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Old 02-14-2014, 05:05 PM  
petegz28 petegz28 is offline
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28 Signs That The Middle Class Is Heading Towards Extinction

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-0...rds-extinction

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

The death of the middle class in America has become so painfully obvious that now even the New York Times is doing stories about it. Millions of middle class jobs have disappeared, incomes are steadily decreasing, the rate of homeownership has declined for eight years in a row and U.S. consumers have accumulated record-setting levels of debt. Being independent is at the heart of what it means to be "middle class", and unfortunately the percentage of Americans that are able to take care of themselves without government assistance continues to decline. In fact, the percentage of Americans that are receiving government assistance is now at an all-time record high. This is not a good thing. Sadly, the number of people on food stamps has increased by nearly 50 percent while Barack Obama has been in the White House, and at this point nearly half the entire country gets money from the government each month. Anyone that tries to tell you that the middle class is going to be "okay" simply has no idea what they are talking about. The following are 28 signs that the middle class is heading toward extinction...

#1 You don't have to ask major U.S. corporations if the middle class is dying. This fact is showing up plain as day in their sales numbers. The following is from a recent New York Times article entitled "The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World"...

In Manhattan, the upscale clothing retailer Barneys will replace the bankrupt discounter Loehmann’s, whose Chelsea store closes in a few weeks. Across the country, Olive Garden and Red Lobster restaurants are struggling, while fine-dining chains like Capital Grille are thriving. And at General Electric, the increase in demand for high-end dishwashers and refrigerators dwarfs sales growth of mass-market models.



As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all. The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away.

#2 Some of the largest retailers in the United States that once thrived by serving the middle class are now steadily dying. Sears and J.C. Penney are both on the verge of bankruptcy, and now we have learned that Radio Shack may be shutting down another 500 stores this year.

#3 Real disposable income in the United States just experienced the largest year over year drop that we have seen since 1974.

#4 Median household income in the United States has fallen for five years in a row.

#5 The rate of homeownership in the United States has fallen for eight years in a row.

#6 In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be "middle class". In 2014, only 44 percent of all Americans consider themselves to be "middle class".

#7 In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be "lower class". In 2014, an astounding 49 percent of them do.

#8 Incredibly, 56 percent of all Americans now have "subprime credit".

#9 Total consumer credit has risen by a whopping 22 percent over the past three years.

#10 The average credit card debt in the United States is $15,279.

#11 The average student loan debt in the United States is $32,250.

#12 The average mortgage debt in the United States is $149,925.

#13 Overall, U.S. consumers are $11,360,000,000,000 in debt.

#14 The U.S. national debt is currently sitting at $17,263,040,455,036.20, and it is being reported that is has grown by $6.666 trillion during the Obama years so far. Most of the burden of servicing that debt is going to fall on the middle class (if the middle class is able to survive that long).

#15 According to the Congressional Budget Office, interest payments on the national debt will nearly quadruple over the next ten years.

#16 Back in 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance. Today, only 54.9 percent of all Americans are covered by employment-based health insurance.

#17 More Americans than ever find themselves forced to turn to the government for help with health care. At this point, 82.4 million Americans live in a home where at least one person is enrolled in the Medicaid program.

#18 There are 46.5 million Americans that are living in poverty, and the poverty rate in America has been at 15 percent or above for 3 consecutive years. That is the first time that has happened since 1965.

#19 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the number of Americans on food stamps has gone from 32 million to 47 million.

#20 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the percentage of working age Americans that are actually working has declined from 60.6 percent to 58.6 percent.

#21 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, the average duration of unemployment in the United States has risen from 19.8 weeks to 37.1 weeks.

#22 Middle-wage jobs accounted for 60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession, but they have accounted for only 22 percent of the jobs created since then.

#23 It is hard to believe, but an astounding 53 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year in wages.

#24 Approximately one out of every four part-time workers in America is living below the poverty line.

#25 According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, an all-time record 49.2 percent of all Americans are receiving benefits from at least one government program each month.

#26 The U.S. government has spent an astounding 3.7 trillion dollars on welfare programs over the past five years.

#27 Only 35 percent of all Americans say that they are better off financially than they were a year ago.

#28 Only 19 percent of all Americans believe that the job market is better than it was a year ago.

As if the middle class didn't have enough to deal with, now here comes Obamacare.

As I have written about previously, Obamacare is going to mean higher taxes and much higher health insurance premiums for middle class Americans.

