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Old 08-09-2018, 03:10 PM
 
4,200 posts, read 1,535,511 times
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11 post in and no one has the right answer :-) The correct answer is: increasing worker productivity means we need fewer of them. Consider this chart:

https://fred.stlouisfed.org/graph/fredgraph.png?g=kOBi

What it shows is that in 1950 you needed to hire 4 workers to do the same job as 1 worker today. Today's worker can produce far more finished goods or services because they get help from robotics, automation, computers and high tech. The days of mega factories hiring 30,000 people with lunchpails are long gone. Today's factories are smaller, leaner and need a lot less people.

There's a large pool of unskilled labor available to do low wage jobs. Even when there's full employment there's little pressure to raise wages because unskilled workers are mostly replacable.
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Old 08-09-2018, 03:51 PM
 
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My uncle said "I wouldn't raise a kid in today's world." In fact, he said this in the 1980s.
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Old 08-09-2018, 05:36 PM
 
1,821 posts, read 318,385 times
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With the wages not going anywhere, I almost feel sorry for the entitled SJW Millennials.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:45 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
I don't have any kids. But I am concerned for the future of America. I don't think it looks very good, but not necessarily for the usual reasons cited.

Regarding kids, I think the biggest thing that messes people up is our 40% out of wedlock birth rate. It's a disaster for parents and children alike--financially, and otherwise--and even secular liberal researchers are admitting it. No wonder the middle class is shrinking.
You're onto something.

Each divorce is like a reset button where you lose everything you've worked for and have to start all over again. Especially if you're now out of a house, or without custody, or your new partner wants children of their own. The list goes on.

It's no wonder even great wealth doesn't last more than 3 generations. It's not a myth. Sure, people may still be lower millionaires but if their grandfather was a billionaire... Once so far removed, you'll have to start working for your money just like everyone else.

If not for any of the reasons above, you'll get the wayward child who does desire success, who has this whimsical mission in life, or perhaps turns into an SJW whose career consists of writing propaganda and inciting riots at protests.
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Old 08-09-2018, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Oregon, formerly Texas
5,242 posts, read 3,393,710 times
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Along similar lines, those of you interested in this topic might find this program interesting:

https://the1a.org/shows/2018-08-08/b...and-bankruptcy

The themes that drove financial stress were pretty repetitive: 1) income loss, 2) medical crisis, 3) college education costs, generally in that order but #2 often caused #1. I found it ironic that the bankruptcy lawyer guest said that most of her older clients had some combination of #2 and then went over the edge trying to help their kids, generally to pay for college.

I've been saying for years that college and health care are killing us slowly but surely. None of us are going to like the reckoning when it comes due.

The college cost problem is largely because of the income stagnation problem - people feel they have to go or else they won't get good jobs.* So ALL of these problems are related.

*Before any of you start with "But, the trades!" Yes I know. I know many tradesman as my area was ground zero for the housing boom. You don't have to start with that crap, I know how that business works. Those jobs are heavily dependent on the housing market. I knew dozens of guys who got laid off after 2008 and did not work for 2-4 years. If you want a real, stable manufacturing job - you need some college, typically at least community college. My father-in-law is also an electrician. Again, you need community college at least to get beyond the bottom rungs, preferably a bachelor's.

I grew up on a farm. Heck, even in agriculture you need a college degree if you don't inherit major property and want to be more than a few steps from the bottom. In fact with where agriculture is going, it's more important now than in the past.
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:15 PM
 
763 posts, read 1,070,413 times
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Sometimes I think businesses pay what they do because they CAN. Sure, we may not be happy with our $30k/year pay, but what are we doing about it besides complaining? Not really anything. Why does no one just MOVE to an area where 30k/yr is actually tolerable? What do they think will happen if EVERYONE just upped and left and refused to work for the companies paying minimum wage? If the company wants to survive there, which they usually do, they will probably raise their wages. But right now? They don't have to. So they're not going to.



But in all seriousness, I can't figure out why people just stay in expensive cities if they can't afford to live there? Me and almost all my relatives left the Monterey area of CA for the Valley Area b/c the cost of living here is half of what it is in Monterey. Now we can all buy a house (and we did) and set money aside, and raise a child, and take a vacation, and not complain about whatever we are making. So maybe some people should just really think about if the position they're in is the Govt's fault, or theirs?


With that said, I don't think the fact that there are more people on this planet than there was 40 years ago isn't helping either. In the US, less people are contributing into the system than what is being paid out, so of course, that is having a really negative impact as well on taxes and wages and health insurance and so on.
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:25 PM
 
1,461 posts, read 330,127 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redguard57 View Post
Along similar lines, those of you interested in this topic might find this program interesting:

https://the1a.org/shows/2018-08-08/b...and-bankruptcy

The themes that drove financial stress were pretty repetitive: 1) income loss, 2) medical crisis, 3) college education costs, generally in that order but #2 often caused #1. I found it ironic that the bankruptcy lawyer guest said that most of her older clients had some combination of #2 and then went over the edge trying to help their kids, generally to pay for college.

