We might think of ourselves as "middle class." But, middle class we ain't. In fact, halfway through one dinner, I proclaimed that we might not think about ourselves as elites but we are.
Of course, me admitting to the world that I am one of the upper-economic-crust is not anything new in this blog. (Here are two samples: One and Two.)
Any which way we slice the data, well, as long as we don't deal with alternative facts, we cannot escape the reality. "The families at our end of the spectrum wouldn’t know what to do with a pitchfork."
This elite in the US is mostly white or Asian (yes, including me.)
The Institute for Policy Studies calculated that, setting aside money invested in “durable goods” such as furniture and a family car, the median black family had net wealth of $1,700 in 2013, and the median Latino family had $2,000, compared with $116,800 for the median white family. A 2015 study in Boston found that the wealth of the median white family there was $247,500, while the wealth of the median African American family was $8. That is not a typo. That’s two grande cappuccinos.Ah, yes, but we are middle class!
The other day, a sales agent told me my credit rating is a "you can buy whatever you want rating." It is, indeed. But that rating by itself is a piece of evidence that I ain't middle class, which struggles to keep itself afloat, which is why their credit rating is not one they will be proud about.
We then turn around and tell the real middle class, and the lower class, that they too can do this. If only! "In America, the game is half over once you’ve selected your parents." If you are a regular reader, then you know you have read this before ... and you are right. It has been one of my favorite ways to summarize the inequality: Choose your parents well!
Recall the old adage that health is wealth? The two are increasingly tied together:
Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease are all two to three times more common in individuals who have a family income of less than $35,000 than in those who have a family income greater than $100,000. Among low-educated, middle-aged whites, the death rate in the United States—alone in the developed world—increased in the first decade and a half of the 21st century. Driving the trend is the rapid growth in what the Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton call “deaths of despair”—suicides and alcohol- and drug-related deaths.Yet, despite all such evidence, because of political ideologies, and implicit supremacist views because they know better than to voice them explicitly, many shrug their shoulders and prefer to interpret the other people's relative poverty as vice: "Why can’t they get their act together?"
You see, when educated people with excellent credentials band together to advance their collective interest, it’s all part of serving the public good by ensuring a high quality of service, establishing fair working conditions, and giving merit its due. That’s why we do it through “associations,” and with the assistance of fellow professionals wearing white shoes. When working-class people do it—through unions—it’s a violation of the sacred principles of the free market. It’s thuggish and anti-modern. Imagine if workers hired consultants and “compensation committees,” consisting of their peers at other companies, to recommend how much they should be paid. The result would be—well, we know what it would be, because that’s what CEOs do.I have no idea how this story will end. All I know is that this story is not unfolding well.