Are You Middle Class?

Remember when that was something to strive for in your job search? Remember when that was the American Dream? Remember when you could work 40 hours a week and still have enough to live on and even save a little for retirement?

If you remember that then you are an old fart and are remembering something from the “good old days”.

The American Conservative has looked into the Middle Class……

Can we define the middle class in practical terms? To be sure, there are probably as many sociological definitions of the middle class as there are commentators seeking definitions. So let’s set aside the socio-swamp of beliefs, values, and taxonomies of class in favor of a definition with measurable thresholds.

Many commentators attempt to define the middle class by income, and people tend to self-report that they belong to the middle class based on income. The self-evident way to define the middle class by income is to set aside the top 10 percent (households earning $145,000 or more) and those defined as poor by the U.S. Census Bureau (households making less than $25,000), roughly 25 percent of all households.

Somewhere between the two is the middle class, though trying to narrow it down forces us into an impassable statistical thicket. For example, government agencies report income in different ways. The IRS reports individual tax returns (147 million) while other agencies report household income (117 million households).

Are You Really Middle Class?

If you are asking yourself….”what the Hell happened”? Then this can help explain it as simply as possible…..

Something massive and important has happened in the United States over the past 50 years: Economic wealth has become increasingly concentrated among a small group of ultra-wealthy Americans.

You can read lengthy books on this subject, like economist Thomas Piketty’s recent best-seller, Capital in the Twenty-First Century (the book runs 696 pages and weighs in at 2.5 pounds). You can see references to this in the campaigns of major political candidates this cycle, who talk repeatedly about how something has gone very wrong in America.

Donald Trump’s motto is to make America great again, while Bernie Sanders’s campaign focused on reducing income inequality. And there’s a reason this message is resonating with voters:

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/this-cartoon-explains-how-the-rich-got-rich-and-the-poor-got-poor

We need to assign guilt to the best person….Ronald Reagan….his policies started this decline and it has never let up……

The Middle Class is quickly disappearing and as it does it is taking the American Dream with it.

And the GOP wants you to be happy with your decline…..

Listening to Republicans, it’s apparent they don’t have much respect for the intelligence of the American people.

Over 70 percent of Americans want a national health care system like every other developed country in the world has, but the GOP tells us that we just aren’t smart enough to make it work. It’ll be too confusing and complex for average Americans, they say, and, besides that, if the government “takes over” our health care system, we’re on our way to tyranny.

About two-thirds of Americans think that we should have free college education for anybody intellectually capable of attending, and free trade schools as well—like pretty much every other developed country in the world (and quite a few of the developing countries). Republicans tell us that we can’t use government funds to pay off our nation’s $1.5 trillion in student debt because we just borrowed that exact amount last year to give tax rebates to billionaires, so there’s nothing left. We’re just not smart enough to fix the problem.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/04/04/republicans-have-put-our-country-path-warp-speed-decline-and-they-want-you-think

As the article says….”as long as the GOP gets some of the people to believe their bullshit all the time”…..the rest of us are screwed!

On a side note……the Pentagon is also in the Middle Class screwing game……

According to SAIS Professor Hal Brands, progressives and Americans should embrace the social benefits military spending offers to the middle class. Not only does American military strength support the liberal world order that makes the world “safe for democracy,” Brands claimed, but military spending undergirds millions of middle-class jobs for service members, civilian employees, and contractors for the Pentagon.

In reality, the opposite is true: American military adventurism and massive spending undermines middle-class prosperity and makes the world less free and secure. A militarized approach to American foreign policy harms global freedom and security far more than it helps.

How the Pentagon Budget is a Threat to the Middle Class

You can stop this…….VOTE!

Vote for the candidate that has the best plan to stop this slide.

Vote for the candidate that best has the best interests of the country at heart.

VOTE!

Closing Thought–29Mar19

I recall my first job as a teenager…..65 cents an hour at McDonalds….and after a month or so it went up to 75 cents…..

I walk down that memory lane because of something I read the other day…..

It seems that if minimum wage had kept pace with Wall Street bonuses then the minimum would be over $30 an hour…..read the story and listen to the video……

Wall Street employees saw their typical annual bonus slip by 17 percent last year to $153,700, according to new data from the New York State Comptroller. But don’t feel sorry for the banking set just yet — even including down years like 2018, bankers’ bonuses have jumped by 1,000 percent since 1985.

