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Old 11-03-2010, 10:29 PM
 
Location: The Pizzle, FLorida and Poconos in Pa
362 posts, read 339,274 times
Reputation: 235

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Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
Average single family home square footage by year
1950 1,000
1960 1,200
1970 1,500
1980 1,595
1990 1,905
2000 2,265

There is one way to live off a single income like in the glorious days of 1960, buy a 1200 sq ft home. Then don't get cable or satellite TV, don't install a microwave oven, no computer or internet, no netflix, throw out the cell phones, get rid of that DVD or BlueRay player, no fancy gaming console for the kids.

While you're at it get rid of one of those two cars, and make the other one a six year old Honda since that will still run more efficiently, safely and reliably than anything they were driving at the time.
Needs before wants? God forbid.
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Old 11-03-2010, 10:33 PM
 
Location: The Pizzle, FLorida and Poconos in Pa
362 posts, read 339,274 times
Reputation: 235
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
We'll be seeing just how long people in their 30s and 40s will have to work, as the real economy becomes clearer over the next few years. Maybe QE++++ will make their golden years truly golden. Or maybe they'll look back upon 2010 with fond memories and nostalgia, sighing for when a loaf of bread or a gallon of gas was only $3 and when (with a tear in their eye, and after all those years of paying in), social security for them and their "brethren" once existed.
It won't be getting better for America as a whole. It hasn't in the 52 years I've been alive. The problem is NOT with lack of opportunites. It's the moral decay that has occured in our country decade after decade. I go into people's homes for a living. Those are some scary places. Judging by that alone, we are doomed.
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Old 11-04-2010, 12:19 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles, Ca
2,884 posts, read 5,496,495 times
Reputation: 2753
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeepoRsheep View Post
It won't be getting better for America as a whole. It hasn't in the 52 years I've been alive. The problem is NOT with lack of opportunites. It's the moral decay that has occured in our country decade after decade. I go into people's homes for a living. Those are some scary places. Judging by that alone, we are doomed.
I got back from a trip to the east coast today....pennsylvania, ny and vermont.

One thing I've noticed is that people tend to live in a "bubble" in a place like california. Things are sort of sterilized. You're not going to know what's truely going on in the country in sort of a suburban bubble, watching mainstream media, getting mainstream newspapers.

You've got to go out to really see things. Until you've seen workers in states like that, you don't really know whats going on in the economy.

1st - I think there's been a horrible lack of standards (which you see in peoples homes). I think much of it is fueled by schooling. And the opportunities (or lackthere of) presented. The rot that has occured decade by decade is mirrored in the schools.

2nd - So much of what people hear and believe is crazy. It's like there's an artificial divide in the country, between what people hear and believe....and what's really going on.

On the westcoast people have been brainwashed. "Illegals do the work regular american's don't want to do". "Without illegal cheap labor, the economy is going to crash, yah, yah yah...."

If thats true, then why is it on the east coast, white people clean beds at hotels! Even a white male, a young guy like 22 years old, made the bed at our hotel in Vermont. I think a lot of the workers there were canadian or french. White people still work at McDonalds in some states. Things aren't going to get better if we keep believing lies.
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:33 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,017 posts, read 19,342,305 times
Reputation: 32471
Default Decay, moral and otherwise

Quote:
Originally Posted by PeepoRsheep View Post
It won't be getting better for America as a whole. It hasn't in the 52 years I've been alive. The problem is NOT with lack of opportunites. It's the moral decay that has occured in our country decade after decade. I go into people's homes for a living. Those are some scary places. Judging by that alone, we are doomed.
I do not disbelieve you at all, but I would be curious to hear a few examples of the moral decay you are seeing in people's homes. I, too, notice a lot of "decay". To me, the whole notion of people flipping their houses, getting bigger and bigger ones, or using their houses as ATM machines to buy overpriced stuff like new SUV's is an example of moral decay. (Of course this practice has been, to a large degree, forcibly halted by the bursting of the real estate price bubble). Perhaps I am just hopelessly old-fashioned, but I have always believed in living within my means.

