Ward Jones serves as the past chairman of the Kerrville Area Chamber of Commerce board of directors, a past member of the Kerrville Economic Development Corporation board of directors and president of Benefit Choices Company in Kerrville

Reflections by Ward Jones

Before I begin today’s “Reflections,” I want to make it perfectly clear that the words and thoughts that appear in this column are those of its author and his alone. They are not intended to be representative of the position(s) of any organization or group to which I may or may not belong. If the thoughts presented here at any time are similar to or mirror the attitudes and/or positions of other individuals or groups, that result is purely coincidental. And now, let’s examine today’s topic.

Over the past 120 years, the United States society and economy have seen the development and growth of what is most commonly referred to as the “middle class.” There have been many attempts by some very brilliant people to define exactly what that term means.

While definitions may vary somewhat from one to another, certain characteristics seem to be common to this group.  The vast majority of “middle class” Americans have graduated from high school, and many have gone on to further education, trade schools or other specialty training.  Of course, as in all attempts to categorize a certain group, there are always exceptions to the definition.

Most economists agree that today, the “middle class” enjoys a household annual income of somewhere between $45,000-$90,000.  Again, this is only an educated guestimate.  This group has typically been the engine driving the U.S. economy.  Until recently, it out numbered the lower and upper classes combined.  While that may still be the case, in the last 20 years, the “middle class” has seen falling wages and, for the most part, stagnant economic growth and falling numbers.

It is not my intent here to analyze the reasons for this trend.  However it is a fact that the deterioration of this group has led to a basic cause of one of the worst economic recoveries in the history of this country.  Kerrville has seen much of this same dynamic.

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