So you think you’re middle-class. I’ve already written several pieces about America’s disappearing middle-class but many Americans still cling to the notion that they remain in the middle-class. I’ve done a little homework and I’m beginning to wonder if many of those who think they are/were in the middle ever actually were.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Is my family’s gross income close to $50,000 annually?
- Is my family’s income secure? Can we count on it being there tomorrow and many tomorrows in the future?
- Do we own our own home or are able to meet the mortgage payments with little difficulty?
- Is the neighborhood we live in safe?
- Do we own at least one dependable vehicle?
- Are we able to save enough for our children’s college tuition?
- Are we able to save enough for retirement?
- Do we have enough disposable income for a few frills?
- A single income family in 1970 had more discretionary income than a dual income family in the 2000s. By the way, the average 1970s family didn’t earn over $40k and the average today does not earn $75k.
If you’re having trouble answering these questions in the affirmative you’re probably not middle-class. If you’ve never been able to answer yes to these questions then you’ve most likely never been middle-class. According to an ABC News poll in 2010, “45 percent of Americans define themselves as middle class (very similar to a CNN poll that year). They earned about $55,000 a year, compared with about $95,000 for those who defined themselves as above the middle class…” How one sees perceives their situation is often quite different than reality. The anorexic looks in the mirror and sees a fat person.
Continue reading If You Think You’re Middle-Class, You Probably Aren’t. Take This Simple Test
We were on a short driving trip recently and I was sipping on a travel mug of coffee I had brewed earlier in my Keurig single-cup brewing machine. I don’t know how many methods of brewing coffee I’ve bought into over the years but Keurig is my current choice. I love the quality and variety of the coffee and having to brew just one cup at a time.
When I took the last swig I remarked to my wife how I, “was going to miss that cup of coffee.” Every mug of coffee is not created equal. It may have something to do with variations in the coffee blends, stage of the tides, or phase of the moon. I suspect, though, it has more to do with the day to day status of one’s taste buds. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t.
I don’t like coffee when if it’s too hot and usually allow it to sit several minutes before taking the first sip. Once it has cooled a few degrees Continue reading Saucer Sippers; Do You Know One?
When I was nineteen I didn’t know much about Israel, Palestine, the Mid-East, where oil came from, and many other things. What I first learned about Israel came from sitting through the 1961 screening of Otto Preminger’s film, Exodus in Copenhagen, Denmark.
To keep it brief, the story is about Jewish survivors of the Nazi holocaust seeking their own nation in what was then Palestine, a place already occupied by people calling themselves Palestinians. Palestine was under the control of Great Britain as mandated by one of the treaties ending World War One and directions of the old League of Nations.
Emigration to Palestine by European Jews, being frowned upon by the British, made the central characters illegal immigrants seeking to force the newly formed United Nations into partitioning Palestine into two nations, one Arab, one Jewish.
With the backing and manipulation of the United States the UN did partition Palestine in 1947 thus immediately setting off a war between Continue reading I Was Nineteen and the Movie was Exodus
We all remember when Joe Wilson, Republican from South Carolina’s 2nd district, shouted “You lie” during President Obama’s 2009 health care address to Congress. And now, at a recent jobs summit in Inglewood, California, Maxine Waters, Democrat from California’s 35Th district, said “the Tea Party can go straight to hell”. Is this the way Americans want their congressmen and women to act?
Surely this type of uncivil behavior would result in the offending congressmen getting booted out of office. Not exactly, Maxine Waters carried her district by a 79% margin and Joe Wilson carried his by 54% in the 2010 elections. Unfortunately, these congressmen represent districts of homogenous views and generally are elected year after year, as long as they don’t commit a felony. Continue reading Gerrymandering – Recipe for Uncivil Behavior in the Beltway
If you’re younger than I you may have never heard of Rusty Warren or Redd Foxx. Even if you know of Redd Foxx it’s probably from his role as Fred G. Sandford of television fame. But long before Sandford and Son, Foxx was known as the king of dirty jokes while Warren was the queen.
In the 1950s people secretly listened to Redd Foxx and Rusty Warren on long-play, 33 1/3 r.p.m., vinyl record albums which society in general viewed as extremely raunchy humor. Everyone owned a couple of these albums, or had a friend who did. Adults routinely held house parties with a part of the evening’s entertainment consisting of sitting around the record player listening to the latest album from one of these comedians.
Rusty Warren was, and still is, considered by many a major figure in the sexual revolution Continue reading You Call That a Dirty Joke?
Speaking at a luncheon prior to the dedication of the MLK, Jr. monument in Washington, DC, Jessie Jackson made the statement that the Tea Party was nothing new, “It’s just a new name for an old game.”
The old game Jackson referenced is the argument for state’s rights. When historians examine the causes of the American Civil War they often cite issues involving state’s rights as a major reason Continue reading Nothing New About the Tea Party
America has been taking the first Monday in September off since the late 1800s. The holiday rose from the labor violence of that era as a reaction to the growth of the unionism and collective bargaining. It is a day whose purpose is to honor the efforts of those who fought so hard to attain better conditions for the nation’s working classes.
In the decades that followed, the day has come more to mark the end of summer rather than a day to acknowledge the reason for the holiday itself. Labor Day is a day Continue reading As You Drink a Cold One on Monday
Back in the spring I ventured over to the Atlantic coast near Virginia Beach for some salt water fishing. I love to drive and don’t seem to have any trouble finding things to do as I wind my way along the Interstates and secondary roads. I stop frequently to stretch the legs and on occasion back track to take a look at some point of interest or historical monument.
Another way of passing time is to take note of the many signs alerting the traveler of nearby towns and villages bearing interesting or curious names. Continue reading A Place Named Betsy Bell
I am fascinated to know the origin of sayings and clichés. I have several books on the subject. My grandmother and mother had a trove of sayings and my brothers and I use them frequently but I notice that most younger people do not “GET” them. One old saying I do NOT use is “RULE OF THUMB” because it stems from the fact that in old English law a man was allowed to punish his wife and children with a rod as large as this THUMB! Continue reading The Rule of Thumb
Frequently when discussing the distribution of wealth in America a conservative will employ the phrase, “class warfare.” They argue that liberals and the liberal media are trying to drive a wedge between the haves and have-nots that will somehow lead to a forced redistribution of wealth at the hands of government.
I don’t think anyone is advocating real “class warfare” but, there Continue reading Maybe Not Warfare But Certainly Disparity
My wife, after reading Mike Newman’s piece about his great-grandfather homesteading in New Mexico, asked me, “Why 160 acres?” The only answer I could give her was that it had something to do with one of the several Homestead Acts passed by the US Congress and possibly with the terms of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. I also recalled it had something to do with the old saying, “forty acres and a mule.” Forty acres being about what one family with a mule could work in a years time and Continue reading Why 160 Acres?
My wife and I were recently in a local steak house and on the wall was a sign that read, “Visit Wall Drug.” There are probably many people today who have no idea what that sign is all about or what Wall Drug is. Back in the 1960s it didn’t seem to matter where one traveled, you ran into “Visit Wall Drug” signs. I even remember seeing one on the side of a double-deck city bus in Continue reading What the heck is Wall Drug?