C'mon,you never dreamed you or someone you know and love would lose their home, or see its equity wiped out and still owe more money on the property than it could be sold by you, did you? You never dreamed you would be unable to afford higher public education for yourself or your children, or see your retirement benefits and 401K’s gambled away; or simply become unemployed or underemployed, never to return to the gainful employment to which your budget had grown accustomed. You never thought your country’s wealth would be
so concentrated within the control of so few individuals and multi-national corporations. You never, ever dreamed that our very government would be as it is today; in the hands of a (dare I say it?) Fascist Obstructionist Congress (FOC).
You never dreamed the largest Middle Class in the history of the world would shrink so small, in so short a time… And you never dreamed the rate of this demographic extinction could ever accelerate at the pace it has today. And you tell yourself: “The signs are so clear.” And you ask yourself:
“Why didn’t I see the signs before now?” And finally you worry:” Has The American Dream been shattered?” Have my dreams of a better quality of life than my parents enjoyed--or the dream and preparation for a better one for my children and grandchildren—been just a shattered waste of time?
It seems to me American Middle Class voters should have seen the signs, although it is readily understandable why this demographic did not: It voted for politicians touting the virtue of government hands-off policies--and the most glaring in my mind? The reduction in income taxes while leislating and extending tax exemptions for big businesses, supposedly because they were the job creators, and loop holes for the wealthy with expensive, smart tax code lawyers.
They would have this money to create jobs which in turn would create economic vitality and, ultimately, tax revenue for a government with a mandate to insure health, education and welfare for all. (Not to mention infrastructure and government subsidies, entitlements, salaries and benefits.) It made sense the working public should keep as much of its earned income as it could— because it was earned—“and if you could do it,” work hard, plan, save—“the next man could too.” Easy to vote for a political party that had this tenet at the core of its philosophy, right?
But what used to be the Grand Old Party, it seems to me now, is no longer the Party of the Middle Class… It is now The Grand NEW Party, and this party is the party of billionaires, multi-millionaires, multi-national corporations, huge global conglomerates and other “persons” the Supreme Court just decided are “people”.
So what happened? And How? First , home-ownership has declined, and for my money home ownership is the single best way to define what I mean by middle class. You own a home, you have the white picket fence, the 2.5 kids you can raise and educate. You have the garage and back yard, the health insurance you can afford and most of all, you can save a little bit for that predictably yet unpredictable, rainy day; for your own business some day and if not, certainly for retirement, so you wouldn’t have to work until you drop, work for somebody eles’s Dream unless you wanted to. But now? What now?
**************Let's Take A Break*****************
*Editor’s Note: If you put in the time, you can confirm the following condensation for yourself. The information is readily assessable. Again, what you are about to read is as accurate as it is overwhelming, so buckle up..
(Courtesy The Economic Collapse April 2012):
Over the past several decades, millions upon millions of middle class Americans have been systematically turned into government dependents. Back in 1960, social welfare benefits made up approximately 10% of all salaries and wages. In the year 2000, social welfare benefits made up approximately 21 % of all salaries and wages. Today, social welfare benefits make up approximately 35% of all salaries and wages.
In the old days, any man that was willing to work hard and wanted a job could get one. Today, there are millions of American men sitting on their couches at home wondering why nobody will hire them. Back in 1950, more than 80 % of all men in the United States had jobs. Today, less than 65 % of all men in the United States have jobs. Many middle class families will not be in the middle class for too much longer.
Unemployment is at epidemic levels and the vast majority of the new jobs that have been "created" in recent years have been low paying jobs. 95% of the lost jobs were middle class jobs. They are never coming back. They are outsourced or un-needed. Of those Americans that do have a job at this point, one out of every four works a job that pays $10 an hour or less.The "working poor" is a group that is rapidly growing in this country. If you can believe it, the United States actually has a higher percentage of workers doing low wage work than any other major industrialized nation does.
And over the past several decades, the percentage of low income jobs has steadily increased. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs. The way that our economic system is structured today, almost all of the economic rewards go to the very top of the food chain.
Editor’s Note: the following is how income gains in the United States were distributed during 2010....: 37% of all income gains went to the top 0.01 % of all income earners. 5% of all income gains went to the rest of the top 1 %! 7 % of all income gains went to the bottom 99%
Several decades ago, there was a much more even distribution of income in this country. Back in the 1970s, the top 1 percent of all income earners brought in about 8% of all income. Today, they bring in about 21% of all income. The middle class is shrinking at the same time that America is getting poorer as a nation. In the middle of the last century, the United States was #1 in the world in GDP per capita. Today, the United States is #13 in GDP per capita……
As the middle class shrinks, the number of "low income" and "poor" Americans is rapidly rising. Today, approximately 48% of all Americans are currently either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.
