poorest 20 percent of Americans consume more goods and services than the national averages for all people in most affluent countries. This includes the majority of countries in the prestigious Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), including its European members. In other words, if the US “poor” were a nation, it would be one of the world’s richest.

      Notably, this study was reviewed by Dr. Henrique Schneider, professor of economics at Nordakademie University in Germany and the chief economist of the Swiss Federation of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.

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