chapter  3
The Deliberate Path Toward a New American Class Structure
Pages 32

InAmerica,inpastyears,theterm"middleclass"was usuallyassociatedwithagivenincomelevelregardlessof howitwasproduced,beitblue-orwhite-collarwork.The term"workingclass"washardlyeverused,evenwhen blue-collarworkerswereinabundance.Theexplanationfor thiswasthatblue-collarworkalmostalwaysdeliveredto thesefamiliesamiddle-classlifestyle,iftheywerereasonablyprudentwiththeirhouseholdmanagement.Buttoday, ifweusestrictlyincomedefinitionsforthemiddleclass, we,inreality,aredescribinganewworkingclass.Thisis becauseitislikelythatperhapsAllisonorBeckyorRuth, whomwemetinChapter1,ismarriedto,orlivingwith,

someone who also is making $5 to $7 an hour. Their combined incomes will squeeze them into the lower ranges of a middle-class incom~around $20,000 in 1995 dollars-but their lifestyle will fall short of what was once regarded as a middle class lifestyle (i.e., with only one earner, an affordable home, a dependable car, and employer-paid medical insurance).