When the President attacked business owners last week, outrage rippled through the nation as middle class business owners suddenly realized they are “the rich.” This realization came as a surprise: the vast majority of Americans assume they are middle class.
A recent AP news article explains the difficulty of defining Middle Class. Sociologists, Economists, CPAs, and Census workers all have different definitions of it.
The Washington Post/ABC News Poll found that 95% of Americans refer to themselves as middle class. Clearly, the notion of a shrinking middle class is nothing more than political propaganda.
Anything that benefits the middle class will likely gain the favor of 95% of us. A shrewd politician will tilt everything in our favor. But “middle class” is as false a category as the Hispanic category, where people from many different nations, cultures, races, languages and dialects, are lumped into one group. But in modern America, we’re all middle class; it really has no distinction outside of politics.
Middle class is synonymous with being American and it would surprise many the concept is not an American one. Long before it meant a station wagon, 2.6 kids, and a tidy place on Elm Street, there was a European middle class.
Using class structure as a political tool is rooted in Marxism, born in the heart of 19th Century Europe, when class actually meant something. Back then, being upper class meant you got to wear tiaras without irony, and your name was a full paragraph long. Being lower class meant you slept on a dirt floor. There is little relevance in modern America, since even upper class people will occasionally throw a load of clothes in the wash, and some lower class people sleep in king size beds.
However, there is a real class war in this country: business owners vs. government class. Business owners are working around the clock to scratch out a living through the regulations imposed by the Government. On the other hand, members of the government class get solid quitting times, generous vacation days, and pensions that kick in fifteen years before Social Security.
The outrage over this President’s lavish vacations, are not so much about their costs, but rather, his entitlement to them. It is a frustration shared by anyone who has ever tried to get help from a government office past 3 PM on a Friday.
This is why people got so angry last week. By crediting the government class for the achievements of the business owners, he insulted them.
We should all be thankful for his remarks. He just ordered a second cup of tea.