Does The Middle Class Really Exist?

It did once but it no longer has the same meaning as in the past.

When I was young there was always the meme that if you work hard and do the right thing you will find yourself living the American dream…..living in the Middle Class.

Sadly that seldom came true after about 1970…..the American people found greed and all its evils….and they liked it.

I have been telling my readers the loss of the Middle Class for years.(sadly few would listen)…..

https://lobotero.com/2018/11/09/wheres-that-middle-class/

https://lobotero.com/2017/06/14/who-or-what-killed-the-middle-class/

https://lobotero.com/2009/12/05/where-has-the-middle-class-gone/

There are many others but you need to look around IST on your own…..

That mythical place called the Middle Class…..sorry but it NO linger exists….

Delia did everything right. She went to college, she got a teaching degree, she found a reliable job, and she got married. She and her husband had two kids. “We followed the traditional path to middle class and economic security,” she told me. “Or so I thought.”

As a teacher in New Jersey, Delia, age 41, makes around $115,000 a year; her husband, who works as a carpenter, makes $45,000. Their $160,000 combined family salary places them firmly in the American middle class, the boundaries of which are considered to be two-thirds of the US median household income on the lowest end and double that same median on the highest, and adjusted for location. (According to the Pew Middle Class Calculator, Delia’s household income places her family in the “middle tier” along with 49 percent of households in the greater tri-state area.)

To most people, $160,000 sounds like a lot of money. “Middle tier” sounds pretty solid. So why does Delia feel so desperate? She’s able to put $150 a month into a retirement account, but the family’s emergency savings account hovers at just $400. Going on vacation has meant juggling costs on several credit cards. “I don’t feel like I’ll ever have a day that I won’t be worried about money,” she said. “I’m resentful of my partner for not making more money, but more resentful of his crappy employer for not paying him more.”

https://www.vox.com/the-goods/22166381/hollow-middle-class-american-dream

And yet the GOP and Centrist Dems keep trying to sll the antiquated idea of a Middle Class.

Do Not Believe It!

Look around and tell me what you see.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

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Closing Thought–11Jan21

Remember in the days of yore (2020) when Donald the Orange use to chest thump along with the GOP about all the jobs he, Trump, had created?

Well looks like that has come to a screeching halt….

The relentless virus finally overtook new hiring. Employers shed 140,000 jobs in the US in December, reversing a trend of seven months of job growth, reports the Wall Street Journal. The unemployment rate stayed at 6.7%, which the AP notes is the first time it has not declined since April. Since employers shed 22 million jobs in the spring because of the pandemic, they had been rehiring workers at a steady clip prior to December. Despite the gloomy numbers, analysts saw reason for hope, at least for later in the year.

“It’s reasonably hopeful this will be a one-off rough patch and we’ll recover from there,” Barclays economist Pooja Sriram tells the Journal. The rollout of vaccines and expectations of more COVID relief in the Democratic-controlled Congress were among the factors he and other analysts cited. Eventual warmer weather should help, too. Still, the figure of 140,000 lost jobs was worse than the 50,000 expected by analysts, notes CNBC.

The pandemic surging is wrecking havoc on us mere mortals…..especially with jobs….

We can only hope that there are better days ahead….I really do not believe that a new president will make much difference…the real key is whether Daddy Warbucks wants to part with some of their profit.

May we all see better days.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–08Jan21

Have you gotten your stim check?

Some of us we wanting the $2000 and got $600.

The promise was that there may be a further expanding of the stim packages….the possible good news is we may yet get that $2000.

It got a little lost in the shuffle of Wednesday’s chaos in DC, but the pair of Democratic Senate wins in Georgia means that Americans might get $2,000 in COVID relief checks after all. In this case, that would likely mean an additional payment of $1,400 on top of the $600 that started going out late last month. “One of the first things that I want to do when our new senators are seated is deliver the $2,000 checks to American families,” Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday, per MarketWatch. Schumer is poised to become the Senate majority leader now that Democrats will have control. When this might happen remains unclear, notes the Washington Post. For one thing, the Georgia races still must be certified, and it’s possible Republican challenges will arise.

