Reading about the early meanings of the phrase “middle class” it clearly refers to:
…someone with so much capital that they could rival nobles….. professionals, managers, and senior civil servants.
and not to “the broad shoulders” holding up society, which should properly be called “the working class”.
In other words, not “normal” or “typical” people at all (typical being $21k/year)—the “middle class” could accurately refer in the U.S. only to those making over $100k/year. I.e., “possessing
(Source: The New York Times)