“Austerity ???? SNAP provides potato chips, soda, hot pockets, and sundry other comfort vittles. SNAP is the perfect example of using resources to normalize and comfort rather than solving a problem. Who do you think benefits. The eater or maker of the junk.
Municipals were faced with tax payer revolts that even included the very people who paid the cost. You analogy is good in the private sector. In the public sector not so much. The public employee is also the voter.
The most interesting thing I see in regards to public spending is the angst when it hits the local level When the cost is directly removed from a taxpayers wallet the wailing is loud and the cost carefully scrutinized. This is why progressive programs are top down. They are mandates from above. If implemented at the peer level they would look a lot different.
Social Security is an example of failed fiduciary responsibility. Has the private sector engaged in this theft the cry would be loud. The theft of those funds is also an example of wanting programs and being unwilling to pay for them. We have chosen to instead steal from a dedicated trust. Unearned entitlement levels are not sustainable. Instead of addressing the cause we treat symptoms.
If you do not believe the cost of public unions can break a locality I need only point you to Detroit, although it is only one example.”
“First, Union workers are hardly at the bottom. They are in fact "served" by the workers at the bottom, at the dinner table, at the fast food window, at the check out counter.
Second union workers today are largely centered in the public sector. They thrive there because they are protected by statute. Interestingly union workers have the same predilection to cutting costs when those costs are presented to them in the form of local budgets where the effect of the cost impacts their pocket instead of a strangers.
The cost of labor can indeed close a shop. Just like the cost of labor has lead to the growth of DIY in the mechanical fields.
We moved a large part of our mature production to Asia from 2009 - 2012, several hundred positions. It was stomach churning but the alternative was to sell that part of the business to a foreign competitor. The MAJOR reason was labor cost. Equipment investment in those lines had reached their potential, (and each improvement in that direction results in less workers anyway) and foreign competition had the availability of the improvements and capital to match us anyway. It is simply not feasible to pay three or four times the labor cost above the competition and then sell that product globally, or for that matter compete domestically with the import.
That is reality, and it is not the folks at the bottom reaping that labor cost despite the claims of unions.”
“What actually happened to Communism is that Reagan used the power of capitalism to break the communist system. It was an economic victory, no more, no less. The Soviet system was unable to generate the capital required to compete in the power race. That was a direct result of insufficient reward for effort and investment.
We only kid ourselves to claim "democracy" reigned over authoritarianism. It did not. Capitalism reigned over a less efficient reward system and only because it generated more wealth that could be skimmed by a central authority.
We are now losing at our own game just as Britain did before us.”
“In reality the MIC issue is very complex. While I support cutting the military, and with a saw not a scalpel, I also realize a huge part of those dollars support civilians with middle class jobs. When we make cuts it is they who will bear the brunt of thew cost savings. Simply transferring them to entitlement roles will be no solution for obvious reasons. We had a base closing North a couple hours north of us 30 years ago. Although that area has recovered, the recovery equaled a much poorer standard of living and far higher welfare rolls to this day. There is no quick fix and there will be a ton of rank and file pain in the process. It will happen though most likely. Just part of our redefinition.
The MIC is a perfect example of Institutionalization. The needs of the Institution long ago superimposed themselves over the "problem" it was created to meet. The same thing has happened in most of our purported "answers" to perceived problems. Solutions will not be found in all encompassing and materially costly top down efforts. If our current quandry shows us nothing else it surely shows us that.”
“I call it the difference between house and home. Houses became investments to be churned for profit like stock certificates. However a home is something we live in, make part of communities, and recognize as necessity.
American's have wrapped their egos around material glimmers. Bigger, faster, shinier have come to be identifiers of middle class. We have outstripped our ability to support the identity and now use entitlement and debt to prop up the definition.
It is done. We are currently in the denial stage tinged with anger at our plight. We blame everybody except the face in the mirror. It does not really matter though. The redefinition is being imposed in spite of our wailing.”
“Business is the ONLY job creator whether the job be public or private. All wages are derived from adding value to product. Only business serves that function and it is the skimming of those profits or wages derived from those profits that fund all jobs. There is a huge misconception that government can create jobs. It can not, it does not. Evry government function is essentially an expense.
I do not believe business tax is an efficient method of raising revenue. It is a method of using tax code to drive behavior. Businesses treat tax as an expense, add a profit and overhead multiplier, bundle it, and pass the cost to the end user. It is the most regressive tax on our books in that it is applied to every good and service. Just another use of the code as currency of power. We would be better served to simply assess all profit to ownership and apply the tax to the individual.”
“" If you look at every large industry in this nation there are only a 5-6 Big Players." Actually it is unusual if there are more than three.
The tax code is the root culprit. It is used to define behavior and it is the source currency of power. Until we use taxes to pay costs and nothing more it will continue to be corrupt.