Not only that, but millions of hard working Americans are going to end up losing their jobs or having their hours cut back thanks to Obamacare. For example, a fry cook named Darnell Summers recently told Barack Obama directly that he and his fellow workers "were broken down to part time to avoid paying health insurance"...

And the Congressional Budget Office now says that Obamacare could result in the loss of 2.3 million full-time jobs by 2021.

Several million people will reduce their hours on the job or leave the workforce entirely because of incentives built into President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday.



That would mean job losses equal to 2.3 million full-time jobs by 2021, in large part because people would opt to keep their income low to stay eligible for federal health care subsidies or Medicaid, the agency said. It had estimated previously that the law would lead to 800,000 fewer jobs by that year.

But even if we got rid of Obamacare tomorrow that would not solve the problems of the middle class.

The middle class has been shrinking for a very long time, and something dramatic desperately needs to be done.

The numbers that I shared above simply cannot convey the level of suffering that is going on out there on the streets of America today. That is why I also like to share personal stories when I can. Below, I have posted an excerpt from an open letter to Barack Obama that a woman with a Master's degree and 30 years of work experience recently submitted to the Huffington Post. What this formerly middle class lady is having to endure because of this horrible economy is absolutely tragic...

Dear Mr. President,
I write to you today because I have nowhere else to turn. I lost my full time job in September 2012. I have only been able to find part-time employment -- 16 hours each week at $12 per hour -- but I don't work that every week. For the month of December, my net pay was $365. My husband and I now live in an RV at a campground because of my job loss. Our monthly rent is $455 and that doesn't include utilities. We were given this 27-ft. 1983 RV when I lost my job.



This is America today. We have no running water; we use a hose to fill jugs. We have no shower but the campground does. We have a toilet but it only works when the sewer line doesn't freeze -- if it freezes, we use the campground's restrooms. At night, in my bed, when it's cold out, my blanket can freeze to the wall of the RV.



We don't have a stove or an oven, just a microwave, so regular-food cooking is out. Recently we found a small toaster oven on sale so we can bake a little now because eating only microwaved food just wasn't working for us. We don't have a refrigerator, just an icebox (a block of ice cost about $1.89). It keeps things relatively cold. If it's freezing outside, we just put things on the picnic table.

You can read the rest of her incredibly heartbreaking letter right here.

This is not the America that I remember.

What in the world is happening to us?
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:29 AM   #91
Loneiguana Loneiguana is offline
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Originally Posted by mlyonsd View Post
Just like you're ignoring the possibility Volkswagen workers don't trust unions and see them in a bad light.
Because of the propaganda from the GOP. You don't think openly using the government to threaten private business influences those voters who believe every lie from the GOP?

Conservatives love to vote against their self interest thanks to the BS the swallow from entertainment news.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:31 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
You seem to be confused about my "side of the argument". Like so many things, you just make it up in your head. The current system is almost as far from what I support as your worse, envy-based ideas.
Patty ignores all economic arguments to believe this is envy based.

Patty is pathetic.

Conservatives can only win arguments when the write the script for their opponent.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:32 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by Prison Bitch View Post
Lone still defending the Democrats, after all they've done for the richest 1%. Amazing how Lone votes against his own beliefs.
I said something about democrats?

Oh, yea, this is something you say when you can't counter anything said.

But but both sides are bad so vote republican.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:40 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by Hoopsdoc View Post
I work for Toyota right here in Indiana, proudly non union, and I make just as much money as any of the unionized auto workers do.

In fact, we've voted down union organization twice in the 12 years I've worked there.
Good for you for voting down everything else that goes with union membership besides pay.

I know I wouldn't want a collective working organization that allows me to use my freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to have a representative voice in how the workplace operates.

Having a voice is like representative and stuff and that is anti-American.

Who cares if every single group of people out there has an organization of like minded people to help a cause. Homeowners associations, political parties, board of directors, guilds.

Workers shouldn't get any of that. Yup. I would be proud of that too.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:43 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Loneiguana View Post
Good for you for voting down everything else that goes with union membership besides pay.

I know I wouldn't want a collective working organization that allows me to use my freedom of speech and freedom of assembly to have a representative voice in how the workplace operates.

Having a voice is like representative and stuff and that is anti-American.

Who cares if every single group of people out there has an organization of like minded people to help a cause. Homeowners associations, political parties, board of directors, guilds.

Workers shouldn't get any of that. Yup. I would be proud of that too.
There's a good chance that they didn't want to pay an organization to lobby for policies that they find offensive and damaging to their interests.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:43 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by Baby Lee View Post
Holy Shit! When you wake up do you just jump out of bed wondering 'how can I prove how FoS I am?'

