When we see the phrase "working class" in print, to whom does it refer? Almost universally it refers to those working in jobs that require no college education. It seems to refer to people either of little skill (physical laborers) or whose skills are learned on the job and through an apprenticeship program of some sort (plumbers, electricians, etc). No doubt that these people work—and work very hard in many cases. But what if you're not part of the "working class"? How do you provide for your family?
Isn't the unavoidable conclusion that the term "working class" is designed to disparage the labor of those who work in professional fields? Doesn't it imply that only physical work is actually work? Granted that wiring up a new home is a lot of work, but isn't doing 12 hours of cardiovascular surgery also hard work? Economics teaches us that specialized skills command premium wages because of the scarcity of those skills, whether they be brain surgery, finite element analysis, or running a four-flat 40-yard dash. But how are such skills developed? Is it not through great exertions of really hard work? Some people are born with special natural gifts, making acquiring some skills easier for them than for others. But no one is born with advanced medical knowledge or specialty engineering skills, for example; those can only come with hard work in the pursuit of education and knowledge.
Therefore, the use "working class" serves to perpetuate the myth that those who live comfortably do so undeservedly, that their comfort came at no price to them, or maybe even through ill-gotten gains. The ultimate irony is that within the group often referred to as "working class" are many people who actually do not work. They are sustained by charitable contributions and public largesse. Many are people who are disabled and legitimately cannot work. But some will be those who prefer not to work, as it is optional for achieving the lifestyle with which they are comfortable. They live in squalor; while they do not enjoy it, they find it less objectionable than the exertions that would be required to lift them to a more comfortable living.
Just as there are those in the "working class" who do not work, there are those outside it who also do not work. They are the idle rich, those special few of such preposterously fabulous means that their money does their work for them, providing an opulent living standard while still sustaining itself. These people are exceedingly few, and frankly do not much matter to the rest of us.
The reality is that most Americans are in the "working class." One need not disparage the efforts and achievements of the professional class producers to give the due credit to those who are unskilled or minimally skilled.