In December, Republicans led by Mitch McConnell blocked the additional money in the Senate, recounts Fox News. At the conservative Hot Air, Ed Morrissey suggests it was a blunder that might have cost Republicans control of the Senate. “Had McConnell just allowed HR9051 to get a floor vote, perhaps it might have been enough for David Perdue to win his runoff against Jon Ossoff,” he writes. “Alas, we’ll never know.” Not surprisingly, Nancy Pelosi says the House is on board with the bigger checks, as it was last month. In the first weeks of the Joe Biden administration, “we will pursue a science- and values-based plan to crush the virus and deliver relief to struggling families,” she says.

It is time to get serious about an economic recovery during this pandemic.

Be Well….Be Safe….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Closing Thought–07Jan21

To change the pace of the news for today…..

Poverty has always been around but eh onset of the Covid-19 was accelerated the growth of worldwide poverty and yet the richest people gained massive amounts of cash during the pandemic.

Bloomberg‘s year-end report on the wealth of the world’s billionaires shows that the richest 500 people on the planet added $1.8 trillion to their combined wealth in 2020, accumulating a total net worth of $7.6 trillion. 

The Bloomberg Billionaires Index recorded its largest annual gain in the list’s history last year, with a 31% increase in the wealth of the richest people.

The historic hoarding of wealth came as the world confronted the coronavirus pandemic and its corresponding economic crisis, which the United Nations last month warned is a “tipping point” set to send more than 207 million additional people into extreme poverty in the next decade—bringing the number of people living in extreme poverty to one billion by 2030. 

Even in the richest country in the world, the United States, the rapidly widening gap between the richest and poorest people grew especially stark in 2020.

As Dan Price, an entrepreneur and advocate for fair wages, tweeted, the 500 richest people in the world amassed as much wealth in 2020 as “the poorest 165 million Americans have earned in their entire lives.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/01/02/amid-warnings-surging-worldwide-poverty-planets-500-richest-people-added-18-trillion

This is an obscene stat to me…..and yet the masses of people still support the system that allows them to be little more than wage slaves…..

That is so pathetic….this country and the world deserve better….or do we?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Good News For Some Americans

The pandemic has caused many pains but the most painful is the loss of income…..

The legacy of 2020 will endure in America’s collective memory for many reasons: a deadly pandemic, a vicious presidential election.

It also brought the most severe recession in almost a century, which hurtled millions into poverty and joblessness and created burgeoning inequality.

That financial pain has been concentrated among certain groups, like racial minorities, women, low earners, those without college degrees and workers in the service economy, like restaurant and retail jobs that require face-to-face contact. (These categories often overlap.)

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/01/01/the-covid-recession-brought-extreme-inequality-in-2020.html

But there is some good news…..at least for some……

A New Year starts and I wish the good news was that the pandemic was slowly winding down but since that is not the case…..irregardless there is some good news for some of our fellow citizens…..wage increases…..

2020 was a devastating year for underpaid frontline workers.

But even in the face of public health and economic crises triggered by Covid-19, the Fight for $15 movement persisted, and now 24 states and 50 municipalities throughout the U.S. are set to raise minimum wages in 2021.

On New Year’s Day, 20 states and 32 cities will increase their minimum wage, with the wage floor in 27 of those jurisdictions reaching or exceeding $15 per hour. The January 1 raises will be followed by another round of wage floor hikes later in 2021, when four additional states and 18 localities will increase their minimum wage, 13 of them to at least $15 per hour.

That’s according to a new report, Raises From Coast to Coast in 2021 (pdf), released Thursday by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), which monitors worker remuneration and advocates for higher minimum wages nationwide.

“Despite the pandemic, the Fight for $15 movement continues to gain strength, with more cities and states than ever before raising their wage floors, including dozens of local jurisdictions raising wages to $15 or more,” said Yannet Lathrop, senior researcher and policy analyst with NELP and author of the report.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/31/raises-coast-coast-2021-new-year-higher-minimum-wages-24-states-and-50

Too bad it is not ALL American wage earners…hopefully that will be future benefit…..

I hope this helps some of you to make a better life for your family….as they say…”every little bit helps”….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Economic News 2020

These are the final reports before we go screaming into a new year…..the news is not as rosy for some as it is for others……

For instance the jobs outlook for the end of the year…..

