The Phaserl


Downward Mobility and Social Depression

from Washington’s Blog:

The mainstream is finally waking up to the future of the American Dream: downward mobility for all but the top 10% of households. A recent Atlantic article fleshed out the zeitgeist with survey data that suggests the Great Middle Class/Nouveau Proletariat is also waking up to a future of downward mobility: The Downsizing of the American DreamPeople used to believe they would someday move on up in the world. Now they’re more concerned with just holding on to what they have.

I dug into the financial and social realities of what it takes to be middle class in today’s economy: Are You Really Middle Class?

The reality is that the middle class has been reduced to the sliver just below the top 5%–if we use the standards of the prosperous 1960s as baseline.


The downward mobility isn’t just financial–it’s a decline in political power, control of one’s work and income-producing assets. This article reminds us of what the middle class once represented: What Middle Class? How bourgeois America is getting recast as a proletariat.

The costs of trying to maintain a toehold in the upper-middle class are illuminated in these recent articles on health and healthcare–both part of the downward mobility:

Health Care Slavery and Overwork

How a toxic workplace could, literally, destroy your health

We’re afraid our work is killing us, and we are right

This reappraisal of the American Dream is also triggering a reappraisal of the middle class in the decades of widespread prosperity: The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?

And here’s the financial reality for the bottom 90%: declining real income:

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