Is The Middle Class Disappearing?

One of the issues U.S. politicians often use to pander to voters is to talk about the disappearing middle class in this country. It’s not so much that the middle class is disappearing……. it’s just getting more and more difficult to distinguish the difference between the poor the and middle class. A thriving middle class is what seems to be disappearing.

 

I have been aware for quite some time that a small minority controls the vast majority of the wealth in the U.S. but I’d never actually seen a visual representation. Someone recently showed me this video that gave me a whole new perspective on the degree to which the wealth distribution in this country is skewed.

 

 

What I find even more fascinating than the statistics themselves is the way some people respond to them. A common knee-jerk reaction from people with a strong sense of “fairness” is to “eat the rich”. Eliminate their tax write-off’s. Increase their taxes. Do whatever it takes to punish them for being success. Exactly who is that supposed to benefit? You cannot build a healthy middle class by simply tearing down the upper class.

 

Who Told You Life Was Supposed To Be Fair? 


 

If we’re going to examine these statistics rationally, we need to throw out this notion of “fairness.” Increasing income taxes on one income class or reducing the taxes on another does nothing to shift the distribution of wealth. In fact, even if the government collected all of the money and distributed it evenly among every family in the U.S., the statistics would end up very similar to what they are today within a only a couple generations. Why is that?

 

Lets look at a couple different scenarios


 

Have you known anyone who received an unexpected cash windfall of somecash kind? Perhaps from a lawsuit or an inheritance? I’ve seen this happen several times with very similar results. After about 6 months, the money is gone with very little to show for it. We live in a society where most people demand instant gratification which creates habits of spending every dollar they can get their hands on as quickly as they can get it. Throwing more money at a spendthrift won’t solve their problems, they simply waste money on a higher level.

 

On the other side of the fence, you have people who started with nothing and built great fortunes. They lived below their means, practiced delayed gratification and invested in their education. There are people in the media and politics (most of whom are wealthy themselves) who love to demonize the rich. What they always fail to mention is the fact that some of these people sacrificed, worked extremely hard and paid the price to become successful. It rarely happens overnight.

So, What Happened To The Thriving Middle Class?


 

To a large extent, the thriving middle class in the U.S. was a product of theIndustry Industrial Revolution and the concept of mass production. At one time, the majority of the U.S. population either worked on a family farm or within some kind of family business.

Factory owners needed a way to entice people to leave their family businesses if they were going to build their industrial empires. A steady paycheck, benefits that were not available to self-employed people and a pension that would take care of them for the rest of their lives proved to be quite effective.

 

The Trap Had Been Set


 

Within only a couple of generations, parents began encouraging their children to get a good education and build a great career working for others. Lets face it, getting a job is much easier that building a business from the ground up right? Many employers have taken advantage of the fact that most of us were raised to think this way. Since employers usually have more job applicants than job openings, they don’t offer squat! It’s not that they can’t afford to, they just don’t want to!

WAKE UP!…….. The Industrial Age Is Over!


 

I have said this to people who insist on pissing and moaning that the good, high paying jobs are gone. People always seem hell bent on blaming whoever the President is at the time, but the President has almost nothing to do with it. (If you think I’m wrong about this, tell me why I’m wrong!). The fact is, spending your life working for others hoping for generous annual raises and a nice fat pension is an industrial age idea. An idea who’s time has come and gone.

 

We Are Now In The Information Age

 

You have probably heard the saying “when one door closes, another one opens” Too many people continue to bang their heads against a closed door not even realizing that they are staring right at an open door everyday! Everybody knows that money is being spent online everyday, but I don’t think many people realize how massive this marketplace is because it’s mostly an invisible economy. People are creating wealth at unprecedented rates by building their own online businesses. Embracing the information age is probably the best and possibly the ONLY hope we have of building a thriving middle class ever again.

 

Can The Government Really Fix The Middle Class? 


 

The short answer is…..NO! Well….. maybe they could, but it really isn’t in their interest to do so. You see, a financially thriving society isn’t dependent on their government and the government wants you to be dependent. This is how they increase their power. They offer a little security in exchange for a little freedom.

 

Some wise words from the First American - Imgur

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Do You Think?

 

Should the government be doing more to fix the middle class?
Or should the middle class fix their own problems in spite of the government?

 

Please leave your comments in the box below.

