Are we worse off or not, dammit.
Someone please tell me. Everywhere I read, the statistics are bad or misinterpreted. Someone has to be right. Is the middle class, since 2000, worse off?
September 4th, 2006 9:10pm
To the extent that improvement or worsening of one's condition is highly subjective, it's sort of a fluff question.
Do you mean only in terms of wealth? I suppose you would.
September 4th, 2006 9:15pm
Worse. But 2000 was a peak year. We're through the trough of this cycle and should be peaking (at above 2000 level, but only a little above) again within a year or two.
Two questions involved -
1) "We" = "me" then you simply have to look at your own situation. Are you "happier" and/or more fiscally secure than you were six years ago? More stuff? Less debt? More savings?
2) "We" = "society" - that's where all the debate it. :(
Yes, the middle class is worse off. Their wages have stagnated. And the amount of taxes they must pay in order to pay off the three trillion dollar increase in the debt has not been factored in.
I'm middle class, and my situation has become worse in the past six years. I make less money than I did in 2000 and median housing prices where I live have almost doubled. I don't see myself ever becoming a home owner unless my startup gets purchased AND the housing market crashes, or I give up and move back home to where I grew up in rural North Dakota.
Philip Greenspun made an interesting point a couple years ago where he pointed out that it is now easier to afford a private aircraft than it is to afford a starter home near any of the tech action.
sorry about the data point.
Personally, I'm better " off "at the moment", but I think things are probably worse for those in debt.
I shouldn't say bad things about my co. (because your're never really supposed to say), but I think IT skills are well, let's just say I'm amazed IT could have ever been so taken for granted or ignored. If I were living off my IT skills alone, I'd be holding a sign on the streetcorner.
IT is a dirty word, agreed? You have to phase yourself into engineering some product or distributing it, or what are you in the tech world these day?
Sure, some got the 5 yrs. exp. before it all fell in, but I think "IT" is imploding. You can distribute somethign and sell support and customization, but you've gotta be niche to survive, I think.
Even with the raise I get at the end of this month, I make less than I did in 2000. In the meantime, I've lost 2 cars and a house as well as been out of work almost 2 years of the bush administration.
There is a strong social pressure to pretend that one is middle class even when one is way outside of it. For example, sore loserman claims to be middle class while earing well over $360k/year, which puts his household squarely in the top 10% of families.
Of course if you owned a home in 2000 - as most middle class households did - than the rise of housing prices is generally a good thing.
It's so good it comes close to offsetting all the bad economic stuff that happened since then.
The problem with rising home values are:
1. You can't easily cash out. Yes, you can move, but unless you downsize significantly, you don't get money back. Equity lines are nice, but need to be repaid.
2. Wait till your town re-assesses your home value and slams you with a huge property tax increase!