A flat tax applied to every dollar of income, regardless of source, above an exempted floor applied equally is the simple answer. It will never be applied because the code is the currency of power.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 18:41:12
“Agree with your view. The tax code in this country is a huge joke. I also find the SCOTUS ruling that "Corporations are people too" totally absurd. If that is the case then why can' we say We the People are corporations and get the same tax breaks and offshoring of money deals that these people do? I am of the opinion that we should have a tax on all income and quit this nonsense of giving hedge funders all the breaks at the expense of the average tax payer. I don't mind paying my taxes but I do resent when a multibillion dollar Corporation pays less of their income % wise than I do on six figures. It is a huge rip off and sorry Corporations are not the "job creators" to the degree that they are given credit for it in this country. I am also tired of paying for Corporations to come into my city/State, offer a few hundred of jobs and then lay folks off into the 5th or 6th year of the deal. If you want to do business, take the risk, isn't that what you do as a small to medium size business??? Too many Corps today do not want any risk and we pay for their "free ride" in subsidies and tax loop dispensations.”
“I am in total agreement with the premise that what you call place holders are no longer held accountable by ownership.
However I see that as a stockholder not public issue. It is the stockholders profits being wasted, not public dollars.
"if the definition of the middleclass is changing it is to one of "HAVE NOTS"" We disagree. It will however be changed to one of have less's compared to today.
During the crunch I toured some foreclosures in middle class developments. They were 3000 plus square feet, often with a three car garage. The lawns were the size of what were once considered upper middle class professionals and judging by the lawn care activity in the neighborhood were maintained by outside labor. The garages were once full of car payments, a boat sat on the side, most everything inside was financed. The realtor related that there was little often no equity BEFORE the crash and the mortgage was usually variable and often even the closing costs were financed. The foreclosed owners were quite often blue collar workers who had come, via debt, to redefine the middle class into an economic upper class. It did not work. It will not work.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 18:52:36
“been getting for the last 20 years. It is a false sense of wealth and a shaky life style that you build if you are relying solely on credit. There are just some thing we need to pay for as we go with cash. The banks have way too much sway over people's lives and we have given them that position without even thinking about the consequences. I don't believe that is the way to grow a middleclass either. I lived for many years before I even had a credit card and very few things did we buy on time unless it was a necessity. Our usury laws are totally out of balance and with no way to save and earn money on your money with "relative low risk", I don't see this situation improving over time. Our State is crying here since the housing prices have declined. That was their cash cow for the last 20 years and now it is going dry. Housing should have never been set up as their only way to collect taxes for a State and municipalities. Everyone is eaten up with "instant gratification" though and through advertising they lose themselves in a false reality of life.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 18:46:54
“I think the whole idea that Bush offered with his idea of "the ownership society" was bogus. I could never understand how a banker could approve a loan that was well above the % of income that was necessary for someone to buy that home or other toy. A home is a roof over your head and yet, for a good decade the realtors, politicians, and the States pumped the airwaves with nonsense that home values were going to keep increasing and that it was an investment. Then they encouraged home owners to tap their equity for everything and anything. The only time my husband and I have ever had a 2d mortgage was when we put $7000 worth of siding on our home. We paid it off in three years through a bank loan. We also NEVER believed that you should buy a home at the top of your line of credit. The most expensive home we have owned ever is the one we are in now and it was under $300K here on the East Coast. The other false reward given to working people was the increasing of lines of credit. This was done to make people feel they had more money than they had and it kept the masses from screaming about raises they haven't”
I am a conservative (fiscally) but not without compassion. I want to see people helped when it is required. I resist the idea that handouts, with few exceptions, help much however. My idea of help is too get people on their feet so they can walk without a crutch> I also realize some will always need help due to circumstance.
To me the social contract is "hosed" as implemented today. Nothing is expected in return and the needs of institutions have ursurped the needs of those they are supposed to serve.
The generations following us will have a far more difficult road than we did. We have spent their projected earnings on repeatable expenses, failed to maintain the infrastructure that was bequeathed us, and our economy now must compete against emerging economies within a backdrop of productivity reducing the need for labor.”
“I claim none of the "rights" you mention. Most business owners do not. None shoould be allowed to.
Employee benefits are compensation. They are not a "social contract, they are an employment contract. The ONLY purpose of a business is profit. That is how it should be.
ALL my employees are free to walk without notice. Some have exercised that right. I am also free to dismiss an employee without notice, I too have exercised that right.
