Blue Collar Blues by Michael S.

Somewhere in between extreme poverty and boundless wealth lies another group. Some argue that they are the most fortunate. While those of very limited resources struggle daily to make ends meet, and those with too much never escape the desire to have a little more, the middle-class maintains a perfect equilibrium. The porridge is not too cold, not too hot, but just right. At a time, the middle-class was thought of as the backbone of America. One could expect to graduate high school and with no college degree work in a factory for 25 years, earn great money, own a home, support a family and retire with a very generous pension. This was a time when it was not only socially acceptable to work a blue collar job, but honorable as well. As time went on, more and more people felt the need to acquire college degrees. Suddenly the middle-class began to disappear. The fear is that if everyone goes to school to be a nurse or a lawyer, who will work the assembly lines? Who will take out the trash? Teach in our schools? Fix the roads?

Mike Rowe of TV’s “Dirty Jobs” has been a strong advocate for re-branding blue collar jobs in America. While the image in place is that there are no jobs to be had, the truth is that as of 2011 there were close to 450,000 vacant positions in utilities, transportation and other such fields. The problem Rowe says is the poor image put on the working class. “Nobody’s affirmatively against the farmer. But look at the way those industries are portrayed in pop culture. Show me a plumber, and I’ll show you a 300-pound guy with a giant butt crack and a tool belt. He’s a punch line.” In fact, most electricians or HVAC workers can early $75,000-$120,000 annually which coincidently puts them in the sweet spot of what many economists believe is the ideal income level. Rowe concludes by saying “…the idea that a four-year degree is the only path to worthwhile knowledge is insane. It’s insane.”

The truth about the middle class

By: Jessica Santiago

The middle class is a social group in the economic status. They commonly have a comfortable way of living, significant economic security, a considerable workplace and rely on their expertise to sustain themselves. Recently, I have found myself thinking, what is the middle class? Does it still remain the same as what it use to be? Has the middle class become the new poor?

It is difficult to keep track on the economy especially with the changes it goes through daily. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the weekly earnings of a full-time worker in 2014 is $796. Earning this type of money may be a challenge for a comfortable way of living. Based on a research done by the National Low Income Housing Coalition rent has become harder for many. For a full time worker to find a two bedroom rental without spending the 30 percent in rent they must earn $18.92 an hour. Has the American Dream cease to exist?

As a college student having financial aid support and private loans to pay shortly after I graduate I’m feeling worried towards my future. Most people especially college students are oblivious of the unstable economy, the struggles they might fall upon with the social economic norm present in the world. Are students aware of how devastating the economy is becoming? Are we prepare to face the harsh reality of the economy and the money owing?

Barb’s Middle


IMG_1827Middle Class

The middle class are meant to live comfortably most of the time, without the regular pressure of financial struggle. Growing up, I lived with both parents. My father was a tool and die maker and my mother was a waitress. Her profession was not stable and she didn’t always have a job. My father’s income depended on the market. I remember at one point, the demand for airplane parts was so high, that my father was working 80 hours a week and making double his income. There were other times when he was just working a typical 40-hour workweek and hoping for the boss to give him over-time. Being laid-off was also not uncommon for him. I grew up watching my parents work at their dream to have peace of mind and try, unsuccessfully, to put away money for emergencies. They were unsuccessful for several reasons; however I would say that the two main reasons were that many times they were indulgent with addictions and spent unwisely.

They weren’t poor. Robert Reich, former secretary of labor, suggests that the median household income of the middle class ranges from $25,500 to $76,500. When my father passed away 10 years ago, he was making over $50,000, which would make him upper-middle class at that time. That means that when my father was laid off, making much less than what he was used to with overtime, and my mother wasn’t working, we were still middle class. We were still middle class, yet struggled to pay the rent and maintain our quality of life. Smoking five packs of cigarettes a day between the two of them was also a hefty cost. We never had a new car, always rented apartments and did not take family week-long vacations.

Today, I’m considered middle class. I have an autoimmune disease and was out of work 2 years ago for 3 months. Thank goodness I had money saved in an account for myself, because there would have been no way I could sustain my mortgage payments and pay my other bills without it. When I went to apply for financial aid this semester, I was told that because I had money in my savings account I could afford to pay $16,000 a year for my education. Our federal guidelines do not consider expenses and do not consider that everyone should have 3-6 months of savings set aside for emergency situations. As a person working in the financial industry and knowing my potential to be out of work with health issues, I disagree with their assessment.

