LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
THE PRICE OF BEING MIDDLE CLASS
The point of consumption is pleasure. Not an instant hot mess of pleasure... Well, sometimes... But what’s much more important is the kind of pleasure that’s so comfortable, homey, and wholesome that we don’t think of ourselves as “consumers” while we’re consuming it.
We don’t regard loving families, happy children, full stomachs, clad bodies, and shelter from the elements in clean, safe, verdant places
Let me go back 65 years to the ordinary middle-class life I lived as a child in Toledo, Ohio, in 1952. To calculate what 1952 incomes and prices amount to in modern dollars I’ll use the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ basic Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI tells me I should multiply a 1952 dollar by 9.3 to get a 2017 dollar. If the Tooth Fairy left a dime under your pillow in 1952, you don’t even have a penny now.
as a “product” to be “consumed.” We regard these things as natural and expected parts of ordinary middle-class life. But what do they really cost nowadays?
WHAT DOES IT COST TO LIVE THAT LIFE TODAY?
American Consequences | 7
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