The next generation will be forced to accept much less than ours did. That is the reality of America not being subsidized by the rest of the world. If the demands are too high capital will simply flee in ever greater amounts and build capacity in other regions. The American monopoly long ago disappeared and when we burp the world no longer gets a tummy ache.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 19:08:31
“Good points all, your comments point out today that as you spread public/private policy abroad to "grow Capitalism, that we have a reality point to deal with also....we now compete with more people for the "same resources" and at some point they do become scarce. At some point, our 25% share of use is going to be overtaken by a larger societies called China and also India. We won't be around to watch it all but I believe that the whole issue of globalization is not totally decided at this point. The winds blow and reversal of a trend can happen. Look what happened to Communism. I am not sure that Predatory Capitalism can last for the long haul without great turbulence from continent to continent. The crash of 2008 did prove one thing...the whole world got a huge tummy ache from our largesse and in most cases greed on everyone's part. It will be interesting to speculate and think about. I am still optimistic for the future and youth's lack of total cynicism. Good/bad times come and go. The only thing I try to pass onto my little Grandchildren while I can is to be resilient and don't quit! Everything in life is "temporary", including pain. It will not last forever and always look for a solution to a problem, view it as a blip on the radar, gather your senses and get on with living.”
“What come down is an agreed upon wage. No more is required although it is nice when it does.
From the 50's to 80's America prospered for some novel reasons. A world desolated by WW2 was at the root of that prosperity and the growth was largely at the expense of other regions -- Cheap raw goods sent here because there was no finishing capacity elsewhere. No longer the case. Why should another region export raw goods and then import high cost goods from this nation??
Of course you do not want to live in 50's again. You, (and I) much prefer the current accoutrements of middle class. That does not make them sustainable however, nor does it give us the right to be subsidized by other regions to maintain the standard.
Capital is very fluid and its purpose is to prosper. It is no longer tied to America. It should not be.
Unions have over reached. Check any public locality saddled with the cost.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 19:42:10
“the only people who are truly accountable is "poor management". American Airlines merged today with US Air and now it is the largest airline in the country. American has followed a steady business plan for two decades of taking from their workers and then declaring bankruptcy. I remember watching one of the flake Presidents of the Company a few years ago who said that it was a good "business plan" for them to do that! Again, poor management and the manipulated tax system that allows that kind of thinking at the TOP! Workers don't shut down a business or cause it to go broke...that is the responsibility of management but just like Reagan came up with the "myth" of the Welfare Queen in her Cadillac, there is also the myth of that Union workers make or break a company, city, state...that is just flat out wrong, sorry. I can agree on a lot with you but that is just attacking folks at the bottom to excuse folks at the top who are basically in charge!”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 19:36:40
“enough to feed your kids so you qualify for SNAP??? We can do "hand ups" and not "hand outs"...there is a difference. However, you cannot force "false austerity" on one segment of the population...those who have the lease to begin with and then blame them for not doing better. I know more than one Executive at the Corporate level who has fouled his responsibilities and has been maybe pushed to a position out of the "spot light" but never fired. The rules of life have to be a bit more fair and if you expect the least to do more, than those who have the most should also be held accountable. As for Unions, there aren't enough people in them today to hurt anyone, even public unions. The reason that municipalities and cities are having problems meeting their responsibility is because THEY CHOSE deliberately NOT to enhance their pension funds fully, knowing that a bulk of folks were coming into retirement status. It is like Reagan and Greenspan saying if we raised the rate of Social Security payments to what it is today that they would have enough money for the boomers coming up 20 years later...just every President was dipping into the fund and putting low interest bearing Treasuries in the IOU kitty. Unions don't tell employers what to do...I've done bargaining and you get a pot of $$$$ and you live with it. You try to get the best for your members but if the company/city/state cries foul later”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 19:17:14
“Again, I agree with your good points, especially about how we got here and what we have defined for ourselves as "middleclass". Nothing is static but you always hope for a better place left behind than when you arrived in this world. I do want that for my kids and theirs, not a lot of poverty and desolation for this country. I do believe that our tax dollars could be better invested in this nation, not to the point of isolation of ourselves from the world, but we do have infrastructure that is in need of repair. We may be a "young country" by some standards but we have millions of folks who use the "commons". I am tired of 50% of my taxes going to the MIC...it only encourages the "war mongers and the people who make billions off of death and destruction." I have a son in the military and I support them whole heartedly but believe me, the troops aren't garnering the tax dollar benefits. He went to Iraq the first time without body armor. We need initiatives that encourage people to seek their professions, no matter how high they go or if they can do things with just common sense. I don't believe that people who are poor enjoy it or that they get so much from our government that it stymies drive and ambition. My daughter-in-law teaches high school English and she is in a school were socioeconomically deprived kids are brought into her classroom. ”
“I could be wrong ??? Only if I was making the report -- I am not, I simply quoted.
However -- A quick review of several pieces show miniscule participation regardless of identity -- examples --
About 50 -- Dozens -- Forty -- Customers were not deterred -- Brief demonstrations.
In other words, as with previous actions, Huff N Puff has taken a position and is reporting in a manner that gives a false impression.
Even the sources you mention indicate minor participation and no disruption or even sympathy from the paying customers.