Manufacturing jobs once enabled huge numbers of Americans to enjoy a middle class lifestyle. Unfortunately, those jobs are leaving this country at a breathtaking pace. Back in 1940, 23.4% of all American workers had manufacturing jobs. Today, only 10.4% of all American workers have manufacturing jobs. Every year now, we see millions of Americans fall out of the middle class. In 2010, 2.6 million more Americans descended into poverty. That was the largest increase that we have seen since the U.S. government began keeping statistics on this back in 1959.
The shrinking middle class is having a disproportionate impact on children. At this point, approximately 22 % of all American children are living in poverty. Families net worth fell nearly 39% from 2007 to 2010! Schools, are actually allowing homeless kids to matriculate, so many children were staying ‘home’ for fear some Child Protection Agency would take the kids away from the parent(s).
In the old days, most Americans grew up in middle class neighborhoods. Sadly, this is no longer true. In 1970, 65 % of all Americans lived in "middle class neighborhoods". By 2007, only 44% of all Americans lived in "middle class neighborhoods". Today, less than a third…
The concentration of wealth at the very top of the food chain is astounding. Right now, over 50 percent of all stocks and bonds are owned by just 1 % of the U.S. population.
Concentrate too much power in the hands of the federal government and the big corporations; it is inevitable that massive amounts of wealth will become concentrated in just a few hands. In the United States today, the wealthiest one percent of all Americans have a greater net worth than the bottom 90 %.. combined. At this point, the poorest 50 percent of all Americans collectively own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States. People smarter than me will tell you this is fascism defined.
*Editor’s Comment: Now imagine this concentration in the hands or in the control of those that control both the corporations, “who” are now “people” AND the Executive branch (Congress has been a party line wrap since Bush, remember.) Precisely: the natural and logical consequence will be seen to be even further concentration: Remember the Golden Rule? (“Them what has got the gold, makes the rules”.) And this is more than simply not why the middle class will continue to shrink if the new GOP has its way, it is how..
There is nothing wrong with making money, but there is something wrong with a game where individuals and small businesses cannot compete fairly. According to Forbes, the 400 wealthiest Americans now have more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans combined.
The absolutely most devastating to middle class families all over America is the hidden tax of inflation Since 1970, the U.S. dollar has lost more than 83% of its value. Any dollars that middle class families try to save are constantly losing a little bit more value every single day.
American workers that try to play by the rules find that they are constantly fighting a losing battle. According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 dropped by 27% after you account for inflation.
In very recent years, many middle class families have seen their paychecks get smaller. Many middle class families have seen many of their basic expenses absolutely soar. For example, health insurance costs have risen by 23% since Barack Obama became president. Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row. The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has increased by more than 100 % since Barack Obama became president.
Editor’s Comment: No president has control of all of these mind you; our slavery to OPEC, and not-so-‘public’ utilities control two… Similarly, The Obama Administration’s Affordable Health Care Act did not drive up insurance premiums for the middle class families that have no choice but to pay whatever is charged, but, rather, the greed of insurance companies and HMO’s unwilling (NOT unable!) to accept less profit to insure as close to single Payer Health Care as the GOP House controlled House of Representatives’ strong-armed budget negotiations would allow. In both cases, as you know, TODAY’s NEW GOP would have you believe all these painful, middle class-impacting economic developments are the direct result of a democratic control of the executive branch. I ask you to think about it, objectively, no matter which side of the political fence you may think you are on, and continue… The GOP of today is definitely not your grandfather’s GOP…
Sadly, government dependence is now at an all-time high, and that is the way that many among the elite like it. When Barack Obama took office, there were 32 million Americans on food stamps. Now, there are more than 46 million Americans on food stamps. In particular, an astounding number of children are on food stamps right now. At this point, approximately one-fourth of all American children are enrolled in the food stamp program.
Editor’s Comment: …and is this a “good thing”? Depends on if you need the food stamps or not and, more telling of YOU, if you think it our the government’s role to save the poor regardless of economic conditions, when it comes to food security. Boils down to priorities, doesn’t it?
Color me ‘Socialist’ then, when it comes to health care, education, and real safety for the young, the old, the disabled and the woefully poor that cannot even afford a roof over their heads.
Editor’s Comment: If you believe what you have read here this month, just imagine what kind of life this demographic, this rapidly growing demographic which is the homeless today, has to look forward to in terms of ‘quality of life’ as time goes on. Realize we are fast becoming a nation that is choosing homelessness for them…and those that will be. We are fast becoming a nation that has decided, as much by design as indecision, that people who cannot afford to live, do not deserve to live and my fear is that we are gradually finding it acceptable that “they” just die out. I firmly beelive that had we not opened our doors to so-called “free trade,” had we not allowed corporations to ship our jobs overseas to compete for profits globally, we would have jobs here for employment, export, needed tax revenue for health care, needed revenue for infra-structure, needed revenue for police, fire, correctional facilities and needed revenue to keep our parks open and maintained without cutting jobs.
*Justice Roberts surprised me today. How about you?*