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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Burticus's picture

Of course, there's always Plan D.

But, this time, I need to figger out a way to avoid losing all my silver again in a tragic sailboat mishap.

bytebank's picture

What is doing well in the US? Making 100 Grand? 150? 200? Depends where you live I guess but if you take the mean costs then income relative to expenses is way down.

When you factor in housing, cars, taxes and education costs and food the old numbers make no sense anymore.

C9H9N's picture

I could write a book on this topic. We are seeing the effects of having it to good for too long. Most I meet would rather avoid any exposure to the truth. They're to stupid to realize that the only way to change this without terrible pain, is an informed, active citizenry. So we WILL collapse. It is only a matter of a few more years. This is a human trait. Struggle-success-Katelin Jenner-collapse-Struggle----
This shit at the top knows this. BTW-watch Four Horsemen on YouTube. Also OBEY..Or just search LETS STUDY REALITY PLAYLIST.
The C9H9N Team

mendigo's picture

The Fed destroyed

- home value

- higher education

- small business

- manufacturing

by making infinite leverage infinitely available

TeethVillage88s's picture

>Rape of Poor/Middle Class by Politicos
>Rape of Student Class
>Rape of Poor w Usury, Credit, Payday Loans, Fake Mortgages
>Rape of Factory Workers, Service Workers, Tax-Base,
>Rape from Inflation/Deflation of USD/WRC
>Rape of Savers/Small Businesses/Fixed Income Families/Retail
>Rape of Equities Investors/Housing Investors/Securities Investors

I guess MSM can spot a trend 47 Years after a trend.


1) decline in manufacturing and the rise of “service jobs
2) rising cost of a college education
3) stagnant wages and the rising cost of living
4) the gig economy” as a major issue
5) decline of small business and entrepreneurship in America

DCVoyeur's picture

Ever hear of supply and demand?  When you supply 15 million plus blue collar workers into the country willing to work for 1/3 the wages of an American worker and without rights or benefits what do you expect.  It destroys the working class wages and benefits.  Even those PS middle class who think this is not a problem since they have a college degree are wrong since lowering wages at the bottom impacts their salaries and the economy as a hole due to circulation of money.  Even the middle class technical class has been devastated with the special work visas.  Disney fired 250 well payed IT people and hires the same number of Indians for less wages who are willing to work 70 hours a week.  There are 1 million of these visas taking 1 million high paid jobs away form American workers.  Then people wonder why college graduates cannot find well paying jobs.

It just warms the hearts of the PC people since these are brown faces and PC people hate themselves.  It also warms the hearts of the Republican business class since they do not need to pay a decent wage. 

sam site's picture

The US has been severly handicapped by an avalanche of toxic poisons since 1980.  The globalists have doubled their vaccine schedule and have snuck into our food supply debilitating GMO foods since 1996, using cancer-causing Roundup.

They have been spraying us like bugs with chemtrails and have poisoned our water with industrial fluoride waste.

The poisoned sheeple don't have a clue what is going on, can't think clearly, or complete a decent resume as you say and cling to their Big Brother savior - Big Government - that has been commandeered at the top by the very globalist foxes that are guarding the henhouse.

The globalist handicapping agenda using vaccines, fluoride, GMOs and chemtrails to insure a compliant, dumbed down public that is unlikely to figure out, much less to organize and oppose all the parasitic deception and manipulation rackets and operations our globalist controllers are running.

This handicapping operation is the basis of their domination.