Middle Class Wannabe
Over the weekend I was talking with someone about stuff beyond I-feel-fat and omg-do-you-hate-my-hair and our conversation drifted to the state of the economy. Or, more specifically, about how she heard that America’s economic woes have been caused by all of the programs and services our government tries to provide to the undeserving, lazy, and dishonest.
Oh, you know if we didn’t have to pay so many taxes for welfare the economy would be in great shape.
Um, I don’t mind paying the taxes as long as I know that my money is actually going to services like welfare. And health care, and education, and building of green space, and road improvements.
Well, you know people lie to get on welfare. They lie.
Hmm, I think. If they feel the need to lie they must really be in bad shape. Which means those people are probably in need, even of they don’t “qualify”. Because even with government assistance, welfare families don’t have a fraction of what the growing upper class, or even the dwindling middles class, has.
I recently had a conversation with my husband, talking as we often do about how even though he busts his ass working and has a good job, and while I was working I put away a bunch of the money I made for retirement, and we try to live modestly, we still cannot afford to buy a house. He believed that it was just a another sign that The Man is bringing down the middle class. And indeed, He is. But…
We are not middle class, I told him.
That’s right. We think of ourselves as middles class because that’s what we have always been. We have a middle class mindset- striving for the American dream. We live like the middle class of our parents’ generation. But we are not middle class. In comparison to the rest of America? To the growing number of lower-income families? To the twenty-plus percent of people living in Los Angeles with incomes below the poverty line? Nope, we are not middle class. To all of these people, we are rich.
Rich people in a city with the highest poverty rate in America.