Say Hello To The Modest Good Life For Me

Source: Terry J. Fitzgerald and Ronald A. Wirtz, fedgazette, September 2008

Anxiety over middle class living is complex, but probably not as warranted as the hand-wringing might suggest.

Gone are the wistful days of the 1960s and 1970s, when it seemed that everyone–well, every dad at least–had a good manufacturing job that paid enough for mom to stay home and for the family to afford all the trappings of middle class life: a house in a decent neighborhood, good health care, paid vacation, a pension to retire on and college for the kids.

So much for nostalgia, right? Government data portray a stagnant middle class. And like the saying goes, if you’re not getting ahead, you’re falling behind. It’s enough to make a middle class guy mutter a few no-class expletives.

But what if all this isn’t true, or is only partially true? What if the middle class in the Ninth District is continuing to get ahead, particularly in the big picture? This fedgazette article takes a close look at changes in middle American income, wages and living standards since 1979 in Ninth District states and finds that middle class living might not be as bad, threatened or besieged as is commonly portrayed.

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