The gap between high income elite and low income masses is more pronounced in private sector. A larger percentage of public sector employees seem to be middle class. Not wealthy, but still having pretty nice benefits like health insurance that's more likely to be missing in private sector employment.
As the middle class disappears in private sector, it will get harder to sustain it in the public sector as well. Following leads from Facebook friends, this video from CBS News 60 Minutes came to my attention. Sure points out how far in the hole so many state governments have gone borrowing from their own pension funds and so forth. Looks like a lot of the pensions that were negotiated by state employee unions were unsustainable. Some are generous by private sector standards, except for the golden parachutes near the top of private sector. One governor was quoted saying that if he talked about needs to trim state employee pensions, many of his constituents would say, you mean there are still people who have pensions?
Yes, it's hard to justify middle class living in the public sector when many of the taxpayers are no longer living in the middle class. Part of the energy behind the Tea Party movement; no doubt.
As the gap between wealthy and low income becomes wider, in private sector, it's harder to maintain an economic "middle ground." in the public sector.
On another note, I remember how the middle class was derided during hippie movements of the late 60s and early 70s. Middle class was seen as materialistic, stuffy, the suburbs, conservative, mainstream and living in little boxes made of ticky tacky.
Now, the middle class is being missed by quite a few folks on the left. Folks are holding protest signs for "family wage" jobs. Even Lawrence Welk (a pastime in many middle class homes of the 1960s and 70s) is now remembered with fondness and nostalgia by folks who often derided the show in it's day.