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Old Yesterday, 02:22 PM
 
21 posts, read 1,628 times
Reputation: 64

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All the things you say below is true but with these opportunities cost money. For example, I am constantly online looking at e-commerce sites and mostly out of boredom I break out my credit card and buy buy and buy. I see there is so many things to do, places to go and wonderful experiences that are offered. By just giving them a credit card number, it can all be mine. These all have become necessities in the middle class and if we can't have them we feel terrible and unfulfilled.


Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Loud View Post
There has never been a better time then now for the middle class. We have computers in our pockets. There is no draft. There are no race riots. Any information we want is at our finger tips. If you have an idea, you can literally research it, make it, and advertise it to millions around the globe. We do not die from simple things like tooth decay or polio any longer. We have access to transportation and can be on another continent with a quick plane ride. We have access to so much education that other generations could only ever dream of. More then ever people have access to warm/cool houses. Better resources for building materials. Interest rates are record lows. Social media to communicate with family around the country. I know where my children are via their cell phones,. Many places to eat for every range of income. Crime and rape is lower now then it was in the 70's and 80's. Unemployment is at a record levels. 95% of this country is working or doing at least something. Charitable giving is at an all time high. We have some of the best IRA and stock returns for those of us with 401k's then nearly any other time. Healthcare is fantastic. Always amazed at the advancements in health care these days. The toughest problem nearly all of us have for clothing is what to wear from the closet. Gone are the days where mom would have to sew our cloths back together to make them last. Cloths are cheap enough to just buy again. Nearly everyone in the country has so much stuff that their garages are stuffed. Storage units are exploding around the country because people have so much stuff. We can have stuff delivered to our doors within 2 hours! Could not have imagined that just 5 years ago. The air is cleaner as we use more solar and nuclear power (I remember the days of coal and steel in Pittsburgh...it would choke you). The national park service is amazing. Billions are spent on vacations and that ain't just the super rich doing that. Just try and book a house on the OBX, of North Carolina. 3D printing!! People bought 5.34 million homes last year average price of $300,000. So no it's not true that "no can afford homes anymore".

What a time to be alive! There has never been a better time to be alive then now. Regardless what the media says. When times are good, they go broke. They have to do everything in their power to ensure things aren't good to stay relevant. Oh sure some ninny will come along and pick the thorns out from the roses, but those types can't be helped.
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Old Yesterday, 02:40 PM
 
Location: Myrtle Creek, Oregon
12,419 posts, read 12,617,315 times
Reputation: 19724
Starting in 1977, I purchased 5 wooded and view acres, developed a well and septic, and built a 2-bedroom 1 bath house, cash out of pocket, on my paycheck as a union carpenter. It took me 2 years of evenings and weekends. My total payments were $98/month for the land, on a 10 year contract. I don't think that would be possible today.

BTW, everything was built to code and inspected.
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Old Yesterday, 11:43 PM
 
Location: South Carolina - The Palmetto State
981 posts, read 1,532,235 times
Reputation: 1091
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dd714 View Post
Today's "middle class lifestyle" with 2 SUV's, 2,000 square foot house, big screen TVs, cell phone costing $700 in the hands of every adult and child...is not yesterday's "middle class lifestyle".

So, obviously, today's middle class have the highest standard of living.

This is so true - it seems the bar for what is considered "necessities" vs. treats / luxuries keeps going up at a record pace.

Then again - my parents and grandparents thought going for a "Sunday drive" and maybe stopping to get ice cream was extravagant....

Case in point - I have a friend who REALLY wants to go to TopGolf - I'm sorry....but 25-45 dollars/hour plus food/drinks to go to a glorified driving range....really????

Maybe I AM that chintzy! And I'm only 53!

Last edited by cougfan; Yesterday at 11:44 PM.. Reason: spelling
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Old Today, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Outside US
1,314 posts, read 519,937 times
Reputation: 1704
Quote:
Originally Posted by notch on my belt View Post
There has been a flurry of stories recently in the news talking about how much the middle class has been struggling financially. As a person who has closely watched economics and personal finance stories in the news for over 40 years, I have to say I don't remember a year in my lifetime where the middle class did not struggle financially. It seemed like every year there was a story in the news about how the middle class is struggling.

The articles that are being written today seem to be saying that middle-class people have it harder TODAY than in the past. It is easier to make that blanket statement, but harder to back it up. Was there a date(s) in the last 60 years where middle-income people had it easier and could live a 2019 version of the middle-class lifestyle without watching their budget and getting into debt? What year in our history did the middle class have the highest standard of living?

If things are so great today economically, why is there an uptick this year in the media stories about middle-class struggles?
These people who the media claims are middle class are actually living paycheck to paycheck.
Payment to payment.

"Bad debt. "

Saving and investing little.

IMO, they are working class.

Some drive $40K+ cars, some are in larger houses heavily mortgaged.

It's a facade.

