MICHAEL LIND, Salon.com,
Submitted by: Editor
Exposing the fallacy of a vast upper middle class
[Excerpt from Salon.com] For a generation, most Americans have been told by left, right and center that they would be failures if they ended their educations with high school, worked hard, saved cash for emergencies and bought modest homes they could afford. They have been told that to succeed in life they need to ape the lifestyles of the upper middle class that provides most of America’s politicians, pundits and scholars.
The result has been an experiment in social engineering that has gone horribly wrong: the creation of a faux mass upper middle class. Millions of Americans who by objective standards belong to the working class or lower middle class have persuaded themselves that they are part of the professional-investor elite, because they have worthless degrees from diploma mills, negligible amounts invested in stocks, and suburban trophy houses they cannot afford. For the college graduates at Starbucks working to pay off student loans for degrees that they will never use, as for the millions of Americans who are now "underwater," owing more on their mortgages than their houses are worth, the American dream has turned into a nightmare.
An America with a college-educated professional class majority was always a fantasy. So was an America with a majority of affluent day traders. The America we need is one in which all Americans are paid a living wage and guaranteed a comfortable retirement -- even if they didn’t go to a university and don’t own stocks and bonds.
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