Robert Reich gives you a quick summary on the current economic situation. Here's a hint: it's not good.
How did GW and his ilk convince people the middle class to vote against their own interests? Two ways:
1. As John Updike pointed out, there are no poor Americans, everyone thinks they are 'down and out millionaires'.
2. The GOP aligned itself as the party of religious piety, enabling them to capture large numbers of voters whose middle-class interests they promptly ignored.
Which is not to say that the Democratic party is any great shakes at this point. The major parties are two sides of the same coin. But the hypocrisy of the GOP (pro-business) is more blatantly ridiculous than the lazy corruption of the Democrats (pro-union) because the GOP tries to sell themselves as folksy. Just admit you're the Kochtopus and get on with it.
In summary: people are stupid.