Exactly wages have been flat for years, one of the reasons people are up in arms about taxes and cities and states are having such a hard. People are just being paid less. If taxes are going up and your making the same amount you were ten or twenty years ago its taking a bigger chunk out of they're pocket books. People start charging and in the end can't pay. How the middle class became the underclass - Feb. 16, 2011 NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Are you better off than your parents? Probably not if you're in the middle class. Incomes for 90% of Americans have been stuck in neutral, and it's not just because of the Great Recession. Middle-class incomes have been stagnant for at least a generation, while the wealthiest tier has surged ahead at lighting speed.