I was listening to On Point on NPR* one day last week. Bruce Judson, the author of It Could Happen Here: America on the Brink, was a featured guest. Apparently he's saying that because the middle class feels like they've lost the opportunity to achieve the "American dream," we are at risk for a revolution. I only heard the last half of the show, but others were disagreeing with him, while one caller pointed out that America was becoming like Mexico or Russia -- poor or rich with no middle class.
This is sort of one of my hot-button issues. I know exactly why working class U.S. citizens are not able to achieve the dream. It's because no one considers themselves middle class. Or rather -- no one lives as they are working class/middle class. $100 cable/dish TV, $75 a month cell phone plans, a new car every two or three years, lunch out every day at work and dinner out on the weekends. If someone else (who might make $20,000 a year more than they do) can afford a new car, then it's "not fair" for them not to be able to have one too. And cable? And cell phones with all the bells and whistles? Those are necessities, not something that one could cut out of a tight budget. . . .
In our grandparents' day, those who were striving for the dream -- buying a house, or a bigger house, or a nicer house -- did without luxuries. Today there are no luxuries.
I am fortunate that because of Terry's chosen profession, we have made a good living the last several years. But in the first few years we were married, we made less than most other dual-earning college graduates, and we still lived within it.
The truth is to get ahead, there are sacrifices that one has to make. Sometimes one has gotta give up some of the high life right now to secure that future that they are dreaming about. We can't have it all.
You may disagree with me, but that's what I love about talk radio. It gets me thinking -- sometimes, like in this case, about something that I never even had thought to ponder -- a revolution of the middle class.
EDITED: There's quite a discussion going on in the comments, and I'm trying to respond there. Please read that part of the story as well, and chime in with your own thoughts.
*My dear bloggy friend Dawn just started a new weekly Wednesday feature where she will share or respond to some of the interesting stories on NPR. I've linked to her first one right there. She just finished out a Wednesday series where she analyzed each one of the Bare-Naked Ladies' albums. Even if you aren't the biggest BNL fan of all time (that goes to Dawn), you should check out her Snack Time post, where she profiles their children's CD.