Middle class. It’s hard to imagine this term hardly raised an eyebrow a mere generation ago. And with reason. At the time, it was a given the US was largely a country of the middle class, where a comfortable life was within easy reach of the vast majority of the population. Fast forward to 2016 and the situation couldn’t be more different. Wealth inequality has become a rallying cry for millions of Americans who feel they’ve be given the short end of the economic stick one too many times.
From the vantage point of other developed countries, that the US is a country of extremes is nothing new. A Canadian driving across cities like New York or Washington, D.C. 30 years ago would inevitably be struck by the crushing poverty almost on the doorstep of august wealth.
But this was clearly more tenable as long the millions of Americans in between didn’t start feeling the squeeze of declining income.