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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, 08:09 AM   #106
Loneiguana Loneiguana is offline
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Thanks. I was a bit confused with all this other stuff being thrown about...Was this a vote, secret ballot?
The majority of union ballots are secret ballots. Just like the majority of board of director votes are secret.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:14 AM   #107
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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.
This argument/tension is going to go on for all of time. As soon as labor gets what they want, the corporations will opt to move off shore, liberal politicians will block/tax/cry (or try to block), business will opt to just do nothing (and wait), doom and gloom ensue (while the rich hang in their gated communities or in the south of France etc), the masses cry and beg for "opportunity" from their politicians, the politicians create incentives for big business, the rich bring back big business to provide that opportunity (with the concessions they wanted before), things get better, time passes and labor wants more and says they're victims of "the man", The Chiefs don't win a playoff game, and the whole cycle starts over again.

Just pop some popcorn, site back and watch.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:18 AM   #108
HonestChieffan HonestChieffan is offline
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Originally Posted by Loneiguana View Post
The majority of union ballots are secret ballots. Just like the majority of board of director votes are secret.


Then the results of the vote of the workers is a success. They were not forced to vote. The vote was secret. They know the pro and cons, they had UAW people present the UAW side. One can safely assume the sides both were hard after a win. Seems like you are off on a rant that was shown by the vote to be one the workers disagree with. Theory meets reality. Huzzah!
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:22 AM   #109
Loneiguana Loneiguana is offline
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Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
Then the results of the vote of the workers is a success. They were not forced to vote. The vote was secret. They know the pro and cons, they had UAW people present the UAW side. One can safely assume the sides both were hard after a win. Seems like you are off on a rant that was shown by the vote to be one the workers disagree with. Theory meets reality. Huzzah!
How did a secret ballot do anything when the GOP was threatening the plant, not the workers? This wasn't a, you individually vote for the union we fire you, this was if the plant votes for the union, the GOP goes after the entire plant.
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:27 AM   #110
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How did a secret ballot do anything when the GOP was threatening the plant, not the workers? This wasn't a, you individually vote for the union we fire you, this was if the plant votes for the union, the GOP goes after the entire plant.

You grant such power to your foe. I suppose the workers had small coffee chats about how the GOP was going to swoop in and crush VW. Why? If VW leaves...its a huge loss to the state and to the GOP. Or maybe there was independent thought by workers who see how the old big three did under UAW domination? Or maybe the workers are themselves more a conservative lot and don't want to pay dues that largely support the opposition party?
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:34 AM   #111
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You grant such power to your foe. I suppose the workers had small coffee chats about how the GOP was going to swoop in and crush VW. Why? If VW leaves...its a huge loss to the state and to the GOP. Or maybe there was independent thought by workers who see how the old big three did under UAW domination? Or maybe the workers are themselves more a conservative lot and don't want to pay dues that largely support the opposition party?
Maybe you should ask those questions to the representatives who were threatening the plant. Extortion I believe this is called. Vote they way I want or bad things will happen.

"State Senate Speaker Pro Tem Bo Watson in a news conference in Chattanooga on Monday called the United Auto Workers campaign at the plant "un-American." He said a vote in favor of the union would lead the wide GOP majorities in the state Legislature to take a dim view of future incentives aimed at expanding production."

""Should the workers at Volkswagen choose to be represented by the United Auto Workers, then I believe any additional incentives from the citizens of the State of Tennessee for expansion or otherwise will have a very tough time passing the Tennessee Senate," State Sen. Bo Watson, R-Chattanooga, said in a statement sent to the Free Press."
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:39 AM   #112
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What was the UAW's appeal to the workers? Can we see some of the propaganda they used to support the UAW position? Propaganda not a bad term, its simply what both sides would do...What was the central theme the UAW used and what tactics employed that they can look back on and see was an unsuccessful approach?
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Old 02-16-2014, 08:57 AM   #113
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How did a secret ballot do anything when the GOP was threatening the plant, not the workers? This wasn't a, you individually vote for the union we fire you, this was if the plant votes for the union, the GOP goes after the entire plant.
Maybe the union folks have TVs. If they do I'm sure they see what's happened to Detroit. While the unions can't be blamed for it 100%, I'm pretty sure they own most of the blame. Yeah, and you can assign blame....