No amount of pining will change what these jobs are. Entry level positions that do not add enough value to a transaction to warrant much in the way of a wage. The pretense that they have recently assumed middle class wage elevation derives not from rational economics. It derives from a growing realization that recent and current policy has driven investment capital to other regions, and with it the jobs of production that builds middle classes, (and supports them).
Unrealistic and economically unsupportable wages will simply lead to more automation in these easily automated industries.”
“I understand the economics you discuss. However it is a new world whether we like the reality or not. capital is fluid and it will flow to where it is least encombered and where it finds a risk reward balance.
Currently that is not here. That is reality. More encumbrance simply speeds the flight, again that is reality. I am not claiming right or wrong. Rather I am simply pointing to the reality of our situation.
We may all have our wants and needs but we do not have any right to their successful conclusion. Such a right infringes on others pursuit of how they define their wants and needs. No right exists that infringes on another without their permission.
Mine is considered an "enlightened" company. We have little turnover a long list waiting to join us. However, when push comes to shove the roles are renter and rented. I rent a persons time at an agreed price. They can choose not to rent but they can not choose what I will pay.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 14:54:29
“If you are making your "clients/employees" happy, I am the last one to complain about your business model. I just see the relationship between employer and employee as more of a social contract. I come to your business, I do my job and I earn my pay. You pay me and if your competitor offers me a better deal, I am free to go...no indentured servitude. That is one great benefit of ACA to workers...you are not hamstrung with healthcare and forced to stay with an employer who does not meet your needs. I also believe that you DO NOT have the right to say what I do in my off ours as an ordinary person. You don't have the right to dictate my sex life, my politics, or my religious views. That is strictly off limits, yet I see too many on the RIGHT who want to drag those very private issues into the work place. For a group of people who say they want less intrusiveness in our lives from Government, they are willing to let the Work Place pick up the slack there. Your employees do have rights and they can walk at will. I have seen it in the Corporate settings and the small businesses alike. It will be interesting to see what future generations of young people will accept as pay if pricing continues to hike up and up with the REAL inflation that is present in our society. I see strikes and boycotts coming.”
“Trickle down is the only economics that actually built a middle class. There is certainly no wealth to trickle up from the poor. Even entitlement funds are trickled down. they simply use government as go between and require no work to receive them.
The poor are not the middle class, nor are the homeless.
I look at the 50's middle class as sustainable. A single car payment, a home that is not treated as a check book with actual equity, perhaps two phones, less electronics and certainly not 4 TV's or even 1000 channels at 150 a month. I could continue the list but you are my age and lived in those times. You certainly know the differences.
In truth it is doubtful we will as a Nation define the accoutrements. the world will do it for us as they syphon ever more of our capital and with it production jobs.
As long as we chase a dream based on future income (debt) we will continue to lose ground. We agree most likely on the chase. My family never joined it.
No I do not define reasonable standard of living as the slums. Nor do I define it as one supported by entitlement benefits or debt.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 14:47:47
“nothing but drag wages down and boost unemployment. No President since Reagan, save for Clinton, ever got the unemployment down to 4% and we thought we were sitting on 0 with that. Now 7-15% is the new norm and the numbers are not reliable on reporting, as we leave out those who have given up the hunt. Think of all the things that people buy today that they didn't 40 years ago...3 and 4 cars, RVs, more than one home, it is ridiculous and the marketing is nothing but a CON. We are barraged with advertising everywhere we turn. I remember when you could watch cable and it was a bargain at $15 a month and NO advertising. Man's better angels never appear when it comes to making money off of someone else. It is pretty predatory. What we need to educate people to is that advertising only appeals to vanity after you get past the basics of life. My husband has worked in and taught Marketing for years at the Graduate level in college and the it is so frustrating for many of his students wake up to the fact that they only reason they buy most of the stuff that they have is based on their own image issues. But we all have done it at some time in our life and it will continue. We Americans like anything bright and shiny.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 14:41:27
“Trickle up massively happens everyday on the back of the average US worker and the undocumented workers. It ALL goes up and nothing comes back down to those who do the work. I don't want to live in the 1950s AGAIN...wasn't that much fun then. We had a huge class system then that relegated poor kids in one direction in life and the wealthy got to go to Harvard and Yale. From the 1950s until 1980, the middleclass grew and prospered. The economy also grew and prospered for this whole nation. Then came the 80s and the idea that rather than improve their manufacturing lines or comply with reasonable regulation and we can argue that all day I am sure, but the Corporatists decided to go around the world and suck the blood out of human capital like a bunch of vampires and that is the business model that they still live with today. Crushing of unions, the decimation of jobs in this country by unholy alliances called Trade Agreements, did”
“I have no issue with unions at all. They are a form of collectivism but not the form I am discussing. In a union collective all work, else they are not in the union.
I have no issue with lifting boats as long as those benefiting help lift. Again we are not discussing the same thing.
The upper 1% has ALWAYS been with us. It is the middle class that is the new phenom.
