Who is in the Middle Class? This debate between two college students reveals an enormous amount about class in America

“My family’s household income is $250,000 a year, but I promise you I am middle class. I live in a $2 million dollar house, but I promise you I am still middle class. It has one story, doesn’t have a pool or its own movie theater. It is a modest three-bedroom, two-bath.” Jesse Klein is a student at the University of Michigan and wrote this editorial in the Michigan Daily, the school newspaper. Then she continued.

“I understand how it sounds to dismiss $250,000. I do not discount that I am from a privileged family that can afford more than just the necessities. Many University students are also from well-off backgrounds. In Fall 2011, 63 percent of the class of 2015 reported a family income of $100,000 or more. But wealth is a relative measure in some respects. Because of the high cost of living in Palo Alto, I grew up middle class and I have found that my views on money sometimes differ drastically from those of in-state students.”

She wrote more about her lifestyle predicament as a middle class college student, which can be accessed by clicking on the link below.

On the other hand, other students made quite a few comments. Kevin Juan Zhang wrote;

I’m sorry that you didn’t get to enjoy the simple pleasure of cooling off in your own pool while having to settle for the AC in your $2 million home.

I’m sorry that you didn’t get to grow up watching movies with surround sound and comfy movie theater chairs and had to watch them like the peasants do.
I’m sorry it’s more expensive for you to get wasted off your parents money in California while other people have the privilege of buying a drink at half the price from the $50,000 they worked for.
I’m sorry the kids with all the $3 million dollar homes laughed at you from their 2nd floor while you and all the other $2 million dollar home kids had to play in the dirt.
I’m sorry you didn’t have the means of knowing other cold weather brands besides North Face back in California in case you got hit by a cold front of 60 degrees.
I’m sorry that you most likely have only one BMW and no Teslas.
I’m sorry that others cannot understand your enlightened stance on spending habits because they’re too busy staring at a wall while wearing Versace while you’re off at these musical festivals (keeping it kosher I assume) and exotic destinations opening your mind to so many experiences and ideas and, therefore, have absolutely no ignorance whatsoever. At all. No ignorance. So aware…
I feel so sorry for you.”
So what’s going on here? Is Jesse upper middle class, or is she a member of the lower rich class? She does seem to be a little out of touch with the hard scrabble life most middle income people live. On the other hand, is somebody who earns $35,000 to $50,000 a year middle class?

I don’t have the answer, but if you care to comment, please do.


Jesse Klein: Relative wealth–Michigan Daily

This debate between two college students reveals an enormous amount about class in America–Vox

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