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Old 03-19-2009, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Under a bridge.
3,196 posts, read 4,996,745 times
Reputation: 979

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Quote:
Originally Posted by colleeng47 View Post
No, we rented a small apartment, and had one very old (paid for) car. DH took the bus to work. I was a SAHM, so I made most of my kids clothes, or bought them at thrift stores. Cooked all our food from scratch. When we had saved the $11,000, we used that for a down payment on a house.

You should write this into a book--it is the kind of thing that many people need to hear--YES IT CAN BE DONE! I am proud of you (and I don't even know you!). You should forward your excellent story to Dave Ramsey--the "Get out of debt and live free" expert.
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Old 03-19-2009, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Chino, CA
1,458 posts, read 3,055,299 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcashley View Post
This could be dangerous -- too much inequality can create political instability. So, is the right thing to do tax the wealthy (a lot) and give their wealth to the poor? I hope not--I tend to hate that idea...but I don't have a better one.....???
Yes, your right. High inequality is dangerous.

The thing is, is we can do nothing and inequality will balance itself out. We are already seeing it today with trillions in lost household wealth. When someone defaults on loans... the creditor (likely some investor or your pension fund, or your stock portfolio, 401k, or your bank savings) is still owed interest or funding. When someone defaults, this loss (risk) is passed down to the creditor and may or may not be recouped.

Dumping/defaulting of debt by the poor, middle, or whomever ultimately hits the creditors... and thus wealth inequality is flattened out. After all, it's the wealthy that have more to lose than those that are already poor.

The problem is, is that most of the "Hit" from the defaults are actually hitting the middle and the upper middle, instead of the top 10/1 percentile that had the highest income inequality and took the blunt of the risk. Bailouts, taxpayer subsidies, and them being too big to fail and part of "management" allows them to make the "difficult" decision of laying people off, and giving pay cuts to the peons.

So, yes, wealth inequality is rapidly balancing out, as it had during the great depression. But, how it is hitting the different wealth segments varies. So far with government policies, and the looks of things, the group between the 50-90 percentile is going to be disproportionately hit this time around. Professionals, white collar workers, etc. while the execs and board members sit pretty.

Government is the only entity that can really force any change. They can either tax the rich more aggressively, or have the "rich" decide on how the "defaults" from the poor/middle affect the rest of us (extending less credit, increasing margins, filling out balance sheets, hitting pension funds, increasing credit rates, laying off personnel, and using bailouts for bonuses). I'd rather have the government tax the rich, instead of having the rich determine how they're going to recoup loses off of the rest of us.

Quote:
The rich were paying taxes on their income over $400,000 at a 70 percent rate when Reagan entered the White House. Right now, on that income, they pay taxes at no more than 35 percent.


And that's before loopholes. After exploiting loopholes, our richest pay taxes at about half that rate. In 2005, for instance, the top 400 income-earners in the United States took home an average $214 million. They paid only 18.5 percent of that in federal income tax.
Institute for Policy Studies: The Massive Wealth Redistribution that Doesn't Bother John McCain

Real US Personal Incomes HAVE increased over the last 30 years. The problem is how unequally it has been distributed. If things were better distributed, we probably wouldn't have needed to worry about having to use credit to finance things, and the economy would be a whole lot more "sustainable". So, instead of paying "wal-mart" wages and having CEOs with hundreds of times more pay than the average worker... with a more balanced pay-scale, more people can actually afford things. Of course, the upper management will have to sacrifice a couple houses and their second yacht so that their peons can actually "afford" a shack.
Real Personal Income Is Actually Rising -- Seeking Alpha

Quote:
If you just consider the average compensation (wages plus benefits) of full-time year-round workers in non-managerial jobs - roughly $40,000 - CEO pay is more like 270 times bigger than the average Joe's. That's still a far cry from days gone by. In 1989, for instance, U.S. CEOs of large companies earned 71 times more than the average worker, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
CEO-to-worker pay appears to narrow - Aug. 29, 2007


-chuck22b

Last edited by chuck22b; 03-19-2009 at 02:47 PM..
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Old 03-19-2009, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Chino, CA
1,458 posts, read 3,055,299 times
Reputation: 555
Quote:
Originally Posted by colleeng47 View Post
No, we rented a small apartment, and had one very old (paid for) car. DH took the bus to work. I was a SAHM, so I made most of my kids clothes, or bought them at thrift stores. Cooked all our food from scratch. When we had saved the $11,000, we used that for a down payment on a house.

Hi colleeng47,
Kudos to you. But the point isn't that you can't make it if you really try. The point is that it's become increasingly harder and that you shouldn't have had to make your own clothes, grow your own garden, wear rags or use rags, and scrimp every penny, take the bus, etc. in this modern society to barely scrape up a bare resemblance of a middle class life style. And, not to mention it's soooo much easier to lose it all at a blink of an eye.

Meanwhile, some CEO guy has 5-10 different houses around the world. Millions in exclusive preferred stocks and other investment instruments, and his wife doesn't even have to work and argues about 53k a week lifestyle.

And while everybody else in the world is losing money, falling off the cliff from the economic crisis... their lawyers, paid off government officials, etc. are able to find ways to keep their riches while they swindle millions more from everybody else.

There really is something wrong with this picture. NO human being is grossly worth that much more than anybody else. We are a democracy aren't we? Where "all men are created equal"? Or in actuality we're an oligarchy.

-chuck22b

Last edited by chuck22b; 03-19-2009 at 02:33 PM..
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Old 03-19-2009, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
5,517 posts, read 9,396,489 times
Reputation: 2547
Chuck22b, you have prevented me from having to post the exact same stuff, and posted a great picture of the GINI index. You are one of a few who actually get it on this board. Keep on spreading the truth.
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Old 03-19-2009, 03:12 PM
 
19,337 posts, read 16,935,945 times
Reputation: 7515
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck22b View Post
Hi colleeng47,
Kudos to you. But the point isn't that you can't make it if you really try. The point is that it's become increasingly harder and that you shouldn't have had to make your own clothes, grow your own garden, wear rags or use rags, and scrimp every penny, take the bus, etc. in this modern society to barely scrape up a bare resemblance of a middle class life style. And, not to mention it's soooo much easier to lose it all at a blink of an eye.

Meanwhile, some CEO guy has 5-10 different houses around the world. Millions in exclusive preferred stocks and other investment instruments, and his wife doesn't even have to work and argues about 53k a week lifestyle.

And while everybody else in the world is losing money, falling off the cliff from the economic crisis... their lawyers, paid off government officials, etc. are able to find ways to keep their riches while they swindle millions more from everybody else.

There really is something wrong with this picture. NO human being is grossly worth that much more than anybody else. We are a democracy aren't we? Where "all men are created equal"? Or in actuality we're an oligarchy.

-chuck22b
Hi chuck22b,

"you must spread reputation before giving anymore to chuck22b,".

I was going to post something with a yes you can attitude.
Worm Recipes

Worm Burgers

Worms are nearly pure protein – you can eat them!
Here are some wormy recipes for you to try (if you feel up to it!). Remember you must clean them out well first. To do this, take about 1,000 live worms and wash them carefully.
Place them in some damp bran in a container and leave them in there for at least 4 days. They will eat the bran and get rid of any dirt inside their bodies. Separate the worms from the bran and wash again.
Drop them into boiling water and drain. Use fresh.

Ingredients:
  • 250 gm cleaned worms (See above.)
  • 1 onion
  • 2 slices of bread soaked in milk then squeezed dry
  • 2 tablespoons of flour
  • Parsley
  • Salt and pepper


Method:
  • Place onion in food processor and chop.
  • Add all other ingredients and process only until just combined (do not mince).
  • Form into balls with wet hands and then flatten.
  • Fry gently in oil or butter until brown on both sides.
  • Serve on a toasted bun with shredded lettuce, tomato, etc.
But you inspired me. Then I realized I don't aspire to subsistence after all. I guess I just don't like to share all of my surplus to the needs of Wall Street.
Wall Street CEOs, lawyers, bankers and media executives chalked up thousands of dollars in prostitution charges on their corporate credit cards -- swiping their cards for $2,000 an hour prostitutes, according to a New York madam who pleaded guilty last year.
Still , don't throw that recipe away. You might need it.

Last edited by Administrator; 09-29-2009 at 03:19 PM.. Reason: copyright infringement - DMCA Complaint
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Old 03-19-2009, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
2,193 posts, read 4,683,295 times
Reputation: 1075
Quote:
Originally Posted by colleeng47 View Post
No, we rented a small apartment, and had one very old (paid for) car. DH took the bus to work. I was a SAHM, so I made most of my kids clothes, or bought them at thrift stores. Cooked all our food from scratch. When we had saved the $11,000, we used that for a down payment on a house.
I agree w/ the others (randomdude and chuck). Your story reminds me of my husband's story who grew up in a third world country eating lentils and sometimes going hungry.

I don't think that's a good thing for the US that your story compares to a person's story who grew up in a third world country.

Wasn't it used to the place of opportunity and a better standard of living? Looks like that is going down the tubes all over the world.

I don't think life has to be like this, this difficult, this much of a struggle and living in substandard conditions if there was a reform of this plutocracy.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Great State of Texas
86,068 posts, read 76,638,376 times
Reputation: 27642
Middle class families used to exist on a single salary; now some can barely make it on two.
When I grew up families of 4-6 kids were the norm; now one can barely afford to have 2 with the costs.

Now that the easy credit is gone realization is sinking in.
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Old 03-19-2009, 08:04 PM
 
Location: Cushing OK
14,545 posts, read 18,887,220 times
Reputation: 16880
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck22b View Post
Hi colleeng47,
Kudos to you. But the point isn't that you can't make it if you really try. The point is that it's become increasingly harder and that you shouldn't have had to make your own clothes, grow your own garden, wear rags or use rags, and scrimp every penny, take the bus, etc. in this modern society to barely scrape up a bare resemblance of a middle class life style. And, not to mention it's soooo much easier to lose it all at a blink of an eye.

Meanwhile, some CEO guy has 5-10 different houses around the world. Millions in exclusive preferred stocks and other investment instruments, and his wife doesn't even have to work and argues about 53k a week lifestyle.

And while everybody else in the world is losing money, falling off the cliff from the economic crisis... their lawyers, paid off government officials, etc. are able to find ways to keep their riches while they swindle millions more from everybody else.

There really is something wrong with this picture. NO human being is grossly worth that much more than anybody else. We are a democracy aren't we? Where "all men are created equal"? Or in actuality we're an oligarchy.

-chuck22b
This is the mailaise that has been changing our society since the 70's atleast. When I was a kid in the 50's the great majority of people were middle class. They didn't live in McMansions and have three cars but they did see movies and buy new clothes for thier kids and take vacations. It was largely but not entirely a professional class, but the real glue were the values taught of responsibility and doing for yourself.

I won't argue with anyone over why its changed but it has. The upper middle class graduated to McMansions and two cars and a boat. And credit card debt and second morgages and home loans to pay for all of it. When you take away all the debt they don't have any more actual wealth than the former middle class who have sunk to quazi poor and likely live in the same places their parents did, except the places are not the same. Its these people who are crashing. Its one thing to make 200k a year and have all the toys. Its quite another to have 100k in debt that you paid out so you could get them and which you will never pay off. So some of those in the McMansions are in just a precarious place as those who couldn't afford a house but went with the subprime, zero down solution. One or two checks out and the bills can't be paid and from there on down it spirals.

Yes, we are fast on our way to a two (or two and a half) class society. The mega rich, the poor/middle class/working class who have kinda mixed, and the underclass.

Its been noted that this is the kind of place Mexico is. One of the reasons why they come is to find jobs which pay enough for the family at home to live off. NO comments on the politics here, but the reason they need to is there is no chance to get out of this. The "well off" for instance are out of the border states already and left the poor behind to survive or not. And look close everyone because that is where we are headed.

My son lives with his fathers family who have a McMansion and very high debt. I live on disability and have no debt. They don't spend more than they need anymore and are saving but at the end of the month both me and them have the same.... zero. Why? The interest, the loans the long term debt. They sound like they are "well off" but when you balance it with their costs it doesn't come out that way.

When people like them can't pay it they end up defaulting and eventually where they were before without the McMansion and toys. They know this but not everyone does.

But I have never attained the level of security my parents had. And while my son thinks he will I have serious doubts about that. Unless he somehow makes it into some highpaying job AND doesn't spend it all on stuff he'll be back to month to month with a little set aside.

The mega rich just don't get it. They lost millions and are still buying anything they have a whim to because thats not a hinderance. So again look at Mexico and places like it. When there are a lot of poor people, a thin professional class and a few rich people it lays the seed for crime and a vaccum for them to operate. And in time civil violence and simering feelings waiting for a trigger.

It is sad we have come to this. But I expect that being able to mend things, fix things, garden and the like will be a good thing to know, and something like the ability to tear apart and rebuild a car will be a prime ability worth barter if not to be paid.

The way Colleen and family found their nitche may be the way we all have to if things keep going the way they are, except the jobs will pay less, be more scarce and that house at the end of the rainbow may be a long time coming.
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Old 03-20-2009, 08:37 AM
 
Location: Virginia Beach, VA
5,517 posts, read 9,396,489 times
Reputation: 2547
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheenie2000 View Post
I agree w/ the others (randomdude and chuck). Your story reminds me of my husband's story who grew up in a third world country eating lentils and sometimes going hungry.

I don't think that's a good thing for the US that your story compares to a person's story who grew up in a third world country.

Wasn't it used to the place of opportunity and a better standard of living? Looks like that is going down the tubes all over the world.

I don't think life has to be like this, this difficult, this much of a struggle and living in substandard conditions if there was a reform of this plutocracy.

This is the thing. People like Colleen keep beating the drum "Oh just work harder, there is no reason you cant make it". Never mind its twice as hard for the current youth (those coming from lower to middle classes) to get to where there parents did, and four times as hard as their grandparents.

Why? Because the wealth has been being stolen in increasing amounts every year, every generation. Monopolies are being created, huge conglomerates, Wall Street giants, all of which didnt exist decades ago. Its very hard, and often impossible for members of the lower classes to succeed through entrepreneurship, which, in the past, was the best way to move out of the lower classes. Yeah, sometimes you can fill the occassional restaurant, lawn care, or janitorial niches, but largely, you are stuck working for the man (Walmart, Microsoft, etc), which have destroyed most of their competition, and made it impossible to enter the market.

So, since wealthy people have proven that they are not willing to share there wealth, the lower classes are being forced to compete harder, for less scraps. A person could graduate from college 50 years ago, and enter the ranks of the upper middle class. If you didnt go to college, a solid middle class job in manufacturing was there. Thirty years ago, college still got you in the upper middle class. Manufacturing jobs were dissapearing, but you could still get a few, and service jobs were lower paying, but many, you could still get by on.

Today? Well, college is pretty much a requirement to make anything over $15 an hour (The equivalent of $4.50 an hour in 1978. Minimum wage was $2.65 in 1978, which was about $8.97 today). College is ALSO more expensive then it ever has been. College has now become a requirement to get many entry level jobs, rather then a ticket in to management. There are few manufacturing jobs, and as shown above, service jobs largely pay less then they did since the days before labor laws. There are few options for anyone who doesnt have education or specialized training, and those that do have specialized training or education are getting far less returns on it then any past generation.

Where did all that money go? Well, it went to men like Bill Gates, the Walton family, Warren Buffet. That massive pile of money they are sitting on has erased the "American Dream" for THOUSANDS of people.
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Old 03-20-2009, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Under a bridge.
3,196 posts, read 4,996,745 times
Reputation: 979
Quote:
Originally Posted by Randomdude View Post
Where did all that money go? Well, it went to men like Bill Gates, the Walton family, Warren Buffet. That massive pile of money they are sitting on has erased the "American Dream" for THOUSANDS of people.
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.
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