The folks voted, individually and privately, down the union and indicated their continued amenability to non-UAW work council relationships with their German parent company.

They wanted the partnership with their employer, but recognized that attaching themselves to that big funnel to the government teat killed their brothers in Detroit.

Good on them.
First, the point went over your head of the GOP threatening the plant if the workers voted for it.

Second, don't accuse others of being FOS when you believe that unions were the reason Detroit went down. That is one of the biggest lies out there. Healthcare costs and crappy cars being made was the reason.

And I don't understand your government/union connect.

The government in this case was threatening a private company. Not big government cuddling up to unions. Big government threatening a private business.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:49 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
There's a good chance that they didn't want to pay an organization to lobby for policies that they find offensive and damaging to their interests.
Yea, conservatives love to vote against their own self interest based on the lies told by the GOP.

There use to be something called the middle-America pro-union republican. But you down southern republicans have hijacked the party.

Besides, you told me that Republicans weren't against unions.

You know, when we discussed how pro-union the 1950's republicans were and bragging about the high rates of pay union membership got.

How things have changed.

Decline in union membership is a real reason for wage decline.

But keep thinking its all about envy. I'm sure you won't disappoint me in your pathetic response.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:56 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Loneiguana View Post
Yea, conservatives love to vote against their own self interest based on the lies told by the GOP.

There use to be something called the middle-America pro-union republican. But you down southern republicans have hijacked the party.

Besides, you told me that Republicans weren't against unions.

You know, when we discussed how pro-union the 1950's republicans were and bragging about the high rates of pay union membership got.

How things have changed.

Decline in union membership is a real reason for wage decline.

But keep thinking its all about envy. I'm sure you won't disappoint me in your pathetic response.
Republicans aren't against unions. They're against left-wing, partisan organizations though and too many of today's unions, particularly government unions, have become just that.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:56 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by headsnap View Post
when the middle class goes extinct, what will Trader Joe's do?!?!?
Adopt.

It's something people do who want to make a profit.

Same as if wages go up.

Adopt to make a profit.

Businesses are already adopting.

The Middle Class Is Steadily Eroding. Just Ask the Business World.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/03/bu...orld.html?_r=0

Quote:
As politicians and pundits in Washington continue to spar over whether economic inequality is in fact deepening, in corporate America there really is no debate at all. The post-recession reality is that the customer base for businesses that appeal to the middle class is shrinking as the top tier pulls even further away.

If there is any doubt, the speed at which companies are adapting to the new consumer landscape serves as very convincing evidence. Within top consulting firms and among Wall Street analysts, the shift is being described with a frankness more often associated with left-wing academics than business experts.

Those consumers who have capital like real estate and stocks and are in the top 20 percent are feeling pretty good,” said John G. Maxwell, head of the global retail and consumer practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

In response to the upward shift in spending, PricewaterhouseCoopers clients like big stores and restaurants are chasing richer customers with a wider offering of high-end goods and services, or focusing on rock-bottom prices to attract the expanding ranks of penny-pinching consumers.

“As a retailer or restaurant chain, if you’re not at the really high level or the low level, that’s a tough place to be,” Mr. Maxwell said. “You don’t want to be stuck in the middle.”

Although data on consumption is less readily available than figures that show a comparable split in income gains, new research by the economists Steven Fazzari, of Washington University in St. Louis, and Barry Cynamon, of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, backs up what is already apparent in the marketplace.

In 2012, the top 5 percent of earners were responsible for 38 percent of domestic consumption, up from 28 percent in 1995, the researchers found.

Even more striking, the current recovery has been driven almost entirely by the upper crust, according to Mr. Fazzari and Mr. Cynamon. Since 2009, the year the recession ended, inflation-adjusted spending by this top echelon has risen 17 percent, compared with just 1 percent among the bottom 95 percent.

More broadly, about 90 percent of the overall increase in inflation-adjusted consumption between 2009 and 2012 was generated by the top 20 percent of households in terms of income, according to the study, which was sponsored by the Institute for New Economic Thinking, a research group in New York.
The effects of this phenomenon are now rippling through one sector after another in the American economy, from retailers and restaurants to hotels, casinos and even appliance makers.

For example, luxury gambling properties like Wynn and the Venetian in Las Vegas are booming, drawing in more high rollers than regional casinos in Atlantic City, upstate New York and Connecticut, which attract a less affluent clientele who are not betting as much, said Steven Kent, an analyst at Goldman Sachs.

