With low-wage jobs the trend, retiree worries about middle class

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Jersey Shore resident and recently retired contractor Dennis Diehl believes the middle class is being strangled.

“Is there going to be a middle class in 10 years,” Diehl, a 1968 Williamsport Area High School graduate, asked.

“We’re a great country, but I believe that because of poverty, I’m afraid that we’re going to become a Third World country,” said Diehl, who retired in December after 41 years as a contractor.

“The economy is really not that great. I would like to see it get back on track,” he said.

“The government tries to make it look great. ‘Oh we just put 250,000 people back to work.’ Yes, but they’re probably working at $7.35 an hour,” Diehl said.

“You tell me, what family, even if both husband and wife are working at minimum wage, how can they afford to buy a car? How can they buy a house? How can they afford to pay the heat bill as cold as it’s been this year,” Diehl asked.

“It really has to be hurting the young people who aren’t making a whole lot of money. Yet, people at the top, they’re making plenty of money,” Diehl, who has three children and three grandchildren, said.

He wonders how many politicians, “how many top executives took a pay cut.”

“How many had their health insurance taken, lowered, and had to pay more into it? I bet none of them. And their pensions are astronomical,” he said.

“There is no way in the world that people just making minimum wage can make it. It’s really tough for young people starting out today, even if you’re ambitious. It’s getting harder and harder just to survive,” Diehl added.