The most over used phrase in this election is the "middle class". I've struggled to understand the meaning of that term, as I'm not sure it is necessarily the same as the median class of this nation.
I'm scared of Mitt Romney, because I know I'm not in his interest group. Lately, however, I feel as if I'm probably not in Obama's target audience either. I also don't think I'm alone in this.
Though it may seem far from the media image of America, me and 75% of my fellow Americans make less than $50k dollars a year. Nearly 50% of us make less than $25k dollars a year.
Middle class problems seem different from the problems a lot of us face. They may be underwater on their house, which is their biggest source of wealth. They may also be behind the curve in terms of retirement savings. They have watched their incomes flatten and health care premiums rise. Those are certainly not good things for the middle class.
But what about the majority of us, who have no assets to speak of. Screw underwater on houses, we're just treading water in our lives. We rent. We pay bills as our paychecks allow. We aren't drowning in debt, we are just drowning in the cost of living.
The poverty line in the US is really quite low in relative terms. You can be poor without actually being poor quite easily. You can leave the grocery store with less than $50 dollars till next payday, and still be above that line.
Sure, you can say more education, but are there really 200 million better jobs sitting out there for college graduates? Is incurring a new student loan or adding on to existing student loans really going to pay off on this scale?
The New Deal brought about a thriving middle class in America. The Great Society was supposed to extend that prosperity to the lower class. Now it seems like we as Democrats given up on the latter. We're just trying to hold onto that 18% or so we consider to be the back bone of this country.
That doesn't seem like big thinking to me. I don't want to rich. I don't need a big house. I don't have to send my kid to a private college. I just want to be able to get a month ahead now and again. Is that really beyond the American promise?