Guest Post: Who Destroyed The Middle Class? (Part 1)

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Jim Quinn of The Burning Platform blog,

“Over the last thirty years, the United States has been taken over by an amoral financial oligarchy, and the American dream of opportunity, education, and upward mobility is now largely confined to the top few percent of the population. Federal policy is increasingly dictated by the wealthy, by the financial sector, and by powerful (though sometimes badly mismanaged) industries such as telecommunications, health care, automobiles, and energy. These policies are implemented and praised by these groups’ willing servants, namely the increasingly bought-and-paid-for leadership of America’s political parties, academia, and lobbying industry.” – Charles FergusonPredator Nation



The Federal Reserve released its Survey of Consumer Finances last week. It’s a fact filled 80 page report they issue every three years to provide a financial snapshot of American households. As you can see from the chart above, the impact of the worldwide financial collapse has been catastrophic to most of the households in the U.S. A 39% decline in median net worth over a three year time frame is almost incomprehensible. Even worse, the decline has surely continued for the average American household through 2012 as home prices have continued to fall. Median family income plunged by 7.7% over a three year time frame and has not recovered since the collection of this data 18 months ago. Even more shocking is the fact that median household income was $48,900 in 2001. Families are making 6.3% less today than they were a decade ago. These figures are adjusted for inflation using the BLS massaged CPI figures. Anyone not under the influence of psychotic drugs or engaged as a paid shill for the financial oligarchy knows that inflation is purposely under reported in order to keep the masses sedated and pacified. The real decline in median household income is in excess of 20% since 2001.

The destruction of the blue collar jobs has been underway since the early 1970s. And the relentless decline in real blue collar wages has followed a bumpy downward path for decades. Sadly, the average person doesn’t understand the insidious destruction caused to their lives by the Federal Reserve generated inflation, as they actually believe their wages today are higher than they were in 1973. The reality is the oligarchy has used foreign wage differentials and the perceived benefits of globalization to ship manufacturing and now service jobs to Asia while using their captured mainstream media to convince the average American that this has been beneficial to their lives. Using one of their 15 credit cards to buy cheap foreign goods made by people who took their jobs was never so easy.  I wonder if the benefits of being able to buy cheap Chinese electronics, toxic dog food, and slave labor produced igadgets outweighed the $2.3 trillion increase in consumer debt, 27% decline in real wages, 7 million manufacturing jobs lost since the mid-1970s, 46 million people on food stamps, $15 trillion increase in the National Debt since 1978, and a gutted decaying industrial base.


young wage high school earners

Not only have the oligarchs gutted our industrial base, resulting in enormous job losses among middle aged industrial workers, but they are now in the process of impoverishing the youth of this country by sucking them into crushing college debt with the false promise of decent paying jobs when they graduate with a degree in feminist studies from the University of Phoenix. The fabricated mantra that a college education guarantees a good paying job and a better future is not borne out by the facts. There are over 4,800 institutions of higher learning in this country, with only about 50 considered elite. There are another few hundred top notch institutions, with a few thousand mediocre schools and hundreds of for profit on-line diploma mills exploiting the easy Federal government debt to lure millions into their profit scheme of bilking unemployed naïve middle aged dupes and eventually the American taxpayer. The average student loan debt per student is $29,000. Student loan debt outstanding has risen from $200 billion in 2000 to over $1 trillion today. The Federal Government is blowing another bubble. They are the issuer, regulator and guarantor of these loans. They are making the loans with teaser rates to the ultimate in subprime borrowers – students without jobs going for worthless degrees at mediocre schools. The taxpayer is on the hook for the billions in loses that will surely follow. The payoff for this quadrupling of debt has been an 8% real decline in wages for college graduates since 2000. The monetary policies of the Federal Reserve and bipartisan fiscal policies of our government have led to this dreadful job market for the middle class.