Again no problem with home ownership -- Actual equity of course being part and parcel of the definition.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 15:02:26
“I appreciate your talking about this as a person and as a business man. I think that your position is equitable and fair and that is probably a boost to your own success. I agree with just about everything you have said. I don't expect anyone to give me a thing...I lost both my parents very early in my life, I had to work to get what I have earned all my life. However, having worked in Social Services, I recognize that poverty does grind some folks down to the point that they never get out. Maybe they didn't have a person in their life that showed them ways to better themselves. Maybe the opportunities that were presented to me over my lifetime just are that easily accessible today. I certainly did not have to spend $50K to $100K to get an education in the 1970s. My Father's VA benefits paid for two years of my college, I qualified for HUD housing, and there were 3 jobs out there when I needed 3 to get by. My first year of divorce I lived on $5000 with two small children. So I appreciate the fact that I didn't fall down the rabbit hole of poverty, but today, I am not sure all those things are there to pull everyone out. I believe people just want to live...very few of us aspire to be millionaires/billionaires. I saw the sacrifices to family that too many have made on that path and it wasn't”
“I would be remiss if I failed to comment on "collectivism"
It is an ideal. Most ideals fade into failure when meeting reality.
"Collectivism is what this country was founded on....The folks had to band together for their survival."
I agree with that statement with a caveat. ALL contributed. It was a rare instance that anybody harvested without contributing. The "social contract" you refer to was a true contract. ALL parties offered value to each other in return for what they received from the group, (with RARE exception).
The American collectivist today is institutional. Need is perceived as opportunity not to correct deficit but rather to gloss it over, to comfort rather than to offer opportunity. When a society "feeds" hunger with potato chips, hot pockets, soda, and cookies it is not offering a solution but is rather normalizing the condition. When society pays for serial babies without restraint by those who have by past action demonstrated inability to care for children that society normalizes rather than solves causation. The list is as long as current collective solution to societies ills. The American collective is not a problem solver, it is an enabler of the ills it identifies. That is a direct result of institutionalizing problems. The needs of institutions that result are dependent on continuation of the very problems they identify.
I am all for your example of colonial collectivism. You and I are part of an almost non-existent minority who would support such a "draconian" system however.”
“I am indeed dependent on infrastructure. I also pay for its availability and the use of it via taxation and fees.
Nobody put money up for me and I have no active investors within my corporation. I do have some minor stockholders but the only money they "contributed" for their stock was assessed by the tax department. EVERY utility you mention we pay for far in excess of any share that could be arrived at by a math formula based on ratios.
My product is not dependent on my locality, State, or even this Nation. It fills a universal need and benefits from growing wealth of other previous destitute areas of the world. The statement "you can have the best service/product but if no one can afford you then you won't be in business for long." applies universally.
I agree some regulation is required for order. However regulation used to ensure results on a micro level is a misuse of the form and is, as we see around us, counterproductive.
Much of what American's call labor exploitation is not really exploitation at all. A dollar an hour in many parts of the world is relative to the value it represents across their economy. The need of American's for multiples of 20 monetary units is due to poorly defined middle class accoutrements. It is also a situation that is possible only within a world that allows America to cherry pick the world and leave droppings for the world's people.”
“The reality for today's worker is far simpler than you assume.
Productivity increases are revealed to be capital not labor rooted. Most of us who are involved in directly running plants have long been aware of this. It was long hidden by increased markets, usually foreign. Now those other regions are building, have built their own capacity to feed their own consumer markets.
The labor of one is worth exactly that, the labor of one. The fact that investment in facility multiplies that labor's value accrues to the investor.
We recently changed a line. The former line required 16 operators for a weeks production. The new line has half the workers and produces half again the finished product. The eight surviving jobs are far less labor intensive and require less knowledge. It is the investor not the worker who reaps the reward, and rightfully. The work of one is still the work of one.
Is that palatable ?/ On some levels it is not. That does not change the reality and part of the reality is that a failure to make that investment opens the door for someone else, normally in Asia currently, to do so. That results in the loss of all 16 positions in America, or the reduction of the cost of the 16's labor input. Reduce the reward for investment and there is no investment, HERE.
