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Old 12-11-2009, 06:31 PM
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Combination of several things.


Wages not keeping up with rising costs of goods.

Increased taxes and broken down government programs.

Illegal immigration literally bringing outsourcing to our doorsteps.

Entertainment and spoiled people confusing need versus greed.

To be honest there is no real fix in sight and all of these points will get worse. We are seeing the early stages of a country who was on top heading the direction of the USSR and other poor countries.
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Old 12-11-2009, 07:32 PM
Location: Victoria TX
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But here is the real question. Why do all our workers produce so much less than they did before? Regardless of what wages they are paid, regardless of what things cost, why do all the people going to work every morning in this country produce so much less than they used to? Even with so many things we consumed being made overseas, and so many more made with labor-saving technology, there are still all those Americans going to work every day and barely producing what we need, when so few workers, with nothing imported, working with their bare hands, pruduced all we needed.

And what the hell are all those workers doing? Phone a company, and there is nobody there to talk to. Walk in a store, and there is no clerk to talk to. Pump your own gas. Book your own flight. Nobody's making clothes. Nobody's making electronics. What are workers doing all day?
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Old 12-11-2009, 11:59 PM
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I've seen the term "middle class" tosssed out here a few times as well as some other nuggets that make me wonder if a lot of people don't think the fifties were a time of plenty, the TV of that period was already giving the working class a false sense of the prosperity that was implicit in the advertisements that has charcterized TV ever since. One poster has shed some light on the fact of our fifties entertainment being a hell of a lot less than we'd expect today.

I've seen some old photos that show young men and old men standing in a group, they all have on the same type of clothing, the kid's differing only in size. Today we can see that our economy has grown from the forties to the nineties on the back of fashion clothing, multiple cars in the family, TV's in every room, computers and tons more junk that gave some the impression that this stuff was really necessary. Today we are living in a fourteen trillion dollar GDP economy, mostly driven by machines, every year we are making and buying more junk we don't need, every kid was going to go to a university and we were all going to be administrators. The death knell had already sounded for the blue collar worker.

Very few parents wanted their kid's to be in a skilled trade by the seventies, it wasn't good enough to say your Son or Daughter had a job, they wanted careers, but, when the Mexican's came for those jobs only those being displaced said anything about it, the new "upper class" wasn't worried, they were singing the praises of the new economic order, outsourcing was, "just the way it is, get yourself an education" and join the elite. Well, now those college dollars are seen as the waste byproduct of empty promises. Even if we discount the effect that outsourcing has had on the labor force, one thing is abundantly clear, a new kind of foreigner was coming for those blue collar jobs, the arrival of Numerically Controlled Machinery was here, they were legal, and you just plugged them in to electric power.

The current situation is just a facet of the two hundred year old continium of man migrating from one job to the next, each job in turn being lost to the power of technology. Some have tried to pose the latter day business model as something new, it isn't, the labor force has had to keep reinventing itself. Once the pig iron and lumber had went to automation industrial workers went to being Cops, teachers, Lawyers, Nurses, salespeople, custodians and the like. All in all, the present is nothing more than the past in a new suit of clothes. We don't know what the future holds but we're fairly certain that things won't be going back to a situation that is as dead and gone as the Buffalo.

Unemployment will be coming to your town soon, it already has in most places, it won't be just the singles that suffer, the playing field is about to be leveled and a whole lot of people will be asking if it is their fault that they no longer can find work. Of course those who understand the history of work will have to reinvent themselves once again.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:11 AM
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I think its a BIG misconception to say that people today have it worse than people of last century... its because we WANT more... we didn't have TV's, laptops, desktops, VCRs/DVDs, mobile phones, etc etc.. people want more and I am not talking about materialistic stuff either... Going to concerts on a REGULAR basis, going clubbing, going to the movies frequently, going shopping frequently, travel by car for leisure more frequently... and I am not just talking about going places either... People nowadays want to live in BIG, HUGE expensive cities, in bigger homes/apartments, in areas that are overpopulated, etc. etc... you put that all together, its no wonder single people have a hard time making ends meet... stop wanting so much or want the same thing they had in the 1950's and it will be EASY to make ends meet... who cares about working hard when you are wanting more than you make...
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Old 12-12-2009, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Memphis1979 View Post
I got to thinking about this the other day after a conversation with a co-worker.

He said that most people of my generation can't support themselves, and that we are living off of our parents and our government. I really disagree with this. I do see a lot of my old freinds who are losers, who don't support themselves, but many of them work hard, and just can't make ends meet all of the time.

Is this their fault, or is there a bigger problem? After all, back in the 60's and 70's, most households were single worker families. I mean that Dad worked, mom stayed home with the kids. This is virtually gone in the middle class today. I can't count on one hand the number of couples I know that only have one of them working.

So since most people have to have at least two folks working just to make ends meet, is it really the fault of singles that can't make a go of it. No one wants to live in public housing, but rent in many areas outside of the slummy part of tow is outrageous. Forget buying a house without at least 20,000 dollars down now-a-days.

Whats the problem with our society? Is it a matter of we expect to high of a standard of living? Is it that inflation has reached a point where single workers can't make it on their own? Is it a since of entitlement? Is it the government giving to many hand outs?

What say y'all?
Interesting topic. I don't think there's any one factor. You can't say that all single people in their 20s are moochers, but you can't say they're all industrious, either.

List of factors working against young singles:

--College costs that have escalated way past the rate of inflation for decades. At the same time college is more and more of a necessity (no matter how stupid that may be). Excessive student loan debt is the result.

--Medical costs/insurance. Medical costs are extremely high and have also been oustripping the inflation rate for decades. It's harder and harder to get employer sponsored insurance but even more expensive to buy it on your own. This is especially tough for those who want to have kids.

