5 Trends That Are Destroying The Middle Class In America

Tyler Durden's picture

Authored by Michael Snyder via The American Dream blog,

The middle class in America has been shrinking for decades, and our leaders seem powerless to do anything about it. Two years ago, the middle class became a minority in this country for the first time ever. In other words, the middle class now accounts for less than 50 percent of the population. But back in the early 1970s, the middle class made up more than 60 percent of the population. I have often compared being in the middle class to playing a really bizarre game of musical chairs. When the music stops playing each month, more chairs are being pulled out of the middle class, and most of us are just hoping that we will still have a chair for the next go around.

Earlier today, I came across a USA Today article that discussed some of the factors that are slowly but surely eviscerating the middle class. I am going to share four of those factors with you, and at the end I am going to add one extra one.

First of all, the article pointed to a decline in manufacturing and the rise of “service jobs” as one of the key trends that is changing the nature of work in America…

‘Once dominant industries, like manufacturing — which paid well even without a college degree — have been overtaken by service sector jobs, most of which are low-paying, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.’

In the old days, even if you didn’t have any higher education you could support a middle class family by working in manufacturing. We were the greatest manufacturing society that the world had ever seen, and Detroit had the highest per capita income in the entire country. But after decades of sending manufacturing jobs overseas, manufacturing’s share of the U.S. economy is at an all-time low and formerly great manufacturing cities such as Detroit have become rotting, decaying hellholes.

Secondly, the USA Today article pointed to the rising cost of a college education

‘The cost of getting a college degree is up more than 1,000% since 1978, according to Bloomberg.’

This is a particular pet peeve of mine, because I am still paying off my old law school loans. We encourage our students to get as much education as possible and to not worry about all the debt, but then millions of them find themselves financially crippled and without good jobs once they graduate. This makes it extremely difficult for a lot of our young people to enter the middle class.

Thirdly, the USA Today article brought up stagnant wages and the rising cost of living

‘Decades of stagnant wages mean both parents must often work to make ends meet, creating a need for child care and elder care that didn’t exist in 1950, for example, when two-thirds of women were full-time “homemakers” aka caregivers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.’

Once upon a time, a single income could easily provide for a large middle class family in America. But today so many families have both parents working, and yet many of them still find it very difficult to pay the bills each month. In fact, surveys have found that somewhere around two-thirds of the entire country is living paycheck to paycheck.

Fourthly, the USA Today article mentioned “the gig economy” as a major issue

‘The gig economy (Uber, Airbnb) has exploded, giving workers more control and flexibility, but fewer benefits or legal protections.’

Independent work and contract work have become major societal trends, and this isn’t going away any time soon. These types of jobs do not typically come with health insurance, retirement benefits, etc. and so this is something that our nation is going to have to wrestle with.

Fifthly, I would like to throw in the decline of small business and entrepreneurship in America. Working for yourself or starting a business have always been ways to lift yourself up into the middle class in this country, but today it is harder than ever to become independent. The government is absolutely killing small businesses and entrepreneurs with rules, regulations, red tape and high taxes, and little relief appears to be coming our way any time soon.

At this point, the percentage of Americans that are self-employed is hovering near the all-time record low, and if we hope to have a thriving middle class ever again we need to get this fixed.

We also need to train our young people for the jobs of the 21st century. At one time we had one of the best education systems on the entire planet, but today our system of public education has become a global joke.

And I am not exaggerating one bit when I say that.

To give you an idea of how badly the quality of our workforce has declined, I want to share with you something that the owner of a small manufacturing company posted in an Internet discussion forum

I own a small manufacturing company. Most of the assembly work is done at a bench, with hand tools. The work is not difficult, but quality and consistency is paramount.


We are entering into our busiest time of year, and steady growth combined with losing one of our senior bench techs has caused me to run some ads (after spreading the word around to friends and associates).


I have been involved in the manufacturing business for about 30 years, and have seen thousands of resumes.


