Nurses are definitely part of the shrinking (and struggling) middle class. We are the link between 2 increasingly unequal extremes in America. On one side we have the working poor, such as Carla, who don't earn a livable wage, and only survive due to government assistance in one form or another. Between Carla and many nurses we have the working class that many forget about. They earn too much for government assistance (think $13/hr to $18/hr), but still struggle to meet all their financial obligations with the growing cost of living.
Above nurses, (who top out at around $95,000/yr at my employer working 36 hours a week...a little overtime easily bumps that to $110,000), are the professional upper middle class....these are the lawyers, administrators, successful physicians, and engineers that we think of as "rich". The extremely wealthy that Brownbook mentions in her article (those making multi-millions) tend to stay hidden. They use the 150,000-250,000 income bracket as a shield, and cry about how affected that category will be when tax adjustments are mentioned in Congress.
A completely different arm of the argument is the one that ApplewhiteRN brought up. I've been a nurse since before the crash in 2008. I remember the days of a 3-4% merit raise per year, plus a cost of living adjustment every other year. Our health insurance was affordable, and being admitted to the hospital was a flat $250 co-pay....MUCH different than what we have to budget for today.
None of this probably will change though. I *do* feel lucky to be making a very solid middle class salary. I work 4 hours of overtime per week, and brought home enough last year to stay on budget, pay extra on the mortgage, put away a decent chunk of savings, pay for some small remodeling around the house, and fund a vacation. We need to find a balance where we don't turn a complacent eye to inequality (vote people!), but still enjoy the life we've been given to live.