Among hotels, revenue per room in the high-end category, which includes brands like the Four Seasons and St. Regis, grew 7.5 percent in 2013, compared with a 4.1 percent gain for midscale properties like Best Western, according to Smith Travel Research.

And while the superrich garner much of the attention, most companies are building their business strategies around a broader slice of affluent consumers.

...

At G.E. Appliances, for example, the fastest-growing brand is the Café line, which is aimed at the top quarter of the market, with refrigerators typically retailing for $1,700 to $3,000.

“This is a person who is willing to pay for features, like a double-oven range or a refrigerator with hot water,” said Brian McWaters, a general manager in G.E.'s Appliance division.

At street level, the divide is even more stark.

Sears and J. C. Penney, retailers whose wares are aimed squarely at middle-class Americans, are both in dire straits. Last month, Sears said it would shutter its flagship store on State Street in downtown Chicago, and J. C. Penney announced the closings of 33 stores and 2,000 layoffs.

Loehmann’s, where generations of middle-class shoppers hunted for marked-down designer labels in the famed Back Room, is now being liquidated after three trips to bankruptcy court since 1999.

The Loehmann’s store in Chelsea, like all 39 Loehmann’s outlets nationwide, will go dark as soon as the last items sell. Barneys New York, which started in the same location in 1923 before moving to a more luxurious spot on Madison Avenue two decades ago, plans to reopen a store on the site in 2017.

Investors have taken notice of the shrinking middle. Shares of Sears and J. C. Penney have fallen more than 50 percent since the end of 2009, even as upper-end stores like Nordstrom and bargain-basement chains like Dollar Tree and Family Dollar Stores have more than doubled in value over the same period.

Competition from online giants like Amazon has only added to the problems faced by old-line retailers, of course. But changes in the restaurant business show that the effects of rising inequality are widespread.

A shift at Darden, which calls itself the world’s largest full-service restaurant owner, encapsulates the trend. Foot traffic at midtier, casual dining properties like Red Lobster and Olive Garden has dropped in every quarter but one since 2005, according to John Glass, a restaurant industry analyst at Morgan Stanley.

With diners paying an average tab of $16.50 a person at Olive Garden, Mr. Glass said, “The customers are middle class. They’re not rich. They’re not poor.” With income growth stagnant and prices for necessities like health care and education on the rise, he said, “They are cutting back.” On the other hand, at the Capital Grille, an upscale Darden chain where the average check per person is about $71, spending is up by an average of 5 percent annually over the last three years.

LongHorn Steakhouse, another Darden chain, has been reworked to target a slightly more affluent crowd than Olive Garden, with décor intended to evoke a cattleman’s ranch instead of an Old West theme.

Now, hedge fund investors are pressuring Darden’s management to break up the company and spin out the more upscale properties into a separate entity.

“A separation could make sense from a strategic perspective,” Mr. Glass said. “Generally, the specialty restaurant group is more attractive demographically.”
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:57 AM   #100
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I have not followed this latest Union vs Company exercise very much but my understanding is that it was the workers who voted to stay non Union. Is this correct?
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:58 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Republicans aren't against unions. They're against left-wing, partisan organizations though and too many of today's unions, particularly government unions, have become just that.


That's great spin. Republicans are only against the unions they don't like, which happens to be all of them. They aren't against unions sooo much they will use the government to threaten private business.



I knew you wouldn't disappoint me in a pathetic response.
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Old 02-16-2014, 07:58 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by Loneiguana View Post
Adopt.

It's something people do who want to make a profit.

Same as if wages go up.

Adopt to make a profit.

Businesses are already adopting.

Don't you mean "Adapt?"
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:00 AM   #103
Loneiguana Loneiguana is offline
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Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
I have not followed this latest Union vs Company exercise very much but my understanding is that it was the workers who voted to stay non Union. Is this correct?
Sure, if you ignore everything the GOP did you influence the election. Like threaten the company and any plant extensions.

But I'm sure the GOP threaten the plant and no affect on republican workers there who believe all the GOP lies about unions.

Especially since this was going to be a work council, not an American style union.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:01 AM   #104
Loneiguana Loneiguana is offline
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Don't you mean "Adapt?"
sure.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:07 AM   #105
HonestChieffan HonestChieffan is offline
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Originally Posted by Loneiguana View Post
Sure, if you ignore everything the GOP did you influence the election. Like threaten the company and any plant extensions.

But I'm sure the GOP threaten the plant and no affect on republican workers there who believe all the GOP lies about unions.

Especially since this was going to be a work council, not an American style union.

Thanks. I was a bit confused with all this other stuff being thrown about...Was this a vote, secret ballot?
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