Tell Us: Are You a Member of the Middle Class?
This election is about the middle class. Yet, how many of us feel that our station in life is defined by our income?
There was a fisherman on the Cape, one of my former neighbors, who lost his uninsured boat in a storm. He ended up losing his house and moved his family in with his father-in-law. This man, once the captain of his own boat, now worked two jobs: one as a garbage collector and the other as a newspaper delivery guy.
One day while we were chatting and looking out at the Sound he said, "I barely have two nickles in my pocket to rub together, yet I feel as if I am a millionaire. I have the best family in the world. Nobody is going to tell me I am a member of the lower class."
What is the middle class, upper class, lower class, exactly?
America was founded as a democratic society where class was not important and people could move freely among the classes.
Yet, in this election, both President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, keep defining the middle class, mostly using salary as a measurement.
President Obama defines the middle class as household income up to $250,000.
Mitt Romney defines middle income as household income between $200,000 to $250,000.
The U.S. Census Bureau reports median income, the midpoint for the nation, is a bit over $50,000.
Does earning power determine our class? Can you make middle class wages and have an overgrown lawn and cars on cement blocks in your yard? Can you be living paycheck to paycheck, yet have children attending ivy league schools? Can you be rich, loaded to the gills with dough, yet living on a trust fund, never having worked a day in your life? How does that make you a member of the upper class?
Tell us your thoughts on class and income in the comments. And, if you identify as a member of the middle and working classes, do you think anyone in politics on the national stage is fighting for you?