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  • Some Americans Getting Poorer

    http://articles.moneycentral.msn.com...ingPoorer.aspx

  • #2
    Correction: Almost ALL Americans growing poorer

    This article tries to refute the new ranking of the "average" wealth of Americans as 15th in the world - by arguing that it under represents the wealthy.

    Sorry to say, they are right about the inaccuracy but dead wrong on its effect. The well established fact is that because of runaway increases in income inequality between the extremely wealthy and everyone else total wealth in America is growing even though at least 90% of us are seeing real incomes falling. The problem is they are talking averages rather than medians. If you put ten thousand homeless men and Bill Gates in a stadium, the 'average' man is a millionaire, even though 99.99% of them are paupers.

    Except for a brief blip during the Clinton administration, the median real income of Americans has been declining ever since Reagan first took office, and that has accelerated mightily since 2001.

    http://bluehorde.blogspot.com/2007/0...dle-class.html

    -Mark

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Naturist Mark View Post
      This article tries to refute the new ranking of the "average" wealth of Americans as 15th in the world - by arguing that it under represents the wealthy.

      Sorry to say, they are right about the inaccuracy but dead wrong on its effect. The well established fact is that because of runaway increases in income inequality between the extremely wealthy and everyone else total wealth in America is growing even though at least 90% of us are seeing real incomes falling. The problem is they are talking averages rather than medians. If you put ten thousand homeless men and Bill Gates in a stadium, the 'average' man is a millionaire, even though 99.99% of them are paupers.

      Except for a brief blip during the Clinton administration, the median real income of Americans has been declining ever since Reagan first took office, and that has accelerated mightily since 2001.

      http://bluehorde.blogspot.com/2007/0...dle-class.html

      -Mark

      The bluehorde article is full of some very misleading inaccuracies.

      "The stock market has reached an all time high. Total wages grew by 9% in 2005. But the party will soon end. Indeed it ended for all but a privileged few years ago. That 9% wage increase went entirely to the very rich, 90% of Americans saw their income decrease. The real US economy is going into the tank. And that fall is by design."

      Corrections: The stock market is no longer at an all time high and will most probably continue to correct. The 9 % wage increase did NOT go ENTIRELY to the very rich. In many cases, the very rich realize substantial increases in wealth from investments and other forms of non earned income. People's wages have NOT DECREASED across all income levels except the very rich. The minimum wage has actually continued to increase over time. The problem is NOT that wages have decreased for they have not decreased. The problem is that wages have not kept up with the increases in the costs of consumer goods, costs of living, as well as the increases in TAXES. This is the real and truthful problem. The truthful problem with the very rich is that they enjoy tax and other benefits which allow them to substatially retain and increase their wealth. Those in the middle and lower class do not enjoy such benefits and, as always, pay the most TAXES as a percentage of their income. Increasing taxes on the wealthy may be fair and necessary. However, this does NOTHING in and of itself to alleviate the burden on the lower and middle classes. Neither party has addressed the more important issue of decreasing the tax burden on the lower and middle classes to allow them to keep more of their money to pay for necessities of life. Neither party has addressed the fundamental reasons as to why people in the lower and middle class keep falling behind. The simple reason, in a nutshell, is that personal income (including earned wages as well as unearned investment income) have not increased at the same rate as the overall cost of living.

      Demanding substantially higher wages is no longer a solution and the above article presents ancient and outdated means to accomplish this ie union solutions. We all live in a world economy now and wages will be governed by those countries that produce the most for the least amount of money. People demand this and hence why companies such as WalMart continue to do well. Very little is manufactured in the USA now. Manufacturing has gone overseas to countries such as China. Enormous amounts of money have and continue to be sent overseas to pay for the oil products that we demand and the cheap consumer products that we also demand. One solution that has been pursued by our government is to make the USA dollar 'cheap' compared to other currencies, thereby making our few domestically produced products appealling and more competitive to other countries.

      Real income has not ONLY decreased SINCE Reagan first took office. For those who have forgotten the oil embargo of the early 70's, followed by the viscious 'stagflation' of the late 70's, inflation far outpaced any increase in wages.

      The numerous real reasons as to why many, if not most, Americans are losing economic purchasing power are complex. Increasing taxes on the wealthy may be necessary, but is not the solution to the myriad of problems that affect the majority of Americans. Only increasing taxes on the wealthy will do nothing to put more purchasing power into those that are losing ground. There must be substantial and realistic changes that will make meaningful changes for the lower and middle income earners. A National Health System, where everyone is placed on medicare and then cost effective improvements in the Medicare system may be far more beneficial to alleviate the burden on the lower and middle classes then anything else at this time.

      The real questions to be asked from all of this is simple: Are we entitled as Americans to expect our standard of living to increase forever given the huge increases in world population and that we must share more and more of the finite pie with the rest of the world? How can we realistically compete with those countries whose workers will work as virtual slave laborers with no benefits? Why do we as a nation continue to purchase our products from such countries and exploit illegal workers within our own country and then complain that our standard of living is decreasing?
      Last edited by Sanslines; 11-19-2007, 09:57 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        There is a differrence between Income and Wealth...

        http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-233.pdf

        and there are plenty of statistics that dispute your conclusion.

