At present, the U.S. government defines poverty roughly as a family of four making under $22,000. The rich or upper class are defined as somewhere north of $125,000 per year, depending upon where you look. The government really doesn’t officially recognize the group situated between the poor and rich, but they are unofficially recognized as the middle class.
One of the best descriptions that I found of the people that lie in the middle comes from a 1970 TIME magazine article that wrote, “middle class Americans sing the national anthem at football games — and mean it."
Middle class America does sing the National Anthem. They also vote - in droves. Accordingly, political campaigns target them during election seasons. The commercials littered on TV leading up to election day are all too familiar, like this one: A father is sitting at a kitchen table surrounded by bills of all sorts, from wireless services, utilities, credit cards and mortgage companies. In the background, the mother is slowly putting away the dishes from the night's dinner. And the kids…well, the kids look happy playing in the living room. The camera zooms in on the father as he grips his face and announces that due to cutbacks at his job coupled with new taxes, there will be no vacation this summer. In fact, there will be no more cable TV as we “just can’t afford it.” A political candidate then walks into the picture and proclaims, “if I am elected, I will help cut taxes and create real jobs for the middle class so that American families can have they money that they need – and deserve.”
The Pittsburgh-Post Gazette recently wrote that Pennsylvania Governor Wolf’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year “is an effort to rebuild the middle class by investing in schools, attracting solid jobs and making government more efficient.” Even after winning the election, the Governor is looking to the middle class to sell his economic plan.
The new buzz phrase amongst the political elite is “income equality.” We are inundated with rhetoric about how men make more than women or how one race makes more than the other. Further, it’s about pitting those in poverty against the middle class. It’s about pitting those in the middle class against the rich. It's poor vs. rich. Government and the current leadership in both parties, love warfare between the classes. It reenergizes their base. It refills their coffers so that they can continue to exist. But honestly, they really don’t support any one class over the other one. They love that the classes battle so that they can come to the rescue. The Democrats love to rescue the poor. The Republicans, love to rescue the rich. Both parties target the middle class because of their large voting block. They seem to relish in the fact that the classes get angry at each other so that their agendas can be advanced.
However, the real battle of the classes is…more on Monday….have a nice weekend.