college graduate wages

The mainstream media dutifully reported a few key highlights from the Federal Reserve report and moved onto more important issues like Snooki’s pregnancy and the octomom’s new porno gig. We certainly couldn’t expect business journalists at Bloomberg, CNBC, NYT, or CNN to actually analyze the data, produce an intelligent dialogue of the causes, and reach a conclusion that the affluent and influential on Wall Street and in Washington DC caused the average family in this country to endure tremendous hardship while the oligarchy plundered and pillaged the countryside, stuffing their pockets with ill-gotten gains. Each of the ideological camps within the oligarchy trot out the usual suspects to blame the other ideological camp, while doing nothing to change the existing paradigm. Krugman and Carville are assigned the task of blaming Republican policies and dogma for the demise of the middle class. Obama and his minions already had their press release prepared, blaming George Bush and claiming the median family has made tremendous strides since he assumed command in2009. Mitt Romney (worth $250 million), whose pocket change exceeds the annual median household income of $45,800, feels the pain of the average American family and proposes a tax decrease for billionaires and less overbearing regulation on the honorable Wall Street banks in order to help the average family. It’s nothing but Kabuki Theater as the characters play their assigned parts in this elaborate display. Gary Wills cuts right to the chase:

“Yet while the rest of the populace was suffering, the rich just got richer. In 2009 and 2010, years in which millions were unable to find work, the top one percent reaped 93% of the ‘recovery’ income, and corporations are making more than they ever did. And the Republicans can still propose even further cuts in the taxes of ‘job creators’ whose only job creation has been for their own lawyers and lobbyists.”

What you will not receive from the corporate mouthpieces in the mainstream media is an explanation of where the money went, who stole it and why it happened. The theme from the media is the loss in net worth and decade long decline in household income was unavoidable and due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. This is a false storyline perpetrated by those who have stolen your money. It’s been a bipartisan screw job and it was initiated by Clinton, Rubin, Gramm and Leach, who deregulated the banking system in 1999 by repealing the Glass-Steagall Act, but made it clear the Greenspan Put would always be in place to protect the banks from their own recklessness, greed and hubris. As a result, Wall Street could go ahead and take irresponsible financial system destroying risks in pursuit of vast riches, knowing they could count on the unlimited checkbook of Uncle Sam if things went south, and that’s exactly what happened. Heads they won, tails you lost. It’s good to own the politicians, regulators, and media.

Dude, Where’s My Net Worth?

“Sometime around the year 2010, Xers will hit a hangover mood like that of the Lost in the early 1930s and the Liberty in the late 1760s: a feeling of personal exhaustion mixed with a new public seriousness. The members of this forty- and fiftyish generation will fan out across an unusually wide distribution of personal outcomes, reminiscent of a night at the bingo table. A few will be wildly successful, others totally ruined, and the largest number will have lost a little ground since the days of Boomer midlife.” – Strauss & Howe – Generations – 1991

Neil Howe and Bill Strauss wrote their first generational theory book six years prior to their epic Fourth Turning prophecy. It appears they nailed it. Generation X households saw their net worth crushed, with a 54% loss in three years. The Baby Boomer households also took a beating in this banker engineered financial collapse. The Silent generation has survived this downturn relatively unscathed.  Most of the Silents traded down from their primary residence at or near the top of the housing boom. As Neil Howe points out:

“Most sold or annuitized their financial assets at a much better moment in the history of the Dow. Even if they didn’t, they are more likely than Boomers or Xers to be getting retirement checks from defined-benefit corporate or government plans that are unaffected by the market.”

The Millenials and late Xers did not lose much because they didn’t have much to lose. Most did not own a house or stocks. As the economy continues to deteriorate the generational tension builds. The Silents and Boomers, who vote in large numbers, have not and will not vote for anyone who attempts to reform our entitlement system and make it economically viable over the long-term for young people just entering the job market.



The false storyline about the 2007 through 2010 being an aberration in the long term path to prosperity for the average American family is refuted by the following chart.



This chart paints a long-term picture of generational inequality that has been going on over the last three decades. Over three decades the Silent generation has seen their median real net worth increase by 133%, while GenX has seen their median real net worth decrease by 55% compared to the same age cohort in 1983. Only those 55 and over have seen a real improvement in their net worth over the last 27 years. Considering this period encompassed a seventeen year bull market and the GDP grew from $3.5 trillion to $15.7 trillion, a 450% increase, a few bucks should have trickled down to the average household. Even on an inflation adjusted basis, GDP has risen 125% since 1983. Evidently the economic policies supported by both parties across decades have not floated all boats – just the yachts. Age is only part of the equation. Class is the other piece. There is a class war being waged and the Buffett, Dimon, Blankfein, Romney, Clinton, Koch and the rest of the ultra-wealthy oligarchs are winning. We are now in the midst of a Fourth Turning and the corrupt, dysfunctional, amoral social order will be swept away before the climax of this Crisis.

