I have a very bad feeling the best years of this country have long since passed thanks to our illustrious, bribed politicians in Washington. There are perhaps more of them who would like to see the abolition of the minimum wage than want to see it increased, let alone have it indexed to inflation like it should be.
As Oil Can Eddie pointed out, a class consciousness discourages office workers from unionizing. There’s a popular discounting company in Chicago called Groupon, where the account executives — who are all expected to have bachelors’ degrees — earn $37,800 a year. Adjusted for modern dollars, that’s about Stanley’s starting wage, without overtime. Because they’re educated and sit safely at desks, they don’t think of themselves as blue-collar mopes who need to strike for higher pay and better working conditions.
The fact that many of today’s college graduates have the same standard of living as the lowest-skilled workers of the 1960s proves that attitude is wrong, wrong, wrong. If we want to restore what we’ve traditionally thought of as the middle class, we have to stop thinking of ourselves as middle class, no matter how much we earn, or what we do to earn it. “Working class” should be defined by your relationship to your employer, not whether you perform physical labor. Unless you own the business, you’re working class.
I can remember being able to support myself over 30 years ago on 4 or 5 dollars an hour and have plenty left over to spend on goodies. I can't even find anything permanent these days, let alone ever be able to support myself unless I live long enough to receive early Social Security and substitute teach. I don't expect to ever land permanent work ever again.