The last couple weeks I have been reviewing a couple dozen resumes a day. What I am seeing now, is stunning and disappointing. When did people stop learning how to compose a sentence? When did they decide that a resume composed of two sentences is somehow complete? The poor level of spelling, grammar, and frankly effort has me perplexed and perpetually face-palming.


So far, I have two resumes that were not immediately round-filed. Just two.


If this is the current state of our potential work force, we are in trouble.

That really resonated with me, because I have heard pretty much the same thing from so many business owners over the years.

Decades of following the “progressive agenda”, and I am talking about both Democrats and Republicans, has been absolutely disastrous for our society.

We desperately need a complete and total cultural revolution, and that means returning to the values and the principles that this nation was founded upon.

If we continue on the same path that we are currently on, the middle class will continue to deteriorate, and our nation as a whole will continue to decline.

We can do better, and we must do better.

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montresor's picture

Until our collective resolve is greater than theirs, there can't ever be much of a revolt.. It's just money.. It's fake.. It's fraud.. It's a joke and a lie that everyone simply chooses to believe.. So don't pay it.. The vast majority of the country is eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition.. What if everyone actually did? What if all the students who can't declare bankruptcy just ran to states that don't allow wage garnishment? Texas, Pennsylvania, North and South Carolina would be the destinations. Students could hide in those states, earn a living, and go bankrupt on all their other debts.. Parents who want their kids out of the house could pay to relocate them to these states knowing they could keep what they earn.  The rent is too high? Then don't rent. Refuse. That's when things will start changing.. When all the rental units are available, when all the homes are for sale, when all the cars are repo'd, when all the debt is unpaid, when all the products are available but not sold, when there are huge games and nobody goes to watch, when there are no people eating in restraunts, when there are no people drinking in bars, when there are no people staying at the hotel, when there are no people fliying on airplanes, when everyone chooses not to go to that awful coffee shop, when everyone uses their satellite dish for target practice..  Then. Maybe. We got a chance. Otherwise it's this bullshit every day.. How much of it are you willing to take? When they say money is power, that's a half truth.. Money not spent, is power.

Kefeer's picture

As long as TPTB have weapons of mass destuction and control of when, where and how they are used and the means to implement those weapons (i.e military and police and blind attitudes of "patriotism"), then there will not be any taking back of America.  

Keep telling young military people they are defending the Constitution and keeping America "safe", knowing it is the exact opposite, they keep the traitors in power.  That is so politically incorrect & charged to say and so ingrained in our society that truth can never surface.

Kefeer's picture

The entire chronology, circumstances and history is the story of a nation that once valued & embraced biblical moral principals that was the pillar of  strength and stability concerning the structure of the family, the roles of men and women, and the value of life.  The structure of the family has been in moral breakdown since the 1950's, perhaps earlier, and as we have embraced feminism and the demonization of men as fathers and the value of women nurturing and making  home, a home, we have abandoned the biblical moral principals in favor of secular/atheistic principals resulting in the destruction of the fabric of society, the family..  

In such a society truth becomes relative to each person's own views of themselves and others and therefore is not really truth at all.  Without a high standard by which to measure truth and determine correct behaviors for the good of society, we are left to define it ourselves and that is always the lowest of standards.

The results are as expected according to the word of God and sadly we are not near the bottom of this downward path.  It will continue in decline and our society will continue to embrace every bizarre behavior and I see the day when pedophilia is repackaged and normalized.

GeezerGeek's picture

What it all boils down to is this: the war against the America of which you write is part of a multi-faceted attack on Christianity.

And guess what. They win, for a while. At least that's what's written in Revelation.

JustPrintMoreDuh's picture

1) Central Banking

2) see 1)

3) see 2)

4) see 3)

5) see 4)



barysenter's picture

TED Lies 


Adios motherfuckers


GeezerGeek's picture

The wrong person died at Chappaquiddick.

Kefeer's picture

"We desperately need a complete and total cultural revolution, and that means returning to the values and the principles that this nation was founded upon." - end


We want the benefits of that path, but not the biblical principals that come with it and therefore we will never return to the past and have only destruction to look forward to except for those in Christ.

meditate_vigorously's picture

Christianity is what drove us off the cliff. Again. Abrahamic religions are evil control systems that rob people of agency.

