Discuss the status of the American middle class at this point in time.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that the American middle class is either in a stagnant position or is in decline.  As the current economic crisis is seeking to be weathered, there is real question as to how this is impacting the American middle class.  It certainly is not growing, and there is a definite assessment of how the economic policies of the last decade might have contributed to a withering of the middle class, and even causing to slip into a form of a lower American class.  In a September 2011 study, American middle class income slipped.  This is significant for while the extremely wealthy in America have seen their income skyrocket, middle class Americans are either stuck in neutral from an economic point of view, or even slipping below the poverty line. When the middle class in America sees little in way of increase, while the richest 5% sees their income increase over 40%, it becomes a statement of how challenged the middle class in America is at this time.   It is the fact that the American middle class is not growing that strikes a note of concern and reflection in economists:

"Over that period of time, it's not that the American economy has necessarily performed badly," Osterman said. "As a country we're richer over that period, but there's been this real shift in where the income has gone, and it's to the top."

This can be seen in the current Republican Presidential Primary, where former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is able to easily prevail in households where the average income is over $100,000 while failing to really connect where the average income is under $50,000.  Romney being the presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee further illustrates how the middle class voice and political sway, from the Republican side, is being silenced or resulting in stagnancy.  It is here where the American middle class is placed in a challenging predicament at this time.