A live able wage for the working classes means:
1. You can rent a safe and sanitary apartment with heat, light, water, no leaks, functioning appliances, and sufficient space for you and your family.
2. Food, sufficient and healthful, for you and your family prepared in your own home by you.
3. Clothing, modest but sufficient, repaired as needed, sometimes second hand, sometimes from Target or other discounters.
4. Public k-12 education and child care, if needed.
5. Able to afford public transportation, if this suffices for employment and to get your kids to school where you live, and a modest vehicle and gas and insurance, if public transportation does not suffice.
6. Median payments into social security.
The Hyatt Housekeepers, at $20 an hour could do 1-6 — their replacements at $8.50 an hour cannot. Ergo – my term of “Hyattization of jobs” for corporate greed where earning a sustainable profit has been replaced by earning maximum profits even if the earning of that maximum profit renders life barren and unbearable for your fellow citizens and your own profit not sustainable.
A live able wage does not mean: Home ownership, a new vehicle, private school educations for your kids, and a fat 401k.
Middle class lifestyle means;
1-6 above, plus:
1. Ability to purchase and maintain a home through home ownership
2. Ability to eat in restaurants as desired, certainly at least once a week;
3. Clothing, often designer or upscale;
4. Can choose between private or public education without relying on scholarships;
5. Able to afford a new or used vehicle as one chooses;
6. Social security plus a pension or 401k
Once upon a time jobs in retail sales had been sufficient for working class lifestyles, but not middle class; good manufacturing and skilled trade jobs once provided middle class lifestyles as did public employment such as teaching or public works.
Retail employment, domestic employment (maids, housekeeping, yard work, landscaping) never provided a middle class lifestyle unless one worked multiple full time jobs, say, and both parents did so.
Self employment can yield the middle class lifestyle but often requires years of working 60 or more hours a week to do so. Examples include restaurant owners, yard work company owners, home improvement businesses, lawyers (yes that is a long hours worked profession),hairdressers, musicians, doctors (another long hours worked profession actually), accountants or book keepers.
Was it the “MBA philosophy of maximizing share holder income” attributed to Harvard Business School and others that lead to such greed in corporate leadership, increasing differential in incomes so that CEOs can live like the aristocracy of pre-revolutionary France, and slash and burn profit taking as to render both the working class income and lifestyle and middle class in danger of extinction?
One is tempted to quote Louis the XIV who is reported to have said
After me, the deluge!!!