That is why I say the definition of middle class must change. It is being changed actually.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 15:17:53
“the middleclass and their idea is to "TAKE" from all in this society and country through laws that they write for their "bought legislators", who basically represent their interests and no one else's. We live in an Oligarch business structure. If you look at every large industry in this nation there are only a 5-6 Big Players. The OIL companies are the worst and are making billions off of us, while taking tax subsidies. When does business stand on it's own???? Even if we come up with a better idea to do something that a big player does now, odds are that the new will never happen and the new idea will be squashed or bought. Oligarch structures are very profitable, even better than a monopoly and you can make more money at it. This country hasn't a clue when it comes to real competition. The Oligarchs are in charge and they will inhibit creativity and the imagination going forward forever. Thomas Edison would have had to overcome much more today to beat the gas companies in creating the light bulb. Preston Tucker, who was a maverick car manufacturer ran the gambit with the Oligarchs of the Big 3 when he came out with safety features, like shatterproof glass...they put him out of business. Money is power and power is NEVER shared by those who have it in the majority of cases.”
cigi on Dec 9, 2013 at 15:10:31
“If change enhances only 1/2 of the equation, then you will have a bigger conundrum. You may OWN your own business that YOU started, but most Corporate types who are being millions and billions for services rendered to a Company are not the OWNERS, but merely place holders. When Executive Compensation began to be redefined in the mid 80s and early 90s, it became a boon to the place holders. They made sure that they won at the "business game" even if the Company lost...Golden Parachutes being the biggest boondoogle of the last Century. If they crashed and burned the Company, they were rewarded with millions of dollars in payouts. These people had only their self-interests not those of the shareholders or the workers utmost in their own selfish thinking. They filled Boards of Directors with cronies who boosted their salaries and stock options, even if a stock languished...they always divested themselves at a higher option than a regular employee. So if the definition of the middleclass is changing it is to one of "HAVE NOTS"! Once you fill the country with poor, impoverished, and angry workers, then the real havoc will be made known in the streets. Wall Street, 44,000 Lobbyists, ALEC are defining”
“Your position is parochial on globalization. What you are REALLY saying is the world should subsidize an American Middle Class. That subsidy is the root of our middle class. Cheap raw materials acquired from other regions that had no capacity of production. Those regions reject that, and rightfully so.
We largely agree on consumerism as an illness. Worse yet it is not sustainable as we are currently seeing.
Collectivism to be successful requires a vast majority to contribute in some form. American progressives reject that. The American system is to institutionalize then feed institutions whose very existence requires a problem to continue.
A collective society will ALWAYS punish success, lower rewards, and tilt to the lowest denominator. You misinterpret the meaning of free immigration. Collectivist societies are extremely restrictive about who immigrates, do not stand for unauthorized immigration, and certainly do not reward it. It is not "misguided misinformation". Do a bit of research.
Collectivism is indeed a bane. There is no middle class without the reward of capitalism. There never has been. Interestingly though, there has ALWAYS been a wealthy and poor class. The current pressure the middle class feels is NOT a loss of better than substandard living conditions if such conditions are rationally defined. It is the loss of excess which was largely provided by future income rather than current earnings. The projections did not materialize largely because the world offers far less subsidy.”
cigi on Dec 6, 2013 at 18:31:19
“Every time we got a new contract from 1978 - 2000, I always got a 3.5% raise annually. I had a 401K, a pension, healthcare, and took it all with me when I retired. The interesting part was that when the Union got a raise or benefit, then my husband, who was in middle management got just a little more. Our company was always profitable and always paid a dividend to it's investors, large and small...still does. So while you see "collectivism as a bane", I just see it as another system that works very well when given the chance. If only a few benefit at the expense of the majority who do the work, then all you have is an autocracy and an very unfair work environment. You know there are only so many jobs at the top and not everyone even wants to be a CEO, COO, CFO of a company. We all have our wants and needs, even in the work place. It can't be just a one-sided game.”
cigi on Dec 6, 2013 at 18:27:07
“up maybe you become an apartment dweller, and ultimately maybe the only folks who can own a home in the future are the uber wealthy? Like I said, have been buying homes for a long time. Our first one was a two bedroom/1bath for $40K, bought in 1981.. Today we live in a 3 bdrm, 2 ba, very modest neighborhood here in the SE USA and it was a cheap buy for today at $280K. Could we have bought a $40K home? Yes, if we wanted to live in a place that was not safe or buy a cheap mobile home and pay to lease the land. What I am getting at is if we do not lift all boats, then none of them will float for long, except for maybe the yachts of the upper 1%. Collectivism does not lower the bar, it does raise it for the employer and management. I had a wonderful job, white collar and I belonged to a Union my whole work life. It did not inhibit my abilities or my own ambitions. I used the benefits of tuition aid, which was bargained for and got my advanced degree. I worked as hard as anyone and I never resented those who wanted to go for the management jobs. My work gave me the opportunity not to have to travel, raise my children, and yet have a good paying job with benefits.”
