What Is It Like?

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Most middle class folks don’t really understand what it is to be locked into poverty by a confluence of factors. Those factors can include such things as lack of job skills; age, disability, race, sex, or other discrimination; limited educational credentials; big gaps in employment (whether justifiable or not); lack of employment that actually pays a living wage; mental illness; and lack of opportunity.

MIDDLE CLASS FOLKS

Most middle class (and above) folks may be familiar with not having enough money to do certain things, or they may be in debt due to medical bills, job loss, economic downturns, or other reason, but they often have resources and options that the “poor” do not. You lose a job, get another one. Most have job skills that are in demand. Most have insurance to soften the brunt of medical bills. Many have relatives with money to help them out of a bind. Many have networks of people to help them get back on their feet. Most middle-class (and above) folks can take a “life punch” and still be able to get back up and keep “fighting.” That is, when they “fall” there is usually some way to pick themselves back up and keep going.
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Income Disparity is Bad for America

If you’re wealthy, with millions of dollars in the bank and millions more net worth, some of the things you worry about might include: not having enough money to maintain a comfortable lifestyle in retirement, declining health, being sued, identity theft, and protecting your assets. Or you may worry whether or not your daughter is going to like the new Lexus you got for her for her birthday – or whether your son is partying at Stanford or Harvard or Yale – and not making the grades he’s expected to make – after all, you’re paying for his education.

Or, as Forbes reports (regarding those with yearly incomes of at least $500,000.00 or more): “Strikingly, what most concerned those polled was not being able to maintain and improve their current status and get ahead. This might come as a surprise because, well, they already are ahead.

Overall, 91% call “the luxury lifestyle” a key issue, 94% say the same was true of “the lifestyles of the exceptionally wealthy.” These exceed the 81% who say “not being able to meaningfully enhance” their current lifestyle is important, which is about the same level as “making sure your heirs are taken care of.”

As Russ Prince describes it, it’s the mindset of “I have the $5 million jet. I want the $10 million jet.” But he doesn’t see it as greed. Rather, he says, it’s simply a reflection of what everyone at every income level wants: something more.”

http://www.forbes.com/2007/05/22/wealth-rich-poll-biz_cx_lh_0523worry.html

But what about those “low-income” Americans who have incomes that range from the national average of about $52,000 to those struggling to make it on as little as $11,000 a year – or even less. Rather than worrying if their investment property is bringing in the $8 million that was projected – they worry  “I can’t afford to buy presents for my wife or child again this year.” or “If my car breaks down, how will I get to work? I can’t afford another used car, I don’t have the money. There is no bus or transit service within several miles of my home.” or “If my rent is raised another 15%, what will I do? I can’t afford to pay anymore, my rent is already costing over half my gross income. I can’t really afford to move, either, because it will take twice to three times what money I have available – just to move into another place – even into a low income apartment.” Continue reading “Income Disparity is Bad for America”