The Devolution of the Middle Class

I was looking at old family photos the other day. Pictures of my grandparents, great aunts and uncles, cousins show people at home, working, traveling, spending holidays together. One thing that struck me was how so many of my family had homes (some they built themselves), land, time and money to own a car and travel. None of them made a lot of money. Most of the families had a single wage earner with a modest job, but their work paid enough to own a home, some land, maybe a cabin in the woods. Most of them had a radio, later a TV, fine china, good clothes (again many of them made their own). These weren’t rich people, at least not monetarily, but they had enough and a little more. And they were able to do a lot to provide for themselves.

Family in 1934, on vacation in Colorado.

Times have sure changed. The middle class has been nudged more and more toward the poverty line. Or the poverty line has been nudged up into the middle class. Many families have to have two wage earners just to hang onto a home, if they can afford to buy where they live. Add to that clothing, food, medical care, transportation, communications for three or more people, not to mention pets. It gets expensive. And then there’s being able to afford an education at a college or university. It’s amazing how much it’s changed, and changed for the worse.

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