As for moving the plant..... Yup, like it or not that's what working hard and owning a "big" business affords you the ability to do. If you don't own it, being picked by those who do to run it is the next best thing. People can hate that paradigm all they want, but it's life.

All the haters have to do is stop whining and make their own car company - kinda like that Mr. Ford guy did. They can call it "The People's Car"! Some German group kinda did the same thing. I'm sure they have all the skills and determination it takes to go from the assembly line to the front office and present a business plan that'll afford them the capital they need to get started. If not, since they're "organized", perhaps they can pool their savings together for this start-up company. And when they get to the front office, they can't pay their people all they want. I'm sure the best people in the industry will want to come their way because this new company will pay better than any other.

The bottom line is that people make choices relative to their sphere of influence. Don't get mad because the fat-cat owner/BOD makes their decisions in a manner that's made to keep the company maximally profitable and grom the business.
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:00 AM   #114
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Originally Posted by HonestChieffan View Post
What was the UAW's appeal to the workers? Can we see some of the propaganda they used to support the UAW position? Propaganda not a bad term, its simply what both sides would do...What was the central theme the UAW used and what tactics employed that they can look back on and see was an unsuccessful approach?
I would also like to see this as well. This topic is very interesting to me right now, I'm trying to figure out why these people would vote against this thing that is supposed to be so great.

WSJ Article

The article above only mentions the GOP influence in a direct quote from someone at the UAW, so I'm not sure how much influence it had. The quotes from the employees don't mention it.

The workers at that VW plant are making on average 25% more than their counterparts at the big 3, maybe that's why they voted it down?

I'd still have liked to be a fly on the wall though, just to see how it all went down.
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:03 AM   #115
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I would also like to see this as well. This topic is very interesting to me right now, I'm trying to figure out why these people would vote against this thing that is supposed to be so great.

WSJ Article

The article above only mentions the GOP influence in a direct quote from someone at the UAW, so I'm not sure how much influence it had. The quotes from the employees don't mention it.

The workers at that VW plant are making on average 25% more than their counterparts at the big 3, maybe that's why they voted it down?

I'd still have liked to be a fly on the wall though, just to see how it all went down.

Somehow we only see the one side and just suppositions of the other. But....so it goes.
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:54 AM   #116
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1) I don't repurpose the box into a small veggie garden or anything, but my none-year-old does make sure it goes into the recycling bin.

2) I did replace my catalytic converters and the V8 Silverado. But that was more because the truck wouldn't run otherwise (yeah, they clogged shut!). So I'm doing to say that's prolly a no. I wash it, and the car wash place recycles the water (I think), and being clean reduces wind resistance, so maybe.

3) Folgers coffee. Prolly picked/made by some Columbian drug lord who makes a 6-year-old pick the beans and put them on the back of a donkey that ****s the kid's mother for the tourist at some cheap bar in town at the end of the day. But it was grown in dirt, so it's organic, and the donkey is very cooperative since it's getting laid on a regular basis.

4) I really do dislike Obama (very much dislike him), but he's not "a man" (he's a ****ing asshole) so not sure that counts. I don't like his wife, she's a man, so that might count. But I really totally dislike Holder. While he's a man, he's more of an alien, but a male alien, so I'm going to go with "prolly" there.

5) My truck locks the doors by itself, so it's paranoid for me. So that's a yes, but it's one I can blame on technology and claim I wouldn't "because I'm not scared." But wait.... I used to sometimes be the last down from the bridge on the submarine and I'd close and lock (dog) the clam shell, AND close and dog the inner AND outer hatches. So, that's a tough one, I did lock "the doors", but NOT getting wet would be a good excuse too.
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:03 PM   #117
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1) I don't repurpose the box into a small veggie garden or anything, but my none-year-old does make sure it goes into the recycling bin.

2) I did replace my catalytic converters and the V8 Silverado. But that was more because the truck wouldn't run otherwise (yeah, they clogged shut!). So I'm doing to say that's prolly a no. I wash it, and the car wash place recycles the water (I think), and being clean reduces wind resistance, so maybe.

3) Folgers coffee. Prolly picked/made by some Columbian drug lord who makes a 6-year-old pick the beans and put them on the back of a donkey that ****s the kid's mother for the tourist at some cheap bar in town at the end of the day. But it was grown in dirt, so it's organic, and the donkey is very cooperative since it's getting laid on a regular basis.