“Through the Third Turning and into the initial stages of the Fourth, the Silent will prosper, Boomers will cope with declining expectations, and Gen-Xers will get hammered. Throughout history, we have argued, inequality both by class and by age reaches its apogee entering the Crisis era. Indeed, part of the historical purpose of the Crisis is to tear down dysfunctional institutions, vacate positions of entitlement and privilege, rectify the inequality, and create a tabula rasa on which the rising generation can build something new.” – Neil Howe

The reason for the epic collapse of middle class net worth is quite simple when viewed from a 10,000 foot elevation. The great descent in net worth was primarily due to the bursting of the Federal Reserve created real estate bubble. The Case Shiller Home Price Index plunged 28% between 2007 and 2010. The wealth destruction was concentrated among the working middle class because their homes accounted for the vast majority of their household net worth. For the wealthy, housing is a fraction of their vast net worth, while for the lowly poor; homeownership is now only a dream. Of course, between 2000 and 2007 anyone that could fog a mirror was encouraged by George Bush, Barney Frank, the National Association of Realtors, Alan Greenspan, and Wall Street shills to “own” a home. With home prices having fallen an additional 7% since 2010, the middle class has seen a further decline in their net worth. Meanwhile, Ben Bernanke’s ZIRP, QE1, QE2, Operation Twist, and the upcoming “Operation Screw the Middle Class Again” have succeeded in expanding the net worth of millionaires, billionaires and the bonuses of Wall Street bankers, while destroying the fragile finances of little old ladies and middle class risk adverse savers.


case shiller and snp500

Once you dig into the details beneath the thin veneer of Bernaysian obfuscation, you realize the corporate mainstream media storyline of middle class decline has a veiled storyline of a powerful, connected 1%, enriched at the expense of the middle class.

In Part 2 of this three part series I will examine who stole your net worth and in Part 3 why they stole your net worth. Part 4 will require pitchforks, torches and a guillotine.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
mjk0259's picture

Thanks for the article. Every year we are inventing more efficient ways to do things. In the past this resulted in the standard of living increasing. Still does but in increases in China,India not the places where the invention happen. Really sad how US middle class is getting wiped out and at the same time going crazy with adulation for the people that did it to them.

ugmug's picture

Lets face facts, the only economic model that works with socialism is a 'vice' economy.

Pass the booze and hookers to the secret service at the other end of the bar....

Everybodys All American's picture

Globalists ... in every agency and in nearly every deal made now whether it's US Commerce or State departments they are all working for jobs to be sent overseas all in the name of global trade equity. Just another version of the redistribution of wealth in this case the US middle class wealth. Obama fits the mold for doing this to a tee.

Tinky's picture

Dogbert contributes to the conversation:

holdbuysell's picture

Jim Quinn: The Fourth Turning series with the Clint Eastwood motif that you posted a year ago was fantastic.

Looking forward to the reprise.

Freebird's picture

Yup, but there are some super cupcakes being made in the ghettos

blindman's picture

sovereignty mid-14c., "pre-eminence," from Anglo-Fr. sovereynete, from O.Fr. souverainete, from soverain (see sovereign). Meaning "authority, rule" is recorded from late 14c.; sense of "existence as an independent state" is from 1715.
sovereign late 13c., from O.Fr. soverain, from V.L. *superanus "chief, principal," from L. super "over" (see super-). Spelling influenced by folk-etymology association with reign. Milton spelled it sovran, as though from It. sovrano. Meaning "gold coin worth 22s 6d" first recorded late 15c.; value changed 1817 to 1 pound. As an adj., attested from early 14c.; of remedies or medicines, "potent in a high degree," from late 14c.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

Go ahead and debate who destroyed the middle class, but I suspect the solution proposed here will be taking from the 'silents' and 'boomers' in the 99%.  They did not destroy the middle class, but the resulting generational warfare will allow the real culprits to skate.