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell by 89,000 last week to a still-elevated 803,000, evidence that the job market remains under stress nine months after the coronavirus outbreak sent the US economy into recession and caused millions of layoffs. The latest figure, released Wednesday by the Labor Department, shows that many employers are still cutting jobs as the pandemic tightens business restrictions and leads many consumers to stay home. Before the virus struck, jobless claims typically numbered around 225,000 a week before shooting up to 6.9 million in early spring. The pace of layoffs has since declined but remains historically high in the face of the resurgence of COVID-19 cases, reports the AP

“The fact that more than nine months into the crisis, initial claims are still running at such a high level is, in absolute terms, bad news,” Joshua Shapiro, chief US economist at the economic consulting firm Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc., wrote in a research note. “With the pandemic again worsening, it is likely that claims will remain quite elevated for some time to come.” According to the data firm Womply, closings are rising in some hard-hit businesses. For example, 42% of bars were closed as of Dec. 16, up from 33% at the start of November. Over the same period, closures rose from 25% to 29% at restaurants and from 27% to 35% at salons and other health and beauty shops. And the Wall Street Journal sees sobering news elsewhere, noting existing-home sales, “which had been a bright spot in recent months,” were down 2.5% in November over October.

The Trump Labor Department takes a parting shot at low wage workers….those that work for tips….

New changes to Labor Department rules are being called a “year-end victory” for the restaurant industry, per the National Restaurant Association—though servers who rely on tips to boost their sub-minimum-wage pay may not be giving it an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Fox Business reports on a revision made final Tuesday by the DOL that now gives employers the ability to mandate a “tip pool,” in which tipped workers, such as waiters and bartenders, must hand over a portion of their tips to nontipped workers, including dishwashers and cooks. Advocates of the rule change, which will go into effect in February and vary by state, say it will help even out the pay disparities that exist between those employees who work the floor for tips and those who don’t, putting an additional $109 million into back-of-house workers’ pockets, per DOL estimates.

Restaurant Business Online notes that due to this current wage gap, it can be difficult to find back-of-house help. Servers, however, may grumble at now having to split their tips, and another Labor Department shift won’t make them any happier: Per CBS News, a past limit on how much time tipped employees could spend doing nontipped work, such as helping to set up or clean up, has been nixed. Heidi Shierholz, policy director at the Economic Policy Institute nonprofit, says this could lead to big savings for restaurants, as servers are typically paid much less than workers who usually do those nontipped tasks—but tipped workers could lose out on up to $700 million a year due to this rule change, per EPI estimates last year. “You don’t solve the low wages of the lowest paid workers by taking it out of the wages of the second-lowest paid workers,” Shierholz tells CBS. “You pay them more.”

One of the first things Biden should do is repeal this POS….tip workers are the lowest paid of all and the pandemic has made it less likely to make their livelihood.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Even More Stim Stuff

We all have heard the debate on whether us mere mortals would get $600 or $2000….depending on which side wins this political battle.

Personally I think we may be having the wrong debate……we should be asking just why in the Hell are rich people getting more stim money?

The issue of whether Americans will get relief checks of $600 or $2,000 is now in the hands of the Senate, and the legislative jiu-jitsu already has begun. It’s expected to play out over a few days, and how it will end up is anyone’s guess at this point. Meanwhile, a different argument has surfaced about who should get the money. Coverage:

  • A shift: Axios reports that as recently as a few days ago, it seemed “impossible” the Senate would back $2,000 checks. But that has changed with senators feeling the pressure from President Trump and their own constituents. Some Republicans may not be able to risk a “no” vote, putting the needed threshold of 60 votes in sight. However, it’s still an “uphill battle,” per Axios.
  • Support growing: So far, GOP Sens. David Perdue, Kelly Loeffler, Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, and Deb Fischer have announced their support of the $2,000 checks, reports the Washington Post. Perdue and Loeffler are under particular pressure to back the larger amounts because they face runoff elections in Georgia next week. That still leaves Democrats seven votes short, though the numbers are changing quickly.
  • Your money: So what does all this mean in terms of when you’ll get money? The Treasury may begin sending out $600 payments at some point this week, on track with its original schedule, reports the Wall Street Journal. If the final amount ends up being $2,000, the payments “will be topped up,” says a Treasury official. The first payments could go out Wednesday, though it’s possible that could change. Most would be in the form of direct deposits.
  • Wrong question? In a Washington Post op-ed, Catherine Rampell says the $600 vs. $2,000 debate is the wrong one to be having. Instead, she wants to know why rich people will be getting relief checks, too. Yes, they might not get the full amount, but even a family that earns $350,000 would get something. These nearly universal payments are inefficient, she writes. “The payments end up being a pittance for higher-income, fully employed households, yet insufficient for the households that suffered large income losses.”
  • The maneuvering: On Tuesday, Mitch McConnell rejected an attempt by Chuck Schumer to stage a quick, up-or-down vote on the larger checks. But this is just the opening gambit, with McConnell signaling he will tuck the increase into other legislation to be considered soon, per the Hill. It might, for example, be linked to the repeal of a legal shield for tech companies.
  • A slam: The conservative editorial page of the Wall Street Journal (which opposes larger checks) is seething at Trump for putting McConnell in a bind. Holding a vote “would split the GOP caucus and upset fiscally conservative voters,” the editors write. McConnell could instead opt to block a vote, but either way “it amounts to a Donald Trump in-kind contribution” to Schumer and Joe Biden. All of this also puts Georgia’s two GOP senators in danger of losing their runoffs, the editorial adds. If the GOP loses its majority, “Republicans across the country should know to thank Mr. Trump for their 2021 tax increase.”
  • Unfazed: Trump is keeping up the pressure. “$2000 for our great people, not $600!” he tweeted Tuesday morning. “They have suffered enough from the China Virus!!!”

