What killed the middle class? The answer may well echo an Agatha Christie mystery: rather than there being one guilty party, it may be that each of the suspects participated in the demise of the middle class.
If you doubt the middle class has expired, please consider the evidence:
People tend to self-report viewing themselves as middle class, but by the standards of previous eras, they lack the basics of middle class prosperity. I laid out 12 core characteristics of classic middle class security in What Does It Take To Be Middle Class? (December 5, 2013)
4. The inexorable rise in big-ticket costs: higher education, healthcare and housing. Even as wages stagnate, these costs continue rising, claiming an ever-larger share of household incomes, leaving less to save/invest.
5. The transition from a stable economy with predictable returns to a financialized boom-and-bust economy that wipes out middle class wealth in the inevitable busts but does not rebuild it in the booms.