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The Age of Making Money is Over. Middle-class is Disappearing
Being poor is one thing, being poor working 75+ hours is another
My good friend and writer asked if I could publish this to my Substack because she doesn’t have a Medium Membership.
Is the Medium Membership even worth it anymore? What do you think?
Payments for independent creators on Medium just took a huge hit and its probably the final stake in a lot of our careers.
Idk. Guess we’ll see if I last.
In the meantime here’s my take on America’s dying middle class.
In the vast world of politics, economics, philosophy, and life, the true essence of joy lies in the middle. Why our society has decided to destroy that joy is beyond me.
Only three places in the entire U.S. still offer a taste of middle-class living: Arkansas, West Virginia, and Puerto Rico. Why? Because these are the only spots left where a minimum-wage job can cover the rent. Everywhere else in America, we’re fighting for jobs and drowning in debt.
Mortgage rates keep rising.
Auto interest rates keep rising.
Savings interest rates are stagnant.
This is the part where they force poverty on the middle class.
Middle-Class America died in 1980, now all you see are ghosts.
Post WW2, America experienced an astronomical population surge with a mind-boggling 78 million babies born in just two decades. This resulted in a staggering 40% growth in the US population and a significant 30% boost globally.
Why does that matter?
Because it meant too many people saturating the workforce at once.
American wages have remained stagnant since the 1970s, shattering the hope of a thriving economy for all. While wages stood still, asset prices, like stocks and real estate, skyrocketed, leading people to accumulate debt in pursuit of their dream retirement.
Forget about the modest home, decent job, and resources to raise a family. The American dream has evolved. It’s now imagining money as water and pouring it into a bucket with a hole in the bottom.
The time to make money relatively easily is done
I’m a Zoomer born in 1997, and all of my cousins and family members tell me that the peak of civilization was unironically the 90s which I wasn’t around to live for:
global economic bubble bliss
soviets got wrecked
everybody “felt” rich temporarily
the best videogames were coming out
Meanwhile, today, couples who make $500,000 feel average due to inflation and the high cost of living. Not to mention rent prices aren’t slowing down in most U.S. major cities.
My number one fear is “currency debasement.”
I got schooled on the shady business of currency debasement as a kid thanks to this badass video game called Bannerlord. It worked like this: print as much money as you want to make you and your friends rich, and if you’re making coins, you can skimp on the good stuff and create them with less valuable metal.
The problem is that if you mint subpar common currency for your own needs, it’s the same as counterfeiting. So you not only start to make your citizens poorer you also piss off other nations who use your currency.
That’s what is happening in the United States right now.
Not to mention other nations like Brazil, Russia and China (in an alliance known as BRICS that you all know because you’re my readers and you’re smart) are creating other currencies because they’re annoyed at the U.S.’s constant debasement of its currency.
Bitcoin may really have a chance in this environment… but I could also see it being seized or banned by governments who fear it challenging traditional currency.
Let me narrate something for y’all.
During the Roman collapse we saw:
Further Centralization of government
Overextension of empire leading to wars
Increasing rioting as currency debasement and poverty started to be felt
In this period we see:
Centralization of government
Tension with China and Russia, leading to wars
Make up your mind about what this means.
But America needs its middle class to survive.
Technically, “middle class” is the middle 60 percent of the income distribution. Ironically, when defined this way, the middle class cannot shrink. It can only get better or worse, and things are worsening.
American millennials in their 30s have accumulated a staggering $3.8 trillion in debt since 2019, as the New York Fed reported. That’s a whopping 27% increase.
Currently, the only way for Americans to feel “middle class” is by being in debt. Post-Covid — where small businesses and entrepreneurs were wiped out — we’re now entering back to a 1920s caste system with a stark divide between the rich, the poor, and a tiny middle class.
The middle class has been slowly dying since the 80s.
However, after the 2008 financial crisis and pandemic, the government buried the solution so deep it reached the Earth’s crust. Instead of saving the banks, if they had given direct cash payments to small and mid-sized businesses, we could have prevented this disaster.
Student loans also fucked the system.
Most 18-year-olds were told by everyone, including the universities, that there was no bad major and that earning potential after a degree makes the student loan a no-brainer.
Everyone saying these things either intentionally lied or was accidentally wrong, but either way, the youth still end up with debt burdens that they cannot handle after inflation + recession + war + Covid.
Meanwhile, despite a lack of funds, people now have more chances for personal satisfaction beyond work. Yeah, not much of silver lining but it’s a small win. No more drudging through “7 habits of highly blah blah” and “rich dad poor dad.”
We’re having to really decide what’s important and worthwhile in life — and it’s a shame that poor governing and Fed policy over the last 40 years has led us here. But it’s where we are.
Thanks for reading and supporting Yard Couch, have a good day, night or afternoon wherever you are my loves.