Will I ever make it to the middle class?


Will I ever make it to the middle class?

I am a 37-year old Minnesotan, and my income has always averaged considerably less than thirty thousand dollars per year. Like most people in my position, I do not own a house and do not have a mortgage. (I rent in the Whittier neighborhood in Minneapolis.) The upside of this is that I’m not in the position to feel the sting of the ongoing mortgage crisis first hand. Still, especially at my age, I feel somewhat bereft of a middle-class existence, particularly when considering the motives and actions of current elected officials. While corporate bailouts by the Fed might help keep the financial system afloat (which can’t be a bad thing), what government bailout will help move people back into foreclosed homes, or, equally importantly, into their _first_ homes? Foreclosure isn’t good for our neighborhoods, our cities, or Minnesota as a whole. Rather, it is an opportunity for bottom-feeders to move in, expanding the supply of properties for slumlords and for those hoping to turn properties over for a quick profit.

Opinion: Will I ever make it to the middle class?

Few proposed solutions appear to address the middle class directly. And those that do (such as Norm Coleman’s plan for middle class families to tap into retirement accounts to temporarily stave off foreclosure) take us from bad to worse. The solution to the mortgage crisis lies in home ownership assistance, not foreclosure. The current administration needs to work just as hard, and move just as quickly, to keep families in their homes, with payments they can afford, as the Fed did to rescue Bear Stearns. Will Norm Coleman make this argument in Washington? I doubt it. Moreover, with hundreds of billions going to support a failing effort in Iraq with no end in sight, our domestic financial crisis seems trivial by comparison. It seems all but certain that Norm Coleman will continue to support the current administration’s failures there as well.

If maintaining a strong middle class, including fair, affordable home ownership, isn’t of vital importance in America, what is? Given the lack of proper response to this crisis as well as the imminent, dramatic rise in the price of fossil fuels, I am left to wonder: Will I ever make it to middle class status? Will I ever be able to afford a home mortgage, or be in the position to support a family? For now, the responsible decision for me is to wait, to continue working, and to remain positive. However, in light of the failures of the current administration and its supporters, I see nothing positive on the horizon. At least not until November.

Steven Lang is a resident of Minneapolis.