DavidPierre's picture



“Mumbo jumbo, big words, more mumbo jumbo”—–Strauss and Howe.

“Saeculum, yadda, yadda, spirit of America, yadda, yadda, Golden Age,”—Strauss and Howe.

“Ekpyrosis,  mumbo jumbo, Apocalypse, yadda, yadda, more big words”—Strauss and Howe.


This ever repeating, Moronic, 4th Turd theme by SmokeyQuinn, (the self-confessed  9/11Moron), is a rancid stew mix consisting of one part shallow historical riffing, one part voodoo astrology, and one part interesting correlation of questionable data patterns from scrubbed, tainted, and distorted ameriKlan history.

The combined effect is little more than a condescending attempt at palm reading for the ignorant masses.

Some of the generalized predictions were on target, easy to do with a scatter gun, but ultimately the suggestions as to how to deal with the looming catastrophe has everyone being good little docile, unquestioning citizens.

It's very sad that people take this intellectual tripe seriously.



 Fourth Turding E-mails released by WikiLeaks:


William Strauss e-mails Neil Howe after the first draft:

“Do you think we can find a publisher stupid enough to fall for this ? ”

Neil responds, “You aren’t serious about trying to get someone to actually believe this shit?”

William fires back, “And why not…? ”

Neil counters, “Because it is shit, that’s why.”

William stands firm, “That has nothing to do with it. You know it’s shit and I know it’s shit, but there are many editors that won’t know it’s shit and millions of potential readers are foolish enough to buy it if it’s published.”

Neil finally caves, “Well, it never occurred to me to try to get something this utterly vapid published. We both know that we made the shit up as we went along. But, hey, if you think it will fly, if you think people are this gullible, then count me in.”

“Earth to Neil… They published “Dow 36,000? a few years ago and look how many fools bought it… and Speaker Pelosi’s seminal work on government.

      “Trust me… we’ll both be up for Pulitzers by the time this thing runs its course.”

Dr. Sandi's picture

Thanks. Your posts are always like a ray of sunshine

on a parched desert.


TMT's picture

Come on ... The parasites in the 1% and 99% destroyed this once great country (in different ways, of course). If I have to explain to you how some in the 99% fucked all of us then you will just never get it.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

I'm talking about 'boomers' and 'silents' who worked their whole lives and have assets to steal.

Dingleberry's picture

Ultimately voters did.  They spent more time watching football and Oprah than paying attention to relatively boring stuff like the federal reserve, tax and trade policy, etc.  They believed they could have their cake and eat it too. Red herring issues like abortion and homos were used to get voters riled up and believe they were actually making a difference at the polls.  When in reality, both parties are simply actors on a stage, performing for the unwashed masses every few years, and then promptly rewarding their "mega donors" with various tax and cash schemes.  And then getting re-elected 90% of the time.  If you want to know who destroyed the middle class....look in the mirror.  If you voted for anyone in one of the main political parties, then YOU did.

Bringin It's picture

Somebody posted this earlier today -

"The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."


I think this sums up the problem nicely.

As far as the author goes ... he does believe the government invented version of the 9/11 events, even when there is no government version of vents.  The 9/11 Comish never mentions BLDG.#7.

People like nmewmewn have said a flaming boiler flew out of one of the towers and into Bldg.#7 that launched a Rube Goldberg set of effects that brought #7 down in it's footprint.  JQ professes for our benefit, to believe some similar nonsense.


DavidPierre's picture



The combination of his being a TOTAL  9/11MORON, grossly ignorant by choice, and intellectually lazy and dishonest makes him a lightweight tool, a traitorous shill who parrots the corporate MSN masters’ propaganda and statistics, unquestioningly repeating and reporting the fabrications spewed by an openly fascist government. 

The purpose of those who wield unlawful power is to keep the masses dumb and paranoid regarding terrorist threats and artificial enemies.

Any person that is incapable or uninterested in critically confronting the 'in your face' facts about 9/11 is a corrupt politician’s best friend. 

 His ignorance is not a state of being uninformed about 9/11 or unaware about the implications of those issues. 

