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Discussion in 'Politics' started by liberalcynic, May 18, 2011.
YouTube - Paul Krugman - Income Inequality and the Middle Class
One does not need Paul Krugman to point out the steady demise of the middle cLass. Just open your eyes and look around you.
The few are getting fewer, does that make any sense.:biggrin1:
The affluent US middle class, as we know it, was the result of the winning side of second world war and the country's manufacturing and infrastructure remained largely intact.
The first baby boomers started collecting SS within the last couple of years and they were the first to be part of the budget cuts, along with SSD people and of course the seniors. This was a big part of the middle class that has also lost big house values, 401k's, pensions, etc.
Your gov helped out wall street, corps and banks with your [ trillion ] tax dollars. Giving tens of billions to dictators/murders and leaving the middle class to pay for it. Pakistan will still get their billions because the gov thinks the American people are stupid. To beleive that OBL snuck in there all by his lonesome. The king of Jordon just got another billion [ to help with the cost of living], none here I guess with gas, food, insurance and utilities prices soaring. One hundred metric tons of free delivered wheat while the people on the Mississippi will have to deal with great loses and Fema having a one hundred million dollar budget cut.
Those on the VA health care who have been forced there by loosing their jobs and health care have encountered a half a dozen budget cuts already, most who were middle class. Those in my age group find ourselves bailing out our kids who joined in on the bizzare banking BS, lending them enough money to buy the house, furniture, and new hdtv's with five % down, mostly in foreclosure now. Which is killing the housing market and my pocket because nobody listened to dad.
All planned by the wall street, corps, banks and our great govenment. Were in three wars now and have no manufacturing left in this country.
Go to western NC where textile was the way of life and see ghost towns.
Everybody making less in wages or wages being frozen as inflation goes to the highest level ever.
Don't have to read papers, watch tv or listen to the news to see where middle class is going. What was upper, will be downer, what was middle will be little.
By the way, all that carp money, Failure.... Six an a half years of Failure..
We are going to end up again in a sort of feudal society where the Lords are (apart from the real nobles such in the UK) people like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs etc. For sure smart people that deserve success, but whose fortune is based upon the financial support of adoring masses.
Rightly or wrongly, people still define themselves in 'class' terms and I'm not sure whether it's a useful thing to do nowadays or not. A lot depends on what people mean when they use the term 'middle class.' I like to think I'm reasonably intelligent and articulate and I do a white collar job. However I don't think of myself as middle class at all. So far as I'm concerned I'm a working class lad - it's where I came from and what I am. However I don't have any hangups about people from other social groups and I can talk just as happily to the High Sheriff as the local dustman. It's just a case of being normal and natural - the person you are - with people. Life has taught me to be a little wary of the 'self made' middle class though - people who've got a little money but not a great deal else about them.
I do feel there is much less mobility these days in terms of opportunity though. The demise of most of the UK's grammar schools (selective secondaries) has pretty much taken care of that. Nowadays the only course open to parents who want their offspring to get a top notch education and decent chances in life is to pay for it, which is unfair on working class families that can't afford to go down that route.
They are always trying to make a "class war", its frustrating! I think that if all were given the same opportunity, regardless of what "class" they were born into, we would have a much more productive society as a whole. it's just plain not fair that my child does not have the same opportunities as others who have more money, just because I grew up in the "lower class" and am still working toward at least getting out of poverty. Not sure what can be done about it, but it bugs me to no end.
Part of the problem is that the American middle class no longer has anything unique to offer. There are educated, hard-working, even English-speaking (to the extent that that's even necessary) people in other countries willing to do their work for a fraction of their wages. When you add the cost of doing business in the U.S. due to the regulatory and tax structure, and it's no surprise corporations are going overseas. Work is always going to go where it can be done the most cheaply. I remember a university professor telling me years ago that global redistribution of wealth was going to be one of the most compelling issues of the coming generation(s). Here we are...
financial support of the adoring masses? Huh? You suggest that people just throw money at Steve Jobs or Bill Gates? LMAO.
No, the masses adore the industry-leading products and devices Gates and Jobs have created to make life more convenient and tasks more efficient and productive and reliable.
Find me a 'middle class' household that doesn't have at least one device that was put out by either Gates' or Jobs' companies and i'll go shine Obama's shoes in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
I'll take issue with that; both sets of my grandparents lived recognizable variations on middle-class living. My paternal grandparents did so in a streetcar suburb just outside of Boston, the other in small-town central Maine. They were home owners with decent jobs and owned cars (even in the Depression) and were most definitely middle-class.
The only thing that winning WW2 did for America's middle class was to push them into the suburbs which did not exist as we now know them until then. Trust me: the middle class was hardly dependent on tract houses, cul-de-sacs and shopping malls; it was a level of relative affluence dependent to a large degree on consumerism, which has its roots deep in the 19th century in this country.
Industry goes where the labor's cheapest. Google such dead mill towns as Lowell, Brockton or Lawrence Massachusetts or Woonsocket, RI (or the entire Blackstone Valley) and discover that those NC mills were at the expense of New England's manufacturing base ~100 years ago. That doesn't make the sting of the loss any less bearable, but it might put it in some kind of perspective.
It has taken southern New England (and large parts of Maine) decades to recover, and then only partially.
As to inflation: it was easily as bad if not worse during the "stagflation" of the 1970s; I remember Nixon's WIN (Whip Inflation Now) programs and strategies, which were continued during the Ford years as well. That's not to say that it isn't horrible to see one's earnings and savings dwindled by inflation, merely stating that we've survived it as bad or worse before (and undoubtedly will again).
BTW: what is "carp" money?
You have made a good point, albeit with snark and overstatement, Star. Up until the 1980s, middle-class consumerism and consumption was largely dependent on the pedestrian and simple products make available to American consumers via the goods produced by American manufacturing.
Once the market really opened up (in the 80s) with a rise in "trendy" Euro products like Krups coffee makers, Braun toothbrushes, Italian leather furniture and foreign-made cars (most especially "luxury" models), the cost of living the American dream skyrocketed not just through inflation but by the much higher pricing such consumables commanded.
Technological innovations inevitably effect the cost of living. One of my favorite books states quite clearly that, though much larger, your standard house built on Beacon Hill in the 1820s-30s cost almost half as much to build as new houses built in the Back Bay thirty years later, due to the increasing use of such technologies as furnaces, gas illumination and indoor plumbing. People of means gladly paid twice what their grandparents did for the convenience and status of such new inventions.
Anyone today who can live without the technology provided by computers and cell phones are either extremely, wretchedly poor or so old that they just don't see the sense in learning a whole new set of skills to work technology for which there is little place in their lives (such as my parents, for instance, who don't own a computer at all: as they are on the upper-end of the middle class, you might want to invest in some shoe wax and a brush )
Pretty much agree. Except this time it'll be a feudal society on a global scale with microchips and genetically modified supermen.