As my parents were, I too am middle class. I’d been living on my own with roommates from the ages of 18 to 27. I purchased my own condo ten years ago while working two jobs. My boyfriend helped me to pay half of the bills, which helped me to dig myself out of credit card debt. I’ve worked two jobs most of my life until the past 4 years in order to sustain my standard of living. Over the last 4 years I’ve been living pretty comfortably in an 800-square foot condo, vacationing once a year, not worried about paying my bills and without credit card debt. I saved money every week. Then, I decided to finish my college degree and paid cash for my classes and was told I wasn’t eligible for financial aid. My central air conditioning unit broke which will cost me $5,500 to fix and my car died. I cannot afford to pay for all of these large priced items at once. I cancelled cable. I eat out less. I am looking for more income to pay for the expenses knowing I will end up struggling again if I don’t find a way not to overextend myself. After all, I conduct seminars on credit, budgeting and digging out of debt. I cannot possibly put myself back into a situation that I’m teaching others to get out of, can I? I’m middle class and meant to live comfortably. This feels uncomfortable. -Barbara Gunterman

The Middle Class Dream

Khangnhi Nguyen

Middle Class America

My father once told me that his dream and purpose into coming to the United States of America was to become a part of the enlarging middle class. My father wanted a piece of the American middle class pie. To him middle class meant luxury, comfort and peace of mind. My father’s sense of luxury and comfort meant that the home in which his family lived in was stable and had running water. These may seem common place and expected in America today but during his time, these were seen as luxury and only for the wealthy.
Myself, being born in America and being surrounded by, what my father believes is luxury, have a more skewed view on the middle class. If using the American grading system, the middle class would represent the C and B, average or slightly above average. Middle class has no dependence on the government for any help, such as food stamps or welfare. The middle class lives a modest life style but are fully dependent on themselves and could provide for the whole family with their reliable jobs. The middle class is also the main demographic for many consumer goods so to be a part of this demographic, the middle class must have sufficient amounts of disposable income for these businesses to target them.
The middle class is a distant but obtainable dream and being considered anything but that or above would be a travesty for both myself and my family. Being able to provide for my family for years to come, provide for my parents whom have come to a distant land for a better future for me, and having disposable income to spurge on the next greatest iPhone are the End-Game fantasy.
To my father, the middle class was the dream of having running water readily available. To me is the dream of being able to spurge on the year’s newest iPhone.

Middle Class

There was a time not too long ago when the term “middle class” was easily defined, considered to be the level between upper class and poverty. The middle class lived comfortable lives. They worked for a living, maybe both spouses did, but they got by on an income and wealth that was acceptable for supplying for and maintaining a family. Nowadays, the same definition does not necessarily apply.

Instead of living comfortable lives with two spouses working one job and raising a family, many middle class families are forced to work 2 or more jobs on salaries that can hardly pay rent let alone support a whole family. Middle class is no longer a comfortable middle ground that people aim to reach in their lives. Middle class is a pit of uncertainty and blurred lines. You can be basically impoverished now and still be considered middle class or you can be very well off, have a large house, and a high income. The limitations for middle class households have lessened substantially. If you’re making less than a 6 figure income, you’re considered middle class and most people in this world are not making anywhere near a 6 figure income. You’re either a sickeningly wealthy CEO of a successful business or you’re working 60 hour weeks just to put food on the table. The rest is a wide range of different incomes and wealth that are all still considered middle class.

Middle class has basically, in the end, become the new lower class because to be in the supposed middle class is to be so much lower than the upper class citizens. That significant difference in wealth and income cannot be compared by terms so close together. Middle class citizens in the past made more than the middle class citizens of today. So how can they still be considered middle class? If this country were to reevaluate its definition of middle class, they would find that the majority of the people they believe to fit into that standard would actually be closer to fitting into the lower class, impoverished class.​

By Amanda Hoey

Chibs The Middle Class

Chibs Onyebuchi
Middle Class

The middle class to me is the average American. The middle class is someone again to me makes from 20,000 to 60,000 dollars a year. People of the middle class seem to be stuck in the class, or maybe even drop to a lower class if poor life events were to take place, but that being said I believe it is hard and not too often that people raise to a higher class. If such a thing were to exist it must be through doing a great job in college and receiving a well paying job. Again this is hard but it does happen, or you might get the fluke of someone winning the lottery or receive a gracious amount of money through a will. But I believe those who live in the middle class for most their lives would be able to (at least I hope) better manage their money if they were to raise to another class. Like stated earlier this class is a hard working class that some may live paycheck to paycheck; but vastly are the mass of America, they/we are the students, the teachers, construction workers, We are America. We build the economy so that the higher class can benefit, and also the lower class, we built America, this is the only class that America cannot survive without. We are the backbone of our society, America would be able to exist without the lower class, it may be able to exist without the higher class, but without us, the middle class America would die. That is why we must never forget the middle class, that is why we must better the middle class, that is why we should reward the middle class, because America is the middle class, our benefit is America’s benefit.