I've been saying for years that college and health care are killing us slowly but surely. None of us are going to like the reckoning when it comes due.

The college cost problem is largely because of the income stagnation problem - people feel they have to go or else they won't get good jobs.* So ALL of these problems are related.

*Before any of you start with "But, the trades!" Yes I know. I know many tradesman as my area was ground zero for the housing boom. You don't have to start with that crap, I know how that business works. Those jobs are heavily dependent on the housing market. I knew dozens of guys who got laid off after 2008 and did not work for 2-4 years. If you want a real, stable manufacturing job - you need some college, typically at least community college. My father-in-law is also an electrician. Again, you need community college at least to get beyond the bottom rungs, preferably a bachelor's.

I grew up on a farm. Heck, even in agriculture you need a college degree if you don't inherit major property and want to be more than a few steps from the bottom. In fact with where agriculture is going, it's more important now than in the past.
I knew a friend's dad who was very conservative and didn't appreciate the increases he was seeing in healthcare premiums. As a small employer with less than 50 employees, he was able to skirt a lot of the requirements for employer-sponsored plans. He preferred to have high deductibles and pay out of pocket if he had to have a procedure performed. He has had success in negotiating installments for an outpatient procedure (gentlemen's agreement, not CareCredit) at a steep discount.

Not so sure about health plan choices, but I was told with auto policies, most lesser-well-off policyholders have lower deductibles and higher premiums instead of the opposite.
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Old 08-09-2018, 07:33 PM
 
1,236 posts, read 611,366 times
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I disagree that just because someone is living paycheck to paycheck means they are not living below their means. Everyone needs food and shelter. Housing eats up the bulk of a paycheck.

With that being said, I think wages will rise for skills that are in demand. If you are unskilled, don't expect your wages to rise. There are too many people that can do the job.
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Old 08-09-2018, 08:35 PM
 
24,693 posts, read 26,777,106 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodentraiser View Post
I like to focus on the lower 40% because those are the ones who will cost the country the most in social services if they run into a spate of bad luck, like a medical emergency or a job loss. .
The lower 40% are mostly the ones having kids outside of marriage. We'll never have a strong middle class until we make a serious dent in the out of wedlock birth rate. Marriage stability must come back into vogue again--at least for those who have kids. It pretty much already has for those in the top half of the income distributions as divorce has been on the decline among those with higher incomes and more education. But it seems that info. hasn't filtered down to those who earn less. And quite frankly, I think the Robert Reichs of the world want to keep it that way.

Last edited by mysticaltyger; 08-09-2018 at 08:45 PM..
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Old 08-09-2018, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Arcadia, CA
101 posts, read 32,196 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohio_peasant View Post
In my part of the country, $44K/year is entirely sufficient for a single person to buy a house (a single-family detached house) of modest proportion, if avoiding the tonier and costlier neighborhoods. By this I mean buying in a working-class inner suburb, where entirely serviceable 3-bedroom, 2-bath houses with a 2-car garage on 1/3 acre can be bought for $100K.

To attempt to address the question about "the person in front of me", my recommendation would be entirely un-American, and perhaps not even possible in modern America. But it is worth mentioning. Different families would pool their resources, if necessary enforced by formal contract, to jointly by a McMansion. This is say a 5-bedroom house with a full basement. It could accommodate, with a bit of loss of privacy, 3 families, each with kids. One of the adults would stay home, to tend to everyone's children. Another adult would also stay home, specializing in house-maintenance, car-maintenance, groundskeeping and the like. These persons would register with the state, as "domestic providers". They would either draw a state stipend, or in any case a de facto sum credited to them annually, so that when they retire, they would be eligible or a higher Social Security benefit. Meanwhile those adults who are working part time, would be able to file their taxes as "married filing jointly", regardless of their actual filing status. And the subdivision where this McMansion is built, would receive a premium from the state - say, $500/month - towards its HOA. This would offset any ill-feeling towards housing "undesirables".

For single people without children, who presumably are more mobile and have fewer demands on their time, a federal job-corps would be available. This would be akin to the military, but without regimental discipline (though it might offer housing and meals in barracks), or warfighting. It would however mean relocation to wherever one's labor is needed. This would work well for people with criminal records, or drug problems, who would otherwise struggle to find gainful employment. Employers who are willing to take on such employees would receive a tax-break, and employees who stay in the program long-term would receive the analog of a 401K plan-matching from the government, so that employers would not have to commit to the expense themselves.

None of the above however is possible, given the prevailing attitudes in American culture. And this brings me to what I believe is a deeper answer to why wages have stagnated: it's the culture. It has less to do with employer greed (that's always been there!) or government incompetence (likewise), than with with a particularly American distaste for public-private partnership, for innovative solutions on housing and job-training and the like. The way to address our problems is not through tariffs or revisions to tax-policy, though certainly, screwing these things up, can substantially hurt. Rather, the solution is to revise the culture. And how likely is that?
That's one very innovative proposal, but like you say is also going to be considered un-American and rejected by most.
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