Lost in translation's picture

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

- Matt 11:30, KJV

There goes your assertion...

Lost in translation's picture

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

- 2 Chronicles 7:14, KJV

T830's picture

We are living the globalists' dream.  Put the commoner so far down, he will never have a whimper of a chance to change/question the system.  Dilute and destoy their culture, values, and principles, and their history will be erased.  Make the youth unintelligent and impotent.  Complete control they seek, and they are close to achieving it.

Stormtrooper's picture

So, kill all Democrats and Republicans?

barysenter's picture

Haven't you been paying attention? Pit them against each other, sell arms to both sides, make the survivors clean up and make them pay for the clean up. Even if he washes out make Michael Moore a Sargent. Let him heroically lead the first attack.

SmittyinLA's picture

Might start with pretending "middle Class" isn't a euphemism for White Americans, it is.

Yes, state funded and protected invasion and population replacement funding programs work, we have 100 million non white 47% poor immigrant tax parasites and 20 T debt and 200T debt in unfunded liabilities to show for this policy.

Socialist criminal invasion business model works, let's kill it.

GoldRulesPaperDrools's picture

You hit the nail exactly on the head.  The elites have been importing the new population that's used to much lower standards of living to replace white Americans who want and have some expectation that their standard of living will go up, if not for themselves at least for their posterity.  When you're used to living out of a broken-down car in Mexico or Guatamala anything here in the U.S. is a big step up, so those are the people they want to replace whites.  That is, people for whom the term `poor` has a whole different definition than for American citizens.  Of course the vast majority of those `new Americans` simply drain the system of resources while adding nothing (or very little) to the tax revenue base given they don't make enough money to do so (or they get paid totally under the table and pay NO taxes whatsoever).  But, as the elites like to say: `They do the jobs Americans aren't willing to do` without the important caveat: `WITHOUT US HAVING TO PAY MORE TO GET THOSE JOBS DONE`.  And when the debt bomb explodes, the business owners will be sitting in their gated communities laughing at the peons killing each other for basic nessecities.

dot_bust's picture

But, according to the BLS (Bureau of Labor Bullshit), the U.S. is at full employment.

That's true if you don't count the 102 million Americans not currently in the labor force and if you double- and triple-count jobs and count part-time jobs as full-time jobs.

govtsucks's picture

I agree with his last point about small business owners being at a disadvantage due to rules and regulations. And much of that comes from the state and local level, such as occupational licensing.

However, the rest of his argument is BS. America is manufacturing more than ever, they're just doing it with fewer employees. Why should a high school graduate be entitled to a $25-30 per hour job with lavish benefits? Is it possible that said worker doesn't produce enough to justify that wage?

People living paycheck to paycheck? I'd like to go over their monthly budgets and see how much money they're squandering on things they can't afford and don't need. Hundreds a month for cell and cable. Constantly ordering takeout and buying $5 lattes. Drinking and smoking and buying lottery tickets. Buying a $35K car with a seven year loan, or worse yet, leasing it.



Secret Weapon's picture

How about zero percent interest on their savings?

Deep Snorkeler's picture

The middle class is declining because:

1. the economy is no longer productive- it's a click-fraud,

phony value, criminal system.  Return on investment too low.

2. labor unions died, class consciousness with it.

3. cheap, plentiful, high quality oil is gone.

4. technology has plateaued

5. no one values education, ethics anymore.

6. passive TV viewing and high school define intellect.

InnVestuhrr's picture

America is doomed to decline by coercive collectivism, globalism, importing poverty, and gummint's refocus on harvesting the earnings of the productive to buy the votes of the failures with entitlements.

If you allow socialists to live, then you condemn yourself to death, the same as if you allow cancer tumors to live.