cigi on Dec 6, 2013 at 18:18:44
“always looking for a way to garner more profit from their customers. Great example is something as simple as a sonogram in our medical system today. The technology has been around for years and yet the price for a sonogram is still very high...same for an MRI. For me, there are far too many "bean counters" out there squeezing margin when it isn't necessary. That is why I paid $25 for a box of sanitary napkins when I had my last child 41 years ago. I understand overhead, but I also understand unnecessary gouging and we are in a gouging business economy right now. 98% of our clothing is made abroad, but shoes and clothing aren't cheaper today than say in 2000. Workers are not benefitting from all the profits that the Oligarch Corporatists are engorging their bottom lines with right now. If "trickle down" economics "really worked" and they don't, people would not have lived with stagnant wages for the last 50 years. The games that are played by the Business, the Government, the Fed and the phony formulas to manipulate the idea that we are living without inflation is a huge sham on the American people. I shop for groceries, I put gas in my car, I have bought several homes in the last 30 years as we moved with our jobs....nothing has gotten cheaper. So how do you define what is reasonable as a "standard of living"....poor people relegated to the slums or homelessness, the next rung”
cigi on Dec 6, 2013 at 18:09:56
“I find your view very Draconian. Collectivism is what this country was founded on....from the beginning of the early colonial settlements in the "New World". The folks had to band together for their survival. The "self-made man unto himself" is still one of the biggest myths today. You are a business man and you are successful, but without the infrastructure that supports your business....financial institutions, family or investors who put up money for you. Depending on your business you are dependent on other businesses who provide roads, utilities, for your employees to get to work and keep your lights on. You couldn't provide those things on your own. The tax payers in your community, State and even this country are a huge variable to your success now and in the future. We are in collectively speaking for your success. You must be in a community/state where the economic standard is not subpar or you can have the best service/product but if no one can afford you then you won't be in business for long. I see us on a path to the kind of thinking that says we don't need to invest any longer in our own country. Too many employers want to exploit human capital world wide. Man has no "better angels" when it comes to making money. Adam Smith said that a "little regulation" would always be necessary, because the mercantile class of his day were”
“"My husband works, because #1...he still makes a 6 figure income and he likes his work." Then he is a poor example of the situation you presented. He is not one who MUST work. He is not typical.
I agree the current road is not sustainable .... However I doubt we are describing the same road. The road I believe unsustainable is the current definition of middle class.
No, when downsizing happens credentials are not the major factor in production job reduction. Certainly in the professions you are correct. The professions are a very minor part of a healthy job landscape. The professions feed from the value of production, although in many cases they also make it possible.
You and your husband are not living on someone's nickel. You are living on the value he adds, his nickel.
As a "professional" who owns a high tech corp we discontinued credentials as a hiring criteria except in those few positions that require specialty. We do not require a GED for most production positions (80% of our workforce), Additionally 85% of mid management is filled by people we trained, many who did not graduate high school.
I believe this is the trend although much of it is hidden within technical school / corporate partnerships.
As for the reasons for working -- they are personal in cases of success. The CHOICE of how we use the rewards is part of the reward, or should be. All to often it is punished.”
cigi on Dec 6, 2013 at 17:54:56
“parents at the age of 8 and your life is blown to the four winds, then you take nothing for granted. My husband trained at the University as an Economist and I am a Sociologist/HR person by training...we always watch the trends and behavior. He has worked in Marketing a good deal of his time but is now in a very scientific environment, working on the development of Big Data and it's uses in the future by all. It is fascinating to him and I think that is why he works...he likes learning the new and cutting edge stuff and if it keeps us going into the future developing our intellect and knowledge. I think it is a good reason to do it. He also works out of our home and that is a plus all of it's own. I agree that too often our rewards are a punishment...especially for the middleclass. How do you define your view of the middleclass today??? When I say we "live off the other guy's nickel" is because it does allow us to save in other ways now that if he were not in the workforce, we couldn't. We have four very bright Grandkids (our bias of course) and we want to make sure that $$$ is there to help them with educational pursuits at one level they choose. Our idea of "middleclass" is to be above poverty...I've been both places in my life...poverty truly sucks. As a wealthy nation, we should have eradicated it eons ago.”
cigi on Dec 6, 2013 at 17:46:57
“different ways of problem solving. The problem we do have with it is this...those same workers get paid $15-20K less per year than a qualified American in the same field with the same training. I find it morally a bad policy to exploit anyone for your own unfair gain and to push your wages which do impact our overall economy and standard of living to the bottom. It is not a legacy of honor or basically one that will sustain our society and country in the long term. I am all for technical training. It was one way that my husband expanded is knowledge of computers that were barely common back in the mid 1960s. My husband went to a tech school that trained him on computers and he has been in the industry, doing something ever since. I am a big picture person and I also believe strongly that you prepare for the long term and not live solely for the "short term". I always believe in a plan B...long story, but when you lose both of your”
cigi on Dec 6, 2013 at 17:41:25
“Thanks for writing back. I don't think we are at odds on much of anything. You see it as an employer, I see it as a worker. You are a rare company if you do your own training today. My husband and I both worked for a very large Corporation, Fortune 10 and retired in 2000. He went to work for another Fortune 10 and retired again last year. Then in the Spring he was asked to come back to the first company he retired from...they do rely on credentialing for their entire work force right now. They are hiring contractors all the time, to replace regular employees. It is their plan to have in place a workforce that is 80% contractors in another 5 years. It is a trend that has been in force for more than 2 decades now with the Government and many other companies, if they can save a dime and pad the bottomline will go for the trend eventually. We are great "mimickers" in this society of the other guy's "supposed success", ie outsourcing, downsizing, importing of human capital via our convoluted Visa system. My husband works on a very high tech team of folks who are ALL contractors and basically from Asia as a majority. He has no problem with that because it is a an experience that exposes him to many ”
The AP is reporting the many "strikers" are union organizers and otherswho do not work for fast food companies.
