Why Is The Middle Class Vanishing?

Few people would like to believe the U.S. government is working to destroy the middle class in America.

For decades, having a good job and living in the suburbs was part of the American Dream. It’s a lifestyle anyone could attain with a lot of hard work – and perhaps a little luck.

Why, then, is the middle class vanishing before our eyes? It’s a complex issue with many causes. The economic downturn, lower-paying jobs, and decades of policies that gave incentives to ship jobs overseas have all contributed to the demise of the middle class.

Sadly, the middle class no longer represents the majority of people in the U.S. according to a new study by the Pew Research Center. That’s especially true in metropolitan areas.

The government’s answer to the problem is to further socially engineer the landscape of suburban America. The New York Post calls it a move by President Obama to “force suburbs to be less white and wealthy.”

A new push is underway to place more poor people in housing located in affluent areas of the nation. Housing Secretary Julian Castro wants to boost the allowances on Section 8 housing vouchers so low-income people can live in houses and apartments in upscale communities.

So-called “government real estate agents called mobility counselors” will help place people in new, wealthier communities, the Post reported.

The middle class is not just vanishing, it is being cast off from society.

“People feel like they’re working more and more, but barely keeping their heads above water,” Stephen Pimpare, a lecturer at the University of New Hampshire and a poverty expert, told the International Business Times in an interview. “They’re not wrong, they’re not imagining that.”

Why is the middle class vanishing?
Enter the Small-Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMR) plan. It seeks to relocate low-income city dwellers into upscale suburban areas.

Under the plan :

  • Federal grant money will be used to coerce suburban communities to build more Section 8 housing.
  • Suburban landlords could face lawsuits for denying housing to Section 8 tenants with criminal records.
  • The government will issue a bigger Section 8 voucher amounts for tenants who move out of urban areas and into the suburbs.
  • Tenants who choose to stay in urban areas will have their Section 8 vouchers reduced. That means low-income city residents will literally be forced into the suburbs.

The number of Section 8 voucher holders now stands at more than 2.2 million people nationwide.

Why is the middle class vanishing?
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development’s own research shows the program is not working. A study by HUD in 2011 found that adults that received a bigger Section 8 voucher failed to get off of welfare or land a good job. Instead, more of them ended up on food stamps.

SAFMR is expected to be passed – with no Congressional approval – in October, according to the Post. When the regulation takes effect, about 350,000 Section 8 recipients are expected to be immediately “resettled” into new neighborhoods.

This isn’t about working harder and achieving a better life. Past programs that gave people something for nothing failed to give them incentives to work harder. In fact, more of them ended up on food stamps, a HUD study found in 2011.

Too often, crime follows the poor into their new middle class neighborhoods. It does not necessarily improve their lives. But it downgrades the quality of life for those already living there. In suburban Dallas, Texas, and in Dubuque, Iowa; for example, an increase in crime was directly linked to an increase in Section 8 housing residents, the Post reported.

A Supreme Court decision in 2015 made it easier for low-income housing developers to sue cities that refuse to allow them in their communities, the Dallas Morning News reported.

In Dallas, the Inclusive Communities Project has repeatedly sued upscale cities in suburban areas, in an effort to force them to build low-income housing developments.

It looks like the push to eliminate the middle class will only continue.