 He has made a choice: to be a shill and thus a traitor.  An informed, interested, questioning person is a danger to the illegal government.  The combination of uninformed, ignorant by choice, and intellectually dishonest will be fatal combination for the country and the world.  Only a fool like him believes there won’t be consequences. 

  “The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear – fear of the unknown, the complex, and the inexplicable. 

      What he wants above everything else is safety.”  HLMencken

Critical thinking is the careful, deliberate determination of whether to accept, reject, or suspend judgement about the fanciful and down right stupid NIST claims and the degree of confidence with which you accept or reject the...

OffalCIAl  CONspiracy” Theory.

Critical thinking requires not only logic but broad intellectual criterion; clarity of credible research, accuracy of reporting, precision and timing, relevance of material, depth of expertise, breadth of vision, significance of material evidence and fairness in judgement.  He must study  HISTORY and SCIENCE.

Quinn has no real world experience and stubbornly refuses to identify the extent of his total and willful ignorance in a wide variety of political subjects and physical science.

Quinn will become less biased and more broad-minded, less of a pompous ass, when he and others like him become more intellectually empathetic and more intellectually humble.  Over the past few years I have observed little or no critical thinking skills on his part regarding the Truth about  9/11. 

He and sheepish followers deserve to get it good and hard.  They have, and they will get much more.

“The men that American people admire most extravagantly are the most daring liars; the men they detest the most violently are those who try to tell them the truth.”  HLMencken

9/11 is the Litmus Test for any 21st century writer. 

Bringin It's picture

Somebody posted this earlier today -

"The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men."


I think this sums up the problem nicely.

As far as the author goes ... he does believe the government invented version of the 9/11 events, even when there is no government version of vents.  The 9/11 Comish never mentions BLDG.#7.

People like nmewmewn have said a flaming boiler flew out of one of the towers and into Bldg.#7 that launched a Rube Goldberg set of effects that brought #7 down in it's footprint.  JQ professes for our benefit, to believe some similar nonsense.


Freebird's picture

Yup, but there are some super cupcakes being made in the ghettos

illyia's picture

Looking forward to the next installment.

world_debt_slave's picture

I wouldn't trust anything the Fed and gov would tell me, I believe it is much worse than they are letting on.

Go Tribe's picture

They call it the Greatest Generation. It is nothing of the sort. Big-spending, coddled Olds, laying a path of destruction for the rest of us and our kids.

Dingleberry's picture

The greatest generation lived thru a depression and world war where everyone lost someone.  They aren't at fault.  The ones I knew stayed in small houses, drove used cars and didn't do drugs and get divorced multiple times, and saved money.  Now their kids, the beloved "baby boomers" is an entirely different subject. When the epitath of America is written, it will begin with them.

Bobbyrib's picture

Agreed. I like how he pointed out how the Silent Generation's wealth did not decrease as much as the rest of the generations. They are called the Silent Generation for a reason, they don't have the power to control the vote nearly as much as the Boomers, and shouldn't share a significant part of the blame as much as the Boomers.

So they saw the stupidity of the past housing and stock bubbles and sold before it exploded, should we blame them for that? They should also blame people like me then too who stayed out of the stock market and didn't buy a house. I didn't go along with the TPTB's agenda of middle class financial suicide.


Please note: I am not part of the Silent Generation.

q99x2's picture

It takes a village where Hillary is the village idiot. There was something that came out that was wrong about Bill's penis but I can't remember what it was. Oh yeah it was Chelsea. The cultural landscape was ruined after that.

Just started my college course in Human geography. Today we studied Malthus the first asshole retard in the book. Alex Jones must have taken the same course once. It describes a view of the world from the pespective of a fuckin globalist idiot. In gIdiot's mind everything in the world is the result of global planning, agriculture, population, technology and the unintended consequences of war. Women's rights sign carrying men and single people are the happiest. My teacher is black and likes Barry Soetoro. I will try not to get kicked out of class before my pell grant check comes in.

williambanzai7's picture

The so called elite universities are long overdue for a stringing...

