Middle Class Wannabe

April 18, 2011

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.

Excuse me?

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.

Excuse me?

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.

 

 


 

 

 

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14 Responses to Middle Class Wannabe

  1. Elly Lou on April 18, 2011 at 6:59 am

    Yeah, Rocco and I just had a similar conversation. It’s a little mind blowing. And sad.

    [Reply]

  2. subWOW on April 18, 2011 at 8:34 am

    “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.”

    And what you said to your husband? I cannot agree more.

    I have so much admiration for you right now I want to hug and kiss you.

    [Reply]

    thesweet Reply:

    My arms are open 🙂

    [Reply]

  3. CJ on April 18, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I would also like to hug and kiss you for this. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    thesweet Reply:

    Consider this a big hug!

    [Reply]

  4. Leigh Ann (The Twin Spin) on April 18, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    It’s so hard because I can see both sides. My sister is on welfare. She got pregnant and was abandoned by her douche canoe of a boyfriend. Then she lost her job. Good reasons. So at almost 36 years old, she and her daughter are living with my parents, and she’s on welfare. I’m glad in a way because it helps out with the monthly grocery expenses (my dad is the only one working, my mom is “retired,” and I feel like both she and my sister are sucking my father dry), but on the other hand, she IS lazy and not doing what she needs to do if she wants to some day get her own place for herself and her child. Her daughter is almost 2 and she has not once tried to look for a job. She isn’t doing what it takes to even try to support herself, meaning find a even part time job where she can work evening hours so my parents can put her daughter to bed and she won’t have to pay for daycare. Just enough to be able to put a little away here and there and still contribute to the household. But it’s always another excuse.

    I’m glad the system is there to help those who really need it, but I struggle with those who aren’t striving to help themselves and better their situation. But then again, that might be very easy for me to say from my college educated, mortgage paying, SAHM tower (and whether or not I can actually AFFORD to be a SAHM is debatable. But I know I can’t afford 3 kids in day care). Thanks for letting me rant a bit!

    [Reply]

    thesweet Reply:

    I hear you. And I am sure it’s even harder to keep objectivity because it’s your sister. And we are sort of in the same boat because even with only one child, whatever job I took wouldn’t justify the cost of paying for childcare and not being able to spend that time with him. But, that doesn’t keep my from perusing the job market from time to time.

    [Reply]

  5. Alex@LateEnough on April 18, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I love that you own where you’re at financially. I find that so many people say, “The government thinks I’m wealthy” and then launch into how they are so NOT wealthy, instead of realizing that they are classified as wealthy because they have SO MUCH MORE THAN SO MANY PEOPLE IN THE US.

    [Reply]

    thesweet Reply:

    I know,right? I am so bugged by people who pretend they don’t have enough and yet own a second home and a luxury car.

    [Reply]

  6. J on April 18, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    For every lazy, taxes stealing idiot, there’s someone who really, really needs it.

    I can’t help the lazy, selfish ones, but I CAN help those in need. So I chose to. 🙂

    [Reply]

  7. Joanie on April 19, 2011 at 6:50 am

    Once again, you show your compassion and intelligence. Thank you for standing up for those in need and realizing not only what you have, but what others don’t.

    [Reply]

  8. Sandra on April 20, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Not American, but I feel the same way about social programs: I have no problem paying taxes as long as those who need the services are benefiting. Very smartly written.

    [Reply]

    thesweet Reply:

    Thanks! Yay social programs! Boo greed!

    [Reply]

  9. The Big Avocado on May 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I agree. Yay social programs! Yay you.

    [Reply]

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