Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year
We just got more evidence that the middle class in America is dying. According to brand new numbers that were just released by the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $30,000 a year. Let that number sink in for a moment. You can’t support a middle class family in America today on just $2,500 a month – especially after taxes are taken out. And yet more than half of all workers in this country make less than that each month. In order to have a thriving middle class, you have got to have an economy that produces lots of middle class jobs, and that simply is not happening in America today.
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It’s 7:35pm when I walk into our apartment. There’s a message from Sallie Mae on the house phone. Please call us at 888-xxx-xxxx, the robotic voice commands me. I owe upwards of $120,000. “FUCK YOU, SALLIE MAE,” I shout, and erase the message. Only bill collectors and my mother have that phone number.
I picked up a carton of eggs on the way home so we can have some protein in the morning, to fortify us for our working poor/middle class jobs at which we toil every day. The eggs were $3.99 at the gourmet food store so convenient on the way home. It was a bargain to me because they were marked $4.89.
I only have cash because I just came from an undisclosed public location in Manhattan where I sold an expensive box of beauty product for $50. The fancy cosmetic potion retails for over $350.
I exchanged a small black grocery bag with the sealed box inside for two fivers rolled in two twenty dollar bills. I shoved the cash in my pocket–as I have done many times before, and then stood in the cold listening to the buyer talk about how tough times are here, but also in Russia, where he is from–there it is so much harder. I listen, everyone wants to be heard after all, but my hands are almost numb. “I’m cold and gotta get home,” I tell him. He says he has a New Year’s gift for me. Like I said, I “know” Gregor Samsa from the many times I’ve sold things to him, for cut-rate priced cash deals at our usual undisclosed meeting place.
He hands me a bar of chocolate, manufactured by Nestle, but written mostly in Russian. “For Men” is printed on it and below is a subtitle which Gregor says reads “keep away from women” and then turns it over to show me the icon of a woman figure (wearing a skirt and holding a purse so it’s got to be a woman) encircled in red and with a slash through it. “It’s not even a joke,” he tells me, “they sell it at all the grocery stores in Russia.” He knows I will dig it because I am a lesbian-feminist. He knows this–and appreciates it–because my real name is on my email and he has Googled me.
Finally, I excuse myself and disappear into the subway to count the money and head home.
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