The middle class isn't exactly expendable. To be honest this question is ambiguous because it can apply in so many different ways. Theres actually a lot to this so lemme get into some background: The middle class is the largest group of americans (for the rest of this when I say american, I am reffering to anyone who resides in north america) on this continent. the range for salary income is very large in comparison to upper-middle class. (which has become the new rich/wealthy label) There are many families who would be considered middle class yet they starving close to poverty and very close to the physical line (statistically speaking). Its very easy to be an american and live middle class with a blue and/or gray collar job. Many jobs falling in these classes require little academic schooling and a bit more vocational education/training. This makes it easy to get into an industry in demand for labor. So mostly all dropouts, hs grads, associate grads., and vocational grads. all fall in the middle class. Now add many of the 4 year college graduates that didn't do high knowledge carreer-specific diciplines (engineers, programers, law/med professions, specialized) and you get a rough picture of the size of the middle class in comparison to the rest. The poverty live and below represent a small proportion in the gutter, and the upper-middle/wealthy classes represent an even smaller number. Because of this large volume of our workforce being middle-class, it makes us naturally more dispensable. By holding these jobs that a competent halfway educated human being can do, we place ourselves in risk of being replaced by another middle-class "body" or worse, outsourced. Technology advances also eliminate the extra need in labor. Please also realize that the middle class is the most extorted in terms of businesses trying to wrench every last hard earned dollar into their particular "product" created. What allows the system to work so well is that these same companies are funneling their revenue into advertising that flows from mass media. Mass media is an issue because in addition to advertising, its all free-form brainwashing. When you have famous, well known upper-class celebrities endorsing SUV's with no gas mileage (who btw will almost never drive them as a normal day by day person would), when they endorse the $500 handbag made with $10 of material and 38 cents of labor, and when they exploit the free money from product endorsing all this extra "junk" we don't need, it affects people. Take a look at the commercials. There are no commercials for really expensive or exotic/hard to come by items. However, as far as the eye can see and ears can hear, are commercials for products that fit in just right for middle class citizens. The modern John doe may have no care or need for things yet when they see someone they admire on television endorsing a product, they get this blind illusion: its like they think that they'll have more in common, and thus be more like the celebritiy by going out and buying "insert brand/logo here" product. Most middle-class americans who are making a high salary in comparison to the location mean salary are still in "virtual poverty" Though they may be paying a mortgage on a house with a car note and a high paying job, the system is designed with pitfalls and traps to lose everything. Credit cards, re-occuring subscription services, fees, contracts, and penalties are just a few of the several thousands of corporate traps meant to suck all your money away. Think about how much money the system makes everytime you use up your anytime minutes, or miss a payment, or forget to cancel the free membership, a system designed full of penalties and late fees comes into play to charge more money. A large problem is that many middle class units will still live paycheck to paycheck. The lifestyle that many middle class americans choose will place a restraint on the resources needed simple to survive. Some try to resolve by "floating" whatever liabilities they cannot afford through loans and credit cards. However these tend to draw up more debt and can cause greater consequences when not handled carefully. This trap is directly repsonsible for ruining many credit ratings and may cause more problems for middle class americans who need the credit in dire times of emergency. The point is that this all ties together: mass media influence --> desire for "the Jones" lifestyle --> spending more than we can afford --> putting ourselves in risk by living paycheck to paycheck --> could put us in a bind to suffer from worse consequences --> foreclosure and/or forefiture of personal and real property. Hence making the middle and lower class the most expendable.
One question that we all need to stop and ask is: Whats really going on here? Why have we been "labeled by society to be able to accomplish the american dream" and yet many of us cannot?
Again, I believe that it is mass media. We as americans have been shown in tv and in catalouges what we may "need". When in fact, its what companies want us to think we need. Lets get the basic needs down: Shelter, food, clothing, a form of reasonable transportation. Lets figure what mass media tells us we need: a big house, an SUV, a Minivan, and/or a Sedan, To dine out at least once a week, money for something entertaining at least 2 times a week, to have a house full of high quality possessions, to recieve the daily dose of starbucks/mcdonalds to have closests full of clothes and shoes, to have uncountable amounts of items, tools, technology, and knick nacks, and of course all of the moneys needed to pay the bills, gas money, and insurances. Okay lets look at what we really need: food, shelter, clothing, transportation, and enrichment. Now in depth: Food is one of those things that needs to be consumed in moderation and planned out effectively. People need to buy in bulk and plan to use everything they buy so that as little goes spoiled as possible. While dining out once a week is okay, its the place you go to that matters on how much money you will save. If you are the type to enjoy eating at a certain really-expensive restaurant, then perhaps eating there only once a month and eating out someplace more economical the other 3 times will save money. As for shelter --> most should start with renting with the goal in mind to buy a house/condo. Paying a mortgage will cost more than rent, but it will be yours someday if you keep up with the payments. As for clothing/accesories serious moderation should be considered to see the most benefits of this. Try to limit your wardrobe to 3 outfits, and expand by adding 3 more once a year. Buy maybe one or two pairs of shoes a year also. Shopping for name brands at mervyns or ross can also do wonders for your checkbook. Transportation depends on the responsibilities you have. If you're raising children or have a job at a lengthy distance from your residence, then a car us usually necessary, but people aren't looking into hybrids! Hybrids will save you thousands in gas money each year and the technology is out there for all types of vehicles. Something to consider: if your conditions are favorable then you may want to consider public transportation. Though it may take longer and you lose control of your transit time, you save money from car insurance and gasoline. The tricky part for everyone is the enrichment. Free television and radio can only go so far to entertain people. The best method is to look at how much money you spend on entertainment each month and figure out ways to cut back. Do you buy lots of movies or technology/video games? Do you spend a lot of it at bars or in the nightlife? Do you like to go on trips out of town often? Through adjusting how much you enrich your life, you can also see where much of your money goes into entertainment. Some alternatives include: buying books to read at home over the weekends, movie rentals, scenic road trips, and nature walks. As you're seeing, people need to be saving a little bit of money each time so that they aren't living so close to the edge of their next paycheck. By doing so, we become slightly less expendable and have a better toe-hold during hardships to be successful and move on.
Answered By: aaron_jackson_wilde - 6/22/2006