Middle class isn't just income or consumption; it demands a toehold of ownership of real assets that offer security, not a lifetime of debt servitude. Today only 10% of Americans are 'middle-class.'

Posted by freedomforall 2 weeks ago to Government
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"Defining the middle class is a perpetually popular parlor game because it's well-known that the foundation of widespread prosperity is a broad-based middle class and a sturdy ladder of social mobility that enables those below the middle class to work their way up to middle class security.

Here's an example of a typical trope on the subject: What Does It Take To Be Middle Class?

The topic is also a perennial favorite because the middle class is losing ground. By basic measures of income, it's slipped from 60% of the populace to 50%.

A strong case can be made that assessed by characteristics of middle class security and prosperity rather than income, the middle class has effectively shrunk to 10% of households as only the top 30% of households earn enough to afford what was within reach of the top 60% in decades past.
Regardless of income, households that are living paycheck to paycheck don't qualify as middle class if we qualify "middle class" by these characteristics:

In Why the Middle Class Is Doomed (April 2012) I listed five "threshold" characteristics of membership in the middle class:

1. Meaningful healthcare insurance (i.e. not phantom coverage that only kicks in after thousands of dollars are paid in cash).

2. Significant equity (25%-50%) in a home or other real estate.

3. Income/expenses that enable the household to save at least 6% of its net income.

4. Significant retirement funds: 401Ks, IRAs, etc.

5. The ability to service all debt and expenses over the medium-term if one of the primary household wage-earners lose their job.

I then added a taken-for-granted sixth:

6. Reliable vehicles for each wage-earner that are fully covered by insurance.

Author Chris Sullins suggested adding these additional thresholds:

7. If a household requires government assistance (SNAP, Medicaid, rent subsidies, etc.) to maintain the family lifestyle, their middle class status is in doubt.

8. A percentage of non-financial hard assets such as family heirlooms, precious metals, business equity, rental income property, land, etc. that can be transferred to the next generation, i.e. generational wealth.

9. Ability to invest in offspring (education, extracurricular clubs/training, etc.).

10. Leisure time devoted to the maintenance of physical/spiritual/mental fitness.

Correspondent Mark G. suggested two more:

11. Continual accumulation of human and social capital (adding new skills, expanding social networks and markets for one's services, etc.)

And the money shot:

12. Family ownership of income-producing assets such as rental properties, bonds, etc."
SOURCE URL: https://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2023/11/whats-it-take-to-be-middle-class-now.html

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  • Posted by $ blarman 1 week, 5 days ago
    Not a bad list - and definitely the class of people elitists are actively aiming to disenfranchise/enslave. Why? Maslow's Hierarchy gives us a clue: people start looking for more cerebral pursuits only after basic needs are met. If you can keep someone so destitute they have no more foresight than their next meal and bed, you can keep them enslaved.
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  • Posted by mccannon01 1 week, 6 days ago
    This is an eye opening article. I always thought my wife and I were solid middle class, but not so sure now even in retirement, especially when one considers a financial bubble pop that can wipe out our IRAs. It doesn't matter that everything we "own" is paid for and we do not carry credit card debt when one considers the enormous increases (especially lately) in property tax, school tax, home owners, car, and medical insurance, utilities, groceries, and the god awful costs in maintaining the house and cars. Maybe I'm just whining because we do have it good and are better off than many, but if things keep going the way they are we will be joining them.
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