Jcgood1984: A college professor of mine said many years ago that the whole notion of upper class, middleclass, and lower class was a red herring. His basic analysis was that if you worked for a living and earned a paycheck and that was your sole income, you were a worker, period. You were either a white collar worker or a blue collar worker, but you depended on your income to survive, no matter the size of the house. His point was that dividing into class divided workers against each other. A worker was a worker and needed to take care of the interests of workers as a group, whether you were an electrician or accountant.
You are correct that we do have more stuff numerically and in opulence and that this generational viewpoint was cultivated in the 1980’s onward. But the promotion, I believe, was deliberately done by the emerging think tanks of the 80’s and 90’s. If you push a culture of me and my, basically a culturally supported selfishness, you sever the cohesiveness of workers. A culture of pettiness was cultivated while workers’ institutions i.e., unions, were attacked openly. The largest demonstration of this was the firing of the air traffic controllers. Simultaneously, jobs began to be shipped overseas, and the wide scale concept of credit was fostered. I think this credit extension served to hide from Americans the beginnings of decline in their real income and the assault on American workers.
We need to turn the tide. We can start by enforcing the antitrust laws that were slackened by conservatives and stop giving tax breaks to companies who outsource, and thus start bringing our jobs back.