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Letter to NY Times Magazine on New Working Class

New York Times Magazine
The Thread
Re: The Working Class

Your definition of the New Working Class (Magazine, February 26, 2017), while correct in the sense that service employees can be considered today’s “blue collar” workers, is overly narrow.  We believe that anyone who earns a wage should be considered part of the new working class, whether they sit at a computer, teach schoolchildren, serve lattes or lay pipe.  This includes millions of Americans traditionally considered middle class, but who (like the service workers in your cover story) struggle to pay the bills and save for retirement.  Today’s working class are tomorrow’s retirees, but only half of all workers have employer-provided pensions or retirement plans. Some 40% of workers have been unable to set aside significant savings for their senior years.  This broader group of “working class” Americans are now in danger of losing basic retirement security safety net protections, as Congressional budget-cutters target Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, which more than one hundred million beneficiaries depend on.  That is what truly unites service workers and middle income earners into a new working class, much more than whether they wear an apron or necktie to work.

Max Richtman

President & CEO,
National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare
Washington, DC  20002


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