Over the decades since the 1950’s, an odd phenomenon has been occurring in the United States. While inflation has been notoriously under reported, many people have noticed the climbing cost of education, owning a car, and owning a house. And this is quickly causing the disappearance of the middle class as we know it.
Why Is This Happening?
Throughout the course of American history, the middle class made up more than 60% of American society. But that number is falling, and fast, today the middle class makes up just under 50% of society. People are increasingly finding that they are unable to maintain savings accounts and are instead living paycheck to paycheck. Much of this can be attributed to the fall of labor unions, wages which are unable to keep up, and the rising cost of living in general. As the US government continues to pull more and more taxes from the paychecks of the middle class in order to support the growing lower class, the rift only continues to increase and the problem gets bigger.
The loss of the middle class has been happening slowly since the late 1970’s when the US left the gold standard, this is because inflation has been on the rise ever since. Often times when the government prints money (thus devaluing money already on the market) it either goes into the hands of the rich (trickle-down effect) or it goes to the hands of the poor in the form of social programs. This means the middle class is notoriously left out and forgotten. And each time money is printed, prices are inflated, and the middle class receives no handouts, nor any raises at their job, and then they foot the bill when tax season comes. And then they live more and more in the margins, until one emergency pushes them over the edge to a life they can’t afford and they get behind and fall into the lower class. Basically, the US political system is destroying its own middle-class dollar by dollar.
Look at it this way, the US government has not changed its numbers on what defines poverty in the last three decades. The magic number is below $25,001 per year for a family of four. Imagine for a second making that work for a family of 4 people. Maybe in 1960, right? Not only that but in that same amount of time where inflation was reportedly at “2%” the cost of Education rose 200%, the cost of healthcare rose over 6000%, and the average house rose from costing $30,000 to $200,000. And you haven’t even paid for food, gas, clothes, or a cell phone yet. It’s time to face the facts that the middle class is no longer affordable for most people.
And in the COVID pandemic of 2020, a number of families who previously occupied the middle class thanks to a successful family business, are quickly falling behind on payments and losing their entire livelihoods. There’s no telling just how many families the pandemic will affect long term. Probably millions. And the middle class will shrink once more.
The Rich are Getting Richer
Not only is the middle class frequently losing more of their paycheck and earning less as inflation grows, but also the upper class in the US is continually getting richer. The main examples of this are companies such as Google and Amazon, who increasingly own more of the market share and are creating monopolies in which they can charge more money for a worse product. Besides just that, Amazon and Google make money off of their customers by selling their search and shopping patterns to third parties. So even if you don’t buy something off Amazon, they are still making money off of farming you for your data.
It’s a common societal concept to hate rich people, but this isn’t the problem. While there are some rich families in the US, this is often old money. It’s the corporations which are hiring more and more people at an unlivable wage, not offering benefits, and yet swimming in profits who are the ones to blame. And while people often just say to “tax these companies more” this doesn’t solve the problem because these companies are so rich, that if taxes go up, they just pay lawyers to help them get around the new tax laws. Not only that, but a number of large corporations will also leave the US to be based off shore where there are less taxes. And when these companies move, so do the jobs, and many people in the middle class find themselves once again jobless.
What Can Be Done?
Well stopping the US government from printing money would help, as would establishing more labor unions. But most of those things are easier said that done. Thus, the number one way to slow the disappearance of the middle class that you can get involved in now may surprise you, because the answer is Bitcoin.
Citizens have been harping their senators for years trying to get the minimum wage raised, better working conditions, and better tax laws for the middle class. So why hasn’t anything happened? Because the rich corporations (which are getting richer) have all the money they want to use to bribe the government. Nothing will ever get done as long as the power lies in the hands of the government because they are so deep in the pockets of the behemoth companies that it’s an unbreakable power circle where only the companies get what they want. This is why the middle class needs to take power away from the government in any ways possible, and this can be done by using decentralized versions of everything we are able to.
Bitcoin is decentralized money which the government can’t inflate, or freeze, like they can the US dollar. Although the price is volatile, this is all because of supply and demand. There’s also decentralized versions of websites you use often, like YouTube (lbry.tv) which can’t be censored like other aspects of the internet. There is similarly emerging technology for a decentralized internet(where your data can’t be farmed and sold by large companies), as well as a decentralized version of identity. Engaging in all of the above will put a large amount of power back in the hands of the citizens where it belongs.
Although blockchain technology isn’t widely adapted quite yet, it’s growing, and fast. Many people are scared of it because they don’t understand it, and because the government (the rich) has repeatedly steered them away from it because they are afraid of losing their hold over the inner workings of society.
So, if you’re part of the disappearing middle class (or someone who is trying to break into the middle class) start looking at what blockchain and Bitcoin can do for you. If investing isn’t you thing, maybe start accepting Bitcoin at your local business, or spending it at a local business that does accept it as payment. Look into other blockchain technologies which you might want to use to replace other centralized aspects in your modern-day life. And most importantly, do your research for common problems which have been solved by blockchains, and you might find there are quite a few programs you can use which are even better than the centralized version.