AurorusBorealus's picture

The American university (and I spent enough time in them to know) are filled with non-sense at every level.  Careers are built on nothing but mouthing the most vocal support for trite textbook theories, screeching loudly about the "rights" of imaginary "minority" groups (especially feminism), grant-seeking garbage research that contributes nothing to the human body of knowledge, mountains of junk theses and dissertations based only on political agendas and theoretical constructs that have no basis in or respect for facts, oceans of funds spent on the "physical plant" and groundskeeping, and athletic program budgets that dwarf the budgets of whole departments.

The American university must be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up, and every rascal in the place thrown out.  There is no other solution. None.

IBelieveInMagic's picture

Yes, thank you for identifying some more blame targets -- let's burn them down. Come to think of it, you can blame pretty much everyone... except your perfect self!

falak pema's picture

putting them thru the laundry wringer of old; squeezing out of them their juicy hubris and complacency ways; would be an exercise not only of moral rectitude and public service, but also of excruciatingly pleasurable fancy; like dancing with pristine, fully-primed-with-spring-time-honey-scented virgins; you know the WB7 fight club damsels. 

reader2010's picture

No. They should blame themselves for their laziness for most part because they always expect jobs instead of making independent livelihood thanks to their government schooling.  In my neck of woods, I have witnessed many successful stories of some Vietnamese immigrants, who came to this country just a few years ago penniless and didn't even speak English. Fast foward five years later, many of them have turned themselves into millionaires by work hard in their nail shops. 

TMT's picture

Kind of sick of the tax cut crap. I'm not a banker, millionaire, nor a 1%er but I assure you I paid way more in taxes last year than I got back in "benefits" from uncle Sam. Im way fucking over taxed and sick of hearing about how our budget problems are due to a lack of "revenue".

Time for a flat tax with no deductions.

sleepingbeauty's picture

Sadly, this is what I got from this article. "You mean OctoMom is in a porno flick???" And then it occurred to me that I have zerohedge fatigue. I am exhausted from waiting for the sky to fall. I know it will ... eventually. But in the meantime, I am starting to feel blasé about the whole thing. 


Worst of all young man you have industrial disease.

malek's picture


"Philosophy is useless, Theology is worse."

Stuck on Zero's picture

Considering that 80% of American are living off of the labor of the 20% ... the 20% should go on strike.  John Galt, we need you.

world_debt_slave's picture

Watching an old 1971 flick lastnight and someone was complaining back then about gov spending, back then was putting the man on the moon and Vietnam. Nobody could've guessed the legs on this ponzi.

The_Dude's picture

Yep....keep perpetuating the falacy, folks...all of this immigration is good for you. We promise.  It will make us more competitve...really!

Yeah!!  Now we are flying Asians in faster to take white-collar jobs then the Hispanics can run across the border to get blue-collar jobs.  Funny....none of the articles mention the hollowing out of the service sector, the subsequent migration of more businesses there to only service back to the US.  Nor any mention of the fact that every educated engineer we import to push down the wages of a US born engineer also brings with them 8+ extended family members and dumps them on the social welfare and medical system as soon as they are able to.  Hmm....I wonder if any of the corps account for those expenses when they are begging Congress to bring in more H1Bs.

toady's picture

That was my experience in Telecom ... My whole department was turned over to paki and indian dudes over a 3 year span. I was the last white man to go, but only because I was the only guy out at ice station zebra and NOBODY wants to live there. They got a paki to do it eventually I was making 150k with 15 years of service when they hammered me. The new guy started at 33k. I guess I got greedy ...

George Orwell's picture

I commented in one of your previous posts about your lack of understanding of the geo-politics of oil, and you followed up with with a peak oil post.  That comment must have struck a nerve.

Here is something else for you to chew on since you like repeating cliches about the decline of the manufacturing industry and the American middle class:


Why is the unemployment rate in North Dakota only at 3%?  

Why do truck drivers working in Athabasca Oil Sands in Alberta Canada making 100K a year?  

Why is the average American Farmers in his 50s?  

There decline of the manufacturing and farming sector is due in large part because Americans do not want to work in those industries.  They want easy jobs working with computers in air conditioned buildings.  Like you and I for example.   They do not want to work in the oil fields even though those jobs pay 80-100K a year.  There are plenty of those jobs in North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana, and of course Canada.  Are young people flocking to those places?  No they are not, that is why unemployment in North Dakota is still at 3%.  If a lot of people move to North Dakota and flood the market, unemployment would be higher.


