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Old 03-21-2009, 12:26 AM
 
1,822 posts, read 4,183,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ufcrules1 View Post
"With all due respect, it is EACH of our responsibilities to change it for ourselves. Nobody is going to do it for you. You have to do it for yourself--or it won't get done. (Personal responsibility and all that is included therein)"

This poster has it figured out. Some of the other posters on here are "Save me Feed me's". I'm tired of hearing the excuses out there. People, we live in a messed up world and it will never be perfect. LIFE IS NOT FAIR... and it really sucks sometimes but you have to take the good with the bad and make something of yourself.


By the way, I am the OP and I think the lady who wrote "Nickel & Dimed" is a nut job. This 20 year old kid made her look stupid. She was complaining about how hard it was out there but she made bad decisions along the way! That "kid" who wrote scratch beginnings made her look like a clown in that interview. You mean to tell me this lady had a real tough time yet she NEVER HAD A ROOMMATE in all those years? That was a HUGE mistake right there. Also, she never stayed in one area long enough to work her way up? She stayed in HOTELS? What?

The problem out there is people do not know how to work their way up in life. They would rather sit back and complain about whos fault it is that they are failures or struggling or DON'T HAVE ENOUGH. This is the same attitude that keeps them right where they are.

I don't care about graphs,formulas, etc. If you want something bad enough you can go out and get it. Too many people have already proven me right.
You continue to miss the point. Statistical analysis with a sample size of ONE is inherently useless. This is your problem. You believe everybody can be a statistical outlier if they work "hard enough". Reality says it's mathematically impossible in a system with scarce resources (the Earth). You rebuke reality by asserting (at the very least privately) that even if that was true, you believe at least YOU could be a statistical outlier (and screw the dumb and slow, life ain't fair after all). Your not an island, and you must certainly are not Lebron James. Just because you believe that as an individual you could rise above the pits of financial dispossession and "make something of yourself" as a simpleton function of "attitude", does not negate the statistical reality that we all can't be winners, and that in the present social construct of our country, coming in second place might kill you. This is the relevance of the question "is the middle class going away?".

Look, pound for pound the middle class today is falling behind previous generations. Life is not easy, but that doesn't exclusively imply it HAS to be THAT hard. To continue to disavow the plight of the proletariat in this country because of some ideological affection towards the idea that one too could be Bill Gates if one works hard enough and excuse his position in our society because one desires to be him, is to very essentially cheerlead for your own economic dispossession. Furthermore, such callous disregard for the majority you consider lazy and entitled further drives this socio-economic erosion towards a true two class system, endemic of south american economic models such as Brazil, and in the ultimate extension, Colombia. You'd be ill served to be upper class in such an economic system, for your apathy makes you a target. Most of us do not want America to become this place, but between the boomer's apathy and the younger generations' brainwashed religious-like adherence to an invalid middle class work ethic and belief in inherent upward mobility as a function of clicking of heels, we're headed south. Give it 40 years and Brazil might look like an upgrade for the median american, and those guys have NO middle class.
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:02 AM
 
Location: Chino, CA
1,458 posts, read 3,058,767 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hindsight2020 View Post
You continue to miss the point. Statistical analysis with a sample size of ONE is inherently useless. This is your problem. You believe everybody can be a statistical outlier if they work "hard enough". Reality says it's mathematically impossible in a system with scarce resources (the Earth). You rebuke reality by asserting (at the very least privately) that even if that was true, you believe at least YOU could be a statistical outlier (and screw the dumb and slow, life ain't fair after all). Your not an island, and you must certainly are not Lebron James. Just because you believe that as an individual you could rise above the pits of financial dispossession and "make something of yourself" as a simpleton function of "attitude", does not negate the statistical reality that we all can't be winners, and that in the present social construct of our country, coming in second place might kill you. This is the relevance of the question "is the middle class going away?".

