Monday, May 11, 2015

Why Politicians No Longer Speak About The Middle Class

Politicians have been using euphemisms in their campaign speeches to describe Americans who are in the middle of the income distribution.  They prefer terms like "Ordinary Americans",  "Hard working Americans" "Everyday Americans" etc. instead of "Middle class Americans".  That is because many Americans in the middle of the income distribution can no longer afford the middle class life style that was associated with membership in the middle of the income distribution.  They can't afford day care, vacations, or a college education for their children.  Consequently, the term connotes anxieties which politicians wish to avoid.  The economy looks more like an hourglass than it used to look like with a bulge in the middle.  Most of the growth in new jobs is in the lower segment of the distribution, and most of the growth in income and wealth is concentrated at the top of the distribution.  The middle class is shrinking, and many Americans expect that it will continue to shrink.  We will always have "ordinary, hard working, everyday Americans".

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