4) I really do dislike Obama (very much dislike him), but he's not "a man" (he's a ****ing asshole) so not sure that counts. I don't like his wife, she's a man, so that might count. But I really totally dislike Holder. While he's a man, he's more of an alien, but a male alien, so I'm going to go with "prolly" there.

5) My truck locks the doors by itself, so it's paranoid for me. So that's a yes, but it's one I can blame on technology and claim I wouldn't "because I'm not scared." But wait.... I used to sometimes be the last down from the bridge on the submarine and I'd close and lock (dog) the clam shell, AND close and dog the inner AND outer hatches. So, that's a tough one, I did lock "the doors", but NOT getting wet would be a good excuse too.

Clearly you are a man of the world with a broad minded view. Comfortable in a social setting with the elites as well as around a campfire after a frog gig'en

The anti-Kotter in many ways with his antipathy toward those he sees as a lower social standing and less value to society.
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Old 02-16-2014, 12:24 PM   #118
GloryDayz GloryDayz is offline
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Clearly you are a man of the world with a broad minded view. Comfortable in a social setting with the elites as well as around a campfire after a frog gig'en

The anti-Kotter in many ways with his antipathy toward those he sees as a lower social standing and less value to society.
I'm just me. Still spelling-challenged, but I was good enough to type the launch codes back in the day.

Short of that I just call um like I see um! Like Holder being a prick and abusing his (and shit-head Barack's) powers to push through the changes they feel are right.

It'll be nice if the conservatives ever get office again, I pray they take a while to come to their senses and "fair" ways. I expect the liberals will try to enact legislation to block any way to undo many of the dastardly deeds they've rammed through. Not all, but some. It'll be funny to watch how the liberals change their stance to one of "ramming things through" being wrong.

It's not like all Presidents haven't done some of it, but it seems to be about the only way for President Shithead to get anything done.
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:07 PM   #119
Hoopsdoc Hoopsdoc is offline
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I would also like to see this as well. This topic is very interesting to me right now, I'm trying to figure out why these people would vote against this thing that is supposed to be so great.

WSJ Article

The article above only mentions the GOP influence in a direct quote from someone at the UAW, so I'm not sure how much influence it had. The quotes from the employees don't mention it.

The workers at that VW plant are making on average 25% more than their counterparts at the big 3, maybe that's why they voted it down?

I'd still have liked to be a fly on the wall though, just to see how it all went down.
Don't be ridiculous. Lone has already explained that it was the evil state legislature that fearmongered the workers.

The fact that they already make more than unionized workers had nothing to do with it.
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Old 02-16-2014, 01:40 PM   #120
chiefzilla1501 chiefzilla1501 is offline
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Maybe the union folks have TVs. If they do I'm sure they see what's happened to Detroit. While the unions can't be blamed for it 100%, I'm pretty sure they own most of the blame. Yeah, and you can assign blame....

As for moving the plant..... Yup, like it or not that's what working hard and owning a "big" business affords you the ability to do. If you don't own it, being picked by those who do to run it is the next best thing. People can hate that paradigm all they want, but it's life.

All the haters have to do is stop whining and make their own car company - kinda like that Mr. Ford guy did. They can call it "The People's Car"! Some German group kinda did the same thing. I'm sure they have all the skills and determination it takes to go from the assembly line to the front office and present a business plan that'll afford them the capital they need to get started. If not, since they're "organized", perhaps they can pool their savings together for this start-up company. And when they get to the front office, they can't pay their people all they want. I'm sure the best people in the industry will want to come their way because this new company will pay better than any other.

The bottom line is that people make choices relative to their sphere of influence. Don't get mad because the fat-cat owner/BOD makes their decisions in a manner that's made to keep the company maximally profitable and grom the business.
The problem is that the American business environment is adversarial, and when it's adversarial, people pick sides and think one side is completely wrong and another side is completely right. German unions don't work that way. They work closely with companies to negotiate benefits both sides will be happy with.

And so in America, both unions and fat cat owners/BOD too often make decisions to counter each other instead of making decisions that maximize profits. So when owners/BOD negotiate terms to make employee unions, it's viewed as a sign or weakness or loss. That's why American unions don't work. Workers unions need to stop negotiating in things that cripple companies, and owners/BOD should try to avoid negotiating in things that will hurt employee morale. But until this stops being a fight where one side wins and the other side loses, you'll have unions / owners & BOD fighting to win instead of fighting for a win/win for both sides.
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