Disappointed with Rich Trumka, AFL-CIO's new president's choice of words, middle class?

see www.aflcio.org

"Because today the American middle class isn’t being squeezed: We are being crushed. The mirage of prosperity through borrowed money has dissolved—and now we’re left with the reality of a hollowed-out economy and a broken financial system."

He is right about the state of the economy but why does he think his membership is "middle class?" The letter he sent noted:

"John Sweeney has renewed our commitment to organizing, restored our voice in government and reminded us that organized labor isn’t just an institution; we are a movement."

My best guess is that most of the people in Sweeney's old union, the SEIU which pulled out of the AFL-CIO last year (2 years ago?) make less than $10/hour.

Ten bucks an hour is middle class? Our owners have castrated the labor movement by substituting the word, "middle" for "working." 100 years ago, we had rich people, working people (the working poor) and the poor people (the mostly non-working poor?). Now days we have rich people, middle class, and people on welfare.

No one wants to admit that they are "working class" and that is killing us. Half the people who came through Ellis Island "went into service." 100 years ago the middle class were doctors, lawyers, engineers, small business owners and most of them had live in servants. They were maybe 15% of the population with 80% being poor and working poor, the rest, stinking rich.

I propose that (in general) any family that needs two working adults to pay the bills is a working class family no matter what the politicians call us. These days I would classify a family "as middle class" one who paid all the bills with one person's salary and who could afford to send their kids to good private schools.

The husband and wife who work full time to pay the bills and call themselves "middle class" are fooling themselves because they are economically no better off than a working poor family was 100 years ago. They may be living easier but this is because of increased productivity, not because of economic status.

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Not sure I follow

Shouldn't "middle class", "upper class", etc be delineated by how much of the population falls into various percentiles of wealth?

Yes, but Americans don't understand the difference between mean

income and median income. The median income is around $45K/family but just read someplace that the top 1% receive 50% of nation's annual income. Numbers like that are easy to say but hard to comprehend. Income distribution is probably as skewed as in France before the French Revolution.

The BIG difference between then and now is that because of produced productivity poor people have the same sorts of consumer goods as the top 1 per centers but at a much lower quality. Does a person with $10 million income EVER stand in line? (except maybe to get communion but I wouldn't be surprised if they had the inside track with God at least in this life)

The BIG difference between

The BIG difference between then and now is that because of produced productivity poor people have the same sorts of consumer goods as the top 1 per centers but at a much lower quality.

Well, a much lower something. Rich people with their ten thousand dollar outfits certainly have clothes that are much more expensive than mine. But there's only so much you can do to make a shoe a better shoe before you hit a kind of plateau. Yeah, you can increase the price of the shoe by threading gold thread through it, but it doesn't exactly make it a better shoe.

Do people with the fancy clothing have a much higher social status than I do? You betcha. But that's social status. That's not intrinsic quality. You buy expensive clothes to prove you have the money to do it, and that works well. Point proven: you're rich, and you're high status. But setting status issues aside, how much better is the most expensive clothing really?

I recall it said that a Rolls Royce engine is very quiet. I don't doubt that in the days before the Prius, a whisper-quiet engine was a fantastic status symbol. But how important is it, really? Riding in the Prius when it's running on batter power is pretty cool, but it's not exactly a life-changer, now that a silent engine is no longer a status symbol marking you as super-rich.

Status is of course very real and very important. People with high status live longer, etc., or so I've read. But it's distinct from the intrinsic quality of physical goods.

No better off than the working class family of 100 years ago?

The husband and wife who work full time to pay the bills and call themselves "middle class" are fooling themselves because they are economically no better off than a working poor family was 100 years ago.

I'd say that's very far from the truth. They are wealthier in many ways than some that would be called rich 100 years ago. If they "need" two incomes to pay the bills its because the bills are for a much wealthier life style than the working class, the middle class, or some of the wealthy lived a century ago.

OK the nature of poverty has changed

In the civilized countries the nature of poverty has changed due to increased productivity. In the US people die of fat, not starvation. Poor people have every sort of consumer product that rich people do but at a lower quality. I suppose that makes everything OK.

Abuse of the system

My husband and I both work and bring home a fairly good income. I own a small business (restaurant) that employees 20 employees and my husband has his own job. I consider us to be middle class income.
I would say for the past 15 years with the price inceasres in EVERYTHING its almost to the point a middle class income person may be better off being in the low class income. In the past 28 years I have seen the system being badly abused.

1.Free medical: Someone with free medical runs to the doctor on a whim. Someone without free medical only goes when necessary(even if we can afford insurance there is still a deductable that needs to be paid.)
There is a huge problem with pharmaceutical drugs.
They get their drugs free or I guess they have to pay $3.00. Then they go out and sell their pills so they really don't need a job or they don't need to work as hard. They need to work some so they are entitled to that fat earned income check every year. One story I know of for a fact. This guy with one month script paid his rent and bought a pretty decent used car. He doesn't work but his wife does. He lays on the couch or is in the bar playing gambling machine everyday.
The people buying the pills are people with decent jobs but they are becoming so addicted to pills that they too are going backwards. Some of these pills cost $50.00 a pill and are very addicting.
There are mothers that puts her kids on adderall only to get them free and sell them each month.

2.Food Stamps I have seen it over and over, trade food for drugs,cigs,booze etc.... or hey today were having a party so I have $200.00 left on my food card I will buy the food. Doesn't matter if we don't eat the rest of the month.Its not like the old days where the mother cooks a home cooked meal or cans food for the year from the garden, now days everything is pre packaged for the Microwave,twice as expencive and very unhealthy. If there is going to be a rule about restaurants making people fat they should take a look at what some familys are cooking at home and why can't I collect food stamps in my restaurant so I at least get some return on my tax dollar.

3. In the state I live in car insurance is not required,so if your low income their is no reason to buy insurance. You have nothing to lose.
But they don't seem to have any problem filling the gas tank so they can ride around all day.

MY OPINION!!! Poor income familys today do have it so much better then in the past. If anyone of the people that abuse the system ever had to live in the old days when you had to count on yourself to get off the couch and do everything possible to support your family,they would have so much more pride and feel so much better about themselves.
Don't take me wrong. There are familys that need help and deserve help. I don't mind paying for the ones that make efforts to do better for themselves. It when the bars,drugs etc... come before the children
and people make remarks that indicate the system owes them a living is when I feel abused. People are only getting lazy with the system today.

Good stuff. Most people who

Good stuff. Most people who bother to post online don't really seem to have a clue how anybody lives outside of a narrow range. How many eyewitness accounts does one find about how people are actually using subsidized medications? In the past several years I don't remember anybody revealing what should be obvious in retrospect: people receive heavily subsidized drugs only to resell them at a profit. I know so little about what goes on and this is a healthy reminder.