The recent conversation around University of Michigan student Jesse Klein’s column on being middle class has been fascinating. Klein’s family makes $250k a year and lives in a $2 million house. But it’s not an enormo-house, because that’s $2 million in Silicon Valley.
This graphic from the Wall Street Journal is amazing. The article does point out that tax increases coming out of the fiscal-cliff deal will affect all workers—because of the end of the payroll tax holiday—not just those whose taxes on wage income and investments are going up. But the graphic sticks with the six-figure folks, all drawn to look rather put upon.
What does "middle class" mean if it somehow applies to most of the country? And if we are all middle class now, what are the implications?
I posted recently about how the rhetorical category “the middle class” seems to keep growing (even as the actual middle class is shrinking). Then I read Jon Ronson’s article in this month’s GQ. Ronson profiles six people—actually, five individuals and one family—who represent different spots on the U.S. income scale, giving a glimpse of “how to live on $____ a week.” It’s a solid premise, and Ronson approaches his subjects with empathy and a dose of righteous indignation. But I was startled by his methodology.
Drew Westen is right: Obama would do well to name the villains in the economic story he tells the American people. But the villains aren't individuals; they're powers and principalities.