The Disappearing American Middle Class

Are you one of the lucky ones who has a job in the continuing recession? Hang on, ’cause the storm is coming.

Harvard U. economist Larry Katz warns that your well-paid, middle-class job is in danger.

As reported by Ruth Mantell for Yahoo!, June 16, 2011, it’s not just manufacturing jobs that are disappearing in America. Even some highly-paid workers may find themselves needing to re-tool their skills in the years ahead due to new technologies and the ongoing movement of jobs to countries where labor is cheaper.

Economist Larry Katz said: “Employment growth has stopped, or even declined, among many middle-class jobs that are high wage. A lot of traditional middle-class, upper-middle-class jobs have been disappearing. If you look at general managers and middle-management jobs, those are ones that have been in decline and will decline further.”

For his part, Jeffrey Joerres, chief executive of ManpowerGroup, a Milwaukee-based staffing services firm, similarly warns that workers making about $40,000 to $80,000 a year constitute the bulk of labor costs for many companies, and these workers may be on the chopping block. Joerres said, “That’s your middle class. Companies are finding ways to reduce the number of people in those areas, and change the jobs to make them more simple, to reduce the skill that is required.”

In medicine, an example of a well-paid tech job that will be outsourced is radiology.

Kevin Hallock, director of the Institute for Compensation Studies at Cornell University, said: “I suspect that we will see fewer radiologists in the U.S. than we have in the past since…there is little reason for a radiologist to be in the same place as a patient. A radiologist can read a Terre Haute X-ray as easily in India as she can in Indiana.” MIT economist David Autor explains: “A lot of medical diagnostic work will be done overseas. You can have the initial diagnostic done elsewhere, and have a domestic supervising physician. Medical costs are a huge issue, and there’s enormous incentive to find ways to reduce these costs. The internationalization of medical services will be one of the important ways that costs will potentially be slowed.”

Another well-paid profession that will be affected is computer programming. Katz said, “What used to be good programming jobs, or routine legal work, these are things that are easily broken into parts, and done in other places.”

The legal field is also ripe for such job-slashing cost-cutting. Autor said that software can cut down on workers needed to sort through paperwork, such as legal documents. “You digitize all of those documents, and a piece of software reads them and catalogs them. There is a lot of legal work that is essentially increasingly subject to automation, and that will affect the opportunity set for lawyers.”

To illustrate, five television studios entangled in a Justice Department antitrust lawsuit against CBS saved $2 million in “discovery” costs by using computer software to examine millions of documents, instead of a platoon of lawyers and paralegals working for months at high hourly rates. “Discovery” refers to that essential step in a lawsuit when documents relevant to the suit are provided to the opposing counsel.

John Markoff writes in the New York Times, March 4, 2011, that, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence, “e-discovery” software can analyze documents in a fraction of the time for a fraction of the cost. The television studios turned to Blackstone Discovery of Palo Alto, Calif., which used the software to analyze 1.5 million documents for less than $100,000.

In his classic book, Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics, social scientist Seymour Martin Lipset first laid out the importance of the middle class to a democracy. The diminishing American middle class, therefore, has implications that go beyond economics, affecting the viability and survival of the American Republic.

The plight of the disappearing American middle class especially afflicts blacks. For that subject, go to Part Two of this series, “The Disappearing American Black Middle Class.”

Amidst the gloomy news, there is a sliver of light. Not all well-paid middle-class jobs are in danger; some occupations are growth areas. For that list, go to Part Three of this series, “20 Fastest Growing Occupations in America,” to be posted on Wednesday.


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In Russet ShadowsStarlaDaveDCGAnonymous Recent comment authors
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The way left/libtards want it… only George Soros and Demo-rat voters.


Just what Bambi wanted – “fundamentally transform America”. Stoopid sheeple…


The destruction of the American middle class has been the goal of the left for decades, as they are serious about a two-tiered society – the elite, ruling class (which they believe they will be a part of), and the rest of us, who will be little more than their peon slaves.

And they aren’t very far away from getting it, too.



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VERY INFORMATIVE MUST READ ARTICLE!! “W. H .O. MURDERED AFRICA” By William Campbell Douglass, M.D. (September 1987 National Health Federation Monrovia, California) Excerpt: “The object of the World Planners is control — absolute control. Although the desire to rule the world is not a new ambition, the control sought by this generation of World Planners is more than government, wealth and resources. They control these already. What the World Planners want in order to complete their plan is control of population. Their control of population is in their ability to control the thoughts and behaviour of the masses. The method… Read more »

In Russet Shadows

It’s a lot more positive than you might think. I’ve had first-hand experience with outsourced programming jobs. They are almost always disastrous, and it’s largely because of cultural and communication issues. These all impose huge costs in terms of time and rework, which wipe out the supposed savings you get by transitioning the coding to Russia or Mexico, for example. The code quality is routinely so bad that the project must be brought back in house to get it up to snuff. Outsourcing has also been tried with accounting, and it has met the same fate. Ditto with call centers.… Read more »