I still do not see why billionaires needed subsidizing.

But the good news is the stim checks are said to go out on Tuesday…but they will be smaller than wanted….thanx to …..you guessed it….the Senate.

Stimulus payments are on the way, Steven Mnuchin says. The Treasury Secretary announced Tuesday that the first stimulus payments of up to $600 per person would be arriving in bank accounts within hours, the Hill reports. “These payments may begin to arrive in some accounts by direct deposit as early as tonight and will continue into next week,” he tweeted. For those without government-registered bank accounts, “paper checks will begin to be mailed tomorrow,” he said, adding that starting later this week, people will be able to check their payment status at IRS.gov/CheckMyPayment.

“These payments are an integral part of our commitment to providing vital additional economic relief to the American people during this unprecedented time,” Mnuchin said in a statement, per CNBC. The Treasury Department says full payments of $600 per individual, $1,200 per couple, and $600 per child will be received by individuals with a gross adjusted income of $75,000 or less for 2019 and couples with an income of $150,000 or less. ” For filers with income above those amounts, the payment amount is reduced,” the department says. President Trump, congressional Democrats, and some GOP lawmakers have called for the payment to be raised to $2,000, but a vote on a measure to boost payments was blocked in the Senate Tuesday.

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Will ‘Trickle Down’ Return?

For about fifty years the Repubs have promised with every tax cut that it would miraculously help the working class in the long run. Well that was a lie….and the working class is still waiting for the ‘trickle down’ effect promised.

And now that the GOP is out of favor I expect that there will be more calls for tax cuts to pay for all the assistance that was given to the country….including the wealthy that did not need the help.

I have given my thoughts on this BS and every time the GOP offered it is accepted….and now I try again to prevent bullshit from becoming policy.

My original posts…..

https://lobotero.com/2008/10/09/the-humor-that-is-trickle-down-economics/

https://lobotero.com/2011/06/24/trickle-up-economics/

Now that we have a new president I suspect the calls for massive tax cuts will begin in January 2021 by the GOP and its minions.

Neoliberal gospel says that cutting taxes on the wealthy will eventually benefit everyone by boosting economic growth and reducing unemployment, but a new analysis of fiscal policies in 18 countries over the last 50 years reveals that progressive critics of “trickle down” theory have been right all along: supply-side economics fuels inequality, and the real beneficiaries of the right-wing approach to taxation are the super-rich.

The Economic Consequences of Major Tax Cuts for the Rich(pdf), a working paper published this month by the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics and written by LSE’s David Hope and Julian Limberg of King’s College London, examines data from nearly 20 OECD countries, including the U.K. and the U.S., and finds that the past five decades have been characterized by “falling taxes on the rich in the advanced economies,” with “major tax cuts… particularly clustered in the late 1980s.”

But, according to Hope and Limberg, the vast majority of the populations in those countries have little to show for it, as the benefits of slashing taxes on the wealthy are concentrated among a handful of super-rich individuals—not widely shared across society in the form of improved job creation or prosperity, as “trickle down” theorists alleged would happen.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/12/16/study-50-years-tax-cuts-rich-confirms-trickle-down-theory-absolute-sham

It is ALL a lie….there has never been any benefit for the working class from so-called ‘trickle down’ economics.