Look, pound for pound the middle class today is falling behind previous generations. Life is not easy, but that doesn't exclusively imply it HAS to be THAT hard. To continue to disavow the plight of the proletariat in this country because of some ideological affection towards the idea that one too could be Bill Gates if one works hard enough and excuse his position in our society because one desires to be him, is to very essentially cheerlead for your own economic dispossession. Furthermore, such callous disregard for the majority you consider lazy and entitled further drives this socio-economic erosion towards a true two class system, endemic of south american economic models such as Brazil, and in the ultimate extension, Colombia. You'd be ill served to be upper class in such an economic system, for your apathy makes you a target. Most of us do not want America to become this place, but between the boomer's apathy and the younger generations' brainwashed religious-like adherence to an invalid middle class work ethic and belief in inherent upward mobility as a function of clicking of heels, we're headed south. Give it 40 years and Brazil might look like an upgrade for the median american, and those guys have NO middle class.
Thank you hindsight2020,
I was about to comment on the same thing. Of course people can still make it if you try hard enough, and get "lucky" somewhere through the process. The fact remains that quantitative data shows that it is getting ever increasingly harder for the middle and the poor to maintain their standings or to advance in this world.

I really don't understand how people can so accutely focus on a few like you said outlier "stories" and consider that as the end all be all for how to make it in the USA. I guess they just believe that the majority of Americans have increasingly become lazy and fat over the last 30 years and somehow the generations after them have become increasingly lazy... and this is the CAUSE of the middle class degradation.

Sadly, like I showed previously, it's not a factor of age, or generations. The middle class plight goes accross generational lines as the whole country as a whole is aging and getting older but still real median incomes aren't increasing quite as much.

Yes, globalization is a factor, but the underlying inequality of pay/incomes in this society is glaring. Real personal incomes as a whole has increased. But only the few (upper 20 percentile) are getting the breadth of it. If there was just a bit more equality in the pay scales... we wouldn't even be having this conversation and perhaps we might not even be having our current financial crisis.

Pay for performance. Like I said before GDP, productivity, etc. has increased and overall the USA has grown. US growth isn't soley the result of the upper classes, but also on the labor and productivity of all of the workers in the USA. The problem lies with how this wealth has been primarily concentrated at the top at the expense of the rest of us. And this function is being tested as we speak. I don't think we'll end up like Brazil or Columbia... there will be revolts and protests prior to that happening. I think we are still a democracy with free speach.

-chuck22b
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:15 AM
 
19,346 posts, read 16,982,049 times
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For many Americans there is a persistent concept of superiority and hatred for their fellow Americans for those who are in debt. I have explained the scam and monopoly capital that causes much of this and yet who has directly challenged me on it? And no I am not in debt. We need to carry debt when we use bank credit as money and "personal responsibly" must lead to a Japanese society which no one seems to want. So this preaching of debt free living to the masses is stupid because its statistically impossible and completely ignorant of a bank credit money system. Working hard and being stupid is not my way.






I am more like Larry.
"We will encourage you to develop the three great virtues of a programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris."-Larry Wall.


LazinessThe quality that makes you go to great effort to reduce overall energy expenditure. It makes you write labor-saving programs that other people will find useful, and document what you wrote so you don't have to answer so many questions about it. Hence, the first great virtue of a programmer. Also hence, this book. See also impatience and hubris. (p.609)

ImpatienceThe anger you feel when the computer is being lazy. This makes you write programs that don't just react to your needs, but actually anticipate them. Or at least pretend to. Hence, the second great virtue of a programmer. See also laziness and hubris. (p.608)

HubrisExcessive pride, the sort of thing Zeus zaps you for. Also the quality that makes you write (and maintain) programs that other people won't want to say bad things about. Hence, the third great virtue of a programmer. See also laziness and impatience. (p.607)
So for those that wish to lead a social movement about working hard within a system of swindle and deceit you will have to leave me out. I like to work smart and I spend a lot of time and effort doing so.
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Chino, CA
1,458 posts, read 3,058,767 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gwynedd1 View Post
I am more like Larry.
"We will encourage you to develop the three great virtues of a programmer: laziness, impatience, and hubris."-Larry Wall.