Another example of decay which I see is the abysmal igorance many people have of the most basic political and economic facts. Examples: seniors thinking that Obama and/or Congress "stole" or took away their Social Security COLA when in fact it happened automatically under a law passed many years ago and Obama and the present Congress had nothing to do with it. This remains true whether you like Obama or not. Or people angry that Medicare may be modified who say the government should keep its hands off "their" Medicare, not seeming to realize that Medicare is indeed created and run by the government. We already have "socialized" medicine for almost everybody over 65, and we've had it for a lot of years now, and this remains true whether you are in favor of it or not.
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Old 11-04-2010, 05:51 AM
 
12,225 posts, read 12,223,584 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hnsq View Post
The attitude of trading up and having a mortgage your whole life seems to be huge amongst the boomer generation...I really don't get it.
Neither do I.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:36 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 20,504,393 times
Reputation: 15749
Quote:
Originally Posted by John23 View Post
I got back from a trip to the east coast today....pennsylvania, ny and vermont.

One thing I've noticed is that people tend to live in a "bubble" in a place like california. Things are sort of sterilized. You're not going to know what's truely going on in the country in sort of a suburban bubble, watching mainstream media, getting mainstream newspapers.

You've got to go out to really see things. Until you've seen workers in states like that, you don't really know whats going on in the economy.

1st - I think there's been a horrible lack of standards (which you see in peoples homes). I think much of it is fueled by schooling. And the opportunities (or lackthere of) presented. The rot that has occured decade by decade is mirrored in the schools.

2nd - So much of what people hear and believe is crazy. It's like there's an artificial divide in the country, between what people hear and believe....and what's really going on.

On the westcoast people have been brainwashed. "Illegals do the work regular american's don't want to do". "Without illegal cheap labor, the economy is going to crash, yah, yah yah...."

If thats true, then why is it on the east coast, white people clean beds at hotels! Even a white male, a young guy like 22 years old, made the bed at our hotel in Vermont. I think a lot of the workers there were canadian or french. White people still work at McDonalds in some states. Things aren't going to get better if we keep believing lies.
Your post, especially the part in green, sums it all up. Excellent observations. Seeing things from insulated bubbles is always a safe way to go.
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Old 11-04-2010, 06:59 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 20,504,393 times
Reputation: 15749
Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
You statistical expertise leads you to decide that one should favor a study with a sample size of exactly one, with data collection and analysis consisting of decades old childhood memories, over another because they are government therefore must be skewed? I'll pass, thanks.

I do not have statistical expertise, just trained in how to go between the lines and behind the "facts." Empirical evidence = observation gained by observation, experience, or experiment. "A central concept in science and the scientific method is that all evidence must be empirical, or empirically based, that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses." You can state all the statistics in the world, but as a member of the post-WWII generation, I am not taking my "own fond memories" and generalizing them to an entire demographic. We experientially lived what we lived, regardless of your statistics.

It isn't just agriculture. It's is more efficient transportation methods, it is larger grocery chains that can operate on smaller margins, it is a global market that allows products from other climates to be brought in out of season, it is technologies that reduce the cost of labor.

We'll see how long this lasts in regard to oil.

Also, read your labels and you'll see what is happening to food production within our borders. Food massed produced doused in chemicals. Food sold at organic food chains being shipped over from China. Are you saying that big ag food stripped of its nutrients, or big ag food sent over from China, is the kind of food you want us to consume? The technologies and labor costs there that are wiping jobs out all over our country? Fortunately, there is a small-scale local farming movement in this country that we'll be grateful for in a few years.


But nah these silly people have nothing on someone at CityData recalling how good dinner was as a child despite Dad being middle income.
I am talking only about the post-WWII middle class in this discussion. The large point you are missing is the standard of living* that is being lost in this country. Even if a family did consume, as you indicate, up to 25% of its income on food, I guess you have no explanation as to the standard of living that middle and lower-middle class Americans had one generation ago. You were either too young to experience it (about 7 or 10?) or you came from an affluent family and so know nothing about the middle class then and now, drawing on figures only to support your notion.

In all this, I've forgotten what your point is about the middle class?



* Standard of living from middleclass.org
The middle class is more than an income bracket. Over the past fifty years, a middle-class standard of living in the United States has come to mean having a secure job, a safe and stable home, access to health care, retirement security, time off for vacation, illness and the birth or adoption of a child, opportunities to save for the future and the ability to provide a good education, including a college education, for one’s children. When these middle-class fundamentals are within the reach of most Americans, the nation is stronger economically, culturally and democratically.