The only escape from America's inevitable collapse into misery is to eradicate the coercive collectivists.

kenlej's picture

This is the history of Comeys crimes and how he got away with it                                              http://www.dinardaily.net/t63687-detailing-the-commission-of-comey-crime...

mosfet's picture

The middle class being eradicated is an extremely reliable precursor to every era where governments went into a debt spiral by recklessly inflating their currency supply.  Highly recommend reading the free ebook Guide to Investing in Gold & Silver.  It's one fo the better & more entertaining books that give a great background on the history of government currency manipulation and what to expect during each phase.

mary mary's picture

1. FED creation of money out of thin air, destroying Middle Class savings.

2. Immigration, flooding labor markets, pushing wages down.

3. Equal Opportunity, depriving Middle Class workers of opportunity for advancement.

4. Welfare, taxing Middle Class to death, and flooding labor markets, pushing wages down.

5. Never-ending growth of regulations, stacking the deck against Mom-and-Pop businesses, to advantage Giant International Corporations.

Catahoula's picture

Add dope to the list

Lostinfortwalton's picture

I think the new idea of education, which is still being formed, is to earn a trade and then go to college, possibly at night. The construction worker becomes an architect. A plumber becomes a civil engineer. An EMT tech eventully makes his way to becoming an MD. Colleges need to come to grips with the fact that they cannot keep shoveling out graduates with degrees in sociology, psychology, anthropology, ect., because there are just no jobs in those fields and getting a job is one of the many goals of becoming educated. Especially after the student has racked up thousands in debt.

Centerist's picture

This is what has happened to the middle class.

They vote for the incumbents who they lambast as the dumbest of the dumb and then gripe about what their duly elected officials are inflicting upon them.  They even support the importation of more third-world low-wage workers by reelecting those who allow it to happen.

And then they gripe about our divisions even as they demonize the segment of society that pays the lion's share of the tax bill (the top 50% pays 90%), even as they talk about what else they want the guv'ment to give them on someone else's dime.  Of course, they don't care to acknowledge that if the top 50% had every dime taken away that the bill for all that they want still wouldn't get paid.  But they fall for the false promises of the incumbents they vote back in every 2 and 6 years because they still harbor hopes that some magical saviors will give them college degrees, mansions and Ferraris for free.

The politicians know that their constituents want free shit, but they also know that you can only squeeze so much blood from the top-50% turnip, so they use The Fed to generate boat-loads of counterfeit currency to give their screaming masses the free shit that they demand because there is no way to collect the kinds of taxes needed to actually pay for all of that as we go.

And then the people complain about The Fed--that evil and nasty entity that fucks them all over and serves the "evil corparayshunz".  But without The Fed, they wouldn't have their "free" shit.

Oh, and don't forget about the garbage on which they love to waste the money that they don't have.  Five figures of debt later and nothing to show for it but a pile of obsolete electronics, clothes they don't wear anymore, a six-year-old car that still isn't paid off and a bunch of broken-down vinal and veneer-covered particle board furniture to show for all of that useless credit, they act as if someone held a gun to their heads to put themselves in that situation.  The Fed lets them do all of that.  It doesn't force them to, but it lets them.

**Sarcasm On-->If people would just stop being so divisive and reach across the aisle, we would be so much better off**

**Sarcasm Off and Serious Again--> The bottom line is that a lot of Americans just need to look in the mirror.  Stop waiting for a savior, live within means by living smaller for a few years while you save, and do something for yourselves.  If people just spent less on crap that they don't need and used less credit, then prices would come down, and people would be living better than just paycheck to paycheck.

If you want the guv'ment to do something to fix your problems "for free" then you'll be saddled with the problems that The Fed brings well into perpetuity.  And the false saviors that you vote into office will only have The Fed as a means to give you what the top 50% don't even have enough money to pay in taxes even if you took every dime of theirs.  It's that simple.

Raging Debate's picture

Centerist - The Fed is supposed to be politically independent and take away tbe punch bowl. But this has always been a load of shit. Just like your entire comment. Bubble creation is enabled by the Fed. The Treasury could do the same without the vig but it is a very convincing fig leaf for unecessary spending and taxation by inflation. And you wonder why Congress wont end it! Lol. 

