Why have terms like 'poverty' or 'working class' disappeared from democratic dialogue

Everything is ‘middle class’ now. The working class, working poor and poor have dropped off the map.

Is it because there is a major divide between the poor and the middle class now? The middle class are told they pay the taxes but the poor get all the gov. goodies (so anything seen as helping the poor is interpreted as a new tax on the middle class)? Even if so, why does no one use terms like working class? Is it because the working class (whites with a HS diploma) are considered a lost cause due to cultural issues? Why has middle class become the only phrase used to describe the class war?

I think politicians want to appeal to the largest group of people possible, and the terms “poor” or “poverty” or even “working class” are terms that very few people want to identify with. Everyone wants to think of themselves as “middle class,” with aspirations of one day being rich. So when the politicians address the concerns of the masses, they’re addressed as “middle class.”

Working class made sense pre-WWII when only 5-10% of the population went to college. After WWII the enormous growth of college students from the GI Bill and peace that companies made with labor unions that brought their salaries up high enough to move to suburbs shrunk the working class into nothingness.

Surveys show that 80-90% of the population self-identifies as middle class. Most of the rest would call themselves poor rather than working class. The notion was part of the industrial age, and that’s history. We simply don’t have such a thing as a working class.

Perhaps because we lost the war on poverty. My sister now claims we have a war on the poor in its place.

Right now it’s because addressing the poverty in this country would be considered negative and unpleasant. The Republicans either don’t care or don’t want to talk about it because it’s not their agenda, and if the Democrats did than it would be just more “class warfare” or “welfare/socialism/whatever” to the Republicans.

It’s divide and conquer class warfare. Tell the suffering middle class that it’s the poor people’s fault that the middle class is suffering.

The poor are totally spoiled anyway.

Prenatal vitamins *and * electricity? Pick one, money doesn’t grow on trees.

That is a joke btw.

Yeah, that is my assumption. The fact that poor people fit into peoples moral and racial frameworks that poor people are all lazy and irresponsible, plus they are black and mexican so asking hard working white people to give things up (affirmative action, higher expenses due to a higher minimum wage, higher taxes to fund their programs) to help them makes the divide easier to make.

must fess up, my sister stole that line from Aaron Sorkin by way of Jeff Daniels…

Working families. You hear it all the time from both sides.

I think this may have something to do with it.


I think that was more engineered to distinguish them from “welfare mothers”, which does more to further the middle class mentality (internecine squabbling). The implication of the original term “working class” was to delineate them from the expropriators/redundant class.

You’re all wrong. Two main reasons:

Middle class people vote, the poor don’t.
The middle class and the poor are basically becoming the same demographic. There are the one percent and everyone else. So the middle class have the same issues as the poor … jobs, housing, health care. Solve the problems for the middle class, solve the problems for the poor. So may as well endear yourselves to the middle class voters who do vote by claiming them as your main concern.

Its quite inaccurate to think that the poor and middle class are anywhere near the same demographic. While I disagree with some of the cyclic stuff by the late John Reilly, its more of a divide between the upper and upper middle classes and the lower class.

That said all the talk about bringing manufacturing jobs back and so on are explicitly aimed at the working class. Same with working families-it is aimed at the working class but as pointed out to distinguish from “welfare queens” and also the crazy wild-eyed bums on Skid Row with people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Holy the apocolypse is nigh, Batman. I agree with both these statements. (Except that I insist that lower middle class is more accurate a term than working class today.)

Maybe it’s time to start thinking seriously about the Mayans.

I read somewhere that 95% of the population considers themselves “middle class”. That is probably why.

The middle class decides elections and Democrats figured that out. Being perceived as the party of the poor isn’t going to win votes anymore than being the party of the rich will. It’s cold blooded, but it’s true.

Since 1996, the earliest exit polls I could find, the $30,000-$75,000 range is decisive. When Democrats win, they usually win by a big margin in the $30,000-$50,000 range and break nearly even or win in the $50,000-$75,000 range. When Republicans win, they break even in the $30,000-$50,000 range and win the $50,000-$75,000 range by a wide margin.