The Changing Middle Class
The United States perceives itself to be a middle-class nation. However，middle class is not a real designation，nor does it carry privileges.1 It is more of a perception，which probably was as true as it ever could be right after World War II. The economy was growing，more and more people owned their own homes，workers had solid contracts with the companies that employed them，and nearly everyone who wanted a higher education could have one. Successful people enjoyed upward social mobility. They may have started out poor，but they could become rich. Successful people also found that they had greater geographic mobility. In other words，they found themselves moving to and living in a variety of places.
The middle class collectively holds several values and principles. One strong value is the need to earn enough money to feel that one can determine one's own economic fate. In addition，middle class morality embraces principles of individual responsibility，importance of fily, obligations to others，and believing in something outside oneself. 2
But in the 1990s those in the middle class found that there was a price for success. A U. S.News &p; World Report survey in 1994 indicated that 75 percent of ericans believed that middle class filies could no longer make ends meet 3. Both spouses now worked，as did some of the children; long commutes bece routine; the need for child care put strains on4 the fily; and public schools were not as good as they once were. Members of the middle cIass were no longer financing their lifestyles through earnings but were using credit to stay afloat. The understanding of just what middle class meant was changing.
美国把自己看成是一个中产阶级的国家。然而，中产阶级既不是一个真实的称号，也不会带 来特别待遇。它更是一个观念，一个也许在第二次世界大战之后会变得更加正确的观念。那时， 美国经济不断增长，越来越多的人拥有了自己的家庭，工人们和雇佣自己的公司签订了可靠的合 同，并且几乎所有想受到高等教育的人能够接受教育。成功的人士享受这种上升的社会流动性。 他们也许之前很穷，但是他们能够变得富有。成功人士同样发现他们有更好的地理流动性。换句 话说，他们发现自己正移居并生活在各种各样的地方。
这些中产阶级都持有几种相同的价值观和原则。认为赚取足够金钱就可以决定自己经济命运 的想法，是其中一种比较强烈的价值观。另外，中产阶级的道德观包括个人的责任感、家庭的重 要性、对他人的使命感以及相信自我以外的事物。
但是在20世纪90年代，这些中产阶级的人们发现了成功的代价。1994年，《美国新闻与世 界报道》的一篇调查称，75%的美国人认为中产阶级家庭无法收支相抵。现在夫妻双方以及他们 的一些孩子都在工作;遥远的上下班路程变成了常态，儿童看护给家庭带来了很大压力，并且公 立学校已经不如以前那样好了。中产阶级的成员不再通过薪水来支付他们的生活所需，而是通过 使用信用卡来维持生活。对于中产阶级的理解正在发生变化。