 Politicians act like there Santa Clause. But like Santa he doesnt really exist. What happened is they got rich and you got a 3rd world country. That Ikea or truck may have attracted a mate, in India its a little gold bling even as most spend 90% on basics. If you cant afford a politician to shut out competition, gives tax waivers etc by bribery and graft the saying 'you deserve the government you get' is a falsehood. You even had a corporate group that front ran the idea of citizens pooling resources to buy there own politicians (Citizens United). 

Every person wants free shit or to work the least for the most. And every person has there vice. If it isnt the hooch, sex, drugs and rock n' roll variety then it tends to be busybodying and getting rocks off on power. There is a small minority of guys I know that got older and now just play a round of golf and read the newspaper. But they were involved in one of the above when younger. 

 So you either don't know what your talking about or being disengerous. Which one is it? 

Centerist's picture

I know exactly what I'm talking about, and I'm not being disingenuous.  You said that The Fed is supposed to be apolitical, which it is, but the idea that it is supposed to take away the punch bowl is completely flawed.  It created the punch bowl.

Go back, and read my comment again.  I don't praise The Fed.  I deride it.  But I stand by my comment about the people choosing to live under the circumstances that we have.  They are the ones who want the free shit, and they vote accordingly.

Either they vote for no more incumbents and end The Fed, or they can just quit their whining about the circumstances that they've created for themselves.  It's as simple as that.

jharry's picture

It's ironic that the deeds this country was founded upon included murder, mayhem, slaughter of triibes (by weapons and disease), theft (eg. Jackson's Tennesee real estate interests), slavery (e.g. white and black and brown and red), and the wanton destruction of nature (eg the buffalo, forests, grasslands). 

We're the land of the free, but nothing is free.

Our values which you appeal to as a middle class solution and deeds which created the middle class conflict dramatically.

As we follow the sun through the cosmos, we now address those problems.

The oceans are the Earth's tears.

Chipped ham's picture

The real and only reason these conditions exist?

August 15, 1971.  

Without printed money, liberalism isn't possible. 


Nolde Huruska's picture

1.) Purdue Pharma
2.) Janssen
3.) Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals
4.) Depomed
5.) Mylan

Aireannpure's picture

8% of the ecomony is engaged in manufacturing, 2% agriculture. Modern ideas and mature markets. We just do not need all this unskilled labor and certianly college educated debt serfs. Stop all immigration, deport all the illegals and muslums. Restore the male/female family. Punish divorce. Celebrate and subsidize stay at home mothers. Kill the porn industry. Close all the casinos.  Overhaul K-12 education. Punish fat people with a health tax. You MUST have a moral code.... the list goes on....and we all know it.

Aireannpure's picture

8% of the ecomony is engaged in manufacturing, 2% agriculture. Modern ideas and mature markets. We just do not need all this unskilled labor and certianly college educated debt serfs. Stop all immigration, deport all the illegals and muslums. Restore the male/female family. Punish divorce. Celebrate and subsidize stay at home mothers. Kill the porn industry. Close all the casinos.  Overhaul K-12 education. Punish fat people with a health tax. You MUST have a moral code.... the list goes on....and we all know it.

Deep Snorkeler's picture

Prostitution the New Middle Class Career Path

Prostitution is when a woman sells her body for privilege and security.

Economics is when a woman sells her body for money.

Psychology is when a women doesn't sell her body but shows it to cats.

Religion is when a woman sells her body to atheists.

Sociology is when a woman sells her body but no one notices because she is alienated.

Existentialism is when a woman cannot sell her body because she's not authentic.

innertrader's picture

THE "FAIRTAX" would absolutely destroy everything the NWO socialist have been doing to America and other countries around the world.  To a HUGE DEGREE, THE FAIRTAX would make us FREE AGAIN!!!

THE "FAIRTAX" is a bill before congress, please read it!!!  The more you read the more excited you'll get!!!  Unless your on the gov. tit!




Last of the Middle Class's picture

Two things. ALL entitlements must be paid by someone! It's a fact, Jack. Nothing is free (other than Fed printed QE, but that's another story) and 2. The next income level up from the entitlement class is the hardest hit as they have the least or no buffer from which to recover from after paying for entitlements. That next class up is the middle class and political solutions of corporate/government actions intended to do nothing more than support the elite ALWAYS end up with more entitlements as it passes the politicians (for their reelection you see) leading to a double whammy on the middle class. In short corporations and government are your problem.

