As an adjunct professor at a small liberal arts college, I often feel like I am a part of the middle class.
But now, thanks to the recent surge in overtime wages, that isn’t quite true.
I am now in the upper echelon of full time employment.
So, what is it that’s making me feel like an upper class person?
As an adjunct, I am still working 40 hours a week, which is not only the same amount as the typical full time employee, but is more than enough for a decent family.
The full time equivalent of a teaching assistant or a research assistant makes $23,000 a year.
This is more money than I have ever earned.
What does this mean for me as an adjunct?
It means that I am working longer hours than I did before the recession, which in turn means that my hourly wage has dropped dramatically.
If I had never gone to my first full-time job, I would not be in the same position as I am now.
When you are a full-timer, you have to take a pay cut, and that can mean you have less money to spend on things like groceries and rent.
In the same way, when you are an adjunct you have no time to go to the movies or go out to restaurants or to socialize with your friends.
As my employer says, it is the lower your hourly wage is that is making you a full time adjunct.
And what does this say about the future of the American middle class?
The question is this: Are we in a period of extreme economic inequality or are we headed towards a more equal society?
So far, we seem to be heading towards the former.
While there are many reasons for this, I believe it is primarily because of the financialization of American life, which has made working at the lowest possible wages an increasingly unattractive option for many middle class families.
One of the most disturbing statistics that I have heard recently is that Americans are living longer than they have in the past, which means they are going to have to pay more in taxes in order to keep up with the cost of living.
That is bad news for the American worker.
Even though our economy is growing, we are going back to the days of full-scale wage stagnation.
My own family is in the midst of an economic collapse.
Now, the American people need to know that this is not a new phenomenon.
Before the financial crisis, it was a reality for the middle classes in Europe.
Back then, full time work was a normal thing for people.
Today, full-timers make less than the average American.
For those in the middle, this means that the cost to support their families will only go up.
It also means that they are unable to invest their savings to buy a home or retire early.
There is no way around this.
We cannot continue down this path.
Therefore, the question we need to ask is this.
How will we deal with the problem of extreme inequality?
What can we do about it?
First, we must end the current practice of subsidizing the lives of the working poor and the middle-class poor.
A new minimum wage should be the price we pay for keeping these families in poverty.
By increasing the hourly minimum wage, we will increase the cost for all Americans to live.
Secondly, we need policies that will provide financial security for all families.
The United States is the world’s second largest economy, but our families are struggling.
Our country needs to be a place where we can provide financial stability for families, so they can get ahead.
We should not be subsidizing people’s lives.
Finally, we should ensure that all Americans have a chance to achieve their dreams and that they can earn a decent living.
It is a right and a responsibility that should be guaranteed to all Americans.
With this in mind, it should be clear to the entire American public that the United States will not be able to continue to pay for the social services that millions of working people rely on to live a decent life.