Middle Class Aided in its Own Decline

Rasmussen Report This was the Year of the Middle Class -- as in, its falling incomes, loss of job security and anger. The global economic forces fueling the decline, such as foreign competition and computers, have been well reported. But what about cultural factors? Is the middle class going down partly because it stopped acting middle class?

For those who remember the American middle's golden era of 40 years ago -- or see it reconstructed on TV dramas -- the cultural losses are pretty shocking. The middle managers in "Mad Men" returned to orderly homes with tidy children, even as their personal lives spun into chaos. While comfortable, their houses were modest by today's McMansion standards. That's because they were living within their means.

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