Instead young people are being told to go to college so that they can get higher paying jobs.  A job at a refinery pays a lot more than a job in a bank as a bank teller.  More people still go for the bank jobs. Student loans are the direct result of this shift in attitude of people wanting to work in white collar jobs.  They think they need college degrees to push paper around, but they really don't.   


Stop bitching about the decline of the middle class.  Start asking yourself why you are telling your own kids to go to college (if you have kids) or why your parents told you to go to college.   Why your parents didn't tell you to work in booming industries like off-shore oil drilling?  Stop repeating the cliches about the decline of the American middle class.  Ask why the middle class want cushy bank jobs instead of doing the hard work of oil pipeline maintenance!


ebworthen's picture

Prescription:  A Xanax, chamomile tea, and a family that wants you around versus living in a Winnebago to wire cash to the kids and Wife who never see you because you are in a shithole man-camp in ND or the frozen tundra of Winnepeg screwing crack whores.

toady's picture

You are apparently missing the mass migration to the oil fields in ND & Canada. There are ALOT of people headed that way, and the locals are selling their houses at a premium and moving to the sun belt. I did the same in the boom.

But, as you say, some people can't go with the flow... Would a newly minted lawyer or doctor be better off driving a truck in ND? Probably!

Clashfan's picture

Great piece, worth sharing.

worth while for the lowly poor, homeownership

Learn to punctuate.

ebworthen's picture

The opening quote from Charles Ferguson is spot on.

I am looking forward to this from Jim Quinn:  "Part 4 will require pitchforks, torches and a guillotine."

Indeed.  Many, many, many guillotines.

Colonial Intent's picture

Well this is ZH and the problem began 30 years ago so obama must be behind it all.

That evil mooslim socialist must have planned it all while he was a child.

I love how this site refuses to blame the repubs for anything done in the past, its almost as if a Republican campaign aide works at ZH.

But that would be terrible wouldn't it if these articles actually referenced the author.......

Look, come election time ZH will plead for you to hold your nose and vote for romney.....they'll say its only to stop USA becoming a muslim socialist state if obama wins.

I love the site and its articles but this whole pretense that they are anti govt or pro-people is BS, the majority of people who come here do so for profit not moral arguments.

Catullus's picture

I have yet to see a commenter even mention Mittens let alone one of the Tylers. 

It must be tough seeing the world only through partisan politics. 

nah's picture

i miss heavy industry, unions, families, and mullets

Catullus's picture

I remember in 2007, but mostly 2008, when bailout schemes were being thrown out and people only had a basic understanding of what was going on.  The question on everyone's mind was: who's going to ultimately take the hit? Would it be the banks, the government, the asset holders, etc.  In the end, the average saver and consumer took the 40-60% haircut.  And not that they wouldn't even had the banks taken the haircuts as well.  It's just that had the other asset holders taken it on the chin, they would have been forced to liquidate their assets and turned them over to the people who had actual capital at the time.  That's what was really "saved"; the control of assets by the financial elite.  And that's all the bailouts were ever about.

BlackVoid's picture

Who destroyed the middle-class? The middle class itself.

Overconsumption and ignorance go a long way. The middle class allowed the megacorps of taking over everything (incl. the government). It was also content to consume natural resources in an unsustainable fossil fuel orgy.

Here comes the bill.

It is no coincidence that the decline started in the seventies. Cheap US oil ran out at the same time. Production then had to be outsourced to countries where cheap energy still existed.


Debugas's picture

middle class was artificially created/proped up (by providing consumer credit) during 20th century to be a counter-example for socialist system (to show capitalism is better for a layman)

Now left to survive on its own the middle class is naturally gradually deteriorating

New American Revolution's picture

All very nice, but what has destroyed the Middle Class is Tyranny, which has replaced Liberty.   It's really quite simple.  See, and it's Super Pac companion website, coming soon, maybe next week if we can finish it up, but I think so.

Liberty2012's picture

"It's really quite simple."


The truth usually is.

Thank you