Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Myth of the Middle Class

Welcome to Washington, DC - the US capital.  In this tale of two cities (Northwest and Southeast DC), the median income disparities could hardly be greater ($29k vs. $140k).  Yet residents in both Georgetown and Anacostia regard themselves as "middle class."  Why?

This fine RT report rightly points out that real wages are stagnant or declining in all income sectors except the very top - yet does not address the underlying mythology behind the "middle class" in America.  In some sense, the notion that the growing levels of wealth depreciation and poverty have not disrupted the "average American" is a necessary illusion; the masses will be kept subservient and docile so long as they believe that they are, relatively speaking, doing just fine.  Only a few "fringe" politicians and economists are wiling to admit that the center is falling out of America, creating an inverted bell curve of the have and have-nots.  So long as most Americans believe they are "middle class," they will concede ever greater wealth and power to a small group of elites who continue to widen the disparities in income (at the expense of everyone else).

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