To me, "middle class" is a 4 person two income family with health insurance who can afford a 4 bedroom suburban home in a neighborhood where there's a half-decent public school, and one car for each adult.
All along I thought I grew up middle class because my parents had a three bedroom house and a car. Now I discover I was poor because they were missing a fourth bedroom and sometimes they only owned one car.
(Eschaton’s comment is also “racist” because “decent public school” is just a codeword for “white public school,” but we’ll ignore that.)
Eschaton goes on to explain that $90,000/year isn’t enough income to be middle class, and he writes a followup post as well.
I will now be fair and say that I understand where he’s coming from, and yes, I even agree with him. In some areas, the housing costs are so high that even with what sounds like an upper middle class income, you can’t afford to buy or rent anything that might be considered middle class.
In fact, the high cost of housing is incredibly unfair to working Americans who weren’t fortunate enough to buy a house before the prices went up. Such Americans surely feel like they are forever locked out of a decent middle class life.
If either political party truly cared about working Americans, they would make lowering the cost of housing their number one priority. But neither party cares about this segment of the population. They are probably beholden to the 70% of Americans who own a home and who don’t want lower housing prices—the fortunate Americans, whether Democratic or Republican, could give a crap about the less fortunate 30%.
But let’s be clear here, it’s leftist Democratic policies that have made housing so expensive. In areas where Democrats control the local government, housing costs more. I’ve written about this topic before, see my post Blue state, red state, and housing. I told you so. If Democrats truly cared about working Americans shut out of affordable housing, then they’d start acting like Republicans when it came to zoning and approval of new residential construction projects.