        The wealth of Bill Gates is not the same as his income. His income is what he earns in 1 year. His wealth is his total accumulations...there is a big difference.

        Today, we live in better houses, drive better cars, and have better lives than we did when Ronald Reagan took office. I think it is difficult to say we are worse off today than we were then. Median incomes are only part of the equations as to our quality of life.

        NDR

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Nude_Dude_Runner View Post
          http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-233.pdf

          and there are plenty of statistics that dispute your conclusion.

          The wealth of Bill Gates is not the same as his income. His income is what he earns in 1 year. His wealth is his total accumulations...there is a big difference.

          Today, we live in better houses, drive better cars, and have better lives than we did when Ronald Reagan took office. I think it is difficult to say we are worse off today than we were then. Median incomes are only part of the equations as to our quality of life.

          NDR
          "We" do? What a bunch of miserable ingrates WE must be, not to recognize how well WE are doing...

          Actually, WE are not better off. There is continued and increased degradation of the "OUR" environment, there are more of us losing our homes, and our jobs, WE are producing more, but, earning less, more of US (including children) are uninsured, and for most of US wealth is a word that refers to others and to what is being transferred from the working class to the investor and corporate ownership class. Working families are strapped, older Americans are fearful, overall there is degradation of environment and infrastructure and the value of our currency on the world market slides on a daily basis.

          What we're witnessing is that many of US are wising up to the shell game of neoliberal economics: growth does not equate to higher standards of living, meaningful leisure, or a safe and secure age of retirement, and the so-called trickle-down is somewhat like being whizzed upon.

          So, bandy words, stretch definitions, and quarrel over arcane economic theories. While you're doing that, understand this, WE are not better off, and WE intend to make some changes!

          The neoliberal economists' visions of unfettered, unrestrained and unregulated Capitalism has come a cropper and that has to change, for the benefit of all of US.

          Comment


          • #6
            The bluehorde article includes this statement: "The standard of living that used to be provided by a single income in the average home now requires two incomes - how many families do YOU know where only one spouse works? - when I was growing up it was about 90%."

            The writer doesn't say when or where he grew up, but it surely wasn't where I did. We lived in a Midwestern manufacturing town where well-paying factory jobs were readily available. My father was a skilled machinist who commanded good pay for the time, but they still found it necessary for my mother to work in order to provide for a family of four.

            We lived in a rented house that probably had about 1,400 square feet of space (the Great Depression left my folks too frightened of debt to ever buy their own) for four people. We had one old car. When TV became generally available, Dad bought a used set from someone. Some of my friends came from families that were no doubt better off, but I suspect that our family wasn't far from the median for our community at that time. Working wives weren't as common then as they are now, but since WWII they've never been a rarity.

            Also, during the '40s and into the '50s (when I was in school) the US had a much higher farm population than we do today. Most farm wives were not employed off the farm, but they certainly did their share of farm labor. They wouldn't show up as "working wives," but they made their economic contribution to the well-being of the family.

            So I think that the writer is harking back to a mythological world that hasn't existed in my lifetime. The single income families that I know—and I do know several—cannot do and have everything enjoyed by those where both spouses are employed, but they still have a standard of living far higher than the average person had back when I grew up.

            -------

            So I'm not much impressed by the bluehorde article, just as I think that the article cited at the beginning of this thread isn't terribly convincing. But there are many real-world danger flags flying for the US economy. The huge spread between incomes of upper management and workers is dangerous. The rapid devaluation of the dollar may lead us into all sorts of problems. People who are already marginal economically are caught in a vise as the price of gas goes up. The tax inequity becomes more and more intolerable.

            Bottom line: lots of genuine problems, but badly researched articles such as these two don't help us a whole lot.

            Comment


            • #7
              All I know is that in 1994, I was making $22.00/hour. I just started a job today at $11.00/hour.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Sanslines View Post
                The bluehorde article is full of some very misleading inaccuracies.



                Corrections: The stock market is no longer at an all time high and will most probably continue to correct.
                The Dow Jones Industrial Average first exceeded the previous "Clinton Bull" high from year 2000 on Oct 3, 2006 - this was touted as 'proof' of the success of the Bush tax cut strategy. That was the context of article which was posted in March. The most recent DJI record was set on Oct 9 of this year.
                http://www.the-privateer.com/chart/dow-long.html
                The 9 % wage increase did NOT go ENTIRELY to the very rich.
                Obviously there are individuals who's income rise and lower in every economic strata, but the real income of each percentage section of the population DECREASED up to the 90th percentile. The real income of those at the very top exploded.

                http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/03/29/163/

                -Mark

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by luvnaturism View Post
                  The writer doesn't say when or where he grew up, but it surely wasn't where I did. We lived in a Midwestern manufacturing town where well-paying factory jobs were readily available.
                  Suburban Ohio in the 60s.