The US today is largely a Potemkin Village.
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Old Today, 05:34 AM
 
Location: Outside US
1,314 posts, read 519,937 times
Reputation: 1704
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCal_Native View Post
2019. Now. Today. It doesn't get any easy or better than it is now. Stock Market at record highs, interest rates at some of the lowest rates ever. Unemployment rock bottom. Your home's value at a record high. Automobile reliability at all time high. MPG at all time high. Ditch diggers with video phones in their pockets. Home building continues at record pace because people DEMAND more houses.
Sounds like Arthur Laffer in 2006.
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Old Today, 05:36 AM
 
20,363 posts, read 11,294,825 times
Reputation: 20465
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlygal View Post
Wait. Folks can't be double minded.

Read these forums and the middle are struggling to find jobs, deal with stagnant wages, and can't buy homes. Is that real or not?

Don't let your bias against media cloud the truth.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Caldwell View Post
Starting in 1977, I purchased 5 wooded and view acres, developed a well and septic, and built a 2-bedroom 1 bath house, cash out of pocket, on my paycheck as a union carpenter. It took me 2 years of evenings and weekends. My total payments were $98/month for the land, on a 10 year contract. I don't think that would be possible today.

BTW, everything was built to code and inspected.
charlygal and Larry Caldwell are getting closer to a useable answer.

If the question really is "What year in America's history did the middle class not struggle financially," then adding" using today's middle class lifestyle" is adding an agenda. Without a doubt, the "lifestyle accouterments" available to the average person today surpass what was available to anyone only 50 years ago.

To a great extent, that's because of the march of technology (just as industrialization did for the middle class in the 19th century). It's also because we pushed manufacturing to a different group of subsistence workers--and the luxuries of the middle class has always depended on someone somewhere working at subsistence wages.

"Middle class" in any period must be determined mostly by the viewpoint of its day.

But there are some consistent measuring sticks.

In any given period, can the middle class gain the education it needs to do as well as the previous generation as easily and cheaply as the previous generation? If education to do as well costs more in terms of hours of labor, then that's a backward step.

For instance, in 1972 a semester hour at the University of Oklahoma cost me $25. I was working a part-time job earning $2.50 an hour--paying for a semester hour of college education with ten hours of labor. Today a semester hour at the University of Oklahoma costs $400. If students are able to earn $40 an hour working part time, then they're doing as well as I did. But I know they can't.

My father was an E-7 in the Army. He was able as the single-wage earner in the family to buy a 1500 sq foot 3-bedroom brick home on a corner lot in one of the newer suburban subdivisions and an Oldsmobile (considered a bit above average in those days). Can an Army E-7 do that today on a single income? I already know not--not even the very same house my father bought.

It was possible fifty years ago for him to retire from the Army and work another career with zero concern about keeping that job. It was possible for anyone fifty years ago to get a degree in anything and get a job in the city with a "good company" without much concern for keeping that job until retirement. I look at my kids' situation and I see that's not true today.
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Old Today, 05:37 AM
 
20,363 posts, read 11,294,825 times
Reputation: 20465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Returning2USA View Post

The US today is largely a Potemkin Village.
It's been that since the 80s.
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Old Today, 05:59 AM
 
Location: Outside US
1,314 posts, read 519,937 times
Reputation: 1704
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCal_Native View Post
2019. Now. Today. It doesn't get any easy or better than it is now. Stock Market at record highs, interest rates at some of the lowest rates ever. Unemployment rock bottom. Your home's value at a record high. Automobile reliability at all time high. MPG at all time high. Ditch diggers with video phones in their pockets. Home building continues at record pace because people DEMAND more houses.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
It's been that since the 80s.
I agree.

I remember Russell Kirk who Said "you don't want the middle class to be comfortable. "
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Old Today, 07:15 AM
 
21 posts, read 1,628 times
Reputation: 64
Things that make life in the middle class more stressful today include: Medical Costs, Health Insurance, No Pensions (You must save for retirement yourself), school expenses for the kids that people in my day did not have to worry about, College Tuition, a second or third car with all the bells and whistles that have jacked up the costs, the costs of travel, Cable TV, Cell Phones, Out to Eat Meals, Credit Card Interest, etc.

When I was a kid we did fine, at least we thought we did because there were not so many messages by Madison Avenue and the media telling us we were nothing unless we had the latest toys and all the things I listed above.

The government says the median income for the bottom 80% of the population, adjusted to inflation, has not really moved up since the early 1980s but somehow the middle-income people are spending more on all these things. How do they do it?
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Old Today, 07:23 AM
 
873 posts, read 185,472 times
Reputation: 1728
Quote:
Originally Posted by notch on my belt View Post
somehow the middle-income people are spending more on all these things. How do they do it?
Moore's law (every 18 months the performance of electronics doubles)
Interest rates are around 4% now compared to 10-15% in the 1980s.
Cars for example are much better built.
Places like Walmart and Amazon are so big they pass savings on via economy of scale.
The internet
And, finally, it's possible, it's an illusion and we only think subjective things are different now.
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