An Analysis Of The Middle Class In Barbara Ehrenreich's This Is Their Land

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In Barbara Ehrenreich’s This is Their Land, she suggests that the middle class is being limited by the unreasonable amount of accumulated debt on when entering the workforce, the irrational cost of living, and the restricted opportunity for higher wages. In recent times, America’s economy has progressively struggled and diminished to the point where other countries no longer consider America the number one economy. In 2008, America’s economy was in a large financial crisis, which resulted in the unemployment rate being higher than it was in the late 1990’s under Bill Clinton’s presidency. Despite the fact that America has been in a state of recovery since 2008, eight years later the effects are still present today. Everyday, employers across …show more content…
Yes, America is a capitalistic society and people deserve to keep what they earn, but when is the gap considered too big for the good of the economy? Ehrenreich first mentions one of the most notable problems burdening the middle class is the excessive amount of debt they bear when entering the workforce. One of the key components of this setback is the enormous amount of student loans many college students deal with immediately after college. Unfortunately, the government holds an effective monopoly on both college and university student loans. Enreneich also negatively comments on the rising cost of college by referring to a fictional university (Fleece U) in saying, “We [Fleece U] have just raised our tuition in an attempt to keep up with such top-of-the-line institutions as George Washington University. You will find us also charging a plethora of additional fees-a ‘student activities’ fee, a ‘technology fee’, and an ‘incidentals fee’” (Ehrenreich, 84). There are a multitude of prestigious universities that are publicly owned such as the University of California-Los Angeles, University of Virginia, and the …show more content…
When entering the workforce after attending one of these three universities, the average entry-level job is $50,000 per year. The average American must also take on other fiscal responsibilities such as a car loan, mortgage, medical debts, and the daily cost of living. These burdens have often overwhelmed the many middle class graduates. Ehrenreich states that because of these fiscal obligations, “In 2006, for the first time, the average household’s debt exceeded its income” (Ehrenreich, 85). Because of this, people must work at a lower end job without much opportunity to grow within the job in order to try to clear debt. Additionally, many middle class graduates cannot afford to attend graduate school, enabling them to pursue higher income professions. Not only does debt make it impossible to take advantage of opportunity, but the problem is compounded by the fact that there is less opportunity than ever before. Ehrenreich claims that out of the twenty-five fastest growing jobs, “only ten of the twenty-five jobs listed pay over $30,000 a year, and four of them pay less than $20,000 a year” (Ehrenreich, 89). The limit of opportunity for the middle class is due to numerous factors, but primarily the imbalance of foreign trade driving more jobs overseas is the most important. Currently, there is an unnecessary amount of regulations on private

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