LazinessThe quality that makes you go to great effort to reduce overall energy expenditure. It makes you write labor-saving programs that other people will find useful, and document what you wrote so you don't have to answer so many questions about it. Hence, the first great virtue of a programmer. Also hence, this book. See also impatience and hubris. (p.609)
ImpatienceThe anger you feel when the computer is being lazy. This makes you write programs that don't just react to your needs, but actually anticipate them. Or at least pretend to. Hence, the second great virtue of a programmer. See also laziness and hubris. (p.608)

HubrisExcessive pride, the sort of thing Zeus zaps you for. Also the quality that makes you write (and maintain) programs that other people won't want to say bad things about. Hence, the third great virtue of a programmer. See also laziness and impatience. (p.607)
So for those that wish to lead a social movement about working hard within a system of swindle and deceit you will have to leave me out. I like to work smart and I spend a lot of time and effort doing so.
Hehe... I agree with Larry, BUT, what will he do when he's done writing all the programs that are self sufficient, saves people time/energy, and have no complaints? He would have no additional usefulness in that organization.

Essentially, he would be killing off labor hours for someone else (layoff), for the profit of those who hired him

Technologist's delima coupled with marginal diminishing returns for new technology.

-chuck22b
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Under a bridge.
3,196 posts, read 5,002,541 times
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Quote:
Look, pound for pound the middle class today is falling behind previous generations
That is just not true....the statistics simplly do not support it...whether you use mean, medaian income statistics or average home size, or number of televisions..

Well, on second thought: It could be true if by "pound for pound" you are referring to the fact that Americans are fatter (body weight) than they used to be...

But, seriously, whether you like the stats or not--if you look seriously at them, they show a solid middle class. That being said, the middle class is being hammered right now with the worst economy in years. In the southern california counties, where I live, the unemployment rates are hovering around 12%--this is horrible. It is nearly impossible to feel that you are well off when your livlihood is threatened.

But that doesn't change the fact that the middle class is both larger in number now, has more income, and is doing well. What the problem is that the middle class is smaller in percentage of the whole population. The middle class is NOT going away. Saying so is just meaningless media hype. The middle class is growing in number. The middle class is shrinking as a percentage of the population.
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:55 AM
 
Location: Chicago, IL
8,998 posts, read 13,671,520 times
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ILSR Columns: Low prices, but at what cost? (http://www.ilsr.org/columns/2008/071808.html - broken link)

Quote:
Katherine Kersten tries to represent Wal-Mart as a hero of working families. But what Wal-Mart has saved poor and middle-income Americans -- and there's reason to doubt the depth and durability of the discounts Kersten cites -- it has taken that and more from them in diminished job opportunities and reduced income.
Quote:
Kersten points out that new Wal-Mart and Target stores often attract legions of job applicants. But this is less a sign of the desirability of these jobs than it is of widespread economic desperation.
Lacking better options, more people are applying for retail work, giving the big chains a larger, and more easily exploited, labor pool.
Opportunities for this segment of the workforce have actually declined as the big boxes expanded. That's because the chains stretch their workers, achieving the same sales with fewer people than the businesses they replace.
Quote:
Not surprisingly, large numbers of Wal-Mart, Home Depot and Target employees and their families, unable to make ends meet, have enrolled in Medicaid and other public assistance programs.
Do cheap DVD players make up for all this?
Given the toll these companies have taken on earnings for both low- and middle-income families and the fact that prices for the things that matter most - housing, health care and education - have skyrocketed, it's hard to conclude that we are anything but worse off.
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:56 AM
 
19,346 posts, read 16,982,049 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcashley View Post
That is just not true....the statistics simplly do not support it...whether you use mean, medaian income statistics or average home size, or number of televisions..
Hi dcashley,

Those arguments have already been refuted earlier in this thread. You did not take into account that the workforce doubled and families are smaller. I would expect disposable income to sky rocket with two workers per house hold with half the dependents. Even those hours have increased from 40 hours to 46 house thus the real increase in labor is on average from 40 to 92 hours. Most of these new big houses are build from cheaper material BTW. We would also expect natural technological progression but most of the surplus is not going to the middle class. So as is typical, statics without context mean nothing.


Quote:
Well, on second thought: It could be true if by "pound for pound" you are referring to the fact that Americans are fatter (body weight) than they used to be...
Work in a cubical all day long and lower the quality of the food and...


Quote:
But, seriously, whether you like the stats or not--if you look seriously at them, they show a solid middle class. That being said, the middle class is being hammered right now with the worst economy in years. In the southern california counties, where I live, the unemployment rates are hovering around 12%--this is horrible. It is nearly impossible to feel that you are well off when your livlihood is threatened.