In any event -- Like most of the past actions this is a non event EXCEPT on Huff N Puff”
tristan1590 on Dec 8, 2013 at 07:40:06
“USA today doesn't mention this..Neither does the nyt article or Yahoo article on it.
Maybe it is real workers barely making a living while working full time? Maybe they have a point and you could possibly be wrong?”
“Give this time --- The report will eventually read --
Obama's Press Office originally responded to the inquiry by asking officials of the Bush Administration about Obama's knowledge of his uncle. The prior administrations contacted George W's father who opined that Mr Obama was under the impression the uncle in question did not exist.
President Obama has stated in private that had the Bush people done their job properly we would not be in this mess now.
The official has declined to give there name because they have not been authorized at this time to admit knowing anybody in the Obama Administration.”
“All basically true I am sure --- None of it however changes the new reality that involves a redefinition of Middle Class into a more global context. I am guessing PMI is Project Management Institute. I am familiar with their "credentialism" and it is just another example of an educational INDUSTRY that serves little purpose beyond feeding itself.
A agree that contractors are replacing employees. The cost of an employee has too often outstripped the value the employee adds to a product. Another global reality.
The plight of the undereducated is all too often needless credentialism that adds foolish costs to employment with faux educational requirements that enrich the educational industry and burden the actual economy.
Yes, collectivist society usually has very restrictive policy toward outsiders. The cost of free immigration is a burden.
FTR -- I am your spouses approx age. You and he are apparent victims of the what the definition of middle class in America came to be. That definition served nobody other than the sellers of the accoutrements and lead to people borrowing future income in excess instead of providing for an economic future.”
cigi on Dec 6, 2013 at 14:42:16
“about the conditions that "bad management" has had upon the whole equation is a very cynical view to take. Globalization should be scrapped then if this the best that it can do...enrich a few at the expense of the many. Our culture since the 1960s and our economy has been built upon "consumerism" which I totally reject. Unless you throw in the towel completely however and live in a cave and never work, your needs just don't disappear in the real world. We are now in a cultural decline in my opinion, because of the gross consumerism that has been drilled into our psyches daily with advertising on every front of our daily lives, 23/7/365. Consumerism and along with the amount of money that one makes or a job title is all that defines most today. Then we demonize folks who do not buy into this philosophy as lazy and dull witted. Our culture and our people have lost their way and see no value except in the short-term gratification that is served up to them daily. It is a bigger problem than your ideas on a "collectivist" society or the burden of so-called "free immigration"....where did you derive that misguided misinformation???? Immigration has never been free especially to the immigrant. Collectivism is not a bane in many cases which I would discuss further with you if you like.”
cigi on Dec 6, 2013 at 14:32:46
“future. Every generation starts out on one plan to become educated, get into gainful employment, and build for the future, built on the rules of the game when they start. Over the decades you modify your goals and how you get to them. The problem I see today for many is that the rules change with every administration and basically you can do everything right for a lifetime and still come out lacking at the end of your life. I don't believe that the majority of people in this country ever start out to just set themselves up to fail...that is not our nature as Americans or basically human beings. Just like Wall Street cries and whines that they need "stability" to run their markets...so do people need that same consideration and stability. Our work policies, our economic policies, have totally destroyed that for the average American who is trying to achieve their goals. You cannot build an economic future with laissez faire Predatory Capitalism and limited upward mobility. That is the reality for today's worker and to be blasé”
cigi on Dec 6, 2013 at 14:26:52
“If you are agreeable to "my supposition" then you understand that this road that we are on now is not sustainable for future generations. My husband works, because #1...he still makes a 6 figure income and he likes his work. Whether you believe "credentialism" as a valid educational requirement or not, the trend and expectation by the hiring employers is that is the "new game" that you will play if you want to keep your job. As you know, when downsizing occurs, the greatest point factor in considering whether one stays or goes is "education status". Credentialism is just another trend in the work arena and you are correct, it is all too needless and I personally believe that education, just like healthcare is a huge "racket" and nothing more in this country. 2d/ The longer my husband and I live on someone else's nickel through his work and our Social Security, the less we have to spend of our resources, which we will need for the last 10-15 years of our lives. We are not victims of anything...don't believe in that position in life. 3d/ He continues to work so we can help our children build our grandchildren's college funds or whatever training they will need in the”