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Middle Class

  • ... being in the middle class is a feeling as well as an income level.

  • ... the middle class produces civilization because it is the only class constantly trained to come to a conclusion, poised as it is between the depth and height. It is not rich enough to have everything, nor poor enough to have nothing — and has to choose: to choose between a succulent table and a fine library, between travel and a flat in town, between a car and a new baby, or a fur coat and a ball dress ... its life therefore is one long training of the judgment and the will. This by itself need not manufacture greatness; but it is the soil in which it is possible to make it grow. And for this reason, when the rich become too rich and the poor too poor, and fewer and fewer people live under the constant discipline of their decisions, the age of greatness withers. To produce the lifelong stimulus of choice both in thought and action should be the aim of all education ...

  • ... in our culture, the professional, and largely white, middle class is taken as a social norm — a bland and neutral mainstream — from which every other group or class is ultimately a kind of deviation.

  • In a process that had begun in the 1980s and suddenly accelerated in the early 2000s ... [t]he peaks of great wealth grew higher, rising up beyond the clouds, while the valleys of poverty sank lower into perpetual shadow. The once broad plateau of the middle class eroded away into a narrow ledge, with the white-knuckled occupants holding on for dear life.

  • The upper classes are merely a nation's past; the middle class is its future.

  • I'm a middle-bracket person with a middle-bracket spouse / And we live together gaily in a middle-bracket house. / We've a fair-to-middlin' family; we take the middle view; / So we're manna sent from heaven to internal revenue.

  • Why! Why! Why is the middle-class so stodgy — so utterly without a sense of humor?

  • The last boat to the middle classs was leaving and we'd better get on it.

  • The people who are filing for bankruptcy in increasing numbers every year, it's not the poorest. It's not the people at the economic fringes. It's people who worked hard and played by the rules.

  • More and more of us ... belong to the new middle class, a group that lives in a state of perpetual financial uncertainty. An overwhelming sense of financial insecurity tears at the very fabric of society. When people feel safe, they take productive risks — they invest in the future, they encourage their children to go to college and graduate school, they start businesses. ... Our culture no longer supports this kind of risk taking.