>What’s the middle class – does it still exist?

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A few years ago, a colleague told me that we teachers were part of a dying breed; the American middle class. Teachers, police officers, firefighters were a few of the socio-economic level in the middle – not rich, not poor. Not overburdened with too much money, not stretched to the breaking point with too little. Owning a house, a very very very fine house, with two cats in the yard — you get the picture. Not wealthy, but secure enough to buy bicycles for the kids and eventually send them to college without too many loans.

No matter what the outcome of the so-called “Budget Repair Bill” that guts bargaining rights, we’ll remember those who took action and those who listened when we expressed our concerns. We’re willing to invest more in our insurance and our pensions; we know that the state deficit is very large and everyone must contribute. If the right to bargain is lost, however, we also face the loss of the security that allows us to buy bicycles and still buy groceries, send the kids to college and still pay the mortgage. Is that too much to ask?

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