The Middle Class

The middle class is the driving force behind sustaining businesses. While the middle class is dwindling, the economy simultaneously suffers. When business owners use business as a tool for a more progressive result, they can create a social impact that is more than financial metrics and can, in fact, help positively impact and grow the middle class. With more and more business owners pursuing something greater than the quarterly cycle dollars, their missions will be able to extend the life of the middle class.

By default, the middle class is known to be educated, hard-working and of modest lifestyles. Problems arise on two different spectrums for this class that cause them to lose their placehold in this economic tier. One is when middle class people try to live far wealthier than their incomes allow. With so many people trying to keep up with the Joneses, or more accurately today, the Kardashians, they tend to lose sight of the fact that they do not have the incomes to supplement these types of lavish purchases as their beloved counterparts do. An increasing number of people in this group are throwing themselves into credit card debt to maintain a lifestyle that does not match their income. On the other hand, the second problem is with those that are extremely hard-working and yet are losing their jobs over problems solely associated with our country’s economic downfalls. People are working more hours to earn less, which is hurting them not just on a financial level but also on a humane level.

Prior to the age of rising inequality in our country, nobody aspired to be middle class. The focus was entirely on rich, lavish lifestyles. However, with so many people thrown into poverty, more people are striving to become a part of this declining class. The middle class is hardly what is used to be on both an aspirational level and a financial level.

By: Maureen Smith

The Middle Class


The American middle class I believe is loosely defined. The middle class is a class of working household members that makes a certain income between $36,000 and $57,657 a year. The middle class might not be the ideal place to be if you desire a fabulous lifestyle in Malibu, but it is generally considered successful and can become a comfortable lifestyle and a decent retirement to live out the rest of your days.

By no means is the middle class an easy way of life because it does involve hard work and unless you receive an unlikely high pay an hour to work part time, a typical Middle class person will be working at least 40 hours a week, this might also include ones spouse working the same amount of hours in a week.

The middle class is not only a safe class to live a happy life but it is also the most important. The middle class is the foundation in the United States. The middle class holds together the upper and lower classes. It is said the middle class is slowly disappearing in the United States and with that the economy as well. This should give some hindsight to the importance of the middle class.

The way the system and economy is set up in the United States is strongly based on the middle class. I think the middle class needs to be fixed. Big complaints of the middle class are taxes because most of all the classes are from middle class.

Hopefully the middle class can thrive once again and bring the economy back in good standing. Although the middle class is just a labeled a category, it is the foundation of the American economy.


P. Rivera

The Middle Class

Ashleyris Santos

COMM 345-709/29/14

Blog #3

Every individual has their own definition of what does the middle class mean to them. My way of expressing it, is people who work hard for their money and not relying on the government aid such as, food stamps or cash assistants. Its really the people that bust their butts everyday to make a good and stable living. Middle class is considered to being “average.” In other words, not rich but neither is poor. A family that has a stable income which allows them to have sufficient funds to survive. A middle calss family should be able to have enough food for the family. They should also have safe shelter and be able to support other needs such as clothing. People may or may may not be able to afford a few luxuries once in a while like vacation or going out to eat at expensive restaurants.

I consider my family as a middle class. I have a single mother who raised three girls on her own, me being one of them of course. We do live comfortable but there were times when I was younger that my mother would think about “How are we going to pay this bill or What is there to eat today?” Everyday in my household was a slight different dealing with money. We didn’t eat at restaurants as much as other families would. We would only eat out when it was a special occasion such as birthdays or celebrating one of our success in school or work. Also when we wanted something expensive or not in money range, we would get it but we would have to wait for it first. However, now we do go out occasionally to eat at restaurants, we are living comfortable, all of my sisters have stable jobs and we all can get get things we want and sometimes their will still be a little wait.

The Middle

By Tim Schilling

I have lived comfortably my entire life. My family is not filthy rich, but we are also not struggling. I don’t hear much about money in my house, and I never really ever thought why. Is it because my parents do well enough that we don’t have to discuss what we can and can’t have, or is it that we aren’t doing so well that it could be embarrassing for my parents to discuss it? So when I was asked to define what the middle class means to me, I wasn’t really sure what to say. Is it living in a house just big enough for your family, or a house with two extra bedrooms and a pool? Is it owning all new cars, or keeping the one you bought just five years ago that still works well?

After thinking about it for a while, and still not sure how to define what the middle class is to me, it made me realize: that’s what the middle class is. It is relative to anyone you ask, but the middle class is what I have grown up in comfortably my entire life. The house I live in is just big enough for my family. Until my grandma moved in with us three years ago, we had an extra bedroom. We used it as an office for my mom who works at home. We have a pool. It’s not in ground, but it has a nice deck that goes around the outside. We don’t own any Mercedes or BMWs; we have Nissans and Jeeps that were all made within the last decade. My parents don’t discuss money around me very much because they can afford what we need and a few things that we want, and that is what the middle class is to me.