By comparison, the federal minimum wage has increased about 116 percent during the same period, according to an analysis from the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-leaning research center that used the comptroller’s latest data. If the minimum wage had grown at the same pace as Wall Street bonuses, fast-food workers and other low-wage workers would earn a baseline wage of $33.51 an hour, the group said.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/minimum-wage-would-be-33-today-if-it-grew-like-wall-street-bonuses-have/

If it had kept pace with the bonuses then the Middle Class would be in better shape than they are today.

Corporate Death Penalty

Think back to the 2008 collapse of the economic structure….it was the banks that lead the way and yet they were not punished for killing so many pensions….at best there was a slap on wrist and they promise not to do it again…..and if you will notice they are doing it again,

It is time for the government to bring the pain to these lousy players in our economy.

Bring back a corporate death penalty……

Let’s begin with a SCOTUS dissenting opinion from 1935…..

“The prevalence of the corporation in America has led men of this generation to act, at times, as if the privilege of doing business in corporate form were inherent in the citizen, and has led them to accept the evils attendant upon the free and unrestricted use of the corporate mechanism as if these evils were the inescapable price of civilized life, and, hence to be borne with resignation.

“Throughout the greater part of our history, a different view prevailed.

“Although the value of this instrumentality in commerce and industry was fully recognized, incorporation for business was commonly denied long after it had been freely granted for religious, educational, and charitable purposes.

“It was denied because of fear. Fear of encroachment upon the liberties and opportunities of the individual. Fear of the subjection of labor to capital. Fear of monopoly. Fear that the absorption of capital by corporations, and their perpetual life, might bring evils similar to those which attended mortmain [immortality]. There was a sense of some insidious menace inherent in large aggregations of capital, particularly when held by corporations.”

—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, 1933 dissent in Liggett v. Lee

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/01/08/its-time-bring-back-corporate-death-penalty

The limp wrist attempt to make corporations, especially the banks, was quickly pushed aside as soon as another corporate titan comes to power….time to make any penalties permanent…..time for the government to work for the people and not just the corporations.

This may be wishful thinking but I do feel the country is starting to realize just how bad corporations are acting and want accountability for their CRIMES.

2020 could be the beginning of the revolution to get the greed and corruption out of our society, especially from the corporations.

But first we must VOTE!

Closing Thought–30Sep18

Here is the perfect example of American justice and how uneven it is spread around our society……

In 2008 the big banks tanked our economy billions were lost, many people lost their retirements, it was a disaster……and of all those bankers that tanked the economy none were made to pay for the treachery….and then you read a story like this……

Ten years after the behavior of over-leveraged and fraudulent banks created a global financial disaster that resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars in losses; a multi-trillion bailout using public money; and millions of people losing their homes to foreclosure, but saw not one high-level financial executive go to jail, a man in Florida has been sentenced to a 20-year prison term for stealing $600 worth of cigarettes from a local convenience store.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/09/24/ten-years-after-not-one-high-level-banker-sent-jail-tanking-global-economy-man-gets

Are you surprised at this?  I am not…..if you are not wealthy then you are crap under the boots of the elites….but that is okay for things will change with the next election….or is it the one after that……maybe later?

Oh yeah….I believe the cigarette guy was black….go figure!

What Happened After 2008?

A decade on…..and counting.

Remember those days….the economic crash caused by banks playing loose and fast with accounts and trickery…..it all came back to bite them in the ass and we all then decided that banks need to be watched and regulated for the protection of our cash held by them.

For awhile it look good…it looked like we would do what needed doing to make goddamn sure that this could never happen again……and then the big banks started their assault on the people that would control their thievery and then we elected a tool of big capital and most of the regs are being pushed back….and history will be repeated…but while we wait for the next “market correction”…….

A few years ago, one of Karen Petrou’s banking clients gave her an unusual assignment: It wanted her to write a paper laying out “the unintended consequences of the post-financial-crisis capital framework.” Petrou is the co-founder of Federal Financial Analytics Inc., a financial services consulting firm in Washington that focuses on public policy and regulatory issues. She is also, as the American Banker once described her, “the sharpest mind analyzing banking policy today — maybe ever.” Whenever I’m writing about banking issues, she’s the first person I call.

