April 7, 2014

Older and poorer

As a country, we're getting older and poorer with far fewer identifying as middle class, but we've got Facebook.

Richard Fernandez writes this is No Country for Young Men

The Western Left’s biggest lie is that it represents a movement of the young, but it really represents the very old. Their very concerns are geriatric: Marxism, trash recycling, health and safety, public transportation and gossip.

The big giveaway is we as a civilization don’t want to go to the planets any more, because the old don’t want to go anywhere. Imagine clambering into spaceships! The very idea gives us the shivers.
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[T]he future, rather than beckoning to us, envelops us like a shroud. America which was famous for optimism, has sold its birthright for a mess of Obamacare and Obamaphones, like an old couple that have given up sweeping and tending a house that grew too big now that the kids have left. And the general consensus it seems is that the Mexicans can inherit what’s left if only would they promise to bury us when we’re done.
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If any nation might be considered “old” in years, it is Israel and China. Both go back almost to the dawn of civilization.  Untold generations of Chinese and Jews have died. But their culture remains young in that it looks forward to posterity; at least they have not yet turned everything over to some nice young man with the big smile and the natty creases.  Maybe the secret of ancient cultures which survive is that they can continue to care about the future.  And so the Chinese and the Jews still do canals. They do space exploration. The West does Facebook because you don’t have to get up from the chair to work it. 

More Americans see middle class status slipping

Since 2008, the number of people who call themselves middle class has fallen by nearly a fifth, according to a survey in January by the Pew Research Center, from 53 percent to 44 percent. Forty percent now identify as either lower-middle or lower class compared with just 25 percent in February 2008.  According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans who say they're middle or upper-middle class fell 8 points between 2008 and 2012, to 55 percent.

And the most recent General Social Survey, conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, found that the vast proportion of Americans who call themselves middle or working class, though still high at 88 percent, is the lowest in the survey's 40-year history. It's fallen 4 percentage points since the recession began in 2007.

Christopher S. Rugaber of the AP reports:

[N]early five years after the Great Recession ended, more people are coming to the painful realization that they're no longer part of [the middle class.]  They are former professionals now stocking shelves at grocery stores, retirees struggling with rising costs and people working part-time jobs but desperate for full-time pay. Such setbacks have emerged in economic statistics for several years. Now they're affecting how Americans think of themselves.

Since 2008, the number of Americans who call themselves middle class has fallen by nearly a fifth, according to a survey in January by the Pew Research Center, from 53% to 44%. Forty percent now identify as either lower-middle or lower class compared with just 25% in February 2008.

Thomas Lifson comments Self-identified 'middle class' radically shrinks under Obama

Put this another way, the number of people self-identifying as lower and lower-middle has expanded 60%. That, of course, is a Democrat constituency, for people in that class see government assistance (food stamps, earned income tax credit, ObamaCare subsidies, and the like) as their ticket to a level of comfort within shooting distance of the middle class – whom they see as better off than they.
Posted by Jill Fallon at April 7, 2014 12:03 PM | Permalink