The Destabilizing Truth: Only the Wealthy Can Afford a Middle Class Lifestyle
The “middle class” has atrophied into the 10% of households just below the top 10%.
The truth is painfully obvious: a middle class lifestyle is unaffordable to all but the top 20%. This reality is destabilizing to the current arrangement, i.e. debt-based consumerism a.k.a. neofeudal state-cartel capitalism, so it is actively suppressed by the officially sanctioned narrative: that middle class status is attainable by almost every household with two earners (a mere $50,000 annual household income makes one middle class) and middle class wealth is increasing.
It’s not that difficult to define a middle class lifestyle: just list what was taken for granted in the postwar era of widespread prosperity circa the 1960s, four decades ago.
In What Does It Take To Be Middle Class? (December 5, 2013), I listed 10 basic “threshold” attributes and two somewhat higher thresholds for membership in the middle class:
1. Meaningful healthcare insurance (i.e. not phantom “insurance” with deductibles that cost thousands of dollars a year that offers no non-catastrophic care at all)
2. Significant equity (25%-50%) in a home
3. Income/expenses that enable the household to save at least 6% of its income
4. Significant retirement funds: 401Ks, IRAs, etc.
5. The ability to service all debt and expenses over the medium-term if one of the primary household wage-earners lose their job
6. Reliable vehicles for each wage-earner
7. The household does not rely on government transfers to maintain its lifestyle
8. Non-paper, non-real estate assets such as family heirlooms, precious metals, tools, etc. that can be transferred to the next generation, i.e. generational wealth
9. Ability to invest in offspring (education, extracurricular clubs/training, etc.)
10. Leisure time devoted to the maintenance of physical/spiritual/mental fitness
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