What's in Your Neighborhood?

About one third of us call ourselves middle class. We live in the same municipal boundaries as many of the wealthiest people we know. However, our houses are smaller, the street pavement isn't quite as nice, our needs determine our purchases more than our wants, and we have = as much as we will use- there's not room, in our budgets, homes, or, really, in our lives for much more.

We may work in a mid level sales job, as a teacher, a cop, a construction manager, a union rep, a principle, or a small business owner. We may see the wealthier members of our municipalities when we go shopping. Many of us share the same values as those wealthier than us. Some of us share the values of people less fortunate.

People used to say we were great. And, in many ways we are. We still have pride in what we do, we pay our bills- even if we have to juggle them, we go to work, and we teach our children to respect themselves and each other. You bet we do. However, since the great many of us are feeling grim rather than great.

We see the statistics everywhere. Since the mid '90s, the middle class has shrank every year. Since the Great Recession, many of us have lost our our homes, our jobs, and sometimes our lives. Even as we hear talk about an economic recovery, we see that while we may not be out of work, our friend who was laid off two years ago still has not found a job. The people once did not live in our neighborhoods- individuals and families barely hanging on, now live right next to us.

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