 

24 Comments

  1. Max

    What an insightful article. I don’t know if whether or not the government *should* be doing something to fix the middle class is even relevant–it’s clear they aren’t. I am also a big believer in the entrepreneurial spirit and fixing your own problems. When an economic or social problem becomes overwhelming to us we look to see what the government is doing about it instead of asking what we can do. If we fix our own little circle of life the rest will take care of itself. One way or the other.

  2. terry bandy

    My partner and I stumbled over here from a different web page and thought I might check things out.
    I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to going over your
    web page again.

  3. PeterGK

    Extremely thought provoking commentary. Your use of the term “delayed gratification” reminds me of my upbringing – a time when you had to save (and wait!) to get what you wanted. The Einstein quote is a beauty and applies to virtually every challenge modern society faces.

  4. Cindy

    I don’t believe our government can or is interested in changing a thing. That’s fine with me as it has been my experience that many of their “fixes” make things worse. Yes, our government likes to create dependency. As a result, people thing that they have no power so give up and become apathetic. This is by design. I say that is up to each individual to chose to empower him- or herself. I appreciate that your site helps people toward this path.

  5. Alissa

    What an eye opener! I had no idea the distribution of wealth between the middle class and the wealthy was that staggering different! The middle class is definitely disappearing, and the Government SHOULD do something about it. But, like you said, “it really isn’t in their interest to do so.” So true! We are indeed in the Information Age, with an “invisible economy,” that has the potential to be very profitable. The middle class does need to embrace this fact and break the mold that they have become so accustomed to. Step up! Take action! This has to be done if they ever want to have any chance of breaking through.

    Thank you for opening my eyes to this Steve.

    All the best, Alissa

    • Steve

      If the Government was to decide to do something about it (something concrete and not just pay lip service) then they should either do it, or get out of the way! Every time the Government gets involved in almost anything, they provide a little temporary relief that turns out to be nothing more than a shell game that ends up hurting the very people it was designed to help! Thanks for leaving your opinion here 🙂
      Steve

  6. Jennifer

    Wow, I have spoke to a few people about this on a number of times. This article is sooo true!! I count my self as middle class, however we struggle with our finances.

    I had to look at making more money from home to be able to make ends meet, I couldn’t afford to work out side of the house due to no subsidy, because we supposedly make to much! No way I could work a part time job with a min wage and be able to afford the daycare cost.

    Times have changed and now is time to start fending for our selves…

    I like what you said about one door closes another door opens. In some cases those who don’t want to change the door always looks shut.

    But for those who are eager to change, the door always swings both ways…

    Thanks again Steve… Great Job!!

  7. Peter

    Great article and so well written and right on the money (pardon the pun)If only more people though like you the middle class would be alive and kicking instead of waiting as they are for the Government to fix things. But it’s the Government “fixing things” that has got us here. I agree with you its never been a better time to start an online business and build our own future. WA can certainly do that. 🙂

    • Steve

      It seems to me like “government fixes” only compound the problems they claim to be fixing. People don’t seem to realize that security and freedom are two sides of the same coin. When you get more of one, you sacrifice some of the other. However, the amount of sacrifice is not proportional. The amount of freedom lost is often greater than any security gained.

      Steve

  8. Katerina Markakis

    Hello there!
    Amazing website and great post! We are very quickly moving to the age where simply there is no middle class. In a few short years (if not today) we will be living in a world where there are only poor and rick people. I cannot say whether I like this or not but all I can say is that we are all responsible for ourselves and no government is to be blamed for our financial or otherwise problems. We certainly live in the information age and we can thrive if we decide not to be lazy and to risk!
    I will close this with one of my favorite quotes.
    “All men are eual before God and before the Law.
    All men are equal before God and before the law but it is nonsense to say that they are equal otherwise. There are a hundred ways in which people are not equal, in which they never will be equal, no matter how many laws are passed. Mediocrity is the price we pay for complete equality. If there is one thing our country needs today, it is to rid itself of mediocre—and find for itself—superior citizens, superior businessmen, superior fathers, mothers and wives, superior statesmen”
    Conrad Hilton

    Thank you for this post!

    • Steve

      The best quote I’ve ever heard on equality is “We are born equal with the right to become unequal”. The problem is, too many people want the government to step in and make things equal. It has never worked in the past and there’s no reason to believe it will work in the future. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  9. Leo Emery

    Hey Steve,

    Sure the government can do more to help the middle class.

    But instead of waiting for that to happen, it’s time to take things into our own hands and help ourselves.

