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A discussion on Metafilter involved the loss of middle class standard of living for so many in the US. A commenter remarked:
you used to be able to raise a family with a good standard of living on a single working class wage in America
and another commenter responded:
For one fleeting period of time one could raise a family with a good standard of living on a single working class wage in America. This period of time unsurprisingly coincided with the greatest shift towards Socialist, labor-friendly policies the country had ever, and to date, has ever known. It annoys me to no end when people refer back to the 1950s as simply part of the normal cycle. As though the middle class were somehow a natural phenomenon that simply goes through periodic ups and downs. No 401K or health care for you this decade, but just wait twenty years and you'll see all the profits of your labor once again. If history has shown us anything, it is that a middle class is not the natural state of man. Like World War I, every inch of progress for the working man has required a pitched battle, drawn-out with plenty of casualties.
Photo from http://fiftiesweb.com/pop/info-family/