--Lower wages, although the slow wage growth is in part a result of increasing medical costs employers have to pay (at least the ones who still sponsor insurance for employees).

--The car culture. 50 years ago more areas had decent mass transit, making it much easier to get by with one car per family or even live car free. That is much more difficult to do today. Many more people could live with dignity on low wages if they had access to convenient mass transit instead of being effectively forced into owning cars.

List of factors where young people are shooting themselves in the foot:

--Having kids out of wedlock. 40% of kids today are born out of wedlock. This is not good for anyone. Use birth control more consistently. Give the kid up for adoption. Abstain from sex, or (my least favorite option) get an abortion. But if you don't want to be broke, do whatever it takes to prevent yourself from becoming a single parent. It's terrible for you and your child, financially and otherwise. Of course, the sexual revolution that started in the 60s is partly to blame for this as well. It's time to rethink many aspects of the sexual revolution, in my opinion.

--The debt/living above your means/unrealistic expectations culture. It's become so normal for people to live above their means, people are often deluded into thinking they're living within their means when they're not. Jean Chatzky in her recent book, The Difference, noted that 69% of Americans were either living payday to payday or going further in debt. There's just no justification or valid reason for such a high % of people to be living this way.

Furthermore, if more people avoided debt and increased their saving, the cost of things like rent and housing prices would come down to more affordable levels. If people had lived more conservative financial lives, we would not have the recession we have right now. Of course, the Baby Boomers were the ones to popularize this "live for today" trend. Regardless of whose fault it is, it's time to turn this around.

The research is showing that once you reach a certain level of income/material comfort, more stuff does not make people happy. That level is much lower than we are led to believe.

Last edited by mysticaltyger; 12-12-2009 at 02:52 AM..
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:00 AM
Location: southern california
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many people of this age feel there is nothing wrong with sponging off others. mantra of 2009, im not so bad.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:08 AM
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Originally Posted by CrownVic95 View Post
As a life-long conservative, it breaks my heart to see what "conservatism" has become today in the minds of many. I almost never see another conservative break ranks and hold corporate America accountable for the pillaging of this nation that has brought us to our knees and left us with a future that is shaky and uncertain at best.
Hey wait a minute. What you're saying is true but it's only 1/2 a story. There was not a 40% out of wedlock birth rate 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago. Fewer people divorced 50 years ago as well.

The high out of wedlock birth rate and the divorce culture also play significant roles in income inequality and stubbornly high poverty in America today.

People who get married and stay married accumulate much more financial assets than divorced or single people. And this is true at all income levels.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by GOPATTA2D View Post
The simple answer is that women entered the workforce doubling the supply of workers.
That's true. But this had already happened by the time today's young people had become adults.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
No, you all missed the key element. Entertainment. Any American family can live with the comfort and dignity and wellbeing of the 1950s, on the wages of one fulltime worker. The difference is entertainment.

The entertainment expense for a family in 1950 was a Zenith radio, a Brownie box camera, a black landline phone, and a new board game every Christmas. The morning paper was delivered for a nickel, and a movie a week cost a quarter. Team bowling on Wednesday night. The big family vacation trip was a tank of gas to drive the only car to an adjacent state to visit relatives. People owned enough clothing to get them from Monday to Monday. The words 'fast' and 'food' were never in the same sentence. Nobody complained, and nobody got bored.

Do a line-item analysis of your family budget to see how much you pay for entertainment or to save time, in order to have more time to work. My cable bill is higher than my heating/cooling, electricity, and water all put together.
People do blow too much on entertainment in many cases. But things like clothes and food today are actually cheaper (in inflation adjusted dollars) today than they were in the 1950s.
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by markg91359 View Post
Its a complicated problem because I think there is alot of fault to go around.

When I was in college, the minimum wage was about $3.30 an hour. This was enough for me to pay rent in an old home I shared with 2 roomates, pay my share of utilities, buy gas for my car, buy food, and it still left me with a little extra for entertainment. I think today, a poor student trying to do that today on minimum wage couldn't succeed. That I can't blame young people for. Housing, fuel, and other costs are a higher percentage of income than they should be.

Here's where it gets complicated: There is more for young people to buy today and more items that are considered "necessities" than there were 30 years ago. They have to have a computer, a cell phone, satellite or cable t.v., high speed internet access (hell, I still use dial up), an IPOD etc. and it goes on on and on. I don't think these items ought to be treated like necessities and I think that young people who want them shouldn't expect them as some sort of "right".

The next problem is the attitude I'm seeing in this country towards education. There are just too many people who remain unconvinced that college and higher education is necessary to have a reasonable chance at succeeding in life. Sometimes a college degree is not enough to get you a good job. However, the statistics are clear that the earnings of the average college graduate with a BS and/or MS degree are much higher over a lifetime than someone who only completes high school. Even so, people will deny it. They'll rely on anecdotal evidence to justify not making the effort to attend college or to not feel guilty about refusing to help their kids get through college. Its sad because the jobs open to high school graduates in this modern world are limited and low paying. Worse still, the people in the developing countries of the world DO see education as critical to success and are willing to sacrifice everything to get an education. Its hard to compete with people that motivated. Yet we have no choice.
I disagree with you on this point to a certain extent. Correlation is not causation. We really don't know how many people with college degrees would have done just as well without them. This is especially true for people who have liberal arts degrees and who went into a lot of debt to acquire them. I have a college degree and work a job that doesn't require one.

Quite frankly, a lot of people simply don't have the smarts to attain college degrees and college has been dumbed down as a result. Part of the solution for the problems we have is to admit this and restore vocational education in high school so that people will have marketable skills coming out of HS, which would reduce demand for college or expensive trade schools after HS.
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