NEW YORK — Following a decade-long barrage of reports and stump speeches arguing the American middle class is disappearing, middle-income professionals across the country are begging news outlets and politicians to stop calling their existence into question.
According to Jay Daniels, a 42-year-old middle school physical education teacher from Manlius, New York, the media’s frequent assertions that he is disappearing have left him reconsidering everything he thought he knew about life.
“I have mortgage on a three bedroom house and two kids. I make around $50,000 a year. I thought I was a member of the American middle class, but the media keeps telling me I’m ceasing to exist,” said Daniels. “Now I don’t know what to believe. Will I have a job in five years? Is my family secure? Is life just a meaningless sequence of events predetermined before my birth? It’s hard to be sure anymore.”
Jessica Holland, a chef from Bakersfield, Illinois, says she used to be at peace with her subjective reality, but claims the countless speeches during the 2012 election cycle mentioning the “disappearing middle class” have left her ruminating on her own mortality and sense of self.
“I mean, I’m pretty sure I exist. I have hobbies. I have friends. I go to work. But when some of the most powerful people in the world are telling me I don’t, who am I supposed to believe? It makes me wonder if my day-to-day experience isn’t just a bizarre illusion or perpetual dream state. But maybe the human experience isn’t just one “Matrix”-style mass hallucination.”
Despite her misgivings, Holland remains hopeful that she might emerge from her personal state of flux should the U.S. regain its foothold as a commercial power in the global economy.