Writing that paper caused Petrou to ask a question she’d never really considered before: Did the bank regulations enacted after the 2008 crisis — along with the Federal Reserve’s post-crisis monetary policy — exacerbate income inequality? Her answer, which she laid out in a series of blog posts, as well as a lecture at the New York Federal Reserve in March, was yes. “Post-crisis monetary and regulatory policy had an unintended but nonetheless dramatic impact on the income and wealth divides,” she wrote recently.

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-08-06/inequality-why-bank-rules-and-fed-rates-hurt-middle-class

While the nation is focused on Russia and whether they are bad players on the world stage….the inequality in this country grows with every economic report and NO ONE cares….instead they will slobber over slogans and BS and a promise of better days and yet those days are getting further and further away for most in the middle class.

This recovery has not been great for workers. They have seen modest real wage gains over the last five years, but these gains have not come close to making up the ground lost in the recession and the first years of the recovery.

Nonetheless, real wages have been growing for most of the last five years. The last month has been an exception to this pattern, not because nominal wages have grown less, but because we had a large jump in energy prices, which has depressed real wage growth. Here’s picture for the last five years.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/07/the-story-of-stagnant-wage-growth/

Inequality: How Bad Can It Be?

There has been a lot written, said and thought about inequality in this country, especially with this last election….the populist resurgent has come on the heels of the inequality in the US.

Both Right and Left emphasizes it at every turn…..but is it as bad as they claim it is?

The answer is yes it is and believe it or not kt is worse than you think….

The more the ultra-rich prosper, the less they’re burdened with taxes, the greater the benefits for society as a whole. If you’re familiar with Republican economic theory of the past 40 years, you’ve probably heard this line of reasoning. In fact, just the opposite is true

Take it from the world’s third richest man, Warren Buffett, who recently noted that between 1982 and 2017, “the wealth of the 400 [richest people in America] increased 29-fold—from $93 billion to $2.7 trillion—while many millions of hardworking citizens remained stuck on an economic treadmill. During this period, the tsunami of wealth didn’t trickle down. It surged upward.”

The reality is the United States is now home to some of the worst income inequality in the developed world, and thanks to the recent passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this wealth gap will grow exponentially wider.

https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/income-inequality-us-even-worse-youve-been-led-believe#.Wp679x1vrtk.

Few want to believe the tale of the tape…..so inequality continues to grow and as it grows so will the outrage…..eventually that outrage will effect the results of elections….and that outrage will fuel the programs that address the inequality.

But can that outrage eliminate inequality?

I think it can but unfortunately not in my lifetime…..hopefully my granddaughter can see an end to the inequality.

Why Do Some Americans Stay Poor

There is one aspect of American society that confuses many people especially those in other countries…..American poverty.

Many sociologists, economist and other social scientists have tried to explain this situation….few succeed.  This blogger tried to answer the question of Why Poverty 10 years ago….as I said….tried.

https://lobotero.com/2008/09/29/why-is-poverty-a-dirty-word/

It is a nagging question.  There are many myths to go with the question….the biggest of these is the answer that these poor people are freeloaders that do not want to work and all they do is take from the taxpayer.

It is a simple explanation that fits the narrative from the Reagan conserv years.  It was a myth then and it remains a myth today.  So why do some Americans stay poor?

In his State of the Union address, President Trump said “there has never been a better time to start living the American Dream.” But the new 2018 Prosperity Now Scorecard and its accompanying report says that isn’t so for low-income Americans.

“The system is, by just about all measures, stacked against those with low incomes and low wealth for the benefit of the wealthiest,” says the report from the nonpartisan but left-leaning Prosperity Now nonprofit, which provides research and recommendations regarding Americans with limited incomes.

One example: low-income people are ineligible for federal programs such as SNAP (food stamps) and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) if they amass “even modest savings,” the report noted. Prosperity Now calls policies like this “a roadblock on the path to saving.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-is-the-real-reason-many-americans-stay-poor-2018-02-13

There is a considerable controversy about poverty and its relationship within inequality. From one point of view, any society with inequality is bound to have poverty. In other words, poverty is more likely to occur in a society which accepts inequality. Sociologists who adopt a relative definition of poverty accept that for the eradication of poverty, it is necessary to first abolish all inequality in income.

Now we know that the abolition of inequality in this country is never going to occur under this governmental standard.  Not too damn many Americans are poor because they want to be so…the system is the problem and a system change is not very damn likely.  Ergo the poor will remain poor and the wealthy will just continue to be exploitative and wealthier.