The pendulum is shifting. The middle class arose in the 1st place because there were employment and educational opportunities that are currently slowing disappearing. I look at my parents who lived in what I would call poverty in their early years who were able to educate themselves and leave their old lives behind. I didn't grow up having to have several jobs to make ends meet and having 15 other siblings in a 3 bedroom house. I never had to pick cotton or do field work. But now, that same path does not lead to improvement or even to the same standard of living. Having a college degree is no longer special. Everyone has one. You don't even have to physically step on a campus anymore to obtain one. And there are plenty of people with advanced degrees who are doing blue collar work because the opportunities aren't there anymore. Now a days, there is only 2 classes: the rich and the poor. They are the only people unaffected by the economy.