Defining the “middle class” has devolved to a pundit parlor game, so let’s get real for a moment (if we dare): the “middle class” is no longer defined by the traditional metrics of income or job type (blue collar, white collar), but by an entirely different set of metrics:
1. Household indebtedness, i.e. how much of the income is devoted to debt service, and
2. How much of the household spending is funded by debt.
3. The ability of the household to set aside substantial savings / capital investment.
4. The security of the households’ employment.
5. The dependence of the household wealth on speculative asset bubbles inflated by central bank policies.
6. The percentage of the household income that is unearned, i.e. derived not from labor but from productive assets.
7. The exposure of the households’ employment to automation, AI or offshoring.
8. How much of the household income is government transfers: benefits, subsidies, etc.
After writing about the middle class and America’s class structure in depth for over a decade, it seems to me the actual, real-world class structure is something along these lines: