Here are a few true stories about America today. Lincoln, Nebraska, home of the University ofNebraska and the state capital, is a nice, middle-class town, at least to the eye of the casual visitor. Beautiful, broad tree-lined streets, with wide sidewalks, well-kept houses of all ages, and lots of open, green public parks and ball fields are your primary vistas for mile after mile. Let us say that you lost one of those annoying little screws that hold your eyeglasses together and are always coming out. It is 2:30 on a Saturday afternoon, and, being in the downtown area, you are surprised to find an open optometry shop. Of course it is a fact that stores are staying open later and later these days as there is a seemingly endless supply of low-wage labor to staff them. Allison, the technician, immediately finds a
screw, inserts it, and then adjusts your glasses and cleans them. In the course of the conversation, you mention you are working with a colleague at the University ofNebraska on the subject of the American middle class. "Middle class?" shoots back Allison. "There isn't any middle class anymore. There's either thems that got or thems that ain't got. I would love to be middle class but I'm not."