But that doesn't change the fact that the middle class is both larger in number now, has more income, and is doing well. What the problem is that the middle class is smaller in percentage of the whole population. The middle class is NOT going away. Saying so is just meaningless media hype. The middle class is growing in number. The middle class is shrinking as a percentage of the population.
You really don't know what has happened in the last 30 years. We went from 1 worker per house hold with no debt to 2 with debt. The extra TV sets and cars are from the extra work and debt.
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Chino, CA
1,458 posts, read 3,058,767 times
Reputation: 555
Quote:
Originally Posted by dcashley View Post
That is just not true....the statistics simplly do not support it...whether you use mean, medaian income statistics or average home size, or number of televisions..

Well, on second thought: It could be true if by "pound for pound" you are referring to the fact that Americans are fatter (body weight) than they used to be...

But, seriously, whether you like the stats or not--if you look seriously at them, they show a solid middle class. That being said, the middle class is being hammered right now with the worst economy in years. In the southern california counties, where I live, the unemployment rates are hovering around 12%--this is horrible. It is nearly impossible to feel that you are well off when your livlihood is threatened.

But that doesn't change the fact that the middle class is both larger in number now, has more income, and is doing well. What the problem is that the middle class is smaller in percentage of the whole population. The middle class is NOT going away. Saying so is just meaningless media hype. The middle class is growing in number. The middle class is shrinking as a percentage of the population.
Please show your "stats", source, and reasoning. As shown before 31% (increase over 40 years) and 21% reduction in household size DOES not mean a 61% percent increase in incomes.

Americans getting fatter isn't a result of lavish eating... it's a result of high caloric intake from fast food (thank you mcdonalds ). I would venture to guess that the upper classes probably have a lower fat body index than the lower classes.

Lastly, if the relative size of the middle class is smaller... then YES, that means the middle class is shrinking.

You are right though, there are different segments within the middle class and that is why there are such differing prevailing views on how the middle class is doing. According to Pew reasearch, there are four middle classes:

The Top of the Class,
The Struggling Middle,
The Anxious Middle,
and the Satisfied Middle.



Overall, over half of the middle class is part of the top of the class and the satisfied middle. But a large chunk of the top of the class have incomes greater than the median (50k+ and beyond 100k+) so they are more part of the upper middle class. So, if you just count the Satisfied middle, Struggling middle, and anxious middle, and part of the Top of the class most of the middle class is part of the Struggling and Anxious middle class .


Pew Research Center: America's Four Middle Classes

My definition of middle soley lies with the income/purchasing power (real median personal incomes). And that has shown relatively little progress over the last 30 years (1.06%+ per annum).

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/6/66/Income-curve-%2410k.png/800px-Income-curve-%2410k.png (broken link)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Househo..._United_States

If the middle class is growing... you would see that hump more towards/closer to the median income (~55k). Granted the upper middle class has been growing and that's the 9.89 percentile you see above (the upper 20 percentile I've been talking about). But, in the most part, your seeing a dichomity and a division towards a two class system as we've been talking about. A strong middle class would have a bell shape curve over the median income. A weaker middle class shows more of a valley shape with a bigger slope towards the lower incomes... as we can see above.

-chuck22b

Last edited by chuck22b; 03-21-2009 at 11:40 AM..
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Under a bridge.
3,196 posts, read 5,002,541 times
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I NEVER said that the middle class was growing as a fraction of the society. I said it has more wealth now. If you want to take those statements and refute them, you cannot do so with the data you've presented. By the way, as I said before, my data comes from the census bureau and the bureau of labor statistics.

A bell curve doesn't really work with incomes unless you eliminate the very wealthy and the very poor...and in doing so you end up with a truly goofy statistical analysis--one not founded in any sort of reality. Gaussian statistics simply do a poor job of analyzing income. A better statistical tool is non-parametric statistics. Unfortunately, non-parametric statistics are usually not taught in introductory statistics classes--unless you take the course that I teach at the university.
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:58 AM
 
1,735 posts, read 4,382,140 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcashley View Post
The rich people you use for comparison happened to all make their wealth themselves. They were not rich when they started. They built their own fortunes.
Bill Gates came from a wealthy family.
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