What about the homeless who don’t look homeless?
“Class Distinctions Among the Homeless.” Someone should do a master’s thesis on that, if someone hasn’t already. I imagine sociologists are among the first to examine how car living, the loss of home equity (traditionally the primary means of wealth building for the middle class) and low interest rates on safe investments are the latest variables changing the class makeup of America.
Sorry if that’s too wonky. I went to grad school in sociology. Once you look at the world through the lenses of power including race, class and, gender you’re not likely to ever stop thinking that way.
Does having a car that’s either paid for or for which we can keep up with the payments make car-livers of a higher socioeconomic status? Do people lose their “socioeconomic status” or class when they go broke?
You can lose the money but class identification takes a lot longer to shift.
Am I still “upper middle class?” In the eyes of the Salvation Army staff person I met, I am. (see pMay 3 post.) In my thinking and ability to hope for the future, I am. In my writing skills, comfort with computers and the Internet I am. Going broke doesn’t take away my education (although declining health has caused me to forget most of it).
Losing everything but my dogs, my paid-for car and the contents of a 10×20 storage unit does not take away my ability to pass as an educated upper middle class professional. In many ways that count as much as having a job and being healthy enough to work, I am still the upper middle class professional that I used to be.