Last edited by RiverBird; 11-04-2010 at 07:37 AM..
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:35 AM
 
8,265 posts, read 11,423,046 times
Reputation: 4790
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
The large point you are missing is the standard of living that is being lost in this country.
I disagree, and would counter that the large point you are missing is that the bar for "standard" has moved up considerably, if a middle class family today lived in a smaller home with one car and stripped all the modern conveniences (and their associated monthly costs) they'd probably look a lot like that family of yesteryear.

Quote:
Even if a family did consume, as you indicate, up to 25% of its income on food, I guess you have no explanation as to the standard of living that middle and lower-middle class Americans had one generation ago.
I've explained it over and over, you just refuse to listen.

Quote:
You were either too young to experience it (about 7 or 10?) or you came from an affluent family and so know nothing about the middle class then and now, drawing on figures only to support your notion.
No I didn't come from an affluent background, so no your usual assumptions about anyone who disagrees with you must typing from their mansion in Brentwood doesn't apply. And yes I'm quite comfortable taking figures and statistics over your decades old childhood memories on whether things like food and clothing are cheaper today than a generation ago.

Quote:
In all this, I've forgotten what your point is about the middle class?
My point is that the standard of living isn't being lost.
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Old 11-04-2010, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Near a river
16,042 posts, read 20,504,393 times
Reputation: 15749
Quote:
Originally Posted by slackjaw View Post
I disagree, and would counter that the large point you are missing is that the bar for "standard" has moved up considerably, if a middle class family today lived in a smaller home with one car and stripped all the modern conveniences (and their associated monthly costs) they'd probably look a lot like that family of yesteryear.


I've explained it over and over, you just refuse to listen.


No I didn't come from an affluent background, so no your usual assumptions about anyone who disagrees with you must typing from their mansion in Brentwood doesn't apply. And yes I'm quite comfortable taking figures and statistics over your decades old childhood memories on whether things like food and clothing are cheaper today than a generation ago.


My point is that the standard of living isn't being lost.
I added a definition of "middle class" to the end of my post, above, just so we're talking along the same lines.

To hang on to even the higher end of "middle class" one generation ago all you needed was one really good, stable income for life, which is what people in the middle class then had.

To maintain even the lower end of middle class today (the way it is defined generally today) you need at least two household incomes and at least one credit card if not a slew. You have to run a lot harder today to stay in the middle class, provided you have your job and a house you can afford.

(Granted, what middle class people think they need today is not what folks needed in the past, but that is not the argument here.)

BTW, "standard of living" is not just about how many gadgets, electronics, and overseas vacations you can have. It's about quality of life. The American quality of life among the middle class, even the 1/5 or 2/5 that did not have a car, was higher in post WWII than today because of COL in proportion to income and thus the ability to live within their means. It was an American ethic back then, to do so.
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Old 11-04-2010, 08:03 AM
 
8,265 posts, read 11,423,046 times
Reputation: 4790
Quote:
Originally Posted by newenglandgirl View Post
To hang on to even the higher end of "middle class" one generation ago all you needed was one really good, stable income for life, which is what people in the middle class then had.

To maintain even the lower end of middle class today (the way it is defined generally today) you need at least two household incomes and at least one credit card if not a slew.
Wrong.

I have several coworkers (software developers) who are single income households that maintain a standard of living few would consider on the lower end of anything. They have nice houses, they drive newer vehicles, they eat lunch out with everyone, they take vacations with their family to Disney World, etc. Anecdotal for sure, but I think your claim that one needs at least two household incomes to have even a lower middle class standard of living is easily proven false in millions of cases.

Quote:
BTW, "standard of living" is not just about how many gadgets, electronics, and overseas vacations you can have.
Woah weren't you the one who kept bringing up how your family went on vacations as proof of quality of life?

Quote:
The American quality of life among the middle class, even the 1/5 or 2/5 that did not have a car, was higher in post WWII than today because of COL in proportion to income and thus the ability to live within their means. It was an American ethic back then, to do so.
And I submit middle class have the ability to live within their means and have a quality of life, but more choose not to do so.
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