“They get McMansions, we get McJobs”

One columnist suggests McMansions are for the few thriving in the current economy while everyone else gets low-paying jobs:

The Great Recession ended in mid-2009, but for middle class Americans the economic “recovery” never began.

Times will get harder in 2014 for thousands of families in Bucks and Montgomery counties. As reported in this newspaper, long-term unemployment benefits ceased on Saturday for 73,000 Pennsylvanians, about 6,000 of them in the two counties. These people and their dependents will have the penultimate hope ’n change experience – no job, few prospects for full-time work and no unemployment benefits.

The economic news for the majority of Americans has not been good in recent years. However, I’m intrigued by the argument about who McMansions are for. The suggestion here is that McMansions are only for the wealthy, those who have still done well in the economic crisis. Yet, the typical usage of the word McMansion implies that they are big houses for the masses, not just the wealthy. At the economic peak in the early 2000s, the idea of a McMansion meant that a middle-class American could purchase a large and ostentatious home.

At play here is the relative status of McMansion owners. Are they the nouveau riche who are trying to conspicuously present their wealth? Are they the top 10% of the population? The truly wealthy don’t need McMansions – they have mansions – but in times of more scarcity, McMansions might not be for the masses. Also, the article seems to present its criticism of McMansions from those of lower economic and social standing whereas some of the critique of McMansions in recent decades has come from the top in suggesting the owners aren’t really wealthy or don’t have much architectural taste.

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