    Yep may sound harsh but bitching and complaining that the government is not doing more is getting people nowhere.

    The government does not care about you, never have never will.

    There is so much opportunity available online for people. And the great thing is you don’t need a war chest of money to start building a thriving business. The reality is you can get things started for free.

    But don’t be fooled you’re going to have to work for it. And no, it’s not going to be easy, and no it’s not going to happen overnight.

    But if you focus and dedicate yourself it can happen.

    But here’s the rub.

    We live in a entitlement society. So many people think the world owes them something (everything).

    Guess what? The world owes you absolutely NOTHING!!

    And it’s that mental attitude that is holding a lot of people back from achieving everything they want to achieve. They just don’t want to work for what they want.
    Sure they say they do, but when it gets into the thick of things many people quit. That’s why you have successful people and why you don’t

    Look I get it, things can seem unfair, but like you said life is not fair.

    Here’s how I see it.

    Once you’ve finished bitching and complaining about your lot in life, or what the government is doing or not doing.

    What you do next is what really matters.

    If you decide enough is enough and it’s time to take matters in your own hands and change your destiny. I’m right there with anyone who chooses that path.

    And for me you’ve earned the right to bitch and complain because you’ve stepped up and you’re making changes. Making things the way you want.

    Not waiting for someone else to change things for you. And while on this path of change you’ve earned the right to bitch and complain.

    Because believe me it’s not going to be easy, but nothing of real value to achieve is.

    But after the bitching and complaining if you’re still doing nothing, not making any attempt to change things. Then shut up.

    No one ones to hear it anymore (I don’t) you have no right to bitch and complain because you’re not doing anything to make any changes in your life.

    Until people stop telling their victim story to themselves and to others, nothing is going to change in their lives.

    I come from the age of if you want something, then you put your head down your tail up and you work for it.

    One of the hardest things you can do is believe in yourself.

    But once you do, nothing that anyone tells you, nothing that the government does or does not do for you, will stop you from achieving everything you want to achieve.

    Want a middle class? Then it’s up to people to work to get it, just like anything else.

    Just my two cents. Great article Steve.

    Cheers
    Leo

    • Steve

      The whole sense of entitlement is a huge problem. This is why you see people picketing outside of fast food restaurants demanding $15 per hour to flip burgers. If you were to ask them how they plan to add more value to their employers business, you’d probably get a “deer in the headlights” reaction. Everyone wants to know where the piece of the pie is but nobody wants to be more valuable. Thanks for the thorough comment Leo,

      Steve

  10. Andres Santos

    I think the middle class should fix its own problems. Forget the government. Look at all the money they’re pouring into the welfare system. In my opinion, they want us to be poor so we can keep relying on it. Could it be that the middle class is disappearing because they are doing something about it and starting their own business to join the upper class? That’s what I’m doing.

    • Steve

      I agree with you 100% on that one. They keep people dependent so they can keep and multiply their own power over our lives. Americans need to work harder than ever if they hope to get out of the mess we’ve been put in but unfortunately, this entitlement mentality only seems to grow dependence.

  11. Peggy

    Hello, Steve. What a great article! I too don’t think the government is concerned about the middle class.
    The saying the rich get richer and the poor get poorer is so true and it will continue to be that way.
    I really don’t know what can be done, just continue to work and pay taxes, then die. That’s about it!
    Thank for sharing,
    Peggy

  12. Lynne

    Brilliant post here Steve. I am in South Africa and the difference in standard of living is huge. We have so many under privileged people here and because of the level of education it will be hard to improve this any time soon. We also have a huge amount of low income families and then the elite few that are wealthy.
    I like what you said about instant gratification. I have heard a number of people say that if a poor family won the lottery today they would have spent all the money very soon and within a year would be better off and have nothing to show for it. The wealthy get more wealthy and the poor will stay poor.

  13. Lynne

    Brilliant post here Steve. I am in South Africa and the difference in standard of living is huge. We have so many under privileged people here and because of the level of education it will be hard to improve this any time soon. We also have a huge amount of low income families and then the elite few that are wealthy.

    I like what you said about instant gratification. I have heard a number of people say that if a poor family won the lottery today they would have spent all the money very soon and within a year would be better off and have nothing to show for it. The wealthy get more wealthy and the poor will stay poor.

    • Steve

      Yes, wealth creation is more about your thinking than it is the possession of money. People are going to need to change the way they think because the government cannot and will not ever fix it.

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