Sanity Bear's picture

upvote here if you also knew who the author was just from the headline

didthatreallyhappen's picture

6. democrats are racist.  they despise the middle class, they despise white people, the despise the USA

smallbedbug's picture

Gangster. rappers...and sports...

wobblie's picture

What do all these items have in common? They all involve sucking money out of the real economy which accrues to the short-term interests of the ruling class.

decline in manufacturing and the rise of “service jobs”
Cheapens labor for the aholes up top.

rising cost of a college education
More money for the revolving door higher ed adminstrators, like Larry Summers, and their propagandists "professors", "economists" and "scientists", and institutions.  And helps to put more obstacles in the way, making it more difficult for the masses to challenge their masters.

stagnant wages and the rising cost of living
stagnant (and declining) wages are the price for cheaper production costs, while rising cost of living is raising prices for ever greater profits.  

“the gig economy” as a major issue
A modification to employment so that you are cheaper. No benefits, no profit sharing. "Flexibility" no pay when you are not needed. A vast improvement to costly wage labor, what with benefits and all.

decline of small business and entrepreneurship in America
The ruling class would like nothing more than for you to believe that "rules and regulations" are a problem. But that because the higher orders want rules and regulations out of the way so that they can continue doing the above. The real problem is, due to the above, most people don't have money to investment, besides the high interest rates people pay on the cards without which they might not even keep a roof over their heads. Wall St and the big corps don't want you coming up and competing with them.

Like the founders recognized that the British government was a big hinderance to their own power, so too should the lower order individual view the oligarchs as a big hinderance.

Just common sense.



passerby's picture

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free.”...  they should fit right in.

Cycle's picture

The new 1040KISS to bring back the middle class,


a) Total income from ALL sources: ____________

b) Number of dependents + 1 = _____________

c) Multiply b) by $45,000* = _________________

d) Deduct c) from a) = _____________________

If d) is negative you do not owe any tazes.

e) multiply d) by (whatever it takes to balance the budget) 0.5? = _________

Send a check for e) to the IRS.


The new 1040KISS and  it fits on an old fashioned index card.


*adjusted for inflation + 1%

Sid Davis's picture

You don't need to listen to all the bull coming from the mouths' of politicians to determine if you live in a free country; they will lie in any event. Just look at the distribution of wealth in the country they rule, instead.

If wealth is distributed in a normal "bell curve" fashion, you live in a free country. A normal distribution by definition is a large middle class, i.e., the man standing in the middle has an average amount of wealth. This was produced by people acting freely in a free market.

If wealth is distributed in a skewed fashion, you live one form or another of a slave society. When the distribution is skewed, the few have most of the wealth and the many live in or near poverty; rulers have introduced a system that enforces laws to interfere with free trade, distributing wealth to those who enjoy advantage in the rigged system. The government managed systems like feudalism, fascism, socialism, and fascism are designed to force most people to act against their own self interest; wealth is regulated into the hands of those who the laws favour and in the process of skewing the distribution of wealth, productivity is also diminished.

Leftists along with monopolists, are promoters of slavery, and this is why the middle class is disappearing. The chief characteristic of a slave is poverty, i.e., he has been driven out of the middle class into the underclass. The chains are invisible; the chains are the laws which rig the economy.

wobblie's picture

Stop being so stupid. You only give cover to the scum who are running things.

Otherwise what's the point? Big bad socialists?

Grow the fuck up.

Vonhoff5's picture

Forget the wealthy, the politicians themselves have created an enormous safety net for ... themselves! Time and again it comes up: politicians need to be equally accountable to the rules thy write for the rest of us. No special healthcare, they get what we get. No retirement plan for life whether you are a one term or five term elected official. You get a 401k like the rest of us.  They need to be held accountable. Instead, they distract you with fights over mostly non-relevant debates so 'we the people' won't hang them on butcher hooks.