America’s middle class, that group of people to whom politicians of all idealogical persuasion have relentlessly pandered for the last several decades at least, died at home on Wednesday, December 9, of complications from a disease commonly known as the American Dream. At the time of its death, it was four decades old. The middle class will be missed.
Its death was confirmed by a recent report via the Pew Research Center, which revealed that the middle class is now a minority in this country, since “after more than four decades of serving as the nation’s economic majority, the American middle class is now matched in number by those in the economic tiers above and below it.” Among the things that will surely be missed about the absence of the middle class include its singular ability to provide a strong economic foundation for millions of Americans, one which necessarily included access to quality education, healthcare, and housing. Indeed, the gradual disappearance of the middle class has led to the current state of our society, in which the majority of our citizens are either extremely wealthy or extremely poor; it’s a land of haves and have-nots, with not much in between.
While the causes of the middle class’s demise are manifold, perhaps the one thing which really pushed it over the edge was the rise and fall of the middle class’s longtime partner, the American Dream. The relationship between the two was inherently parasitic, with the American Dream making promises to members of the middle class (as well as to the lower classes) upon which the American Dream could, in the end, not deliver, and left millions of people not only pining for a better future that would never—could never—arrive, but also left them in a financial lurch, as they were encouraged to spend spend spend and gamble on a fantasy no more real than that of 19th century immigrants who were sure American streets were paved in gold.
Some people might think that this report of the middle class’s death is premature, and that because it still exists on a smaller scale than it did before, it is still, in fact, alive. To which we say, ok. We hope we’re wrong. We hope the middle class is not dead and that all the politicians who loved nothing more than to lick the middle class’s asshole during its life, will now, upon hearing the news of its death will seek to implement corrective measures, like increasing tax rates on the extremely wealthy, in order to revive the middle class.
But we’re not holding out any hope for a Lazarus-esque resurrection. We don’t have time for fairy tales. We’re too busy mourning the death of our dreams.
The middle class is survived by an ever-growing upper and lower class, in an increasingly economically stratified nation and world. It will be missed.