Just wait….the calls for wealthy tax cuts will begin again now that there is a Dem in the White House and can watch the middle class dissolve a little more.

Be Smart!

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I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

More Stim News

After Trump renigged on his veto of the new economic stim package it has moved forward….and the peasants danced…..

But it looks like the GOP in Congress will yet work against the best interest of the American people…

House Democrats’ attempt to consider $2,000 stimulus checks has officially been blocked by their Republican colleagues in the lower chamber, despite President Donald Trump’s support for this very measure.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer on Thursday requested “unanimous consent” to pass a new bill guaranteeing these payments after Trump demanded that stimulus checks in the final coronavirus relief package be increased from $600 to $2,000. Trump’s request — an apparent political stunt — has now been blocked by members of his own party.

Because Hoyer asked for unanimous consent to bring the standalone bill to a vote, and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy did not consent, the measure did not move forward. House Democrats plan to bring it up again for a recorded vote next Monday, when they are likely to face more GOP opposition. Senate Republican leadership hasn’t made any moves to consider the proposal, either.

https://www.vox.com/2020/12/24/22197748/stimulus-checks-2000-congress-trump-pelosi-mcconnell

As predicted the House did the right thing and now it will move to the Senate and we know what they think of most Americans….

The House voted Monday to send Americans who qualify $2,000, agreeing with President Trump that the $600 called for in the recently approved pandemic stimulus package is inadequate. Trump had threatened to veto that legislation, which included money to keep the government operating, before signing it Sunday night. The measure passed the House 275-134, the Washington Post reports, with 44 Republicans voting in favor and 130 against. Democrats tried to approve the higher amounts last week. “We could’ve passed the bill four days ago, but our colleagues on the other side went against the president’s wishes and blocked it,” said Democratic Rep. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. But the legislation still has a long way to go.

The full Senate might not even consider the measure, Politico reports. Although a few Senate Republicans have endorsed the $2,000 payments, more have opposed the idea. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hasn’t committed either way since Trump brought the issue up again. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to bring the bill up Tuesday, but a single senator could block it. The measure would need 60 votes to pass, and a roll call vote could take days to schedule. President-elect Joe Biden said Monday he supports the idea; President Trump didn’t say anything Monday. Schumer addressed the president anyway in a news conference. “Talking is not enough,” he told Trump. “Act. Get on the phone and get those Republicans in the Senate to support $2,000 in relief.”

Any bets on the final results?

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Stim Bill Hits A Snag

But looks like it may be a good snag.

I was planning to focus on presidential pardon stuff today but this development is too important to pass on…..

We all have heard about the President playing politics about people should get $2000 in their forthcoming checks…..Trump decided that he would veto the spending bill because there were no checks for us mere mortals……well all that changed over the weekend….

After a delay of nearly a week, President Trump on Sunday night backed down, as many had begged him to do, and signed the COVID relief bill. That means the government won’t shut down, as would have happened had he not signed by Monday night, Politico reports. It also means Americans will start getting their relief checks—the $600 figure that Trump was not happy about—but CNBC reports that the House is voting to increase that figure to the $2,000 Trump wants, and Trump said Sunday night that the Senate will be voting on that as well. CNN accuses Trump of causing “chaos” with his delay, since unemployment aid lapsed before he signed. Trump was also not happy with what he called “pork” in the $1.4 trillion government funding bill that was passed alongside the $900 billion coronavirus relief bill, a point he addressed in a statement released Sunday night.

“I will sign the Omnibus and Covid package with a strong message that makes clear to Congress that wasteful items need to be removed. I will send back to Congress a redlined version, item by item, accompanied by the formal rescission request to Congress insisting that those funds be removed from the bill,” the statement says (Politico notes Congress does not need to abide by that request). “On Monday the House will vote to increase payments to individuals from $600 to $2,000,” the statement continues. “Additionally, Congress has promised that Section 230, which so unfairly benefits Big Tech at the expense of the American people, will be reviewed and either be terminated or substantially reformed. Likewise, the House and Senate have agreed to focus strongly on the very substantial voter fraud which took place in the November 3 Presidential election. The Senate will start the process for a vote that increases checks to $2,000, repeals Section 230, and starts an investigation into voter fraud.”

A bit of compromise…..something that is in short supply….but I do not trust the Congress to do the right thing or even the honest thing.

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