If you want to improve your lot in life, you have to be smarter, not dumber. The smarter you are, the better off you will be in life. The smarter choices you make in life will make your life better. And often this means going against the herd mentality - a mentality that increasingly is dumber and dumber. Yes, "everyone" has a smart phone and has a Starbucks once a day. And it seems "everyone" is leasing a car, getting a rewards card, and refinancing their house to pay off debts. Guess what? Most everyone you know is hopelessly in debt.
UPDATE: Some have opined that that the real reason the middle-class is declining is that H1-B visas are "giving all the good jobs" to furriners who are working for lower wages. This is a Trump talking point, and it is utter bullshit.
First of all, in my experience, we have been filling the ranks of engineering companies in places like silicon valley, Austin, Texas, and Boulder Colorado with H1-B visa Engineers for decades now. It goes back at least to my days as a Patent Examiner back in 1987, nearly 30 years ago.
Second, we don't pay them less than "American-born" Engineers. Demand for Engineers is so high that tech companies fight over Engineering talent. If you underpaid a good Engineer, it wouldn't be for long.
Third, the reason companies like Google, Apple, and Microsoft hire so many foreign Engineers is that there are not enough American-born Engineers available. If you have a degree in Electrical or Computer Engineering, you can pretty much write your own ticket today. You will have job offers out the wazoo.
Now, on the other hand, if you are a "researcher" you likely won't find jobs in "research" as these are academic jobs and are few in number and hard to get.
Most American-born kids don't want to study calculus, thermodynamics, or electromagnetics. These are very, very hard courses, although even an idiot like me managed to master differential equations. Hard courses interfere the party life - drinking beer, smoking pot, and going to frat parties (isn't that what college is really about anyway?).
We have a sense of entitlement in this country, and Donald Trump taps into this. "Hey, I was born here, and I'm white, where's my six-figure salary job and corner office? Some damn foreigner must have taken it away from me!"
The truth is, we gave away the good-paying jobs by failing to study the hard things, by failing to think critically, and failing to learn hard truths - as my reader is failing to to (much easier to blame others and externalize, ain't it?).
If Trump has his way and does away with H1-B visas, this will not result in a boon of employment for Americans, but rather will force American companies to move engineering facilities off-shore, which will mean the loss of even more American jobs. Scarier still, it will mean the real intellectual part of our technology culture will now reside overseas.
We are less of a manufacturing economy than a design economy - intellectual property (of all types) is our greatest and most valuable export, even if it doesn't appear on a ledger sheet. We invent and design things in this country. If we move that last profitable enterprise offshore, we will have little left but low-paying manufacturing and service jobs - what few are left.
Xenophobia is never the right answer.
The H1-B "controversy" is just more immigrant-hate.
It has been a privilege to work with Engineers from all over the world in my line of work. If you knock on the doors at Apple, Microsoft, Google, or whatever, the person answering it may likely be from overseas. This is not a bad thing - we are getting the best and brightest.
Bear in mind that what some people include in the rubrick of "researcher" includes sociologists and anthropologists and other academic fields.
If we cut off H1-B visas, you can bet the tech companies will open design centers overseas, and our last rampart of our technological culture will be lost for good.
When I was a kid, everyone wanted to be a rocket scientist - as we were going to land on the moon.
Today, everyone wants to be "America's Next Idol!" or a judge on the show.
This is why we are failing!