                  Of course that is just an anecdotal illustration, the the cited article states:
                  Working couples with kids today rake in 75% more than the typical single-breadwinner family did in the 1970s. But the cost of owning a home has risen at a faster clip, leaving these families with nearly half the discretionary income (as a share of total income) of the '70s crowd.
                  -Mark

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Income Inequalities...

                    This is problem that is widespread among many (if not most..) western economies...

                    While many national economies have been booming over the past decade - mainly due to providing resources and services to the fast growing countries like China, India, Russia and the "economic tigers" of South east Asia; it has only been a minority of the workers who are sharing in this new wealth [recently it has been revealed that around 38% down here in Australia - the other side of the coin, is that 62% are either no better off, or actually often worse off..].

                    Over the past 7 years the Aussie economy has grown around 40% (with an underlying inflation rate approaching 30%..), but our (conservative) government has kept average workers wages depressed over this same period..
                    In 2000, I was paid $15 an hour here - today I earn $18/hr - only a 20% increase (less than the cumulative inflation rate..). But, to make things worse, I am only working around 25 hours a week (the fun of being on a "full-time" casual contract - it's only full time when the works available..), so when this is added to the inflation rate my hourly rate is effectively around one half of what it was 7 years ago.

                    People working in the mining and energy sectors, meanwhile, are averaging paypackets of over $100k a year - nice money for the lucky few.
                    Over the last 7 years an average house building block has doubled or tripled in various suburbs around here - so that housing affordability is at it's lowest point in quite a few decades..
                    With so much of the Oz economy geared towards exports, there is no immediate reason to fear a recession at this time - but with a greatly overpriced housing market, like North America and many parts of Europe, we are well overdue here for a sharp correction in property values [ and the sooner the better, as far as I'm concerned, as I've been shut out of the local market for a long time now..].

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      due to downsizing at the steel plant i worked at for thirty one years,the best they could do is give me a pension controlled by the government. we have been feeling the strain for the past two years as benefits have run out. could not get any help from the state or government as opposed to more money. one thousand doesn't go very far. yes,we have the internet and computers. if not for that i think i would have crashed a long time ago. only took one year after my retirement to go chapter 11. living in a jobless area!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Individual circumstances are not the same as what happens in general

                        It's a common mistake to think that what has happened to me or someone I know has happened to everyone else. I imagine that there are many people that can tell stories of how their income has risen as well as their standard of living. In 1987 I made $13,000 a year. Today I make that many times over. I would never say that my standard of living is 100% better than then, but it certainly has not declined.

                        Those women who stayed at home that later went to work are one of the many reasons(and note I said many) for the stagnation in the salaries of men. The amount of available labor increased dramatically. You can say they were forced to it to make ends meet, but many women wanted the same economic freedom and opportunities that men had. All of that labor had to be absorbed in the marketplace.

                        Here is a an article on income that explains some of the many issues with statistics and income.

                        http://www.townhall.com/columnists/T...fusion_part_ii

                        The DJIA is the most flawed of all the averages you see or hear quoted. No one should seriously use that as a measure of how well things are going. It is quite an arbitrary number.

                        NDR

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Well, had a hard time reading that link after I look at the source and the redefeat communism t-shirt with Hillary on it and the circle and bar....but read the article anyway.

                          Basically, it has some valid points but the points made on the poor and in kind transfers and government subsidies would not show the poor doing better, and the so-called spin or ideological pundits about poor are still understated today.

                          My question to think about is just what is "better off"? I feel I am better off today than before but then I have worked for 40 plus years and don't need what I thought I needed when I was younger. I actually spend less than years ago. Longevity in the workforce also allows me to own my home, my vehicles, etc. so I do not expend the income for mortgages and car payments anymore.

                          But there is no mistake the rising costs of just about everything we consume is hitting everyone and many now face the stark reality of choosing food over gas, gas over food, and maybe those too deep in debt are juggling who gets paid this month and then who gets paid next month.

                          I think we are better off than before .... until now with everything rising primarily due to gas increases........

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            But there is no mistake the rising costs of just about everything we consume is hitting everyone and many now face the stark reality of choosing food over gas, gas over food, and maybe those too deep in debt are juggling who gets paid this month and then who gets paid next month.
                            This would not appear to be the case for so many people just by watching the endless lines of people lining up outside stores at 4:00 AM this morning (Black Friday).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              No, those out shopping, many of them, have the money to do so.

                              Despite the many who are feeling the rising costs, there are quite a number of people who are not feeling the rising costs due to their financial situation. There are those among us, who have the money. But these are not everyone.

                              A lot of Christmas presents will be purchased on Black Friday because of the sales so it gives those shoppers a head-start on the shopping season. It amazes me, however, people will endure the crowds to shop.

                              Found the following links that are food for thought and one's own rough analysis.

                              http://www.cbsnews.com/htdocs/census...ce_income.html

                              http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/...n3470649.shtml

                              http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/...n2847599.shtml
                              Last edited by MoonShadow; 11-23-2007, 05:46 AM.

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